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oil spill

Dancing Cons and Friday miscellany

We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine

HA! I love it when I’m right! Did I not just recently say that the Harperites were setting themselves up to drop the writ in late summer or early fall? Didn’t I ?

‘Shore ’nuff, one of the head CPC minions has thrown down the gauntlet over proposed amendments to C-9 – the budget enabling and kitchen sink mega-omnibus Bill that is currently in the Senate. The huffing and puffing little Doozer was positively ebullient in daring the Grits to go to the polls.

“Let’s dance,” Conservative Senator Doug Finley said Thursday after Bill C-9, a mammoth 883-page piece of legislation, was chopped down by the Liberals and one Progressive Conservative at a meeting of the Senate finance committee.

“I think there’s more than enough issues here to run an election on, and I’m ready,” Mr. Finley said. “I’ve got buses, I’ve got planes, I’ve got a war room, I’ve got advertising already in the can. We are constantly at work on our policy and platform. I’ve got a tour two-thirds planned.”

Wow! I haven’t heard a Con being that enthusiastic about something since the Blogging Tories were as jittery as schoolgirls over the “illegal” attempt at a coalition between the Dippers and the Grits.

And who can blame the guy? Even the most cursory read of the latest EKOS poll (you know, those guys who were mega-biased against the DeceptiCons a way back a coupla months ago) tells a tale of Liberal woe. It supports my contention that the worse case scenario for Stevie would be a return to another minority Parliament with his willing unofficial coalition partner safely in tow.

Yup, we here in Ontario, and other provinces as well, are going to come down with a severe case of election-sign fever this fall as we head into municipal votes in October as well as a federal vote somewhere between Turkey Day and the end of November.

Of course, for a political junkie like me, this is pure paradise.

Friday miscellany

1. It’s hot, hot, hot here in Bytown!

So hot that there seem to be furious debates about what is appropriate to wear to work. Check out XUP’s take on this…

Of course, furious debates about just about anything are everyday activities here in Ottawa. Remember the big lawn chair debacle of 2007?

Me? Meh. My rule of thumb is that if it’s over 30, I will at the very least throw away the tie unless I have meetings with folks outside of my Department. If it’s over 35, I go naked.

Now THERE is an image to haunt your weekend.

You’re welcome.

2. Lindsay Lohan to be jailed 90 days for breach of probation? ROTFL!!!!!

3. The Huffington Post had a good piece the other day on how scentisits, desperate to get accurate measurements on the extent of the big spill in the Gulf, are being kept away from the area and are encountering roadblocks wherever they turn.

A group of independent scientists, frustrated and dumbfounded by the continued lack of the most basic data about the 77-day-old BP oil disaster, has put together a crash project intended to definitively measure how much oil has spilled and where and how it is spreading throughout the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

An all-star team of top oceanographers, chemists, engineers and other scientists could be ready to head out to the well site on two fully-equipped research vessels on about a week’s notice. But they need to get the go-ahead — and about $8.4 million — from BP or the federal government or both. And that does not appear imminent.

No matter who is in control, spin is the order of the day, eh?

And I’m glad Jacques Cousteau isn’t around to see this.

4. Looks like the quake did a bit more damage to the homestead than originally thought. Our patio door – although admittedly old and in need of replacement – won’t open or close very easily since the quake… it comes right off it’s runners.

Damned quake.

5.  Finally – GO Spain!!!!!!

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Newsflash! BP execs spill coffee!

Hilarious.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM&feature=player_embedded

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BP – and karma

I wonder if BP is considering the removal of these signs.

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End of da week miscellany

This is a day early once again as the 2 youngest sub-units and I head to my hometown tomorrow morning. The RLG is off to NYC for the weekend, so why not get outta Dodge too!

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Gulf oil spill – let’s hope this works.

In the meantime, I have been watching the right-wing coverage of the disaster and there be a lot of hootin’ it up in those quarters because they see the BP spill as a slam against Obama… hell, blame him for the U.S.A. losing the gold medal hockey game against Canada while you’re at it, eh?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., writing for the Huffington Post, has a different spin on this. Turns out this whole debacle may have been avoided – or minimized, if not due to Bush and Cheney cozying up with Big Oil…

Here is a key quote:

The absence of an acoustical regulator — a remotely triggered dead man’s switch that might have closed off BP’s gushing pipe at its sea floor wellhead when the manual switch failed (the fire and explosion on the drilling platform may have prevented the dying workers from pushing the button) — was directly attributable to industry pandering by the Bush team.

…between January and March of 2001, incoming Vice President Dick Cheney conducted secret meetings with over 100 oil industry officials allowing them to draft a wish list of industry demands to be implemented by the oil friendly administration. Cheney also used that time to re-staff the Minerals Management Service with oil industry toadies including a cabal of his Wyoming carbon cronies. In 2003, newly reconstituted Minerals Management Service genuflected to the oil cartel by recommending the removal of the proposed requirement for acoustic switches. The Minerals Management Service’s 2003 study concluded that “acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.”The acoustic trigger costs about $500,000. Estimated costs of the oil spill to Gulf Coast residents are now upward of $14 billion to gulf state communities. Bush’s 2005 energy bill officially dropped the requirement for the acoustic switch off devices explaining that the industry’s existing practices are “failsafe.”

So there you go… the Bush and Cheney administration just keeps on giving and giving…

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Brits go to the polls today!

In what has to be one of the most interesting races anywhere in a long, long time, the British will vote in Parliamentary elections today. A minority government is almost certain due to the rise of the Liberal-Democrats from a wanna-be party to a major player – largely due to its charismatic and young leader, Nick Clegg.

Polls point to a high level of support for Clegg’s party but it is fairly even across several ridings – having the effect of giving them only 70-90 seats despite a percentage of voter support. But this would make the Liberal-Democrats the kingmakers after the dust settles on Friday.

This should be fun!

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World-wide economic shitstorm – deuxième partie

Still in Europe – this whole Greek thing has got me a little worried. Four countries in the Euro zone are on the edge of financial collapse. While Greece is the first to ask for and receive handouts from it neighbours, many think that Ireland, Portugal and Spain aren’t far behind.

So while bail them out at all? Well, what might start in Greece may well spill over into the other 4 countries and beyond… and Germany cannot afford to bail out all of the rest of Europe.

Slapped in the face by this ugly scenario, the Europeans decided to throw everything they and the I.M.F. had at bailing out Greece.   The program as announced has only a small chance of preventing eventual Greek bankruptcy, but it may still slow or avert a dangerous spiral downward — and enormous collateral damage — in the rest of Europe.

A small chance, yes. But there is a chance that the funds will slow down the Greek death spiral and allow other exposed countries to make some fiscal policy adjustments that will at least delay if not avoid their own Greek scenario.

But… a few of us were discussing last night how your average German must feel about all of this…

Let’s see, I have to work until I’m 67 at a reduced pension to pay off the debts incurred by my government to pay down the debts incurred by the Greeks… so the average Greek can retire at 57 with full pension benefits… hmmm… something doesn’t seem right with this picture.

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Organized crime? Really???

Finally, the Harperites are once again playing on the fear factor that has tended to garner them mucho votes and is reintroducing  a draconian Bill called the Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act.

Touted to fight organized crime and make the streets oh-so much safer for seniors, soccer Moms and kids (have any of the Cons ever watched Weeds?), the Bill imposes mandatory jail sentences for offenders…. starting with those surly and vicious mobsters who grow SIX freaking plants!!!!!

Apparently, the Mom and Pop who grow a bit of weed in the outside shed or the college kid in his flat are now considered by the ReformCons on the same scale as the Hell’s Angels and inner city Drug Lords!

Are they kidding me? Mandatory means that the judge will NOT have any leeway and that Grandpa, Bob Jr., and anyone else who likes the odd toke without having to buy it off the street will AUTOMATICALLY go to the joint (forgive the pun)!

Whether or not you are for decriminalization of weed, a sane and rational human being surely must see that growing a half-dozen plants is does NOT mean that you should be lumped in – from a legal perspective – with organized crime!

Will the Opposition band together to stop this? I suspect the Dippers and the Bloquistes will… but the Grits… I dunno.

Proposed New Mandatory Sentences for Serious Drug Offences
Schedule II drugs (cannabis and marijuana)

OFFENCE MANDATORY PENALTY NOTES
w/
AggravatingFactors- List A1
w/
Aggravating Factor – List B2
w/
Health and Safety Factors3
Trafficking 1 YEAR 2 YEARS n/a Offence would have to involve more than 3 kg of cannabis marijuana or cannabis resin
Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking 1 YEAR 2 YEARS n/a Offence would have to involve more than 3 kg of cannabis marijuana or cannabis resin
Importing
Exporting
1 YEAR n/a n/a n/a Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking
Possession for the Purpose of Exporting 1 YEAR n/a n/a n/a Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking
Production –
6 – 200 plants
6 MOS n/a n/a 9 MOS Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking.
Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production –
201 – 500 plants
1 YEAR n/a n/a 18 MOS Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production – more than 500 plants 2 YEARS n/a n/a 3 YEARS Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production –
oil or resin
1 YEAR n/a n/a 18 MOS Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking

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Could a spill happen in Canada’s north? You betcha!

The Hamilton Spectator reports that there isn’t a plan in place for dealing with a natural disaster similar to what we are seeing unfold in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pending final approvals, Scottish oil company Cairn Energy plans to drill four wells this summer in offshore leases west of Greenland’s Disko Island — right next to the international boundary with Canada.

The company’s previous offshore experience has been in the Indian Ocean, but spokesman David Nisbet said Cairn would take all possible precautions in its first venture into the Arctic.

Ah! Trust us! We have gained a vast amount of experience in northern drilling from our work in the Indian Ocean!

Yeah.

Experts agree there’s no good way to clean oil from waters that are more than 30 per cent covered by ice. Once oil gets under that ice, there’s little chance of removing or even tracking it.

Head Dipper, Jack Layton, is rightfully called for increased scrutiny of oil company operations in the north.

Mr. Layton cited efforts by major oil companies to relax safety regulations for offshore drilling in the Arctic Beaufort Sea. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill comes from a well operated by British Petroleum, which is also among firms pushing for an exemption up North.

Liberal environment and energy critic David McGuinty, who has been raising concerns about the risks of Arctic drilling, says he’d also like to see Parliament tackle the matter. “It’s too bad we didn’t look at this earlier,” Mr. McGuinty said. “This is a real wake up call,” he said of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Damn right, boys. Put the pressure on the Harperites NOW.  Canadians are paying attention to this quite carefully and this ups the chance that Stevo will follow through and take another look at our own regs and those of other countries where drilling activities may impact water and ice in Canadian territory.

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…an under-FRICKIN’-ground VOLCANO of oil!

I wonder if the right wingnuts in the good ol’ US of A are still saying “Drill, baby, drill!”

Hmmm… maybe not so much at the moment, eh?

I’ve been in Pensacola and I am very, very concerned about this filth in the Gulf of Mexico,” Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said at a fundraiser for his U.S. Senate campaign Sunday night. “It’s not a spill, it’s a flow. Envision sort of an underground volcano of oil and it keeps spewing over 200,000 gallons every single day, if not more.”

an under-FRICKIN’-ground volcano of oil

Wow. Pretty descriptive.

Shurely, no one is still saying that unfettered or lightly regulated offshore drilling is the best thing to do, naw….

But wait!

As an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico grows larger by the hour, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to stick to “drill, baby, drill.”

In a 30-minute speech to a Republican crowd in Kansas City Saturday, the onetime Republican vice presidential nominee dubbed the gulf spill “very tragic” but added: “I want our country to be able to trust the oil industry.”

Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! The stupids are in my head!!!!! They are eating my brain!!! Augggghhhhh!!!!!

Good read here about how Americans (and the rest of us by extension) must NOT blindly trust Big Oil…

…But this disaster needs to drill a fundamental truth into the heads of Americans.

Don’t trust Big Oil, and don’t let it set America’s agenda. Our country cannot sacrifice its economy, climate, fisheries, air and water quality at the altar of the carbon economy.

“We are looking at a wildlife disaster that is unthinkable: This could be the Exxon Valdez on steroids,” historian Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, said in an interview.

But wait, just wait… are those the sounds of  “it ain’t as bad as the liberal media is making it out to be” sounds that I hear beginning to surface… stay tuned.

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