American Elephants

April, 2010’s Nanny of the Month Award. by The Elephant's Child
April 30, 2010, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Law, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

I yield to no one in my distaste for bureaucrats who think they must regulate everything.   But there is a serious side to all this nit-picky nannyism.  Excessive regulation leads to disrespect for the laws,  When regulations are silly, and unnecessary, people lose respect for both the regulations and for the regulators.

It seems strange for a government to outlaw incandescent lightbulbs because of a false idea that we are short of energy, as government officials build themselves multiple homes of ridiculous size, and demand private plane service.

The regulators seldom have any intent of being regulated themselves, nor of obeying any regulations.  The regulations are meant to apply only to the distasteful masses — us.

Photoshopping Nancy Pelosi! by The Elephant's Child
April 30, 2010, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Humor, News of the Weird, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Do we all have friends whose communications mostly consist of emailed  jokes?  I know I do. Here’s one I got today from an old friend:

A 54 year-old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.

While on the operating table, she had a near-death experience.  Seeing God, she  asked “Is my time up?”

God said, “No, you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to live.”

Upon recovery from her heart attack, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy-tuck.  She even had someone come in and change her hair color and brighten her teeth!  Since she had so many good years ahead of her, she figured that she might as well make the most of it.

After her last operation, she was released from the hospital.  While crossing the street on her way home, she was hit and killed by an ambulance.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded: “I thought you said I had another 43 years?  Why didn’t you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance”?”

God replied:  “I didn’t recognize you!”

More on the Deepwater Horizon Disaster: by The Elephant's Child
April 30, 2010, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment, Politics | Tags: , ,

A process called cementing is being scrutinized as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater  Horizon oil rig  in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling experts said Thursday.  The procedure is supposed to keep oil and natural gas from escaping, by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor.

Cement is pumped down the well from the drilling rig.  It is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned, or when drilling is finished and production hasn’t yet begun. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement, and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement.  It isn’t known if they had completed the plugging process before the blast.

“The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement,” said Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer in the oil industry.

Several other drilling experts agreed, though they cautioned that the investigation into what went wrong at the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its preliminary stages.

The problem could have been a faulty cement plug at the bottom of the well, he said. Another possibility would be that cement between the pipe and well walls didn’t harden properly and allowed gas to pass through it.

A 2007 study by three U.S. Minerals Management Service officials found that cementing was a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period. That was the single largest factor, ahead of equipment failure and pipe failure.

The spill volume will probably be much less than the massive spill from the infamous Exxon Valdez, but the Exxon Valdez oil was all spilled in Prince William Sound, and thus somewhat contained, and the sound had rocky beaches that could be steam cleaned.  The oil headed into the Louisiana marshes can’t be contained in the same way. The Exxon Valdez spill happened on the surface.  This is bubbling up from leaks 5,000 feet down, and once on the surface, can drift.  Apparently BP’s safety record isn’t so good, and lots of litigation can be expected.

Robert Bryce said that he left out of his piece on the risks of offshore drilling what is probably the biggest risk:  the public relations risk.  What is bad for the oil and gas industry will be good for the corn ethanol and wind industry.  On Wednesday, President Obama was in an ethanol plant in Missouri, singing the praises of ethanol:

I may be the President these days, but I want to remind everybody I was the senator from Illinois. I didn’t just discover the merits of biofuels like ethanol when I first hopped on the campaign bus. I was telling Steve this was not the first ethanol plant I visited. And I believe in the potential of what you’re doing right here to contribute to our clean energy future, but also to our rural economies.

Robert Bryce suggests that the Obama administration will soon approve a bailout for the ethanol industry in which the EPA will remove the “blend wall” which will raise the amount of ethanol in US gasoline from 10% to 15%, an amount that supposedly will damage most car engines.  Only 3% of the automotive fleet have flex-fuel engines.  The Energy Tribune says:

Corn ethanol is the biggest scam to hit America since the days of Charles Ponzi. Making subsidized motor fuel out of the most subsidized crop in America borders on fiscal insanity. No matter how you slice it, corn ethanol cannot provide enough fuel to displace imported oil. In 2005, U.S. farmers produced about 11.1 billion bushels of corn. If the U.S. turned all of its corn into ethanol, it would only supply about 6 percent of America’s total annual oil needs.

ADDENDUM: ExxonMobil is sending equipment and experts to help with cleanup efforts in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  The company has offered a drilling rig as a staging base, two supply vessels, and underwater vehicle and support vessel.

Exxon has sent experts to respond to BPs request for technical advice about blowout preventers, dispersant injection, well construction and containment options, the company said in a statement.  Nice move, when the crisis is such a public relations disaster for the oil industry.

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