Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

BP Safety Record Won’t Help In Court of Public Opinion
May 11, 2010

BP May Have Tough Time in Court of Public Opinion

BP holds the record for the largest fine ever levied by the  U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  It also holds second place as well.  BP holds an all-time record fine from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

Deepwater Horizon seconds before sinking

The tragic explosion of the BP Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 resulted in the death of 11 people and it’s too soon to determine the total environmental and economic impact, both of which are certain to be extensive.  It’s probably too soon to be pointing fingers.  Drilling for and recovering oil and natural gas is a dangerous business.  On land, it’s dangerous but offshore, it’s one of the most dangerous jobs  in the world.  Accidents happen all the time but the industry as a whole tries extremely hard to reduce the risks to workers and also to the sites themselves.  Drilling at depths of water thousands of feet below the surface is frought with complications and challenges.  For that reason, it is far too soon to determine whether there was anything that BP could have done to prevent the incident from happening.    But, the accusations and investigations have begun even though the solution to the blowout problem has yet to be resolved. 

 A BP contract worker has made allegations recently of wrong doing by the UK oil giant and the United States Congress is sure to conduct investigations even though it’s probably too soon for anyone to draw conclusions.  But, make no mistake about it, BP is in big trouble.  At least one lawyer is already building a case by saying that BP is no stranger to disasters.  Newspapers have been reporting on BP’s long history of legal and ethical violations, but most newspapers don’t have the space to adequately address them all.  Below you will find a few from the past decade.  I”m not sure how this record fairs against that of other companies who struggle in the dangerous and tricky world of oil and gas exploration.  Transocean is the company from whom BP was leasing the rig and generally they, as the contractor,  would most likely be doing the actual work.  Nevertheless,  BP is the company that the media and public  knows and such a list of past allegations, fines and admitted transgressions will not help the case of BP in the court of public opinion.  I’m not sure if the public relations department will be able to handle it all. 

Jan 2010-BP announces $400 million upgrade of 60 yr-old equipment at refinery in Oregon, OH

On March 8, 2010  OSHA cited BP North American, Inc. for 42 violations at the BP-Husky refinery in Oregon, Ohio.  Among those allegations were 20 that the agency determined were serious safety concerns that put workers at risk of death or injury.  The fines proposed totaled over $3 million.  The findings stem from an investigation relating to a 2006 inspection of the refinery near Toledo and subsequent settlement with BP.  While BP was found to have complied with the terms of the settlement, an inspection in 2009 found new violations that were no addressed in the intial settlement.  In January 2010, BP announced $400 million in upgrades for 60-year-old equipment at the Oregon, Ohio refinery. 

BP Texas City refinery exploded in 2005 killing 15 and injuring 170

On October 30, 2009 OSHA proposed that BP be subject to the largest fine the the agency’s history.   The fine over over $87 million smashed the old record of $21 million.  That fine was also levied against BP following a 2005 explosion at a Texas City, Texas refinery.  The additional fine came after a subsequent follow-up investigation into the 2005 explosion of the company’s Texas City, Texas refinery that killed 15 and injured 170.  In the press release announcing the fines, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in part, “When BP signed the OSHA settlement from the March 2005 explosion, it agreed to take comprehensive action to protect employees. Instead of living up to that commitment, BP has allowed hundreds of potential hazards to continue unabated.”  In January 2008, an investigation was begun looking into the third employee fatality at the BP Texas City facility in the time-frame following the 2005 explosion.  A report in 2007 suggested the budget cuts at BP in 1999 and 2004 resulted in safety and mainenance deficiencies at the plant that led directly to the tragic set of events. Later in 2005, another explosion rocked the same refinery.    

Former BP CEO Lord John Browne

The Houston Chronicle reported in 2007 that BP CEO John Browne got a raise in the year of the Texas City explosion and a bonus following allegations of an oil spill in Alaska resulting from corroded pipes and poor maintenance.   The 2007 Chronicle story relates to the resignation of Browne as CEO of BP after he admitted having a relationship with  a man.  Browne cited a desire to avoid an “unnecessary embarrassment and distraction” to the company.  

Edna and Wilf Human

In 2008, BP in the United Kingdom was found liable for damages in the death of a former worker.  The family of Wilf Human was scheduled to receive 47,000 British pounds as the inital part of the settlement with the rest to be determined at the end of that year.  Human worked at BP’s  Isle of Grain refinery and the proceedings found BP liable for the mesothelioma that killed the 22 year veteran of the plant.  The cause was found to be exposure to asbestos. 

BP Alaska 4800 barrel spill from corroded pipe

In October 2007, BP agreed to pay fines of $60 million imposed by EPA for violations stemming from the 2005 Texas City explosion as well as for environmental violations in Alaska.  According to the EPA, the fines totalling $50 million represent the largest criminal fine ever imposed on a corporation for violating the Clean Air Act.  An additional $12 million fine was slapped on the corporation for violating the Clean Water Act.  BP was accused of spilling 200,000 gallons (4800 barrels) of crude oil in 2006 onto the Alaska tundra and also on a frozen lake.  BP pled guilty to a felony charge of violating the Clean Air Act at the Texas City refinery and was given 3 year’s probation.  Probation is usually in lieu of jail time.  How you can put a company in jail is beyond me.  I suppose the CEO would be the one heading to the Big House if they violate the probation terms.  

Shell along with BP received most recent HSE Notices of Improvement relating to North Sea operations.

In 2007, the Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued 14 improvement notices to BP for issues at the company’s North Sea operations that potentially could put workers’ safety at risk.  Seven of the notices related to a single compnay facility.  The oil company was ordered to make necessary repairs and changes to make certain that it complied with the law.  Union officials said the problems were “very very serious” and came just 18 months following a fire on a BP floating production platform that required the evacuation of all non-essential personnel.  The HSE said it was taking the action “because of the extent of backlogs in preventative and breakdown maintenance of plant, structures and fabric of the installation” and that “It doesn’t appear as though BP is operating the installation in a way that would ensure safety risks have been controlled as low as is reasonably practicable, which is what the law requires.”  Two weeks ago, BP and Shell received notices of improvement from HSE related to their North Sea operations. 

Alaska is an extremely difficult and dangerous place for oil operations

In late 2002, a worker was killed and two injured in an accident at BP Exploration Alaska’s North Slope.  The incident occured as workers repaired a pipeline that, for unknown reasons, remained pressurized while the maintenance work took place.  Just a few months before, another incident relating to pressure build up at a natural gas well resulted in the injury of another worker.  The two incidents were unrelated and in different parts of the field.  The natural gas incident occured following a rupture below ground.  To be fair, these two incidents were probably more related to the inherent dangers associated with working in the oil patch.  But, in 2006 a report referred to the “history of substandard environmental performance” by BP in Alaska. 

SPC Ohio Valley out of the Severe Risk for Today

SPC Gusty winds possible with late night storms

Weather Bottom Line:  Yesterday I related how the SPC had us in a slight risk for severe weather for Tuesday through Wednesday morning and how they mentioned the afternoon but not the overnight.  I had noted that because it was the GFS that produced far more interesting data for late Tuesday night than it did for Tuesday afternoon.  The NAM was stronger for the afternoon but the numbers were not all that impressive.  Well, the SPC severe outlook for May 11, 2010 has shifted somewhat.  The area of the slight risk is in the plains with the Ohio Valley falling under the dreaded “see text” section.  They suggest a small risk below “slight” parameters for our area regarding strong winds and hail.  I suspect that the scenario that they are looking at is a cold frontal boundary being slowed somewhat as a shortwave moves into the Central Rockies.  Hence, any storms that run up the front into our area will be getting here late and should be on the dying side.  So, the rougher weather is out to our west and we get stuck with the leftovers.   Either way, hold on to your hats; it’s going to be windy today. 

SPC Thu AM to Fri AM next best chance for Severe Weather in Ohio Valley

I also mentioned yesterday that this would be a challenging week and that remains the case.  The trouble is that the big parent storm out west is slow to come out and it will be tossing out pieces of energy on an intermittent basis. It’s extremely difficult to say with much certainty what the timing or course of those impulses.  At this point, the SPC feels as if the Thu to Fri timeframe will be our next best chance for severe conditions.  Until then, we will be decidedly warmer and more humid than recent days as the warm front came through Tuesday morning bringing the expected light showers.  The Tuesday night cold front will get close but will retreat relatively rapidly.  Aside from the severe risk in somewhat of a flux, there should be a risk for scattered showers and t’storms each afternoon through Friday.

WWF Schedules Earth Hour During NCAA Basketball Tournament
March 26, 2010

If WWF is successful, the US will go black from the East Coast to the West Coast but the NCAA tournament will be on. Which will win out?

Candle Power Used During Earth Hour Even Though Candles Release Carbon Dioxide. These People are Leaving a Carbon Footprint to Mark Earth Hour

Earth Hour?  We’ve all heard of Earth Day as it’s been around for about 40 years.   But now, there is Earth Hour.  This is brought to you by the WWF.  Before you go looking for a picture of Hulk Hogan carrying the earth on his shoulders like Atlas, it’s not the World Wrestling Federation.  Remember a few years ago the wrestlers were sued and so they had to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment aka WWE.  This would be the World Wildlife Fund and they are encouraging people from around the world to “…come together to make a bold statement about their concern for climate change…”  They claim that millions of people will participate and illustrate their concern by turning off the lights for one hour.  The time is to be March 27, 2010 at 8:30pm local time.  That means that if everyone did it, an observer from space would see the lights go off sequentially from east to west around the globe.   While it is a global effort, for some reason the United States is singled out and the Yanks are encouraged to show the way toward a “cleaner, more secure nation and prosperous America.”

How Thailand Was Supposed to Look Before and After For Earth Hour

This is not the first Earth Hour though as it was launched 3 years ago.  The WWF claims that last year over 1 billion people participated in 87 countries from 7 continents involving over 4100 cities including 80 million Americans in 318 cities.  This year, National Geographic is claiming 121 countries will participate.   On the one hand, it is called a “simple” gesture because all one has to do is to hit the light switch.  Yet, the WWF does direct you to  a “tool kit” to elaborate on how to participate.  This reminds of an Aggie Joke:  How many Aggies does it take to turn off a light?  What would be an event that is supposed to bring global civic awareness without having a promotional edge?  You can buy “Earth Hour Gear” if you want to express yourself by more than just turning off the lights.   I’m not sure if profit is the main motive behind this global effort but, like all good intentions, there can be unintended consequences.

Earth Hour, Earth Day, End of the World...Nothing will Prevent a UK Fan from Watching the 'Cats

Think about cigarettes.  State governments across America are raising cigarette taxes under the notion that it will discourage smoking with higher prices.  But, state budgets have become so reliant on revenue from the cigarette tax, if they were successful in their official motivation and everyone stopped smoking, then state government deficits would be such that sovereign state bankruptcy might be a real issue.  In the case of Earth Hour, if everyone participates, there might be steep consequences.  An official Earth Hour event in Thailand was cancelled due to safety concerns.  A big crowd of people at night whom the bad guys know would be shrouded in darkness?  Sounds pretty enticing or even inviting.  But it apparently was a concern about “Red Shirt” demonstrators.   Then there are technical issues.  When you have a power grid designed for certain power load and their is a sudden change, that can tax the capability of that system.  We normally think of power surges or excessive usage in a heat waver or something that disrupts the system. In this case, Earth Hour can cause complications from a sudden power drop off such that utlities have to take precautions to prevent the dark hour from becoming a dark night.  But, in some parts of the states, it seems to me that the biggest obstacle may be the NCAA.  Those guys went and scheduled the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament during Earth Hour!  They should have checked  the schedule.  I can promise that, in Kentucky, when the University of Kentucky is playing in prime time for a shot at the Final Four, no one will turn off their TV and I doubt if any UK fans will be watching the game in the dark….after all…you need to make it safe for trips to the refrigerator or bathroom.

Cave Hill Cemetery is Beautiful In the Spring

Weather Bottom Line:  Snow White and I took advantage of the fact that the clouds were chased away ahead of my schedule and so we went and fed the ducks at Cave Hill Cemetery.  It was such a nice day, Lee Squires left early and who can blame him?  Several geese and swans are sitting on their eggs which may be hatched for Easter, but we didn’t see any mallards on their nest.  I think that it’s because the mallards are too smart to put their nests where just anyone can find them.  We did have a couple of errant snow reports early this morning but, as I had warned, it was not consequential.  One thing that I did fail to mention was the howling wind overnight.  At one point, I thought that it was raining hard but instead it was just a pressure equalization occuring in rapid fashion.  It will be cool overnight and Saturday still looks to be outstanding with highs back in the mid to upper 60’s.  With that kind of turn around, a cold front must be on the way…and it is. 

SPC T'storm Chances Saturday

Our timing will work out well again as during the heat of day, the storm system will be to our west.  And, like the last system, this one will pass South.  So, if there are stronger or frequent thunderstorms, they will be west and south of the area.  Since this guy is coming through in the evening and with no sun (or lights for Earth Hour) then it will be very difficult to get sufficient lift to either form storms or keep them going.  So, perhaps some rumbles of thunder Saturday night followed by clouds and rain on Sunday.  The sun returns with mild but not too terrible conditions for the first part of the new week.

Dreams Can Become a Gusher, But Don’t Call This Plummer
January 9, 2010

Spindletop Viewing Her Gusher

On This Date In History: One man prospered on another man’s given up dream. In Southeast Texas, near the present city of Beaumont, there was a large rise in the otherwise flat landscape. It was known to the locals as Big Hill. It was known for its natural gas that seeped from it. People would have fun striking matches and igniting small, brief infernos. When it rained the puddles would bubble. In 1888, Captain George Washington O’Brien bought up much of the land surrounding and including the hill because he thought there was oil there.

Lucas's Patience Paid Off

Beaumont resident Patillo Higgins went to Pennsylvania to study the oil business there and became convinced that there was oil under the hill, then designated as Spindletop Hill. Higgins was looking for ways to fuel his brick factory and knew that in Pennsylvania that brickmakers used oil. George Washington Carroll believed in Higgins and the two formed a partnership. Higgins and Carroll bought the remaining land around Spindletop and eventually partnered up with O’Brien and JF Lanier to form the Gladys City Oil Company and had dreams of Gladys City becoming a booming industrial town.

By 1903, Spindletop Hill Disappeared

To make a long story short, Gladys Oil didn’t find oil and they gave up, signing a lease-sell agreement with Anthony F. Lucas. After two years of failure, on this date in 1901, Spindletop blew. After spewing all of the drillpipe and mud skyward, a 6 inch wide stream of oil flowed 200 feet in the air. There had never been a gusher like that before and it took them 9 days to cap it. The 800,000 barrels of oil formed a lake of oil…I don’t remember how many acres wide it was or how many feet deep. And remember, a barrel of oil is 30 some-odd gallons. Beaumont tripled its population in 3 months and the modern oil business took off. Exxon, Texaco, Chevron and Mobil all have their roots in Spindletop. On that date America’s annual oil output was 64 million barrels a day. By 1909, because of Spindletop, it was near 200 million per day.  Today, some call Spindletop the Boom the Shook the World.

Lucas died in 1921, but his legacy lives on.  The Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal was established in 1936 “to recognize distinguished achievements in improving the technique and practice of finding and producing petroleum.”   Not only is Lucas credited by some as being most responsible for changing civilization, he also invented many tools and methods that are still used in petroleum exploration and recovery today.

O’Brien, Carrol, Higgins and the rest gave up on their dream. Don’t you make the same mistake.

These Guys Caught the Plummer!

These Guys Caught the Plummer!

Don’t Hang with this Plummer: Cyrus Skinner was released from San Quentin Prison in California for the first time on August 18, 1853. Skinner isn’t a well known desperado from the old west but he certainly was notorious.

Plummer Had More Hair on his Chin than I have on my head

Plummer Had More Hair on his Chin than I have on my head

He grew up in Ohio and began robbing people at an early age. He moved to California with the Gold Rush in 1850 where he continued his robbing ways. He was caught and went to San Quentin. After he got out on this date in 1853, he started robbing again and got caught and sent back again. This time he escaped, started robbing and was caught again and sentenced to 15 years in San Quentin. This time, he met up with a guy named Henry Plummer. Plummer was released and Skinner escaped again in 1860 and this time went to Idaho to meet up with Plummer.

Bannack 1881

Bannack 1881

Now, Plummer had actually been a sheriff in Nevada City, CA. But, he was having an affair with a miner’s wife and when confronted by the miner, Plummer shot him dead in a duel. Plummer was sent to prison where he met Skinner. Plummer got out due to tuberculosis or due to people asking for a pardon, depending on the source you believe. Anyway, when Plummer got out, he

Plummer's Gallows Today, Rebuilt Following Vandalism...maybe it was Plummer's Ghost!

Plummer's Gallows Today, Rebuilt Following Vandalism...maybe it was Plummer's Ghost!

turned to the other side of the law and he formed a road gang that robbed and murdered about 100 people in Idaho and Montana. When Plummer arrived in Bannack, Montana he killed the one man in town that was aware of his hoodlum past. Henry must have been quite the smooth talker because, not only was he acquitted of the murder, the town went and elected him Sherrif. By day he enforced the law and by night, he and his gang robbed and killed people at will. The gang became known as the Innocents because their not so secret password was “I am innocent.” Skinner was part of that group and was said to have been one of the worst offenders, killing people for no reason. The town folk got tired of it all and formed a vigilante group that one by one, rounded up the bad guys, held street trials and hung them. During this process, one of the bad guys ratted out Plummer.

The evidence mounted and the town vigilantes went after their two-timing sherrif and they eventually captured Plummer and two of his henchmen. With the winds howling on a bitter cold winter day, on this date in 1864, Plummer got hung on a gallows. The builder of the gallows that brought an end to Henry Plummer was none other than Henry Plummer himself. When confronted, Skinner tried to avoid the noose by running away, hoping to get shot….but the vigilante’s wouldn’t oblige. Nope, they caught him alive and then they hung him. It’s good for a rampaging vigilante mob to have principals. I suppose the lesson here is to not follow in the footsteps of a Plummer! Certainly not this one, whom you can read more about here.

NAM 00Z Tue Relative Vorticity

US Snow Depth Jan 9 2010

Weather Bottom Line:  It’s Saturday and light snow continues to fall.  I was amazed that after the sun went down we still had persistent flurry activity with intermittent light snowfall on Friday night.  Now, the clouds are hanging tough….but, I”m tellin’ ya..if the clouds break in time late Saturday night, then we fall to near zero.  Most models do not show this and have us in the low teens.  But, the GFS now suddenly takes us to the low single digits prior to sunrise on Sunday.  That would be a result of that particular model showing the clouds breaking.  We’ll see.  Now, the longwave pattern is going to change and we will come out of the deep freeze.  But, there will be one final assault.  Not big, but still interesting.  Rolling down the eastern flank of the ridge will be a shortwave.  That will approach us on Monday afternoon into Monday night.  It will bring another round of snow.  The GFS isn’t so bullish on snow amounts but does have several hours of duration of light snow or flurries.  The NAM wants to toss out something like 3/4″ of an inch.  This feature will also hold off the warm up.  I’ve seen some public forecasts of highs above freezing on Monday with the idea being that there will be a surge of warmer air ahead of the approaching shortwave trof.  I don’t buy it.  Maybe Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the vorticity maxima we get above freezing. If not, it will be Wednesday.    We get back to closer to seasonal averages for the rest of the week and then next Sunday, there is a potential interesting scenario unfolding, but the solutions are in flux so at this  point nothing concrete can be determined. 

On January 9, 2010, 62.7 percent of the lower 48 is covered by snow with an average depth of 6.3 inches (National Snow Depth).  The analytical output claims there is a maximum of over 900 inch snow depth some place, but I cannot locate that spot.  I question the veracity of the claim.

Either We Want Clean, “Green” Renewable Energy or We Don’t
December 30, 2009

Damaging to the Desert? If not the desert, then where?

Offshore Eyesore? Looks Pretty Cool to Me

There has been a lot of effort to change the way America gets it’s energy.  At first, there was a push for ethynol but the costs to produce the corn proved to be greater than the energy it produced.  So, greater attention was given to other renewable sources such as wind and solar.   A few years ago, a proposal came about to erect a windfarm off of the Massachusetts coast.  But there is opposition from prominent residents who, among other things, complain the offshore farm would spoil the view.  One of the strongest opponents is none other than Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who says he’s an environmentalist but wrote in an op-ed that his opposition has many facets, including that the project is only feasible due to government subsidies.  I wonder if that means that he’s opposed to all projects that are feasible due to government subsidy? 

Is the entire Mojave Desert Too Pristine for A Solar Farm? It's probably all pristine's a desert and no one lives there!

Now, a United States Senator is throwing up a blockade against a huge solar power farm in the desert.  Senator, Diane Feinstein of California has introduced legislation that would create a 1.7 million acre national park in the desert.  That would prohibit plans to construct several solar projects including the worlds largest solar farm.   The growth in the renewable sector in California was spurred by targets of the Golden State to derive one-third of its electricity from renewable sources.   So, we have a US Senator from California making it more difficult for her own state to meet its own objectives.  But, this is not the first time something like this has come up.  In mid 2008, the Federal Government stood in the way of a similar solar farm in Arizona to protect the desert.

President Obama has made quite a few public pronouncements that his energy policy is centered on developing alternative energy.   But, the San Francisco Chronicle says that there has been “more talk than progress” concerning the nation’s energy policy.  Here’s the deal…either we want alternative energy or not.  I do not believe that there is a way to create energy without some required sacrifice.  Everything has a consequence.  It seems like that this issue is like so many others.  Every election, people seem to say “thorw the bums out” then go and vote for their representative…their guy is okay but the rest..well throw’em out.  People in many states want to have use of their automobiles but when it comes to drilling for oil offshore…not of their beaches.  Solar power? Great idea..but not in my desert.   Winds blow consistently in many area and if we can harness it, it would be a good clean source of energy…as long as its not in my back yard or off my coast.  The duplicity is amazing and maddening.

The Old Man wouldn't have Blogged on Christmas Week Either

Weather Bottom Line:  I haven’t been reporting much on the weather…or anything else much.  See, Snow White and I took a little break for Christmas and I didn’t feel like blogging.  Last year, we went out of town for Christmas (first visit home for Christmas in a dozen years…an upside to unemployment) but I took along the computer and proceeded to post every day.  Not a good thing to do and so I thought that blogging over Christmas was not good no matter if you were at home or not.  Anyway, I’ve been seeing rain the forecast and also temperatures in the upper 30’s or low 40’s showing up in the various forecasts and I couldn’t figure out why. 

If you noticed on Tuesday night, we had a  huge ring around the moon.  There is a folk saying of “if the ring is near, the rain if far and if the ring is far, the rain is near.”  It is generally true.  See, the cloud deck following the passage of a cold front is such that the refraction from moonlight will create a small ring.  Since the passage of a cold front typically is an end of the rain, then it works. Conversely, the high cirrus clouds associated with the approach of a warm front prior to a storm system result in a large ring.  Almost every single time I’ve noticed a big ring, rain has followed within 24 hours.   This should hold true this time.  We had our warm front, we are in the mid 40’s on Wednesday.  Then we have a cold front.  While I had thought we had a reasonable chance for a little snow with wrap around cold and moisture, the GFS only advertises a dusting on New Year’s Day and the NAM has nothing.  So, there may be some insignificant snow on Thursday but the real story will be the cold.  We will not be above freezing at any hour of any day for the foreseeable future…I think that will hold for at least the first 7 days of 2010.

Burning Bodies To Create Electricity? New Twists on Burying the Dead
December 9, 2009

Beware of the Man Eating Goonch!

Everyone is looking for more efficient ways to create energy.  Some or turning to wind energy, others to solar power and then there are efforts to harness the tidal movements of the ocean to create usable energy.  A new proposal has come about in England that is rather ingenius, if not disturbing for some.  See, crematorians need a lot of energy.  So, someone came up with the bright idea to capture the heat used to burn human bodies and use it to generate electricity.  Not sure how that would fit into Cap and Trade. 

Man Stood at His Own Wake for 3 Days; Why not stand for eternity?

In Australia, not everyone is eager to be cremated but instead prefer to find eternal peace.  But  laying everyone rest takes up a lot of space.  Even though has a huge plot of land in Western Australia that is basically unhibatable, there is a shortage of space for cemeteries.  An Australian company has come up with a great idea.  Why not bury people standing upright?  Not exactly the restful position envisioned by most people, but the entrepreneur is taking an additional approach.  Not only does it save space, but it also will help save the planet.  He says that by simply drilling a 9 and a half foot deep, 30 inch wide hole and sticking gramps in the hole in a biodegradable bag, then the entire process is Green because it produces less carbon dioxide.  How? No casket.  One guy already took it one step farther.  He asked that he be left standing at his own wake.  He died and stood for three days to greet all of his visitors.

Freeze Dry Dead Guy Garden

Perhaps that is not high tech enough for you.  I mean, we are in the 21st century.  And a Swedish company agrees.  Instead of cremation or burial (vertically or horizontally) they have a better idea.  How about freeze dried?  Using liquid Nitrogen, dead bodies are frozen and then broken into bits so small it creates a powder…sorta like a fine slushy.   But, they use a vacuum process to remove all moisture and then a filter to remove any excess know…in case gramps had a pace maker or fillings.  And, there you go…ashes to ashes dust to dust.  The company suggests that you can put gramps’ powder on the grave to take advantage of all of the nutrients.  Hey,  why not package it and sell it as fertilizer?  I guess that grave that have plants growing the biggest and brightest is the ultimate proof that the person really was full of manure.

Goonch Has Teeth Like a Shark

But like all new things, alternative burials can create unintended consequences.  It seems that in the region near the India-Nepal border, for many years there have been ritual burials in which a body is burned to some degree and then the burned bodies or remains are tossed into the Great Kali River.  It seems that the river has a type of catfish called a “goonch” that regularly dines on the human remains.  Legend has it that there is a large creature that prefers humans that are alive and a researcher has determined that the legend is real and that the predator is a giant “goonch” catfish that has gotten fat over the years from being fed the dead.  The conclusion is that through encouragement, the local customs have created a giant man eating fish.   He is suggesting that locals start using the more “ecofriendly” method of burial at sea.

Louisville Peak Wind Gusts Wednesday Morning to 9AM

Weather Bottom Line:  Today is going to be pretty lousy.  Oh, the rain is out of the picture for the morning; but the wind and falling temperatures will be the issue.  Overnight we had wind gusts to 46 mph in Louisville and the temperature climbed to 58 degrees at 4AM.  By 9AM we had lost 10 degrees from that high and the main push of cold air will be pushing in by afternoon.  Don’t be surprised to see below freezing temperatures by your drive home from work.  Winds will generally be 20-40 mph with perhaps higher gusts but I doubt if anyone will hit the ballyhooed 60 mph.  The waves on the river should be pretty good by late morning with a westerly component to the wind. As the wind shifts more northwesterly by late day, the waves should back off somewhat.  Maybe some wrap around flurries late Wednesday since the cold air will be trying to squeeze out whatever moisture that it can.  Still think we won’t get out of the 20’s on Thursday.  There is another system that comes out of the west for the weekend that seems to me may begin as snow but warm air should surge northward and then it would turn to rain.

Large Hadron Collider Up and Running-No Black Hole Yet; Mrs. Bixby’s Letter to Lincoln
November 21, 2009

A Black Hole, the Future Earth?

A New Cathedral

It’s Back! The Large Hadron Collider is up and running again with no apparent adverse affects.  If you recall, the world’s largest supercollider is located along the French-Swiss border.  It was much ballyhooed as a key tool in the study of subatomic particles.  It was all set and ready to go and it was fired up only to suffer a calamity 9 days later.  About 50 of the magnets were damaged severely and had to be replaced.  Last August, a physicist wrote a paper that supported claims the collider could create a black hole.   Now, the fear isn’t a giant black hole but instead the assertion is that a small black hole could be created and then…well…I dunno what happens then especially if the created black holes are so small that they cannot easily be detected.  There is still an official site for citizens against the Large Hadron Collider.  But, UC Santa Barbara Professor Steve Giddings claims that, even if it did create a small black hole, it would only last for a “nano-nano-nanosecond” and wouldn’t be a big deal.  I guess the professor doesn’t buy into the Barbara Streisand song from Hello Dolly, It only takes a Moment.

Bixby Letter Fascimile of 1891 Sold By New York Huber Museum for $1

Bixby Letter Fascimile of 1891 Sold By New York Huber Museum for $1

On This Date in History: The story goes like this. A widow, Lydia Bixby was said to have lost 5 sonsLydia Bixby fighting for the Union in the Civil War and Massachusetts Governor John Andrew asked the president to write a letter of condolence. On this date in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln composed a letter to Mrs. Bixby. The letter was published in the Boston Evening Transcript on November 25, 1864. That letter, noted for its compassion and prose, has been hailed since that time and even made its way into Stephen Spielberg’s 1998 Saving Private Ryan with General Marshall reading from the letter and using the letter as the reason why they were going to find Private Ryan.

Historians though have doubts as to the authorship. Many suspect that it was really Lincoln’s secretary, John Hay, who wrote the letter. No original letter has ever been produced. Further, Mrs. Bixby 5 sons weren’t all killed in the war. Two lost their lives in the fighting, another was honorably discharged, another was dishonorably thrown from the ranks and the fifth’s fate is unknown, though some suggest that this means that he either deserted or died in a Confederate prisoner of war camp. How they come to those to limitations is beyond my own limited comprehension.

If Gen. Marshall in "Ryan" Had the Lincoln Letter, It was not an Original

If Gen. Marshall in

Ironically, on November 17, 2008 a report surfaced that the original Bixby letter may have been found. But, when you read this story, you find that is not necessarily the case and even suggests that analysis reveals that the signature on the new letter is not that of Lincoln. But, could it be the handwriting of Hay? I want to know how it found its way to Texas if it is…and why do they suggest that it is the original when at the top it says “copy.”

It is interesting to me, however, that in The Living Lincoln: The Man and His Times, in His Own Words by Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, that they do not mention any question as to Lincoln being the author. They simply say, “Superbly eloquent as the letter that Lincoln wrote to Mr. Lydia Bixby of Boston. This message, published in the Boston Transcript, appealed to the heart of the nation.” I’m not sure if they are suggesting that it was written as a political piece of prose with that purpose in mind, or if its publication resulted in appealing to the heart of the nation. Either way, whoever was the author, it is quite a remarkable letter.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

US Gov’t backs Brazil Offshore Drilling-Hypocritical or Good Deal? Dolley Madison: Savior Cupcake?.
August 24, 2009


Except if The Drilling is off Brazil's Coast, then Uncle Sam is All For It!

Except if The Drilling is off Brazil's Coast, then Uncle Sam is All For It!


Petrobras Drillship Will Have Plenty of Work

Petrobras Drillship Will Have Plenty of Work

What about alternative energy?  You may have heard about a new oil field discovery.  Brazil found a huge oilfield over 100 miles offshore with an estimated reserve of some 40 billion barrels of oil.  And it’s light crude, which is the good stuff.  Now, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of alternative fuels and has been pushing that way for some time.  They were despearate for oil in the 1970’s and decided it was best to find domestic energy sources for national security.  Now that they found the Sugar Loaf Field as well as a previous big find, Greenpeace Brazil is claiming that Brazilian arms are wrapped around the national oil company and letting go of the environmentally frieindly alternatives.  The Brazilian oil discovery has brought joy to many, but controversy in the domestic press as well.   Now, there is plenty of investment dollars out there. The stockprice of the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras sky rocketed on the news.  But, there is a new investor….Uncle Sam.  President Obama campaigned against offshore drilling in the United States but the Obama Administration has pledged $2 billion to Brazil for offshore drilling development and there could be more where that came from. 

Petrobras Has Converted Tankers Into Floating Production Storage Offloading (FSO) Units

Petrobras Has Converted Tankers Into Floating Production Storage Offloading (FSO) Units

There are critics who claim that is hypocritical and want to know why its okay for the US to invest in drilling off Brazilian waters and not the good old USA, where even Russia just agreed with Cuba to begin drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Chinese are not yet drilling offshore near Floridia. The China drilling in the Gulf story was wrong, but the Chinese are drilling exploratory wells on Cuban soil.  In any event,  you can look at it another way.  They found the oil.  So, if we help them to develop the field, then maybe they would be willing to allow US companies access.  But, then again, it would probably be most feasable to export to the US than elsewhere anyway.  Either way, having access to oil in our hemisphere with a frienidly neighbor is a better national security proposition for America than depending on more unstable or unfriendly regimes half way around the world.

The Saving Cupcake?

The Saving Cupcake?

On This Date in History: Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the First Lady of the United States and wife of President James Madison. In 1790, she married a fellow named John Todd, Jr. of Philadelphia and had two sons. He was a lawyer and things were dandy until a yellow fever epidemic in 1793 that claimed his life, that of one of his sons and his mother and father. I’m not certain if John Todd, Jr. was related directly to the Todds of Kentucky. But, following his death, Dolley married James Madison and Dolley’s sister, following the death of her husband married Judge Thomas Todd of Kentucky in what was the first marriage ceremony in the White House. Sounds like it wasn’t very good luck to be the first to marry the Payne girls.

   Anyway, Dolley goes and marries James Madison and was a very well thought of First Lady.  Perhaps

Dolley Madison Immortalized?her biggest claim to fame, other than having a pastry company immortalized by the Peanuts gang named after her, was her valor. On this date in 1814, First Lady Dolley Madison was scowering  White House, looking for artifacts and paintings to save. This was the time of the War of 1812…even though it was 1814. The British had invaded and burned the city, including the White House. A few weeks later in Baltimore Harbor, Francis Scott Key would write the words to the Star Spangled Banner. But, when the British were coming, Dolley didn’t have time to write poetry, she was concerned

Saved By Dolley

with not just saving herself, but also valuables in the White House. Her quick thinking saved many historic and valuable papers. She is also credited with saving many paintings, including a famous portrait of George Washington.  All would have been lost without Dolley because the British burned the Executive Mansion, leaving nothing but the outer walls.

Of course, the British got their payback when Andy Jackson took’em to the Woodshed at the Battle of New Orleans, before anyone realized that a peace treaty had been signed days before. Oh well…the redcoats deserved it. And Dolley Madison’s name is in its proper place near the top of the First Lady list…and on

A Vending Machine Favorite

the top of a box of Zingers. 

Weather Bottom Line:  I’m telling you, this pattern is very unusual.  Really a more early fall pattern than late August.  Hurricane Bill acted like storms do in late October.  If you recall the movie The Perfect Storm, it had to do with Hurricane Grace which ran a similar path to Bill. That was in late October.  So, enjoy it while you can.  Certainly was great for the Inaugural Celtic Fest in New Albany on Saturday.  Snow White and I enjoyed it thoroughly and there were some 2000 visitors.  The bands were great and the headliner, Brendan Loughrey from Ireland was not only good, but also a great guy to hang with.  He has some good stories and his career continues to blossom.   You should be on the lookout of next year’s event.  I hope its in New Albany again because the venue is great.  But, don’t look for the same type of weather again in August.  This long wave pattern won’t last but we will remain relatively dry with lower than normal temperatures for much of the week.  By week’s end, there may be a front close enough by and humidity levels high enough to prompt some showers, but until then we can save on our air-conditioning bills probably through midweek.

The World Has a bunch of oil! Don’t believe the hype. Just ask North Dakota, where they might fight
July 17, 2009

Bakken Map

Bakken Map

When one thinks about oil producing states in the United States, Texas, Alaska, California, Oklahoma and Louisiana might come to mind.  But, rarely does North Dakota enter the conversation except by those who keep up with such things or perhaps those who live in the area.  North Dakota is home to a relatively new oil field known as the Bakken.  It is some two miles below the surface and is within a shale layer.  There is much controversy regarding the potential of the Bakken.  Over the years, the reserve estimates have varied but most recently, data suggested some 200 to 300 billion barrels. The area is underneath some 25,000 sq miles in North Dakota and Montana and the US Geological Survey says its the largest continuous accumulation ever assessed.  After that debate, there is the one regarding how much is actually recoverable with published estimates ranging from the low end of 3%-10%, to the middle of 18% and the 50% high end.  Still, its a big find and encompasses much of the western half of the state.  Now, there’s potentially a lot more.

Proved versus recoverable or unconventional world oil reserves

Proved versus recoverable or unconventional world oil reserves

Underneath the Bakken is a bunch of sand and porous rock known as the Three Forks Sanish formation and some estimate the amount of the new oil discovery is equal to or greater than Bakken.  Studies continue and there is the question as to whether or not it is a different formation or if it is sorta a catch sink for the Bakken above.  Either way, it’s amazing to see how new oil reserves continue to be found in the United States.  The truth is that no one knows how much oil is in the ground.  Given that the media seems to incorrectly trumpet  that we are running out of oil, it does seem to be odd that more continues to be found.  But, its not. New technologies develop and more continues to be found in places that were once thought to be void. We aren’t running out of oil…we are running out of oil that is inexpensive to recover.  Remember, when we hear of the oil supply, it is “known reserves”  or “proved reserves” that are quoted. There is a bunch of proved global oil reserves.   There is also much to be learned and this is another example of the arrogance of man thinking that he knows everything when, in fact, we know very little.  In science, often there are no absolutes and what is thought to be scientific fact today may be fiction tomorrow, or today’s fiction may become tomorrow’s fact.  It’s why the Global Warming debate should not be stifled, ended, dismissed or politicized.

Fightin' Bill

Fightin' Bill

If the oil story in the northern plains became politically heated, then perhap they should call on the ghost of North Dakota Governor William “Fightin’ Bill” Langer.  I guess they like to fight in North Dakota as they can’t even decide on the state nickname.  It’s known as the “Peace Garden State” the “Flickertail State” and the “Roughrider State.”  The Roughrider state seems to suits this story because On This Date in 1934  Fightin’ Bill did his fighting like a real American. He declared independence! See, he was a hard charging Republican depression-era governor who liked to tell good stories with funny anecdotes. He had a way of not just inspiring loyalty, but also demanding it of the state employees. They were required to turn over a percentage of their pay checks to his political machine. There was a snag and that was part of their salaries came from the Federal Government. By 1934, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government was run by Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt who was partisan enough to change the name of the Hoover Dam to the Boulder Dam out of spite for Herbert Hoover. So, Fightin’ Bill was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Moodie celebrated as Guv for just 5 weeks

Moodie celebrated as Guv for just 5 weeks

Langer was convicted but refused to resign his post, instead choosing to barricade himself in his office. He tossed a spittoon through a window, unilaterally declared that North Dakota was independent from the United States and declared martial law. He finally gave in when the state supreme court said he had no standing as governor and Lt. Governor Olson took over. Undeterred, he came back. He got his wife nominated for Governor against Democrat Tom Moodie. She lost but five days after Moodie took over, Langer played his last card. He made it known that Moodie had voted in another state less than five years prior, therefore making him ineligible for office! Moodie resigned and the Lt. Governor took over. North Dakota had four governors in 7 months.

Saturday Evening

Saturday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  Remember two days ago the SPC had a severe outlook for our area on Thursday? Then they suddenly changed their mind.  Well, it turned out to be correct but we did get the t’storms early this morning with the arrival of the secondary boundary.  Probably a half inch of rain.  Snow White is rather upset with me because a bunch of kids whom she volunteers for from the Cabbage Patch Settlement House were camping out.  She asked me if they would get rained on yesterday evening.  I absent mindingly was thinking about the evening and not all night, so I said no.  Hope the kids weren’t too frightened.  Anyway, drier air will move in and the trof still looks like it will dig way South.  Expect glorious weather through the weekend with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s.  From the map above, which is for Saturday evening, you see a big blue H near us but also, some indications of rain around us.  The long wave pattern is again something you see in the winter and not in the summer so there will be trofs rotating around a low in the Great Lakes.  In the winter, that would typically produce off and on clouds with periodic snow showers or flurries.  In this case, I suspect that the atmosphere will be too dry to produce rain but will probably make a few clouds. So don’t sweat it.  I wouldnt’ be surprised to see some folks only in the low 70’s on Saturday, depending on the variability of the clouds.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see some upper 40’s overnight in the extreme north  if the night were to be clear.  Timing issues will determine that.  We stay below average temperature wise into the middle of next week, though temperatures will be moderating.

With Obama Energy Bill Looming, Some Data Contradicts Global Warming Conventional Wisdom
June 26, 2009

Maybe these cute guys like to swim and maybe their ice islands are getting smaller due to Mother Nature…possibilities that Mr. Gore doesn’t want you or anyone else to examine.

Is the Global Warming Issue Really Settled Science?

(EDIT: I really don’t need to do this but I am doing so for the benefit of one person. As you read below, nowhere will you find that I deny Global Warming.  My position, as this clearly points out, is for an honest, open and full debate, which is traditional in scientific circles. Open minds on all sides. My contention is that mankind often thinks he has an answer only to find that  we knew nothing.  I only wish people would stop using false methodology to push their position.  I would also encourage, if you like, to check out a definition of libel.)

Obama and Gore At the Same Table

Obama and Gore At the Same Table

Yesterday, President Obama made a speech that urged the passing of his Energy Bill,which some are calling a Global Warming Bill.  Much of it is based on the assumption that mankind is the cause of Global Warming, that there are dire consequences to Global Warming andthat mankind can and should do something to stop Global Warming.  Many would say that its based on speculation and others will suggest that the bill’s policy features, such as cap and trade, is more of a political move than anything substantive. 

It’s rather ironic that, on the same day the President made this speech, some information came from our friend Anthony Watts regarding temperatures at the North Pole.  Global Warming is supposed to cause the melting of the ice caps. 

Watts Says Arctic Coldest in 50 years

Watts Says Arctic Coldest in 50 years

However, over the past  18-24 months, there has actually been an increase in polar ice following an all time recorded low.  Last year, there were all sorts of reports that the Arctic Ice cap might disappear completely over the summer.  That obviously did not come close to occurring.    Well, Watts reports that the average Arctic temperature has not risen above freezing which is the latest that its’ been that cold in 50 years.   He also reported that a source inside the EPA says that scientific claims are being suppressed and ignored within the EPA

I don’t know if it’s suppression, but the story over the past year of an undersea volcano potentially causing Arctic ice melt sure didn’t get much play…not as much as the fear that the ice cap would melt altogether last summer.   In fact, in another ironic twist, on this date in 2008, National Geographic published an article regarding the under-Arctic volcanoes that previously mankind thought was impossible.  The undersea volcano is apparently is very large and has been spewing extremely hot lava perhaps as high as two kilometers through the water.  This volcano was discovered a few years ago by accident. There had been some who had suspected that the ridge under the Arctic was oozing molten lava but no one had a clue that it was exploding with such force. One article says the eruptions are similar to the one that buried Pompeii.

Contour Map Under Arctic

Contour Map Under Arctic

Before I list a bunch of links that you can check out for yourself, I want to go back to something that I harp on. And that is that we, especially as Americans, tend to lose humility as humans and think we know everything and start talking in absolutes. Someone (Gore) goes and makes a movie, that includes secretly computer generated scenes of melting ice, and claims that all that needs to be known is known and the debate is declared over. That smacks of totalitarianism, elitism and also is an un-American effort to stifle debate in a free society. I mean, it comes from the same people who claim to be for tolerance. They tend to tolerate what they deem is acceptable and want to squash opposing viewpoints.

Once again, we find that we don’t know everything but act as if we do. Mankind is limited in it’s knowledge and incapable of dealing in absolutes. Previously I posted about the building blocks of life coming from inorganic sources from the ocean floor. Who knew? Now we find that there is a giant heat source under the Arctic that may be responsible for the rapid ice melt. Who knew? As it turns out, you’ll find in some of the links that some people did ponder the warming of ocean waters from below being the cause as they had a theory that ocean warming caused the end of the last ice age.

Did Al Conviently Leave Facts Out of his "Documentary?"

Did Al Conviently Leave Facts Out of his "Documentary?"

What rankles me is that this discovery was made in 2004, before the supposed documentary An Inconvenient Truth was made. If the makers didn’t know about it they should have and if it were truly a documentary and not political propaganda to push a point of view, then they would have mentioned the possibilities. And of course, the national media has focused on the topic du jour, Global Warming, and have not even sniffed at this story that first came out in 2004.

Anyway…off my soap box. Here are some links to recent articles.

Canada-Arctic Seabed Afire With Lava Spewing Volcanoes

This one apparently has been saying it’s ocean warming for quite some time.

Ice Age Now

Within that page is an article from 2007 that says a USC study shows that ocean warming and not global warming caused the end to the last ice age

USC Study

Here is an article from the National Science Foundation in 2004 that reported the accidental discovery of the volcanic activity. This was before An Inconvenient Truth was released, yet the report was ignored.

National Science Foundation

Here’s one from a site that has more of a political edge but is informative with maps and such.

The Strata-Sphere

And this one is the most recent that seems to have gotten some attention. It’s a bit political too but it has an interesting chart that shows a drop in Arctic Ice that coincides with the time of when the scientists think that the volcano erupted in 1999.

American Thinker-Arctic Ice Melt May be Due to Undersea Volcanoes

The young Bride

The young Bride

On This Date in History:

The most prolific President of all time got back in the saddle on this date in 1844 when President John Tyler wed his twenty-four year old second wife,Julia. The 54 year-old widower had lost his wife several months prior. She had lost her father in a cannon accident just two months prior to the wedding. You can read about the whole incident and other details on my earlier account regarding John Tyler. Bottom line is that President Tyler is the only President to be married while in office. The couple wed in secret to avoid the 19th century of the Paparazzi andbecause she was supposed to be in mourning over her father’s death and most people don’t think marrying the President of the United States as being a good exhibition of mourning. The  didn’t have much time left in office as his term was up in 8 months. But that didn’t mean that John couldn’t still get it done. He had 7 children by is first wife of 29 years. He had 8 more by his second wife. In all, he had 15 children. One was 5 years older than his 2nd wife and 45 years older than the youngest. Who says Jimmy Carter is the most accomplished former President?


WDRB1Weather Bottom Line:   We had over an inch and a half of rain officiallly at the airport in the early morning hours Friday.  The lightning was pretty frequent as the thunder woke me up and I recall seeing the flashes of light with my eyes closed.    I saw a tv weather guy on Thursday night that there might be a couple of “poppers” overnight.  Uh….it was more than that.  Also, he used a term that is a pet peave of mine.  He kept referring to cold fronts as “cool” fronts.  There is no such thing.  When people do such things, I can usually ascertain where they received their academic background in Meteorlogy.  Anyway, the photos above are from last Thursday via the NWS and WDRB-TV.  Notice on the one shot the reflection in the windows of the building of the lightning that is hitting the Ohio River.  Here are expanded views of the lightning.

We should have sinking air behind the storms so I doubt if we will have anything for the rest of the day.  Saturday looks good but it will still be hot.  It’s Sunday we get another cold front that will provide a risk for strong storms again and then lower temperatures behind it for the first part of next week….probably about 10 degrees or so.

Uncle Sam Profits Most From Exxon Profit! Storm Shifts East
January 31, 2009

Uncle Sam Makes A Lot More Than Exxon from Oil...and the Media Won't Tell You..does that make the media liars by ommission?

Uncle Sam Makes A Lot More Than Exxon from Oil...and the Media Won't Tell You..does that make the media liars by ommission?

Exxon Recent Profit made vs Income Tax Paid

Exxon Recent Profit made vs Income Tax Paid

I’m a bit busy today so your benevolent dictator has suspended “this date in history” but I do have something of interest and something for you to ponder this Super Bowl Weekend.   Most of the headlines you read concerning ExxonMobil and its 2008 report will shout about the company’s record profit.  Here is one from Fox News that does exactly that.  I chose that outlet on purpose because so many people claim that it is so biased.  I personally find it biased a shade but not nearly as much as some other networks are biased in the other direction.  Here is an example of even Fox News writing a story and burying the headline in favor of something that is true, but is biased in favor of the opposite side of where its detractors think it is.  Here is another article on the same story from a business site related to the oil and gas industry and they do the same thing. 

From CNN-ExxonMobil 2nd Qtr Profit Made Vs Total Taxes Paid

ExxonMobil 2nd Qtr Profit Made Vs Total Taxes Paid

Here’s my beef.  Is it really news that Exxon made record profits in 2008?  I mean that is what every one already knows or at least suspected.  What these article bury is that in the 4th quarter, Exxon saw a decline in profits from the previous year of 33%.  But the reall big part of the story that gets buried is the taxes ExxonMobil pays versus their profit.

ExxonMobil had a $45.22 Billion total profit in 2008.  That is a record.  ExxonMobile PAID $36.5 BILLION IN INCOME TAX.  That comes to a 47% income tax rate, up from 44% from last year.  Now, President Obama campaigned to punish the oil companies.  I say punish because I saw a commercial here in Louisville that then candidate Obama said he wanted to impose a “windfall profits penalty.”  That’s right.  He didn’t even call it a tax he called it a penalty. Now, Exxon’s overall profit margin for 2008 was 10.57%.  Yup..,that’s it.  So, the proposal basically said that Exxon should be “penalized” for making an 11% profit.  How does that sound, especially when you consider that they already are paying 47% in income taxes.  How much is enough? gets better….

In addition to the $36.5 Billion in income taxes, Exxon Mobil PAID $34.5 BILLION IN SALES TAX.  I’m not done yet.  ExxonMobil ALSO PAID $45.2 BILLION IN “OTHER TAXES.”  


To be fair, I bet much of that sales tax is passed on through to whom they sold their products to, which could be anyone from foreign governments to a typicalSo, the biggest winner by over 250% was…the government.  Uncle Sam profits nearly 3 times as much as ExxonMobil when oil prices are high.  In 2006, all of the US oil companies paid more than the bottom 75% of US taxpayers in income tax..that doesn’t include all of the other taxes that they had to pay.  The corporate bigshots at ExxonMobil do not keep the money for themselves.  No, they share the profits with the shareholders…everyday Americans, America Labor Unions, American Pension Plans…everyone who owns part of ExxonMobil not only enjoyed the rise in the stock price, but also in the dividends.  ExxonMobil’s profits rose by 8% from 2007 to 2008 but they raised their dividend by 13% per share to $40.1 Billion.

Now, don’t you think that all of that information is much more helpful, more interesting and more pertinent to the news story than just ExxonMobil made a record profit?  Isn’t it more interesting to know that government makes nearly 3 times as much money as ExxonMobil does on the business that ExxonMobil is engaged in?  I’m not certain of the exact number but I want to say that ExxonMobil had paid some $250 Billion in the previous 3 years in taxes.  Wouldn’t all of this type of information been helpful in your forming an opinion about the oil industry?  Yet, media types, in my view, are either too stupid. are ignorant and lazy or they deliberately leave out information in order to sway your view.  And you are not informed.  If you want to learn truth, you cannot rely on the media.

GFS Snow Prospects Out to Sea?

GFS Snow Prospects Out to Sea?

Weather Bottom Line:  I’m not too surprised at the data now coming out concerning the next storm.  You see, quite often when the subtropical jet inititalizes a low along the Gulf Coast and then phases with the polar jet, the low will track along the northern Gulf Coast and then up the East Coast and you get a “Noreaster” with big snow for the east coast.  This is also one of the more common scenarios for snow in the Dixie states.  The way the models were shaping up, it was taking the low on a more inland route that would bring the storm up the Appalacians and bring rain to snow in our area with a whole mess of snow in Eastern Kentucky. 

Compare to Fri Data and see how far GFS and other models have moved storm track east

Compare to Fri Data and see how far GFS and other models have moved storm track east

If you recall, I had said the problem with this was not that the storm would not form, but instead where it would go, especially given that the storm had not even formed yet and it really even hasn’t at this time either.  But, the current line of thinking makes some sense as the trof digs in a little faster and so the whole long wave pattern gets shifted east.  In fact, there is some indication that the storm may end up being so far off the coast that the Northeast doesn’t get a huge dump of snow…but its too far out to really tell.  We do have the prospects of a vortmax coming down from the northwest through the flow on Tuesday and there may be enough wrap around moisture from the storm that will by that time be off the mid-Atlantic coast, to wring out some accumulating snow.  My guess is that if the current scenario of the track plays out, we’d get a little snow on Monday and into Tuesday. Ice is not likely and snow accumulations total would be minimal.  In fact, the 12Z Sat GFS and NAM have just a half inch of snow total for the GFS and the NAM blows it off altogether.   Keep in mind, if you are traveling, that the farther east or northeast you go, the greater the snow potential for those days.  Also..the track is still a bit iffy.  Remember it still only exists in the minds of machines and in the last 36 hours the track has been shifted east about 800 miles.  Also remember US Grant’s admonission that “man proposes, God disposes.”