April 2010

A Bad Mess Worse

The news of the oil spill off the Gulf coast is getting worse. Federal officials are saying that  wind patterns may push the spill into the coast of Louisiana as soon as Friday night. The Associated Press  is reporting that the oil leak "appears to be as much as five times greater than previously estimated." Instead of 1,000 barrels of oil per day, the rate of pollution is now estimated to be 5,000 barrels a day. More questions are being  raised as to the rig operator's safety procedures, and the safety procedures  of off-shore oil drillers in general.

A mess in the Gulf

The eleven dead from the offshore drilling rig explosion, the underwater leak that is gushing one thousand barrels of oil a day into the Gulf's waters, and the giant oil slick that is heading for  the  coastline are not good news for folks who want to drill oil off the East Coast. Wasn't it on March 31st of this year that President Obama announced his new energy policy, promising to lift the ban on off shore drilling off the East Coast, and the energy companies, promising that offshore drilling was safe and environmental friendly, faulted Mr.Obama for not opening off short drilling off the West Coast too? There is word that the drilling management company, the owner of the rig that exploded, didn't follow safety policies, and that law suits have been filed.

An Office Joke Aimed At The Pope

Well, an "unnamed civil servant," a sophomoric chap who works in the British Foreign Office forgot that he was in diplomat, employed by the British government, and not comedy writer, working for the great late Benny Hill. The chap, who reportedly has been severely reprimanded and transferred to other duties, circulated a memo that has gotten officials of the Church of Rome all hot and bothered  -- assailed the memo as offensive, that it insults and mocks the Pope, who has planned an upcoming visit to Britain.

Owner's Negligence, Workers Timidity Killed 29

In hard times workers will put up with a whole lot. They will even put up with dangerous working conditioning that they know could kill them. In today's New York Times, there is the account, or is it the testimony, of a whistleblower foreman, from the Massy owned mine in West Virginia, Upper Big Branch, that took the lives of twenty nine American workers earlier this month? The mine foreman told the Times of  the failure by the Massey company to pay any attention to worker safety.

Bishops of England and Wales big apology?

Another day, another apology from the Catholic Church or from some of its bishops. Yesterday, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales made a formal apology concerning the child sex abuse scandal, and directed that their apology  be read out in the parishes.

The statement described the crimes carried out by some priests and religious figures as a 'profound scandal' and said:

Sex Abuse Fall out, Another Bishop Out

Today, Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop. His name, Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare is the third Irish bishop to resign in the past four months as a result of the his part in covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests in Ireland. Two more bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, have offered to go. Why they haven't left, for God's sake!? Misters Moriarty, Walsh and Field were outed by an Irish government-ordered investigation, published last November, into decades of cover-ups of child-abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Dublin Archdiocese.

Racism in its rawest form.

The proposed Arizona bill crackdown on illegal immigrants, by encouraging rubes to look at a person and to tell whether he or she looks like a person who should be is in the country legally is a plan than only could have come from the soul of racism. Well, also it could come from the soul of frustration. America -- any country -- should police its borders. This Arizona bill will add nothing to better borders control, but can lead to a great deal of violence

Too much salt is killing us

I have been hearing for years that some salt is good, but too much salt is killing us -- that too much salt  is bad for the heart, the nerves, will raise the blood pressure, will make the veins pop and bleed. There have been scientific reports over the years warning against the intake of too much salt, that it leads to hypertension, heart attacks, strokes. Most of the salt Americans consume is in processed food. Yesterday, press reports stated that the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA),  had finally drawn up a plan to cut sodium levels in processed food over a ten year period. In today's press report two members of Congress said ten years would take too long, people are dying today, and that this is a "public health crisis," and the FDA must move fast to respond to it.

Rod Blagojevich Fired Up!

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's trial approaches. Today, Wednesday, he and the prosecutors are scheduled to appear at a pre-trial motions hearing in US District Court. Rod Blagojevich is the man who is said to have allegedly tried to sell, or to trade, an US Senate seat, (President Obama's former seat ), to the highest bidder. He has been charged by federal prosecutors with racketeering and fraud, and is accused of corruption, and of selling influence.

Why I Hate My Bank

Despite the weather, which is notably nicer than usual for this time of year, my personal aggravation is at an all time high. I am sure that you (who more than likely have own high levels of personal aggravation) have absolutely nothing better to do than read about my aggravation so that you can feel better about your own or at least commiserate with a fellow sufferer.

My bank sucks.

I haven’t yet gone the route of the small banks and I won’t give you the name of my bank yet, but I will tell you this: it’s not local and it still has a hokey western theme.

What did my bank do wrong? Why am I so angry at them?

Safety or being sorry

Safety now or being sorry later. The ash from Iceland's volcano has for days shut down most of the airports in Europe, stranded millions of passengers, and have cost airlines, passengers, governments, and businesses that depended on air freight shipments, billions. There is pressure on to get the flights flying. There is an effort from some people to try to minimiz the risks, to use the fact that no flights have crashed because of the ash as a reason to allow flights to fly. No flights have crashed because the authorities have put safety first, up until now. When money is involved, and billions have been lost, there is always pressure to be less prudent. Some folks are comparing the grounding of the airlines as another hysteria.

Jon Stewart Hits Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs fraud scandal is just the latest in a series of Wall Street scandals, and the GOP reaction to it, that "America doesn't need any stinking reform" of Wall Street is outrageous.

Jon Stewart -- His tool is comedy. His method is to go for the laughs. In seven minutes, forty seven seconds, Jon Stewart explains  Goldman Sachs, the scandal and the scoundrels, and the enablers. He takes a sharp look at the latest Wall Street fraud. He breaks it down and focuses in, and in an easy to comprehend way. He delivers the essentials of the case against the culprits. 

Below is a video clip from last nights Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. Topics covered are the Goldman Sachs/Wall Street scandal, the need for financial regulatory reform, and the GOP lock step, almost zombie like resistance to reform, repeating the same words to protect their paymasters.

Not Enough

Among the headlines this morning is this one, "Toyota has agreed to pay its fine ..." Really? Yes, states the giddy headline -- "a record $16.4 million fine -- the largest-ever penalty paid!"

In the article -- and on the news -- U.S.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood --

"We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations. Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."

Oklahoma City 2?

April 19th, 1995, fifteen years ago today, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, was blown up. 168 people were killed. Timothy McVeigh  was later convited for the crime and executed. Then and now,  America was in the midst of an economic crisis. This crisis created an environment that led to the rise of alienation, discontent, anger and radicalism, juiced up by the right-wing media.

Today, former President Bill Clinton, who  was president in 1995, writes in a New York Times op-ed piece

Goodbye to that plane

So the airlines are losing billions, with the prospect of lose billions and billions more, because of the cloud of volcano ash  that is covering most of the European continent, and aviation exerts have determined that it is unsafe to fly in or through ash clouds. But, the air lines are losing billions and they are pushing for the ban to be lifted -- or at least to be eased.

The Tears of a Pope

It is widely reported today that the Vatican said, while on his trip to Malta, a tearful Pope Benedict XVI, in a closed-door meeting, met in the chapel at the Vatican's embassy for about about 35 minutes, total, with eight Maltese men, who were abused by four priests when they were boys living at a Catholic orphanage. The Vatican PR statement said that during the meeting the Pope expressed his "shame and sorrow" at the pain the men and their families suffered,  and -- yes with those  tears in his eyes,  

This Pope Should Quietly Go

Yesterday, we were reminded again that the Catholic Church leaders should be ashamed of themselves. These sex scandals, the sexual and physical abuse of children, in the Catholic Church are not just cases of a few priests gone bad, these scandals strike at the core of the Church, and expose massive hypocrisy and lies, and the evil of a continual cover up by Church leaders. Yesterday, as noted by CBS News and other media, we are reminded that the scandals involve the current pope, Pope Benedict XVI. Yesterday's revelation has drawn him even closer to the scandals. A newly-released letter shows that he did little to defrock a priest convicted of sexually abusing minors. This pope and this church have consistently failed to even do what is considered the least to help child victims of sexual abuse at the hands of their own priests. These are world wide scandals.