Monthly Archives: May 2010

Todays number: One Trillion

On this memorial day, we stop to consider that huge, horrific number. That number is what the two wars have cost American’s. Raw Story calls it sad, to me it’s more than that. From the RS writeup:

The cost of the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost taxpayers more than one trillion dollars, a Massachusetts nonprofit said Sunday, marking a grim milestone on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday.

According to the group, the threshold was crossed Sunday at 10:06 am ET, based on Congressional appropriations for the wars. To date, the group notes, $747.3 billion has been appropriated for the U.S. war in Iraq and $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan.

The group, National Priorities Project, conveyed the size of US war spending by highlighting other things that could have been bought with the money. For example, for the price of America’s two wars, the US could give $5,500 in Pell grants to all of America’s 19 million college students for the next nine years. One trillion would also pay the entire healthcare bill for 294 million people, or 440 million children, the group says.

A billing pending in Congress will add another $37 billion to this year’s spending.

In a press release posted Friday, the group gave a list of other considerations that could have been purchased for $1 trillion. Among them:

     What Can You Get For $1 Trillion?

    * Federal Funding For Higher Education — $1 trillion would give the maximum Pell Grant award ($5,500) to all 19 million U.S. college and university students for the next 9 years.

    * 294,734,961 people with health care for one year, or

    * 21,598,789 public safety officers for one year, or

    * 17,149,392 music and arts teachers for one year, or

    * 7,779,092 affordable housing units, or

    * 440,762,472 children with health care for one year, or

    * 137,233,969 head start places for children for one year, or

    * 16,427,497 elementary school teachers for one year, or

    * 1,035,282,468 homes with renewable electricity for one year

It physically makes me ill…sick to my stomach, to think what we could of done with all that fucking money. 

And these…cough, costs.. are just the tip of the iceberg. The cost in human lives and those lives that have been shattered forever just boggle the mind.

This is what nightmares are made of folks… Enjoy your memorial day, if you can. Or watch the video I created a few years back about the human cost of the Iraq and now..the Afghanistan Wars.

http://www.divshare.com/flash/video2?myId=11547112-11c&new_design=true

Once again, BP fails at containment.

These fuckers couldn’t touch their asses with both hands, I swear to Buddha. Why are there score’s of professors and other technical types blasting BP for their so-called methods whilst very few actually touting their pathetic attempts?

Now the fuckers are saying it’s all gonna keep pouring out of their hole in the ocean floor until August.

Oh, and Carol Browner…Obama’s shill says and I quote: “American people need to know that it is possible we will have oil leaking from this well until August when the relief wells will be finished,” (emphasis mine)

A leak is a slow, irritating thing you friggin jackass. This shit is pouring out to the tune of millions of gallons a day.

Next, the health risks associated with working in and around BP’s disgusting chemicals. From WaPo:

“There’s no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures,” Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, said during an interview Thursday. He likened the response to previous toxic waste disasters and the World Trade Center cleanup, which left workers with long-term respiratory problems despite repeated official claims that workers did not need respirators because the working conditions were safe. “It’s unbelievable what’s going on. It’s like deja vu all over again,” he said.

The situation is being complicated by weather conditions, which include severe heat and humidity. That can cause symptoms similar to those triggered by some of the chemicals workers may be exposed to.

Assessing the health risks is also difficult because of several unknowns, including a lack of information about the makeup of chemicals being used to disperse the oil and how those substances might affect the toxicity of the oil, several experts said.

The most worrisome chemicals are volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, which can cause cancer at high levels and in long exposures. But those and other substances in the oil can cause acute symptoms including severe skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea and burning eyes, as well as breathing problems and neurological complications including memory problems, confusion and disorientation.

Most acute symptoms from the chemical exposure disappear after the exposure ends, but long-term complications can occur. Some fishermen involved in cleaning up the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska suffered long-lasting neurological problems.

Ain’t that some shit? I’m telling ya…it’s fucking criminal sportsfans.

Is Palin ‘s endorsement the kiss of death?

A NYT writer has his opinion up today regarding the Palin endorsements and how they have fared lately. From Timothy Egan:

Vaughn Ward, the Republican congressional candidate from Idaho, has the dubious character trifecta of the Palin brand: bone-headed, defiant and willfully ignorant. When told that Puerto Rico was not a country, he said, “I don’t care what you call it.”

On Tuesday, this Palin protégé was routed in a huge upset, despite a big early lead in the polls, a 6-to-1 fundraising edge and that Friday fly-in by the former half-term governor, who has Idaho roots.

A week ago, Palin backed a candidate for Senate in Washington state, Clint Didier, a former professional football player who also owns a farm and has railed against excessive government spending.

But at the same time Palin was calling Didier “a commonsense constitutional conservative [who] will help put our country on the right track,” it was revealed that he took at least $140,000 in federal farm subsidies. If having his hand out seems inconsistent with his bumper-sticker politics, it follows a familiar pattern of the Palin brand. In Idaho, Ward, the Palin candidate, also blasted government intervention in the private sector, even though his wife, the family breadwinner, earns her living through a mess kept alive by Federal bailouts — Fannie Mae.

*snip*

As for the Palin brand, it seems to represent no consistent philosophy, no guiding principles, no remedial vetting. It stands for one thing — Palin — and in that sense, she does have a legacy, though it can only be measured in dollars. 

That dear friends, is a mighty nice bitchslap of the Loser from Wasilla. It just made my day. It would be great if people finally started realizing that Palin is nothing more than a gold-digging dipshit who looks out for herself and no one else. Her lack of command of the English language, demonstrated by her ridiculously skewed logic speaks for itself.

How BP values human life.

I wrote about the BP Texas City refinery disaster way back when the lawsuits were humming along and BP was trying to make them and the US government go away. Fifteen employees lost their lives in that explosion most likely because BP housed them in flimsy-assed trailers instead of a building that would be able to withstand such a blast. The Daily Beast  has uncovered a BP document that puts a $ value on the lives of their employees. It ain’t pretty sportsfans. From the DB writeup:

The two-page document, prepared by BP’s risk managers in October 2002 as part of a larger risk preparedness presentation, and titled “Cost benefit analysis of three little pigs,” is harrowing:

“Frequency—the big bad wolf blows with a frequency of once per lifetime.”

“Consequence—if the wolf blows down the house then the piggy is gobbled.”

“Maximum justifiable spend (MJS)—a piggy considers it’s worth $1000 to save its bacon.”

“Which type of house,” the report asks, “should the piggy build?”

It then answers its own question: a hand-written note, “optimal,” is marked next to an option that offers solid protection, but not the “blast resistant” trailer, typically all-welded steel structures, that cost 10 times as much.

At Texas City, all of the fatalities and many of the serious injuries occurred in or around the nine contractor trailers near the isom unit, which contained large quantities of flammable hydrocarbons and had a history of releases, fires, and other safety incidents. A number of trailers as far away as two football fields were heavily damaged.

Coon says that during the discovery process, he found another email from the BP Risk Management department that showed BP put a value on each worker when making its Three Little Pigs calculation: $10 million per life. One of Coon’s associates, Eric Newell, told me that the email came from Robert Mancini, a chemical engineer in risk management, during a period when BP was buying rival Amoco and was used to compare the two companies’ policies. This email, and the related Three Little Pigs memo, which has never before been publicly viewed, attracted almost no press attention.

Between the Texas City explosion and the Deepwater Rig explosion, BP has snuffed out a total of 26 lives…..whilst saving money…or to put it bluntly..being cheap-ass mutha fuckas and playing the odds. 

SCOTUS rules against the NFL

In a 9-0 ruling, that surely will piss off the owners, SCOTUS reverses a lower court decision regarding the NFL’s powerful anti-trust position.  From DeadSpin:

American Needle doesn’t actually score a victory here, at least, not yet. The case merely returns to district court, where it will be reconsidered under what’s called the “Rule of Reason.” A doctrine dating back to Standard Oil, it states that monopolies aren’t inherently illegal, only if they “unreasonably” restrain trade. That’s still up for debate with the NFL’s licensing deals, and the Supreme Court gave no indication on that one way or another.

The NFLPA wins big. They had been terrified of a league with unchecked power to act unilaterally in labor issues, especially with an expiring CBA. Not that the player’s union is particularly powerful as is, but at least the league won’t be able to dictate salaries, free agency conditions and age restrictions without getting into the CBA first. If the NFL had won this case, those would all have been very real possibilities.

The NFL doesn’t so much lose as they fail to win. The league had been hoping for that antitrust exemption, which would have been a hammer to bring down in myriad smaller cases against the league. It would have given them sweeping powers enjoyed by no other business other than Major League Baseball. Now, those other cases proceed on their own merits.

Other sports leagues are not happy right now. Both the NBA and NHL filed amicus briefs in support of the NFL, hoping the precedent would give them more powers. With the NHL recently having to bail out a handful of teams, and a labor stoppage looming for the NBA, it could have been big. NASCAR, MLS, and most chillingly, the NCAA also publicly supported the NFL.

Baseball, on the other hand, still enjoys the country’s only antitrust exemption, dating back to a 1922 ruling that’s considered curious today. There’s no indication the High Court would revisit that ruling, but should it be challenged there’s certainly a precedent for it now. A limited one, however; American Needle v. NFL appears to apply specifically to merchandising.

My personal opinion is that none of the major sports groups in America deserves an anti-trust exemption. The rightwing nutters should support my opinion as well because they supposidly worship free trade. Protecting large groups by giving them anti-trust exemptions goes against everything the nutters believe in.