etumukutenyak: (Default)
Guess Who Said This! )

You might be surprised, especially if you haven't been paying attention.
etumukutenyak: (Default)
Holy cow, I cannot believe that people are seriously suggesting that we blow up the gusher with a nuke, simply because the Soviets did it. Besides the obvious (the seabed is not rock, etc., etc.), there's one really REALLY big problem with the referenced material: the Soviets were fighting a FIRE with explosives. Not a leaking oil well under extreme deep conditions, but a natural gas well FIRE. A fire is not a leak; it is a chemical chain reaction that requires oxygen and a fuel substrate, plus heat -- this is the "fire tetrahedron". Fighting a fire is a matter of removing the fuel and/or the oxygen from the environment, or by cooling everything. Once the chemical chain reaction is stopped, or the fuel or oxygen are removed, or the substrates are cooled below their fire point, the fire is out.

A natural gas well fire can be stopped with the same approach -- by shutting off the fuel line (capping and then injecting inert substrates, or drilling a relief well and filling in with drilling mud); by applying volumes of water or a fire-suppressant chemical, or by using an explosives (see Kuwait, Gulf War One, 900 gas wells lit on fire by Iraq...). Explosives can shut off a fire rapidly, allowing the personnel to swiftly place a cap on the well. The explosives remove the oxygen and interrupt the flow of the fuel substrate, creating a temporary gap that is fire-less; in this space the well cap is swung in and over the well.

The BP gusher is, first of all, NOT A FIRE. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is a liquid under pressure that is escaping at high flow rates, therefore has a lot of pressure against any sealing process. It is not a fire that can be interrupted. Sealing or crimping the pipes will only constrict the line, creating a higher pressure line that will likely generate either a faster flow rate out, or leaks around the area, or some combination of the two. Using ultra-high explosives will only increase the likelihood of leakage into the seabed around the pipes, creating something that is too large to contain or cap, much less seal. Adding more explosive power only increases the chance that Something Bad will happen, and at a depth too difficult or dangerous to work rapidly in. There are people who seem to think that a nuclear device will "glassify" the seabed, and that this will shut off the well.

First of all, glassification requires rock. Nuclear explosive melt glass is made of melted rocks, not of seabed silt. Secondly, NEMG is not homogenous; it is full of holes and bubbles and fracture lines. This is not a stable medium that can withstand great pressures. After all, how many dangerous pressurized materials are transported or stored in glass containers? That would be zero. If you're anywhere near a LNG storage facility or any kind of gas/oil/hydrocarbon production facility, you will notice the many metallic storage containers. Metal containers can be built to withstand great pressures, and yet even those tanks are all fitted with escape valves in case of fire, to prevent uncontrolled rupture of the tanks. No glass is used, and yet these people seem to think that nuclear glassification will solve the BP gusher.

Thirdly, this is a liquid under pressure, escaping at a high flow rate. It will push out of any glass structure that might possibly be randomly created by a nuclear device -- and I'd like to know how these people think the glassification will automatically envelop just the right areas, and in what shape (spherical? ovoid? square?), because I'd like to borrow their spectacles of knowledge for my own use.

And finally, this isn't at all similar to the Soviet gas well FIRE suppression tactics, because -- once again -- this is NOT A FIRE. Blowing up the oil gusher will only result in waking Godzilla, and we certainly do not want that to happen. Just ask Tokyo.
etumukutenyak: (Nuclear night test)
Stonekettle Station continues the good stuff: It seems that a great deal of Hasan’s beef with the Army was that he wasn’t given special treatment for his religious beliefs. He demanded that Muslims be given conscientious objector status, that was denied. He asked to be let out of his service obligation early because of his religious beliefs, that was denied. He asked not to be deployed because he didn't want to fight Muslims, that request was also denied. And in fact Hasan was reprimanded and given negative performance reviews for not meeting the same standards as everybody else.

What it comes down to, pure and simple, is that Hasan was a nut. Just another garden variety loon who blew a mental gasket and who just happened to be a Muslim. He had a dozen different options, none of which involved treason or murder. Instead he chose the path of insanity.

Come for the astute analysis, stay for the hilarity of Thanksgiving in Wasilla!
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
The Chief Takes On Senator Lieberman and does a thorough job on him.

Hind-sight in any field is always 20-20. It's not helpful at all, though; for that, you need an after-action review -- you need to look critically at why the Obvious Clues were missed, and how -- but not just how they were missed. You need to know how to prevent the next series of mistakes from occurring in the same manner. In other words, you need to learn how to keep from making the same mistake over and over. Fighting the last battle isn't the way to prevent the next attack. Blaming Muslims for the existence of Hasan isn't appropriate, nor will it prevent the next man from grabbing a gun and shooting -- as I've already posted several times, this kind of event is not restricted to Muslims (far from it!), nor is it restricted to Americans. Many similar events have occurred, around the world, from otherwise-trusted individuals like police officers and soldiers. We don't blame all men, nor do we blame all soldiers, nor all Christians -- where was the outcry after Tim McVeigh? I remember the first stories after OK City, and how people assumed this was a radical Muslim terrorist who bombed the Murrah Building -- and when McVeigh was arrested, the reporters failed to mention his race, religion, or ethnic history.

Hasan was a junior doctor, and a junior officer; a Major in the medical field is still a newbie, particularly one who's just been promoted from Captain. The medical officers generally don't have the same kind of lengthy military careers, although there are always exceptions -- folks with prior military experience or who graduated from West Point, and they are obvious. There are many medical officers and medical support officers who are direct commission; that is, commissioned into a rank based on their field, experience, and the need of the military for that person. You can be commissioned as a Captain, and have no experience in the military prior to the Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam.

My partner was one of those people, and luckily for the Army, she had lots of experience in working with people, and a good mentor. Unluckily for her, she also had a toxic command structure, with a COL who should have been up-or-out long before, and commanders who let him slide because there just aren't that many people doing that particular kind of work.

The good people, like Major S. (now Colonel S., as far as I know, and hopefully Lt. General S. before he retires) and Major R. (COL R., retiring this year) knew how to lead. Major S. had been a Marine in Vietnam, enlisted; he got out, went to college, got his doctorate, and got direct commissioned into the Army. He knew how to work the system, and how to train junior officers.

Major R. is a neurologist, an MD who also did research. I had the privilege of watching him turn into a commanding officer when a hurricane forced the evacuation of the meeting, which was just about to wrap up anyway. He was the ranking officer at the meeting (a mini-convention on the topic), and he had his officers identifying all the personnel who were present, military and civilian; the means of transportation out of danger; contact numbers; confirmed hotels and flights, etc., etc. He was in the last car out of the area. I know because I was in the next-to-last car out, with one of the Captains who had become his staff aide in this evacuation.

At the same time, I watched two Captains, neither of whom had any prior military experience, panic and flee the area without any attempt to bring other people in their car, assist their ranking officer, or any other professional behavior. No, they rented a car, packed, and got out of Dodge.

Anyway, the Medical Corps and Medical Service Corps tend to have a higher percentage of poorer leadership, probably because they don't have as much selection pressure. As long as they occupy their niches -- even as warm bodies -- they're likely to stay, and for a long, long time.

Even the civilian researchers -- there were two toxic people who were paid by the Army to do research to benefit the Army, and yet couldn't be bothered to work with Army personnel. This was not even covert; at least one of them complained about having to use soldiers as test subjects in their clinical studies -- or even as technicians to support the studies.

So when people try to claim that Hasan should have been so obvious!!11, they haven't got any clue.
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
"Illegal immigrants will get free health insurance."
The House bill doesn't give anyone free health care (though under a 1986 law illegals who can't pay do get free emergency care now, courtesy of all us premium paying customers or of hospitals that have to eat the cost). Will they be eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance? The House bill says that "individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States" will not be allowed to receive subsidies.

The claim that taxpayers will wind up subsidizing health insurance for illegal immigrants has its origins in the defeat of an amendment, offered in July by Republican Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada, to require those enrolling in a public plan or seeking subsidies to purchase private insurance to have their citizenship verified. claimed on July 19 that "HC [health care] will be provided 2 all non US citizens, illegal or otherwise." Rep. Steve King of Iowa spread the claim in a USA Today op-ed on Aug. 20, calling the explicit prohibition on such coverage "functionally meaningless" absent mandatory citizenship checks, and it's now gone viral. Can we say that none of the estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants will ever wangle insurance subsidies through identity fraud, pretending to be a citizen? You can't prove a negative, but experts say that Medicare—the closest thing to the proposals in the House bill—has no such problem.
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
"Somehow, people don't seem to have any idea what the government does to help them.

If you or someone you love...

Is on Medicare/Medicaid or in the VA system, the government is helping you.

Is on social security, the government is helping you.

Attends (or ever attended) public school, the government is helping you.

Attends (or ever attended) a state college, the government is helping you.

Holds an FDIC-insured bank account, the government is helping you.

Has called 911 in an emergency, the government is helping you.

Has ridden in an ambulance, the government is helping you.

Flies on commercial airlines, the government is helping you.

Drives on a public road, the government is helping you.

Has survived an auto accident due to seatbelts or airbags, the government is helping you.

Has hired an exterminator to safely treat household pests with chemicals, the government is helping you.

Has been treated with FDA-approved medicines or procedures, the government is helping you.

Has ever sent or received postal mail, the government is helping you.

Has ever sent or received email, the government is helping you.

Drinks from a safe public water supply, the government is helping you.

Breathes clean air, the government is helping you.

Visits a National Park, the government is helping you.

Goes to a library, the government is helping you.

Lives in a home or apartment built to conform to fire safety codes, the government is helping you."
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
Let's review this again, in case you fell asleep before the end of the long post:

The U.S. Census Bureau places the number of uninsured people in the U.S. at 45.7 million in 2007, down slightly from 2006 but still unacceptably high.(1) Who are they? Eight in 10 uninsured live in families with at least one worker; most uninsured workers are self-employed or work for small firms that don’t offer benefits; 66 percent of the uninsured come from low-income families (below 200 percent of the federal poverty level), but a surprising 9.1 million earn $75,000 or more. The uninsured span the age spectrum, but young adults have the highest uninsured rate (28 percent of 18-24 year olds and 25.7 percent of 25-34 year olds); 78 percent of the uninsured are U.S. citizens; non-citizens have high uninsured rates due to employment in low-wage jobs. Minorities have been hit hard by the problem – 7.4 million blacks or 19.5 percent, and 14.8 million Hispanics or 32.1 percent are uninsured.

(1) U.S. Census Bureau, Income, “Poverty and Health insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007,” August 2008.

Eight out of every 10 uninsured patients in the US are American citizens with jobs. How does this translate into "OMG the illegal aliens will overwhelm the system!!eleventyone"? Answer: it doesn't. That's right-wing propaganda against the proposed overhaul of the health care system.

Instead of paying attention to these rumors about how awful "socialized medicine" will be, let's think about how much healthier our country will be once we can offer basic health care services to everyone. How much nicer will it be to know that your high blood pressure medicine, your insulin, your asthma medications will be readily available? My own sister-in-law is asthmatic, works several jobs, none of which give her any health care or pension benefits, and goes to the ER everytime she has an asthma attack -- which makes her a much more expensive patient than having her check in with a doctor and get her meds for free.

In Oklahoma, regular asthma medicines cost approximately $30; if you get them from the emergency room, however, those same meds cost $65, plus the cost of treatment in the ED.

In Oregon, an epileptic man whose daily medicines cost $14 had them removed in a cost-cutting measure by the Oregon State legislature. After his severe seizures sent him to the ED, it cost that state $7,500 per day to treat him.

In Texas, 9 patients cost the city of Austin more than $2 million, because of repetitive trips to the ED for long-term chronic illnesses. All of them could have been seen as outpatients in a clinic devoted to caring for homeless or mentally ill people.

We are already paying for these folks, in higher premiums each year, and through the Medicare/Medicaid system. How about remembering that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure?
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Bruce Bartlett speaks -- and if you don't know who he is, at least read the article.


May. 6th, 2009 09:49 pm
etumukutenyak: (Auschwitz-Birkenau)
from YouTube (with thanks to [ profile] ginmar for posting it first.)

Don't watch it without some tissues nearby, though.


Apr. 19th, 2009 10:23 pm
etumukutenyak: (Auschwitz-Birkenau)
"Waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, was used by C.I.A. interrogators 183 times on one prisoner from Al Qaeda and 83 times on another, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum."

New York Times

Now tell me that the CIA interrogators were not torturing people.

They are no better than the Khmer Rouge, the Genocidaires, the Civil Cooperation Bureau of SA, the Army in Chile under Pinochet Ugarte, and Argentina during the Dirty War. None of them deserve better than what came out of the Tokyo and Nuremberg Trials.

If they're afraid of being hauled into court and tried on criminal charges here or anywhere in the world, it's because "the guilty flee where no man feareth".

Let them run. Let the world know that America is no better that Kampuchea, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, apartheid-ridden South Africa, Chile or Argentina, Guatemala, Japan, Nazi Germany, and on and on.

We allowed this to happen. We allowed ourselves to be stampeded into illegal acts, into unethical behavior, all because of our fear over "another 9/11" -- but now we've created the justification for the terrorists to continue attacking us, because we too committed atrocities. We didn't fight back against our enemies -- we became our own worst enemy. Oh, sure, no one intended to allow torture to be committed by Americans, but the road to hell is paved with those good intentions.

This is why -- above all -- we must remember that our Founders believed in a rule of law, not of men. If only the Bush administration had followed the law instead of allowing strong personalities to overrule ethical and moral behavior!

I am sickened and saddened to think that torturers in the name of America proceeded to abuse prisoners in absolutely despicable ways. I want them named, shamed, shunned and disgraced.

And I want an end to this pointless bickering; of "protecting Americans" by committing unethical acts and blaming others for them. Enough.

You cannot protect everyone all the time. Life is risky. Life has a 100% fatality rate. Stop giving up freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism!
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Taguba Speaks Out

Accountability is paramount. It's the basis of our Rule of Law, in which the Constitution is placed above people. Our government officials and federal employees swear to uphold and defend the Constitution; they do not swear fealty to any person.

Anyone thinking that American military or federal personnel can not be tried in "foreign" courts is clearly not thinking about the Rule of Law. It isn't new. American servicemen in Okinawa have been tried by Japanese courts as well as by the military judiciary, depending on the crime and location of the crime.

Anyone claiming that CIA personnel were "just following orders" has clearly forgotten the lessons of history. Using a desperate and tortured explanation of what constitutes "torture" indicates that the CIA personnel knew very well they were committing unethical acts, and were being pushed into doing so because of Langley, the Pentagon, and the White House.

They deserve their day in court, if only to determine the culpability of their supervisors and to be granted their penance. They can't be forgiven of their crimes until then.

As for the people who thought they could rewrite the Constitution, the Geneva Code, and all moral understandings, like John Yoo and Jay Bybee, and David Addington -- they deserve to be treated publicly like the criminals they are.
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Iowa Court Decision

"It is true the marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex. Viewed in the complete context of marriage, including intimacy, civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual. Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all.

As someone else-LJ said, "I love the smell of a judicial smackdown in the morning."
But wait! There's more! )
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Cheney's recent remarks, quoted Oliver Cromwell: “You have been sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of god, go!.” Addressing the rump parliament. April 1653.
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
No, not of 1929; the other one, of 1870.

Found on [ profile] ozarque's blog.
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
Browsing my f-lists, I see some people are afraid of Obama, and one of the ideas that gets brought up constantly is "socialism".

So, let's begin by figuring out what people really mean when they say "socialism", and then compare that to what economists and historians mean by "socialism".

What do you think when you hear or see the word "socialism"?

For me, there's several concepts that come up immediately. First, there's the Soviet socialism concept, which is a combination of socialized production and central planning. Soviet government was a dictatorship disguised as collectivism and labeled socialism, but it was truly neither -- it was more of a giant Ponzi scheme run for more than 50 years.

Then there's the European socialism concept, which is a means of maintaining social stability by providing assistance to the production side (i.e., the workers), without attempting to modify the market. Prices are set by supply and demand, as in a routine capitalist economy.

The earliest example of this is the British system, in which they began providing free national health care, and provided free milk for schoolchildren (the Atlee government). Free milk was taken away by Margaret Thatcher, in case you were wondering. We have free milk provided in our schools, so we have been practicing European socialism for a long time.

In addition, European socialism controls the monopolistic businesses like the mail, the trains, and the public utilities -- all of which are important for everyone, and none of which have been allowed to "make a profit" in the US. When some European companies got into financial troubles, they were partially nationalized, or put under government control, to get them out of trouble. This is exactly what the Bush government has just had to do with Wall Street, so we're already under a socialist government.

So what, exactly, are people afraid of? That taxes will go up?

In my next post, I'll put up the studies that show Democratic-run governments to be more productive than Republican-run administrations, with higher wages and more jobs. I'll show the data collected by the Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget that shows "tax cuts do not equal savings", and why.

Yo vote

Nov. 4th, 2008 09:40 am
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Even in a strongly Democratic precinct of a blue state, people were lining up before the polls opened at 7 am. We got there just after 7, and the line was out the door, across the front of the building, and around the side. It was a mixed population of young and old; brown, black, yellow and pink; some folks had their kids with them, or their dogs. Most people chatted quietly, or read the paper, or visited with neighbors, or browsed their blackberries. It took about an hour to get into the voting area, five minutes to get through the registration confirmation, and no time at all to vote.

For the first time in American history, we could vote for a black man. If this had been a different selection, we would have been voting historically for a woman. Either way, this was deeply meaningful and a solemn occasion for me. This election has changed politics in a profound way, and I hope the ripples continue to grow and move outwards.

I won't get nervous until tonight, when the polls begin closing and the returns start getting completed. For now, there's work to do.
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
McCain to Amtrak: NO

Way to go, Senator McCain! Nice long-term planning, and good on you for making your dreams come true!
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Library of Congress HR 4986 -- the repeal of Federal use of Armed Forces in public emergencies; FedRegs no longer contravene Posse Comitatus act. This means folks can settle down a bit.


etumukutenyak: (Default)

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