Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Can Microbes Save The Gulf Beaches"... And My Comments On That Blog

While doing all of my reading and Googling and Googling and reading... and more particularly, while looking for pictures for my previous blog with photos and videos of the 1979 Ixtoc oil spill, I came across this blog and started commenting... and if I have to say so myself, some very GOOD comments! ;-) I am re-posting ONLY my comments below but you can read the referenced blog and all other comments here...

My first comment:

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 2, 2010 at 3:23 am
What is that a picture of? It’s not any beaches down here in LA, MS, AL or FL. It kind of looks like the beaches of the 1979 Ixtoc spill but the flags flying on the lifeguard stands are NOT Mexican flags so I wonder where that pic is from… and why it’s on a thread about the BP Oil Spill… it’s really a seriously bad misrepresentation.

Here’s my 12+ blogs so far about the BP Oil Spill…

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I agree with you about Obama sitting on his hands doing nothing when he should have accepted foreign help on the third day, when it was offered.. instead of waiting two months to accept foreign help. He also did nothing about mobilizing the 2,000+ American skimmers, instead leaving us with a few dozen skimmers to handle the spill. He also stood in the way of all of our attempts to block the oil from getting into our LA marshes and coastline and still blocks our attempts today.

Now, as far as the 1979 Ixtoc spill in Mexico, it actually lasted for 10 months and they weren't able to cap the leaking well until after they drilled two relief wells… which is why BP is also drilling the two relief wells. I just wanted to clarify that for you.

BUT… we’ve come a long way in skimming capabilities since 1979 but still needed all 2,000 or at least a large majority of them down here from day one. One FL Senator said that Obama’s excuse that those other areas might need their skimmers in the event of an accident is analogous to not bringing in surrounding fire engines to fight a BIG fire because a fire might happen in one of those surrounding areas. Same with ambulances that come from all over when there’s a major plane or train accident. It’s asinine how Obama is handling this accident and the BP spill will be to Obama what the hostages were to Jimmy Carter… showing just how inept they both are and were.

I agree with all of your third paragraph.

Check out my blog’s series of articles at for more information and facts.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Obama Wimp,

You should be blaming Obama. What happened to BP was an accident… although the steps leading up to the accident were due to BP and MMS (Mineral Management Services... a federal bureaucracy) approving every step of what BP was doing (See my Timeline Blog).

What Obama is doing.. or rather NOT doing is intentional! He will go down in history as the reason for any major environmental damage to the LA marshes and coastline to those who want to know the truth.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 3, 2010 at 11:12 am
P-1. Mostly agreed. NOT all businesses are inspected MANY times at MANY phases of their work product… and if they are being inspected by a government agency that isn’t doing it’s job or is telling the business that it’s OK to skip those safety steps, then the burden shifts from the business to the government agency that is approving the *new* rules.

P-2. The difference is that Obama IS the president since January 2009 and Democrats have controlled both halls of Congress since 2006… so they have to OWN responsibility for ALL of this regulatory SNAFU’s and cleanup mess. Further, just like the Democrats and many honest Republicans (I live down here in New Orleans burbs) blamed George Bush when FEMA was slow to react to Katrina (although much of the delay blame also lies with our then Democrat Governor Blanco), Obama and the Democrats are to be BLAMED for the MUCH SLOWER response to the post-accident clean-up fiasco. The accident, whether it could have been prevented or not, will always be the fault of BP with corresponding fault on MMS for approving all of the waivers and permits… but the two-month delay in moving the necessary assets down into the Gulf to clean up the oil before it got to shore is ALL Obama’s fault.

P-3. Yes, BP and many other corporations and individuals support various politicians as part of their “free speech”, which I agree with, and while these donations might get doors opened or access to a politician that the rest of us may not have, this doesn’t mean that politicians should commit illegal acts, disregard laws and regulations, etc., just because someone gave a donation.

P-4. I wouldn’t turn my back but I wouldn’t commit crimes or disregard rules/regulations… or if I did, I would then expect that I would be held responsible if my actions contributed to negligence that resulted in an accident… which is what MMS did. BUT Obama’s failure to act has nothing to do with the waivers and permits… but instead because he was in bed with BP (Obama was BP’s biggest recipient of donations in the past 20 years… more than Bush or McCain), he listened to them instead of Governors and others down here on the front lines so Obama’s various agencies followed their *leader* and refused to listen to the Governors (maybe because all of the Governors are Red-State Governors???) and his inaction have resulted in this spill being much more of an environmental issue than it needed to be. If Obama would have accepted foreign assistance from day three and also mobilized hundreds, if not thousands of skimmers from around America, the oil could have been sucked up way out in the Gulf before it had a chance to spread out so much and eventually make landfall into the marshes. The beaches are relatively easy to clean up but the marshes are a much larger problem.

P-5. I hate to burst your bubble and all of the other people’s bubbles that think that “BP should have to pay all of the costs”. Yes, BP will be paying all of the costs up front, but just like any other cost of doing business, whether it’s political contributions or taxes or fines or lawsuit judgments, etc…. it’s the consumer who ultimately pays all of these expenses. And with Oil being publicly traded in a world market, it’s NOT just BP’s customers who will pay. For example, lets say that all of the costs related to this spill causes BP to have to charge $5.00 a barrel more for their product. Do you really think the rest of the thousands of oil companies around the world are going to charge $5.00 less? NOPE… they’re going to charge whatever the market will bear. It’s the nature of any company or product available on the open and free markets. And don’t say, “Well, we should regulate their prices!”, as government regulation of prices has ALWAYS resulted in even higher prices to the consumer. The same thing happens for every government fee, fine, tax, etc… it’s the customers who pay these, not the corporation since ALL costs of doing business are factored into the price of the product or service that business produces.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm
How do you figure we have a smaller government today than in the 70′s? Just look at the budget growth in the past 40 years. In inflation adjusted dollars, federal spending has climbed by 242% since 1970 whereas individual income has only grown by 29%.

Federal spending per household in 1970 was under $15K whereas today, in inflation adjusted dollars, it’s over $30K and CLIMBING FAST!

Yes, you can find charts and graphs showing the total number of federal employees has not grown proportionately but that is only because there are companies with hundreds of thousands of employees that are virtual government agencies so the feds have merely contracted out much of the work but if those employees are being paid for with federal dollars, IMO, they’re the same as federal employees.

I don’t agree with your conclusion that “It’s all within the law”. Unfortunately, the fox is guarding the hen house in many of these issues so prosecutions will never occur. Look at Treasury Scty. tax-cheat Tim Geitner, Congress members Charlie Rangle, Chris Dodd, etc… and a host of Republicans as well.. who were allowed to serve out their terms or quietly retire without being prosecuted. I seriously doubt that Holder will investigate MMS, etc. for their violation of their duties in this accident… but they’ll go after BP because so many people are ignorant to the facts about the pathetic permitting, inspection, waivers and pathetic response to the post-accident cleanup.

Lenny Vasbinder said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
July 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm
Actually, Bush did listen to Blanco. He had to under the Constitution and State’s rights… and more particularly, Posse Comitatus.

Bush could NOT send federal troops into LA until Blanco asked for them. MS and AL got federal troops right away while Blanco tried to hang on to her power-grab and wanting to stay in control rather than relinquishing control over the the military. She refused to allow federal troops for at least a week after Katrina.

On Sept. 1, 2005, “The Bush administration sent Governor Blanco a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans. Louisiana officials eventually rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.” (from Wikipedia timeline

I don’t recall the exact date but Lt. Gen’l. Russell Honore’s name doesn’t show up in the Wikipedia timeline until September 9th, 2005 and he is the one that took over things for the U.S. Military and finally brought things back into control down here.

Because of this issue that led to so many delays during Katrina, new laws were passed in 2006-2007, “… The National Guard is an exception, since unless federalized, they are under the control of state governors.[11] This was changed briefly: Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122), was signed by President Bush on October 17, 2006, and allowed the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities.”

I do NOT necessarily agree with State’s rights being trampled on like that but it seems like so many other American’s don’t seem to mind. I do… just like with Obamacare’s mandated insurance purchase. Fortunately, my state is one of the 20+ that have filed suit against this illegal mandate.

Blanco screwed things up so badly with Katrina that she didn’t even run for re-election because LA people knew just how pathetic she was…. now, if only Obama had that kind of integrity! ;-)

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm
Ooops.. I forgot to try and explain the “market” but I doubt I could explain it here anyhow.

In simple terms, the “market” is based on supply and demand and also what people are willing to pay for a certain product or service. In the case of BP, if their costs/expenses related to this spill results in them having to charge more than the competition in order to still make money, then all that will happen is the competition will likely raise their own prices to just below BP’s price. Competition is what leads to lower prices for consumers.

I disagree with your presumption that there are only a few giant companies controlling everything. Yes, there are a few giant companies but the commodities market is what determines the price of a barrel of oil, not the companies themselves. OPEC certainly is a BIG factor in determining pricing when they restrict production or increase production as that affects supply and demand and the price that the other oil producing companies can charge in the market. There are hundreds of IOC’s (International Oil Companies) and thousands of NOC’s (National Oil Companies) and then there are dozens, if not hundreds of countries that OWN all oil production in their respective countries… for examply, PEMEX in Mexico and PDVSA in Venezuela. MANY other countries, large and small, own ALL production in their respective countries.

All of these countries and groups of countries control the price of oil FAR MORE than the half dozen BIG oil companies and hundreds and/or thousands of smaller oil companies.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm
Oops… I reversed my numbers for the NOC’s and IOC’s and then due to snipping a section of my reply, didn’t clearly identify that NOC’s are “National(ized) Oil Companies” meaning they are mostly “state owned” or owned by their respective countries.

These Wiki’s put things back in perspective.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 4, 2010 at 2:31 am
Once again, it’s not an oligopoly since there are hundreds, if not thousands of oil producing companies, either IOC’s or NOC’s.

As far as the Big 6 controlling 62% of the US retail market, this simply isn’t true either… since the overwhelming majority of the actual gas stations are independently owned and/or franchises and they actually set the retail price based on their own local market conditions. When I was in my early 20′s I managed a local gas station / convenience store and I would drive around every morning and late afternoon checking the competitions prices and go up or down on my prices accordingly since the station’s business plan called for keeping our prices lower than all of the nearby competition. Often, we might sell our gas at cost or just a penny a gallon mark-up in order to keep our “lowest price” policy in effect. While the station was signed as one of the BIG companies back then, we were an independent and could buy our gas from any of the distributors down here in Southern Louisiana, for which there were many distributors, so whichever one gave us the best pricing when we needed a new delivery, that’s who we went with for the most part. Since we were signed as one of the BIG companies, we did have to buy gasoline that had to meet minimum standards but other than that, we were free to buy our gas from either the “signed” distributor or any of the other distributors. I can only hope and pray that government authorized monopolies or oligopolies like utilities (electric, gas, cable, etc.) were open to real competition. It’s slowly happening with telephone service due to wireless carriers but for wired service, it’s still very limited which is why the prices are still so high… and why wired service is losing business more and more to wireless companies. I haven’t had wired phone service in more than a decade, although I do have a Skype phone number and a MagicJack phone number so I guess those are technically wired services since they go through the internet.

50% of a market between six companies does NOT constitute a monopoly or oligopoly… since the other 50% is controlled by dozens, if not hundreds of companies.

I’m not sure what you mean by your last paragraph. You’re still not getting the reality that U.S. oil prices are the same as any other oil prices around the world depending on the world market price for oil at any given time. Since Venezuela is a dictatorship and has a Nationalized Oil Company, I also do not get how you can compare the U.S. with them… oh wait… maybe since Obama wants to socialize Amerika and become it’s first dictator, that’s why you’re making that comparison.

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 4, 2010 at 2:38 am
I explained in my earlier reply, a moment ago, that “gasoline price wars” are usually determined by the local gas stations, not by the BIG 6.

Industry consolidation happens for various reasons, usually due to bad economic times within that industry. Most of the BIG OIL companies that merged did so when times were very tough for them so they consolidated their resources, laid off thousands of employees to get lean and mean again and now they’re enjoying record profits, while still having the same profit margin of only a few pennies per gallon of gasoline. I can only hope and pray that the federal gov’t. would consolidate instead of expanding… and that states that are in trouble should consolidate instead of expand as well.. unfortunately, government ALWAYS grows regardless of whether times are good or bad… which just makes things so much worse for those of us who are forced to support these bloated bureaucracies. Of course, it’s why I went into my own business while in my 20′s so I could start avoiding some of the confiscatory taxes… yes, that means I’m a tax cheat like Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner! LOL

Lenny Vasbinder said
July 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm
P-1 & 2 – Well, if retailers make agreements with certain distributors, that is their right as the business owner… just like it’s your right to make agreements with your bank, credit card companies, landlord, insurance company, etc. There will always be new start ups or other companies with more competitive business plans who will come in and start up and either have a better product or lower price to draw customers away from the existing stores. At one time, McDonald's and Burger King had the fast food hamburger market pretty well locked up, then along came Wendy’s, Rally’s, Jack-in-the-Box, etc. Same with other large grocery chains that have come and gone… and down here, one of the biggest chains is NOT a national chain but a local chain that started up out in the boonies of LA, a small city called Houma, down in Bayou or “Coonass” Country and as the big stores would close up stores, Rouses would take them over and now have dozens of stores in the metro New Orleans area. I shop either them or the WalMart SuperCenter… which ever has the lowest prices for what I want/need.

P-3 – You can’t compare *retail* prices between countries since there are often many layers of fees and taxes added on to the retail price and most consumers have no clue just how HIGH they are. The price per barrel is nearly the same world wide although some countries and companies will play the commodities market and hedge their buying power if they think prices will be changing. Southwest Airlines does this to try and keep the lowest prices on jet fuel. You can’t use Venezuela as a comparison for anything since that country is run by a whacko dictator and the oil company is subsidized by the *State* to lower their retail costs… just like the whacko gives away heating oil to some Americans every winter as a way of trying to make himself look good. Anyone that buys into a dictator being good is just as whacko as the dictator himself. These A-HOLES that wear Chavez and Gueverra (Che’) clothing are complete idiots and should be deported to the communist country they believe in… but then they’re allowed their freedom of speech in America so we can’t do it. I’d love to see one of them wear a Bush t-shirt in one of those communist countries and see what prison they end up in. They’re pathetic!!!

P-4 – As a small business owner, I completely disagree with your thought process in this paragraph. Your anti-business or big business leanings come out way too much in your thougt processes in this paragraph. This is AMERICA… where anyone can become as successful as they choose to be!!! God Bless America on this 4th of July… the day, 234 years ago, when we decided to become a GREAT country.. that hudreds of thousands… possibly millions of foreigners risk their lives to come to every year. Unfortunately, we can’t handle all of them so we have to send many back. I don’t see that happening with any other country in the world, unless a neighborhing country is being overrun so their masses flee and become refugees in neighboring countries.

P-5 – Once again, I disagree 100% with your anti-business, pro-big goverment thought process. It sounds like you should be fleeing to a communist country… and make room for one more LEGAL immigrant who will come to America, start up their own little business and work hard to grow it into a BIG business one day. It happens to thousand of Americans and LEGAL immigrants every year. You should strive to grab a piece of the American dream instead of letting the LSM and Obama turn you into a socialist. As far as you thoughts that cancer has increased… it’s the ability to detect cancer that has increased. In the old days, people died of “consumption” or some other generic term when they didn’t really know what killed somebody. Autopsies didn’t really become commonplace until 17th-18th century… and even then, they didn’t understand everything they saw. “Hippocrates believed that the body was composed of four fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. He believed that an excess of black bile in any given site in the body caused cancer. This was the general thought of the cause of cancer for the next 1400 years. In ancient Egypt, it was believed cancer was caused by the Gods.”

P-6 – Businesses ARE OWNED by people and should have every right to speak, lobby, communicate, etc., with politicians as any other person. Why should a socialist citizen who wants the goverment to give them cradle to grave welfare and pays very little in taxes have more of a voice than an independent person who has their own business and pays the bulk of the taxes that run our goverment? That’s just a mindset I could never agree with… and I’m in pretty good company since the Supreme Court also ruled the same way recently… but now the socialist democrats in Congress are trying to block the Supreme Court ruling with new anti-business, anti-tea party patriots, pro-BIG union (which is just another form of business) legislation that will allow unions to donate money and run commercials but put a damper on businesses and tea party groups from doing the same. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will rule against this new legistlation as well… of course, if the socialist Kagan gets on the bench, we know she won’t vote in favor of REAL freedom of speech.



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