Losing Our Recycling Religion

As a religion, organized municipal garbage recycling dates back only to 1987.
Twenty[-three] years ago, on March 22, a tugboat named the Break of Dawn sailed out of New York Harbor pulling a barge full of Long Island's finest trash. Piloted by Duffy St. Pierre, the trip was supposed to be a simple shipment of trash to a southern landfill. Instead, Mobro 4000 (the barge's real name) became a modern day Flying Dutchman, wandering from port to port but never allowed to stay and unload.

The garbage barge wasn't just redolent with remarkable names. The misbegotten cruise quickly became a media sensation. The economy was hot, and news was slow. Garbage, which is just the effluence of our affluence, was the perfect target. Greenpeace, Phil Donahue and Johnny Carson all used the barge as fodder. Six months after it sailed, the garbage barge's trash was burned in a Brooklyn incinerator, and the ashes buried back in Long Island. The media didn't attend the funeral.

After the circus was over, the barge had a profound impact on solid waste and recycling. Within three years, most states passed laws requiring some kind of municipal recycling. The United States went from about 600 cities with curbside recycling programs to almost 10,000.
Moral fervor toward Gaia, the mythical Greek goddess of the Earth, has begun to cool as the stark reality of the economic destruction wrought by the heretofore unquestioned "preserve-the-planet" dogma which had taken control of our lives ... thanks to devote fools willing to give up individual freedoms and liberty to fascist politicians and rent-seeking "green" contractors.

Today, the very liberal Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette attempted to rally the Church of Gaia members.
Most people will say recycling is a good thing.

In fact, 85 percent of city residents who participated in an online non-scientific city survey said they recycle, and 77 percent of those respondents called the city’s recycling program good or excellent.

But the statistics show a far different story. The amount of materials that city residents recycle is small, and since 2000, the percentage of the city’s total waste stream that goes to recycling has slowly eroded.

Last year, Fort Wayne residents recycled 8.5 percent of the 107,307 tons of total waste they created. The recycling portion was 11 percent in 2000.

This drop in participation has happened during a decade when “being green” took on a new meaning across America and environmentalism and protecting the planet have often been at the center of national debates.
As might be expected, there was no presentation of the other side of the story. There was coverage, however, of the cost of trash pickup (presently $11.24 per month) and of the overwhelming wish of surveyed citizens that the cost be kept as low as possible. The newspaper somehow overlooked the fact that the city was collecting the garbage fee and was keeping part of it as an undeclared tax to defer government costs. There was no treatment of the possibility of abandoning the government-controlled program altogether, thus allowing trash haulers to contract with city residents directly. There was also no mention of cozy relationships between city politicians and trash contractors despite headline news in 2009.

America will solve the problem of solid waste disposal when it begins to think outside the bureaucratic box that is our present experiment in European Socialism. It is time to "dance with one who brung you" by returning wholeheartedly to free enterprise concepts.  The first thing we have to do get rid of the central planners.  This is not the Soviet Union and we should not trust economics to government bureaucrats.  Reason Magazine writes about some of the recycling ideas of the late Jane Jacobs, the world's best-known urbanologist.
Flash back three decades. In 1969, urbanologist Jane Jacobs suggested that recycling might become a solution to pollution. Cities, she wrote, are potential junk mines, waiting for entrepreneurs to extract useful material from household trash, industrial waste, even smokestacks. She devoted several pages of her classic The Economy of Cities to this idea, describing several ways one might transform waste into wealth. The cities of the future, she wrote, may "become huge, rich and diverse mines of raw materials. These mines will differ from any now to be found because they will become richer the more and the longer they are exploited."

One of her most important insights, enunciated in The Economy of Cities, is the way new work grows out of old: not by plan, as too many social engineers have assumed, and not by ever-finer division of labor, ... but by serendipity. First, work is divided into smaller tasks ... and then someone discovers that one of those smaller processes has other uses. The old enterprise then reinvents itself, or else someone breaks away from it to start a new operation. In this way, a sand mining company (3M) began to develop new forms of adhesive tape; a dress maker (Ida Rosenthal) invented, and turned to manufacturing, the brassiere; and--not an example of innovation, but an illustration of the same principle--many Japanese bicycle repair shops gradually moved into bicycle manufacturing.

Jacobs expected recycling to develop this way. To the extent that it's a viable concern, it has. (Think of the scrap industry, or of the savings glass manufacturers have realized from using recycled content.)

Thankfully, most of us have little direct contact with raw industrial waste. When we think of recycling, we think of our domestic trash--and, perhaps, of a local compulsory recycling law. ... The value of the activity takes a back seat to its symbolism; planners forget that the recycling process also uses energy and sometimes is more wasteful than simply throwing things away. So separating trash becomes a sort of religious ritual, a tiresome procedure that citizens are put through (or environmental aesthetes put themselves through) to prove their fealty to Mother Earth, whether or not they're doing her any favors.

Contrast that with another passage from The Economy of Cities, describing a hapless household trying to recycle its junk: "Imagine that one serviceman calls who is interested only in old metal, another who is interested in waste paper, another in garbage, another in discarded wool furniture, another in used-up plastics, another who wants old books (but only if their bindings have gilt letters; another serviceman is interested in the others), and so on. A family would be driven crazy by this traffic, let alone by the necessity of separating and storing for various intervals the various wastes."

Jacobs did not then propose that the family be forced to separate its trash. Indeed, she implied that this would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. "The aim must be to get all the wastes possible into the system--not only those that are already valuable at a given stage of development, but also those that are only beginning to become useful and those that are not yet useful but may become so," she writes. "A type of work that does not now exist is thus necessary: services that collect all wastes, not for shunting into incinerators or gulches, but for distributing to various primary specialists from whom the materials will go to converters or reusers."

An interesting idea. But trying it means allowing the new work to grow from the old work. That cannot happen if garbage collection is socialized, or if the government contracts with a single private company to do the job. It can happen if households hire people to haul away their refuse. At first, the private haulers might give the garbage to landfills; as opportunities to sell different sorts of trash develop, they'd diversify, much as homeless people collect cans for profit in places with deposit law. Except, of course, that the trash collectors would be responding to an actual market incentive, not one jerry-rigged by the state.

If recycling technology advances far enough, the haulers may find themselves paying for the garbage they collect, rather than getting paid to collect it. But even when opportunities to sell trash don't arise, there can still be a solid incentive to recycle: As landfill space grows scarce, limited by geography or by popular opposition, it will grow more expensive to dispose of trash. In some communities, this has already happened. In others, it hasn't, and that's fine; it just means recycling isn't necessary. There's nothing wrong with that. We're talking about a means of waste disposal, not a moral imperative.
I am reminded of President Eisenhower's final speech to the American people in 1961 and his concern was a corporatist union between the US Military Services and some very large private industrial contractors. In his Military-Industrial Complex speech, Ike said:
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

* and is gravely to be regarded.
So we do not need or want recycling operations run by bureaucrats, we must have more red-blooded American inventors and entrepreneurs.

The EU Financial Crisis in Under 3 Minutes

We tried to explain the European financial crisis with charts and graphs here.

But this video is better.

So the question becomes crystal clear and goes something like this: 

"How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money because they can't pay back the monies the broke economy lent to other broke economies and shouldn't have lent to them in the first place because the broke economies can't pay it back?"

Medicare Propaganda

Senior citizens, 65 or older, are required to register for Medicare, so it comes as no surprise that the Obama administration has made a massive mailing to them of a propaganda pamphlet in order to sell the new health care fiasco. Never mind that it is full of lies and half-truths. The Washington Post reports:
As the Secretary of Health and Human Services explains it, the government has an obligation to spread the word about the new health-care law. To that end, the department spent millions of dollars printing a glossy brochure and mailing it this week to 40 million Medicare beneficiaries detailing what Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called "the facts."

Among the facts:

There are "Improvements in Medicare You Will See Right Away." There are "Improvements in Medicare You Will See Soon." There are "Improvements Beyond Medicare That You and Your Family Can Count On." And that's not all: These improvements "will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality health care."

Not surprisingly, Republicans see it differently. In Washington's political hothouse, one person's recitation of the facts is another's "gross misuse of taxpayer funds to provide biased information for political purposes."

That's the way Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and several colleagues put it. On the House side, senior Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee have called for an investigation, saying the brochure violates a legal ban on government propaganda.
The Republican Senate Minority leadership also responded with a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius essentially pointing out "that the representations made ... are objectively inaccurate and incomplete. They contradict a report by your own actuary as well as analysis by the Congressional Budget Office."
We are concerned that taxpayer dollars were used to produce an inaccurate and misleading brochure entitled “Medicare and the New Health Care Law—What It Means for You,” recently issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We believe by selectively providing information, you are misleading seniors about the full impact of the new federal health care law.

For example, in the first paragraph, the brochure claims that the new health care law will result in "increased quality health care." Yet Medicare’s Chief Actuary noted that, absent legislation to intervene and correct the payment cuts in the new law, some providers would "end their participation in the program" with the effect of "possibly jeopardizing access for beneficiaries." The Chief Actuary further concluded that 15 percent of Part A providers – hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and home health agencies – may be unable to sustain their operations in the next ten years as a result of the drastic Medicare cuts in the new law. Unfortunately, none of these important conclusions are disclosed to beneficiaries in the brochure.

Changes that jeopardize access to health care services will not increase the quality of care. It is not possible to simultaneously increase the quality of care and reduce access to services. Seniors will lose health services due to specific Medicare cuts in the health care law. Any materials you produce to inform seniors about the impact of the new law should be forthcoming with that information.

In the second paragraph, the brochure states that the health care law will "keep Medicare strong and solvent." However, the Chief Medicare Actuary concluded in an April 22, 2010, memorandum that cuts in Medicare "may be unrealistic." In addition, cuts to Medicare are being used to pay for a trillion dollar health care bill, and therefore cannot also be used to improve the solvency of the program. The Chief Actuary's memorandum plainly states that the reduced spending resulting from the significant Medicare cuts in the new health care law, "cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund.” The CBO Director asserted the same in a letter to Senator Sessions on December 23, 2009.
Read the entire Republican letter here and the CMS brochure here.  Incidentally, the  propaganda mailing cost a mere $18 million. Your tax contributions at work!

So It Has Come To This Act of Sedition

See UPDATES below:
                  Amanda Aguirre            Linda Lopez

                                     Manny Alverez

Three Members Arizona State Senate, Amanda Aguirre from Yuma, Linda Lopez from Tucson and Manny Alverez from Elfrida, all Democrats, have knowingly and irresponsibly violated their Oath of Office which reads:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of State Senator according to the best of my ability, so help me God (or so I do affirm).
From Verum Serum:
AZ State Legislators Team Up With Mexican Counterparts To Challenge SB 1070 in International Court

As one of my favorite bloggers would say, it’s come to this (El Semanario via Google Translate):
NOGALES, May 25, 2010 .- To reverse the effects of SB-1070, legislators in Mexico and the U.S. (EU) have agreed to submit an appeal to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), since this initiative criminalises migration with racial profiling in the state of Arizona.

Amanda Aguirre, state Sen. governed by Jan Brewer, read-after a closed-door meeting in the City of Nogales, “a joint statement announcing the promotion of comprehensive immigration reform” before the U.S. Congress- to enable the safe and orderly flow of migrants, in response to the reality of both nations in labor.

“We will seek to denounce the SB-1070 to the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (…) in order to determine if the imminent implementation of this legislation violates the human rights of residents Arizona, regardless of their immigration status, “he said.
Also attending the meeting were Yuma Police Chief Rick Flores, who vehemently opposes the bill; Santa Cruz County Supervisor Manny Ruiz : Santa Cruz County (Nogales) Supervisor Rudy "Bugs" Molera; Linda Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona Advocacy Network and Somerton, AZ Mayor Martin Porchas. Yes, they are all Democrats.

Rodger at Curmudgeonly & Skeptical is upset:
I doubt you saw this on tonight's news, since VS had to employ Google translator to read about it in Mexican newspapers. You call this what you will. I'm seeing the likely beginning of the first civil war this nation has endured, and damn these people for it. In an update, it seems they violated their oath of office.

This isn't Washington D.C., so I look for these weasels to be removed from office, pronto. And no, I am not. It's impossible to overreact to this.
The Arizona State Senate Democratic Caucus website lists a fourth Senator, Jorge Luis Garcia from Tucson as another particpant in the law-breaking bi-national conference with Mexican legislators.

The Volokh Conspiracy reports on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Thus, unless the [US] Senate ratified the American Convention on Human Rights and the US government accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court, neither the Court nor the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights can issue a legally binding decision against the Arizona laws against illegal aliens.

The Tragedy at Central Falls

Central Falls, Rhode Island has less than 20,000 residents, all shoehorned into a space of 1.3 square miles and locked in by Pawtucket to the south and west,and the Blackstone River to the north and east. In 2000, the city population was 57% white and 48% Hispanic (many of them, first generation). The median income per household amounts to less than $23,000.

The community has fallen on hard time in the past decade. In 1991, the state had to take over funding the public school operation (although the city was responsible for facilities maintenance). Shortly after the turn of the new century, majors employers, Elizabeth Webbing and Hasbro Toys shut down their operations and Osram Sylvania let several hundred employees go. Unemployment is now almost 14%.

This year the town hit bottom. Because of low graduation rates and poor grade-level testing results by students, Central Falls schools was determined to be one of the worst performing schools in the state.  As such, school superintendent Francis Gallo was instructed to choose an approved US Department of Education turnaround plan.  When the teacher's union balked . . . they were all fired. In May, all 87 teachers were rehired under the same terms that they rejected in February.                    

City of Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau now finds himself under investigation by State Police for fraud in the awarding a $2 million no-bid contract to a high school friend to board up abandoned houses.  The State Police are involved because the State Attorney General, another classmate of the mayor, has stonewalled investigations in the past.

In 2010, Central Falls has the highest foreclosure rate in Rhode Island and now the city itself is joining the citizens who cannot pay their bills.
PROVIDENCE—Central Falls is so broke that the city can’t afford to put up a fraction of the money to fix its deteriorating school buildings.

The state Board of Regents has proposed a solution. It wants the state to take over ownership of the schools.

Under normal circumstances, building repair is funded 95 percent by the state. But Central Falls is unable to come up with the 5 percent match.
Then came the topper. On May 19, 2010, the city filed a receivership petition with the state declaring that it had a $3 million deficit in its $18 million 2009-10 budget and a projected $5 million shortfall for the 2010-11 budget.  Jon Savage, the court-appointed receiver, now has the power to approve or reject purchases and payments and, if the court approves, change contracts with unions and vendors and hire and fire municipal employees.  Employee pension plans also appear to be underfunded and the funds to honor the pensions do not exist.

We certainly can feel the pain of the Central Falls residents, but it is difficult to feel sorry for the government employees who have been feathering their caps and lining their pocketbooks for years from a public dole that has now run dry.  Perhaps the decommissioning of the public unions would be a big first step toward resolving the crisis.

Costs Rising, Oil Flow Hits Marshes, Time to Nuke Well

Day 35 of the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout is here. British Petroleum announced that costs to date have reached $760 million. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has about $1.5 billion available but only $1 billion can be spent from the fund on a single incident.  Obama and Democratic leaders have said that BP will pickup the tab on the costs of stopping the leak and repairing the environmental damage and with BP's $75 trillion in net worth, it would appear that that might be possible if the investment world and the business world were to remain static.  The puzzling part about the financial responsibility harangue is that Congress is preparing to quadruple the tax by 32 cents per barrel to collect an addition $11 billion over the next decade.

Job One in solving this petro-calamity is to stop the oil gusher on the Gulf seafloor.  The Obama administration has left this task in the hands of BP primarily because government "experts" have no idea what might stop the flow.  The oil giant's efforts have been pretty lame so far and the next effort will involve  "a 'top kill,' in which heavy mud and cement would be shot into the blown-out well to plug it up. The top kill could begin as early as Wednesday."  The problem with all BP efforts is that the standard blowout control methods of old do not work on a wellhead located 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf.

Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner suggests that it is time to enlist the aid of Russian experts.  It is time for us to say, "Enough is enough. It’s time to destroy the well and put the matter to rest."
Should we drop a nuclear bomb on the leaky oil well?

Apparently that's what the Russians have done in similar circumstances:
Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: “the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel.”

Yes! It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petro-calamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals.
A nuclear device requires government involvement, but I suppose that such a decision is way above our president's pay-grade.  However, with this disaster worsening almost daily, our teflon-less president will soon find himself tagged with ineptitude for failure to control his very own catastrophe that now appears to be bigger than Hurricane Katrina and Three Mile Island combined.  Even Saul Alinski couldn't point blame elsewhere forever.

Introducing LTC (Ret) Allen West

Republican candidate for Florida's 22nd District. Listen up folks, this guy is an up-and-coming Tea Party super-star.

We can no longer trust the people that we have sent to Washington DC because they have continued to let us down.

When you think about this one issue of illegal immigration, it's very much like an octopus with many different tentacles that reach in the basic fabric of the United States of America, while we talk about how it affects our job situation.

Here, in the state of Florida, we have got an unemployment rate of 9.4%. Why do we have that? Why are we allowing people to come across into our country and take jobs away from good Americans that want to get out there and work very hard?

We've got to change that around. We cannot allow them to come here and depress our wages so that Americans cannot get proper wages. It has an effect upon our economy. You just heard Mr. (?) talk about how your taxpayer dollars are paying for people who are here illegally, breaking our laws.

And the last time I checked it out, the United States is a republic and that means we respect laws in this country. The number one law should be protecting American citizens and holding this thing called citizenship very near and dear to our hearts. One of the things that caused the Roman Empire to collapse was the fact that they devalued being a citizen of the Republic of Rome. They just handed it out to any body. And then on top of that, they stopped paying attention to their border to the north. The next thing you know, they were conquered from within. We cannot allow that to happen here in the United States of America.

We've got to send a very clear message to the people in Washington DC. We don't care that you want to change the voting electorate so that you can stay in charge. We don't care that you want to kowtow to the corporations and the businessmen so that you can have cheap labor. This is about putting Americans first, not special interests, not Mexican special interests, but what is proper by the Constitution of the United States of America and its citizens.
The rest of the speech is here at Gates of Vienna.

"Click It Or Ticket" Stops In Arizona

Yesterday, as is my habit, I had breakfast at Bob Evans.  After breakfast, I drove about 100 yards on public streets to the mall parking lot entrance.  Once in the parking lot, I was surprised to find a County Mountie behind me with his light rack ablaze.  The deputy's first question was, "Do you know why you were stopped?" I responded that "the directional arrow on the traffic signal did not turn yellow until I entered the intersection." He said, "I stopped you for not wearing your seat belt."  So sitting in the driver's seat unbuckled, I had to provide a driver's license and vehicle registration.  In return, I got a ticket.

Contemplating my unexpected confrontation with a deputy sheriff, I wondered whether the "Click It Or Ticket It" program was "alive and well and living in Arizona."  Indeed it is. Not only does the Grand Canyon state participate in the two week national program every May, it does an "Arizona only" version in September and again in February.  But not to worry, the state with the "unconstitutional" Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Law (which permits questioning and, if necessary, detaining people without required identification), warns illegals of potential traffic stops in spanish at times when the CIOT program is being run.

Mischaracterizing the new AZ law by declaring that state law enforcement will have the power to stop anyone on the reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally is silly when compared to seat belt laws which permit stopping anyone anytime for the unconstitutional purpose of requiring seat belt use.

Illegals presently motoring around the highways and byways of Arizona during this CIOT campaign will get a reprieve from a potential trip to the hoosegow because the new immigration enforcement law does not take affect until July 28.

Indiana Third District Special Election Date

Northeast Indiana is in a political buzz about the resignation of Republican Rep. Mark Souder because of his marital infidelity.  In just three days, the list of interested GOP candidates to replace the long-time office-holder seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.  Now another controversy is brewing over setting a date when the special election should be held.

According to the Library of Congress, the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2, clause 4) requires that House seat vacancies be filled by special election.  The authority to schedule special elections resides first with State legislatures, but Governors and Election Commissions have universally been empowered to set the dates.

If, however, a House vacancy occurs late in the life of a Congress, many states will leave the seat empty until general election day, when a special election for the balance of the term and a regular election for the forthcoming Congress are held simultaneously.
With that in mind, Allen County (IN) Republican Chairman Steve Shine is recommending to Governor Mitch Daniels that the special election occur on the already scheduled election day of November 2, 2010.
The date is up to (Daniels),” Shine said Wednesday, saying a special election in July or August would be “redundant” because of its proximity to the general election. Shine said he has asked several local state representatives to forward his concerns to Daniels, in hopes of avoiding an election that would cost 3rd District taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars – $275,000 in Allen County alone. Shine has also suggested that, if a special election is held, Souder should allow his unspent campaign funds to offset the cost.
Interestingly, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker also thinks Daniels could set the special election the same day as the Nov. 2 general election, but Indiana State Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) doesn't believe that Governor Daniels can do that in lieu of a ruling by the US Sixth District Court of Appeals overturning a US District Judge's decision in 2002 regarding the holding of a special election to replace Jim (Beam Me Up) Traficant (Dem-NCC-1701) who was booted from the US House. The Sixth Circuit covers Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan.  As such, the Traficant decison is not binding in Indiana and it is indeed a mute point unless someone pushes the ACLU button.

It is too soon to see if any natives are restless in Indiana, but they certainly are in  New York state, where lame-duck Governor David Patterson (DLTDHYITAOTWO) probably delayed too long before announcing a special election for the NY-29 District.  Rep. Erick Massa resigned his post in March under a sexual harassment cloud. (Truth be known, he was going to vote against ObamaCare).  Governor Patterson,(who has been asked to step down because of domestic battery) has now set the special election date as November 2.

Cost, of course, is an important consideration for selecting the date of the special election to be the same date as the general election. Other considerations include voter turnout, which will be better; US Armed Services personnel will get the opportunity to vote; and party candidates will have to run two back to back election campaigns which will make the special election winner ineffective in Congress for the stub term. Upon examining  the reasons given for the Sixth circuit ruling here, I am struck by the failure of the judges to consider the rich history of special election date selection  that went before and I blame that on the ACLU.

Mass-Care is Code Red

NRO's Critical Condition blog reports that the Massachusetts health care plan (Mass-Care), complete with required participation and controlled premiums, is (pardon the pun) in a world of hurt:

The Boston Globe is reporting that the four largest health insurers in Massachusetts — Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, and Fallon Community Health Plan — lost a combined $152 million in the first quarter of 2010. The companies stated that $116 million of those losses were directly caused by the April 1 institution of price controls by the state’s insurance commissioner. This is exactly what insurers predicted would happen when they filed a lawsuit in Boston last month.
Mass-Care, the model for ObamaCare, has the highest premiums in America with little hope of getting better because of mandates inherent in the plan and some loopholes that permit those insured under the plan to game the system by signing up for short periods of insurance and running up big medical bills.

But the Mass. legislature has all but solved the problem. Tinker Ready at Boston Health News tells about the "solution:"
Hospitals are making money. Insurers are losing money. If only it were that simple.

Most hospitals in the state are flush, according to a pair of new state reports.

Well, maybe sort of. Partners told the Globe said they’ve started losing money since the report on hospital reserves showed that Partners has $5.7 billion in total net assets.

While trying to make sense of all this, it is worth noting that a recent BU study found that acute hospital costs per person in Massachusetts have long been the highest in the nation, and therefore in the world. In hospital fiscal year 2007, hospital costs here reached 55.4 percent above the U.S. average—the greatest excess then recorded.

So, is it a surprise that, at the same time, health insurers say they are losing money?

Or are they? Again, the Globe reports:

Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which oversees the insurance division, said insurers continue to enjoy large financial surpluses. A state report released May 2 showed eight health insurers in Massachusetts had a total surplus of $2.5 billion in 2008, the latest data available.

“The real issue in health care is the skyrocketing increases that are drowning small businesses and working families, who do not have billions of dollars in reserves to fall back on,’’ Anthony said. She said regulators are working to make sure insurers remain solvent while state officials try to engage insurers, hospitals, and doctors to tackle the issue of costs.

In the midst of all these swirling apples and oranges, the state Senate passed a health care measure yesterday that would use some of the hospital surpluses to help small businesses deal with rising premiums. AP reports.

To slow premium increases, the bill would require wealthier hospitals to contribute to a fund to help ease those rising costs. Senate backers of the bill say the contribution of $100 million could reduce small-business health care costs by 2.
Massachusetts does not like the large cash reserves held by insurance companies no does it like the huge cash reserves of Boston non-profit hospitals. Since the insurance reserves are a matter of law, it is time to get the big hospitals. So now the state will game the hospitals by "requiring hospitals in better financial shape to put money back into the health care system to lower premiums.”

Warren Meyer is reminded of a scene from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged":
In one scene government dictators explain to steel magnate Hank Rearden how they intend to save his industry as a whole—read his incompetent competitor—through a Steel Unification Plan. All income from steel producers will be placed into a common pool and distributed to manufacturers based on how many furnaces each company owns. Follow the math here for a moment as an incredulous Rearden explains their own plan to them:

“Orren Boyle’s Associated Steel owns 60 open-hearth furnaces, one-third of them standing idle and the rest producing an average of 300 tons of steel per furnace per day. I own 20 open-hearth furnaces, working at capacity, producing 750 tons of Rearden Metal per furnace per day. So we own 80 ‘pooled’ furnaces with a ‘pooled’ output of 27,000 tons, which makes an average of 337.5 tons per furnace. Each day of the year, I producing 15,000 tons, will be paid for 6,750 tons. Boyle, producing 12,000 tons, will be paid for 20,250 tons… Now how long do you expect me to last under your plan?”

Rearden can’t believe that these bureaucrats actually believe such nonsense. And their only answers are “In times of national peril, it’s your duty to serve” and “You must make certain sacrifices to the public welfare” and “You’ll manage.”

"Hide The Decline" Redux

Last November, the world was provided access to a "Climategate" email from so-called scientist Phil Jones at East Anglia University to several recipients including Dr. Michael Mann, Chairman of the Earth Science Department at Penn State. The document exposed the deliberate alteration of data by Dr. Mann in a graph of the Earth's temperatures in order to hide a decline in the graph.  That chart came to be known as the "Hockey Stick."

From: Phil Jones To: ray bradley ,mann@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, mhughes@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: k.briffa@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,t.osborn@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim's got a diagram here we'll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow.
I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.

So began the expose' of a worldwide group of junk-scientists working in conjunction with the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to obviously promote ill-considered programs designed to combat supposed man-made global warming.

Fox News catches us up on recent happenings:

The original "Hide the Decline" video is here and Minnesotans for Global Warming now have issued "Hide the Decline II:"

Climategate.TV provides some convincing arguments as to why Michael Mann cannot win a defamation lawsuit here.

Eurozone Prestidigitation

I have continued my muse over my blog question of earlier this week: "Why Bailout Greece?"  When I came upon this New York Times graphic depiction (click to enlarge), it immediately occurred to me that the First Law of Printers Ink, "A picture is worth a thousand words" helps to answer the question. (For the time being we can safely ignore the law's corollary "1001 words is worth more than a picture") 

Despite the intent of the Maastricht treaty to preclude economic bailouts of individual EU member states, the economic ministers created a cross-borrowing scheme that makes it impossible to abandon any EU country.  The chart above shows the linkages of borrowing between and among the weakest members known as the "PIIGS."  The chart also shows that the stronger economies of Germany, France and Britain also are "joined at the hip" with the weak sisters.  So it is obvious that the international bailout in play is not a Greek bailout, it is a Eurozone bailout.

The question now becomes, "Why is the US participating in this bailout associated with the euro?"  The short answer is there is no reason why America should take any risk.  This post at Curmudeonly & Skeptical is straight to the point:

Why the hell must we give Greece $50 Billion (that we borrowed from China to begin with)?

We Don't.

While we root for Europe’s success, because a strong European economy benefits America, it’s worth nothing that the EU was created to be an economic competitor to the United States. Therefore, while it may be appropriate for the EU to pay for these bailouts, the same logic doesn't apply to America. President Obama should extricate the U.S. from the gathering storm of European bailouts which will only delay the fiscal reforms that are necessary for long-term recovery.

Even at this late hour, the Obama administration has considerable power to stop the U.S. from going down this ruinous road. Under current IMF rules, the United States needs only one other IMF member to oppose the bailout to defeat it. Therefore, we are calling on President Obama to publicly oppose the $145 billion Greek bailout, and refuse to participate in any larger European bailout which may be forthcoming.

Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) has introduced legislation to stop U.S. tax dollars from being used by the International Monetary Fund for bailouts for European countries. Stating the obvious, this Republican sponsored legislation will be buried by House Democrats at the request of president Obama.

Obama's agenda to bring about one-world fascism will instead make America into a third-world country unable to provide for itself.  There is no economy on earth that can bail out the United States.

Windblown Windfalls

An amazing coincidence occurred on April 28 when, with an oil gusher pumping 5,000 bbls of crude into the Gulf daily,  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that, after nine years of governmental review, the Cape Wind project was approved.  Of course you remember the uproar by the likes of Senators Ted Kennedy (who has now joined Mary Jo Kopechne) and John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) to keep the wind rotors out of the Nantucket Sound waters (which the Kennedy family complex overlooks).

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an "environmental" lawyer with a substance abuse problem, publicly objected: “It’s a boondoggle of the worst kind,” Kennedy said. “It’s going to cost the people of Massachusetts $4 billion over the next 20 years in extra costs.” According to the Boston Herald, Bobbie Jr. was very low in his estimate:
The controversial Cape Wind project could end up costing ratepayers as much as $6 billion over 15 years – and provide utilities with multimillion-dollar bonus incentives if they buy electricity from the planned off-shore wind farm.
Wind-generated electricity is all the rage with the environmentalists because the generation source is renewable (albeit not free by any stretch of the imagination). Wind power is attractive to Obama and friends because this is yet another major cog in our economy that they can control. According to Rich Trzupek at FRONTPAGEMAG.COM:
The Obama administration loves windmills, but apparently not just because it’s “green energy.” It appears that there has been some spreading of the green involved as well. Former New York Sun managing editor Ira Stoll uncovered some of the connections at his website, Future of Capitalism. Stoll noted how $503 [million] in stimulus money was awarded to a couple of wind energy companies that have close ties to the Obama administration:
“…the recipient of $294 million, Iberdrola SA, had executives who had donated more than $21,000 to the Obama campaign and related funds. Another $115 million in funds for windmills went to a company called First Wind, which, I noted, had owners that included D.E. Shaw and Madison Dearborn Partners. Shaw is the firm at which President Obama’s chief of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, held a $5.2 million a year, one-day-a-week job, and Madison Dearborn is the firm of which Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, said, “They’ve been not only supporters of mine, they’re friends of mine.”
As it turns out, the utimate villans in the wind power game are the electric companies across America who are deliberately rent-seeking, using special government rate-setting rules and direct government subsidies to walk around the stricter income rules that apply to utility monopolies. Commenting on a story from the Yakima Herald-Republic, Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog demonstrates my point. First the news story:
In the space of one hour last month, electricity generated at wind farms in the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge shot up by 1,000 megawatts – enough to power some 680,000 homes.

Less than an hour later, it plummeted almost as much.

Sitting in front of 10 computer screens in a fifth-floor room of the federal Bonneville Power Administration headquarters in Portland, Kim Randolph had to react quickly.

Working from a keyboard, she diverted millions of gallons of water away from massive turbines spinning in Columbia River dams and sent it around the dams.

The 17-year veteran power operations specialist remembers how fast she needed to work as a wind storm caused generation to peak and fall three times over eight hours.

“You have to get it in hand and get it in hand very quickly,” she said.

Getting it in hand is a balancing act. It means balancing the power generated by 31 dams, a nuclear power plant and now wind farms in order to send a stable flow of power into the BPA’s 15,238-mile grid across the Pacific Northwest.

It also means balancing the grid’s needs against those of fish and commercial river traffic on the Columbia River.

Getting power from wind, which can vary greatly, is complicating that balancing act.
So BPA (or a power company selling to BPA) invested in an unneeded wind farm in order to reap special subsidies and to obtain higher rates for volatile wind-sourced electricity, which in this case, provided no benefit to the grid since the Columbia River hydro generators had to be shutoff to cure an overload. Warren Meyer comments:
The article is about the difficulty for grid operators in integrating and managing wind in the grid. But here is the part that slides by — despite the electricity it is putting in the grid, wind is contributing … nothing. Note that when wind production is surging, the utility is sending water around the turbines of the dam. That lost potential energy is gone forever. All the wind power did in this case is substitute for clean hydro power. It has not value in this particular case (beyond the ability of the utility to put wind on its annual report and seek subsidies from the Obama administration).

Apparently the costs of trying to integrate wind into the grid is so high the utility tried to charge wind producers a higher integration charge than they do for other sources. This attempt to set pricing equal to actual costs was apparently killed by pressure from the Obama administration, making sure that wind will continue to get preferential treatment and I presume substitute for dirty hydro power in the future.

I just don’t see how wind is ever going to work on the grid. In this case, wind is backed up by hydro, but in others it has to be backed up by spinning, fuel-burning fossil fuel plants.
Oh, the delicious irony of it all ... if only the politicians had to pay instead of the US economy and the taxpayers.

Why Bailout Greece?

Megan McArdle brings us this puzzler.
Greek Bailouts: What are They Good For?

I vividly remember taking a class on terrorism in college, in which the professor memorably pointed out, as we were knee deep in debate over The Troubles, "None of you are asking the obvious question: Why the heck do the British want to stay in Northern Ireland? Guiness?"

My family hails, a long time back, from bandit country in Northern Ireland, and the question was at first incomprehensible. At the time, Northern Ireland seemed like the most valuable piece of real estate on the planet--emotionally, at least. And yet, my professor was right. It wasn't really adding much to the economic and political life of Great Britain except a big headache.

This is sort of the question I had this weekend, watching this gigantic new bailout effort unfold. I understand the tactical and even the strategic value of each individual move. But the goal of all of this eludes me. Is the euro really so marvelous that it must be saved at all costs? How much do France, Germany, etc really get out of Greek euro membership?
The BBC reported last week the E.U offered up $80 billion euros to keep the Greek economy afloat and the International Monetary Fund chipped in 30 billion more.  This effort was agreed to by eurozone countries despite a "no bail out clause" in the Maastricht treaty that was designed precisely with countries like Greece in mind.

All that generosity accomplished was political unrest in Germany and a 3 point rate rise on interest payments due on Greece's government debt. So not to be deterred by the silliness of it all, the European Union took more aggressive action today:
Fearful of a regional economic meltdown, the European Union and International Monetary Fund approved a dramatic rescue mechanism early Monday to make nearly a trillion dollars in loans available to EU member countries in danger of going bankrupt, as worries persisted that Greece's troubles would spread far beyond its borders. EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told the Associated Press.
Under the three-year plan, the European Commission will add $78 billion to an EU loan facility already in place, more than doubling it in value.

The 16 EU members that have adopted the euro currency will provide loan guarantees to the tune of $569 billion. Such a fund would significantly increase the degree to which many European nations assume responsibility for one another's financial health, knitting them together in a closer economic union that might make some nations squirm.
If everything stopped there, there would be no need for US involvement. However with backing from the Obama administration, the IMF will add to the poker pot some $321 billion in loans ... and guess who gets to guarantee those loans.

In an effort to keep the US economy afloat, Fed chief Ben Bernanke has been operating on the theory that interest rates will be continually lowered to spark economic growth, but the so-called "Bernanke Put" is out room to lower rates any further.  But some American taxpayers will now be asked to fork over money to keep the EU PIIGS in Hog Heaven. If we can bail out Greece, will California be next?

So back to the original thoughts of Megan McArdle.  Why does the EU and the world need  the euro?  If Greece currency had remained as drachmas, then the Athens government would simply print more currency until inflation set in and the crisis would be resolved through actions by disgruntled local citizens in order to right the economic ship.  If we need a reason to oppose one-world government, this is it.

Bill Gates' Cloudy Vision

Times Online reports on yet another of mega-billionaire Bill Gates' misguided philanthopies, the funding of a "geoengineering" adventure into artificial cloud-making in order to protect the world from global warming.

. . . a study last year calculated that a fleet of 1,900 ships costing £5 billion could arrest the rise in temperature by criss-crossing the oceans and spraying seawater from tall funnels to whiten clouds and increase their reflectivity.

Silver Lining, a research body in San Francisco, has received $300,000 (£204,000) from Mr Gates. It will develop machines to convert seawater into microscopic particles capable of being blown up to the cloud level of 1,000 metres. This would whiten clouds by increasing the number of nuclei.

The trial would involve ten ships and 10,000 sq km (3,800sq miles) of ocean. Armand Neukermanns, who is leading the research, said that whitening clouds was “the most benign form of engineering” because, while it might alter rainfall, the effects would cease soon after the machines were switched off.
This blog reported on another "Bill Gates' Folly" last year. At the time (and I assume the project continues), Microsoft's chairman and his kooky "scientists" filed patents to mix cold water from ocean depths with warm surface water in order to prevent hurricanes from spawning in the tropics.

Gates and his ilk continue the misguided beliefs of the Church of Environmentalism that man is messing in his bed.  As Michael Crichton said:
"Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them."
What else could we expect from a man whose surreal business success came from buying the good work of others?  It all started with the purchase of MS-DOS which had been written by Seattle Computer under the name QDOS (Note:  Evidence abounds that that operating system was an altered version of Digital Research's CP/M).  A burgeoning  personal computer market highlighted by entry of the IBM PC (complete with MS-DOS) in 1981 and the personal computer age and Gates' fortune was at hand.

Satellite Images Show Oil Sheen Breaking Apart

AP reports at 6:19PM EDT today that the oil slick has shrunk in size.

UNDATED — The latest satellite image of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico indicates it has shrunk since last week. But scientists say that only means some of the oil has gone underwater.

Hans Graber of the University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing said Monday the new image found oil covering about 2,000 square miles. The slick was roughly 3,400 square miles last Thursday.

Graber says the apparent shrinkage came about because some of the oil that had been visible at the surface has been mixed into the water, as strong winds have kicked up waves.

The new image also shows that patches of oil have begun to break away from it. But it's not clear when any sizable amount of oil will reach land.
As I previously reported, this turn of events is consistent with the expectations of Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor who was interviewed by WLOX-TV News, Biloxi on Sunday.

Dan Coats on Obama's Middle East Policy

Conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin conducted and interview with Dan Coats regarding Iran's nuclear threat and the Obama administration's reactions to the emergence of this Islamic country as the next nuclear power. I present the interview because Coats brings knowledge and experience about foreign policy that none of his challengers presently possess. Indiana Republican voters will make an important decision next Tuesday, May 4, that most assuredly will decide who the Hoosier State's new junior US Senator will be.

I spoke this morning with Dan Coats, former senator and ambassador to Germany and now the GOP front-runner in the Indiana senate race. Together with Charles Robb and Charles Wald, Coats had authored two reports urging a firm timetable, sanctions that “bite,” and preservation of military options to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

After fifteen months of Obama’s attempts to engage Iran, I asked Coats if Obama’s policy was a failure. “Yes, it certainly has failed. Engagement has done nothing but buy time” for the mullahs to pursue their nuclear plans, he explained. He noted that during the Bush administration we deferred to our European allies. So, he concludes, “It has been almost a decade that we’ve been down this road. The open hand has been slapped back.” In essence, Iran has, he says, simply played the “rope-a-dope game.”

Is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates correct in warning that we lack a viable plan? Coats replies, “Yes. We are lacking a viable plan because they are lacking a commander in chief to order them to put together a viable plan.” He says that a nuclear-armed Iran is our “most imminent security challenge” and yet the administration seems unwilling to examine what a nuclear-armed Iran and a potential containment strategy would look like. The sanctions currently under discussion, he explains, are deficient. His reports argued for sanctions that “bite.” He says, “If Russia and China are outside the noose, they aren’t going to be effective.”

As for containment, Coats says that analogies to the Cold War are misplaced. Then, he recalls, we had “buffer states, a military prepared to deal with any breach, Pershing missiles, and 300,000 troops in Europe.” Moreover, he says, “Clearly, we are dealing with a much more unstable regime that has defied world opinion.”

I ask him whether the focus on the Palestinian “peace process” has distracted us from the Iranian threat or undermined the U.S.-Israel alliance. He says that with a nuclear-armed Iran “the very existence of Israel would be at stake.” He says that absent a more credible policy by the U.S., “Israel will be forced to act. It is unthinkable that the U.S. will passively stand aside [while Israel takes action]. He explains that “our credibility around the world” would be irreparably harmed as it became clear that the U.S. was unwilling to protect the security of any nation. As for the peace process, he says that “it is simply a cop out” to say that we need progress there in order to deal with the threats to Middle East peace. “I don’t for a moment think that even we had resolution [of the Palestinian conflict] we would have a kumbaya moment in the Middle East.” The mullahs have their own agenda and time table, he notes. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t pursue it [a resolution of the Palestinian conflict] but we have been pursuing it for half a century.”

Finally, I ask him about the Obama administration’s desire to return our ambassador to Syria. He says, “We are past that. What we need is the administration to stand up to the reality of what is taking place in the Middle East — to show resolve and to show strength.” He says the move conveys weakness and we risk sending the signal that “we are not prepared to defend Israel.” He reminds us that this president had promised to use “all” aspects of American power. But, he says, Obama is not “willing to use American power. They must be laughing at us in the councils of Iran. And Israel sits on a powder keg.” He closes by warning that it may now be too late to thwart the mullahs’ nuclear plans, “We’re going to read in a few months that the game is over.”

Coats provides a stark contrast to the happy talk one hears from Hillary Clinton and the other administration spinners. Should he win the primary, we will perhaps see a spirited debate on Obama’s Middle East policy, unless, of course, the Democratic nominee is willing to break with Obama as Chuck Schumer did. Other senate candidates will face a similar choice.

From the Mouth of an Hispanic Immigrant ...

The Oil Rig Blame Game


Oil rig blowouts, which involve the uncontrolled release of oil and natural gas at the wellhead, can be as deadly as the recent coal mine disasters in China and West Virginia. Originally called gushers, these accidents tragically punctuate the otherwise colorful history associated with well drilling. World Oil reports that 1,206 well blowouts occurred in the 37 years between 1960 and 1997 in Texas, Louisiana and in the Gulf of Mexico. In the same time period, 598,799 wells were drilled in the region to a combined depth of almost 33 million feet. While blowout frequencies are low, they do and most certainly will continue to occur. The degree of risk associated with this industry is high, but the performance of petroleum and structural engineers employed by the drillers appear to be statistically very good.

When the blowout occurred last week on the Deepwater Horizon rig, afloat in the Gulf of Mexico below the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Obama administration hacks were delighted to find that "Big Oil" aka British Petroleum and an oil contractor with the familiar name of Halliburton were ripe for treatment under Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

You may recall that following Hurricane Katrina, the liberals in Congress were quick to deceitfully blame the Bush Administration and FEMA for failure to act quickly and decisively to save the NOLA populace from the destruction and flooding done by the storm. Retrospectively, however, the Katrina tragedy blame has been reassigned as a failure of the Hurricane Protection Project in New Orleans, which was run by liberals who spent grants on fountains instead of pumps.

To divert attention away from the do-nothing Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Salazar spit on BP.
"As the president and the law have made clear, BP as the responsible party must fund cleanup costs," Napolitano said.

"We will continue to push BP to engage in the strongest possible response to ensure protection of wildlife and lands."

All involved "need to work more speedily to protect wetlands, marshes and the ecosystem here," she said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "We cannot rest and will not rest until BP permanently secures the well head and cleans up every drop of oil."
Interestingly no Federal government help was rushed to the scene other than the Coast Guard, whose mission is to respond to the explosion, fire and deaths. The Navy, Air Force and EPA were not sent to help with the oil slick until April 29, nine days after the explosion.

No sooner than it became known that Houston-based Halliburton Co.(where Dick Cheney once worked as its President) had four employees on the rig at the time of the accident, the vultures swooped, disguised as highly ethical House Democrats.
In a letter to to Halliburton Chief Executive David J. Lesar on Friday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, called on Halliburton officials to provide all documents relating to "the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work" by May 7.
Halliburton, the principal civilian contractor in Iraq, told them they should tend to fixing Health Control:
Halliburton said "it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues." The company had four employees stationed on the rig at the time of the accident, all of whom were rescued by the Coast Guard. "Halliburton had completed the cementing of the final production casing string in accordance with the well design," it said. "The cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar applications. In accordance with accepted industry practice ... tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed."
Nonetheless the Alinsky strategies are now rolling in quickly. Two dozen lawsuits have been filed, Obama has suspended all drilling in the Gulf and the environmentalists are predicting the greatest damage to the environment in history ... and it is obviously all Dick Cheney's fault!

Sadly, at a time when the economy can least afford a huge increase in gasoline prices, the government will require an immense cleanup effort that will be as ineffective as it will be expensive to the American motorist. We can expect that this effort will be the Exxon Valdez cleanup all over again.
Six years after the cleanup, a study was conducted to determine ecological recovery in the sound. What researchers found was that the areas that were not cleaned were in better shape – with more wildlife and cleaner water and soil – than the areas that had been cleaned. The chemicals and high-pressure washing used to "clean" the area had destroyed the ecosystem in some parts of Prince William Sound.

"The environmental disaster was the cleanup . . ."
UPDATE: Don Surber reports that Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS Gulf Coast) has reported, after flying over the oil slick, that the oil release is not as bad he first thought and that the floating oil may break up before reaching the coast.

According to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association:
No two oil spills are the same because of the variation in oil types, locations and weather conditions involved. However, broadly speaking, there are four main methods of response.

1. Leave the oil alone so that it breaks down by natural means.
2. Contain the spill with booms and collect it from the water surface using skimmer equipment.
3. Use dispersants to break up the oil and speed its natural bio-degradation.
4. Introduce biological agents to the spill to hasten bio-degradation.
Water in the Gulf is warming at this time of the year, so with the help of the sun, the light crude may evaporate on its own or it may be eaten by bacteria already present in the waters.

Bankrupting America?

H/T: Mark Perry