Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Insider's Update on the Gulf Oil Spill

This just came in over the transom from a trusted source:

 Subject: An update on the Gulf
Am still going back and forth to Dallas keeping my toe in the oil business.  However, fortunately, I am working on a deepwater project in offshore Ghana and will not be sticking my toe into the Gulf of Mexico.  Thus, I will still miss the Thursday luncheons for the foreseeable future.
I know many of you are curious as to what is going on in the Gulf, as I am sure you are aware the politicians and press are not well informed and have no interest to be well informed.  I have attached a MS Word file with a sketch of the two relief wells which are being drilled as fast as they can to "kill" the blowout well - Macondo #1.  It is a good status of the two wells, one of which is closing in on the blowout.  When I finish my Dallas gig, I will do a lunch presentation on the incident. 
Also, let me share some statistics and personal thoughts which can put this well into perspective.
a.  The U.S. has more than 525,000 producing oil wells in the country.  With about 5 million barrels per day produced in the U.S., this means that the average well in the U.S. produces less than 10 barrels per day and included in that average are prolific wells in Alaska and the Gulf which are capable of producing much more.  I would bet the median oil rate of a U.S. well is less than 3 barrels per day.  More than 31% of the oil wells in the U.S. according to the DOE produce less than one barrel per day!
b.  With the Macondo well belching an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day means the Macondo well is capable of flowing more than 4,000 to 5,000 average wells in the U.S!  Is there no surprise that fields like this one are the prize being sought after by the industry which cannot drill in shallow waters or much of anywhere in the U.S. anymore?  This one well produces about 1% of the entire U.S. production rate and is most likely the most productive well in the country!  And probably one of the most productive wells in the world.  It is too bad that this field will most likely never be produced following shutting and abandoning the Macondo #1 blowout.
c.  The only way the Macondo well can be stopped is by intersecting the well with the relief wells being drilled now.  If the "junk shot" or "top kill" method would have stopped the flow or the blowout preventer finally closed, the pressured oil would have just ruptured the shallow geological formations and oil would have been coming up in geysers all over the place for miles and then the only way to stop the flow would have been to allow the reservoir to deplete.  And this could have been years!  Thus, it is a "good" thing that the "top kill" failed.
d.  This next statistic is not to bash our president; but to put things into perspective:  When Air Force One is in the air, it consumes jet fuel (which incidentally comes from the Gulf of Mexico) at the rate of 5 gallons per mile as indicated in data released by the govt.  And anywhere the pres goes, there are at least two jets of equal size carrying his cars, golf carts, secret service, guests, press, etc.  If you make the calculations, this means that when the president takes a junket in Air Force One, he and his entourage are consuming the entire oil production of approximate 450 average oil wells in the U.S.!
e.  Tony Hayward, the beaten down CEO of BP, is a friend of mine who I worked with on our project in Colombia in 1994-1997.  He was the Exploration Manager for BP's Bogota office.  He has a PhD in geoscience with highest honors and has more 28 years experience in technical and management positions with BP, which is a heck of a lot more applicable to his job than community organizing.  It would be impossible for him to know the level of detail of what happened on that rig; and Rep. Waxman's questioning just revealed the U.S. government's requirement to place personal blame and focus on something other than the administrations failings on a number of fronts.  I contend that the pollution in the Gulf is horrific; but the Gulf will recover.  However, the government's overreach into the oil industry as a result of the incident will do more harm to the country in the long run.  Waxman et. al. will deal more harm to the country which will never be cleaned up.  My advice to Tony Hayward when he met with the congressional panel, and his other public appearances, would have been to have a good speech writer and use a teleprompter.  That way he could have kept his foot out of his mouth and look more like a competent chief executive.
f.  The blowout was clearly caused by human error and an unintentional accident and combination of unforeseen failures of protective devises which all have levels of redundancy.  It is very analogous to the loss of the space shuttle Challenger which was destroyed because of seal failure of the solid fuel rocket booster.  When that happened, in spite of engineer in Morton Thiokol (manufacturer of the solid fuel booster) pleading to stop the launch following freezing weather at the launch pad; I did not see the head of NASA butchered in front of Congress and asked to jump on a sword.  BP has assured everybody that all legitimate claims will be honored; but I heard today that a homeowner was asking reimbursement for loss of home value as surely his failure to sell his home is the fault of BP.  Am sure the hookers in New Orleans will charge BP for the loss of income from the rig workers who will be unemployed for six months.  How much of the $20 billion will go to ACORN?  Will be interesting to follow this money trail........
Cheers, [redacted for privacy purposes]

Don't plug it; tap it and put it back into production.  The hell with the appearance of doing that; we can't afford to give up such a productive source of oil.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Sears used to be a great store.  Tools, appliances, crappy clothes, cheap suits.  It was always a sort of slightly upscale K-Mart.  Now, they are both owned by the same company and Sears is selling this:




Hey Sears!  I make one of these nearly every day.  I don’t need to buy a fake one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Fear for Our Country’s Future…


…or, “How This Happened”:



OK, I am taking an online class through the local community college on computers and the Interwebs.  One of the components of the class is a Discussion Board.  The prof poses an issue and we are to respond, and, she hopes, have a meaningful discussion.  The first prompt from her was this:

PROMPT:  Gossip Sites...
A recent trend on college campuses today is the use of campus gossip sites, where students can post campus related news, rumors, and basic gossip. These sites were originally set up to promote free speech and to allow participants to publish comments anonymously without repercussions from school administrators, professors, and other officials. However, they are now being used to post vicious comments about others.

  • What do you think of campus gossip sites?
  • Is it ethical to post a rumor about another individual on these sites? How would you feel if you read a posting about yourself on a gossip site?
  • School administrators cannot regulate the content since the sites are not sponsored or run by the college, and federal law prohibits Web hosts from being liable for the content posted by its users. Is this ethical?
  • What if a posting leads to a criminal act, such as a rape, murder, or suicide? Who, if anyone, should be held responsible

I read the first few posts and my jaw dropped.  I discussed with her the willingness of nearly all of the respondents to simply ignore or repeal the First Amendment and throw offenders in jail.  Her response was that “they’re young”.  And then she told me to “stir things up.”  So I did.  Here is part of the result.  You will be shocked at the complete lack of thought and working knowledge of how this country works.

Discussion begins:

Thread: Free speech
Post: Free speech
Author: DaveyNC

Posted Date: June 3, 2010 1:26 PM
Status: Published

What about free speech? I find it very hard to believe that so many who have posted so far are willing to turn over their right to free speech to the federal government. While malicious gossip is certainly not protected by the 1st Amendment, why would you want to allow the government to decide what is and is not gossip?

Should a government censor punish someone who, for instance, posts that "So-and-so is pregnant!" How would the censor (a horrific notion) decide whether that is gossip or true? Demand a pregnancy test?

There are libel and slander laws to take care of this sort of thing. So long as "gossip sites" remain within those bounds, the government needs to stay out of it. If you fear gossip, then do not engage in it yourself or frequent websites that do not moderate comments.

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: Future Voter

Posted Date: June 6, 2010 1:24 AM
Status: Published

There was a big deal a while back where chinese actor Jackie Chan was asked his oppinion on Chinese democracy. He replied that some people can not handle freedom. While his words were taken out of context, he was referring to previous situations where his people were in a state of turmoil and needed much of their god given rights revoked. That's where such strict laws originated in their country. When people hide behind the constitution to defend their less than noble actions, I always feel like the constitution needs a revision. Convicted sex offenders are required to identify themselves as such by law, but neo Nazi webmasters can anonymously preach hate to the masses while protected by the constitution. These days the constitution only protects the corrupt. I for one agree with Jackie, the misuse of anything can lead to turmoil, freedom of speech is no different.

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: DaveyNC

Posted Date: June 6, 2010 8:38 AM
Status: Published

But Future Voter, you understand that an over-riding purpose of the Constitution in general and the First Amendment in particular is to protect unpopular speech, right? Isn't the essence of a democracy the ability to speak out against the majority? Turmoil is what a democracy is all about.

And you just violated Godwin's law.

I simply reject the notion that the constitution "only protects the corrupt" nor do I accept that some people can not handle freedom. Who should make the decision about who gets to be free and who doesn't? I don't think you realize it, but you just advocated reinstituting slavery. I'd hate to live in a country where someone else decides how much freedom I get to enjoy.

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: DaveyNC

Posted Date: June 6, 2010 2:43 PM
Status: Published

What you are telling me is that slaves had their rights revoked due to their own misuse of them? That's a very interesting take on things. I would be very grateful to find out what exactly they did to deserve such action. Surely you have proof. I understand what the first amendment was meant for, but no one can refute the fact that since it's conception it has been counter productive. You can really only benifit if you're trying to beat a prison sentence or cause harm to others. If you can censor my music and films, why protect slanderers and the like?

The amount of freedom you have is already in question. Try screaming fire in a packed movie theatre. See how well that works out for you. The general consensus is that if your words cause a stampede of frightened people and someone gets hurt, it's your fault. By the way, I laughed out loud at Godwin's Law. If I had a dime for every time I was called a racist in a debate(not saying you did of course, just comparing it to the use of Nazi's in debates), even about something as trivial as the Tiger Woods scandal, I would have enough money to build a time machine and go back in time to have the word Nazi removed from the English language. Wow, I used Nazi three times in two replies...I must be a bad debator according to Godwins Law. I simply gave an example of the double standard, next time I'll use one of the other hate groups that hide behind the constitution.

The constitution only protects the corrupt. I will stand by that until I see otherwise.

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: DaveyNC

Posted Date: June 6, 2010 9:08 PM
Status: Published

I am stunned at your assessment of the first amendment as counter-productive.  Speechless.  Without the first amendment, we would have something like Al Jazeera, the Arab TV network that only broadcasts what its leaders tell it to.  The only thing, other than the Constitution itself, that holds the government at bay is our freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  There is no freedom of speech in places like North Korea, Cuba and China and those people live in squalor.

I didn't say that slaves had their rights revoked due to their own misuse.  You did, when you quoted Jackie Chan.  This statement, " He replied that some people can not handle freedom. While his words were taken out of context, he was referring to previous situations where his people were in a state of turmoil and needed much of their god given rights revoked." seems to advocate eliminating rights for those who cannot handle them.  Who decides who should have their rights revoked?  You?  Me?

The rights that the Constitution protect are "inalienable"; that is, we are born with them, they are not given to us by the government.  And since the govt. didn't give them to us, they can't revoke them.  The government, by definition, is the only entity that could be guilty of censorship and it cannot censor your music, your movies, your speech and any protests you may lodge against the government.   That is a right that is nearly unique in all the world and must be preserved at all costs.

I've run too long here, but I remain stunned by your characterization of the First Amendment.  Let me suggest a book for you, and anyone else in here who may be thinking the same:

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: Future Voter

Posted Date: June 7, 2010 7:25 PM
Status: Published

It would in fact be a government matter to decide to revise the constitution. I mean, the complaints of citizens like myself aren't enough to fix anything, and I do mean fix, as many of the amendments are themselves broken.

When you say that it sounds like I'm advocating slavery, that my ideas resemble other countries with very little rights to begin with then it is clear my message was ill recieved. Our "system" allows convicted fellons to have their rights revoked. Not because we are run by bad people, but because these men/women deserved it. There is no freedom of assembly in prison, no right to bear arms, and certainly no freedom. It wouldn't be a stretch to force shock jocs and anyone else making a blatant attempt to cause an uproar to watch their speech closely or prepare to have access to online forums and other means of communication monitored or revoked without reconsideration.

As for who would decide who is punished, yes, you and I would. The people. Let's say you ran a sports fan web page where members of your page constantly bash other teams or make accusations that a certain team cheats. With my law in place citizens could file a complaint and this would be the last online site you ever ran, all because patrons of your site were expressing their "inalienable rights." You can say you don't like a team, but to say that team sucks would be a violation punishable by law.

One more thing, nothing is inalienable, not in this world.

Reply Quote Mark as Unread

Thread: Free speech
Post: RE: Free speech
Author: DaveyNC

Posted Date: June 8, 2010 10:52 PM
Status: Published

I am simply gobsmacked by your response, Future Voter.

I refer to the second paragraph, last sentence in your comment above. You just advocated that the US use the exact same approach to online communications that China, North Korea and Cuba use, as well as nearly every dictatorship on the planet. All of these countries are among the very worst violators of human rights in the world. Why on earth would you want to place the US in such company? One of the things, maybe the main thing, that keeps citizens in the US safe is the ability to speak out against tyranny without fear of being silenced or punished by the government.

And then you go on to advocate, in the third paragraph, the revocation of an individual's right to free speech and ability to earn a living in his chosen field merely because someone filed a complaint. You have completely nullified due process of law over trash talking on a sports site.

It is not a government (if by "government”, you mean the Federal government) matter to revise the Constitution. That can only be done via the passing of amendments by the various States. The amendments can only be passed, or ratified, by the States via a vote or a convention that they hold. This requires the electorate to approve. See here:

I'd like to think that you are simply having a hard time expressing your views. But I don't think so.


So that’s it.  That is truly the Future Voter.  We gotta hope that this happens soon:



Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thanks, Senator Hagan!

Senator Hagan:

Thank you so much for the "Carolina Connection Special Edition: Health Care Facts" newsletter that you sent out earlier this evening.  Since I wrote you several times during the debate over the Health Insurance Reform bill, I appreciate seeing an update from you.  I know that you worked hard to put this together.  Alas, I see that you have called your newsletter "...Health Care Facts" when in fact, it appears to be largely about Health Insurance.  Well, except for the flu shots.

I thought that I would provide you with some additional information that Mssrs. Emanuel and Axelrod may not have provided to you.  In fact, I have reproduced your newsletter below and you will see my responses in blue.

Carolina Connection Special Edition: Health Care Facts newsletter begins:

In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

became law. So much information is circulating about health care reform, and sorting through it can be overwhelming and frustrating. This newsletter will help explain what the law does and what it means for you and your family. Other useful information about health care reform can be found


Starting in the First Six Months...

  • Insurers are prohibited from dropping coverage when you get sick.  Sounds great!  How will that affect premium costs? 
  • Children with preexisting conditions will not be barred from coverage.  Excellent, I'm OK with this in principle, but again, how will this affect costs?  My expectation is that the insurers will estimate the added cost of a known condition and have no choice but to price it into their policies.
  • Young adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents' plans.  As a father, I appreciate the sentiment, but I would prefer that my daughter learn to provide for herself.
  • No more lifetime caps on coverage.  Well, this can only drive costs up.  You just invited the whole country to an all-you-can-eat buffet.  I will make a further projection; costs will rise rapidly to extract as much revenue as possible in as short a time as possible.
  • Seniors hitting the "donut hole" will receive a $250 check.  Well, OK, the whole donut hole thing was dumb, anyway.  But why a check?  Why not just close the hole?  Why add the administrative cost of cutting a check for several million people?
  • Eligible small business owners can receive a tax credit to help pay for health insurance premiums. I have a better idea:  cut taxes permanently in stead of "allowing" business owners to get a credit.  To a small business, cash flow is king and you are forcing small businesses to flow the cash out up to 16 months before they get the credit back.  That's called negative cash flow.  Why not a tax cut, which would create positive cash flow?


Middle Class Families

For middle class families, reform means:

  • Tax credits will be available for almost one million North Carolinians to make health insurance more affordable. Again, I would rather have a permanent tax cut, not a deferred tax credit.  Cash flow is important to families, too.
  • As many as 2.3 million children in NC will no longer be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition.  Who pays for that?
  • Preventive care services, including well-child visits and annual flu shots, will be available at no extra cost.  OK, I'm calling an intentional foul here.  "At no extra cost"?  How do you provide all that for 2.3 million without incurring extra cost?  Will the doctors and vaccine makers simply donate their goods and services?  Somebody, somewhere will have to pay for that.  Who do you think that will be?  I deem this an intentional foul because I think you know that but you are waiving that phrase in front of less-careful readers.  After all, 24% of Americans think that "the government has money on its own without using taxpayer money".  See column here

    for source.  You are playing those people for suckers by saying "no extra cost".

Click here

to read more about the benefits for North Carolina's hardworking families.




For NC seniors, the new law means:

  • 247,000 NC seniors in the prescription drug "donut hole" will receive a $250 check this year.  See previous.
  • The donut hole will be incrementally closed over the next several years until it is completely closed by 2020.  See previous, though this will also increase cost.  Still, the donut hole was silly to begin with.
  • 1.4 million NC Medicare beneficiaries will have annual wellness visits and preventive services at no extra cost.  AAARRRGGGHHHH!  There you go again!

Click here

to learn more about the benefits for North Carolina's seniors.


Small Businesses

  • Over 120,235 NC small businesses are eligible for tax credits to make premiums more affordable. Businesses won't have to choose between providing insurance and cutting jobs.  Wrong.  We need permanent tax CUTS, not credits, for cash flow reasons.  Worse, these credits phase out with the 26th employee.  The marginal cost for that 26th employee will be so great, that companies will be very hesitant to get much bigger than 20-24 employees.  Here, look at this short paper

    (PDF) for an excellent summary of this effect.

Click here

to read about how the new law will support small business owners.


Health Care Reform and NC Job Growth

  • By slowing the health care cost growth rate and allowing businesses to expand employment, researchers anticipate that NC will benefit from as many as 7,100 - 11,400 new jobs per year over the next ten years.  Well, that isn't very many in a state of nearly 10 million.  No less an expert than Fed chairman Ben Bernanke testifying before Congress on April 14 said that job growth will be "slack"

    for years.  And then there is this, from CNN, headlined "Say Goodbye to Full Time Jobs with Benefits"


For more information about how the law improves care and reduces costs, click here



Hagan Accomplishments

Senator Hagan included the following provisions in the new law:

  • Rural Physicians Pipeline Act to address the shortage of primary care doctors in rural communities.  Good luck, hope it works.  But since I read that many doctors are choosing to get out of the business, I wonder where we will find the doctors we will need to treat the extra 30 million people that will be put on the plan.
  • Catalyst to Better Diabetes Care Act to move toward reducing the diabetes epidemic. Exercise and diet.
  • Medication Therapy Management Program (MTM) to save money and help seniors better follow their medication regimens.  Sorry, don't know what this one is.  Are we going to have someone visiting people and checking on their medication regimens?  Really?
  • An amendment with Republican Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to create a regulatory pathway for generic biologics.  Token Republican mention here all the way at the very end of the newsletter.

Senator Hagan, going through this little exercise has really clarified for me something that I knew all along and it is this:  Neither you nor the rest of the Democrats in Washington gave any thought at all on how to pay for this thing.  You have unleashed the law of unintended consequences in a very big way on our country and the effects of this will be with us for decades.  Right now, Canada is looking into ways to move to a more market/consumer driven model.  Britain's health care service is spewing red ink faster than the Deepwater oil well.  The Congressional Budget Office now points out that the bill will NOT hold costs down.  I refer you to the blog of the Director of the CBO, found here.

  It would have been nice to know this before you voted for the bill, don't you think?

See you at the ballot box!