Daily Archives: June 9, 2010

We’re in the best of hands, II

Kevin Costner tells Congress how to solve oil mess.


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FBI funded van der Sloot’s last killing

We’re in the best of hands

They gave him $25,000 and then forgot to arrest him.


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Hey – it’s under control

Three days after the oil well explosion, the Dutch offered to help. BP and our government said, “no thanks”. Too bad.

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.

U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

The uncoordinated response to an offer of assistance has become characteristic of this disaster’s response. Too often, BP and the government don’t seem to know what the other is doing, and the response has seemed too slow and too confused.

Federal law has also hampered the assistance. The Jones Act, the maritime law that requires all goods be carried in U.S. waters by U.S.-flagged ships, has prevented Dutch ships with spill-fighting equipment from entering U.S. coastal areas.

“What’s wrong with accepting outside help?” Visser asked. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands.”

Even if, three days after the rig exploded, it seemed as if the Dutch equipment and expertise wasn’t needed, wouldn’t it have been better to accept it, to err on the side of having too many resources available rather than not enough?

BP has been inundated with well-intentioned cleanup suggestions, but the Dutch offer was different. It came through official channels, from a government offering to share its demonstrated expertise.

Many in the U.S., including the president, have expressed frustration with the handling of the cleanup. In the Netherlands, the response would have been different, Visser said.

There, the government owns the cleanup equipment, including the skimmers now being deployed in the Gulf.

“If there’s a spill in the Netherlands, we give the oil companies 12 hours to react,” he said.

If the response is inadequate or the companies are unprepared, the government takes over and sends the companies the bill.

While the skimmers should soon be in use, the plan for building sand barriers remains more uncertain. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal supports the idea, and the Coast Guard has tentatively approved the project. One of the proposals being considered was developed by the Dutch marine contractor Van Oord and Deltares, a Dutch research institute that specializes in environmental issues in deltas, coastal areas and rivers. They have a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

That proposal, like the offer for skimmers, was rebuffed but later accepted by the government. BP has begun paying about $360 million to cover the costs. Once again, though, the Jones Act may be getting in the way. American dredging companies, which lack the dike-building expertise of the Dutch, want to do the work themselves, Visser said.

“We don’t want to take over, but we have the equipment,” he said.

While he battles the bureaucracy, the people of Louisiana suffer, their livelihoods in jeopardy from the onslaught of oil.

“Let’s forget about politics; let’s get it done,” Visser said.


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Useless information

Cos Cobber sends along this link to a Greenwich Time article on “solar energy”

Young skaters maneuvering the puck past a defender may not care about how the electricity is generated at the Stamford Twin Rinks on Hope Street in Stamford, but they should know that it’s helping freeze the ice beneath their feet.

Management of the rinks recently celebrated completion of the $2.4 million project, which involved the installation of a 305.76-kilowatt solar-panel system that will supply about 15 percent of the annual electricity needs of the two rinks, a fitness center, kitchens and offices.

That translates into significant savings, considering that the rinks’ electricity bill averages $25,000 to $30,000 a month, said Mark Zito, general manager of the facility, whose owner is a group of investors headed by Richard Shriner Jr.

The installation of the panels on the 14-year-old structure was done with the assistance of a $1.5 million grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and its On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation Program, and a 30 percent tax incentive from the federal government.

“”This is one of the largest projects in Fairfield County,” Isban said, noting that installation of the panels took more than 90 days. “Should they produce more energy than they use, the excess will be sold back to CL&P (Connecticut Light & Power) through a process called net metering. They were very smart to do it when they did. It’s sort of like being a pioneer.”

State assistance for future commercial projects is on hold after Gov. M. Jodi Rell recently vetoed a bill that would have continued full-scale funding for the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, he said.

“It would have been a tremendous shot in the arm for the state,” Isban said, adding that the organization continues to receive funding for projects through contributions from Northeast Utilities’ ratepayers.

By my math, $30,000 per month adds up to an annual bill of $360,000 per year. Fifteen per cent of that amounts to $54,000.  That could be a significant saving, but it depends on what we taxpayers are contributing in the way of increased rates. Unfortunately, the Greenwich Time reporter didn’t ask what that contribution is, so we readers have no way of knowing whether this is a boondoggle or a saving. My vote is for boondoggle.


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This is cool – Republicans may soon have two Indian-American Governors

I know we’re all racist pigs, but we’re still ahead of the Demmerkrats. Our country could soon be in good hands. Bring it on!

Nikki Haley

No, not chicken-feather Indians: Dot-head Indians!


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Attention, Greenwich residents: don’t conduct your trysts in New York!

Safe (and legal) tennis instruction

Woman charged with adultery in Batavia. I’m pretty sure Connecticut no longer prosecutes this act, but if it does then, judging from what I hear from rumors, there’s a large segment of Greenwich’s adult population that is in jeopardy. Bored housewives and their club’s young tennis pro? Whoo boy!

Update: Thanks to Instapundit, I now learn that it’s a felony offense to seduce an unmarried woman!

As a bachelor, I seem to have limited options here.


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A year-and-a-half in, I believe we have Obama’s measure

Harvard’s left (is there still a right up there?)  has grabbed hold of our country – the question is, can they hold on to it?

Dorothy Rabinowitz:

One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street.

We have, thanks to our elected leader, a Justice Department stuffed with apologists for terrorists.

Consider the hapless Eric Holder, America’s attorney general, confronting the question put to him by Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas) of the House Judicary Committee on May 13.

Did Mr. Holder think that in the last three terrorist attempts on this soil, one of them successful (Maj. Nidal Hasan’s murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, preceded by his shout of “Allahu Akbar!”), that radical Islam might have played any role at all? Mr. Holder seemed puzzled by the question. “People have different reasons” he finally answered—a response he repeated three times. He didn’t want “to say anything negative about any religion.”

We have a socialist nominated for director of Obama’s national health care program.

Donald Berwick: “Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well.”

We have a State Department who roams the world advocating that wealthy people pay their “fair share” of taxes – meaning, of course, higher taxes.

We have a Homeland Security Department who eschews the word “terrorism” in favor of “man-caused disaster”.

We have a president who will speak to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “with no preconditions” yet refuses to speak with the head of BP.

Etc. November, 2012 can’t come soon enough.


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Good news, bad news

Mortgage applications at all-time low. But lack of demand has driven mortgage rates to an incredibly low level, at least for this writer, whose first mortgage in 1981 was 14.5%, and housing prices are now well below 2005 levels. So cheap mortgages, less expensive houses, it might make sense to buy something. Depending, of course, on how you read the market. I believe we’ll see increased interest rates in the future, but that will probably cause house prices to fall further. So what to do? My suggestion is to find a bargain that you like and buy it now, but stay away from houses priced as though 2007 is returning any time soon.


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