What the hell is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

Someone help me out here: I read with great interest Walt O’Brien’s analysis of WWII oil tanker losses off the U.S. Atlantic coast. They equate to double the current spill in the Gulf of Mexico, every day for six years! And yet, having tried today, I have failed to locate any scientific report detailing the ongoing environmental effects of those spills, sixty-five years after the event.

So how does this become, as a certain Mr. Brucker Bummer puts it, the greatest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history? To be sure, it’s disastrous for those American businessmen on the Gulf Coast whose livelihoods depend on the fisheries, tourism and such trades; but surely U.S. tort law will cover compensation to them, in addition to immediate Federal relief? How is this current environmental disaster (for such it surely is) the worst? Or is this simply a case of a cynical administration in Washington “not letting a good crisis go to waste”?

(Declaration: thirty years ago, as a geology undergraduate, I was for a brief period a trainee—yanks would call me an intern—attached to the Coal Division of—you guessed it… BP. Does this make me an oil shill?)

P.S. If you haven’t heard already, the Express Your Disqust LibertyGibbert writing competition is now open. Keyboards at the ready!

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129 Responses to What the hell is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

  1. Old Toad says:

    Although it distresses me to see James’s blog denuded of some of its most eloquent and best informed contributors, they can hardly be blamed for visiting this one, whilst ‘moderation’ over there is so arbitrary and inconsistent. If we only knew who dictates the perameters and why, life would be that much easier.
    Meanwhile ‘Amerloque’s’ message must continue to be hammered home.

  2. Amerloque says:

    AGW, aka “manmade global warming”, is a scientific, intellectual, political, financial and moral scam. The climate has been changing for millions upon millions of years.

    The IPCC is the biggest perpetrator of scientific fraud that the world has ever seen.

    Individuals and organizations involved in this fraud should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Civil suits should be filed to recover grant money and subsidies given to individuals and organizations participating in the fraud.

    Now is not the time to let up !

    (grin)

    Amerloque 20100616 12h43 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  3. manonthemoor says:

    For ALL

    For antone who missed it here is the link to the Alex Jones / JD broadcast about the oil last Thursday

    http://www.alexjonespodcasts.com/June2010/

    The .mp3 is 51Megs and James strarts after about 50 mins for 30 mins.

    A must listen andworthy of the Captains best.
    I have NoIdea if it will give NoIdea and ideas.

    manonthemoor 16 June 12.07

  4. manonthemoor says:

    Pardon the typo’s how I hate this current laptop keyboard

  5. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    What the hell is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

    What does Bummer know that we don’t which causes him to describe it so? I know little about how “refined” marine fuels were 70 years ago, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t crude oil.
    In my recent travels in cyber space, thanks to a number of links posted with JD by several dogged adherents on that much-depleted blog, it seems this Gulf catastrophe is unprecedented in it’s scope and “fall-out” on several levels.

    Firstly, as I understand it, only the Russians are drilling to similar depths, but ONLY on land, and have discovered that, contrary to what we were always told about oil being “fossil fuel” as in prehistoric compressed vegetable matter, at such depth this oil is actually a self-replenishing material exuded from the strata of the earth’s crust.

    Besides the oil plumes, a toxic gas plume emanating from the “spill” is posing a serious health threat to people ashore who are already complaining of the stench causing headaches, nausea etc. These gases are highly toxic and carcinogenic including hydrogen sulphide, benzine and ethylfluoro compounds, already present in parts per billion at levels 1000s of times greater than EPA recommended “safe” levels.

    Add to that the reports that there are actually radiating fissures opening up in the seabed, and with the pressures pumping this stuff out at more than three and a half times the usual pressures at a wellhead, there is NO technology that can stop it.

    Now, is this a bunch of scare-mongering by looney-tunes in foil hats or has the Web allowed some oil industry whistleblowers a platform to tell-it-like-it-is when they’d never stand a chance of spilling the beans via the MSM and avoiding National Security legislation?

    It now seems a long time ago that UEA CRU emails appeared on the Web and it was initially dismissed as rubbish. We really have no way of knowing until someone starts telling us a few facts.

    With the great Exxon spill in Alaska, I don’t remember the military lining the coastline to expel all “intruders” and Media. I remember an “army” of workers cleaning up, but no military keeping people away. The Media is now beginning to complain that they can’t get fresh footage of the state of the coast as the same-old same-old vision is wearing a bit thin.

    What the hell is going on in the Gulf of Mexico? Indeed.

  6. msher says:

    If you want speculation about events on the Gulf I offer you the blog “Hillbuzz.” This is blog written by two former staffers of Hilary Clinton who have found themselves moving to the right, because of their increasing disullusionment with the Dems. (They started out a couple of years ago ardent Hillary supporters, and to their own surprize, now find themselves more Palin supporters.) Because of their prior association with the Clintons, the HillBuzz people sometimes get good information. In the blog I am linking to, they write speculation about terrorist activity in the Gulf, and they link to another site which talks about strange and secret U.S. military activity in the Gulf. I don’t find either the hillbuzz material or the linked material substantive or documented enough to rely on, but here it is.

    http://hillbuzz.org/2010/06/11/question-is-the-obama-administration-covering-up-a-muslim-terrorist-attack-on-the-us-at-grand-isle-louisiana/#comments

  7. manonthemoor says:

    Hi Oz Just stuck a nail in the coffin post
    RGDS
    ===============================
    @msher

    Thanks for the link, great work onthe DT site

    manonthemoor 16 June 13:49

  8. NoIdea says:

    Hi Blackswan
    I was listening to a coast to coast broadcast about the gulf with half an ear, I noticed the guy was insistent that the deep drilled oil is definitely not of fossil origin. Twenty minutes later he was twittering on about the volatile organics such as Benzene. So it is not organic, then it is. I think we have to buy the DVD to find out for sure. This same dude was insistent that the only way to save the planet was nuke the gulf!
    Izen raised several good points the other day in response to the theory. I enclose his points here as they seem relevant.
    Several problems with this theory.
    Complex hydrocarbons formed at great depth/pressure would degrade to methane and carbon/CO2 as they rose to shallower/lower pressure depths.
    Oil formation from biological sources can be tracked in geological sediments of different ages and depths.
    Oil contains hydrocarbons which are the known breakdown products of chlorophyll.
    Oil has the reduced Carbon13 isotope ratio that is the fingerprint of biological origin rather than geological/abiogenic origin.
    As a smoker I have always found the Benzene in tobacco smoke adds a certain sweet tang slightly offset by the bitter almond flavour of the cyanide compounds. No wonder Walt is feeling so much better with his pure nicotine hits.
    I am still blaming the Ducky one, I feel all this is a response to those peak oilers. An attempt to show proof positive that there is no shortage. Is this just big oil showing off with a display of look at all our oil?
    NoIdea

  9. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    Just saw a late TV news report on Bummer’s pronouncements on BP. One of them was (paraphrasing) “we don’t have the technology to stop this oil for months, perhaps years”. He didn’t say why. Unprecedented pressure of escaping oil? Multiple fissures? Who knows?

    Some guy was admonishing a BP report that pledged to save the marine life including walruses. “There have not been walruses in the Gulf of Mexico for millions of years”.
    What is BP doing? Cutting and pasting some old Exxon material?

    @msher…….. Thanks for the link. How about that? SWAT teams? The military occupying homes, confiscating cameras and footage.

    It’s not hard to sniff a degree of panic in the wind, from the Administration, the industry and the people asking valid questions and being frustrated by non-replies.

    In that link they ask if Muslim terrorists are operating in the Gulf. Well now, is this the bogey-man that’s going to be trotted out every time they want to justify every action that throws a security cordon around a free people to cover-up their own culpability?

    We watch with interest.

  10. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    @ Noidea 11.50pm

    Hi Noidea,

    Thanks for your reply. I understand what you’re saying but, as I’m not any sort of geologist, I’ve often wondered how one-time forests get to be a mile underground. Maybe I should attend the University of the Third Age and find out. To me, the earth’s crust sounds like a Sarah Lee concoction… they rolled it, and fold it, and rolled it again….

    As for the ciggies…….cough, splutter, hack, hack………
    Is there such a thing as a pure nicotine hit? I’ll have to make some inquiries. Now if I was addicted to heroin, the guvmint would give me a disability pension, absolve me of any obligation to find a job and would pony up with free methadone, for 20 years if I wanted it. However, as it’s only tobacco they decided to tax me into penury to force me to give it away.

    Bit like AGW carbon tax really.

    It’s getting late, the soup’s made, and I’m off to the embrace of my electric blanket.
    G’night all.

  11. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    NoIdea (from previous thread)

    I just popped back to previous to see if there was a response to my tiger snakes………..

    Good grief! Do you know what stifled, strangled shrieks of laughter can do to a swan’s equilibrium in the dead of night? Now I’ve got a headache.

    Should this epic continue? Keep it coming for as long as my packet of aspirin lasts.

    Goodnight again.

  12. NoIdea says:

    I got hold of an interesting paper titled
    “Peak oil in the light of oil formation theories”
    I could not find the link for it at either of the two links referred to in the paper http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/homepage.cws_home
    Or
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/jepo
    I noted with particular interest
    “Production of hydrocarbons occurs through the Fischer-Tropsch-type synthesis between CO2 and H2, the latter formed during serpentization (hydrolysis) of ultramafic rocks rich in Mg and Fe (Pikovskii et al, 2004).”
    The paper finishes with a nice line.
    “As always in the history of science, hopelessness expresses fear of the unknown rather than healthy skepticism.”
    I am now going to be attempting to read “Abiotic formation of hydrocarbons under hydrothermal conditions: Constraints from chemical and isotope data”
    And
    “The evolution of multicomponent systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen-carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum” Apparently also available at the above sites.
    Will I understand any of it?
    NoIdea

  13. msher says:

    manonthemoor and blacksawn tasmania

    I put the link to the hillbuzz site because those guys are considered to have some credibility. BUT I don’t think in this case they have enough information or enough sources, nor does the site they link to, for what they say to be considered anything more than wild speculation. I don’t think speculation is bad thing as long as it is clearly labelled as such. I continue to want to know whether the spill could have been ec0-sabotage, BUT that is only wild speculation with nothing so far to indicate or even suggest that.

  14. manonthemoor says:

    @msher says:
    June 17, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Have you listened to the .mp3 link I posted above, Alex Jones was quoting on the same lines with James.

    There are clearly problems and trouble ahead!

    I am waiting for NoIdea to include analternative in his story which if you missed so far, you are missing a delight (Up to Ch 5 now).
    rgds
    manonthemoor 16 June 16:38

  15. i_was_ferret says:

    NoIdea –
    Do a Google for “Methane-derived hydrocarbons produced under upper-mantle conditions”. Loads of hits. This one was interesting: http://my.opera.com/nielsol/blog/2009/07/28/abiotic-oil
    and
    http://www.gasresources.net/Introduction.htm

    ferret

  16. Amanda says:

    Off topic, but as there is not an ‘Alternative Energy Boondoggle/Nightmare’ thread, and Ozboy thinks the other one is long enough already, I’m posting here.

    The subject is wind turbines used by American wineries. They are said to be prettier, kinder, gentler wind turbines. The claim is made for such in the Wine Spectator (yes) of April 30, 2010. I’ll tell you all most of the relevant details. Hopefully I can also find a photo of the turbine in question so you’ll have a better idea of what’s being lauded. But there’s no getting around the fact that the state of California and the American taxpayer (the Californians are taxed twice over) are paying for this winemaker to have wind-power on his 16-acre winery.

    He meanwhile (one John Sweazey of Anaba Winery) makes out like a bandit: he ‘estimates he will save about $1,000 a year on electricity for his tasting room, offices, case storage and irrigation system. [Nice for some! — But will he actually save that much?] The turbine is connected to the utility grid, so when the wind produces more power than Anaba is using, the excess is sold to the power company, offsetting the winery’s annual bill’.

    Get that? So we the taxpayers are paying him to sell back to us, the taxpayers, what we the taxpayers have largely made possible. What a fantastic scheme — as long as cost means nothing and your name is Fat-Cat Winemaker. As long as green-utopian dreams are the only consequences you care about. As long as you think that truck drivers and dental hygienists should be forking out so that a winery owner living in a California paradise can feel better about himself, cheaply. Fair, reasonable, and progressive? I think not. We’d never have got out of the stone age with this kind of ‘thinking’.

    As my Economics-teacher husband says, if this set-up did not involve supposedly ‘clean energy’, it would be a case of deep corruption, with the government conspiring in an enrichment scheme with a private citizen at the expense of the taxpayers. How is this really any different — apart from the warmist delusions it exploits — from the MP expenses scandal? And notice how, if you have anything to do with oil or high finance, you must be evil if you make profits, especially with government collusion or help, but if you’re a warmist California winemaker, then you’re an environmental prince and it’s all perfectly okay.

    The whole thing stinks. So frankly, I don’t care if the Honig winery’s turbine has smaller sleeker propellers and are ‘really pretty-looking’ (Wine Spectator, p. 16). ‘Visually, they’re not whipping around up high’. Oh well, that makes all the difference then! Here, take another federal tax credit. I am glad to read the assurance that, ‘unlike 150-foot-high’ wind-farm turbines, these blades don’t rotate so fast that birds can’t perceive them (though get back to me on the bird and bat death-rate, will you, guys?), but it seems to me that the less efficient they are… the less efficient they are. You can bet that if turbines are hardly capable of ‘returning power to the grid’, these pretty gentle fairy-land ones are giving us even less bang for our buck than the nasty ones.

  17. Amanda says:

    P. S.

    I should have said ‘taxpayers are paying for this and other winemakers‘, even though Mr Sweazey is the one I focus on. Honig is of course a separate winery, which ‘has applied for a USDA Rural Energy for America Program grant that could cover 25 percent of the cost. In addition, it is relying on a California Energy Commission rebate equal to 20 percent of the project cost, a 30 percent federal tax credit and accelerated depreciation’.

    Question: How exactly does a winery pollute the environment, and how does giving them these windfalls help the country as a whole?

    Follow-up question: What the hell is wrong with nuclear power?

  18. Amerloque says:

    Well, well … how so very surpising …

    “Study finds biomass power not carbon neutral

    June 11, 2010 12:04 PM PDT

    Forested regions around the world are pursuing biomass as a renewable energy source but a study finds that the carbon footprint from burning biomass can be worse for global warming than coal.

    The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences on Thursday published the findings of a six-month study to measure the greenhouse gas impacts of using biomass, which, in many cases, does not meet claims of being “carbon neutral” over short periods of time. … ///

    http://tinyurl.com/27azfn9

    Amerloque 18h26 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  19. Amerloque says:

    Hi Amanda

    on June 17, 2010 at 2:11 am

    /// … these pretty gentle fairy-land ones are giving us even less bang for our buck …/…

    Is the guy running some kind of “gay” brothel as well as a winery ? (grin)

    Amerloque 18h22 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  20. Amanda says:

    Amerloque: ha ha! Yes I see now the unintended overtones….

  21. NoIdea says:

    Hi Ferret.
    Disturbed minds think alike, I was just heading to
    http://www.gasresources.net/AlkaneGenesis.htm (another JFK paper!)
    Is it just him doing all these papers?
    NoIdea

  22. fenbeagle says:

    i_was_ferret
    hi….I’ve tried to answer your NETA MW question on the previous thread.

  23. Those WW II tanker losses do not include losses of combat vessels, losses of colliers, nor of life, either. The figures given cover Pacific losses which were substantial as well.

    In theory then, I suppose, Hiroshima and Nagasaki ought to have been permanently abandoned, by today’s standards.

    Once upon a time, I saw someone combing the blades of grass on base with a comb to make sure they stood up straight. It was happy Mr. Drill Instructor’s idea for dealing with an insubordinate recruit LOL! Seemed to work okay.

    Apparently, whole nations are being bamboozled by their elected officials into doing the same thing.

    Maybe Cuba or Chavez were fancying their chances, or the dope dealers who are feeling crowded by the USS Spirit, that new Rolls Royce powered high speed US Navy Deathstar for doper speedboats. Unlike with more forthcoming earlier US regimes, we will probably never know.

  24. Ah, to be eighteen again, on the USS Spirit in the Caribbean, the fastest warship in the world, as a 25 or 30 mm chaingun operator, chasing doper vessel deka-dekastanis at 60 knots and giving them a squirt of two of Federal Arms’ finest with great vigour and regularity.

  25. manonthemoor says:

    El Commandante Bazoooka Brains says:
    June 17, 2010 at 4:29 am

    I had noidea you had a birthday coming up!

    There is a late present in the post

  26. i_was_ferret says:

    Oz – How about a separate thread for “The end of the beginning”? Put all chapters in it?

    NoIdea – Absolutely excellent – more required!

    enbeagle – thanks – does look like just Scotland. Is there anywhere that outputs the live stats for the other windmills?

    Cheers
    ferret

  27. manonthemoor says:

    @ i_was_ferret
    June 17, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I support the idea of a thread for the ‘End of the Beginning’ just as long as its not the beginning of the end.

    Bur perhaps ozboy has NoIdea (little grin)

  28. crownarmourer says:

    blibbertyfibberts test.

  29. crownarmourer says:

    Finally I can post again, I was trying to remember what I had said to get blocked after a brew too many last night.

  30. manonthemoor says:
    June 17, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Roger that, over and out :>) Ho, ho, ho! Many thanks!

    Ferret, to make life a bit easier, if you look to the right on the column, for each graph and data entry at the wind sites there is a big baby blue button labeled INFORMATION, which explains each data entry. I wouldn’t be so straightforward about bringing you up to speed on these buttons, except that I missed them entirely myself after trying to figure things out for a half hour or so LOL!

    The magnetic force field which interferes with you being able to see those blue buttons is the same one in effect when you go looking for the power button on your new computer the moment you bring it home from the store.

    crownarmourer says:
    June 17, 2010 at 8:00 am

    There you go, BUI again (blogging under the influence). It’s a good thing computers don’t have engines, tires and steering wheels.

    Now that my brain is completely ruined from buying “Team America World Police” last month (the bazooka rocket is there only to stop brain cell leakage), I thought I would finish the job by buying “Tropic Thunder.” Both seem somehow on topic at this moment in time LOL!

    More IMHO speculation from Behind the Beyond from Exclamation Mark and the Mysterians: you don’t suppose the 20 bil stash Mr. Big at BP is an indirect down payment from Queen Ka-Moron the Last in the form of paidup loan insurance to cover a tril in a direct discreet loan from Uncle Sugar to bail out the Ewe, do you? That’s how adults would take care of the Depression which is pending otherwise without making a fuss and mountains of needless paperwork.

    Sorry to mention the “a” word. I know they are out of fashion.

    I also think the troops around the Gulf are to keep other morons from dumping fifty billion tonnes of chemicals into the water then demanding BP “cover their Gulf-dependent economic losses.” That’s how the South thinks and works, if you can accuse the South of thinking and working, which is a bit of a stretch. My wish upon a Disney star is that it is Mr. “I So Ronery” behind it all so we can deliver a Happy Birthday Surprise to North Korea. Excuse me, that’s North Kolea.

  31. Holy cow, guys and gals. This is a definitive report of the extent of current undersea oil pollution threats from ships torpedoed or otherwise sunk during WW II worldwide.

    I really distributed a very conservative set of numbers for the total amount of oil tonnage sunk during the Big One. Check this out.

    http://www.seaaustralia.com/documents/The%20Global%20Risk%20of%20Marine%20Pollution%20from%20WWII%20Shipwrecks-final.pdf

    Mr. Obama tends to somewhat slightly exaggerate on occasion, don’t you think? Or not? LOL!

    BTW, there may be NOW sitting on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico many thousands of tonnes of oil in torpedoed WW II oil tankers and other vessels that are real threats. I didn’t read the full report, so I do not know and therefore cannot say. Enemy subs did get that close in, though.

    How close in?

    Golden Gate Park in San Francisco actually got shelled by a Japanese submarine while people were having happy picnic munchies on a Sunday during WW II. No one was hurt, except maybe a Japanese officer or two pulled a muscle from laughing too hard. I like to think there is an old Japanese papa-san in Tokyo or Kyoto laughing about it with his great grandkids while watching John Belushi’s much underrated movie “1941,” which is still hailed by professional choreographers as one of the great dance films of all time, technically.

  32. Pointman says:

    Line of Descent

    Pour les trois amis

    Chapter 1

    Coole, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland

    The small village of Coole lay on the north west coast of Ireland, on a flat rocky peninsular that jutted out defiantly into the Atlantic like a plucky bantamweight’s chin. From there came the ferocious winter storms that crashed ashore against its granite foundations like the end of creation. They had never managed to overcome it, never managed to smash it and suck the shattered remains back out to sea. It lay huddled, protected by stone walls and slate roofs while the storms shaved the shoreline of everything, living or dead, with a ferocity beyond description.
    Its predominant colours were grey and deep dark blue, the colours of the mossy stone the houses were built from and the local slate used to roof them. It lay spread, like an untidy fan down to the sea front. Through it ran the main street, down to the small stone jetty that had served the fishermen when there had still been fish off the coast. That was all history now. Left to the factory ships and the deep sea trawlers. All that remained were a few small row boats used to empty the lobster pots of their contents for sale to the big hotels down the coast.
    The sea front was the centre of the place. It was where the pub and scattering of shops were. Where the occasional tourist came to buy a stamp for a postcard or have a drink and look out to sea while they downed it. The small village contained little of interest to them and was not particularly bothered in return. Life in it ticked over in its own well worn grooves, modest but industrious.
    Across the road from the hardware shop, Bingham watched through binoculars as the shop door opened and a bearded emaciated man emerged into the chilly winter morning. He walked to an old and battered car parked in front of the shop. He limped heavily and had the hunched over posture of the lifelong sufferer of bad health, that Bingham knew him to be. He paused for moment, rooting in his pocket for the keys of the car, taking the opportunity to look about him. His dark eyes flicked from left to right, missing nothing.
    Bingham smiled as he leaned back from the window to minimise the chance of detection by those sharp eyes. It was a mannerism he recognised. The casual but automatic alertness that separated the hunters and their quarry from ordinary people. Bingham was the hunter and the man below was his prey but they shared certain habits. Never waste a moment, always be aware of your surroundings, get to know the mundane because one day you might spot that small tiny difference that could save your life. The trainers had hammered that lesson into Bingham day after day until it had become second nature. Constant and unremitting suspicion became your way of life in order to safeguard your life. There were no days off nor anyone who was not a potential threat. A world in which there were no innocent remarks nor harmless people. It was very democratic, everyone and everything was worthy of suspicion.
    By the time the man had completed his survey, his hand emerged from his pocket with a bunch of keys. After a brief interval of fumbling, he unlocked the car and got in awkwardly. The starter motor turned over with an asthmatic whine until the engine caught and burst into life with a small cloud of blue smoke, fracturing the stillness of the early morning.
    Definitely needs a new set of rings, thought Bingham, not for the first time. He had watched the man for nearly two months. As always happens in such situations, you began to know their life intimately. The more you found out about them, the more involved you became. Their worries and concerns gradually became yours. Occasionally you had to resist the ludicrous temptation to go and have a word with them, to put them straight, get their lives into order. Well this one is about to be straightened out, thought Bingham with a touch of regret.
    After a clunk from the gearbox, the man slipped the clutch and the car moved off up the street, heading out of town. Bingham tracked it with the binoculars. Just ahead of the approaching car, stood a woman and two young children, a girl and a boy. They were the only people around that early in the morning. She was holding their hands. They were all lined up looking into the window of a shop. He could see their hot breath fogging it up.
    She was a good looking woman, dressed in a tightly belted mackintosh with a head scarf tied about her head to ward off the biting cold. The children were well wrapped up too, wearing thick quilted anoraks with matching woollen hats and scarves. The girl’s blond hair was plaited into a long ponytail which hung down her back, neatly tied off with a small red ribbon. There was an animated discussion in progress. One of the children, the little boy, was pointing at something in the window. Christmas was approaching.
    As the car drew abreast of them, it exploded with a roar that rocked the houses all around. The body shell disintegrated, showering the vicinity with red hot fragments. Since the car was on their side of the road, the woman and children received the full force of the explosion. It simultaneously shredded them with bits of body work while the blast hurled them through the window, deep into the interior of the shop. It was like a magic trick, thought Bingham. One moment they were standing there, the next they flew, hand in hand through the window. The back blast from the wall of the building blew the remains of the car in the other direction. The chassis crashed to the ground upside down on the opposite side of the street.
    The blast threw Bingham back from the window. Momentarily stunned, he shook himself and scrambled back to it and looked out. Somewhere a burglar alarm had gone off. Its insistent ringing cut through the frozen air ignored. Down below in the street, the remains of the car burned steadily, filling the air with the stench of burning petrol. People began to emerge dazed into the glass strewn street, mostly barefoot in pyjamas and dressing gowns. They helped each other.
    Bingham looked towards the shop where the only evidence of the woman and the children was a crumpled woollen hat lying on the pavement. Oh fuck, he thought despairingly, it had all gone wrong. It wasn’t supposed to have gone off yet. He knew with a dreadful certainty that there would be no survivors and he also knew he would never forget what had happened today, nor his part in it.

    Burham, Kent, England Eight months later

    PC Richards walked along the high street, heading towards the two story detached house that served as Burham’s police station, at the start of another day’s duty. It stood at the edge of the village beside the road leading in to it and like all the other houses in the village, had its own carefully tended square of lawn, delineated by well looked after flower beds. The station Sergeant looked after it in his own time and at his own expense. He was an enthusiastic gardener and lavished as much effort and love on it as he did on his own. He could often be seen working on it, tunic off, sleeves rolled up and wearing old fashioned braces over his blue shirt. On a summer’s evening, he would be there, kneeling down, hard at work with a trowel or hand fork when his shift was over.
    The station could easily be mistaken for just another tidy detached house, except for the traditional blue light over the entrance and the notice board containing the wanted posters, with their grey blocky images of various felons. The pictures were regularly inspected and committed to memory by one or two elderly ladies of the village who felt it their civic duty to help as unpaid auxiliaries in the ceaseless fight against crime. They often discussed the miscreants with the Sergeant as he worked away in the garden, doing his best to humour them without giving offence. Given the village’s rural setting, deep in England’s garden county of Kent, the station was more than large enough to cater for the needs of an area that had not suffered a serious crime incident in living memory.
    That suited Richards fine. He had grown up in the country and welcomed the peace of a posting to a rural patch. Though only out of Hendon, the police training college, a year and a half, he was beginning to acquire the confidence in his abilities that let him do his job without the constant anxiety that had plagued him as a rookie. He had always been that little bit too sensitive. It had worried his instructors and had nearly washed him out of Hendon, but there were two sides to it. It made him a far more caring officer and the fashion for community policing demanded more of its practitioners than the old fashioned but harder virtues. In the end, they had given him the benefit of the doubt, consoling themselves with the thought that they had unleashed worse on the streets.
    Life out here was good, he thought. It was just that bit too far from London, to have suffered from the invasion of the nouveau riche hordes thrown up by the boom times and easy money of the eighties. It was a country area, still predominantly inhabited by country people. What money there was in it, was old and established, free of the pretension and snobbery that characterised the newer variety. Out here, his knowledge of country people and their ways had helped him settle into the local community without more than the usual ripple caused by his calling. He walked with the spring in his step a young man has, who has just met a new girlfriend. Things were looking up on that front as well, he thought, looking forward to their second date that evening.
    He diverted from his course, crossing the high street to enter the only shop in the village. It, as its garrulous proprietor was fond of saying, sold everything from Band-Aids to bananas, when they were in season. That caveat was always added, a habit of honesty on the part of the elderly spinster who had ran it for most of her life. It had become his job to pick up the milk for the station on his way there in the morning. He had started it when a rookie, as a gesture to please, but now it had become a part of his going to work routine. As usual, she had kept a bottle of milk aside for them. They talked and he picked up a newspaper and a pack of cigarettes for the station Sergeant, a heavy smoker who would be running short about now at the end of the long night shift. Fully armed for another days policing, he thought with a wry smile.
    Concluding his chat with the old dear, he left the shop. He smiled as he recalled his Sergeant’s expression for a chat, “keeping your ear to the ground.” As a rookie, the old bugger had invariably asked him that with a straight face when he came on duty. Had he had been keeping his ear to the ground? He recalled his deadly serious replies of yes and cringed ruefully at the memory.
    At first the Sergeant had intimidated him with his years of service and depth of experience, but a bond of affection had grown up between the young policeman and the crusty old Sergeant with his stock of corny expressions, culled from a lifelong love of cowboy movies. Tom Mix, William S Hart and the other heroes of the Sergeant’s long gone youth were by now familiar figures to Richards, who had listened through many a long watch as the Sergeant regaled him with their adventures. He was right though, thought Richards. Keeping in touch was what this job was all about. There was not a person in the village he did not know and they all knew him in return, and liked the young constable.
    He walked up the street and into the police station. The Sergeant was not at his usual place on the front desk, which puzzled him. He walked around behind it and into the office but he wasn’t there either. With growing curiosity, he checked the bathroom and the holding cell with no luck. Everything was quiet. That left the interview room. The door was closed, he noticed.
    He opened it half way and poked his head around it, anxious not to disturb the Sergeant during an interview. The Sergeant lay slumped back in the interviewer’s chair. His head was thrown back over the top of it and his mouth gaped wide, revealing the silver fillings in his molars. A single trickle of blood ran down his cheek from his left eye, spilling down his neck and staining his collar. The blood was black and dried. A pencil stuck out of his eye. Richards stood frozen, halfway into the room. He was going into shock.
    Advancing in a dreamlike trance into the room, he noticed for the first time, the body of PC Levitt laying on the floor beside the table. He knelt down slowly, putting his hand on Levitt’s neck, feeling for a pulse in the carotid artery as he had been trained to do. There was none.
    A feeling of excruciating loneliness crashed down on him, twisting him double onto his knees. His stomach tightened into a painful knot. From between clenched teeth an animal keening sound escaped and he began to rock back and forth, his hand still on Levitt’s neck.

    Pointman

  33. G’day everyone,

    Pointy—a delight to see you back!

    Strewth, with you and NoIdea—maybe the writing competition isn’t broad enough, and I should include a short story division? Now our god-emperor should be starting to get a little nervous 😆

    Speaking of which, I’ve already received some delightful and witty entries for the writing competition. If they are any guide, this one will be spectacular indeed. Keep ’em coming!

    Walt @9:08

    Thanks Walt; you found what I couldn’t—a detailed analysis of the environmental hazards of WWII shipping losses. Bit more significant than Gulf walruses, eh?

    Crown @8:00 am

    Not sure what you did to get your comments held up. Two posts just saying test, no links. Oh well—with three-hourly bottle feeds, you’re unlikely to have to wait too long for me to approve them.

    @Amanda on June 17, 2010 at 2:54 am (previous thread)

    Congratulations Amanda, you’re this blog’s one thousandth comment! Many thanks to all our community for turning LibertyGibbert from nothing to this, in less than a week.

    Back in a few hours—enjoy!

    Ozboy

  34. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    @ i_was_ferret June 17, 2010 at 1:59 am

    G’day ferret,

    Thanks for the link which says (among many other interesting observations)…….

    “The results from the study seem to support the suggestion that hydrocarbons heavier than methane can be produced by abiogenic processes in the upper mantle”.

    Maybe THAT’s what “is going on in the Gulf”.

    Such a scenario renders useless “relief” wells or ANY capping measures with known technology.

    Someone asked the question; “WHY did the US allow such drilling permits at unprecedented depths at sea in the first place? It makes the US Govt equally culpable as BP”.

    Now THAT would really bring the US economy to its knees. No wonder Bummer is relentless in keeping the focus on BP.

    There was a time when one could never imagine the demise of iconic international corporate entities such as PanAm. Remember them? Maybe one day our kids will say “What’s a BP?”

  35. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    Well if Obama kills BP I think revenge will be forthcoming rather quickly any old excuse will do to do the same back to a USA company. Call me Dave could use the loss of taxes as an excuse to bail out of Afghanistan and on our way out please hand over the keys to Diego Garcia then after a quick check wrong bill Obama for the environmental damage no doubt the USA military has done to the place say 20 billion that will do nicely dollars sorry no it’s pounds.

  36. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    check wrong bill Obama for the environmental damage ….should read check round the place and then bill Obama for the environmental damage

  37. Pointman says:

    Chapter 2
    Krupmeyer sat in a booth in the diner, taking occasional sips from a glass of iced tea. It was tasteless and beautifully cold. Outside, the night life of Washington sweltered in the heat of a summer heat wave. People passed by the window, walking with a languid sliding step that was all the clammy heat would allow. He sat by the window, listening to the hum of the air conditioning and enjoying its delicious chill. His large square hands turned the tall glass around absently as he reflected on all the hours he had spent waiting for people. He was a big bulky man whose straight kind face hid a quick and cultured intelligence. It came as a surprise to many who met him. That always irritated him. Big equals dumb. He was tall, well over six foot, but had never acquired that slight stoop that most people of his height did. Instead, he walked around like a latter day Paul Bunyon, shoulders back and spine straight.
    He knew nothing about the person he was due to meet nor what they wanted to see him about. He had developed a phlegmatic view on the worth of mysterious meetings. The area he worked in had more than its fair share of cranks and conspiracy theorists. This meeting had all the hallmarks. A note pushed under the door of his room at the hotel, too secret to be left at reception. No name on it. Just the name of the diner and a time. The one promising item, was that the writer had written the time as twenty hours. That smacked of the military and the military was what Krupmeyer was definitely interested in.
    He was a Special Investigator, working for an American Prisoner of War association, a loose conglomeration of pressure groups that had nothing in common except a belief that there were still American soldiers being held prisoner in Southeast Asia. There was nothing special about the job, he reflected. He had been sucked into it gradually. What had started as an occasional favour, had grown into a full time job, until he had finally folded the shoe string detective agency he had set up after leaving the police. It had taken him all over Asia while he was not camped in Washington, worrying at the edges of the military machine. He had spent the last four years of his life trailing after gossamer scraps of evidence, always on the track of that one piece of irrefutable proof of the existence of American POWs left behind after the war. It had always eluded him. Occasionally, the frustration and hopelessness welled up into a despairing anger that made him reconsider the whole deal. But he had always ridden it out and come back to it. A sucker for punishment, he reflected without humour.
    It was good to be back in America, he thought, remembering the trip to Laos that he had just returned from. He had sat for two weeks in a refugee camp, listening in the heat and squalor to the stories. They were terrible, heart rendering stories that shared only one common denominator. Cruelty. It ran through them, stitching them together into a patchwork quilt, a mosaic, illustrating the agony and chaos that still prevailed in that part of the world.
    After a while you turned off, tuned out the people telling you their story. You had pressed the mute button, all that was left was a face with nervous, desperate eyes and a mouth that moved but magically made no sounds. You were only interested in stories with Americans in them. They had those stories too. Sometimes they just made them up to please him. Sometimes it was obvious they manufactured them for the money they needed so badly. The number of dog eared photographs and battered dogtags that turned up at those meetings attested to their ingenuity and desperation. But just occasionally, a nugget of fact or a faded photograph came through which gave him hope. Then it was all worthwhile. He knew the prisoners existed despite official denials but the evidence, though voluminous, had never been strong enough to crack the whole mess open.
    He had served in Vietnam himself. His superiors in Basic Training had despaired of getting the right amount of aggressiveness out of the personable giant and had instead decided to make him a Medic. There was as much logic to the decision as there was to any military decision of the time and Krupmeyer had gone along with it. He had no choice, after all. A couple of weeks in the bush had been enough to change his mind completely.
    When the other grunts lay exhausted after long rambling patrols through the bush, Krupmeyer could be found poring over the few medical manuals he had been issued with. They were meagre and pitifully inadequate. His job was to simply keep them alive until the dustoff arrived. Patch ’em up and pack ’em off went the routine but for him, as for so many of the Medics, it wasn’t enough. For the first time in his life, he never felt so needed nor so inadequate. He cared deeply and desperately, every man he lost became a bitter personal defeat. He began to spend his army pay ordering medical books and drug catalogues from the States. He stopped carrying the M16 on patrols. Leaving it behind allowed him to carry more medicines and dressings. Nobody argued with that.
    He spent his time with the other Medics, swapping tips and techniques. They had evolved their own way of doing things, had concocted their own mixtures of drugs, like one nicknamed jungle juice. He had once described it to a Doctor in the rear who had turned white as Krupmeyer described the contents. He had warned Krupmeyer against ever using that concoction on a human being. Krupmeyer had promised he wouldn’t but he knew the Doctor would never understand. There were chances and there was no chance. Things like jungle juice worked often enough when nothing else would. Anything to keep them alive. By the time he was medevaced out of Vietnam, he had been decorated several times. He had also been nearly killed by a land mine.
    His thoughts turned to the prisoners. There had been too many official denials of their existence to allow for any retractions. Too many good men had sworn that peace with honour had been achieved, but the reality was shoddy and deceitful. The north Vietnamese had held some back, assuming we would pay for them afterwards on the sly, like the French had, but they were wrong. It had been a total misunderstanding of how the American political system worked. The government would not pay reparations under the table, for that is what it would have been, to an enemy who had already proved itself so deceitful, especially as by doing so, they would be leaving themselves at the mercy of their hated enemy’s discretion.
    Instead, they had tightened the economic screw on the Vietnamese even further, hoping to force them to come clean and surrender the prisoners in order to get out from under the economic rock. That would have involved a loss of face, which was as unthinkable for them, as paying ransom money would have been to the US Government. That was where the situation stood sixteen years ago and it had not changed since. Add in the current thaw in east west relations and politically the prisoners definitely did not exist. They were the leftovers of a mistake, an embarrassment on either side of the political fence.
    A middle aged heavy set man entered the diner. He was dressed in civilian clothes but his appearance proclaimed him to be military, from the top of his close cut hair to the bottom of his burnished shoes. The military were as bad as cops, thought Krupmeyer, there was just no way of disguising themselves. A bird Colonel, he guessed. What would a full Colonel be doing taking the risk of being seen with a pariah like me, Krupmeyer wondered.
    The man sized up the diner and its occupants with one no nonsense glance and headed towards Krupmeyer. He placed both his hands on the table and slid his bulky frame into the bench seat opposite Krupmeyer. His hands stayed palm down on the table while he stared across at Krupmeyer, weighing him up, making up his mind. Krupmeyer sensed that this man might have something good, but he had not finally made his decision yet. That was happening across the table right now. Krupmeyer held his breath and maintained an easy eye contact, while the man stared expressionless at him. With the slightest exhalation of breath, the man’s shoulders dropped and his eyes went to the table top.
    ‘You’re Krupmeyer’ he said.
    ‘Yes’ replied Krupmeyer, although it had not really been a question. He relaxed. ‘Who’re you?’
    The man smiled thinly. ‘Let’s just skip the names bit.’
    ‘No problem’ replied Krupmeyer lightly. ‘Why did you want to see me?’
    ‘You’re looking for information on POWs, I’ve got some.’ He spoke in the classical clipped manner of the military, as if the fewer words he used, the clearer would be his meaning.
    ‘Do you mind if I take notes?’ asked Krupmeyer, reaching for the battered notebook he always kept in his inside pocket.
    The man nodded absently, his eyes still on the table top. His hands came together and began to massage each other steadily. They were chubby, powerful hands with nails trimmed back to the quick. He waited until Krupmeyer was ready before speaking.
    ‘I came across some information in a file’ he began quietly. ‘It’s about a POW who escaped from Russia nine years ago.’
    Krupmeyer’s heart thudded. ‘Jesus’, he thought. The pen made a small convulsive squiggle on the notebook.
    The Colonel paused for a moment, perhaps expecting an answer but Krupmeyer was too stunned, too surprised. After years chasing the thinnest of evidence, here was the Proof. Proof with a big fat fuckng capital P. ‘Don’t lose him, don’t lose him’ was all Krupmeyer could think of. The words circled around in his mind like a litany while he pulled himself together, willing the excitement to subside.
    ‘Have you got the file?’ he asked.
    The man gave a quick impatient shake of his head. ‘Not possible, but I have notes.’
    ‘Can I see them?’ asked Krupmeyer. He had nearly asked could he have them, but had retreated from pushing him too hard. He was scared of frightening him off when he was so close to coming across. Krupmeyer could see he was still struggling with the decision to leak. He was breaking the habit of a lifetime, a canon of his chosen profession and it came hard.
    ‘Before you get anything, I want to know what you’re going to do with it’ he replied, ignoring the request.
    Krupmeyer backed up. He did not have a pat answer ready. Coming across a find of this magnitude had never crossed his mind. Perhaps it was the emotion of the moment or sheer panic at the thought of losing him but the words welled up and popped out fully formed before he could stop them.
    ‘I’m going to shame them. I’m going to shame them into bringing the men home.’ He felt foolish, wishing the hell he’d come back with something better. He waited on tenter hooks, hoping and praying he had somehow passed the test. The man looked taken aback. He smiled briefly, perhaps surprised by the emotion.
    ‘I’m military’ he said, ‘and I want you to know that this area is purely political.’ He leaned in across the table and his eyes drilled into Krupmeyer’s as he bit out the words with distaste. ‘We do and we say what we’re told. We don’t have to like it and in this area we definitely don’t like it. I don’t want it used to crucify us. Use it on them, and use it good.’
    He reached into his inside pocket and after a belligerent glance around the diner, took out a thick envelope and pushed it across the table. Krupmeyer slid it off the top and into his inside pocket.
    ‘Is there a way I can get back in touch with you?’ he asked.
    ‘No. That’s it. That’s all’ he replied starting to get up from the table.
    ‘Wait, hang on’ said Krupmeyer. ‘Why? Tell me why. Why this?’ he said, tapping the outside of the pocket containing the envelope. The Colonel paused, frozen half way out of the seat and looked at Krupmeyer.
    ‘I saw a name I knew and I couldn’t walk away from it. Stick it to them soldier, you screw ’em good.’
    With that he marched out of the diner, straight backed, best foot forward. Back to the closed ranks and some anonymous trusted job deep in the bowels of the Pentagon. He had done his bit. His conscience was clear. He had unloaded it on someone else and he could sleep at nights now.
    Krupmeyer never saw him again.

    Pointman

  38. Amanda says:

    Re Congratulations Amanda, you’re this blog’s one thousandth comment!

    Golly I’m so chuffed! May I join Blogblovia’s Thousand-Timers’ Hall of Fame? Groovy! :^)

  39. The dynamic which Captain Sherlock defined ad infinitum without editing down described three things which are very pertinent to AGW discussions, specifically the practical punchline for the couch-tube-TV crowd who are the “beneficiaries” overall of the AGW scheme:

    1. The largest investors in AGW-contingent “socially responsible” funds are the pension funds of churches and their respective insurance firms;

    2. If AGW is definitively clobbered in the courts, what is happening to BP now will happen also to the AGW socially responsible investment portfolios; and

    3. Damien Thompson is which side of the fence, do you think, eh?

    All I know is, everything was hunky dory with the very worst of the ad hominem postings and back and forth on all levels until I started poking away at what I unfortunately know LOTS about: errant missionaries in developing countries.

    The flipover to Disgust happened exactly the day after my recounting of my MP unit’s advisement and assistance of the local policia in Panama in apprehending several missionaries with dope in their little satchels and weapons in their hands, and my not-exactly-original observation that the principal destructive force undermining the British Empire were the missionaries, not the military and civil administrations of same, for which latter many, many former colonies are wanly and vainly sentimental at this moment in time.

    Check the dates.

    Maybe this event has some bearing on Touchdown Jesus getting Tesla-ized, though my suspicion is that the Creator favours Michigan State’s Spartans over the Ohio Buckeyes LOL!

    Or maybe I have read too many of Captain Sherlock’s blog postings (or too few)….

    No Idea LOL!

  40. In my more playful moments, I often wonder how many missionaries George Orwell apprehended and incarcerated if not shot when he was a jungle military policeman.

    This much any idler can sort out, had they knowledge of the 1970’s first hand, that there would be little in the way of christianity in the West at all in its present diseased therapy-driven PC sandaled and rehab-escapee state without lots and lots of muled dope being brought back into Europe and the USA from the outer reaches of wherever. Makes me wonder if there are little reports out there by InterPol or the FBI academic types one could access on the subject.

    BTW, I hold no church responsible for this state of affairs. Only factions of those out to destroy what worked fine for centuries, common decency, for the sake of advancing leftist agendae, are the culprits: the so-called “liberation” theologians, the sorts who smuggle machine guns in boxes of Bibles in one direction, and dope in the other.

  41. msher says:

    El Commandante Bazooka Brains

    “The flipover to Disgust happened exactly the day after my recounting of my MP unit’s advisement and assistance “

    I have been involved in the roll out of web sites and in the changing of format. It takes planning and time. Based on my experience, I don’t think anything that happened the two weeks before the change over could have been the cause of the change. At best, something might have hastened an already planned change.

    This seems so patently obvious to me, yet others of technical background have been speculating and continue to speculate that something very recent was the cause of the change. I must be missing something about how extensive format changes on big web sites are done. Could someone enlighten me?

    Re Damian Thompson: I know very little about him and have no interest in defending him or in tearing him down. But, at least so far, he isn’t stopped any of the skeptic bloggers, and in fact his own articles on AGW have been scathingly against the AGW people and agenda. Again, could someone educate me on why there is a lot of speculation that he changed the DT format to cripple skeptic posters? I do agree that the change in moderation policy was to stop what the DT perceived as abuse. But there was abuse by a lot of kinds of people, e.g., BNP and Labour abuse of Hannan prior to elections, abuse of Lean by skeptics, abuse of Delingpole by warmists, abuse of Delingpole trolls by skeptics, abuse of various bloggers by Labour and Obama supporters, etc., etc. Why is it assumed this new policy is aimed at AGW skeptics?

    All that being said, I do hate the new format, and I think it has destroyed the good debate, as we knew it, on all the threads. Whether something different but, in a different way, equally good can evolve remains to be seen.

  42. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    Oh your talking about the Jesuits, communists to a man I hear, the ones who gave a certain Robert Mugabe an education. You don’t hear about Benedictines involved in this kind of mess.

  43. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    Pointman June 17, 2010 at 9:59 am and 10:43 am

    G’day Pointman

    Good to see you. OK, I’m hooked – where do I sign up?

    What unexpected gems on a blogsite. Brilliant.
    Don’t leave us “hanging” too long.

    Thanks. Cheers.

  44. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    msher is probably correct about the change it seems they panicked in there attempt to stop abuse, however I’m always careful to avoid upsetting his holiness views on Catholicism he can be quite scathing himself on that subject so he needs no help from me.
    The DT_Editor did pop in on Delingpoles blog briefly comment since removed in reply to emily2 where he saw ewanme’s comments and decided a change of heart for moderating was needed.
    The editor mentioned they can not afford to pay moderators so it must the bloggers themselves part time and the editor doing the donkey work so if someone hits report
    the likelyhood of them paying close attention is nil hence the randomness of the moderating. So if they quickly see fags or poofs fairies or whatever no matter what the context it gets yanked. They also said they are not really going to intervene just reason with people over time and hope to change the tone of the debate over time.

  45. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    libertygibbert 10.19am

    G’day Oz,

    Strewth, who’d have thunk it?

    You kindly offer an alternative venue to a bunch of disgruntled blog-posters and voila!, a gem, of great quality, clarity and vibrant with colour.

    Congratulations. Libertygibbert has coalesced a valuable resource of knowledge, information, insight, talent, generosity, humour, irony and goodwill, once taken so much for granted and very seriously underestimated.

    Grateful thanks and appreciation.

  46. Pointman says:

    Chapter 3

    A mobile incident room had been set-up outside Burham police station. Inside it, Detective Chief Inspector Pritchet sat at a desk watching the newly formed team at work. He was only five years short of retirement but he was commonly acknowledged to have one of the sharpest minds in the Kent constabulary. Around him buzzed the divisional officers brought in to handle the major crime incident that the police station had become. Phones rang and were answered. Officers reported back and were dispatched on fresh investigations. Outside a crowd of reporters were kept at bay by a battery of press officers. Inside the station, Scene of Crime Officers, Soccos, were meticulously examining every print, scratch and blood spot. Since his arrival that morning, Pritchet had laid down the guidelines of the investigation and allocated the main avenues of search to his subordinates. He would henceforth run it through his staff. Major investigations, he had long ago realised, were more a management problem than a leadership one.
    The experience of having been in charge of such investigations in the past, told him that this afternoon was a chance to collect his thoughts, an eye in the storm of facts and administration that would soon engulf him. He winced at the appropriateness of the comparison.
    He could sense an undercurrent of anger amongst the coppers around him. He felt it himself. Two of our men killed by some bloody psycho. He stifled the upsurge of anger. No, that wasn’t the way. He had risen through the ranks by having a cool head and this bastard wasn’t going to be caught if he allowed his emotions to run away with him. And he was going to catch him, he resolved quietly. Calm down and think. He paused long enough to scratch a note on the pad in front of him to caution the men at the evening progress meeting against getting over emotional about this one.
    First indicators were not promising. The Socco team had not come up with anything of particular interest. They had however found drag marks from the front desk to the interview room. The marks had come from the heels of Constable Levitt’s shoes. That suggested that Levitt had been at the front desk when he had been killed, and then dragged back to the interview room. The exact cause of his death was still puzzling them. Murdoch, his sergeant, had suggested that the two finger bruises on the neck, one on the side and one on the front, suggested some sort of pressure point technique had been used. Pritchet thought he was probably right. Levitt was a big man who would have put up a good struggle if a straight strangulation had been attempted. There was no sign of such a struggle. He had died or been rendered unconscious very quickly. Whether he was killed then or later in the interview room would be determined at the autopsy. If it did turn out that he’d been killed in such an unusual way, it would be a first for Pritchet. In his experience, violent and murderous people did not usually have the patience and self discipline required to learn such exotic techniques. The cause of death where murder is concerned, with the possible exception of poisonings, is nearly always simple and brutally direct.
    The cause of Sergeant Dowd’s death was all too obvious. As reconstructed by the forensic team, he had been sitting leaning forward over the interview table when the pencil had been driven with considerable force through his left eye and up into the brain. A right handed killer. Death had been instantaneous. Pritchet suppressed the wave of nausea that rose at the memory of the sergeant sitting there in the interview room. He hadn’t known him, but by all accounts he’d been a decent copper. Nobody deserved to die like that.
    Putting it together, it suggested that the killer had murdered Dowd in the interview room, then left it to kill Levitt at the desk and drag his body back to the interview room. Although the killer could have walked into the station, it seemed unlikely, given the steps he had taken to get away. If all he wanted to do was to kill policemen he would have left some kind of note or something. The psychos could never resist the opportunity to brag, to tell you how smart they were, how stupid you were. And anyway, it looked like he had been in the interview room. Casual callers usually did not get past the front desk. No, it was far more likely that he had been picked up and taken back to the station against his will. Dowd had been scheduled to man the desk that night while Levitt was on mobile patrol. Levitt must have picked him up somewhere and brought him in. Both policemen’s notebooks were missing, as were the Custody records and the tape from the recorder in the interview room.
    Why wait until he was in the police station? If he was that lethal, that dangerous, why not kill Levitt when he was being arrested? Maybe there were witnesses present. Then it would make sense to go quietly and bide your time. Good. Somewhere on this patch the killer had been arrested and there was a reasonable chance that there might be witnesses to it. Pritchet’s spirits rose.
    It still did not answer the question of why he actually killed them. Dowd was a few years short of retirement. He could have been overcome, he did not need to be killed. The same applied to Levitt. He could just as easily have been knocked on the head. Why not just escape? It wasn’t really necessary to kill them. Was it just because they’d seen his face? A face they might have known or been able to identify later? A high profile thug? One for whom another two murders would make no difference.
    Pritchet made a note to assign someone to the task of compiling a list of violent men currently on the outside. That was going to be a long list. If they really had collared a major hard man, Pritchet felt Dowd would have been on to Division straight away. He wouldn’t have tried to sit on him all night, and grandstand in the morning. He was too old a hand for that sort of thing. No. Whoever they had, they’d felt confident of handling him themselves. And they’d been wrong, tragically fatally wrong.
    The killer had taken the trouble to clean out all evidence of his arrest, booking and interview. That showed a cool head. As far as they could determine, there had not been a major crime incident last night. If they had picked him up for something minor, why deliberately commit two murders to escape? Two lives gone and probably a young policeman’s career he reflected, remembering the Doctor’s preliminary report on young Richards.
    The station police car was missing. It looked like the killer had got away from the area in it. There was a good chance of it being spotted. They were a good distance from any motor ways. That meant he had had to travel along the small country roads. There would certainly be a few sightings of it turned up by his men. Legwork, thousands of police hours. But a police car is noticed, especially when the man driving it is not in uniform. We might at least get a direction or even a description, if we’re lucky, he thought.
    The radio phone in front of him came to life, interrupting his thoughts. It was Sergeant Wilson calling from Dowd’s house. They had still not located Dowd’s wife. For her, the nightmare of every policeman’s wife was about to come true. As he considered which direction to send Wilson in, a thought occurred to him.
    ‘Hang on’ he said to Wilson as he turned around and beckoned Murdock over to him.
    ‘Were there any keys on Dowd’s body?’ he asked. Murdock hurried back to his desk to consult Dowd’s effects sheet.
    ‘No, he didn’t have any keys on him’ he answered. Pritchet turn back to the phone.
    ‘Wilson, is there a garage attached to the house?’ Wilson answered yes.
    ‘Look in it, see if you can see a police car.’ Pritchet waited. Static hissed in his ear. ‘O God, let me be wrong’ he thought. Wilson reported back quickly, out of breath. There was indeed a police car in the garage.
    ‘Stay where you are, do not, I repeat, do not, under any circumstances approach the house again. I’m sending you assistance right now. Stay in the car and watch the house until we get there.’ He slammed down the phone.
    ‘Get my driver and despatch any cars in the area to Dowd’s house. Lights and sirens. Move’ he snarled at Murdock.

    *********************

    Pritchet stood in the living room of Dowd’s house watching the young policewoman offering Mrs. Dowd another cup of coffee. The old woman sat in an armchair, dressed in a threadbare dressing gown, confused and in tears. Her distress was compounded by the quantity of alcohol it was obvious she had consumed last night. She had the red eyes and pallid washed out complexion of the suburban alcoholic. Her hand trembled as she reached for the proffered cup and saucer. It shook so much that coffee slopped out of the cup and into the saucer.
    ‘It’s all my fault’ she said inexplicably. The policewoman sitting on the arm of the chair put her arm around her shoulders and made soothing noises.
    Pritchet knew with certainty that she would remember nothing about last night. The mix of Gin and sleeping tablets had knocked her out so thoroughly, that even when they had broken down the front door, she had not awakened. Maybe that state of oblivion had saved her life. Or maybe the killer had not even gone into the house, just put the police car in the garage and drove off in Dowd’s own car.
    Mrs. Dowd began to cry. Great racking sobs escaped her. The coffee was abandoned. It was not an uncommon complaint for a policeman’s wife. The unsocial hours, the slight distance maintained by neighbours, the worry and lurking fear. It all mounted up and sometimes the bottle provided the solitary comfort through the long hours spent alone waiting.
    Pritchet had immediately circulated the description of Dowd’s own car, but did not hold out any great hope of catching the killer in it. By now it would be abandoned somewhere. It had been a smart move. The switch had gained him enough time to escape from the area in an unmarked car not being sought by the police.
    Pritchet blamed himself for not having thought of it sooner. Whoever the killer was, he had a cool head. He had taken the time in the police station to think about escaping from the area in something other than the available police car. It showed a resourcefulness and cheek not usually encountered in violent men. He was definitely not acting like some frothing psycho. Too bloody cool by half, thought Pritchet grudgingly.
    He looked around the room. It was modestly decorated. Above the fireplace hung an old black and white group shot of Dowd’s graduation class. He examined it closely trying to pick out the young Dowd. It was just a sea of young unformed faces, spruced up and staring at the camera. He could not find him. It was hard to reconcile the young men pictured with the corpse of the old man he had seen this morning. Probably none of them had ended up like Dowd. Killing a policeman was still a rarity in this country. His thoughts were interrupted by Murdock entering the room.
    ‘We think we might have found out where he was arrested’ he announced.
    ‘Did we get a description?’ asked Pritchet immediately as he ushered Murdock out of the room and back into the hallway. There was no need to disturb Mrs. Dowd further.
    ‘Better than that’ replied Murdock. ‘It looks like we might get a bus load of them. The driver of the Paignton to Burham bus reports seeing Levitt putting a man into the police car at a bus stop about six miles outside town at half eleven last night. He’d stopped to drop a passenger and remembers him quite well.’
    ‘Does he remember how many passengers were on the bus at the time?’ asked Pritchet.
    ‘He thinks about five, but can’t remember exactly’ replied Murdock. ‘We’re tracing them now. It shouldn’t be too difficult, they were all locals as far as he remembers.’
    ‘What’s the description like?’ asked Pritchet.
    ‘Not very good, I’m afraid’ replied Murdock, looking at his notebook. ‘The man was in his late thirties or early forties, white, medium build, dressed in bluish trousers and a dark or black zip up jacket. Dark hair and clean shaven. He can’t remember the face in detail.’
    ‘How far was he from them?’ asked Pritchet.
    ‘About thirty or forty feet. They were on the pavement near the bus stop, only visible to the side of the bus’ headlights. He thinks the passenger who got off may have a better description because she walked right past them.’
    ‘Was the bus coming into or heading away from Burham?’ asked Pritchet.
    ‘Heading away, Sir’ replied Murdock.
    Pritchet stood in thought for a moment. Murdock waited, resisting the urge to fidget. He had worked for Pritchet long enough to know not to disturb him at these moments. They were invariably followed by a stream of orders. He took out his pen and prepared to take them down.
    ‘First and most important of all, find the passenger who got off the bus and all of the other passengers’ ordered Pritchet.
    ‘If our man was picked up at a bus stop, he may have originally come into the area on one. Assign a team to interview all bus drivers in the area as well as anyone who was a passenger on one in the last twenty four hours. Set up a vehicle check point at the bus stop. Stop and interview all drivers. If he came into the area in a car it might have broken down. I want every parked car in this area checked out. Finally I want all reports of hitch hikers and people on foot checked out as well. Anyone, anywhere near that description is to be positively accounted for.’
    Murdoch and several teams travelled on every bus that evening, interviewing and taking statements from everyone who boarded. By next morning, they had cross checked all the statements and were confident that all the passengers on the bus had been accounted for. They were going to repeat the exercise today.
    Pritchet sat in the Interview Room at Burham. The Socco team had finished with it and nothing remained to mark their presence but the odd smudge of fingerprint powder. The preliminary forensic report on Levitt had confirmed the guess as to the cause of death. It had been a pressure point technique. The doctor estimated he had been unconscious within three seconds of its application, death would have followed within ten. Whoever killed him knew his way about the human body. It came as no surprise to Pritchet. He had already decided they were dealing with someone out of the ordinary.
    On the desk in front of him, were all the statements taken from the bus passengers. He had read through them all, hopeful that a better description would emerge but he was disappointed. He looked about the interview room. A lot of them had not even noticed Levitt and the man. Sunk in their own thoughts, he supposed. He turned the statements over listlessly and determined to have a go himself. Calling for Murdock, he asked him to send in Miss Rawlings, the girl who had got off the bus. She had actually walked by them. Of all of them, she was the one to squeeze dry.
    Murdock escorted her into the room. Pritchet rose, and after introducing himself, sat her down and sent Murdock for coffees. She was young and pretty and responded to his old world courtesy. Her clothes were smart but not too stylish. She sat primly, waiting for him to begin. She had given a statement already but her description had not been any better than the bus driver’s.
    He ran through it with her. He was polite and patient, encouraging her to remember every second of the encounter. She could not add anything to it. Pritchet exhaled and leaned back in the seat. Unconsciously his hand reached towards his jacket pocket to fish out a pack of cigarettes. He had given up smoking two months ago but had still not lost all the habits. He smiled ruefully as he caught himself. I could do with one now, he thought.
    He took her through it again. Like most policeman he had long realised the people never tell all of a story. They filter it, unconsciously stripping bits off to tell the essential story. What gets lost are the things they are not interested in or the things they think will not interest the listener. If they repeat it, it is never exactly the same story. New details are added and old ones discarded. Get them to repeat it enough times, in different ways, and you’ll get all the detail. He told her not to worry, she was doing fine and tried a new approach.
    ‘I want you to imagine you’re there sitting in your seat on the bus. Your stop is coming up and you’re getting ready to get off the bus. Tell me exactly what you can see.’
    Her head dropped for a moment as she tried to visualise the scene. She had repeated the story so many times that she was tired of it. Fatigue was setting in.
    ‘I was standing up long before we got to the stop. I was late you see, in a hurry. It was dark. The party had ran on longer than I thought and I was late going home. When the bus stopped, I was standing at the front beside the door waiting for him to open it. The driver, I mean’ she added.
    ‘That’s when you first saw them’ supplied Pritchet. ‘Try to see them now. You’re standing at the front of the bus looking out at them through the windscreen. Try to picture it.’
    She described the scene again, her eyes unfocusing as she dragged up the memory. The description remained the same. Pritchet was careful not to push her too hard. If you did that, a witness, particularly a helpful one, was prone to start inventing detail.
    ‘OK, you’re off the bus. You’re walking towards them. They’re standing on the pavement to your right. You’re approaching them to pass on the left. Describe what you’re seeing.’
    ‘The policeman has his hand on his shoulder. The back door of the car is open. He’s putting him into it.’
    ‘What are they saying, can you recall?’ prompted Pritchet.
    ‘I wasn’t listening. It was late. I just wanted to get home. I just walked past them’ she finished, her head dropping. She ran a hand through her hair, her fingers spread wide. The tendons on the back of her hand stood out in white. The strain was beginning to tell.
    ‘OK, you weren’t listening to what they were saying. Can you recall the tone. Were they angry, calm, fighting?’ he asked leaning down to look at her downcast face.
    ‘The tone?’ she asked, raising her head to look at him quizzically.
    ‘Yes, the sound. How they actually sounded.’
    Her brows furrowed. ‘They sounded normal. The policeman spoke and the man said something back. They both spoke. They weren’t angry or anything. They just spoke normally…’ her voice trailed off. Her eyes widened slowly and her mouth opened in an O of surprise.
    ‘He was American. I’m sure of it. The man he was putting in the police car was an American!’ she exclaimed. ‘He had an American accent.’
    She looked at Pritchet in triumph, all trace of fatigue gone from her face as she beamed at him.
    ‘I’m good at accents, he was definitely American. Definitely. He had that sort of nasal twang, you know what I mean.’
    He went through it again with her. He was satisfied she had nothing more. He thanked her and offered to get a car to run her home. She accepted. He called Murdock in and asked him to arrange it.
    When they left, Pritchet sat thinking about what he had just heard. His thoughts were interrupted by Murdock re entering the room.
    ‘Do you know where she lives?’ he asked.
    Pritchet stared at him blankly. ‘No’ he replied.
    ‘Cosgrave Hall. She’s a domestic at Cosgrave Hall’ Murdock announced. Seeing the puzzlement and annoyance growing in Pritchet’s face he quickly supplied, ‘It’s the country home of Sir Gerald Walters, the Home Secretary.’
    ‘What’ exploded Pritchet. ‘We’ve had a double murderer on the doorstep of the Home Secretary and we’ve only just twigged it.’ Murdock swayed backwards under the force of Pritchet’s rage.
    ‘Don’t just stand there like a bloody idiot, get the Chief Constable on the phone immediately.’

    Pointman

  47. msher says:

    crownarmourer

    Sorry, but could you give your description of the DT editor’s post another shot. Was this Thompson? Was he saying they are going to eliminate the filters and go to manual review of comments and only when a particular comment is reported.
    Or is it that the automatic filter is going to continue, but something is changing about whatever manual moderating there is?

    I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you are saying.

  48. Hello msher, always good to see you here. If you hadn’t guessed, my remark in the intro about U.S. tort law was basically directed at you. When you have a moment, what’s your take on the legal process for compensation? Will it (or should it) be entirely straightforward, seeing as the issue of fault is not in question? I imagine one or more class action suits are already under way. Also, does the location of the spill fall within the American legal definition of U.S. coastal waters, or will maritime law also come into play?

    There are so many agendas at work here I don’t know quite where to start. Where’s the Captain when you need him? 😉

  49. Locusts says:

    Hey everyone, just looking at that WW2 pollution pdf now. It has just reminded me of all of the oil wells that have been burnt in Iraq over the last 20 years. Is there any research in to the environmental impact of that war. Even from a CO2 point of view. Can pressure be put on the Pentagon to carbon-offset their activities?

  50. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    msher basically it means I don’t think they are using filters anymore they probably had them accidentally turned on it happens. As for moderating it’s a part time job shared by the looks of things and only when they get a reported comment and since they do not have the staff because of cost apparently Mary Riddell was mentioned because of the abuse she gets it would mean a full time person all the time just for her. So it’s a quick look and squash if it looks like it has broken guidelines no research. Also they are taking a more hands off approach again except in extreme circumstances for legal reasons.
    They said they are going to take lets persuade people to behave by argument rather
    than a punishment approach. Calling people tar baby’s is pushing it. If the term tar ball man had been used then that would be ok.
    So it looks like we are back to business as usual on the DT blogs as my personal war agains’t White House staffers and Dem staffers seemed to have been allowed our griping seems to have paid off, still a little more maturity there’s me being a hypocrite again needs to practiced by us all. Hope this rambling makes sense basically business as usual on the DT.

  51. crownarmourer/torquemada says:

    Locusts a worse disaster was the draining of the marshes at the head of the gulf, devastating for the Marsh Arabs and it released all sorts of nasties in the environment that were until that point buried in sediment. I’m sure the toxins from the oil wells was bad as is the depleted Uranium everywhere, not quite so depleted, bad for the troops bad for the locals.

  52. Locusts says:
    June 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I really like you a lot for what you just said, as a combat veteran meself. As I see it, the sure way to make all warfare environmentally sound is to relegate all military activity to the digital realm, all of it, so everyone died virtual instead of real deaths. Someone really needs ot do something about all those smelly dead bodies, while they are at it, right?

    You can count on my support for whatever programme you can bring to bear in this regard. I am sure if you talked to Happy Mr. Recruiting Sergeant, he will give you a contract to sign to end all war forever in our time with the help of your excellent ideas and services.

  53. crownaramada says:

    Trying a new moniker as I’m the new chief inquisitor/torturer I mean personal relations manager for our glorious republic long live El Commandante el supremo gran Admiral presidente el sol.
    Libertygibbert are dirty limmericks ok for submission.

  54. Locusts says:
    June 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Actually, Locusts, I wouldn’t mind it a bit if Mr. Obama put on a wet suit and flippers and breathing apparatus and took a hammer as well to tap on the ends of unexploded ordnance on board these torpedoed vessels in order to clear the lanes of navigation in the Gulf of Mexico. I am sure he would find it an uplifting experience.

  55. crownaramada says:
    June 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    We’ve not tortured anyone yet, and you are supposed to be Ye Olde Grande Inquisitor. Where’s David, Izen, Fabianextrusions, Tapeworm, IggyJack, and the rest of the darlings, do you think? I am getting the pliers heated up in the barbecue grille now…

  56. Blackswan Tasmania’s right, libertygibbert. This is head and shoulders above the Delirium Tremens blogspace, if we but hone our topical development.

    I think the only obstacle to this taking off is lack of proper online promotion. My fear is that it gets eaten up by the Beavis and Butthead bloggers who predominate and thus we miss out on the lurkers with the engineering degrees and others who know whereof they speak who won’t post for fear of being shouted down by the B & B bloggers.

    Pointman, welcome back. Nice police procedural there in the making, too.

  57. crownaramada says:

    El Commandante as ye olde grande inquisitor we need to move with the times pliers are out I’m thinking hours of Barney, Spongebob, and Blues Clues, and hours upon hours of folk music, it should work real well one too many hey nonny nonny’s and they will snap. Maybe reading the healthcare bill from start to finish or the IPCC report as well.

  58. Hello, msher. “Could someone enlighten me?”

    Yes. You normally give people at least a week’s notice, you tell them how long the changeover is going to take, you tell them what changes to expect, and you have some sort of dialogue with the blogspace users prior to the event, not 10 days to two weeks into the changeover.

    That’s as a minimum level of courtesy. This was a pulling out of a rug from under everyone with no advance notice. Full stop.

    Honestly.

  59. msher, there is no way to interpret the actions of the Delirium Tremens handling of the switchover except as a very vigorously heartfelt and intentional upraised middle finger (if you are a Yank) or two fingers (if you are British).

    They set up a service for their online users, albeit we do not subscribe, then they change it then wonder why people get a teensy bit upset. They knew what they are doing. They want to define a power relationship that the press no longer has. They want top down relationships back, and it is not going to happen anytime soon. Those days are over. Journalists once were polymaths who thrived on providing properly researched and letter-perfect copy-edited articles. Now they are but a step above Homeless Harrys throwing up on the inside of our computer monitor screens.

    I do hope the point was not lost on you also that half the posts as a minimum here are at least as intelligent and well written as anything JD ever fielded to make his rent for his two baby girls and wife, and usually better researched. I’ve never seen more than one or two links to anything from JD.

    They know and knew what they are doing. They have no more authority than a pillbug crawling out from under a rock. More to the point, we generated tonnes and tonnes of ad revenue through generating clicks at 10p a throw. Why did your computer take hours to load the pages? It was the adserver at the DT loading cookies into your computer to the very limits of your browser cache LOL! When the browser cache fills you can no longer load the page. Sound familiar?

  60. crownaramada says:

    El Commandante as an IT guy you test in Production before rolling out the change to Test. They have a small budget and very few staff who really know how to do things like tell people, but like my work the attitude is when something goes wrong is “well yes things did not go as planned but it’s in place now but that’s the past lets learn and move on” true weasel words to avoid responsibility.

  61. Ozboy, that brings up a good point. If you’d like ad revenue for this blogspace, you CAN make a relationship with advertisers you like so clickies are generated. 5p to 10p is market average. I think even Gargle will pay that.

    That would solve the blogsite revenue problem IF wordpress.com would allow it.

    Plus, you could use the revenue (or part of it) to gain access to wider distribution on the Net. I’d love ot see this go “viral” but with select markets, not the archetypal 18-40 college-educated female demographic, which is ALL the DT cares about (that is the other side of the problem; the DT has bills to pay).

  62. crownaramada says:

    El Commandante respectfully it was a typical IT move not deliberate not someone playing at Dr Evil. Just a true cluster eff people only half knowing what they are doing, they don’t know what they are doing.

  63. izen says:

    @ noidea –

    You may have problems with the abiogenic chemistry of oil as described, some of what I have come across is not always in standard form…

    You may want to look into the mainstream view and look at kerogen and catogenesis.
    The difference is that the presence of kerogen and knowledge of the rock type and biological conditions when that rock was formed has guided the discovery of oil for several decades. It is successful, the present oil leak in the gulf is associated with specific geological layers with a known biological history.
    When efforts have been made to look for hydrocarbons that are NOT derived from a biological source the results have been underwhelming.

  64. msher says:

    ozboy

    Re BP liability. Here’s what I know.

    Under federal law, the question appears to be the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This Act caps oil spill damages at $75 million unless the plaintiff can prove gross negligence, willful misconduct, or a violation of federal construction or operating requirements. I would say the federal government cannot change that law retroactively, both because the Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, and because oil leases were entered into on reliance on that law, and that would be a change of contract terms, subjecting the government to breach of contract suits from oil lessees.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202461785340

    However, courts are now activist and do all sorts of things that I think are unconstitutional and contrary to established principles of law. So the courts might allow a change in that law to apply. Also, Congress itself showed, with respect to the AIG bonuses, that it wasn’t concerned with breach of contract (It renegged on contract bonuses it had previously approved) or constitutionality (It wanted to pass bill of attainder 100% taxes on the bonuses.)

    So god only know whether they will try to retroactively increase the liability limit. If they don’t, the claimants will still pursue liabilty claiming there was gross negligence, wilful misconduct and/or a violation of federal construction or operating requirements.

    If the limit of liability is $75 mil., you might ask how Obama got BP to put up a $20 bil. escrow fund. I don’t know. Perhaps because of the other provision of the Oil Pollution Act which established a national Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is available to provide up to one billion dollars per spill incident. But note: I understand these funds go to the federal government, states and private parties for clean up efforts, not for their losses.

    http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/lawsregs/opaover.htm

    Here is a pretty good discussion of the applicable civil law:

    “Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), the states and the federal government are entitled to full recovery for their cleanup costs. Private claims and any other government claims are limited to $75 million; however, there are exceptions, and if gross negligence or federal safety law violations are proved there is no damages cap at all.

    Next, there may be a cause of action for simple negligence under general maritime law. That negligence claim was successfully tried with no damages cap in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case. But there is an unresolved question as to whether maritime negligence is pre-empted by OPA 90.

    Most importantly, OPA 90 preserves lawsuits under state law. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas either have no damages cap in their oil spill statutes or allow state law claims that are not subject to damages caps. So wise plaintiffs — states or fishermen — can avoid damage caps if they bring state law claims in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. Louisiana’s oil spill laws follow OPA 90 and cap damages at $75 million, but, again, there are exceptions for gross negligence or violations of federal safety laws.

    The wild card in the deck is the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF), which has essentially no track record. Claimants must first present claims to BP and, if they don’t get full payment, they can present their claim to the OSLTF. The maximum payout from the OSLTF for the BP Gulf oil spill is $1 billion. Claims are processed in the order received, and claims are paid out in the order approved. In other words, the OSLTF operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

    BP’S DEFENSES

    The traditional maritime first line of defense is the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, which Congress passed during the infancy of the shipping industry. Essentially, the Limitation of Liability Act limits the damages of an innocent [i.e., non negligent] spiller to the value of the wreck after the incident, which in most cases is nothing. Transocean Ltd. has filed a petition to limit liability. The other defendants probably won’t because it appears that OPA 90 rescinds the Liability Act for oil spills. So this defense goes nowhere.

    The second line of defense will be the Robins Dry Dock doctrine, which is a rule established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Robins Dry Dock & Repair v. Flint (1927) that limits economic damages under maritime law, essentially allowing only fishermen and property owners whose property was oiled to recover. But claims brought under OPA 90, claims submitted to the OSLTF and state law claims are immune to this defense.

    The third line of defense is causation: What damages were a direct result of the spill? BP will raise countless arguments to limit its liability: “It’s not our oil. There is no subsurface oil. There was already oil in the gulf. It was already a dying fishery. Global warming caused the damages to natural resources. The Gulf currents changed. Hurricanes caused the problems. There is no scientific connection between the oil and the reduced sea life.” BP will pay “experts” millions of dollars to raise these questions in and out of court. Enough said.

    Both before the OSLTF and before a court, claimants need to prove that they were damaged and the amount of their damages. The first problem here is that the harm from the spill will be ongoing for years and, thus, claimants cannot now document the future extent of their damage. Will oil affect a fishery for a year or destroy the fishery? Will oil affect a specific species such as oysters or shrimp or will it affect the entire food chain? Will cleanup activities and use of toxic dispersants cause more harm to natural resources?

    Businesses face the challenge of showing how much they lost in business this year and how much they will lose next year and the year after. Fishermen have to show how many fish they didn’t catch. The hotel owner needs to show how many guests didn’t book. Showing “but for” damages are difficult in any lawsuit. Here, BP will argue that these damages are too speculative or that oil never reached certain beaches.

    States are presented with different challenges. It’s hard to value an acre of marsh or the life of a dead brown pelican. And the full extent of damage to these natural resources won’t be seen for years.

    The answers to BP’s arguments are threefold. First, plaintiffs may have to wait a few years for the facts to develop. That may require presenting partial claims to BP and to the OSLTF on a yearly basis and not signing any full releases. Second, they must show as best they can a track record through business records and past earnings: Document, document, document. Third, they should hire the best experts money can buy. Plaintiffs should not skimp in this area as BP certainly won’t.

    Traditionally, under American law, spillers who act grossly negligent are liable for punitive damages. Plaintiffs have to prove in court the gross negligence.

    There is a question as to whether OPA 90 pre-empts or repeals punitive damages. I don’t think it does, but we will see. And oil spill punitive damages under federal law are limited to a 1-to-1 ratio under the recent Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Exxon (2008).

    However, state law punitive damages still exist for all Gulf Coast states other than Louisiana and plaintiffs should sue under state law for punitives.”

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202462432272&An_oil_spill_liability_primer&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

    Here is the thing I don’t know the answer to: for any liability under the Oil Protection Act, do you have to prove the defendant was guilty of negligence. Or is it strict liability: i.e., they are liable even if they weren’t negligent. That’s called “strict liability.” The second thing I don’t know is whether you have to show causation: was whatever they were negligent about have to be proved to be the cause of the accident?

  65. msher says:

    ozboy

    Here is a discussion from the New York Times of the potential criminal liability of BP.

    ” Government attorneys have many laws to use in this case, and would likely pursue violations for discharge of pollution under the Clean Water Act. Criminal charges could be brought under the Refuse Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both of which use strict liability, so the government would not need to show that BP intended to violate the law or was even negligent in its operation and response. Fines are the most likely outcome — Exxon was nailed for $150 million after the 1989 Valdez spill in Alaska, although the court forgave $125 million of the fine in recognition of Exxon’s cooperation in cleaning up the spill and paying certain private claims. The money would likely go to some combination of special funds, the federal government, and state governments.

    Strict liability provisions like those included in the Refuse Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act mean that BP and Transocean would be liable for any violation, regardless of whether it occurred accidentally or as a result of intentional misconduct. For a Clean Water Act violation, 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c)(1), the government would only have to show negligence, which is a fairly low threshold for criminal liability.

    Whether prosecutors pursue a case against a company in this situation would usually depend on how cooperative it was in clean-up efforts and complying with requests for information because there are no real defenses to charges under these provisions. Given the pressure on the Obama administration over its response to the oil spill, however, criminal charges are much more likely than in other cases.”

    http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/looking-for-liability-in-bps-gulf-oil-spill/

  66. @msher on June 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Absolutely first-class post that even a legal dunce like me can understand—many thanks indeed for your response to my query.

    And if you’re correct (if I am interpreting your implications correctly), and this issue is being seized upon by the courts (where judges in your country are still essentially political appointments) as a pretext to practise judicial adventurism, subvert your Constitution and introduce precedents for retroactive taxation legislation, then this spill (as the saying goes) opens a Pandora’s box, takes out a can of worms, and throws it at a hornet’s nest. It’s a conspiracy theory of a magnitude to rival the power-seeking shenanigans that have always lurked beneath AGW.

    The question to ask, as always, is: cui bono?

  67. crownaramada says:

    msher good legal arguments but as the Exxon Valdez case proved this will go through the courts for 20 years and the damages will eventually be reduced, the initially damages were 6 billion reduced to 2 billion or less. BP while guilty in my mind will fight this.

  68. NoIdea says:

    Welcome back Pointman.
    I cannot wait for the next chapter. Gripping stuff, please keep it coming.

    @izen on June 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I have looked at a few papers, the equations are way beyond me, and I do not have the required level of chemical understanding to know if what they are stating is fact or fiction. I am always a little nervous of techno jargon and convoluted alchemical looking equations. I have heard from other knowledgeable sources that the form is not standard.
    kerogen and catogenesis. Excellent words me and my spellchecker have never heard of.
    Many thanks for those. I may have to go and write them into the next chapter before I find out anything about them and shatter the wonderful illusions they currently conjure.
    Is a carbohydrate/hydrocarbon energy exchange possible with just carbon dioxide, Dihydrogen Monoxide(http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html) and energy?
    NoIdea

  69. msher says:

    ozboy

    Yes, activist judges can stick it to BP. But remember, the $75 mil. liability cap, under federal law, doesn’t apply if there was gross negligence, wilful misconduct and/or a violation of federal construction or operating requirements. The press is already saying that the BP cut lots of corners. If that is true and those corners had anything to do with the explosion, it isn’t much of a stretch to find “gross negligence” or “wilful misconduct.”

  70. NoIdea says:

    The end of the beginning.

    Chapter 6
    Bicephalous Bazooka brains before branching beginnings

    June the thirteenth 2030 nearly brunch time

    The PlatCat woke up with ringing ears, red, blurred double vision and the taste of atomized granite and blood in his mouth. He gave everything a test wiggle, toes, fingers, arms and legs. Every muscle and joint screamed when he moved. Nothing broken it seemed. He half smiled, half grimaced to himself, even his face muscles had whiplash. He tested the comhorn, if it was working he could not hear it over the ringing in his ears. He blinked to try and clear his vision, even his eyelids had whiplash! The blurring was easing off, he could see now that the red tint was caused by a splash of blood on the inside of his Vizgogz. He slowly and painfully raised his arms and hit the release catches, as the vizgogz slid back into the helmet he could see why his legs had felt strange when he had first moved them, he was suspended in midair, a further small wiggle and he established that there was a branch of a tree or something caught in the back of his vintage Idema combat vest that he wore over the top of his kinetic armor. The problem was the kinetics would take a while to regenerate after dealing with the blast he had just survived. The kinetic thermal gel convertors where freezing, the armour had never been tested against a close proximity minenet detonation. He guessed that the minenet had blown him clear of the crumbling cliff as he was running across the clearing heading for the jungle. He cracked another painful grin realizing that had he not been caught in these branches the landing would have killed him. So just dropping down from this height would have to wait a few hours, he was not keen on the thought of abandoning his Idema combat vest in the clutches of the jungle either. He looked around trying to spot Mack, there was no sign of him. Who was the other shooter with the .303 that had triggered the blast from that deadly mask that the Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus wore?
    Was the mystery trigger man actually after the Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus? Or was he actually attempting to take out himself and Mack? No the target must have been Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus there had been no following shots. As the PlatCats vision cleared further he released his Vizgogz back over his eyes. They where fully functional and clean again, the diagnostic and repair cycles in the helmet had worked like a dream. He scanned the immediate terrain and made a note of the recent thermal disturbances showing him the footprints of Mack heading into the fringe of the jungle. While he was stuck up here he decided to take the opportunity to make a high definition long range scan, he set the Vizgogz to maximum resolution and optical zoom with a full spectrum sweep. Now he just had to wait.
    As the dust was settling in the aftermath of the cliff top disintegration Mack realized he had to take cover. The shooter was still out there, and with his vision still impaired from the unholy glare that had caught him unprepared. He resisted the urge to rub his burning itching eyes as he stumbled into the jungle. He made his way in to the dark dank interiors a few yards until he found a suitably massive bole to hunker down behind, he set his armor to thermal and spectral equilibrium becoming effectively invisible. He reset the motion detectors; they had not worked with the Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus however they may still buy him seconds if the mystery gunman moved in for a closer shot. He tried his comhorn again. No response, from PlatCat and the others would be out of range. This was not good. Damn that Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus every single time he turned up there was chaos. This Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus did seem very different from the maniacal lunatic that he had killed, or so he thought back in the EPIC power dome. This latest Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus did not have the nightmarish barking clanging voice which had so enthralled and terrified millions before his assassination by yours truly. What had Nerius meant when he said that the drone was back in action since then?
    He was on about cogs and gears or bells and whistles? He was also claiming to have been the one responsible for his idea to kill the other Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus, how had that idea come to him? Was it truly his idea? Why couldn’t he remember clearly?
    With Mack and the PlatCat out of action for a little while Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus considered his next move. There was no quick way of getting back to the vicinity of the crater rim were they where holed up. He had been ported back to his subterranean lair as soon as the fail safes in his death mask activated. This cursed metallic life saver, maintainer of life, destroyer of dignity. He gazed at the monitors taking in all the data streams and live feeds from the thousands of micro cameras he had set up. He locked in on the area with the three champions now fleeing from the avalanche of white giant furry polar attack maggots writhing after them, when he noticed the leather clad ladies leaping lithely along behind the maggots he zoomed in and turned the audio for that section up.
    He grinned to himself, well well well some faces from the past. Mistress Blackswan and
    Lady Amanda. He strained to focus in on their voices above the mewling and cooing of the maggots and the sharp whistles of the huntresses controlling the pack. It was no use he could catch the occasional word only, not enough to hear what they spoke of, just enough to mesmerize him with their dulcet tones, Mistress Blackswan and her deep husky voice set against the lighter almost bell like tones of Lady Amanda. As he studied their deeply tanned athletic bodies straining against the tight black straps that where the minimalistic traditional huntress garb he found himself lost in contemplation of the lost past that only he knew of.
    The terrible events leading up to the Fantasy Shift.
    Why had any one ever thought that the Deep water disaster could be fixed with a nuclear strike?
    The global warming caused by the chain reaction of the entire deep mantle oil band had immediately, in less than a month raised global, and the temperature was truly global now, temperatures to a humid 22C now, the catastrophic sea rise that had been predicted had not happened (The theory was that most of the lost ice was now in the air). There was still plenty of catastrophic flooding though, as the lubrication effect of the deep mantle oil band seized up it caused massive worldwide tectonic activity as the crust buckled and stretched. The resultant half polar shift now meant that the magnetic north was actually on the equator. The attempt to build the EPIC power dome around the entire planet was destined for failure. If it had of been fully implemented it would have destroyed the planet. It was only his sacrifice that had saved mankind. By becoming the focus for the massive energy surge using his protective mask he had soaked up all the excess radiation, there had been an anomaly and it was then that the shattered changes began. It was also then that the few remaining millions of survivors from the previous teeming billions noticed that they where regenerating. Age was melting away from previously stiff and seized up joints, old injuries where healing further than they had.
    The downside, and there is always a downside is that everyone had suffered massive memory loss. No one remembered the global conflagration that immense shock wave that terrible period of annihilation. Worst of all no one remembered why this all happened, and who it was that had set the whole disaster in motion. Well, the evidence was still on the ISO file. To think he had been moments from sharing his problems with the Team.
    They also would have known the horror that came with the knowledge that…

    He was shocked out of his reverie by the signal on the control board. It was H.Q. El Commandante BB no less! The head honcho or more to the point the double headed head honcho! Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus sat him self up straight and looked into the vid screen. He wondered which head he would be communicating with today. He almost sighed with relief when it was the friendly head of Brains that popped up. “Agent Isis report on the sonic disturbances in sector 7G please” The mild nature of the request did not lull Lord Isis into any sense of security, he reported crisply and factually on the encounter to the present moment. Brains contemplated the new data and then instead of giving the next directive to be followed, he sighed, quite unlike him. “You want to know who is trying to kill you and I think I know who it is that is behind the latest attempt. It is him” Brains was nodding his head towards Bazooka his other currently sleeping head “He never did like you Isis, He has always maintained you smell funny. I have tried to explain to him that it is impossible for him to smell you over the vidcom, but he will not have it, not for a moment. I think it is agent Fenbeagle that he has set on your tail. I have been attempting to contact him to call the hit off, the darned communication anomalies down there are still causing havoc. If you can communicate in any way the codeword with agent Fenbeagle, he will cease and desist in his attempts. The codeword is VUZUVELA. Also, it appears The Pointman is back in this realm. We have not been in contact with the Team for some time now. They are not aware that The Pointman is back. We only have a couple of blurred images to work on, but it appears that The Pointman is sat in the lotus position, hovering about six feet above the top of the EPIC dome. We need you to lead the team to The Pointman, as always we need you to be discrete”
    The sudden switch from I to we by El Commandante BB was all the hint that Lord Isis Zagreus Eos Nereus needed, Bazooka was starting to wake up. He saluted crisply and hit the end switch. He mused to himself, a dilemma, should he go and attempt to disengage the agent Fenbeagle before trying to covertly lead the Team to the top of the dome, or rely on his stealthiest tactics to try and avoid assassination by Fenbeagle while steering the Team. The Team was quite split up and in various dilemmas; He knew he only had to show one member of the Team the correct clue and they would all converge on The Pointman. He made his decision and strode over to his private platform to wait for a tube.
    As he waited he noticed the first signs of catogenesis setting in. He quickly rolled himself a fat spliff, packed with kerogen and sego flowers. He quickly stuffed it into the oral intake tube dangling from his chin and lit it. The silky smooth seditious smoke rose from the tip but did not hit his lips. He fumbled with the filter controls and at last got the hit required to fend off the nightmarish hallucinations bought on by the catogenesis symptoms. The sedulous nature of his solitary secularist seclusion required constant sedation. Before he could take another drag on his medical smoking fag the bloody tube had arrived.

    To be continued…?
    NoIdea

  71. msher says:

    El Commandante

    “. They want top down relationships back,”

    Are you saying this because of something about the changes (leaving aside the question of new moderation/censorship policies) or because of the fact that they made changes without following the notice/consultation procedures you outlined? In other words, is it that they didn’t treat their blog as a sort of joint venture with the commenters who should have had some say in any changes made?

    Until your post @ 3:36 pm, I had thought that there was something about the changes themselves, separate and apart from the new moderation/censorship policy, that people thought constituted top down control. Are you saying that that’s not it, it’s the changes being made without notice/consultation?

    Sorry to belabor this. People are having a reaction that I am just not having. I really want to understand, and I haven’t so far.

  72. rastech says:

    Amongst the many ‘intriguing’ aspects of the Gulf oil disaster, was the rapid deployment of SWAT Teams to the Gulf rigs.

    On the one hand, their deployment speaks strongly of ‘other matters’ being relevant, than are being covered by the media or mentioned by spokespeople, on the other hand, if indeed ‘other matters’ are involved, then SWAT Teams by any definition, are probably the most unsuitable expertise resource imagineable, that you can send.

    To me anyway, it strongly suggests that ‘other than SWAT Teams’ were in fact deployed, and if they had been named, then ‘the cat would have been let out of the bag’, so the term ‘SWAT Team’ was just a convenience.

    ON BP’s liability, Karl Denninger has an interesting posing here http://market-ticker.org/archives/2409-Ehhhh…-BP-A-Zero.html

    which includes:

    “They’ve done this analysis too and they’re well-aware of the option – one that there is absolutely nothing that the Obama Administration can do to prevent.

    Congress and President Obama have a political Kobyashi Maru here.

    MMS is 100% responsible for approving the well casing changes made on the rig – changes that, were they not approved, would have likely prevented the blowout in the first place.

    But MMS is the Obama Administration and those changes were approved just days before the blast. And while BP selected the design and implementation they used, they didn’t do it in a vacuum – they did so with the full permission of the government’s so-called “regulators.”

    Oops.”

    El Commandante Bazooka Brains June 17, 2010 at 11:09 am . . . . .

    Somehow, the Vatican Bank, Roberto Calvi telling his lawyer that if the World found out what the Vatican was up to, it would mean WW3, and him then ending up dead in London, keeps niggling away at the back of my mind.

    If stuff serious enough to kick off WW3 has been going on, what’s the betting that it is still going on?

  73. rastech says:

    Something else that keeps niggling too, is those $134 billion in bearer bonds discovered leaving Italy at the border with Switzerland.

    Declared as ‘forgeries’, the couriers don’t even get a slapped wrist, and are released with those Bonds?

    WTH was that all about?

    $134 billion isn’t exactly ‘small change’ is it?

    Now with numbers like that, it suggests a Bank or Banks being involved?

    Some ‘creative accountancy’ as a lifeline to insolvent institutions?

    Ok tinfoil time (hehe), the Club of Rome started all the ‘extremist’ Environmental stuff off, EU and Treaty of Rome, Vatican Bank, Calvi and his unfortunate demise (why was he got at in London? Was he going to ‘blow the whistle’ there?), etc.

    There’s some pretty uncomfortable questions involved in all that, I think?

  74. rastech says:

    Anyway, I have to somehow get dads new brilliant (but very heavy) cast iron multi-fuel stove from outside the house, to the inside of the house.

    If I survive (lol), I’ll be back later.

  75. manonthemoor says:

    Good morning ALL

    Just TOO MANY GOOD COMMENTS
    Well done all

    My thought for the day before my hols

    WE KNOW windmills are a scam, just reading on the DT blog about ELECTRIC CARS, I suspect this is an equivalent scam.
    Any thoughts or contributions?

    And well done Ozboy on the first 1000 may there be many more to come

  76. Old Toad says:

    Msher, Crownamarada et al. To clear up a few points Damian Thompson is a ‘good lad’ possibly even ‘on side’. He may be ‘blogs editor’ but not the editor of the DT. He is not even ‘religion editor’. That post is held by ‘John Duckham’s’ brother George Pitcher alias the ‘comedy vicar. (Anyone remember George’s vitriolic post “Is James Delingpole a Taxidriver ?”).
    If you care to read some of the DT blogs now being posted, you will see that James is out on a limb where editorial policy is concerned.

  77. manonthemoor says:

    Just taking a break from packing — The hell side of Camping

    Top man Pointman glad to see you back

    With regard to msher questions about the DT blog, so far no one has posed the question, were the DT ‘TOLD’ to take the blog down and used trolls as the excuse to rush in DISQUS.

    Then the DT suits may have realised the rule of unintended consequences by which their revenue stream was toasted. The speed with which all comments were taken down suggest panic based upon instuctions from on high. The next question is of course ‘how high’. In the case of AGW there are lots of forces financial, political and theological (green) in places of extreme influence who could have been upset.

    If by any chance the oil spill and the aftermath is a plan to install cap and trade into the USA, then fixing/silencing the DT is peanuts in comparison.

    We may never know
    But now is not the time to give up.
    manonthemoor 17 June 15:55

  78. Amerloque says:

    Hi manonthemoor !
    on June 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    /// WE KNOW windmills are a scam, just reading on the DT blog about ELECTRIC CARS, I suspect this is an equivalent scam.
    Any thoughts or contributions?///

    Well, when I take out my old roadcar to blast down and back to the South of France or to the Basque country (I believe in “motoring”, not “driving” …) and I see a Prius, I know that the electric car bee ess is just that: bee ess. If my very comfortable and religiously maintained and loved road vehicle, a 198x Mercedes 300E, ever hits one of those electric playtoys, the driver/passengers in the latter will be dead as a doornail. No doubt in my mind. What happens when the batteries in the EV are ruptured in a crash ? Fumes and suchlike ? Acid(s) ?

    Plugging in all the electrics toys to charge together, when the greeny drivers come home at the same time in the late afternoon(s), will cause problems, too, I fear. A poster here, in one of his incarnations (Walt/Bazooka Brains ?), pointed out that the grid is a miracle of engineering. I wonder what’s going to happen when Schwartzy’s California grid is up and running … already, on hot days, there are outages all over SoCal. I can’t imagine the inhabitants of SoCal being wildly enthusiastic about EVs if the air conditioning is endangered. Then again, I moved away from SoCal decades and decades ago, so I’m not up to speed, perhaps. A lot of SoCal appeared _very_ Third World, on my last visit …

    Of course it’s all a scam. Cui bono ?

    Best,
    L’Amerloque
    Amerloque 20100617 17h45 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  79. Amerloque says:

    Hi All !

    Back at the beginning of the 20th century, there was an event called the Lakeview Gusher Number One, out in California …I haven’t done the math on the quantity compared to the current “spill”, though …

    “The Lakeview Gusher Number One was an immense out-of-control pressurized oil well resulting in what is regarded as the largest oil spill in history, lasting 18 months and releasing 9 million barrels of crude oil. Pressure in what was one of the largest oil reserves in America, in Kern County, California built to an extreme due to the quantity of crude oil and geothermal activity in the area. …/… ”

    http://tinyurl.com/28ghmbo

    I was out there when I was a kid in the 1950s, just after they dedicated the monument … weird. Stank.

    /// Description:

    America’s most spectacular gusher blew in here on March 14, 1910. Initially 18,000 barrels per day, the flow later reached an uncontrolled peak of 100,000 barrels per day, completely destroying the derrick. This Union Oil Company well produced nine million barrels of oil in 18 months …/… ”

    http://tinyurl.com/24yb8ce

    Best,
    L’Amerloque
    Amerloque 20100617 17h55 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  80. msher says:

    manonthemoor

    The U.S. Department of Energy has been giving out grants and loans for hybrid and electric cars. Recently there was a $1.6 bil. loan to Nissan for electric cars and batteries. I see from a post on the DT blog that at about the same time Britain also gave Nissan a loan. Tesla has botten a $400 plus loan, and Fisker, a company in which Al Gore and his investment venture capital company has invested, has gotten a $567 loan. The Tesla and Fisker cars will be expensive sports cars.

    http://earth2tech.com/2009/06/23/tesla-wins-465m-in-doe-loans-nissan-gets-1-6b-for-electric-cars/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125383160812639013.html

    Why do I think the Fisker loan will somehow not ever be paid back and the press won’t track it to know that?

    And does it make sense to go to electric cars at the same time government policy is explicity to make electricity more expensive?

    Hope your holiday is a good one.

  81. orkneylad says:

    msher –
    And does it make sense to go to electric cars at the same time government policy is explicity to make electricity more expensive?

    “Either Play, or Get Played…..It’s all in the game.”
    Omar

  82. manonthemoor says:

    @msher
    June 18, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Thanks msher

    Ozboy should have an email for you and Top Man Pointman
    Perhaps it has already arrived??

    rgds
    manonthemoor 17 June 18:11

  83. manonthemoor says:

    The BP enquiry is live from USA in about 40 mins eg 2pm USA and 7pm UK time

    link http://www.cspan.org enjoy

    manonthemoor 17 June 18:26

  84. Amerloque says:

    Re: wind farms

    “Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made

    By singing:–“Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade,”

    From ‘The Glory of the Garden’
    By Rudyard Kipling
    http://tinyurl.com/26yx83w

    Will we let Kipling’s prose be given the lie by the thermogeddon alarmists ?

    Now is not the time to let up !

    Amerloque 20100617 19h20 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  85. msher says:

    manonthemoor

    No, I don’t see an e-mail, and I don’t know anything about an e-mail.

    I am going to hope that it will contain both the secret of life and instructions as to picking a winning lottery number.

    ________________

    I think I have found the secret of saving the planet. I am looking at a merchandise catalogue for mid-price bedding. A full page ad for a bedding product called “Green Earth” exhorts me to “save costs, save the planet and treat yourself to unparalleled comfort.” Who knew that all we had to do to save the planet was to buy some sheets. Should someone alert the CRU crew, the IPCC and Al Gore?

  86. crownarmourer says:

    Old toad thanks for the info.

  87. manonthemoor says:

    @msher
    June 18, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Sorry Ozboy is very busy and I have not been helping to give him a quiet life.

    I have asked the favour of him again

    Failing that it will be after my holiday

    RGDS
    manonthemoor 17 June 19:36

  88. i_was_ferret says:

    Ho ho

    Disqus just crashed…
    Sorry, we’re undergoing temporarily maintenance.
    Please check back in a few moments.

  89. G’day all

    I’m a bit insomniac at the moment; 3-hourly bottle feeds are making me start to feel my age…

    MOTM – I have forwarded your earlier e-mail and am awaiting msher’s permission to exchange addresses so you can correspond directly.

    On that score, it seems I’m going to have to figure out a way for you all to correspond directly as and when you wish. Can I make the point to everyone, you have supplied me with your e-mail addresses for purposes of identification on this blog only. I take the trust you have thus placed in me VERY seriously and will NOT release that information to anyone, however well-meaning, without your explicit permission. On the other hand, I don’t want to hold up legitimate communications between you when both parties agree to it. Suggestions?

    Just checked the DT JD blog; the entire first page appears taken up with the semantics of racial abuse (?!?) If the Disqus fiasco over there really was a conspiracy to shut down legitimate debate, then it’s been quite an effective one. Feel free to invite the others around here, but if that sort of stuff starts to dominate these pages as well, I may need to get busy…

    Back in a few hours – Oz

  90. rastech says:

    Oz the ability to message each other via PM’s etc., was the main reason I set up the forum.

    Also useful to store reference links/data/articles, etc.

    I don’t see any other way of doing it in a handy (yet still private) format?

  91. fenbeagle says:

    Amerloque says:
    June 18, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Now is not the time to let up !

    …Who’s ‘letting up’?

  92. Amanda says:

    Msher says: Who knew that all we had to do to save the planet was to buy some sheets.

    God, ain’t it pathetic?

    Never mind that when you buy clothes from Marks and Spencer — that’s a bit like Macy’s, Msher — the product description online for each garment includes this line:
    ‘Think climate! This can be washed effectively at 30°C, find out more’. We are then informed that
    ‘Lowering your washing temperature to 30°C can
    save around 40% energy per wash. In fact, the
    Energy Saving Trust estimates that if we all moved to
    washing at 30°C, we’d save enough electricity to
    light every street lamp in the UK for 10 months!-

    Great, but do I get a reduction in taxes if that happens? And who exactly is planning to light these street lamps that I have paid for by ‘Thinking climate!’ And instead of making me cut back here and there with no thanks from the powers that be, just so we don’t have blackouts through the nation, why doesn’t the government install a bigger, more effective power supply? Just asking.

  93. Amanda says:

    I’ve just read Crownamourer’s comments on DT Delingpole about the brief DT Editor comment that was flashed and then yanked — do you mean Will What’sisname, Will Lewis I think it is? Or someone else? Anyway I don’t understand why someone official would bother to comment, presumably to clarify an issue, when a) that comment disappears forthwith and b) the new format guarantees that hardly anyone will see it anyway.

    Everything seems to be in a state of confusion. It would be lovely to know what’s really going on.

  94. Amanda says:

    I’ve just read Crownamourer’s comments on DT Delingpole about the brief DT Editor comment that was flashed and then yanked — do you mean Will What’sisname, Will Lewis I think it is? Or someone else? Anyway I don’t understand why someone official would bother to comment, presumably to clarify an issue, when a) that comment disappears forthwith and b) the new format guarantees that hardly anyone will see it anyway.

    Everything seems to be in a state of confusion. It would be lovely to know what’s really going on, and why.

  95. Amanda says:

    Also — I’m back from the DT blogs again — why is that ‘Social Media Reactions’ stuff allowed to dominate so much of the bottom of the page? So not only do we have to search page by page for previous commentary but we also have to avoid that each time — and avoid is what I do. I only looked at it because posters were complaining about giving a large platform to anti-Delingpolers, at the expense too of the readers who presumably would be able to see more posts on one page if this other stuff weren’t intruded.

  96. Amanda says:

    Sorry about the double post above — it was the computer wot dun it.

  97. Amanda says:

    My other question (while waiting for the crab cakes and wine to hit the table on the balcony deck overlooking the mountains this evening) is why Mack has taken to posting as ’emily2′, especially since even I realized right away that ’emily2′ was Mack? Why not, e.g. come back again (if Mack is somehow a name not to be used) as LeadKindlyLight?

    I feel like Alice through the looking glass.

  98. Amanda says:

    Ozboy: 3-hourly feeds would make ANYONE feel their age + 20 at least!

  99. Old Toad says:

    Amanda. The ‘flashing editor’ appeared on Gerald Warner’s blog the other day, I think to remind him who paid his wages. It then disappeared. It would be interesting to know who is allowed to use the offial editorial ‘avatar’, certainly no longer ‘thirsty’ Will Lewis, as Private Eye tells us he’s been ‘moved on’. If you check the official DT bloggers’ details almost everybody, except James, seems to some sort of editor.

  100. @rastech on June 18, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Agreed. Your forum may well be the way to go for private/semi-private discussions.

    My immediate concern is to “get out from the middle” of these e-mail discussions. Right now I’m in the position of having to remember that A is happy to get e-mails from anyone, but B does not want C to know D’s address because D knows C’s, and so on and so forth. I probably need a whiteboard! As I’m rather sleep-deprived, sooner or later I’m going to hit Send with the wrong e-mail CC’d, and all of a sudden I’ve betrayed the trust of one of my posters. It’s ineffective for everyone here, and a bit unfair on me.

    When you get a chance, could you possibly post a brief summary here about how discussions on your forum work?

    Many thanks, Oz

  101. Amanda says:

    Thank you, Old Toad, for shining a sliver of light on that for me.

  102. msher says:

    “Everything seems to be in a state of confusion. It would be lovely to know what’s really going on, and why.”

    Yesterday morning I logged in to the DT blogs and on the posts were fixed-time time stamps. Really, honest. I went over to a different blog – and they were gone. They were also gone on the original blog when I went back to it. I know I am not hallucinating. But I am certainly confused.

  103. Amanda says:

    Me again, back from the crab cakes. (G’day Ozboy!)

    So Msher’s confused. That’s wonderful. If Msher’s confused then we all have carte blanche to be confused.

    I also note that Delingpole has not dived in on occasion with his usual remarks, be they cutting, witty, or off-colour, or some combination thereof, and I haven’t noticed much commentary by other bloggers, either (though one remark appeared from Stephanie Gutmann, just as if she were not a DT blogger but a poster like anyone else).

    Whatever excuse or reason anyone might give for the format change, I think there’s no question that the sense of discontinuity, of disconnection, of discombobulation, is so overwhelming that I honestly wonder why they don’t scrap it. It isn’t really working. It’s greatly disliked. It’s not something you can warm to. And the old system was manifestly, manifoldly better. Even if this change was planned way back, as Msher persuasively suggests, and even if it was about revenue and NOT about poster content, why couldn’t some bright light — surely there must be some in Britain left? — tweak the existing system to make it compatible with current needs (whatever they are)? I find the whole thing mystifying. I’d be willing to bet the farm that Delingpole hates it.

  104. msher says:

    amanda

    I’m speculating that no one has the nerve to simply disable the “reply” function and doesn’t dare ask for any other reversions to the old format. It takes a lot of nerve to go to higher management and say this big expensive thing we have done (and probably begged for the funds for and oversold as the second coming) isn’t working out. In fact, people lose jobs for saying things like that. Is it possible that everyone is just laying low hoping that somehow the higher ups will resolve this mess without them having to stick their necks out?

    I have a guess about the social network stuff they’re allowing to dominate. This fits with my original impression. This was all about, in the first place, a social networking model. They had some kind of business model which had the DT blogs interconnected and somehow a center of communications hubs. Someone has done projections of increased traffic and therefore increased revenues in such a model. That’s my speculation, at least.

    Re the MArks and Spencer washing info. For a few years during the summer, California experienced rolling brownouts in electricity in early evenings. This was the hour when people got home from work and turned on A/C and appliances. (It turns out some, but not all, of the years of problems were caused by Enron manipulation.) Public service ads were frequently run about saving electricity by not running washing machines or dish washers until later in the evening (when it got cooler and people weren’t running as much AC). I have no problem with that kind of message – even leaving aside the issue of Enron manipulation of energy available to California. I am willing to use a little common sense and restraint to avert the necessity of building more capacity if a little common sense and restrain would have that result. However, the bedding people, whose language I quoted, are hypocrits. If they believe the green message, their language should really be: “You don’t need anymore sheets. Save the earth by not buying our sheets.”

  105. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    NoIdea June 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Blimey! Vese ‘ere tite levver straps don’t ‘arf chafe in the ‘eat & ‘umidity.
    Primary Slave, go fetch that calamine lotion, luv. Ta muchly.

  106. Blackswan Tasmania says:

    Hi Amanda & msher,

    Is there ANY advertisement for ANYTHING that hasn’t been greenwashed? Was it you msher who saw an ad for eco-undies a while ago? It’s just too mad. I find such ham-fisted attempts to push the “green button” so patronising and cynical, that my irritation levels ensure I’d never buy their product/services.

    Msher, some terrific posts re the Gulf and its implications. I can only think BP can’t afford NOT to cut their US holdings loose. If the progress of the Exxon precedent is any indicator, we’ll be discussing the wash-up from our front porch rocking chairs.

  107. libertygibbert says:
    June 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Cui bono? Well, I wouldn’t know offhand, but I shall say that, after having handled tonnes and tonnes of contract paperwork and permits for mechanical construction, it is daft and beyond reason to think for a moment BP ought to be held responsible for anything, unless the intent is to toss 200 years of Uniform Commercial Code out the window. The subcontractor did the deal, provided the data on which the permits were based, posted bond for liability for damages in the event of such things as have happened, and for me, it is completely ludicrous that Hayward didn’t just say, “What the hell are you after me for, Hussein? I was stupid enough to trust Deepwater Horizon, is all. Sue THEM. Shake THEM down,” then go have lunch.

    I have been through dozens of prime contractor/subcontractor rowls not unlike this except on a much smaller scale and no way do the primes ever take the rap for the subs. THAT’S WHAT YOU HIRE SUBCONTRACTORS FOR. Otherwise, it would have been entirely a BP operation, which is was not.

    Hussein didn’t chase off everyone for six months to figure out why and how and how to prevent this happening again. We already know how to do that: don’t hire Lousiana subcontractors. He did so to buy time to figure out how to tell the Saudis and the rest of the world’s draconically sadistic, troglodytic theocratic hellholes administered by monsters that the USA will no longer need their black gold ever again.

    The US Congress doth protest too loudly at BP’s evil deeds. I am sure they all got together afterwards and critiqued each other’s performances while having drunken tricycle races around the bartop with Mr. Hayward buying the drinks. The blowback preventer blew off because no force in the universe could restrain the might and power of the gigatonnes of oil and natural gas behind that gusher. That well is the best thing to have happened to the US economy since the Sutters Mill gold strike in California in 1849. It’s all theatre. Where are the dancing girls? At least with President Zipperless, you had Monica Lipinsky.

    It would be fun if there were evil North Korean submarines and Quebec lesbian dominatrixes involved and Suicide Chavez in a dynamite vest on a surfboard, but I leave all that to the co-writers of “Team America” to sort out for their next installment. Just so they don’t use the s***p word, or it will attract Scotties in wellies.

    Can you please upload some video footage of the Ozboy Sprog Patrol, do you think?

  108. Thinking about it even more, I will bet dollars to donuts that one of the conditions of BP being able to drill in the Gulf AT ALL was to hire the local bumpkins. Does that sound anything like the game of “playing against a loaded deck” to you, or not?

    In fairness to Deepwater Horizon, and to ensure they don’t send giant Creole shrimp ninjas crawling through my window at 3 am to beat me to death with Cajun fiddles and accordions in revenge, there is no way they could have anticipated the force behind the wellhead, as regardless of the present level of wellhead seismic 4D analysis and 4D modeling, it is still modeling. for really good essays on the current state of the art as relates to this, download this month’s issue of http://www.digitalenergyjournal.com which is concerned solely with digital seismic analysis, subsea and subsurface, and its associated problems.

  109. crownaramada says:

    Check this one out from an ex editor of the New Scientist before it became a proganda arm of the AGW crew…
    http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/tradecraft-of-propaganda/#more-1059

  110. BTW, BP has been wanting to cut its “US operations,” that is, the former Amoco, loose since the days when Lord Browne headed BP. They bought it because they thought they could create a corporate culture which mirrored BP’s core values and while it did at the top of the corporate food chain, there is not the intergenerational trades training for roughnecking supported in the USA by educational trades training infrastructure as the UK enjoys. The McCarthy HUAC hearings purged our entire educational system from top to bottom, and it is a condition from which we still suffer the consequences. 3 million people were blacklisted from 1952 to 1976, mostly schoolteachers, union organizers and trainers, and university instructors and genuine academics of the old school we needed then and the likes of which we shall never see again. I don’t know why we Yanks focus on Hollywood blacklisted when the people suffered far worse from the HUAC reign of terror; perhaps it is to gloss over and render unrealistic to the masses what really happened, just as the Viet Nam conflict and the Detroit riots reporting are being re-written to this day, bit by bit, to distort the narrative further.

    There’s no way BP could make of the former Amoco another BP. I think they ought to have dumped Amoco decades ago. In either event, though, UK assets on this scale aren’t altogether at risk internationally LOL! Not unless the USA sends in the Marines to invade Yorkshire or something.

    There’s lots of reciprocal markers the UK can pull on the States, if push comes to shove. The UK has about a tril and a half of corporate investment in the States paying 200-300 billion in payroll per year. One call to Stephen Harper in Ottawa and all that could be moved to Canada in about a fortnight. I am sure most of the American workers would enjoy going with their companies to beaver away in Canada, too, but for the winters.

  111. crownaramada says:

    Walt somebody mentioned Chapter 11 for the US operations of BP to limit liabilities as Obama is really pushing his legal authority too far. I lose track who said maybe you or one of the other guys and everyone has a new name on the DT blogs I have lost track of who’s who, can someone provide a spreadsheet for us to use.
    It seems all of BP’s woes come from the US operations which are mostly ex AMOCO and it is driven by bean counters not engineers making decisions a culture where managers cut corners to make their next bonus and move on up the ladder and let the next guy deal with the crap he left and it’s usually a he, although there are plenty of she’s doing the same. We suffer from the same thing in my company but at our production facilities safety is job one as having a paper machine down because someone blew up the boiler costs money. That is when our maintenance guys are not looking at pron and it is always our maintenance guys.

  112. crownaramada says:

    El Commandante I apologize for the over familiarity by calling you Walt as the Grand Inquisitor no one not even me can be exempt from inquisition so as punishment I shall attach electrodes to myself as punishment I promise not to enjoy the experience. Long live our Glorious leader and the Republic.

  113. OT and not related to AGW, but a new post here you may care to weigh in on. Terrifying stuff!

    Cheers

    Ozboy

  114. rastech says:

    “The UK has about a tril and a half of corporate investment in the States ”

    Overall UK investment in the USofA, is much, much higher than that . . . .

    I was shocked to find out how much it was, in the very early 1980’s.

  115. rastech says:

    “When you get a chance, could you possibly post a brief summary here about how discussions on your forum work?

    Many thanks, Oz”

    For PM’s, once someone has made a posting on the forum the check in and saying hello thread thread), just click on their name and you pull up their profile (test it with my name if you want). From there you can add them to a Buddy list, send them PM’s, show posts, etc.

    I’m in the process of looking into adding a live chat feature to the forum too.

  116. Thanks Rastech, in future when posters here ask me to pass messages I will point them to your forum. It really is a better way to do it.

    Thanks again, Oz

  117. Mack says:

    “Amanda says:
    June 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

    My other question (while waiting for the crab cakes and wine to hit the table on the balcony deck overlooking the mountains this evening) is why Mack has taken to posting as ‘emily2′, especially since even I realized right away that ‘emily2′ was Mack? Why not, e.g. come back again (if Mack is somehow a name not to be used) as LeadKindlyLight? ”

    Explained that already ages ago.Blame the DT software,it stole Mack and would not give it back,then did it with Emily [Little Btitain geddit?] and so on

  118. Walt O'Brien says:

    rastech says:
    June 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    That’s direct investment, according to the statistics listed by the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Please don’t miss the point I was trying to make directly, which is that legally there is no reason BP need pay any attention to the Feds at all, as the Federales have not a legal foot to stand on as their claims are entirely fraudulent and without merit, and indirectly, which is that the UK and BP have no reason to take any Gough from a scofflaw U.S.A. regime which is only inflating this issue to mask over other (and manifold, and grossly expensive) Federal government and domestic economic policy failures.

    The Gulf leak is NOT Pearl Harbour, nor Independence Day as in the kid’s movie, nor 9/11, which latter is just damned insulting to the intelligence even of an eight year old. The Gulf spill is just another over-reactive “Freedom fries” bucket of pointless Teddy Roosevelt jingoism except this time out it is directed wrongfully at a British firm which was trusting and stupid enough to hire a Louisiana contractor to do a Statoil or ConocoPhilips job.

    The other main point is that it was an accident. Full stop. Does anyone remember what the difference is between “malicious intent” and “accidental” anymore in the press? Apparently not. The situation is presented as if the CGS and Cameron got together over drinks in the War Room in Whitehall and planned out an attack on the US economy. Why, how and when and by whom? If I were BP, I would have an entire set of lawsuits ready to go none of which involve the Feds but the US press attack-chihuahua liar winos.

  119. Amerloque says:

    Hi Walt !
    On June 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Over on the WSJ it’s being reported that the $20bil Obumbles shakedown of BP (not for nothing did he “organize communities” on the Chicago South Side, eh ?) represents but two thirds of this year’s operating cashflow. Over the past three years the company generated $91 billion in cash flow from operations.

    Best,
    L’Amerloque

    Amerloque 20100618 19h30 Paris time (CET)
    http://amerloqueparis.blogspot.com/

  120. Amanda says:

    TO Reality Returns: if you come around:

    thanks for your nice comments about me and Msher. Always pleasant to get a compliment.

    Cheers!

    (Tried to reply on the thread in question but… man it’s just *not* a convenient system, especially when I’m on a mountain with a twitchy connection anyway.)

  121. Amanda says:

    Mack, saw your complaint on DT about not getting an ID you like. Can’t you do something like Mackk or M_a_c_k? Or ‘Mack is Back’ or ‘Mack the Knack’ just so lurkers don’t think you’re a girl called Emily?

  122. NoIdea says:

    http://www.helium.com/items/1864136-how-the-ultimate-bp-gulf-disaster-could-kill-millions

    “The burgeoning methane gas cloud will surface, killing everything it touches, and set off a supersonic tsunami with the wave traveling somewhere between 400 to 600 miles per hour.”

    You die an instant death from touching methane…if the supersonic waves don’t get you the flatulence will.
    Ridiculous over the top propaganda or scary stuff?
    NoIdea

  123. realityreturns says:

    Amanda

    He likes the stilettos in his guise as Emily…….he whacks and gouges trolls with them. Some trolls have been known to go home (back under their stones) reamed from head to toe or somewhere worse, by emily’s stilettos. He has also adopted the Israeli flag to express his “love” of Islam……..blastings be upon the Islamic extremists.

  124. realityreturns says:

    NoIdea

    I see you’re still at it….LOL

    With the oil spillage accident we now have a worse creature than Al’s manbearpig roaming the earth, we have MANBEARDUCK wallowing in beak oil!!

  125. realityreturns says:

    Hi Pointy

    Hope you come visit us soon on the JD blog. We have “interesting” new trolls making even less sense than the old ones. Can you imagine [even] another troll with a lower IQ than goutbag???? Strange but true.

  126. criticalThinker says:

    Re methane gas,

    The claimed 100,000 psi from the ‘Helium’ link seems a bit high given that the pressure of the reserve is about 11,000 psi. (As per Haywards testimony – 11,000 psi and 50,000,000 barrels.)

  127. realityreturns says:

    Hi Amanda

    Thanks for that…you and msher are both fine ladies and I always value your opinions. I made a bit of a fool of myself on the General Election by thinking UKIP could replace the LibDems as the third main party – nearly a million votes but not one seat.

    By the law of unintended consequences, the 21 seats lost to the Tories by UKIP voters actually caused this dastardly coalition. Dave has what he wants now, a cosy up with his friends in the LibDems. All voting on conviction did was help him. I was wrong but in all conscience I could not vote for the tattered socialist rag of Cameron’s parody of a Tory party.

  128. Amerloque says:
    June 19, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Hayward can put that on his Amethyst Card with enough change left over to play the ponies with the equivalent of the Canadian GDP.

    Actually, I don’t see why someone like Mr. Hayward doesn’t do something really sadistic and funny like place a bet at 100 to one at Saratoga Springs (after fixing the race, natch) for a billion then suing when they don’t pay off at the window. The State Government of NY’s Gaming Commission controls gambling now here, as I recall. :>)

    Then it’s $20 bill to Oongawa, an 80 bil to the BP shareholders for dividend payout. What’s not to like?

  129. Amanda says:

    RealityReturns at 5:52:

    Well it’s big of you to reach that conclusion and make that assessment. And don’t feel bad: at least Labour’s out. And better luck next time?

Comments are closed.