Archive | Just Plain Crazy

Drilling In A Mine Field

You learn the darndest things on the internets. For example, I just found out that the Gulf of Mexico is the primary disposal site for unexploded military munitions – over 30 million pounds of bombs, projectiles and chemical ordnance.

And because records are spotty and incomplete, we don’t know exactly where these dumps are.

(Are you following me?)

Many of these bombs are unstable. Just about anything could detonate them – say, an oil rig that’s digging deeper than what owners noted on their permit application. So we’re leasing offshore drilling rights to oil companies IN A FRICKIN’ MINE FIELD. (You’ll notice this NY Times piece on the problems of offshore drilling doesn’t even mention it.)

Drill, baby, drill!

There is technology available to carefully map underwater hazards like UXO but so far, I haven’t found anything that indicates offshore drilling lessees are required to do so. I have to assume that a company will try to protect their investment, but you never know.

But isn’t is reasonable that this information be part of the public debate on offshore drilling?

Here’s some of this information from a paper presented at the 2007 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

In June of 2006, the MMS (Editor’s note: Minerals Management Service) released its Notice to Lessees NTL
2006-G12, which outlined regulations for conducting
Ancillary Activities in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region.

Within this Notice, the MMS states a requirement to comply
with protective measures when conducting activities within
Ordnance Dumping Zones, as well as Military Warning Zones
(“Water Test Areas”) 1 through 5. Figure 1 displays the areas
delineated by the MMS as Ordnance Disposal and Military
Warning Areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Additionally, during the writing of this paper, the MMS
released NTL 2007-G01, which updated the Shallow Hazards
Program requirements. This notice also recognizes ordnance
as a manmade hazard that may have an adverse effect on
proposed well operations
. Although the standard Gulf of
Mexico geohazard survey and assessment does not currently
involve a specifically defined unexploded ordnance
assessment, prudent owners, operators, and service vendors
should consider it on top of the To-Do list when planning
projects in those sensitive areas
. This paper presents such an
assessment as well as provides additional insights into the
problem of unexploded ordnance encountered in deepwater.

Three fundamental problems exist that the standard geohazard
assessor faces in dealing with the UXO problem. These are
simply limitations in technology, awareness, and expertise.

The solution lies in the utilization of innovative technology,
well thought out and appropriately planned geohazard survey
specifications, and most importantly the utilization of
unconventional industry experts with the ability to perform
adequate and thorough ordnance risk assessments
.

Historically, incidents involving ordnance discovered off the
coasts of the United States have been limited primarily to
fishing boats dragging ordnance up in their nets. It is very rare
that a detonation occurs during one of these events although it
has happened. In the early 1980’s off the coast of New Jersey,
a fishing boat attempted to haul a WWII torpedo warhead in to
harbor. While at anchor, outside the harbor, and awaiting
Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) responders, a
storm emerged. The increased wave and wind activity rattled
the warhead against the fishing boat, accidentally detonating it
and sinking the fishing boat. Due to instances like these,
survey, transportation, and exploration companies venturing
into deep waters are becoming more susceptible to
encountering UXOs and the distinct possibility of an
accidental detonation.

UXO (unexploded ordnance) dump zones also exist off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Although the Atlantic and Pacific oceans drop off very quickly and oil and gas exploration has been limited along those coasts, current technology for deepwater production is making the possibility of Atlantic and Pacific margin exploration more of a reality. This will only increase the need for UXO awareness and viable solutions to their existence in deepwater.

Weird

I can’t even tell why I think this is so strange, but it is:

COVINGTON, La. – The leader of a Ku Klux Klan group in Louisiana pleaded guilty yesterday to killing an Oklahoma woman – an erratic recruit who a witness said yelled “I want out” the day after her initiation.

Raymond Foster, 49, of Bogalusa, was immediately sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder by state District Judge Peter Garcia.

Cynthia Lynch, 43, a Klan recruit from Tulsa, Okla., was shot and killed in November 2008, the day after initiation rites in rural St. Tammany Parish, about 50 miles north of New Orleans.

Frankie Stafford, a former member of the Klan group, testified Monday that Lynch cried tears of joy the night of her initiation but the next day angrily cursed Foster and yelled “I want out” before Foster shot her.

After entering his plea yesterday, Foster’s voice was shaky as he apologized to Lynch’s mother, Virginia Lynch, who was in the courtroom’s front row. She had been present throughout jury selection and Stafford’s testimony and wept at times as prosecutors outlined the crime.

Tasered

This is just plain disgusting. A 17-year-old kid, tasered for running onto the Citizens Bank field? What threat was he to anyone? Tasers can be deadly weapons, and taser use by cops is completely out of control. Tasers are supposed to be an alternative to deadly force, remember?

From the video, it sure looks like the cop shot the kid in the back – one of the zones Taser International recommends police avoid.

Fortunately for the city, this kid isn’t one of the 479 people so far who dropped dead after being tasered:

For the first time in Phillies history, a fan running on the field at Citizens Bank Park was subdued by a Philadelphia police officer using his Taser gun.

With 44,817 fans watching in the stands Monday night, the teenage male, wearing a black baseball cap, red T-shirt, and khaki shorts, ran on to the field during the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“This is the first time that a Taser gun has been used by Philadelphia police to apprehend a field jumper,” Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said in a statement. “The Police Department is investigating this matter and the Phillies are discussing with them whether in future situations this is an appropriate use of force under these circumstances. That decision will be made public.”

The fan made several loops in center field with security personnel and the police officer in pursuit. The officer appeared to fire several times before hitting the man. The man fell to the ground. He was then helped off the field.

The police officer “utilized his Taser” when a fan ran onto the field, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.

Running on the field during a game is a crime and has been for decades. Normally, such suspects are wrestled to the ground, escorted off the field, and arrested.

It was unclear Monday night if a Taser had ever been used on a Major League Baseball field to subdue such a suspect.

Vanore said the Police Department’s internal affairs unit would open an investigation to determine if the firing “was proper use of the equipment.”

Just Plain Nuts

I can’t decide whether this is a scene from “Catch-22” or “Dr. Strangelove”. Yeah, way to solve the problem, general!

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Thousands of soldiers, their bald eagle shoulder patches lined up row upon row across the grassy field, stood at rigid attention to hear a stern message from their commander.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend addressed the 101st Airborne Division with military brusqueness: Suicides at the post had spiked after soldiers started returning home from war, and this was unacceptable.

“It’s bad for soldiers, it’s bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our Army and our country and it’s got to stop now,” he insisted. “Suicides on Fort Campbell have to stop now.”

It sounded like a typical, military response to a complicated and tragic situation. Authorities believe that 21 soldiers from Fort Campbell killed themselves in 2009, the same year that the Army reported 160 potential suicides, the most since 1980, when it started recording those deaths.

Our Legacy

This man’s other son served in Special Forces, so he’s even more upset:

Elizabeth City, N.C. – Police say six Army Special Forces solders beat up a man at a topless bar in Elizabeth City, sending him to the emergency room with a fractured skull.

Travis Howard never expected to be in the emergency room after a night out on the town with his son Devan.

They were celebrating Devan’s 21st birthday at Headlights topless bar in Elizabeth City early Wednesday morning.

Travis says he was sitting alone at a table when out of nowhere, some soldiers in the Special Forces command out of Fort Bragg attacked him, fracturing his skull in four places

“I can remember feeling 2 punches but then my eyes were swelling shut … I don’t remember actually seeing a whole lot after that. I went to the ground with my hands to my face and had my hands covering my face and was trying to protect what I had left.”

Six soldiers are charged with assault causing serious injury. A spokesman for the Army Special Forces Command out of Fort Bragg says they had just completed training at Blackwater, also known as Xe in Moyock. One of the soldier’s stories is that Howard said something to them in the bathroom. Howard denies this.

“I don’t even know that anything that could be spoken out of one person’s mouth in a limited amount of time would warrant them getting beat to the sense of 4 or 5 skull fractures just because of something that would have come out of their mouth.”

Howard also says he suffered a broken nose, sprained neck, and a concussion. After the fight broke out, police say the soldiers left the club.

Ah yes, Blackwater. The outsourcer of choice for torture.

Evil Fred

The power-hungry jackass who abuses his own kids gets a national stage for his psychopathic behavior:

MONTCOAL W.V. — Protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to the Upper Big Branch mine Thursday morning to convey the message that the explosion there that left 25 miners dead was a result of e-mail messages allegedly sent from West Virginia threatening the Church and its publisher, according to a statement from the Church.

The church, which is led by Fred Phelps, has attracted attention in recent years by showing up at funerals for soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At those funerals they carry signs that say that God hates homosexuality and that the death of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is God’s way of punishing the United States for its tolerance of it.

“This whole nation is awash in rebellious sin and defiance of God, His standard, and His servant’s faithful words,” a news release on the church’s Web site said Thursday morning.

The statement said the church had received threats about a trip to West Virginia and Virginia scheduled to begin Thursday.

“So God reached down and smacked one of those mines, killing 25 (and likely four more are dead),” it said. “Now you moan and wallow in self-pity, and pour over the details of the dead rebels’ lives, pretending they’re heroes.”

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