Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oil Spill Plugged?

It appears that BP has not found enough mud to jam in that hole to put an end to what has become a continuing environmental disaster. The 39 days of prior leakage has provided (depending on who you talk to) either 39 million gallons or 100 million gallons to mess up the Gulf of Mexico and the shore line from Louisiana to Florida. It has the potential to bring devastating consequences to a huge variety of wildlife and businesses whose livelihood depends on those creatures.

The good people of Houma, Louisiana in Terrebonne Parish long ago learned to live with disaster. The bayou, just a stone’s throw from our place of business, was famous for storms changing the direction of flow in a few hours. Our clientele often showed up bandaged, medicated or limping from one of the many dangerous jobs they routinely performed. They laughed it off, prepared for next encounter with the exigencies of life, and assured us that: “it soon be OK Cher.” They knew enough not to hobble into their local gun dealer for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on. That was 25 years ago but those folks don’t change much over time.

About ten years after we left, in 1994, NOAA created a plan to handle potential oil spills in the gulf. Essentially it amounted to the use of “fire booms” to corral the spills and burn them in place. As federal regulations pushed newer platforms further and further from the continental shelf into the deepwater Gulf, the availability of the “booms” was in inverse proportion to the increased activity. When the Deepwater Horizon blew 39 days ago, there were none available to meet the threat--not a single one in the entire Gulf. It would have been a perfect solution to isolate the oil at the surface and let it harmlessly burn in mid ocean as they worked to cap the well. There is also little evidence that the government required BP to have emergency plans in place. Perhaps BP thought that they had actually efficiently implemented the “fire boom’ plan.

Obama’s famous remark, “just plug the damn hole!” was an equally ineffective gesture. Every man involved with any phase of recovery who had a hint of a solution would have offered it immediately and worked tirelessly to accomplish it. From the executives down to the “monkeys” on the platforms, and at every level in between the entire focus is on production and in this case containment. Keep in mind the motive which BP has is to effectively recover oil. There is no profit in dumping it into the sea.

Before the blowout, the president issued a press release to the affect that regulations governing drilling restrictions on the continental shelf adjacent to the coast lines of Alaska, the Gulf, and specific locales in both our oceans to the astonishment of everyone who has followed his pronouncements. Many who heard the words were cheered by them and truly believed that an epiphany had occurred in the White House. Hosanna! He had finally listened to the people, long oppressed by escalating gasoline and other petroleum prices and offered relief from foreign oil. His approval ratings went up consistent with the hopes of the people. When he made that proclamation I admit that I was astonished. Could it be that he had seen the light and was actually doing something for the people?

Within a very few days as various officials and drilling companies debated the wisdom of extending drilling opportunities, there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig which took the lives of eleven and 89 others were spared. It struck me pretty hard because, if not possibly the same guys, they were of a type I had come to enjoy in my gun shop in Houma. Typically they were fun-loving yet serious hard working guys. A little rough around the edges but otherwise the kind of men any man is proud to know. Most of them worked two and two (two weeks on and two weeks off) and sometimes other long term combinations. When they came into Cochise Trading Co. we picked up the conversation where it had left off.

There are many people with a vested interest in determining the cause of any accident on the platforms at sea—or land for that matter. Owners, workers, families, insurance companies, regulatory agencies, and investigators from multiple police agencies to OSHA; all are possible participants in curiosity about the cause of the disaster. In all the written material on this particular tragedy I have missed a comprehensive report on any on-going investigations. I would certainly appreciate a link if you have seen something I have missed.

My suspicious mind leads me to ask who exactly had the most to gain from this mis-hap. In the spirit of “never let a crisis go to waste” it is ready made for the crowd who wish to discourage off shore drilling. Ask yourself how it is that the worst oil spill in the nation’s history—yes, it exceeds that of the Exxon Valdez—comes so shortly on the heels of the expanded drilling announcement? A reminder here that a common staple of law enforcement is to seek that person or special interest who has the most to gain from the commission of a crime. It appears there is no shortage of possible villains to be investigated here. As you consider this, remember that dollar gains are not the only ones that count. Ideology, revenge, elimination of a competitor, and enhanced status are often valid in the mind of the perpetrator to act in a senseless manner.

When this was posted earlier we were under the false impression that the capping of the well was a fait acompli.  Unfortunately we were reacting to an overly optimistic report.  Although they are making huge progress it is not complete.  Whenever that occurs, we pray that the investigators learn the actual cause, we can all rest easier.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twelve Hundred National Guardsmen to the Border

The president announced that he would commit 1200 National Guard troops to assist in border enforcement. This promise came with a commitment of $500,000,000 to fund the effort. Although a step in the right direction, a few minutes with the trusty calculator did little to see it as a solution to the problem.

First off, the situation is that the length of the border is intimidating—1,969 miles. To assist the existing ICE personnel, if each individual were to be assigned a portion for patrol and interdiction on a twenty four hour basis we must understand how shift workers are enumerated. A single shift requires three men on an eight hour stint with one man in reserve for a total of four. Suddenly the 1200 is reduced to 300 effective troops for the entire length of the border. 1,200 divided by 4 results in 300 men available for increased surveillance. The border length of 1,969 miles divided by 300 then results in one man for each 6.56 miles additional coverage.

While the extra manpower is a positive addition to the defense of the border it leaves several glaring gaps. Not every individual in these guard units will be on active patrol. We have administrative personnel, cooks, mechanics, medics, armorers, communication specialists, and others who will need to be on shifts as well. It is safe to assume that the best that can be hoped is to supply one enforcement guardsman for every 13 miles.

In typical government fashion, the financial arrangement for their support is $416,666.66 for each man assigned. Even considering the costs of pay, benefits, transportation, armaments, and support equipment it appears to be more than adequate to support an operation “in continent.” In fact, there should be enough left over to send each and every one of them to Harvard.

The number, 1200 guardsmen, suggests two full strength battalions. Obviously, the affect on our border security will hardly be noticeable but the possibility of their efforts enhancing the existing security might possibly open the door to a more substantial force. That would be a benefit so obvious that even the president could understand it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Unlikely Headline from the L.A. Times

With mounting evidence of the decreasing popularity of the president even among his most hardcore supporters I was nonetheless, surprised by this headline:


In this piece on the Opinion Page, we find questioning of senate candidate Sestak by David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The follow-up is questioning of the ever elusive Robert Gibbs by CBS’s Bob Schieffer on his take on the matter. The “snark” in the headline is roughly equivalent to the chutzpah so evident in Gibbs’ remarks.

The allegation is simply that the president offered to appoint Sestak Secretary of the Navy if he would concede the Democrat Party nomination to Arlen Specter (D/R/? PA.) That would be tempting for a former admiral but he apparently felt comfortable that he could defeat Specter. He did.

In an administration with an attorney general who is simply a tool of the Democrat Party, this, despite being a high crime, will probably not get the attention it deserves from “law” enforcement and America’s top cop. Ignoring legitimate law enforcement is standard procedure for this administration so the issue will be buried.

The most important feature we may take from the opinion piece is the sudden interest taken by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times. Like most major city dailies, they have pretty much been in the tank for Obama from the “git-go.” Will this herald a sudden reawakening of major news sources to the shenanigans of the current administration or will they eventually be able to see it was all Bush’s fault. When added to the interest shown by Schieffer (CBS) and Gregory (NBC), it does constitute a sea change.

At this point, it is premature to believe that they will reverse their position of two years and actually report the activities of the administration—warts and all. As refreshing as that prospect may be we would be well advised to await further developments and beware of premature rejoicing.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 147

Brother Wells came to Fellowship to deliver the Sunday night sermon. It was vintage “Wells” which sent us racing through the scriptures for the apt passages and the constant message to support his thesis. In his well-grounded faith in his Master, he put aside that which was on the congregation’s mind. Tomorrow morning he will have a kidney transplant and we prayerfully anticipate that the procedure will restore his vigor and usefulness to his Savior. Given the intense fervor of last night’s message, one can only imagine his intensity when he is restored to full health. Your prayers for a successful operation and the continued good health of this servant and the donee (his grandson) would be appreciated. Thank you.

A Shell Game

In a blatant attempt to placate the SEIU, we plainly see mis-use of government employees in the mob action at the home of a banking executive in Maryland. DC cops crossed over into a sovereign state to reinforce the action of intimidation and terror. Under the guise of “providing security” they accompanied bus loads of union members to the private home to trample that private property and intimidate the only person present in the home at that time--a young boy. Apparently, calls to local police went unanswered and the mob action went on unimpeded.

You may safely assume you are looking the future directly in the face. This is the only promise which the current administration has made which you may depend upon. They will continue to support these hooligan tactics to threaten other American citizens in the pursuit of the transformation of government. In earlier action, they bailed out the unions by supplying billions of dollars to protect an unimaginably comprehensive health care plan and an overly generous retirement program for union members with both GM and Chrysler. False claims of success by their CEO notwithstanding; there is little hope for GM ever to recover and return as a viable entity in the automobile business without huge subsidies from the US Treasury.

The lies of socialism, progressivism, communism, or whatever vile label you wish to assign; are all encapsulated in a totalitarian plan to deprive average unimpowered citizens of individual liberties to benefit a protected segment of the populace. Nothing could be further from the intentions of the founders of this great and exceptional nation. They valued individual initiative, imagination and industry to supply the engine of progress. By selection of favored groups, we defeat their vision of our country. God help us!

Rasmussen Reports

The president’s poll numbers have descended to a low not seen since January 23rd. In today’s report we find his “approval index” (strongly approve/strongly disapprove) at 25/43 or a net of minus 18%. On the generic with the “strongly” absent we find him at 44% approval with 55% disapprove or minus 11%.

We are especially heartened by this report from Rasmussen in consideration of their past record in polling. They restrict their polling to registered voters and come up with an historical record vastly superior to any other methodology.

Richard Blumenthal

It is indeed a sad commentary on the citizens of Connecticut that they are inhabited by those who would rise to the defense of their Attorney General who has posed as a combat veteran during Viet Nam. As the pendulum slowly swings to acknowledge the service of those brave men and women who fought during that conflict we find this usurper claiming unjust heroism and participation. There is world of difference between a cushy state-side job and the mud and the slime and the sacrifice experienced by those heroes who were actually there. It is representative of cowardice in the extreme.

It is appropriate however for this liar to be poised to replace Chris Dodd. You know—birds of a feather and all that. If he is successful, it will underscore every preformed opinion I have of Connecticut, the Democrat Party, lawyers, and progressives. The only remaining mystery is how a contingent of actual veterans can stand next to him on a dais and demonstrate support. Shame, shame on you!


This piece is taken in its entirety from oldNFO at “Nobody Asked Me”; one of my favorite daily reads. When you have a moment, drop by and enjoy his contribution to the blogosphere. It helps if you have some prior or current military experience but that is not absolutely necessary. This should help to clarify any misunderstanding of the duty one assumes when taking the oath.

“At a friend's retirement a few weeks ago he read this; and I thought some of y'all might be interested in his perspective after 28 years on active duty...


A Navy Chief sat behind his desk, just down the hall from his Commander's office. As the Chief started on a second cup of coffee and finished the last of the morning messages, the commander stepped into the office. "Chief," the Captain said, "I hate to ask you this, but you are needed in Southwest Asia in six days for a 90-day rotation. Can you go?" With no voiced emotion and without looking up, the Chief replied, "Ma'am, I put on my uniform this morning."

The Captain, somewhat taken a-back, thought to herself, "The Chief doesn't usually talk in riddles. Has this veteran of 20 years gone off of the deep end?" The wise old protector of the enlisted corps smiled and began to explain. "Ma'am, I made a promise to myself more than 20 years ago, that I would only put this uniform on as long as I'm available for duty. You see, while it is obvious to most Navy members, it seems to completely escape others. 'Available for duty' means more than the desire to negotiate and select the premium assignments. It requires us to go any place in the world the president or officers appointed over us determines, at any given time. This doesn't mean we shouldn't want or receive our preferences. It does mean we'll go when and where we are needed and called. Now this may seem overly simplistic, but, I think everyone can agree: when it comes to defining service to our country, the answer is just that simple. In today's world of 'What can you do for me?' it's very easy to lose sight of what 'service to country' is all about. Service goes far beyond the individual; it affects the well-being of our nation. Sitting in comfortable surroundings, at your dream base in CONUS, it's easy to forget the sacrifices we agreed to endure in service to our country. Sitting in Saudi, Iraq, Bosnia, Japan or maybe Korea, the sacrifices become much clearer. The bottom line today is that we are an all-volunteer force, and though our force has been reduced by 30 percent in the last five years, it remains a highly mobilized, continually-tasked 'corporation.' Everyone is vital to its continued success."

The Chief continued by saying, "The Navy will go on tomorrow with or without any single one of us; however, the efficiency of any one of its specific units may be adversely effected by the loss of only a few. All of us have the responsibility to report our availability for duty. If someone has a family problem or special circumstances that preclude them from being available, they need to report it immediately and especially prior to being deployed. If any member does not deploy when called upon, another member must fill that slot. So, any time someone cannot or will not deploy, the ripple effect is felt throughout the Navy. Everyone's family would like them to be home for the holidays. I can't think of a single person who would intentionally miss their child's graduation. And we're all aware of the pain of losing a loved one and know how the grief can be compounded by not being at their side in the final moments. Yes, we are all continually asked to make sacrifices. Yet some seem to forget that we are serving our nation, and that we are all volunteers. Who said it was going to be easy? The leadership of our country depends upon us for being good and true to our word. Every day, each of us needs to look into the mirror before getting into uniform and ask, 'Am I available for duty?' If the answer is "No," then we need to notify our supervisor, Division chief, or commander immediately! Then the next step is to determine if the non-availability is temporary or permanent. Then the toughest question must be asked--should that person resign, separate, or retire? There are no gray areas. Everyone must decide for themselves."

Finally the Chief looked at his commander, and said, "Ma'am, as I said earlier, I put on my uniform today, and I'm available for duty. Do you still need a 'yes' or 'no' answer to your question?"

Nuff said...”

And Finally

I mentioned a while back that I would try to firmly identify the exact nature of our occasional hummingbird. Granny has just complicated the matter. She put up a feeder designed exclusively for hummingbirds. We now have multiple birds to identify. The additional feeder plus the three new grape trellises are changing the look of the deck view out my office window. Rejoice with me—it’s about the way I envisioned it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon