Texas Liberal

All People Matter

JUDGEMENT!—Hurricane Isaac May Disrupt Republican Convention

(Update 8/26/12–If you click the first link below you will get the current report on Isaac. While I hope the storm breaks up, at current it is headed to Mississippi and Louisiana. These are  conservative southern states that often send people to Washington who complain about the federal government. You can be certain though these places will looking for federal help in the unfortunate event that the storm does a lot of damage.)  

As you see from the National Hurricane Center map above, Tropical Storm Isaac may be arriving in Florida at the same time as the Republican National Convention.

Though by Monday it may be known as Hurricane Isaac. Here is the hurricane center page on Isaac.

The convention is set to begin on Monday in Tampa. Tampa is on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida.

I think the hurricane will go where it will go for whatever reason.  I imagine though that some religious people might see a message if a hurricane comes and disrupts a major party convention.

Maybe it is wickedness to the poor that the hurricane is meant to address.

Or poor stewardship of the Earth.

There really are so many possible reasons.

Folks who live in areas prone to hurricanes will know that the area in which a hurricane might strike is called the cone of uncertainty.

You’ll see that there is a large swath of land and sea within the cone.

Also in a cone of uncertainty are your rights if the Romney/Ryan/Todd Akin ticket wins this November.

Mitt Romney met in 2012 with the Cincinnati doctor—Jack Wilke—who is an architect of many of Todd Akin’s extreme views. Dr. Wilke says that he–Wilke–and Governor Romney are in strong agreement on many concerns.

Paul Ryan does not support a rape exception for abortion.

Hopefully the tropical storm will dissipate and people will not be hurt.

As for the Romney/Ryan/Akin Republican Party—You can bet on them inflicting full-blown misery on the American people every chance they get.

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

There Is Nothing Wrong With Admitting That You Just Don’t Know

Above is a National Weather Service radar picture from yesterday afternoon of Tropical Storm Debby.

I enjoyed the three question marks in this image.

I also like where it says “Considerable uncertainty with forecast movement beyond Sunday.

It may well be the case that despite having satellites and radar and scientists and computer models that you still may not know which way the storm is heading.

There is no nothing at all wrong in admitting that you are simply not sure about something.

This radar image is a fine lesson for us all.

Here is the National Weather Service Tropical Weather page for the Houston-Galveston area.

Here is the Weather Underground page for Tropical Storm Debby. 

What course will the storm take this week? Will it be a strong storm?

All anybody can do is guess.

No shame in that.

June 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Books About Texas Make Great Holiday Gifts—Everybody You Know Would Like A Book About Texas

What books should you consider as holiday gifts for the Texan in your life, or for someone who would like to learn more about Texas?

I have some suggestions.

As you can see from the picture above, Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat would very much like to learn more about Texas. Hamburger is a member of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

You will also please note that Hamburger is trying to use some Republic of Texas currency to buy a book of Texas history.

While many conservative Texans might wish that this currency was still valid, I may have to spot Hamburger a few real dollars to purchase the book.

Here is a list of some fine Texas- themed books I own. There are many others out there that I don’t own and are worthy of your consideration.

Lone Star Nation–The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.

Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.

The Texas Almanac is simply one of the best reference books I own on any topic. The Almanac is published by the Texas State Historical Associataion. The most recent edition of the Almanac was released just a few weeks ago.

(The budget of the Texas State Historical Commission was slashed by Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in Texas. Is this how we should honor Texas history?) 

Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good by Steven Fenberg. This is a new release that I own, but have not yet read. Jesse Jones of Houston was a very powerful figure of the Franklin Roosevelt era who played a large role in crafting today’s Houston and our whole State of Texas.

The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John Anderson may sound dry. But is an accessible title with many pictures that will help you understand the geography and other aspects of the Texas coast from the Sabine Pass, to where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf Of Mexico.

Texas A & M Press has published a variety of titles about life in the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico.  I own four of these books and they are all very informative.

Sam Houston–A Biography of the Father of Texas by John Hoyt Williams is a perfectly good biography of the great man. There are other out there on the same subject. Maybe you’d finally like to learn more about Sam Houston after hearing his name so many times over the years.

(Below–Sam Houston)

I’ve read all three Robert Caro books on Lyndon Johnson. There are two more planned with the next one out in the spring of 2012. Here is a link to reviews of the three Johnson books. These books are full of Texas history and are classics of American biography.

Here is a recent post on the blog about two Texas art books that detail painters of the New Deal era.  

A great web resource to learn about Texas is  The Handbook of Texas Online. This site is very comprehensive on aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the Texas Historical Society.

Learning about Texas will offer a more nuanced understanding of a place that for many—both in and out of Texas—has become little more than a Texas-sized caricature.

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Record Dead Zone Projected In Gulf Of Mexico—The Gulf Is America’s Drainage Basin

A record s0-called dead zone has been predicted for the Gulf of Mexico for 2011.

(Above–One small patch of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

From USA Today

“The so-called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico — a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life — is predicted to be the largest ever recorded when it develops later this summer, scientists report. The unusually large size of the zone is due to the extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring, which equaled or surpassed the historic floods of 1927 and 1937, according to the National Weather Service. The dead zone occurs at the bottom of the Gulf when there is not enough oxygen in the water to support marine life. Also known as hypoxia, it is created by nutrient runoff, mostly from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields….What happens to the sea life in that dead zone? Don Scavia, a professor of natural resources at the University of Michigan, says that most anything that can swim away leaves, but that anything that can’t leave, such as the bottom-dwelling bugs that fish and shrimp feed on, will die.”

While the dead zones end each year in September and are in some degree natural occurrences, they are greatly expanded by man-made cause and are symptomatic of our abuse of natural resources. The cause of the ever-larger dead zones is the flow of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. It should be recalled though that the Mississippi has many different inland rivers flowing into it, and that what ends up in the Gulf are contaminates from all across the nation.

Agricultural experts in Missouri are looking for ways of planting crops that will reduce the size of the dead zone in the future.

Everything is connected.

Here are some general facts about the Gulf of Mexico from the EPA.

From these facts—

The Gulf of Mexico yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New England areas combined.

The coastal population of the five states of the Gulf of Mexico is projected by the Census Bureau to increase from a total of 44.2 million in 1995 to an estimated 61.4 million in 2025, nearly a 40% increase.

The Gulf of Mexico is a source of income for many with fishing and energy exploration. There is also the income that is genertaed from tourism from folks who enjoy the beach.

Regretfully, the Gulf is also a dumping ground of waste and filth and for accidents that spew nasty oil into the water.

I’m certain that additional steps can be taken to protect the Gulf. These steps however will require an active public that demands action. The work of a better nation is up to each of us.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Pygmy Sperm Whale Stranding In Galveston—Every News Story Gives You The Opportunity To Learn More And To Take Action

A Pygmy Sperm Whale washed up on the beach in Galveston early on Wednesday.

Above you see a Houston Chronicle picture of the incident.

From The Galveston County Daily News-

“A vacationer from Dallas and his 11-year-old daughter discovered a pygmy sperm whale thrashing about in the surf Wednesday morning on the West End. The Marine Mammal Stranding Network came to Shores Drive and FM 3005 shortly after 9 a.m. and placed a stretcher under the whale and lifted it into a rescue truck. The animal was breathing and its eyes were open. It was taken to a holding tank at the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.”

Here is the link to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Unfortunately, the whale has since been euthanized.

Here are facts about the Pygmy Sperm Whale from The American Cetacean Society.

Here is a Houston Chronicle story about different types of whales that live in the Gulf of Mexico.

An unusual number of dolphin calves have been found dead in the Gulf of Mexico in recent months.

The article I link to above does not assert that these dolphin deaths have been caused by the BP oil disaster.  It does say though that this is possible and tests are being done to determine the facts.

More concrete is the fact that large parts of the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico are covered with oil.

From The Huffington Post–

“Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist’s video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn’t degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn’t.”

Here is the web page for Dr. Samantha Joye. Dr. Joye led the study about the oil at the bottom of the gulf.

Here is the Gulf Spill Restoration website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

My friend Bob Cavnar has written about the oil at the bottom of the Gulf at The Daily Hurricane.

The impact of the BP spill may not be as bad as some first feared. But it appears to be bad enough.

The government, academic researchers, the press, and groups such as Greenpeace should keep monitoring conditions in the Gulf.

(Below–A picture of the oil-covered bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. It seems that sea worms of some kind do well in oil. Here is a previous post I’ve written here about sea worms.)

Every news story offers the chance to learn more than we know at the moment. It is up to each of us to learn about the world. When we learn more, then we are more likely to take action to improve the world.

A great book on marine mammals is the National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals of the World(Books remain the strongest source on many issues and subjects. Please consider getting off the computer and reading a book.)

From the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of Texas are facts about the 29 types of marine mammals that live in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are some basic facts about the Gulf of Mexico. This site I link to here, Gulfbase.org, has far more than just basics if you would like to know more.

A useful book on the coast in and around Galveston is The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John Anderson. This book, published by Texas A & M,  has scientific value while also being accessible.

I cannot stress this fact enough—It is up to the individual to learn about the world and to take action to improve the world.

You may well decide to take that action in concrt with others. But at core—You must decide yourself to be involved.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Galveston Suicide—All People Matter

I’d not intended to make another post today. However, a video and story from Galveston Daily News reporter Chris Paschenko merits consideration.

The video is about a Houston man who drove down the road to Galveston, handed his ID to a man who was fishing at the beach, and then jumped into the Gulf of Mexico and drowned.

From the Galveston County Daily News

“He handed me his ID and said when the police come, give this to them,” Thompson said. “Then he just went off the end and jumped in the water — started bobbing up and down.” Thompson yelled to the man before he went into the strong surf. Lifeguards flew red flags, warning of dangerous swimming conditions Thursday. “I said: ‘Hey man! Come here. Let me talk to you,’” Thompson said. “He just went on and jumped in the water — just drowned.”….A counselor with The Jessie Tree, a nonprofit, Galveston organization that offers help with social services and ministerial resources, assisted (Jeffery Ray) Lane’s family at the end of the pier …Galveston police found Lane’s car a few blocks from the seawall…“He drove down here alone, called his family on the way down and said his goodbye,” ….”

Here is the web home of the Jessie Tree charity mentioned in the story.

I’m sorry that this is the case for all involved. I can’t imagine Mr. Lane would have done this if he were not quite disturbed. I’m sorry for his family and for the people fishing out on the jetty who had to witness this suicide.

Life is harsh and people are sometimes not well and need help. Others are caught up in circumstances they did not create. This is why I am a liberal.

Caring about people in trouble is not at all exclusive to liberals. I’m just relating my own thinking.

The world is often a nasty noisy brutal mess. We must make the most of the time we have.  I don’t know why. Just because.

Here are warning signs of suicide.

Here is the web home of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Here is suicide prevention help for Houston.

Here is suicide prevention help for Galveston.

All people matter.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painting On Galveston Seawall Of People In Gas Masks Cleaning Sea Muck

Here is a picture I took of the Galveston Seawall this afternoon. I’m writing this post from Galveston.

You see in the picture that people in gas masks are cleaning up muck in the sea.

I don’t know when this was painted, but it seems that somethings don’t change.

There is no oil off the coast of Galveston from the BP spill. However, the Gulf of Mexico has long been a dumping area for all types of sludge and muck.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Tar Balls In Galveston—Let’s Keep The Beach Of Hope And Progress Clear Of Toxic People, Corporations & Ideas

The first tar balls that originated with the BP oil disaster have washed up on the shores of Galveston, Texas.

Those tar balls you see above are from Padre Island in Texas back in July of 2009.

Once you’ve seen one tar ball, you’ve seen them all.

Here is the link to the Houston Chronicle story about the tarballs in Galveston.

From the Chronicle—

“After workers cleaned the beach, the tar balls and oil were sent to labs to be analyzed. Officials confirmed that the oil was from the Deepwater Horizon spill. However, officials said the makeup of the oil was not consistent with having traveled 400 miles in the ocean. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the oil might have been carried on the side of a ship or in the bilge of a ship that had taken in water. More tar balls were found scattered along 1.5 miles on East Galveston Beach on Sunday. Officials have not confirmed the source of those tar balls, and are expecting test results on Tuesday.”

We all want to maintain a pristine beach of hope and constructive words and deeds—Both in our own lives and for the world as a whole.

At least this is what the people I wish to have in my life might well seek to accomplish.

And yet, the tar balls of anger, ignorance and greed keep washing up in our lives.

Even when we distance ourselves from the sources of pollution— while still meeting our obligations as active and involved citizens—then a ship comes and dumps the toxins right on our beach of hope.

No tar balls were expected in Galveston, yet some have now shown-up.

Toxic people, toxic corporations, and toxic ideas never let up in trying to tar the beach.

The good thing is that the cleanup crew of purpose and resilience will meet the challenge of the tarballs.

This clean-up crew consists of our own internal resources, the support of friends and family, and the knowledge that many people are good and caring. Also part of the clean-up team are the ideals that inform good people such as kindness, fair play for all, and a just distribution of the resources of the world.

Good people, good deeds and good ideas in combination give meaning and form to our lives and ideals.

We will clean the beach of hope as often as we must, and we will make progress no matter the extent of the pollution.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Is No Oil This Fourth Of July Weekend In Galveston Or On The Texas Coast

There is no oil in Galveston or anywhere on the Texas Gulf Coast this Fourth of July Weekend.

I’m not saying this to discourage you from going to any other Gulf Coast beach. They don’t all have oil. I’m just saying that Galveston has no oil.

I’m a big fan of Galveston. There is a lot of history in Galveston and the people there are glad you have come to visit.

Be sure to tell the folks on the Texas coast that a Texas Liberal sent you.

The picture in this post is of Lake Michigan at Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was there last summer. Kenosha is worth a visit as well.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

2010 BP Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Facts & History

(Blogger’s note—This is the second version of the Texas Liberal Gulf of Mexico facts and history post. There are links here to learn about the BP/Transocean disaster, to learn some background on past spills and about oil in general, and to learn about some of the areas impacted by the spill. The posts ends with an extensive collection of links to stories about the disaster I’ve collected since my first spill post began on April 30. If there is a link you feel I should add, please make a suggestion. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

Today’s update

(I’ll be on the road for a few days, but his post still has many links about the spill and the collection of articles I list is a good history of the events of the disaster.)

7/16/10–The leak is stopped, but there will still be some time before it is known if this will be the final fix.

7/16/10–Here is how the capping of the leak is seen in the U.K.

7/16/10—The test cap is working so far, but the government is not yet convinced. This is as of 6 PM central time.

Links—-

The Houston Chronicle has a web page with all the ongoing coverage of the spill.

Here is oil spill coverage from the great liberal magazine Mother Jones.

Here is the C-Span oil spill page with many video clips and links.

Here is the USA Today page on the spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has daily updates on the disaster.

The University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences has a blog on the spill.

Here is the web home of the coordinated federal response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Continue reading

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Black Man From Chicago To Offer Federal Government Help To Self-Reliant Deep South—Why Don’t We Put Them To Work Rebuilding New Orleans?

President Obama has addressed the nation about the BP/Transocean oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is the video of the speech.

President Obama, a black man from Chicago, is going to use the powers of the federal government to assist Gulf Coast areas in the Deep South impacted by the spill.

(Above–A young Barack Hussein Obama with family.)

It is important that these folks in these coastal communities be allowed to maintain their way of life.

Did you think their way of life involved a minimum of government involvement in their lives?

Well..Kind of.  If you live in a city and suffer from the effects of generations of poverty that is not your fault, then you need to pull yourself up.

But if you are a Gulf Coast resident impacted by the BP/Transocean oil spill—That is different.

Why?

I don’t know.

In addition to self-reliance, another aspect of the Gulf Coast way of life is overfishing and ecologically destructive fishing methods.

President Obama left that out last night.

People in the impacted counties know how they feel about the role of the federal government.

They want the federal government to do as little as possible. People need to work to get what they have in life.

This is why Jefferson Parish, where Grand Isle, Louisiana is located, voted 62% for McCain in 2008. Grand Isle is very concerned about what the oil will do to local industries.

In Pensacola, Florida, where the oil spill is also a big deal, the two Pensacola-area counties were strong in 2008 for Sarah Palin to serve as Vice President—Escambia County was 59% for McCain and Santa Rosa County was 73% for McCain.

Louisiana parish’s that border the Gulf of Mexico were firm for the Republican ticket in 2008.

Should folks in this part of the nation be helped despite a clearly stated preference that our federal government  should remain as uninvolved as can be in the lives of citizens?

Yes. These folks should be helped because they are people and all people matter. People matter even if they don’t respect the ocean resources that sustain a way of life they say they value, and they matter even if they would let you suffer when unexpected hardship comes your way.

At the same time, folks need to hear the truth and they need to be reminded of the standards they hold others to when they are the ones asking for help.

Maybe we could put economically displaced Gulf Coast residents back to work by having them rebuild New Orleans and helping New Orleans be able to withstand the next hurricane. We could do this as part of  a federal jobs program.

That would be honorable self-reliant work.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When You Want Active Government & More Regulation To Combat A Corporate Disaster Oil Spill, You Are Agreeing With What Liberals Have Been Telling You For Years

If people want President Obama and the federal government to provide a more aggressive response to the Gulf Coast oil spill…

…And if people want more regulation of offshore drilling and more regulation of companies that pay shareholder dividends while they are polluting the oceans….

….Then let’s be clear about what people want.

What people are seeing in the case of the BP oil spill is the case for an active government that regulates corporations for the good of the public.

These are the points that liberals and progressive have been making for years.

Do you really think corporations will ever do the right thing unless they are forced?

Here is a link to President Obama’s five minute weekly speech for June 5. This week’s speech was made from Louisiana and is about the spill.

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Press Conference On BP Spill And Other Topics—Full Texas Liberal Coverage!

President Obama is holding a press conference today at 11:45 Central Time.  I’m going to watch that conference on C-Span.org and blog about it as it is taking place.

Above is the famous press conference where a man tossed a shoe at former President George W. Bush.

11:40—Watching the CNN coverage leading up the press conference.  Blah. Blah. Blah.

11:49—The press conference has begun.

11:52–The President is saying that the Federal Government has been been strongly involved in addressing the spill and that BP is under the direction of the government. This may be so, but why are we hearing this strong assertion of the government’s role 35 days into the crisis. Why does Mr. Obama seem to wait until political trouble has begun to say tough things?

11:56—Mr. Obama says that the Gulf Coast is still a good place to visit. He says that only a small number of beaches in Louisiana are impacted by oil. I’d encourage  you to visit Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast. It is a great place to take a walk and have dinner.

12:00—President Obama is making the case for regulation of the oil industry. By extension, he is making the case for government regulation in a number of regards. How can people look at this disaster and feel that private firms can be left to regulate themselves?

12:02–Mr. Obama says that this spill is a clear call for new sources of energy. But what about conservation? Don’t the people themselves bear some fault for our need for all this oil?

12:06—Just got up to get some macaroni salad for lunch. The macaroni salad package was open and I had to e-mail my wife to make sure that she was the one who had opened it rather than some crazy person at the supermarket.  She replied and said that she had indeed opened the package.

12:09—Question asking if all possible has really been done when many are saying this is not the case. The President says our response has not been perfect, but does reflect the fact that all that can be done in a realistic sense has been done. I suppose you could say that about just about anything in life.

12:15–Question is about calls that the government take command of the spill response from BP. By that logic, which I have no problem with, the government could take over a number things that the private sector can’t seem to get right. Health care would be a good start.

12:18–The Texas Observer has a great story about how the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a friend of industry rather than a friend of the people of Texas. Some people in Texas live in a kind of oil slick of bad air each day. These folks need a disaster response plan as well.

12:22—The President is again saying that oil companies have not been well-regulated for offshore drilling. The next thing the President could better regulate is overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico that is being conducted by some of the very same people now upset that they can’t fish.

12:25–A question was asked if “heads should roll” over this spill. Below is Francisco de Goya‘s The French Penalty.

12:32–Helen Thomas wants to know when we are going to get out of Afghanistan. I was wondering a few days ago why opposition to our two wars seems to have become silent with Mr. Obama in office. It could have to do with the fact that the Iraq War is winding down. It could also be that some of the opposition was politically motivated and left-of-center political groups don’t want to criticize Mr. Obama. Helen Thomas is 89! Good for her.

12:38–Questions now about how Mr. Obama could have ever thought that the oil companies would do the right thing in the Gulf. Yeah–I agree. I don’t know how he could have thought that at anytime before or after the spill.

12:41—The President just referred  to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina by his first name. I bet the Tea Party in South Carolina already has a press release up calling Senator Graham a socialist for being buddy-buddy with Mr. Obama.

12:46—Question about immigration and the Arizona immigration law. I think that the border of Texas with other states should be policed to make sure our ignorant textbooks don’t crossover to dumb down students in these other states.

12:50—The President says that the spill is what he thinks about when he goes to bed at night. He also says that he comes from Hawaii “where the ocean is sacred.”  Here is how the sacred ocean in Hawaii is being treated in regard to health of coral reefs in that state.

12:55—Over and out. Here is a NY Times report on the conference.

(Below–Gerald Ford holds a press conference in the Oval Office.  You see Helen Thomas dressed in black and taking notes, and a smirking Dick Cheney leaning on the President’s chair.)

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

There Is No Oil Or Any Tarballs In Galveston—Tourism Officials Have An Obligation To Be Candid

As I write this on the evening of Friday, May 14, there is no oil or any tarballs on the beaches of Galveston Island or at any Texas beaches that I am aware of.

Here is what the Galveston tourism folks have to say about this matter.

( Above–A ship in Galveston Bay. I took this picture from the Bolivar Ferry.)

I like Galveston and I often drive 50 miles south to Galveston to take a walk on the beach and have lunch.

Rick’s Blog, writing in the Pensacola, Florida area, has concerns that his community is not telling the full story on the oil spill.

Rick is correct to express this view. People will often say whatever is needed to make sure that business does not drop off.

If any oil or tarballs do come to come to Galveston or to other Texas beaches, I will post on the issue.

In the meantime, people should come to Galveston and enjoy the ocean and the history  to be found in Galveston.

Yet also, tourism officials in Galveston and at all points on the Gulf have the obligation to be candid about any oil or tarballs that may appear.

Here is information about visiting Pensacola.

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation advocates for the Gulf.

Here are some basic facts about the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is my post of facts about the spill.

May 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facts About Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill From Deepwater Horizon Rig Explosion—Updated

2010-05-19-nasagulfofmexicooilslickcolumn.jpg

Blogger’s Note—This post has been newly organized and is now being updated at this link. Please visit the new post and thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

(Blogger’s Note–This post is updated through today June 24.  If you take the time to get all the way to the end, there are all sorts of links with the latest news and larger issues of  just why an oil spill is so bad and the history of other major spills. As you read down the list of updates, you’ll be able to see some of the events as they unfolded. I imagine most of the update links are still good so you can also read the stories that have been the lead-up to the events of the present time. )

Here is a blog post with facts and updates on the BP/Transocean Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

(Above–The spill from space.)

(Update-4/30/10–The first of the oil may have reached the Louisiana Gulf coast.)

(Update 5/1/10–Some feel BP has not done all it could to address the disaster.)

(Update 5/1/10–Here is what a worst case scenario would look like as the oil keeps spewing out.)

(Update 5/1/10–Commercial fishers in Louisiana are concerned.)

(Update 5/1/10–President Obama will be visiting the Gulf to see the spill.)

(Update 5/2/10–The BBC has a number of reports on the spill. This provides some sense on how the rest of the world sees what is taking place.)

The Houston Chronicle has a web page with all the ongoing coverage of the spill.

Here is oil spill coverage from the great liberal magazine Mother Jones.

This June 24 article asks if BP is also drilling risky wells in Alaska.

This June 23 report says that the judge who overturned President Obama’s drilling ban owns shares in the oil industry.

Here is a June 21 story about the health impact of the spill.

From this report—

Q: Has anyone gotten sick from the oil spilled in the Gulf?

A: Yes, there have been reports of illnesses, but relatively few among people not involved in the spill cleanup. Most of the reported illnesses were related to odors or fumes. Almost all were mild and temporary, and many were in early May, within the first few weeks of the April 20 explosion. The reports are based on a doctor’s assessment, not on lab testing. All but 35 of the 109 spill-related illnesses in Louisiana have been workers; Alabama has 27 reports of illnesses, and Florida and Mississippi have had none.

This June 18 NY Times story is about how President Obama, in getting BP to pay, is restoring some balance in the relationship between multi-national corporations and average folks.

This June 11 NY Times column says that it is not enough to boycott BP stations of you want to hurt BP. What you would really have to do is use less oil.

Here is information on filing a claim with BP if you have been impacted by the spill.

With the spill now said to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, here are many facts about the Exxon Valdez.

Here is a list of four environmental disasters worse than the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The spill has impacted Native Americans living in Louisiana. Native Americans in Louisiana have long felt screwed-over by oil companies.

Here is a report on a question many have wondered about—With all this oil in the Gulf, what will happen if there is a big hurricane?

Here is the BP blog on the spill response.

BP has had spills and safety issues in the past.

(Below—Efforts in the gulf to contain the oil. That ship looks a bit outmatched.)

Hurricane season does not start for a month, yet here is a threat moving towards the Gulf coast.

Here are facts about the Mississippi River Delta from the National Wetlands Research Center of the United States Geological Survey.

Here is an essay from the Nature Conservancy about Gulf Coast prairies and marshes. This is an area that may be hit by the advancing oil.

Here is the web home of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. This are folks who want to be able to go out and fish for shrimp and who want you to be willing to buy shrimp.

Greenpeace has questions about what is taking place in the Gulf.

Here is a BBC map of how the oil has spread since the initial explosion.

Here the web page of WKRG-TV in New Orleans. WKRG has a running meter of the estimated oil that has gone into the ocean.

(Below–Many people are not pleased with BP.)

( Update 5/2/10–Interior Secretary Salazar believes the flow of oil can be stemmed, but the timeline for this is not clear.)

Here is the White House blog on the disaster.

The U.S. Coast Guard has a useful site with plenty of facts and pictures.

( Below—A controlled burn of the oil.)

(Update 5/2/10—National Public Radio offers this report on a 1980 Gulf of Mexico leak that took a year to plug.)

(Update 5/2/10–Politico reports that blame is being assessed in a way that mimics the Hurricane Katrina  Gulf coast disaster.)

(Update 5/2/10–BP has held a press conference discussing the spill.)

(Update 5/3/10–President Obama asserts that BP will pay the full cost of the cleanup.)

(Update 5/3/10—The Louisiana  seafood industry is waiting to assess the impact of the oil.)

( Update 5/3/10–The Austin, Minnesota Daily Herald says it is even more clear we must find new energy sources so that we use less oil.)

( Update 5/3/10–This N.Y.  Times story discusses how bad the spill really is and how bad it may or may not become.)

( Below—Oil washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 8.)

Burning the oil to make it go away is part of the response to the spill. Here is an article from the Mobile Press-Regster about what burning could accomplish and expressing the view that the burning should have started earlier than it did.

The spill began when an offshore oil rig exploded and sank. 11 people were killed in this disaster. The name of the rig was the Deepwater Horizon rig. The rig was leased by BP.

This Huffington Post article asserting that BP has resisted rig safety regulations, takes a somewhat different approach to the spill than does BP.

( Update 5/4/10–It may still be three days before oil hits the Gulf coast.)

( Update 5/4/10–Some BP shareholders are angry at the company because they feel BP did not do enough in advance to prevent the spill.)

( Update 5/4/10–-Some are concerned that the chemicals being used to clean the spill are also harmful to the ocean and to wildlife.)

(Update 5/4/10–The Democratic nominee for Governor of  Texas, Bill White of Houston, offered his views on the explosion and spill.)

The firm that owned the rig was Transocean. Here is the statement by Transocean about the explosion.

(Update 5/13/10–-Transocean feels lawsuit damages against the company for the blast should be limited at $27 million.)

There is a joint response web site which is being run by the both the companies and the federal agencies involved in cleaning up the oil. There is a lot of information at this site.

Here is a law firm that would like to file a suit on your behalf if you feel you’ve been impacted by the spill. It seems that this firm specializes in such cases.

(Update 5/5/10—Here is an excellent report from National Public Radio that is a timeline of what has taken place since the initial explosion.)

(Update 5/5/10—The Winnipeg Free Press asks what the spill will do to gas prices.)

(Update 5/5/10–Here is a report on damage to the underwater environment.)

(Update 5/6/10–A U. of Miami professor says the oil is entering currents that would send it up the U.S. east coast.)

(Update 5/6/10—Here is a story about the containment dome that will, hopefully, stop the ongoing flow of water into the ocean.)

Here are useful facts about oil spills and impact of oil spills on animals as prepared in 2002 by the Novi Meadows Elementary school in Novi, Michigan.

From the Novi site, here is how oil covered sea otters are cleaned—

“When sea otters are taken to a cleaning facility, the heavy oiled otters will be washed first. Workers will wash the otters with warm water because they hope it will break down the oil. The warm water also can warm the otters up. The otters also will get medical treatment while they are being cleaned. The otters will then have to wait so they can dry.”

(Update 5/7/10—Here is a story about a “social networking crisis map” of the spill.)

( Update 5/7/10—One idea to help keep the oil from reaching land is to increase the flow of water entering the Gulf from the Mississippi River.)

(Update 5/7/10—Here is a report on the progress of the metal box that was built to contain the leak.)

(Update 5/8/10—Efforts to place a big dome over the spill are not going so well.)

(Update 5/8/10—NASA has made an infrared image of the extent of the oil in the Gulf.)

(Update 5/9/10–The containment box has been parked on the bottom of the ocean and another effort will be made soon to use the box again.)

(Update 5/10/10–The next solution to be attempted to plug the leak will be to blast garbage into the pipes that are spewing the oil.)

(Update 5/10/10–-BP is spraying more chemicals into the Gulf to stop the oil from spreading.)

(Update 5/11/10–Hearings are being held in Washington today to get the causes of the disaster.)

(Update–5/11/10—The first hearings have been held. Shocker–Nobody said they were at fault.)

(Update–5/12/10—Here is a BBC map where you can track the extent of the oil slick from the beginning to the current day.)

(Update 5/12-10–BP thinks they may have a solution to the ongoing leak. There is also a video in this report of the oil gushing into the sea.)

(Update 5/13/10—Tar balls are beginning to show up on the Gulf coast.)

(Update 5/13/10–-The President of BP, Tony Hayward, says his job is on the line over the spill. No kidding.)

(Update 5/13/10—Criminal charges are being considered for this disaster.)

(Update 5/13/10—It is proving difficult to calculate just how much oil is being leaked into the ocean each day.)

The Independent newspaper in the U.K has an article abut the potential loss of marine life in the Gulf from this large spill.

(Below–One bird that could suffer losses from the oil is the Brown Pelican. You see that this pelican has already taken a severe hit.)

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation has many facts about the Gulf and about groups that advocate for the Gulf.

(Update 5/14/10–The latest efforts to stop the oil.)

(Update 5/14/10—President Obama had harsh words for the companies and federal regulators involved in the spill.)

(Update 5/15/10–Some accuse BP of using the Gulf as a “Toxic Testing Ground.”)

(Update 5/15/10–Here is a video of what it is like to actually be on the Gulf where the oil is floating around.)

(Update 5/16/10–Large amounts of oil are being found underwater.)

(Update 5/16/10–Tourism at some Gulf of Mexico beaches has begun to suffer.)

(Update 5/16/10—The combination of the use of chemicals to treat the oil and likelihood of  hurricanes in the Gulf  could cause the oil to appear on the Gulf coast for years to come.)

(Update 5/16/10—Progress is finally being made in diverting some of the oil away from spilling into the ocean.)

(Update 5/17/10—The oil may soon be headed up the Atlantic coast.)

(Update 5/17/10–Here is the latest on BP’s efforts to stop the spill.)

(Update 5/17/10–President Obama will be setting up a panel to investigate the spill. )

(Update 5/18/10—Tarballs have been found at Key West. Update to the update–These tarballs were not from the Gulf spill. They were from some other source. I’m not sure if that is good news or not.)  )

(Update 5/18/10–-BP says they have spent $625 million cleaning up the spill. I guess they will be passing that on to consumers.)

(Update 5/18/10—BP had little planning in place for a disaster such as they one that has occurred.)

(Update 5/18/10-–Here are four videos of the leak under the sea.)

(Update 5/19/10--Here is a story suggesting what type of new federal oversight is needed to prevent another spill of this kind.)

(Update 5/19/10—The American Veterinary Medicine Association says responders are ready to deal with wildlife harmed by oil. Though to this point there have few animals found that have impacted.)

(Update 5/19/10—The European Space Agency says it has photos showing that oil is headed towards coral reefs off the coast of Florida.)

(Update 5/19/10--BP does not seem to have a plan in place to help Vietnamese immigrant fishermen who are losing business to the spill.)

(Update 5/20/10–The U.S. and Cuba are discussing the possible effects of the spill on Cuba.)

(Update 5/20/10—Self-regulating oil companies are the norm around the world.)

(Update 5/20/10—A so-called “top kill” procedure will be tried this upcoming Sunday to stop the leak.)

(Update 5/20/10—Here are where things stand as of  noon Central Time.)

(Update 5/21/10–BP denies covering up the extent of the spill.)

(Update  5/21/10—A New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial directs the blame at BP for the story.)

(Update 5/22/10–The Hindu newspaper in India has written a report about the commission President Obama has formed to investigate the spill.)

(Update 5/22/10–Here is the latest  forecast for where the oil is headed.)

(Update 5/22/10–For all the talk about using hair to stop the spill, it turns out that such an idea will not work.)

( Update 5/22/10—A leading scientist for the National Wildlife Federation discusses the effect the oil may have on marine life.)

While it is clear enough that an oil spill is bad for the marine environment, the effects of oil in ocean are specific beyond the basic fact that such a spill is bad.

The web site Green living tips, written in Australia, has some of the specifics on the harmful impacts of an oil spill.

(Below–Tarballs washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 14. They do not look very nice.)

From the Green Living facts –

“When oil is spilled in waterways, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents. …When oil starts mixing in water, it can change composition and becomes what’s known as “mousse”. This is a sticky substance that clings even more to whatever it comes in contact with. Many marine animals don’t know to avoid a slick and some fish may even be attracted to it as it can resemble food.”

The National Institutes of Health has an excellent web page of resources to learn about the effect of oil spills.

(Update 5/23/10 --Where the spill stands as of the morning of the 23rd.)

(Update 5/23/10–Off shore drilling is banned in British Columbia, Canada and that is not going to change anytime soon.)

(Update 5/23/10—Folks are mad in Louisiana. Though I wonder how many of these folks drive gas-guzzling SUV’s and broke the laws about proper fishing from their fishing boats.)

(Update 5/23/10–BP may not be able to start the latest attempt to stop the oil until this Wednesday.)

(Update 5/23/10–Here is what folks in Canada are reading about Interior Secretary Salazar criticizing BP.)

(Update 5/24/10—Here is the latest. The oil is still belching into the ocean and the costs of the cleanup keep rising.)

(Update 5/24/10—Is it  feasible for the government to take the lead role in the cleanup from BP?)

(Update 5/24/10–Most Texans say they still support offshore drilling on the Gulf. I imagine they do support that rather than giving up the big trucks.)

(Update 5/25/10–The NY Times has report about the situation in Louisiana as oil hits the shore.)

(Update 5/25/10—There is disagreement in the Senate over to what extent BP should be liable for the spill. Republicans want to limit how much BP should have to pay.)

(Update 5/25/10—BP also had a part in the poor response to the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.)

(Update 5/26/10—President Obama will hold a news conference on tomorrow. Here are five questions about the government’s handling of the spill that a Washington Post reporter thinks should be asked of the President.)

(Update 5/26/10—Here is how the Voice of America is reporting the so-called “Top Kill” effort to plug the leak.)

(Update 5/26/10—People are still staying at Gulf Coast hotels.)

(Update 5/26/10–Here is a 42 second video of an eel investigating the gusher of oil beneath the sea.)

(Update 5/26/10—Here is a report on the Top Kill as of 10 PM CDT.)

(Update 5/27/10–Rather than the 5,000 barrels a day we’ve been hearing for weeks, the leak has been 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.)

(Update 5/27/10–The Coast Guard says that Top Kill is working.)

(Update 5/27/10–The public has questions about how the President has handled the spill.)

(Update 5/28/10—The flow of oil has been stopped for the time being. But it is not a given that this will last.)

(Update 5/28-10–President Obama is going to the Gulf Coast for a second time since the spill began.)

(Update 5/29/10--Scientists believe  there are large plumes of oil floating around under the sea.)

(Update 5/29/10–25% of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to fishing.)

(Update 5/30/10–It may not be until August before the oil stops gushing.)

(Update 5/30/10—The White House is becoming more confrontational with BP.)

(Update 5/31/10–The British newspaper The Mirror says “Obama Furious at Oil Spill Hell.)

(Update 5/31/10–-Here is a review from CNN of where things stand at the moment.)

( Update 6/1/10—After the failure of Top Kill, Bp’s shares in London are at their lowest price since April of ’09.)

( Update 6/1/10–President Obama will be meeting today with his new oil spill prevention commission.)

(Update 6/2/10—Prices of BP shares continue to decline. )

( Update 6/2/10--The oil is advancing on Pensacola, Florida.)

(Update 6/3/10--This may not surprise you, but BP says they were not ready for this accident.)

(Update 6/3/10—A new permit has been allowed for offshore drilling within 50 miles of the Louisiana coast. This is a bit difficult for me to understand given the events of the moment.)

(Update 6/4/10—President Obama is putting off a trip to Asia to deal with the spill.)

(Update 6/4/10—They are getting ready for the oil in Florida.)

(Update 6/4/10–Laura Bush says President Obama should not be blamed for the spill.)

(Update 6/5/10–President Obama made his weekly five-minute address form the Louisiana coast. You can watch the speech from this Voice of America link. )

(Update 6/5/10—The Miami Herald has this story about “oil globs” washing up in Pensacola.)

(Update 6/5/10–Here is how The Age newspaper in Australia sees the threat to Florida poised by the oil spill.)

(Update 6/6/10–-Some are saying that BP in North America should be placed under temporary government control until this matter is resolved.

(Update 6/6/10—The President of BP says he will not quit over the spill.)

(Update 6/6/10–The Pensacola News-Journal says people are still going to the beach despite some oil at the beaches.)

(Update 6/7/10–Time magazine asks if the oil could reach Europe.)

(Update 6/7/10—This analyst says that the future of BP may be in doubt.)

( Update 6/7/10–People are concerned about the possible health effects of the oil spill. But these effects may not as bad as feared. )

(Update 6/8/10–-President Obama says the BP CEO should be fired.)

(Update 6/8/10–-The Toronto Star says that a spill such as the current one that took place in frozen Canadian  waters would be even more difficult to clean.)

(Update 6/9/10–The first signs have been posted on Florida beaches warning people about oil.)

(Update 6/9/10–BP share prices are at the lowest point in 14 years.)

(update 6/9/10—What public policy changes and what conservation measures by average folks would prevent another terrible spill?)

(Update 6/10/10–President Obama will be meeting today with families of the people who died in the rig explosion.)

(Update 6/10/10--Here are three audio accounts from the BBC of people in Louisiana  who have been impacted by the spill.)

(Update 6/10/10–Folks in Louisiana are upset with the slow pace that BP is paying out damage claims.)

(Update 6/11/10—British Prime Minister David Cameron will be discussing BP with President Obama tomorrow. There is pressure in Britain for the Prime Minister to defend BP)

(Update 6/11/10–Plans to burn the oil are raising health concerns.)

(Update 6/11/10–Here is how the Pensacola News-Journal is reporting the advancing oil.)

(Update 6/12//10–The price of shrimp is likely to rise.)

(Update 6/12/10—Florida has resisted offshore drilling, yet now they are being nailed by a huge spill.)

(Update 6/13/10—Some Folks in Britain feel they are being bashed.)

(Update 6/13/10—BP is putting some sensors around the leak to get a better sense of how much oil is being spewed. I’m glad they could finally get around to that.)

(Update 6/14/10—President Obama has compared the oil spill to 9/11 in some respects.)

(Update 6/14/10–BP may be punished by the U.S. government  with the loss of operation in the U.S.)

(Update 6/15/10—Oil company  chiefs are telling a House committee that the BP spill is an event not likely to be repeated. Sure.)

(Update 6/15/10–-Here is a list illustrating how the amount of oil said to be leaking has gone up and up and up since the disaster began.)

(Update 6/15/10—President Obama says the best way to help the Gulf is to come to the Gulf and spend money.)

(Update 6/16/10–This BBC report is about small coastal communities in Alabama dealing with the spill. The Mayor of one of these towns says domestic violence is up in his town as people face job losses.)

(Update 6/16/10–Here is how the Indian newspaper The Hindu reported the President’s speech.)

(Update 6/17/10—It  is not just the oil that needs to be cleaned up, it is the role of the money from big oil in our politics.)

(Update 6/17/10—Here is the video of the heckler removed the Tony Hayward testimony.)

(Update 6/18/10—BP CEO Tony Hayward went before Congress yesterday, but it is not clear that much was learned.)

(Update 6/18/10—Here is a quick round-up of where things stand with spill on the morning of June 18.)

(Update 6/19/10—Congressman Joe Barton of Texas seems to have gone into hiding since he apologized to BP.)

(Update 6/19/10– Congressman Barton’s views are not far from the views of the Republican Party. These folks do in fact feel that BP has been wronged.)

(Update 6/20/10—Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is under pressure from the White House to do a good job in handling the spill.)

(Update 6/20/10—The President’s Chief of Staff  said  today that Republican views in favor of BP are dangerous  for the American people. )

(Update 6/20/10-–BP had reason before the spill to know that the impact of  an incident such as this could be very severe. It does make seem to make the case that BP lied at first about how much oil was leaking.)

(Update 6/21/10–BP says the costs of dealing with the spill have reached $2 billion.)

(Update 6/21/10–Here is a story that attempts to  illustrate how much oil has spewed into the sea. From this story– “More not-so-dreadful context: The amount of oil spilled so far could only fill the cavernous New Orleans Superdome about one-seventh of the way up. On the other hand, it could fill 15 Washington Monuments. If the oil were poured on a football field — complete with endzones — it would measure nearly 100 yards high.There have been many large oil spills in the past.”)

(Update 6/23/10—Republicans will not demote Congressman Joe Barton from his high committee post for his apologizing to BP. If Republicans gain control of the House in 2010, Mr. Barton will be the main person in Houser on oil industry issues.)

(Update 6/23/10–Here is the latest on the spill as of  the afternoon of June 23.)

(Update 6/24/10–Here is the latest as of the morning of June 24.)

(Update 6/24/10–Despite all the trouble, Louisiana remains loyal to big oil and to underwater drilling.)

Here is a picture gallery of major oil spills from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(Below–Growing up in New England, I recall the sinking of the tanker Argo Merchant off the coast of Massachusetts.)

Here is a list of the ten biggest oil spills ever.

Here is a Miami Herald Story from May 24 discussing oil spills that were as large or maybe even larger than the one we are seeing today.

While many look to learn about an issue when there is a big story in the news, it is always the right time to learn.

Here are some very useful facts on just what exactly oil is from the San Joaquin Geological Society.

Here is a list of the some of the things that oil is used for in our world.

Here is what is like to work on an offshore rig.

The University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences has a blog on the spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has daily updates on the disaster.

Here is the blog of the Louisiana  Environmental Action Network.

Here is the live spillcam from PBS.

(Below–Mississippi River Delta without any oil cover.)

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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