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.
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.
(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.)
(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 test cap is working so far, but the government is not yet convinced. This is as of 6 PM central time.
Instead Of Sticking To Guns, Congressman Joe Barton Apologizes For BP Remarks—If Barton Had Been At The Alamo, He Would Have Run Like A Coward
Republican U.S Representative Joe Barton of Texas has said that BP is a wronged party in that it has been forced by the White House to pay $20 billion into a fund to assist persons who have economically impacted by the BP/Transocean Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
He said this because this was his belief.
Mr. Barton was wrong. Our Federal Government has the right to protect citizens from corporate wrongs. Our government has the right to protect and promote the general welfare.
Mr. Barton would have our fellow Americans at the whims of corporations that put money before people.
(Above–A painting of Mr Barton. Look how distinguished he is when not running away from his beliefs. The painting is by Laurel Boeck. )
It seems that Mr. Barton holds no convictions that stand up to public criticism.
Of what use is Mr. Barton to anyone?—Except to the big money interests he helps when nobody is looking and he can escape the public anger he fears so much.
If Mr. Barton had been at the Alamo, he would have deserted.
Mr. Barton represents the 6th district of Texas. Here is a map of this district. It is a largely rural district.
(Below—The 1903 painting “The Fall Of The Alamo” by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk. Mr. Barton would have deserted well before the point you see in the painting.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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–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.)
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 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.
With the spill now said to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, here are many facts about the Exxon Valdez.
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?
(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 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.
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.)
( Below—A controlled burn of the oil.)
(Update 5/2/10–BP has held a press conference discussing the spill.)
( 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.
( Update 5/4/10–It may still be three days before oil hits the Gulf coast.)
The firm that owned the rig was Transocean. Here is the statement by Transocean about the explosion.
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 a report on damage to the underwater environment.)
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 5/8/10—Efforts to place a big dome over the spill are not going so well.)
(Update–5/11/10—The first hearings have been held. Shocker–Nobody said they were at fault.)
(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.)
(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.)
(Update 5/15/10–Some accuse BP of using the Gulf as a “Toxic Testing Ground.”)
(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 5/17/10—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–-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-–Here are four videos of the leak under the sea.)
(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 5/20/10—Self-regulating oil companies are the norm around the world.)
(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 5/22/10–Here is the latest forecast for where the oil is headed.)
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.”
(Update 5/23/10 ––Where the spill stands as of the morning of the 23rd.)
(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 5/24/10—Here is the latest. The oil is still belching into the ocean and the costs of the cleanup keep rising.)
(Update 5/24/10–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—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 5/26/10—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—People are still staying at Gulf Coast hotels.)
(Update 5/26/10—Here is a report on the Top Kill as of 10 PM CDT.)
(Update 5/27/10–The Coast Guard says that Top Kill is working.)
(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–-Here is a review from CNN of where things stand at the moment.)
(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—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—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 6/6/10—The President of BP says he will not quit over the spill.)
(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 6/9/10–BP share prices are at the lowest point in 14 years.)
(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 6/12//10–The price of shrimp is likely to rise.)
(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 6/16/10–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 6/17/10—Here is the video of the heckler removed the Tony Hayward testimony.)
(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–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.)
(Below–Growing up in New England, I recall the sinking of the tanker Argo Merchant off the coast of Massachusetts.)
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.
(Below–Mississippi River Delta without any oil cover.)