Chemical tests from new oil near DeepWater Horizon site matches last year’s BP oil spill samples. (Pictures and fly over video inside)


As reported on August 20, 2011 (read previous blog, New sub sea oil plumes found near the Deepwater Horizon oil platform) the oil sheen sitting nearly on top of the Deepwater Horizon rig (the location of the last year’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico) is quickly expanding.

On Wings of Care, California nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife, wild habitat, and natural ecosystems, flew over the reported oil sheen and the pilot Bonny Shumaker stated that the oil “stretched for miles with one continuous sheen stretching for nearly 10 miles.” (Pictured above.  Credit: Press-Register/Jeff Dute).

To view the August 30, 2011 fly over of the oil spill (Credit: On Wings of Care) click below:

Robert Bea, an internationally prominent petroleum engineer and professor emeritus at the Berkeley campus of the University of California indicates that he feels that the primary source of the oil with the highest probability is the Macondo well/Deep Water Horizon rig.

“(It) looks suspicious. The point of surfacing about 1 mile from the well is about the point that the oil should show up, given the seafloor at 5,000 feet – natural circulation currents would cause the drift,” Bea said. “A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) could be used to ‘back track’ the oil that is rising to the surface to determine the source. This should be a first order of business to confirm the source.”

On August 26, 2011- BP, the US Coast Guard, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, representatives from the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida as well as the GCIMT (Gulf Coast Incident Management Team) came together in New Orleans, LA to participate in a standard visual wellhead inspection via Remote Operated Vehicles of the Macondo Well (MC 252) and the relief well.

In the video- there were small, intermittent bubbles rising from cement ports at the base of the wellheads. These bubbles were determined to be nitrogen bubbles, a residual byproduct of the nitrifed foam used in setting the wells but no oil or hydrocarbons were found indicating a breach of the cement plug and/or the areas of the Macondo Well.

Yet samples of the sheen were  analyzed by Louisiana State University researchers and tests showed it was a chemical match to the 4 million+ barrels of sweet Louisiana crude that gushed from BP’s exploding well.

Scientists suggest that perhaps it was trapped within the riser pipe or the rig itself which is still sitting at the bottom of the Gulf which could result in trapped oil floating out of the wreckage.

Another option is that the bacteria degraded the oil on the seafloor and the lighter fractions were released and floated to the surface although that oil would be considerably more weathered.

Now the questions are directed towards BP once again- how much oil is trapped, why has the wreckage not been salvaged  and why has there not been a concentrated efforts on ways to clean up the ocean floor (and subsequently; add oxygen back into the dead zones?)

Copyright (c) August 31, 2011. All rights reserved.

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New sub sea oil plumes found near the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. (Picture inside)


While BP continues to assure Gulf Coast residents that the MacondoWell/ Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated our coastline less than a year and a half ago has been capped since September 2010 is no longer leaking any oil, recent reports and flyover pictures of approximately subsea oil plumes, 300 feet wide and separated from the next one by about that same distance, running roughly south to north near the Macondo Well (image left,  Credit: Jonathan Henderson and Tarik Zawia) are showing otherwise.

There are several theories behind the fresh oil and, forewarning, none of them are pretty.

The 1st first theory is that the cap that was placed on the well is leaking.  Although BP ignores this concern, it is still a very real possibility. Especially after Japan’s multiple severe earthquakes. It is logical to assume that considering the massive damage and the crippling of Japan’s nuclear plants- that the vibration of the earthquake could have reached the Gulf of Mexico and knocked loose the already fragile plug.

A 2nd theory, is that all of the oil BP that sunk to the seafloor due to nearly 2 million gallons of toxic Corexit 9500 & 9527A dispersant is beginning to break free and rise to the surface and blacken the coastline with fresh oil.  However, according to civil engineer and petroleum expert, Marco Kaltofen, oil that has been lying on the seafloor for several months would be much significantly more weathered than the fresh oil that is currently spotted.

Along the same theory, it is also possible  that the broken riser pipe and oil rig platform has trapped oil inside of it and it is slowly making its way to the surface.

A 3rd theory is that this 6 miles long and rainbow-colored oil sheen is coming from  Green Canyon Block 463, which is near the Macondo well site, officials state that its “probably”  silt from a subsurface shallow water pool. Records for that well indicate that it was drilled through a shallow lens of groundwater. The company is awaiting the results of tests on samples of the material and something tells me that we are going to waiting on those test results for a loooong time.

A 4th theory is that the oil sheen is contributed by BP’s Thunder Horse oil platform in the Mississippi Canyon  on August 16, 2011 where a  0.000108 gallons of oil was released but, let’s be real, that is less than half a CC and would not be enough to create a 6 mile long oil sheen. BP has admitted that “a silvery oil sheen measuring 2 feet by 30 feet has been reported on the surface” there, and they have supposedly sent vessels to monitor the situation.

A 5th theory, and this is by far the most concerning, is that oil may be coming from cracks and fissures in the seafloor caused by months of high-impact work  of BP failed capping attempts of the Maconda Well.  If this is the case,  there is a possibility of hundreds of little cracks and fissure (picture the seafloor cracks like a broken windshield) and  to the extent of my knowledge, there is no known way to cap the cracks and fissures which means the oil would continually leak into the Gulf of Mexico.

Either way, there is new oil in the Gulf of Mexico and it is, coincidentally, near the Deepwater/Macondo oil platform.

Unfortunately and dishearteningly, while  everyone is pointing fingers in attempt to escape responsibility for the leaked oil and no reports show that there are any intentions of cleaning it up; the Gulf of Mexico and her inhabitants are – once again- at the mercy of big oil.

Copyright (c) August 20, 2011. All rights reserved.

Obama pushing to extend payroll holday through 2012 while Social Security account drains.


On Wednesday, President Obama reiterated his push to extend the existing payroll tax holiday through 2012 – a move  objected to by members of his own party who fear the reduction in revenues will undermine Social Security.

“I think that it makes perfect sense for us to take a look at, can we extend the payroll tax, for example, an additional year,” Obama said during a lengthy press conference at the White House.

On Friday, Democratic Reps. Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Ted Deutch (Fla.) and Mark Critz (Pa.) sent a letter to all House Democrats saying the proposed extension “should trouble all who care about preserving” the funding stream for Social Security.

“Social Security’s popularity comes from the direct contributions of American workers, who pay into the system now and benefit when they retire or become disabled,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Unless and until faith in Social Security has been restored to the American people through long-range solvency, short-sighted cuts to the program’s revenue stream must not be part of any debt ceiling or budget deal.”

The letter is also being distributed to select House Republicans, Deutch spokeswoman Ashley Mushnick said Wednesday. The Democrats are also readying a similar letter to send to Obama.

While the cut is just 2 percentage points – from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent – it represents a real payroll tax reduction of 32 percent.

For instance, a worker currently earning $100,000 should have paid $6,200 in payroll taxes for 2010 wages, but will pay only $4,200 for earnings this year.

A difference of $2,000 that will not be circulated into the Social Security account.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cut will reduce federal revenues by $112 billion over the next two years.

Since the tax package is not offset by changes elsewhere in the budget, the government will have to borrow to fill that hole in the Social Security trust fund.

Social Security is already at a loss. It is clear that more people will be drawing on funds that are not available.

We cannot afford to draw down from Social Security even more. We must find other ways of revitalizing our economy without kicking the Baby Booming generation in the teeth.

Copyright (c) June 30, 2011. All rights reserved.

BREAKING NEWS: 11th Hour Deal Reached to Avert Government Shutdown


Moments ago and minutes before the midnight deadline,  Congress decided on a budget to fund the rest of 2011 as well as an extension bill to keep the government running in the meanwhile.

The budget outline is as follows:  $36.5 billion  in cuts from the 2010 budget with $514 billion for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year. The funding extension will cut spending 2010 levels by $2 billion equaling total spending cuts equal $38.5 billion and will fund governmental operations until April 15th, leaving 1 week to write a bill and have it approved by all parties.

Further, the agreement reached with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would repeal President Obama’s government takeover of health care in its entirety.   I feel this was purely symbolic as the Democrats control the Senate; so even if the health care law is voted upon- it will most likely stand.

On the plus side,  now there will numerous studies utilized that will force the Obama Administration to reveal the true impact of the law’s mandates, including a study of how individuals and families will see increased premiums as a result of certain Obamacare mandates; a full audit of all the waivers that the Obama Administration has given to firms and organizations – including unions – who can’t meet the new annual coverage limits; a full audit of what’s happening with the comparative effectiveness research funding that was in Obamacare and the president’s failed “stimulus” spending bill; and a report on all of the contractors who have been hired to implement the law and the costs to taxpayers of such contracts.

Additionally, the new agreement will deny additional funding to the IRS, something that President Obama has been fighting to increase.

On a questioning note, the agreement with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood as well includes a complete ban on local and federal funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, applying the pro-life principles of the Hyde Amendment (“D.C. Hyde”).  However, this is also another useless vote as the Senate is majority ruled by the Democratic Party and the Democrats are normally pro-choice.

Fortunately for our Environment, Republicans have agreed to drop House-passed provisions to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new rules on global warming or enforcing several other environmental regulations. Such policy issues dropped from the measure include a ban on new greenhouse gas restrictions on power plants and oil refineries, cleanup plans for the Chesapeake Bay and lakes in Florida, and blocking the agency from revoking permits for mountaintop mine sites that pollute rural waters.

Finally, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be required to yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office to monitor its impact on the economy, including its impact on jobs, by examining whether sound cost-benefit analyses are being used with rulemakings.

While this sounds like a sure thing, I cant help but to think the Tea Party is going to raise ruckus at the $38.5  billion budget cut saying its “not enough” and put pressures on their Republican Representatives to stand tall in budget talks. (Ive seen it happen already).

IF ANYTHING; this gives us time to get SB 724 and HR 1297 approved and moved up the ranks of command so that we can ensure that our military and defense contractors get paid in case of a possible government shutdown.

Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to support SB 724 and to bring HR 1297 to the floor for an up/down vote. Our military should not have to suffer . Not only does it lower troop morale but it also distracts them with financial issues at home instead of focusing on the mission at hand.

Where IS the President? 2011 stopgap and the lack of 2012 Budget Resolution and a Pres/VP to preside over it all.


House Republicans escalated pressure on President Obama to become directly involved in the budget debate on Capitol Hill, criticizing the White House for allowing a vacuum of leadership on the issue.

“Where is the president?” Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked in a press conference Wednesday morning, repeating the refrain 5 times in the 10-minute briefing.

Negotiations on a spending bill to fund the government through September have hit a wall in the 6 days since Obama dispatched Vice President Biden to meet with congressional leaders at the Capitol.

What I find outright offense and almost comical that Obama named Vice President Biden to lead the negotiations only days before he left for a 5 day trip to Finland, Moldova and Russia.

The Vice President is not even in the country; how can he be expected to provide leadership over the budget discussions?

What’s worse is that new White House press secretary (who I am starting to loathe more than Fmr. Press Sec Robert Gibbs) refused to identify who was negotiating for the administration in Biden’s absence.

You know what else is interesting?

The Federal Budget Process begins the First Monday in February of each year and should be concluded by October 1, in which the Presdient submits his proposal which serves as a “Starting Point” for Congress to consider.

In order to do so, the Budget Committees are required to present their Budget Resolution for consideration by April 1. Today is March 9th 2011. Less than a month away.

We have not decided on a budget for 2011, let alone are anywhere even near setting the resolution for 2012.

I will be participating in a teleconference call with Budget Committee Chair Representative Paul Ryan and FreedomWorks Chair, Dick Armey tonight and will be listening closely to how they view our 2011 budget (which  I think will be made up of majority stopgap/continuing resolutions), the lack of a 2012 budget resolution and to figure out who is really presiding over the Budget hearings.

Stay tuned to Heart of America for the latest and the greatest.

Copyright (c) March 9, 2011. All rights reserved.

2011 Defense Spending was cut $26 billion.


For the Pentagon, Senate appropriators’ 2011 defense spending measure is a mixed bag.

The long-awaited bill grants defense officials’ wishes by zeroing funds for the F35 alternative engine they do not want, but it misses their funding target by $26 billion,  proposing to give the Defense Department $514 billion in its base budget.

That level likely will not please Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has said the Pentagon needs at least $540 billion for its 2011 base budget.

Congress has yet to pass a full defense spending measure for 2011 and instead passed a year long continuing resolution (CR) that contains a $526 billion defense bill, $14 billion under what defense leaders say is sufficient.

A large chunk of the Senate appropriators’ cuts were “taken mainly in savings identified due to revised economic assumptions and a freeze in civilian pay,” according to a Senate Appropriations Committee summary of the bill.

The summary noted despite being $26 billion lower than the Pentagon desires, it fully funds military healthcare and a pay raise for U.S. troops.

While the Senate and Pentagon are $26 billion apart, they are in agreement about an alternate engine program for the F-35 fighter. In a dramatic floor vote last month, the House slashed $450 million for the engine program during consideration of its full-year CR.

Like the House’s defense measure, the Senate appropriators included $157.8 billion to pay for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

The Senate summary also highlights several areas where senators disagree with the House defense measure under a section titled “irresponsible cuts,” including nuclear weapons modernization and economic assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the former, the Senate summary states the House’s proposal to cut $312 million from the Pentagon spending plan “would have put at risk the United States’ ability to begin much needed investments in rebuilding our aging nuclear weapons infrastructure and meet the highest priority goals laid out in the Nuclear Posture Review.”

On the latter, the Senate appropriators say a House-passed 28 percent cut to the administration’s “Economic Support Fund” request would “cripple efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and transition responsibility for U.S. operations in Iraq from the military to civilians.”

Perhaps instead of taking money away from our national defense, we should have taken a hard look at Welfare/Medicaid (two programs that were left completely untouched) and see what we could have saved within those programs.

Looks like our military will have to get creative. God bless them.

Copyright (c) March 6, 2011. All rights reserved.

A preview of the 2011 budget freeze. Rating: D+.


President Obama will unveil a $3.7 trillion budget request this morning  which the administration estimates would reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade.

2/3 of that reduction would come from spending cuts through a 5-year freeze in discretionary spending first announced in Obama’s State of the Union address.

Tax increases are responsible for the other 1/3 of the reduction, including a cap on itemized reductions for wealthier taxpayers and the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

The budget also includes calls for new spending that Obama says will ” help the U.S. compete in a global economy”. The budget proposes $148 billion in research and development investments and would make permanent a tax credit for research and development as well as launch a $50 billion in spending for transportation.

The budget includes no proposals to curb entitlement spending, which accounts for much of a growing budget deficit estimated at $1.645 trillion this year by the administration. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a $1.5 trillion deficit for this year.

The budget comes as House Republicans prepared for a vote this week on a measure funding the government through the end of September that would reduce current spending by $61 billion compared to 2010 enacted levels.

The White House has argued that cutting spending too much this year could harm an economy struggling to rebound from the recession while the rest of America argues that NOT cutting spending could harm our current and future generations.

The White House assumes the deficit will drop by $500 billion in 2012 to $1.1 trillion because of the end of an extension of federal unemployment benefits and the end of a payroll tax deduction included in December’s tax deal. (Please note, none of which was under the hand of President Obama- he is simply letting them expire).

The budget also assumes that Congress and the president will allow taxes on families with income above $250,000 to expire, which would bring the deficit down to $768 billion. (Please note, none of which was under the hand of President Obama- he is simply letting them expire).

However, despite the efforts at spending reduction, the total national debt would still continue to grow from $14.5 billion in 2010 to $24.6 billion in 2012, the budget projects.

This would bring debt held by the public up to 77% of gross domestic product.

The new budget would reduce deficits by only a quarter of the amount proposed by the presidential debt commission in December. The president’s debt commission’s mix of spending cuts and tax increases reduced deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years. President Obama has thumbed his nose at their recommendation and is relying on his version that has less savings over 10 years.

While the budget does not propose long-term reforms to Medicare and Social Security, it does propose paying for a two-year extension of the so-called Medicare “doc fix” by new cost-control measures that would generate supposedly $62 billion in savings.

Congress regularly blocks the reduction in payments to doctors under Medicare reform and the cost of doing so has not been offset, adding to the deficit.

The budget request is the first salvo in the fight over 2012 spending. The Republican House is expected to produce its own budget resolution by April 2011. That resolution has to be agreed to by the Senate in order to become the official guide to spending in 2012, but is not signed by the president.

The 2012 battle is beginning even as Democrats and Republicans are still trying to sort out appropriations spending for 2011, which is authorized under a continuing resolution that runs out March 4, less than 3 weeks away.  I cannot stress the importance of, at the very least, passing a Defense Appropriation. You can read more about my plea by clicking here: https://theheartofamerica.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/pentagondefense-appropriations-bill-needs-to-be-passed-asap/

The House Republican spending proposal for fiscal year 2011, released on Friday, points at the fights Obama is likely to encounter with his budget request.

Besides the research and development spending, Obama would maintain Pell Grants for college students at their current levels and invest in high-speed rail so that 80 percent of the U.S. population would have access in 25 years. Two subjects, which surprisingly, I agree with him.

To me, it appears that Obama is simply freezing spending (aside of a few minor cuts)  and then adding on top of it then raising taxes to compensate the majority of the cost. This is not what the American public wants. We want a spending cut, not a spending freeze.

While I applaud Obama’s new “initiatives”, I rate the 2011 budget a D+ because I feel like he has intentionally mislead the people by indiciating that he is “reducing” the budget by $400 billion over the next decade by not enacting “proposed” spending and for not taking serious strides in reducing wasteful programs (such as welfare and medicaid/medicaid).

Here are the outlines of his budget in a bullet list view:

Innovation

  • $148 billion for R&D overall; robust investment in biomedical research at NIH ($32 billion, a $740 million increase over 2010 enacted level, post-transfers); more than doubles energy efficiency research, development, and deployment funds; and continues our efforts to double investments in key basic research. (Details to follow once full budget is released).
  • Elimination of 12 tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal companies will raise $46 billion over 10 years to help pay for programs to reach these goals. (Details to follow once full budget is released).
  • Simplifies, expands, and makes permanent R&D tax credit.
  • Establishes 20 new Economic Growth Zones, hard-hit areas that will receive expanded tax incentives to spur investment and employment. (Details to follow once full budget is released).

Educate

  • Maintains maximum Pell Grant award, helping 9 million students afford college.
  • Eliminating year-round Pell and graduate student in-school loan subsidy.
  • Consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 that emphasize competition and evidence of what works, while also eliminating 13 education programs outright. (Details to follow once full budget is released).
  • Expands the Race to the Top concept to early childhood education, school districts, university funding, and job training. (Details to follow once full budget is released).
  • Prepares 100,000 new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers.

Defense

  • Cuts $78 billion from the Pentagon’s spending plan over the next five years
  • Overall defense spending for 2012 is more than 5 percent below the 2011 request.

Healthcare

  • Pays for the first two-years of the “doc fix” (Details to follow once full budget is released).

Tax Changes

  • Limiting the rate for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 3 years at which high-income earners can itemize tax deductions. (Details to follow once full budget is released).
  • Lowers the corporate tax rate (Details to follow once full budget is released).

More Freezes

  • Civilian Worker Pay Freeze (Details to follow once full budget is released).

Pay for Success (Please note)

  • Encourages new “pay for success”  bonds in areas where government programs have too often failed. (Details to follow once full budget is released).

Perhaps my rating of the 2011 budget will increase once the budget is released in full this morning but with my understanding of the proposed budget and analysis of Obama’s habit of tax increases for “innovation” with complete ignorance on cutting spending, I doubt it.

Keep an eye to The Heart of America for commentary on Obama’s released 2011 budget, coming soon.

Copyright (c) February 14, 2011. All rights reserved.

Allen West’s CPAC speech.


Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Florida Republicans to play big role in 2011 Presidential Debate


FOX News and the Republican Party of Florida have jointly announced that they will present a presidential debate, which is expected to attract the top 2012 Republican contenders for President of the United States.

The debate is scheduled for October 2011 at an Orlando location to be determined and will be presented live and exclusively on FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX News Radio, FOX News Mobile and FOXNews.com.

In making the announcement, FOX News Senior Vice President of News Editorial Michael Clemente said, Fox News is looking forward to producing more of these critical debates, which ultimately help voters make the most informed decisions during the 2012 election cycle.

John Thrasher, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, added, “We are excited that once again Florida Republicans will play a very prominent role in determining our next Nominee and next President. This will be a great opportunity for Florida Republicans to witness first-hand what will surely be a lively debate that will include our next President.”

FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, business and entertainment news. For over 100 consecutive months, FNC has been the most-watched cable news channel in the country. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes.

Source: http://www.rpof.org/

Published in: on January 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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2010 Unemployment rate drop misleading.


Obama has been touting on his accomplishment of lowering the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent in December and while it is certainly good news that the economy created 297,000 new jobs for the month, the unemployment rate is not so cheery.

What isn’t being reported is that a majority of the .4 percent unemployment rate drop can be credited to the 434,000 people who left the workforce in December. If the number of people in the workforce had remained unchanged, the rate would have dropped, but by a much more modest .2 percent. (Source: thehill.com).

Additionally, the 6.4 million people who have been unemployed for more than 27 months remained essentially unchanged — meaning the job growth did not help those who have been looking for an extended period of time.

It is also disturbing that the 8.9 million people who are in part-time jobs for economic reasons — meaning they want full-time employment — likewise remained unchanged.

Does anybody else remember when Obama stated that with the stimulus packages- unemployment would be at 8%?!  Whatever happened to that assurance?!

Copyright (c) January 9, 2011. All rights reserved.