CG Adm Thad Allen and Bureau of OEM support an independent drilling regulatory agency.


The hearing of the U.S. House Coast Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee came as news surfaced that the Obama administration may oppose a commission recommendation to create an independent regulatory agency because it could clash with reforms already being undertaken by the Interior Department.

If reports from an independent regulatory agency clashes with the government agencies, that is a GOOD thing. Do we not remember how MMS (Minerals and Management Services) were partially to blame for the lack of safety measures and protocol for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

It is imperative that we have an independent agency doublechecking the work of our government. It has been proven that the government oversight needs independent oversight. Too shun this idea is a slap in the face to the Gulf States and families of the oil rig victims.

After the April 20 accident, the Interior Department separated its regulatory arm from the royalty collection division reasoning that there could be a conflict of interest between the two operations. That came to no surprise to anyone closely following the MMS or the Interior Department and was actually a much needed relief.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement replaced the Minerals Management Service in the department as the industry regulator. The commission recommended that a new independent agency be formed to monitor regulation.

The seven-member panel wants an agency similar to how the FBI operates independently of the Justice Department, including having a director who is appointed for a time period in order to avoid any political interference.

Commission member Donald Boesch told the subcommittee the independent agency recommendation should be implemented.

Boesch also testified that the oil industry should pay for any step-up of industry enforcement. In response to subcommittee questions, Boesch said the commission recommendations would cost the oil industry from seven to 12 cents per barrel.

The tax would amount to a quarter of a cent increase on a gallon of gas and boost the regulation needed to police the industry.

A price that I, personally, would be willing to pay in order to avoid another explosion and catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

I urge an Independent Commission to commence and oversee the operations of oil drilling and environment affairs. There is simply too much to stake to leave it in the hands of the Federal Government.

Copyright (c) February 16, 2011. All rights reserved.

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China’s New Fighter Jet could pose a threat to US air superiority.


While the Pentagon downplays China’s rollout this week of what appears to be a jet fighter designed using sophisticated stealth technology, military experts are warning that the aircraft – reportedly capable of besting America’s F-22 in speed and maneuverability – could pose the greatest threat yet to U.S. air superiority.

Richard Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian Military Affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, a Washington-based security think tank, says Chinese officials have said that their program is aimed at competing with the Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor,  the U.S. military’s current top-of-the-line fighter and the world’s only operational fifth generation fighter.

Fisher in particular pointed to the Chengdu J-20’s stealth technology and ability to super cruise, or fly supersonically without using fuel-guzzling afterburners. He said it has super maneuverability due to its thrust-vectored engines that allow for sharp turns.

And while the J-20’s engine is still in development, Fisher said it’s supposed to deliver 15 to 18 tons of thrust, more powerful than the F-22.

“This fighter will likely start entering service in serious numbers by the end of this decade. The Chinese can accelerate this event by purchasing new Russian engines and settling for a lesser capability. China’s air training capabilities have increased greatly over the last decade, to include multiple levels of aircraft, better simulators, and more realistic air combat exercises. They will be able to train pilots for their fifth generation combat force,” Fisher said.

Buckley says the U.S. has moved in the opposite direction, dramatically reducing flight-time training for its fighter pilots, choosing instead to use cheaper flight stimulators.

t is not the only challenge to US superiority in the region. China has refurbished a Ukranian aircraft carrier and wants to build its own by 2020.

A more immediate threat is posed by China’s adaptation of an intermediate-range ballistic missile – the DF-21D – to target US aircraft carriers. This project is also further advanced than previously believed.

Admiral Robert Willard, the US navy’s commander in the Pacific, warned last month that the weapon – nicknamed the “carrier killer’ – had reached “initial operational capability”.

“The main implication of China deploying this system is that it would certainly make the US navy pause before deciding to project naval power into the South China Sea region during a time of tension,” said Felstead.

From what I understand – if WW3 broke loose, China would side with N. Korea- so we need to make sure that we watch them very, very carefully.

Copyright (c) January 10, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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.