More To Come?

Now that the spineless Democrats have caved and allowed big oil to drill on more offshore sites I thought that I would point out another example of what we have to look forward to.

Hurricane Ike’s winds and massive waves destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines. The environmental damage only now is becoming apparent: At least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas, according to an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

And let’s not forget Katrina which had it’s own environmental issues despite what many big oil surrogates have claimed.

In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10 inches or larger diameter.”In all, the two hurricanes caused 124 offshore spills for a total of 743,700 gallons, including six spills of 42,000 gallons or greater.

So feel free to enjoy the few pennies in savings we will soon be seeing (like 10 years from now)…

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While The Nation Sleeps

While we were all fixed on the the banking bailout shenanigans, the Senate passed another bailout when they approved $25 billion in taxpayer funded loans for US Automakers yesterday. Oh and the Democrats completed their total capitulation on offshore drilling at the same time…

Automakers gained $25 billion in taxpayer-subsidized loans and oil companies won elimination of a long-standing ban on drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as the Senate passed a sprawling spending bill Saturday.

The 78-12 vote sent the $634 billion measure to President Bush, who was expected to sign it even though it spends more money and contains more pet projects than he would have liked.

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How Many Holes Will We Have To Dig?

Quick question for the “drill here, drill now” crowd. Oil has jumped $40 a barrel in a week so how many more wells will we need to drill to offset traders fleeing the stock market in favor of oil futures? I can probably make some room in my backyard if that helps.

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Tim Johnson Makes 16

6 more Senators crossed the imaginary “drill now” line making the bi-partisan “Gang of 10” the “Gang of 16” and South Dakota is well represented. As we all know John Thune was a founding member and he is now joined by our other Senator Tim Johnson making it a clean sweep.

The group supports a bill that would lift a ban on oil and natural gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the southeastern U.S. coast, invest $20 billion in the development of petroleum-free motor vehicles and extend tax credits for renewable energy.

Can you tell it’s an election year with all this bipartisan co-operation? We just might get more offshore drilling leading to more oil on the world markets and little if any changes in prices afterall.

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Record Oil Exports

Never mentioned in the oil company endorsed party currently being given by House Republicans is this little tidbit. Apparently the US is exporting a record amount of oil, to the tune of 1.8 million barrels a day that is flowing onto the world markets.

the United States’ record export levels this year amounts to nearly 10 percent of all the oil the United States consumes every day. U.S. oil exports increased to 1.806 million barrels a day in May 2008 — the most recent month for which data is available — from last year’s average export level of 1.433 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products. In addition, the United States reached the highest level of oil exports in our nation’s history in February of this year.

So while the GOP led “drill here, drill now” stunt continues on the House floor, is anyone going to ensure that what we produce here stays here once the Democrats cave as we all know they will? If not all we will be doing is helping those in China and the India meet their ever growing demand while doing little to drop prices here.

By the way, if you are looking for some perspective on what 1.8 million barrels means in the grand scheme of things, one of the latest countries that Bush and McCain are rattling their “war sabres” towards, Iran, currently exports around 2.5 million barrels a day.

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Thune Helping Democrats Get Elected?

That is what Murdoch Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel thinks. It seems that his energy plan along with the other members of the “Gang of 10” sounds eerily similar to that of the Nancy Pelosi led House plan (or vise versa) and vulnerable oil state Democrats couldn’t be happier.

That’s because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast — putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.
The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn’t have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November.

Could it be that Thune, unlike many of his own GOP colleagues, realizes that “Drill here, drill now” is just a slogan that will in reality do very little to affect prices at the pump either now or in the future? And how are the rest of his big oil Republican’s buddies going to react to their plan that would raise taxes on oil companies?

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Quick Hits Lucky Day Edition

Today is 08-08-08 which is considered about as lucky as it can get if you are a believer in Chinese numerology so if today is your wedding day, congratulations and good luck. With that said, here is some linkage for items that I have come across the past couple of days.

Planning to fly this Christmas? – Internal airline memos reveal that the busiest travel season of the year will be a bit more hectic as airlines plan on offering 60 million fewer seats for the upcoming Oct-Dec holiday season worldwide with 20 million of those seats being cut from US routes.

More Hess funny business? – I mentioned a few days ago the interesting fundraising cash infusion the McCain campaign received from various members of the Hess family and their oil company soon after his change of heart in regards to offshore drilling. The Hess Oil company and McCain campaign apparently have another connection as word is coming out that 2 high ranking McCain officials are fresh off 3 year stints as lobbyists for, you guessed it, a firm that Hess paid $800,000 to for lobbying services.

Ron Suskind has a new book coming out called The Way of the World and to say that it isn’t flattering to the Bush Adminstration would be an understatement.  – So Nancy, it appears we have more non-proof of criminal activity perpetrated by the current administration that you can use for reasons not to hold impeachment hearings.

Oh and while much of the Suskind book adds more fuel to the incidents we mostly knew about, one new tidbit is being reported. It seems the current administration’s love for torture interrogation has migrated into the White House building itself. They have their own interrogation room in the White House basement that they have already put to good use.

Speaking of Nancy as in Nancy Pelosi – Why is it she is being so tough with the GOP over offshore drilling but had little problem bending over backwards to allow the capituation vote on FISA? Heck it only involved giving away our Constitutional rights.

Finally, local blogger Jennifer from “In The Shelter Of Your Heart” wanted me to pass along a note about the Rally to Resue event being held at the Sioux Falls Pet Smart tomorrow from 10am to 5pm. The event seeks to inform folks about animal rescues and shelters in eastern South Dakota so if you are interested please consider attending and if you want more information head over to Jennifer’s blog.

Anything else caught your eye lately?

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House Stunt Dripping With Hypocrisy

I realize I am probably beating a dead horse so let’s put aside for now the fact that approving more drilling off the our coasts will not even put a dent in our oil needs either now or in the future, and despite McCain’s latest fundraising stunt with tire gauges (which McCain now admits will help), normal conservation and equipment maintenance measures by us will generate more available oil now than drilling will every produce. The real hypocrisy is being shown by those demonstrating on the House floor and providing “talking points” to the media.

Yesterday I wrote on McCain’s link to big oil and the massive contributions he received after changing his position and now more is coming out on some of the louder voices in the House protest stunt including “Mr. Twitter” John Culberson. It seems he has a very good reason to want to promote offshore drilling, or like $301,961 reasons to be exact as that is his share of the millions given to certain members of Congress from big oil. As for some of the other prominent House Republican’s involved in their “drill here, drill now” stunt? They weren’t left out in the cold either.

John Shadegg (R-AZ- $119,495)
Ron Lewis (R-KY- $82,650)
Chris Shays (R-CT- $41,400)
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO- $182,912)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN- $85,717)
Eric Cantor (R-VA- $159,250)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX- $185,663)
John Kline (R-MN- $118,705)
Mike Pence (R-IN- $150,950)
Lamar Smith (R-TX- $342,897)
Tom Cole (R-OK- $277,050)
John Doolittle (R-CA- $127,525)
Patrick “Cheap Date” McHenry (R-NC- $26,000)
Mike McCaul (R-TX- $107,934)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT- $238,901)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ- $66,000)
Frank Wolf (R-VA- $77,682)
Adam Putnam (R-FL- $70,300)

And while I am discussing the hypocrisy, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention House Minority Leader John Boehner who has been vocally admonishing House Democrats for leaving town on vacation while ordinary Americans are suffering from high gas prices. It seems many of his comments ripping the Democrats has been coming from, of all places, the 19th hole of an Ohio golf course while he is enjoying his time off…

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Fundraising Fish Story?

Of course we all know that our campaign finance laws are perfect and any that appear to be a bit off are usually just coincidence right?  You know like this couple that donated $61,600 dollars to the McCain campaign and the RNC.

Alice Rocchio is an office manager, drives a 1993 Chevy Cavalier and lives in an apartment in Queens, N.Y., with her husband, Pasquale, an Amtrak foreman.

Despite what appears to be a middle-class lifestyle, the couple has written $61,600 in checks to John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee

Ok, something a bit fishy about this but I guess it is possible. Oh, Did I mention fishy? Let me add the part of the above quote I left out.

Alice Rocchio is an office manager at the New York headquarters of the Hess Corp. (emphasis mine)

And

the couple has written $61,600 in checks to John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, most of it within days of McCain’s decision to endorse offshore oil drilling. (emphasis mine)

Does the Hess Oil Company ring a bell? How about this story on Hess related contributions that went to the RNC and McCain just after his about face to refresh your memory.

J. Barclay Collins Hess Corp. Attorney $28,500 19-Jun
John B. Hess Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Susan K. Hess Homemaker Homemaker $28,500 24-Jun
Norma W. Hess Retired Retired $28,500 24-Jun
John J. O’Connor Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Lawrence Ornstein Hess Corp. Senior VP $28,500 24-Jun
John Reilly Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Alice Rocchio Hess Corp. Office Manager $28,500 24-Jun
John Scelfo Hess Corp. Senior VP of Finance $28,500 24-Jun
F. Borden Walker Hess Corp. Businessman $28,500 24-Jun

So a couple that apparently can hardly afford a $61,000 donation with ties to Hess happens to donate the money a few days after McCain changes his position on offshore drilling and around the same time various members of the Hess family and corporation just so happen to also donate boatloads of cash?

Nothing whatsoever fishy there. Can I get some tartar sauce to go with this?

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