Thursday, September 24, 2015

Texas firm in Santa Barbara oil spill ordered to fix 'probable' safety violations

Federal pipeline safety regulators Friday issued a series of warnings to the Texas owners of an oil pipeline that ruptured and spilled as many as 143,000 gallons of crude along the Santa Barbara Coast in May.

Federal inspectors found two "probable" violations of federal safety regulations during inspections of Lines 901 and 903, which together connect offshore platforms off the Santa Barbara Coast to Bakersfield, in 2013 and 2014. 

Among the inspectors' more serious findings, Plains All American Pipeline failed to keep adequate records of safety evaluations performed on the pipeline system. Though the findings are separate from the investigation into the May 19 oil spill, they point to lax safety oversight on the part of Plains.  MORE

Voting Machines Are Being Manipulated' - Kansas Statistician Explains Her Remarkable Allegations, Evidence: 'BradCast' 8/31/2015

From:  BradBlog

Guest: Wichita University's Beth Clarkson, PhD, on her theory and KS Sec. of State's attempt to block her citizen audit of touch-screen systems showing unexplained vote increases for the GOP in large precincts

Also: NM Sec. of State charged with 64 criminal counts...

By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 8/31/2015, 5:42pm PT 

Whether statistician Beth Clarkson, PhD, head of Wichita University's National Institute for Aviation Research, is ultimately proven correct, today's must-listen, in-depth interview with her on The BradCast should remind us all, once again, why neither election officials nor voting systems are simply to be trusted.

Without the ability to carry out public oversight, democracy vanishes. That's what's happening right now in the state of Kansas, where Sec. of State Kris Kobach is attempting to block Clarkson's legal attempt to audit touch-screen voting system "paper trails" in Sedgwick County (Wichita), the state's most populous county.

Confirming a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF], Clarkson has found that computer-reported results from larger precincts in the state, with more than 500 voters, show a "consistent" statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections (and even a similar increase for establishment GOP candidates versus 'Tea Party' challengers during Republican primaries). Those results run counter to conventional political wisdom that Democrats perform better in larger, more urban precincts.  MORE

Video Shows the Rarely Seen Moment a Frightened Suicide Bomber Broke Down Crying Before Carrying Out His Mission

From: The Blaze

by Sharona Schwartz

A distraught Islamic militant broke down in tears as he prepared to embark on a suicide bombing in Syria, video posted on jihadist forums appeared to show.

The video offered rare insight into the lives of those tapped to carry out suicide missions — often foreigners who have traveled on jihad to Syria. While most images posted on jihadist forums show militants heading with enthusiasm and bravado on their suicide attacks, the latest video made it clear that not every militant is thrilled about his assignment.

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Britain’s Daily Mirror reported that the attack was launched on the Shi’ite town of Fua in Syria’s Idlib Province on Sept. 18.

The end of the video shows his armored personnel carrier driving off into the distance then detonating into a huge explosion.  MORE

A crawling issue: Head lice treatments worse than the pest itself?

From:  The Center for Public Integrity



As children flock back to school, the annual plague of head lice lurks beyond the classroom doors.

The vile creatures don’t spread disease but can be a severe nuisance for teachers and families. The vermin are estimated to afflict between 6 million and 12 million young children in the U.S. each year and parents generally turn to a variety of pesticide-based shampoos and treatments for relief.

Parents often aren’t aware that some of the most prescribed and over-the-counter treatments can be harmful to children, an iWatch News investigation found. The Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reports – collected anonymously from doctors, hospitals and others – detail cases where the pesticides in lice treatments have been involved in conditions ranging from headaches to death. The reports were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  MORE

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Most Profoundly Evil Crime Committed by ExxonMobil to Date

From:  Buzzflash


From the time I was a teenager, I’ve wrestled with the question of good and evil. The question led me to the study of philosophy and literature. When I was sixteen years old, I began reading the Russian authors, starting with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.   Na├»ve, I sided with Alyosha Karamazov, a saintly loving monk—a man who, despite the despicable things that humans do to one another, held faith in the goodness of God, and in the idea that humans are fundamentally good, but they do evil things in a state of ignorance.

This idea that evil is committed in a state of ignorance goes back to Plato’s definition of wrongdoing, a concept that St. Augustine accepted, only he referred to the Higher Good as God and that a person could do evil acts only in the absence of God’s Love, i.e., he/she lived in ignorance, a kind of dark void of the soul.

But what if you know what you’re doing is wrong and you do it anyway?  MORE

Saudi Arabian beheadings poised to double in 2015

From:  The News Hub 

by Chris Correl

Under King Salman's reign, someone is publicly executed every two days, including minors and the disabled.

In the first six months of 2015, Saudi Arabia’s government executed more people—102—than all of 2014 combined. At its current trajectory, the nation's execution rate will be at its highest level in years.

The rise of these public deaths—most often beheadings, though occasionally firing squads or stoning are implemented—could, in part, be attributed as backlash towards recent criticism from the international community.

Saudi Arabia’s theocratic justice system of Sharia Law permits capital punishment for a host of offences from murder to "sorcery" or converting to another religion.  MORE


U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies

From:  NY Times 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Comment from Donny Rico

From:  You Tube
And now, a moment of horrifying humor.

Published on Jan 20, 2014
Amazon Watch teams up with Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Fiore once again!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exxon Researched Climate Change in 1977 | FRONTLINE

From:  Frontlines

Published on Sep 16, 2015
A short FRONTLINE film about Exxon's early research into climate change produced in collaboration with InsideClimate News.

Produced by Tom Jennings

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Super lice" a concern as kids return to school

From:  CBS News

Treatment-resistant "super lice" have been found crawling through children's hair in at least 25 states. As the new school year resumes, parents and schools are concerned the problem could spread.

Maria Botham's daughter was found to have lice in a routine school checkup. "Lucia started school a week ago, and I meant to do it two weeks ago, which I really wish I did, but here we are," she told Danielle Nottingham of CBS News.

Botham, who makes a living treating other children for lice at her salon in Los Angeles, was hunting down the live bugs and lice eggs, called nits. "I found a louse on her already, and it's a pretty big guy."  MORE

Mutant lice are probably coming! But first, the hype

From:  CNN

by Carina Storrs,Special to CNN

COMMENT -  We know the over the counter products are toxic, as are those prescribed by your physician.  But it is clear Super Lice are on the way. 

Wed August 19, 2015

(CNN)Head lice are a lousy part of the school year or summer vacation for an estimated 6 to 12 million children in the United States every year. Infestations can lead to itchy scalp, irritability and poor sleep.

To make matters worse, there are hints we could be losing some of our easiest and cheapest defenses against these insect interlopers. Studies suggest many lice may no longer be killed by over-the-counter treatments such as Rid shampoo or Nix rinse.

Newer generation lice-fighting chemicals are an option if the usual treatments fail, but they are often more expensive. A number of parents are taking their children to "nitpickers," who manually remove the insects from hair using combs and sometimes just their fingers.  MORE

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brazil cut to 'junk' credit rating by Standard & Poor's

COMMENT: We'll tell you why this matters to Santa Barbara - and Exxon - soon.  Check back for the answer.  - Ed. 

From:  BBC

Getty photo - Ms Rousseff had tried to head off a downgrade with austerity measures

Brazil has lost its investment-grade credit rating following a downgrade by Standard & Poor's to "junk" status.

The US rating agency said mounting political turmoil and the difficulties faced by President Dilma Rousseff's government in tackling growing debt was behind the decision.

Brazil was awarded an investment-grade rating by S&P in April 2008, when the country's economy was on the rise.

However, sliding commodity prices and austerity have created a recession.  MORE

Monday, September 7, 2015

How our screwed-up CEO pay system makes climate change worse

Runaway CEO pay at the 30 largest U.S. public fossil fuel corporations rewards short-term actions, with disastrous results for the world’s climate, a new report finds.

CEOs at big oil, gas, and coal corporations are rewarded for a short-term fixation on pumping up quarterly share prices. They receive pay perks for expanding carbon reserves and building unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure. Share prices can get a temporary boost from corporate lobbying to maintain government subsidies and block renewable energy initiatives, and from campaign donations that help elect climate deniers to Congress.

In 2014, the average CEO pay package at the 30 biggest oil, gas, and coal companies was $14.7 million, 9 percent higher than average CEO pay on the S&P 500. These pay trends are documented in “Money to Burn: How CEO Pay Is Accelerating Climate Change,” a report I coauthored for the Institute for Policy Studies.  MORE