Linking up perils from the seabed to the pantry


Oil spill cure creating new underwater woes?

With the fate of the latest effort to stem the Deepwater Horizon still in doubt, oceanographers have found a second massive underwater oil plume in the Gulf.

And they’re worried this one may have been created by the toxic surface oil dispersants BP insists on using despite pleas from federal regulators, according to Associated Press reporters Matthew Brown and Jason Dearen.

Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama.

The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.

David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the school, says the thick plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet. He says it’s more than 6 miles wide.

Scientists say they are worried the undersea plumes may be from chemical dispersants used to break up the oil a mile under the surface.

Does BP really mean “beyond prosecution”?

Jason Leopold at Truthout reports on a regulator’s thwarted effort to land BP officials behind basin an earlier Alaskan oil disaster.

Mention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: Beyond Prosecution.

West was the special agent in charge with the Environmental

Protection Agency’s (EPA) criminal division who had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company’s senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company’s Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska’s North Slope that spilled 267,000 gallons of crude oil across two acres of frozen tundra – the second largest spill in Alaska’s history – which went undetected for nearly a week.

West was confident that the thousands of hours he invested into the criminal probe would result in felony charges against the company and the senior executives who received advanced warnings from dozens of employees at the Prudhoe Bay facility that unless immediate steps were taken to repair the severely corroded pipeline, a disaster on par with that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill was only a matter of time.

In fact, West, who spent more than two decades at the EPA’s criminal division, was also told the pipeline was going to rupture—about six months before it happened.

In a wide-ranging interview with Truthout, West described how the Justice Department (DOJ) abruptly shut down his investigation into BP in August 2007 and gave the company a “slap on the wrist” for what he says were serious environmental crimes that should have sent some BP executives to jail.

Scalia’s kiss of death: He loves Kagan

Uh-oh. Any doubts esnl had entertained about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan have vanished, given that she has carries the imprimatur of that most noxious of her future colleagues, Antonin Scalia.

And that kiss of death was administered to Kagan, but to the last spectral hope that Kagan could be anything other than the former Monsanto shill he was.

From ABC News reporter Teddy Davis:

Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has been criticized by some Republican senators for lacking judicial experience. But Justice Antonin Scalia, the High Court’s most outspoken conservative, said Wednesday that he likes that the former Harvard Law School dean and Solicitor General is not currently a judge.

“When I first came to the Supreme Court, three of my colleagues had never been a federal judge,” said Scalia who joined the Court in 1986 after being nominated by President Reagan. “William Rehnquist came to the Bench from the Office of Legal Counsel. Byron White was Deputy Attorney General. And Lewis Powell who was a private lawyer in Richmond and had been president of the American Bar Association.”

“Currently, there is nobody on the Court who has not served as a judge –indeed, as a federal judge—all nine of us,” he continued. “. . . I am happy to see that this latest nominee is not a federal judge – and not a judge at all.”

Elizabeth Warren rips into AIG, regulators

The one shining star to emerge from the bankscam debacle has been Elizabeth Warren, an esnl favorite. You’ll see why in this account from CNN.Money.

An overseer of the $700 billion financial sector bailout said Wednesday that insurer AIG lacked regulation, leading to a taxpayer-funded rescue that “broke all the rules.”

“The company was a corporate Frankenstein, a conglomeration of banking and insurance and investment interests that defied regulatory oversight,” said Congressional Oversight Panel Chairwoman Elizabeth Warren at a hearing about AIG’s bailout.

Warren said the government’s lack of oversight of AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) and the insurer’s monstrous nature explain why the company got a $182 billion government bailout rather than a traditional bankruptcy proceeding. But she questioned why government regulators didn’t act sooner to try to find a less costly solution for taxpayers.

At the hearing, representatives from the Fed testified that the extraordinary events of mid-September 2008 required it to rescue AIG with a government-funded bailout. They said that the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15 ruined any chance of a possible private-sector bailout, and the government needed to step in quickly to avoid another giant, systemically significant financial institution from collapsing.

esnl is of two minds about this finding

From Science Daily, more evidence that madness and genius ain’t exactly strangers.

New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.

Another toxin lurking in the larder

This from a report on peril in the pantry comes from Coldtruth:

The health hazards of bisphenol A are clearly proven, but scientists now report that the levels of the chemical—used to protect canned food from corrosion and bacteria—are surprisingly high in the  canned goods found on our kitchen shelves.

To reach this conclusion, 50 different cans of food were collected from pantries in 19 states and Ontario and were analyzed at a top food safety lab in San Francisco. BPA was found in 92 percent of the samples according to a 24-page study called “No Silver Lining,” which was released today by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets.

BPA cans report The highest  level of BPA was 1,140 parts per billion—believed  to be the highest ever found in the U.S. It was detected in Del Monte French Style Green Beans from a pantry in Wisconsin, the report said.

Other high scorers included Wal-Mart’s Great Value Green Peas from a store in Kentucky, and Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup from a pantry in Montana, said researchers from the coalition of more than 17 public and environmental health organizations .

“Our study details potential exposure to BPA from not just one can, but from meals prepared with canned food and drink that an ordinary person might consume over the course of a day,” Mike Schade, a co-author of the study told AOL News.

The unopened cans of fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milk were sent to Anresco Laboratories. In order to determine the concentrations of BPA in the food within the can, only the food, not the packaging, was tested.

Hundreds of studies—by both government and academic researchers—have shown that exposure of animals to low doses of BPA has been linked to cancer, abnormal behavior, diabetes and heart disease, infertility, developmental and reproductive harm, obesity, and early puberty, a known risk factor for breast cancer. Also, BPA exposure is particularly of concern for pregnant women, for babies, and for children.

“It takes as little as one serving of canned foods to expose a person to levels of BPA that have been shown to cause harm in laboratory animals.  This is especially troublesome if the person eating the canned foods is pregnant, because fetuses are especially vulnerable to BPA’s effects,” reports  co-author Bobbi Chase Wilding, organizing director of Clean New York, told AOL News.

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2 responses to “Linking up perils from the seabed to the pantry

  1. Jackie Durkee

    On Elena Kagan, they need to ask her about the paper she wrote for the Harvard Review in 2001 called “Presidential Administration”.

    In it she talks about more Presidential control over government agencies and how it is constitutional. I believe that is why Obama wants her on the Supreme Court, because if the make-up of Congress changes in November 2010, then he will probably usurp power through those government agencies even worse than President Clinton did.

    If Congress tries to reign him in through the Courts, then he has allies on the bench.

  2. Re Elizabeth Warren’s comments on AIG.

    On the subject of AIG [Kroll / CIA / 911]

    AIG never could have been permitted ‘to fail’. Not only is it considered “too big”, its books never could have be made public in the event of bankruptcy, hence the $billions it received from the US government and delivered, without oversight, to its nebulous “creditors”. All in the name of ‘national security’.

    A great deal of the fears over the present global financial meltdown lies in the fact that key players’ roles and deeds could potentially be revealed for the vile bankster / gangsters they are, in the event of bankruptcy. Hence the obsessive need for secrecy on the part of the Paulson, Geithner, Bernanke, Sumners and Rubin clique in matters of financial bailouts.

    Global finance is a global criminal charade.

    But the case of AIG, specifically, warrants further scrutiny with respect to the hysterical political responses following Sept 11, 2001, and the cascading repeal of civil rights that was enacted across the industrialized world immediately following these events.

    See this and this.

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