Saturday, June 05, 2010

Tennessee Has An Official Rap Song?

This week at Speak To Power, writer T. Sharp commented on the legislative creation of the 8th state song for Tennessee.

But as I said on her post - can we ever hope to top the real 8th state song (it was part of a state history education program and is usually not counted among the "official canon"), which is titled "The Tennessee Bicentennial Rap: 1796-1996".

The full lyrics are below, but my favorite is:
Dollywood and Walking Horse Show!
Opryland and the Opry Show!
Whisky, whisky - sipping smooth -
Moon, Moon Pies and Goo Goo Goos!


Oh, how proud we are of thee!
Volunteer State since 1812 -
Glad our fathers picked here to dwell!

Presidents, Presidents - proud are we!
Jackson, Polk, and Johnson - three!
Crockett, Forrest, and John Sevier;
Alvin York and Hull lived here!

Baker, Gores, and Kefauver,
Served our country with honor!
U.T., Memphis and Vandy U.,
Tennessee Tech and Sewanee, too!

Appalachian Mountains, mountains high -
Reaching up in the smoky sky!
Tennessee River, flowing through -
We will cross near the Choo Choo!

Dollywood and Walking Horse Show!
Opryland and the Opry Show!
Whisky, whisky - sipping smooth -
Moon, Moon Pies and Goo Goo Goos!

Reelfoot Lake and cotton fields,
Natchez Trace and Civil War fields!
Mocking birds and raccoons grow,
And tulip poplars and iris show!

Bessie Smith and Memphis blues -
W.C. Handy and Elvis, too!
Eastman, Oak Ridge, and TVA -
Nissan, Saturn, and Country Music pay!

Chickasaw, Sequoyah, and Cherokee -
Cumberland Plateau and Mississippi!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Coming Apart At Every Nail, or The BP Deepsh*t Disaster

Given the constant failure of "blowout preventers" in offshore oil wells, and a lack of technology to create reliable fail-safe methods of capping an endlessly oil spewing mess, one simple and very old tactic almost always works.

It's a relief well, just like the two being drilled now in the Gulf of Mexico. Some online folks began talking last week about how Canada requires oil companies to create a relief well for all offshore drilling before said companies are allowed to drill.

Except that is not quite true and even today, BP is pushing Canada to drop that requirement, citing the costs involved.

• Canadian regulations about relief wells are not quite as simple as the Reuters story suggested. • Oil companies do not actually have to drill relief wells in advance. Rather, in order to get a drilling permit they have to satisfy the National Energy Board that they have the capability to drill a relief well the same season as the exploratory well.
"In 2008, BP paid C$1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for rights to explore three parcels in Canada's Beaufort Sea, north of the Arctic Circle.

It has yet to announce plans to drill in the region but shortly before the U.S. disaster, BP and other oil companies urged Canadian regulators to drop a requirement stipulating that companies operating in the Arctic had to drill relief wells in the same season as the primary well."

So many who previously moaned about the intrusion of government now see government as superhero.

Confusion grows in times like these. Getting information is important, but a recent transcript of a Q and A with reporters and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen offers mostly confusion.

Q: (Inaudible) - (inaudible) (expect that 2,000 acres to fill in), but it's more like 30 acres, do you have any updates on that and how (inaudible)?

ADM. ALLEN: We're beginning conversation of what I would call linear versus top (inaudible). And I think probably the best thing for us to do is - (inaudible) - folks a couple of days to - sit down and come up with a (inaudible) (metric). (Inaudible) - miles of shoreline doesn't necessarily equate the impact you're looking at with the half-mile in the marsh. And I understand the difference there and we will reconcile - (inaudible).

And today I read where the underwater robots bedecked with diamond-edged saws which BP is using to try and cut off part of the leaking pipe so they can contain some of the spill is stuck in the pipe.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yearly Spill Larger Than Gulf Oil Disaster

Am I the only one who can hear the damn clue phone ringing away like mad?

"In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked
BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

That disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 rig workers, has made headlines round the world. By contrast, little information has emerged about the damage inflicted on the Niger delta. Yet the destruction there provides us with a far more accurate picture of the price we have to pay for drilling oil today."


"With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution."

More here and here.

Oh, and those "blowout preventers" are famous for failing on a constant basis, and officials lied to cover it up.