Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday beaver does a temporary encore - Massey mine disaster relook

It was four and a half years ago I reported about this and never thought for once that a CEO might go to jail. The original story from my first posting http://demeur.blogspot.com/2010/04/miners-revisited-and-beavers-not-happy.html  Seems I was dead on about what was going on in his mine.

In 1992 Don Blankenship was appointed the President, Chairman and CEO of Massey  Coal Company one of the largest in the U.S. He was the head when an explosion at the Upper Branch Mine took the lives of 29 miners. This happened in April 2010. By December Blankenship resigned saying he was retiring. The year prior to the accident the mine was cited for 458 safety violations 50 of which were failure to comply. (You're talking criminal acts here.)

Four years later
Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive officer of Massey Energy, was indicted Thursday on charges that he orchestrated the routine violation of key federal mine safety rules at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

“Blankenship knew that UBB was committing hundreds of safety-law violations every year and that he had the ability to prevent most of the violations that UBB was committing,” the indictment states. “Yet he fostered and participated in an understanding that perpetuated UBB’s practice of routine safety violations, in order to produce more coal, avoid the costs of following safety laws, and make more money.”  Quote from Booth Goodwin United States Attorney.

So Mr Blankenship will face a potential 31 years in prison if convicted. But we all know nobody gets the max when they hand out prison time, none the less, it's nice to know that justice is finally being served. And not stated above was that he made false claims in connection with Massey stocks, an SEC violation.

Bank fails later... and maybe we'll get the goods on them too.
UPDATE: No fails this week

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Pussy - South of the border edition


A story that's gotten little press here in our main stream media from Mexico.

The peace in the little town of Iguala, Mexico has been shattered with the disappearance of 43 students from a teachers college of a neighboring town (Ayotzinapa). The wife (Maria de los Angeles Pineda) of the mayor of Iguala was about to give a speech for her charity when her husband Jose Luis Abarca ordered the police to round up the students and prevent them from protesting. That is the last they have been heard from. As the days past with no word about the students the mayor and his wife fled the town. The Attorney General issued arrest warrants for the two. Eyewitnesses report seeing the students shuffled into police cars the day of the event September 26.

It has been reported that the mayor had ties to a local drug gang and that the police turned the students over to them. The gang leader received word that these were members of a rival gang and ordered their disappearance. They were loaded into pick up trucks and driven to Pueblo Viejo where a number of mass graves were found. The 28 bodies found there turned out not to be any of the students.



The towns' people became furious over the slowness of the investigation and took to burning the mayor's office. Protests have since spread nationwide as even the federal authorities have been slow to act.




To date 52 people have been arrested including police officers, gang members and local officials but no sign or clues as to the whereabouts of the students. Even the president of Mexico has been confronted by one of the families only to hear silence.

UPDATE: To date 70 people have been arrested and the gang members have confessed to killing the students, burning their bodies and dumping some of the charred remains in a river. Forensic scientists from Argentina are trying to determine identities. 



Bank fails later...
One bank fail this week in Ca.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday pussy - scary edition

                         
What's scarier than a black cat crossing your path on Halloween? The Republicans winning the senate. And why you might ask?

Republicans never let facts and science get in the way of their agenda.
They use the military before diplomacy.
When the military is ill equipped they cut military budgets unless of course it's for some hardware that the Pentagon says it doesn't need.
Republicans have made boogiemen out of Mexicans, Blacks, Liberals and generally anyone else who isn't exactly like them.
Republicans hate any program that might benefit the masses like social security, medicare, medicaid and definitely welfare.
Republicans love tax cuts but only if it's for the "job creators" and not small business or those in the middle or bottom. (Jobs by the way are created by demand and not big corporations).
Republicans want to control a woman's vagina even though they have no idea of the medical science involved. (IUDs do not cause abortions and unnecessary ultrasounds after conception would show little to nothing... idiots)
Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act but keep their state health care exchanges. (Not telling you that the exchanges are funded by the ACA)
Republicans think Africa is a country and anyone coming from there must have ebola.
Republicans hate education. They have after all been the biggest budget cutters of education slashing billions out of state budgets. And we wonder why Johnny can't read after getting a high school diploma.
Republicans leaders have fooled their followers into thinking they too can be rich. (Sorry peons it's a club and you aren't in it but we'll let you think you can be.)
Republicans have no ideas other than being against everything. That's not leadership. That's just being childish.
Republicans say they want to be the "big tent" party all the while slamming potential members like women, blacks and hispanics.

Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul are right when the say it's the "stupid party" and "this party sucks".

And now the scariest thought for your fright night, the next president of the United States - Jeb Bush.



Bank fails later...
No fails this week keep shopping.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday pussy - Don't shoot

Armed and dangerous pussy doesn't have a chance

Too many guns and not enough common sense says I. Face facts we no longer live amongst wild bears or mountain lions. The Mongol  hoards are not going to breach the walls of your humble castle and in spite of what the right wing would have you believe there are no islamic mexican terrorists with ebola running across our southern boarders. So you think you're faster on the draw than someone intent on robbing you? Think again Marshal Dillon.

The real problem is that we've made it too easy for people who shouldn't be near a gun to own or get one. Granted putting restrictions on fire arms would not eliminate the problem all together but it sure would slow things down a bit. And think about it. We have more restrictions to getting a drivers license  or a marriage license than to own a gun. And while people may think a gun is a great means of protection, those who have done the most damage have heard voices in their head.

So yes I believe there should be background checks for anyone owning a gun. I'd bet that even McDonalds does a basic background check for its' workers. What makes owning a gun any less important? And let's not forget the other part of the second amendment, it was to arm a militia because there was no formal army at that time of our founding and there were bears and other wild animals roaming the land.

And for those delusional enough to think they're going to go against the government they'd better think again. A pump action shotgun would be no match to an armored vehicle or an assault helicopter they'd be facing.  The military will do its' duty to protect against foreign and domestic threats. It's what they do.

As for the middle east we've never been attuned to what was happening there until it was too late. We supported dictators there for decades not really knowing or caring about what they were doing to their own populations. After all that was "over there" not here. There is now a psychosis on a grander scale and guns seem to be easy to get there. And why not? You can't sell a lot of arms without fear and a division of the population. It's a safe bet that gun sales will go up at least here in the U.S. with the latest shootings and with that will come more shootings. It's a simple matter of numbers and probability. So the gun makers will profit yet again and more people will die and all we can do is sit back and watch. Law makers won't touch the issue even if gun owners would like some common sense regulations. And if that's the case then the NRA is not as powerful as they'd like to believe.

Would you sell a gun to a criminal or someone with mental issues? I know I wouldn't.

One bank fail this week in Chicago, Ill.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Pussy - Humans are incompetant edition

                              
Asian cat always knows to wash his paws after touching humans

Having dealt with nasty things for the last 20 plus years I must put my two cents in on the Ebola situation. I've worked with everything from Asbestos to DDT and even Hanta virus so I know a thing or two about personnel protective equipment. What I've witnessed over the last few weeks has been utter incompetence. There's hastily set up medical "clinics" in western Africa. Good intention but far from what they need. At the beginning they didn't even have something as simple as a bottle of bleach for disinfecting. And it's a safe bet they were lacking in suits and masks even to protect the doctors.

But now the focus is on the West and it's supposed greatest health care in the world. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Everybody assumes that every hospital has a special ward to isolated someone with a deadly communicable disease. They do not. There are at present only a handful of hospitals that have such facilities and the total number of beds? Would you believe 9? Four of which are now being occupied. But from what I've seen there's a truly inconsistent level of personnel protection for hospital workers (a bit about that later). We've seen everything from paper dust masks and cheap nitrol gloves with no other coverings to the full level A moon suit with full face respirator. They should have gotten a clue when they saw the haz mat workers who cleaned the apartment in full attire with all potential exposure areas duct taped. But even then it's hard to doff a suit with everything taped. Worker has to be sprayed with disinfectant first.  Even the CDC protocols that the Texas hospital said they followed were inadequate in my opinion. It only takes a skin break or inhaling mist from a sneeze to be affected even though they say otherwise. One touch to the face with a contaminated glove was all it took in the first case.

How did we get to this point? It was all in the name of profit. Federal funds to hospitals were cut (by around $250 million). Hospitals looked for ways to cut spending and those units being rarely used became low hanging fruit. And why spend the time training personnel on something they may never use? It's become the perfect storm. I can attest to that last part personally. After 911 I was expecting a training program to be set up for us haz mat workers. Remember the Anthrax situation? We assumed there would be other possible attacks either chemical or biological. The training program came 4 years later and consisted of a booklet of just 19 pages. Yes we are a bit familiar with dealing with hazardous chemicals but Ebola and many of the other nasties takes a bit more training. Oh and the government would like nothing better than to have the military handle all of this because they can't complain and they can't sue.

How profits supersedes science
After 911 the 3 M people decided that they wanted to make a bit more for the bottom line. They convinced congress that it would be a great idea to turn their dust masks into respirators. This even though science says that they are only good for nuisance dust like when you sweep your garage floor. But with the stroke of a pen people are now being exposed to things they shouldn't. And if your thinking of investing because they also make tyvec moon suits, forget it the big boys beat you to it.

There's still two problems in all this great effort to contain this outbreak. Aside from the fact that there's few facilities capable of dealing with the virus, there's an issue of the waste stream. Every time a doctor or nurse goes into the isolation area they must dawn new garb and that must be disposed of in the proper manner. It was reported that the contaminated clothing was piled high to the ceiling at the Texas hospital and other hospitals have much the same problem. There's few facilities willing to take highly contagious waste that must be incinerated. So just like 911 we are not prepared in the event of a national emergency. There's even no chain of command just as there was none for the Twin Towers. They all rely on recommendations.

Bank fails later (Note there have been none since July as of last week)
One bank fail in Maryland this week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday pussy - Only worried about tuna supply not viruses

MERS, MERSA, SARS,SWINE FLU, ENTRO, NORO and lest we forget DENGUE, WEST NILE, and lastly MARBURG. Oh there's plenty of others but I'll spare you the gory details because it isn't Halloween just yet. Forget zombies this is the real deal. There's enough viruses and bacteria out there to wipe us all out. Keep using the super ultra anti bacterial washing products and you're playing right into their little trap. They can adapt and mutate quickly but we sure can't.

Be afraid? Heavens no. You'll more than likely get hit by a cross town bus or fall from a ladder changing a light bulb than picking up one of these little beauties. But the panic will be fun to watch once the flu season hits full force. Moms stocking up on paper masks and surgical gloves. Invest in hand sanitizer now if you already haven't you could make a "killing" pun intended. Your odds are better of being shot by a stray bullet from a Missouri police man. Just were did they get their fire arms training?

Then there's the other boogiemen to watch out for. You know them the guys who long for the good old days of the 12th century. Sheesh even the tea baggers only want to go back the the 50s. Tea baggers sure do hate the government until it's their hide they want saved. Note that all who hate the government are "in" the government. So there should be a requirement or two for running for office. Drug and alcohol testing would be a good start along with a psych evaluation. Couldn't hurt. Forget about Achmmed  sneaking across the mexican border though, you'll see more injuries with the stroke of a pen in congress. Or should we be truly realistic and note that it's been what congress has not done the last six years all the while patting themselves on the back. If you were paying attention and actually read the few bill they did pass it was shoveling yet more money to their corporate masters. Didn't see anything passed that didn't have a tax break for the big corporations hidden in it.

So what about our preparedness for a medical emergency? That's not looking too good. A few points. The federal government here used to allocate $500 million to hospitals for emergencies. That figure has been cut to around $250 million (low hanging fruit in budget terms). Why spend money on an isolation unit that rarely gets used was the thinking. That is until you actually need it. Add to that an influx of foreign medical workers (no offense to them but communications can be a problem). Lastly we have a system that's devolved into assembly line medicine. It's no longer about quality of care but how many bodies can be run through the door. And not to forget everybody gets an MRI because it raises the bottom line nicely. They said privatization was going to be a good thing. They should have called it profitization. 

Bank fails later

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Pussy - Is tired

                                              

Friday already?

The world is wearing out. Face facts. The days of hot rod cars with chrome bumpers are over. Who can afford the gas? The planet is doing a quiet death knoll scream and we aren't listening. Any iron ore deposits left in the U.S.? Oh forgot we outsourced steel making decades ago and only thing left are specialty metals and recycled. Let us not forget the mountains of garbage flowing down the Swanee and out to the ocean garbage islands now purported to be the size of Texas.

Just don't make em like they used to. Isn't that a fact. Only thing that wore out as a kid were shoes and the knees of your pants. That is if you didn't outgrow the pants first. Things were once repairable. Now they're disposable. Sell em another when the original didn't even last a year. Sure that makes sense if you're the one selling. Not so kind to the planet though. And just who lands up paying the price in the long run with manufacturers seeking the lowest of the low wage? And you thought slavery was dead. Let's see you get buy on $3.60 a day.

Where is the end? When will the last mine be dug out and left as a big hole in the ground? Now they're talking about mining asteroids which may happen in the next century but only after they've sucked all the life blood out of this planet. They'd better figure out some energy alternatives because oil is a finite thing. Oh well I'll leave that for future generations. Not my problem at the moment. Too busy listening to my arteries hardening. The world is wearing out and so am I.

Bank fails later...