Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Drill Baby Drill: The Bill Comes Due

Louisiana has declared an emergency shrimping season for the off shore beds at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The emergency harvest of shrimp, oysters and stone crabs is a desperate attempt to grab a final yield from a once bountiful aquaculture that sustained and defined the regional Cajun identity for many generations. The spreading oil slick gushing from a toppled offshore oil platform threatens to bury that life as it covers the delicate ecology with a toxic cloak that may spell a death blow to a regions way of life.

It is estimated that 210,000 gallons of crude oil are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every day following the explosion and collapse of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform that killed 11 workers. The Transocean rig was reportedly not equipped with a special safety devise that should have capped the well with the collapse of the oil platform. This assertion is being denied by Transocean stating that the well was equipped with the devise but unfortunately it failed to work. The use of the safety devise is a regulatory requirement for any offshore drill platforms in Europe but in the United States this safety devise is not required and is considered an optional operational risk devise. Like the recent coal miner disaster at Massey Mines, and word today that two more miners have died in Kentucky, occupational wages sometimes result in death. We need to understand that preservation of life and environmental safety are critical components of a cost of doing business that must be factored into ROI calculations and risk assessment scenarios.

The Coast Guard is in charge of emergency response to this growing disaster. The Coast Guard is skimming surface oil and using containment booms to control the growing oil slick. The Coast Guard is also considering igniting controlled burns of the surface oil which would release toxicity into the air. Another strategy being considered is the injection of chemicals into the spill to coagulate the oil. This strategy has never been attempted at such an extreme 5,000 foot depth and would also release additional toxins into the water. Technological solutions like the drilling of a relief well or the construction of a containment vessel would take months to accomplish. Man made solutions to cap the environmental disasters of their making always seem to pale in comparison to the scale and fury unleashed by the unrestrained power of nature.

This event marks yet another example of making an honest assessment of the true costs of our behavior and choices. Like the global economic meltdown that was the result of the unfettered credit orgy the bill for risky behavior always comes due. The continued focus on the exploitation and extraction of fossil fuels at the expense of alternative sources of energy comes at a great cost. This disaster may indeed be the death blow to an aqua industry that nurtured a region for many generations and informed a cuisine and culture respected and treasured by throughout  the world.   And like any excursion to a fine NOLA restaurant, someones always got to pick up the tab.

The bill always comes due. We want to gorge ourselves at the well of cheap energy only to discover how dear the price of this devil’s bargain really is. Environmental degradation is the most obvious tip of a precarious iceberg that threatens to tip as it melts into an ocean of unsustainability. A destroyed eco-culture of marshlands and animals, abandoned hamlets and townships no longer able to extract a living from the land are the immediate visible signs of the cost of this deal with the devil gone bad. We must begin to realize that the cost of cheap energy also requires our nation to continually engage in wars and military actions to protect this vital resource.

Cheap oil has badly skewed our economic infrastructure. It has encouraged our businesses to produce inefficient cars that led to the decline of a strategic industry and destruction of cities like Detroit and Gary Indiana. It caused the terrible moniker of rust belt cities to be pinned on a region of our country that was once the source of our nations wealth. Cheap energy help turn our prized manufacturing centers into economic anachronisms. Cheap oil has forestalled commitment to developing innovative green technologies that continues us to cede our position as a global manufacturing power. As we watch China and Brazil march forward with massive commitments to the development of energy innovation industries that will serve future needs of an energy dependent global economy, America is engaged in a bloody rear guard action to defend the ways of an old dying world too protect depleting trickles of oil.

Tonight as Americans go to sleep in their energy inefficient homes it is hoped that they may pause to consider that drill baby drill is a rallying cry for an unsustainable dying future. Think of the villages along the Louisiana bayous and how their way of life is coming to an end. Its time to consider the real costs of a Drill Baby Drill economy and begin to chart a course to a sustainable future.

You tube Music Video: Cajun Music: DL Menard and Louisiana Aces, Out My Backdoor

Risk: economic, environmental, culture

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April 30, 2010 Posted by | culture, disaster planning, ecological, environment, politics, regulatory | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Them There Eyes

“Can I call you Joe?” Sarah Palin asked. A smiling Joe Biden said, “sure”.

The junior partner of the Maverick Luchador tag team had entered the ring. You betcha she was ready.

She did a shout out to Alaskan Third Grade friends and punctuated it with a Garboesque wink.  Sarah saluted her peeps. She offered greetings of solidarity to all hockey moms yearning to be recognized and all Joe six packers apparently looking to get drunk. Its an intriguing political demographic that the party of big money and conservative values needs to bridge to keep hold of the White House. Has the GOP abandoned the Temperance vote and any active AA’ers trying to stay sober today? I question its wisdom given McCain’s abdication of six pack packing Michigan. If the team of Mavericks make their final stand by circling the wagons around the Focus on the Family Headquarters in Colorado Springs no drinking will be allowed.

Another wink and a smile from Sarah that scrappy rascal. She knows something that I don’t and she’s got half the country in on it. I get uneasy for not getting it. But she is a maverick, don’t ya know. And she’s from Alaska. Really, I hadn’t heard. But I do want to know what a maverick is, why we need one and wish to hear fewer proclamations on her governorship of Steward’s Folly. Sorry to be so nosy but I also want a little more information about what she knows about the world, America’s position in it and where Sarah wants to take it.

During the debate I imagined her supporters across the country letting out a collective sigh of relief. Sarah was able to put together a number of coherent and complete sentences. She recited her rehearsed lines with enthusiasm, alacrity and partisan zeal. Not always in the proper order to answer the posed question; but she did recite. It was as if the Arch-Angel Gabriel had grabbed a hold of her and commanded her to recite the gospel of Maverickism. Pull the cord on this Chatty Kathy’s back and hear how Maverickism will save our country from the bad people running the big government while slaying terrorists and assorted evil doers who hate us for our values and freedoms. She stayed on message. The same message that we have heard from W for the past 8 years.

As America watched Sarah on their giant flat screen plasma TVs I sensed a country desperate for an existential connection to a remote government that is more despised then understood, less trusted then condemned, less effective then irrelevant, less pertinent then useful, less representative then self-serving. I believe American’s have transfered its hope onto Sarah because she looks, feels, speaks and thinks more like us then Obama, Biden and McCain. She’s young, brash and ballsy and what American doesn’t worship those qualities? Sarah an American Evita that can tell our story because she is our story.

As Joe and Sarah jawed away, our elected officials were conspiring to flood the public treasury with a raft of IOUs that will accrue debt to generations of countrymen that are yet to be born. So as the politicians redistribute the national debt to future citizens we get to connect to our national destiny with a real life Alice. With Sarah we get to slip through the looking glass to explore a new national fantasy. We seek the banality of the familiar and remain desperate to find ourselves at the close of journey’s end. American’s need confirmation. We demand to be affirmed with a soothing rationalization that we are good people doing good things. Sarah assures us that we have found it in her. She is living proof and our fondest hope of our common American exceptionalism.

Refusing to answer questions put forth by the gotcha liberal media; Sarah repeated her maverick pronouncements. Don’t ya know she’s from Alaska? Sarah choose not to answer. She would only debate on her terms. She claimed her entitlement to live above the rules imposed by the evil liberal media as she asked her countrymen to take personal responsibility for their actions. A bit of a contradiction. I believe it to be an unfortunate contradiction because personal responsibility is a republican virtue that all American’s should emulate. But sadly this lipstick wearing hockey mom’s insistence on her radical entitlement bereft of any responsibility or accountability has been a hall mark of all recent republicanism. It is a dangerous behavior that has led this nation into our current mess of unmanageable debt, economic duress and the growing global isolation of America.

Yes she’s a plucky and sexy lipstick wearing hockey mom who couldn’t drive her kids to practice this week because she’s been too busy rehearsing her lines for this debate. Supported by her husband “the first iron dogging dude” we are regaled with tales of his circumnavigation of the arctic circle with nothing more then a 5 gallon can of hi test and a pound of free range moose jerky cured in his home built smoke house. Such characters of extreme normality performing extraordinary feats make it difficult for us to distinguish legend from myth. Spectacle trumps substance and a parade of heroes is nothing more then a pedestrian tramp through the local strip mall.

At the close of the debate I grew uneasy as Sarah seemed to use her 8 month old autistic child as a theatrical prop. Her older daughter is always seen dutifully carrying her infant brother on stage so she can lift his arm and wave it to adoring fans. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think a political debate is a suitable place for an 8 month old infant at 11:00PM. But Sarah’s a maverick and I guess thats what maverick’s do with their children. I hope she doesn’t mistake the child for a beanie baby and list it on ebay after the election.

So as America looks lovingly into Sarah’s eyes she winks back an impish encouragement. “Drill Baby Drill” Sarah cheers her full commitment to America’s future and extols the virtues of a national amnesia that asks her countrymen to forget about the past. She says let’s not fix blame lets fix the problem. In response, Joe Biden stated the past is prologue to the present. Wisdom is a child of experience, study and contemplation.

Sarah putting aside bipartisan dialog took the opportunity to incant a republican mantra and channel the ghost of Ronald Reagan from the 1980’s. Said Sarah, “there you go again Joe, bringing up the past.” Wink wink nod smile snicker. Unfortunately her timing was off on the delivery of this mother of all cliches. Thirty years to be exact. If only she waited a bit longer. A pause of silence. Some bit of reflection. Without some deliberation or assessment of where we are Sarah is well on her way to building a bridge from nowhere.

At this critical juncture in American history we cannot afford our leaders to turn a blind eye to the mistakes and disastrous stewardship of our past and current leaders. Americans must insist on leaders that have foresight based on an understanding of how we got to where we are and offer a clear vision that can lead America and its partners across a bridge to the future.

Our vigilance won’t allow us to be hoodwinked and suffer the truism that “a wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.”

You Tube Music Video; Billie Holiday: Them There Eyes

Risk: One Heart Beat Away

October 4, 2008 Posted by | elections, jazz, Palin, politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment