The Wishing Well: Is Macondo the Mouth of Hell Silenced?

For the first time since Macondo, the Mouth Of Hell, first blew out in a fiery explosion on April 20, killing eleven men in the process, BP seems to have the well under control and there appears to be no hydrocarbons leaking into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. From Alabama Live (website of the Birmingham News):

A BP official said oil stopped flowing from a well in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:25 p.m. today as testing began on a cap over the leak.

It’s the first time oil has not leaked from the well since April.

In a technical briefing, BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said “it felt very good not to see any oil going into the Gulf of Mexico.”

“What I’m trying to do is maintain my emotions,” Wells said. “Remember, this is the start of our test.”

The procedure — known as a well integrity test — should determine whether the oil can be blocked without damaging the well.

Officials have said the cap could be used to either block the oil or move the oil to containment ships floating on the surface, until a relief well can be completed.

This is indeed positive. And if Macondo really is shut in with no leakage and integrity issues evidencing themselves, BP is, for once, due some congratulations.

Still, I have a nagging question on the integrity of the well that has neither been answered to date nor put to rest by the seemingly joyous news today. Namely, it is a given from the way it occurred, not to mention subsequently admitted by Thad Allen and BP, that the “Top Kill” process was cut quite short due to inexplicable loss of mud in process indicating a lack of well integrity at some point (or multiple points) in the bore length. There is no reason to believe whatever caused said leakage, and fear leading to the termination of Top Kill, has magically corrected or repaired itself.

As BP’s Kent Wells properly noted, the news is good so far, but the test is not complete and the conclusion not yet drawn with finality. So, for now, let us hope and wish the well to be sealed and stable. Consider this thread to be open to any and all discussion on the Macondo experience and anything else for that matter.

[Graphic – BP: Broken Promises. Logo design by Foye 2010 submitted as part of the Art For Change BP Logo Redesign Contest and used with permission]

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

  1. JasonLeopold says:

    From about an hour ago:

    Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander:

    “We’re encouraged by this development, but this isn’t over. Over the next several hours we will continue to collect data and work with the federal science team to analyze this information and perform additional seismic mapping runs in the hopes of gaining a better understanding on the condition of the well bore and options for temporary shut in of the well during a hurricane. It remains likely that we will return to the containment process using this new stacking cap connected to the risers to attempt to collect up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day until the relief well is completed.”

    • bmaz says:

      Yep. And make no mistake, if that turns out to be the case it is still very, very good news. I don’t buy it yet, but there is finally at least a temporary ray of hope for something positive. That is far more than has ever appeared to be the case to date (at least to my eyes), so I will gladly take it today. Man I hope the thing holds; the Gulf could use a good break for once.

      • DWBartoo says:

        I’ll second that, in its entirety.

        Bee Pee yet has much to answer for, but the Gulf deserves no more abuse, of any kind.

        DW

      • JasonLeopold says:

        Totally agree with you. Still somewhat surreal to think that oil has been hemorrhaging into the Gulf for four months. It’s at the point, at least for me, that it’s difficult to think what it’s like to NOT have oil gushing out on a daily basis. So I’m with you and hope this sticks.

    • spanishinquisition says:

      So this is a roll of the dice that the well integrity wont totally fail during this temporary cap. I don’t see how this couldn’t be a roll of the dice given how that it is specifically meant to be temp – if it worked why take it away.

      • PierceNichols says:

        It’s not a permanent solution because it require constant attention. The relief wells are intended to kill it for good so it can be sealed off and abandoned permanently. However, it will hopefully allow BP to either shut in the well or collect 100% of the flow until completion.

    • bobschacht says:

      The Allen announcement is important– note especially the bit about seismic mapping. The last seismic mapping that I heard about asserted that

      there was no leakage from the well bore out into the ocean floor

      . If further seismic mapping continues to confirm the lack of such leakage, then the problem is solved, and I’ll bet we’ll be hearing from BP that everything is now under control, so why not let the well produce, rather than use the relief wells to kill it? They can argue that the relief wells provide backup insurance just in case the BOP+cap have another failure.

      Bob in AZ

      • bmaz says:

        Leaking out to the ocean floor is only a fraction of the issue; the ussue is leaking anywhere along the well bore. In fact, one of the most critical areas is near the bottom of the bore and the seismic mapping ain’t getting close to that, it only goes down so far (not sure how far, but I don’t think it is that deep). Not to mention, as I understand it, the seismic mapping run Allen was reporting was the one prior to the well being stressed fully.

        • bobschacht says:

          But note that Allen said,

          Over the next several hours we will continue to collect data and work with the federal science team to analyze this information and perform additional seismic mapping runs…

          Notice the words “continue” and “perform additional”.

          Also, I heard on the news that they’ve got ROVs looking directly between the base of the BOP and the ocean floor, looking for any signs of leakage.

          Bob in AZ

  2. DrDick says:

    While I pray to whatever may be out there that this works, I am not holding my breath and will not believe it until I see it pay off.

  3. nahant says:

    Did I hear something about Hope??

    Let us hope this is the end of the Nightmare of more and more oil in the Gulf!

  4. Larue says:

    Thanks for the update BMAZ, and from Jason, too!

    Here’s hoping indeed . . . .

    I was quite saddened earlier today as I read thru The Oil Drum and a few other sites showing the ROV Cam’s.

    What got to me was learning they have all along been feeding CorexIt thru a wand down there all along.

    And I guess, they are still doing aerial spraying although THAT kind of info is not readily available, and some sites claiming to have knowledge of it are shall I say, rather doomsday dubious of and unto themselves.

    So all that oil . . . . how many days now? 86 days x roughly oh, 60K barrels = 5, 160,000 barrels = 216,720,000 gallons of oil and who knows how much methane released into The Gulf.

    With what, half or more of that sunk from CorexIt? I haven’t seen any details on the efficiency of CorexIt per barrell of oil . . . and I guess, I’m curious as to CorexIt and methane gas . . . I assume there’s NO impact from CorexIt on Methane gas in terms of sinking it or dispersing . . . dawg KNOWS what the interaction has created.

    So all that shit’s lying on the floor of The Gulf or hanging suspended in The Gulf so we can’t see it . . . so it can’t be counted and paid out on by the barrell by BP for damages.

    And it’s killing marine life, avarians, and the smells and toxins come ashore and kill more, and pollute, and make things and humans sick . . . . and who knows how long these toxins will linger and sicken and kill.

    Or how long the damage will continue as the tides push things around and a ‘cane comes in and pushes it all onshore . . . .

    Not to mention, just how fracked up is that soft shale from the reservoir up the the muddy 1,000 ft depth, to the ocean floor . . . and at what risk is that reservoir dome at for collapsing or blowing, how much does it hold, yadda yadda.

    Here’s hoping, it’s all gonna get better, and the damage will be minimized . . . somehow, and shrimpers can shrimp, oyster harvests don’t suffer, fishermen fish, and humans can eat, live and survive thru it all without the horrors of long term damage to their bodies like we saw from Valdez clean up ops.

    Here’s hoping, indeed . . and bless them all, on the figs, boats on shore and who live there and work there and eat and play and make family there. Bless them all one and all.

  5. BayStateLibrul says:

    And Barney Frank deserves credit for his work on the FinReg Billster.

    Good man that Barney

    • lmka says:

      Right. How nice of Frank to make a mostly meaningless gesture towards controlling Wall Street, after helping hand the US economy, such as it is, and the US Treasury, such as it is, over to Wall Street. He really is a charming brigand.

      • DWBartoo says:

        You must be gentle with BS, Imka, as it is difficult to paint rosy pictures when the sun isn’t shining and the earth keeps shifting.

        Dashing, charming and chivalrous to a fault, “our” brigands, pirates, bankers, and knaves are the best and the brightest, the bravest and the most wealthy … in all the world.

        We, surely, are blessed.

        DW

        • DWBartoo says:

          If Barney is not cynically manipulating his position for his own advantage, then what nobility or “philosophy” motivates him?

          As to who is “cynical” does that not always lie in the eye of the victims of behavior rather than of description?

          More power to you BS, in the days ahead, as you shall have need of it.

          Despite the fact that torture obtains, that the monied are even more powerful, that the wars go on, and that Social Security is on the block, there is no cause to suspect the ruling class of anything but the best of intentions.

          DW

          • BayStateLibrul says:

            Sounds like your ready for the Revolution.

            I agree with your thoughts on torture and the war.

            Domestically, it’s another ball game.

            • DWBartoo says:

              The “revolution”, this time, is about understanding … and what one will go along with …

              “We” are now “torture and the war(s)” …

              Through and through.

              Out “there” and in “here” … in the “Homeland” the new name of our “domestic” selves.

              We are defined by what we “do”.

              And, frankly, what we “say” is nothing to be proud of.

              And, as an aside, you will note that things are not going well for most of “us” … economically, except for the few.

              And, if the democrats can dismantle Social Security, which even Bush Co shied away from, to “pay for the wars”, then … well, BS, PAIN R US … except for the … few.

              However, people will understand.

              DW

      • cregan says:

        Barney Frank is a first class clown who never got the attention he deserved for the meltdown in the first place.

        Head of the banking committee who never once sounded any kind of alarm. And, remember, ranking member of the banking committee before that.

        I see explanations like, “he was only head of the committee for 18 months before the meltdown, etc.” like he was sleeping or in a coma for all the years when he was the ranking member.

        The big clue on the “reform” was no reform on Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two organizations at the heart of the meltdown.

        This entire episode just makes me sick–of both sides and their baloney.

        • Leen says:

          “Barney Frank is a first class clown who never got the attention he deserved for the meltdown in the first place.

          Head of the banking committee who never once sounded any kind of alarm. And, remember, ranking member of the banking committee before that.

          I see explanations like, “he was only head of the committee for 18 months before the meltdown, etc.” like he w”

          You sure hit that nail on the head.

          • BayStateLibrul says:

            I think most folks were dumb, fat and happy before the crisis…

            I think it took an event of this magnitude to rattle the cages.

            A case can be made that he never saw it coming…

            We are all human, but Frank in my opinion does a lot of good work for the

            Commonwealth….

            • Leen says:

              Frank is really smart. He may not have seen it coming, but sure did his part to open up the faucet

          • cregan says:

            Yes, I agree. I see lots of GOP ranking members making all kinds of noise about all kinds of things these days. But, no noise from ranking banking committee member Barney Frank sounding some kind of alarm on derivitives or bad sub-prime lending or anything. Even though I believe he was ranking member for at least 6 years before he became chairman of the committee.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Your entitled to your opinion, but “clown”?

          Ad hominem remarks get us nowhere.

          Are there any members of the House or Senate that you admire?

          • DWBartoo says:

            Relevancy?

            Deflection.

            By the by, if one may, politely, inquire, have you ceased berating your dog in public for his excessive use of the didactic euphemism?

            Now BS, you have made clear that you are quite satisfied with the pace and direction of “change”, and believe, as you have said, that Obama is as progressive as a politician can be in our political climate (or something very close to that).

            By your lights, are there any democrats who are not “… charming, intelligent and very progressive”?

            And whom do you regard as the most reflective of those attributes among the democrats?

            Of whom do you expect more, of whom will you demand more?

            More conscience, more humanity, more truth, of whom would you seek more of these things?

            Do we have enough of these things?

            Or, perhaps, even too much?

            DW

          • cregan says:

            Listen, I admire a lot of clowns; Bozo, Krusty, etc. So, I shouldn’t besmirch them by lumping them with politicians.

            Now, there are a few politicians I admire. Feingold, for the most part, is one. Paul Ryan is another. They all do some baloney from time to time, but there are a few who don’t over do the Hot Dog act.

            to some extent, I admire Bernie Saunders for being consistent–even though I don’t much agree with him.

  6. prostratedragon says:

    The hope is that even if the cap has to be reopened to save the well, this new one is less fragile and will allow for much greater collection of the flow.

    That seems to be the real reason for all the relief from Allen and Wells (since I think they know there’s a pretty good chance that the well does in fact have multiple leaks).

    If I’m piecing together from The Oil Drum and such places properly, the thing to be aware of is that should a switch be needed, it can’t be done completely seamlessly, so there might be a day or two of return to gushing, even if the well is in general now containable.

  7. seeker561 says:

    “... the cap could be used to either block the oil or move the oil to containment ships …”

    I still think they are not all that interested in the former and mostly focused on the latter.

  8. TarheelDem says:

    As I understand the reports, the integrity test will determine whether the first relief well can go forward; it is within feet of connecting with the base of the Macondo well. If that is true, the issue with Top Kill is irrelevant as the relief well will take pressure off the main well.

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t believe anybody indicated differently. That said, depending of where integrity breaches are, should they exist, i.e. if there are problems below the RW intersection with the WW, then what you say is not correct at all. If the problems are only above the intersection point, or somehow not there at all (unlikely), then the RW should cure the issue as you say.

    • PJEvans says:

      The relief wells aren’t there to relieve pressure, they’re intended to be conduits for pumping mud into the wild well (going up into it) to stop it flowing.

      • TarheelDem says:

        I don’t disagree. But the first effects of breaking through into the other well will be to split the flow and relieve pressure. And the pumping of mud relieves more and more pressure over time as more mud is pumped into the well. Splitting the flows so as to reduce pressure is the whole point of relief wells; otherwise Top Kill would have been sufficient and no relief wells would have been needed.

  9. spocko says:

    One of the many interesting things that Fishgrease and riki Ott said last week was that they aren’t (and can’t) really clean it up. It is just “clean up theatre” but they are doing it to give people a sense of “something is being done” the stats on the Exxon Valdez are depressing if you look at what got cleaned up vs what is still out there.

    Fishgrease said that the people who are protected with gear shouldn’t be working and they especially shouldn’t be working during the day. It is hot the oil fumes are worse.

    Both of those comments are very interesting and I would love for them to start taking root in questions about the clean up. That will be the focus now that the well is capped.

  10. edve says:

    Great news!…if indeed true! Certainly hope it is. Oops! There’s that word ‘hope’ that has been abused some much of late. For the sake of the Gulf and all those who live and work there, I sincerely wish that this is some benevolent act of the heavens, and that the oil remains contained. Hope, no way…that went out with the baby and the bath water!

  11. bmaz says:

    According to the WaPo, the highest pressure they have obtained so far is around 6,700 psi and they are already saying it may not ever exceed 7,000. That is not a good sign. Both from my previous understanding and what is said in the WaPo article, a good intact well reading would register at least 8,000 to 9,000 psi (if not slightly more) and maintain the same.

    I am going to bet they “declare big victory” and beat a hasty retreat to opening the flow up again to the containment vessels without fully admitting they have at least moderate, if not serious, well integrity issues. And we still will not know where exactly along the bore run the failure resides.

    • fatster says:

      Oh, man, that news about the 6700 psi is very troubling.

      Thanks so much for keeping us well-informed, bmaz.

      • bmaz says:

        I don’t think there is any proof that there is any sea floor leaking and that giant methane bubble stuff is, from every credible source I have found, total bunk.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Proof requires evidence. That there is little of that, may be tied to the difficulty of obtaining it. Both technologically and legally, especially when “access” is restricted and privileged.

          There are still too many questions that deserve honest and timely answers, which neither Bee Pee nor the Obumble administration appear ready to share.

          The very real possibility remains that “things” were and continue to be far, far worse than we have any way of knowing.

          DW

        • fatster says:

          Not a methane bubble, but what they are detecting is plenty disturbing. Horrifying, actually.

          Scientists Say Gulf Oil Disaster Altering Food Web

          “Chemical oceanographer John Kessler from Texas A&M University and geochemist David Valentine from the University of California-Santa Barbara recently spent about two weeks sampling the waters in a six-mile radius around the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig. More than 3,000 feet below the surface, they found natural gas levels have reached about 100,000 times normal, Kessler said.

          “Already those concentrations are pushing down oxygen levels as the gas gets broken down by bacteria, Kessler and Valentine said. When oxygen levels drop low enough, the breakdown of oil and gas grinds to a halt and most life can’t be sustained.”

          LINK.

          • klynn says:

            Looks like someone needs to expand the research on oxygenating sea water in the open ocean ASAP. They have equipment to do it within large scale closed ocean water environments. Just run them along the coast and off platforms.

            Read over the 4th that a dead zone was found off the coast of Alabama in deep waters.

            • BoxTurtle says:

              Just adding oxygen wouldn’t be enough. Other nutrients will be depleated all the way up the food chain. Adding only oxygen MIGHT make things worse, we don’t know.

              Boxturtle (we’re so far off the charts, every sample taken is original research)

              • klynn says:

                I realize that. The current oxygenating technologies for large closed ocean water environments have the ability to also add other nutrients. It would be similar to some ground water clean up and soil clean up technologies. Currently, there are systems that pump a mix of something that is like compost tea and molasses into the soil for the production of beneficial microbes that remove toxins/chemicals. Some just pump a straight molasses solution. It is worth looking at similar technologies for the open ocean. Just thinking out loud here BoxTurtle (and talking to my in-house environmental risk analyst about available technologies and ideas currently being explored.)

                We are talking dead sea zones. So we better explore options.

                • BoxTurtle says:

                  Yes, but the key question is what do we add? We simply don’t know. Iron (for example) might be useful, but at what concentration? If we put in too much, we might get a bloom that does more harm than good.

                  And the key question of WTF does that dispersant do when injected at that depth is unknown. BP knows more than they’ve said, but this still the first time we’ve done anything like that.

                  Boxturtle (Does ObamaLLP koolaid contain dispersant?)

        • john in sacramento says:

          I don’t know about any giant methane bubble, but from what I’ve read there are natural seeps all the time from the oil and methane making it’s way up through the strata (oil and methane are lighter than the surrounding rock and sea water)

          And not that it’ll happen, but there have been catastrophic events involving methane explosions e.g. the Permian Extinction Theory, and not on as a grand scale the Storegga Landslide event

  12. Petrocelli says:

    It’s about time too … they managed to cap Tony Haywood’s Blowhole in less time !

  13. cregan says:

    As I understand, there is still the possibility that the pressure may blow out part of the line lower down in the mud. You seem to make reference to this in your original post. So, it seems like it will be a few days before we know we are in the clear.

    This entire episode has been a mess from top to bottom. I can’t really think of anyone who performed well except maybe Thad Allen, but that’s up for debate too.

    You notice that as soon as the news coverage of the spill disappeared, Obama became silent and no more visits, demonstrating that the only reason he was showing concern was because of the hot lights trained on the situation. Otherwise, he didn’t much care.

    • DWBartoo says:

      You know, cregan, that, if you go on bad-mouthing Obama like you are doing, then you are going to hurt one person’s feelings.

      You do know that, don’t you?

      If Allen is a “benchmark” of any kind, then we’ve quite a ways to go to get to merely “incompetent” …

      DW

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, even if the well is holding now, it could very easily spring a leak or exacerbate what is only negligible now. Maintaining full pressure for any extended period I think is so problematic they simply will not do it and will return to letting it flow and collecting it until done with the relief well. And they have said exactly that. But heck, if the thing can hold even reduced pressure (i.e. the 6,800 psi it apparently stabilized at) consistently for 48 hours, that alone is far more than I would have expected. That missing 2,200 psi is troubling though.

  14. Leen says:

    “So, for now, let us hope and wish the well to be sealed and stable. Consider this thread to be open to any and all discussion on the Macondo experience and anything else for that matter”

    Let us hope. At least news host have stopped using the word “leak” when they are referencing the oil “gusher, volcano”.

  15. Leen says:

    “and anything else for that matter.”

    On the Diane Rehm show they were just discussing Shahram Amiri, and how he claims that he was tortured by the CIA. David Ignatius dismissed Shahram Amiri’s claims. Ignatius referred to this claim of torture with a smirk. Inferring that the U.s. never tortures. I find Ignatius to be a horses ass

  16. BayStateLibrul says:

    Dems… most of the Blue Dog dems drive me crazy…

    Lieberman – I detest…

    I personally expect more, but realize we are a divided nation and

    politcal reality comes to bear…

    • DWBartoo says:

      “…Bear”?

      I thought it was a pachyderm and a jackass …

      But … seriously?

      Propaganda, Paranoia, fear and distrust obtain. We face deliberate and intentional failures for the the young, “looking forward”, especially the gutting of meaningful education, and the dismissal of the social contract, simply because “Greed is Good” and the sole function of corporate “persons”, by “law” and convention, is the pursuit of profit uber alles.

      The limitations of “protections” and “rights” under the “law”, relating to the endless “War on Terror”, are “domestic” as well … consider Miranda … and the rule of law, that is rule by law and NOT by people, and the insistence that no one is “above” the law … are both, now … “quaint” and obsolescent.

      The entire political class, which includes the media, have contrived to bring us to this “place”, we did not arrive here by accident or through an excess of good will and humanity.

      DW

  17. Leen says:

    Bmaz “Consider this thread to be open to any and all discussion on the Macondo experience and anything else for that matter.”

    http://www.raceforiran.com/
    “Whatever information the CIA obtained from Amiri is supposedly being incorporated into a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program–an estimate that was supposed to be released earlier this year but which, according to Newsweek, will probably be delayed for several more months. The delay strongly suggests that the Intelligence Community cannot reach a consensus on whether and how to revise the previous NIE on Iranian nuclear matters, released in December 2007–which famously concluded that Iran had stopped working on purely weapons-related aspects of its nuclear program in 2003.

    Why is no journalist from a major media outlet in the United States asking why the Obama Administration drove the P-5+1 to push a new sanctions resolution against Iran, when there is such clear disarray, disagreement, and desperation in the U.S. Intelligence Community regarding Iran’s nuclear program?

    This time around, before the United States initiates a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic, we need to ask the hard questions that were not asked before the invasion of Iraq.”

  18. BoxTurtle says:

    Why is no journalist from a major media outlet in the United States asking why the Obama Administration drove the P-5+1 to push a new sanctions resolution against Iran, when there is such clear disarray, disagreement, and desperation in the U.S. Intelligence Community regarding Iran’s nuclear program?

    Don’t assume the disagreement is about Iran’s nuclear program. It could be about their support of hezbollah. It could be about their support of parties in Iraq. Or is could be that they’re arguing over how to phrase things.

    My bet: They have reached a conclusion that does not match Israel’s desired conclusion.

    Boxturtle (What’s the point of having people spy on Iran when Rahm already knows what they’ll find)

  19. fatster says:

    Macondo update:

    “Pressure readings after 24 hours were about 6,700 pounds per square inch and rising slowly, Allen said, below the 7,500 psi that would clearly show the well was not leaking. He said pressure continued to rise between 2 and 10 psi per hour.
    “He said a seismic probe of the surrounding sea floor found no sign of a leak in the ground, one of the major concerns because oil erupting into the surroundings would be harder to contain and could weaken the well before it is plugged for good.”

    LINK.

  20. fatster says:

    Whistleblowers. When the shoe’s on one foot, the feds seem to get it. When it’s on the other, not so much.

    OSHA Launches New Whistleblower Protection Site

    “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that workers who blow the whistle on safety violations and other unlawful practices “play an important role in assuring compliance with federal laws.”’

    LINK.

  21. bobschacht says:

    Elizabeth Warren fans alert:
    On PBS’ “Need to Know” tonight:

    Elizabeth Warren on the next real estate crisis
    Alison Stewart sits down with Elizabeth Warren, attorney, Harvard Law professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, in a Blueprint America special report about the potential of a national commercial real estate foreclosure crisis.

    Link supplied on edit:
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/economy/the-next-foreclosure-crisis/2303/

    Alison Stewart is, as usual, smart and beautiful. So is Elizabeth Warren.
    Stewart asked good, informed questions and Warren provided good, thoughtful answers.

    Bob in AZ

    • qweryous says:

      Thanks for the link to this interview.

      If real estate crises are the topic then this should be included.

      China’s 65 million vacant flats” in the China Daily USA edition

      The article begins:

      “A recent review by the State Power Grid – one of China’s main energy distributors – in 660 Chinese cities showed that power reading of as many as 65 million flats stood at zero in six consecutive months.

      All these empty homes, which could accommodate at least 200 million, are shaking the foundation of China’s property industry.

      Such a skyrocketing vacancy rate reflects the extent of speculation and bubble in the housing market. There is no doubt that leaving so many homes vacant is precarious. When the realty market becomes a paradise for speculators and the bubble snowballs, it is meaningless to discuss the effects of the high vacant rate. The point is: Who caused the problem? And how to solve it?”

      The rest of the article is even more blunt as to the causes and consequences of the “bubble”.

      The source (according to wiki-too late: so that is as good as it gets):

      ” The state-run publication was established in June 1981 and has the widest print circulation (200,000 per issue, of which a third is abroad) of any English-language newspaper in the country. The editorial office is in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, and the newspaper has branch offices in most major cities of China as well as several foreign capitals. The paper is published by satellite in Europe and the United States.[1]

      The eight page paper, published Monday to Saturday,[2] is regarded as the English-language mouthpiece for the government and is often used as a guide to official policy.” Bold added.

      Ruh-roh.

      • john in sacramento says:

        Reminds me of this

        Shanghaiist points us to an interesting article (in Chinese) about McRefugees, residents of Shanghai who spend their nights sleeping in McDonalds because they don’t have enough money to pay rent.

        …[McDonald’s] spokesperson Mr. Lu said the store “doesn’t explicitly allow it, but doesn’t explicitly disallow it.” But for all the stores in the Tianyaoqiao Lu area, KFC has the most serious McRefugee problem. “Because there’s sofas there, [McDonalds] only has hard stools. In the winter, people will even bring their blankets and bedrolls into the restaurant.”

        http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/31/mcrefugees-in-shangh.html

  22. shekissesfrogs says:

    OT… for Marcy.
    http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003328.html
    This post discusses and expands on a piece at FAIR that criticizes the piss poor reporting done by Alex Perry.
    He shows up in the comments and displays what a fine piece of Cheney he is.

    He is one of the reporters that entered Afghanistan with the special ops and took pictures of General and warlord Dostum and interviewed John walker linhd, and took pictures of his freezing torture. Was there during the “uprising” during which the other reporter was killed.

    PART ONE

    Alex Perry, Africa bureau chief for Time, wrote a recent article about Congo that begins like this:

    If you want to see what’s wrong with Africa, take a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size of Western Europe, with almost no paved roads, Congo is the sucking vortex where Africa’s heart should be. Independent Congo gave the world Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 32 years impoverished his people while traveling the world in a chartered Concorde. His death in 1997 ushered in a civil war that killed 5.4 million people and unleashed a hurricane of rape on tens of thousands more.

    PART TWO

    Julie Hollar of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting pointed out:

    …if you’re going to charge Congo with being “what’s wrong with Africa,” you’d better give credit where credit is due. Independent Congo didn’t give the world Mobutu; that gift belongs to the U.S. and Belgium, who supported the overthrow and assassination of democratically-elected Patrice Lumumba and helped prop up the horror that was Mobutu for decades afterward.

    in the comments at FAIR, Seedee Vee gave a link above to a rediff story on this “reporter”. (http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/jun/20alex.htm).

    Alex Perry insulted the indian prime minister they decided to check him out and discovered he had entered the country on two different passports, and that he was one of the first two reporters to cover Afghanistan after 9/11.

    “”The Pioneer reported that the Indian government was to start an investigation into Perry’s trips in and out of the country. The newspaper reported that he had traveled on two different passports while landing and taking off from the country.

    Perry was traveling on a British passport, rediff was told, and that British passport holders are issued different booklets with different numbers when traveling. “It was totally legal,” a source said.
    [..]
    Perry was recently made Time’s New Delhi bureau chief. Before coming to India, he reported a number of stories from Afghanistan.

    Among those stories was a first-person account — he was the first journalist to enter Mazar-I-Sharif after it fell to the Taliban — to the massacre of 300 Taliban at Sultan Raziya School and broke the story of CIA agent Mike Spann’s death in the prison uprising at Qala-i-Jangi.
    “”

    Anyway, this sparked my memory of a post you wrote on the subject exploring how these “reporters” got such access.
    Photos of JWL and Dostum ( http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0203/photo7_popup.html)

  23. fatster says:

    BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense, roiling academic community

    “For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.

    “BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university . . .”

    LINK.

  24. fatster says:

    Would appreciate someone with some knowledge of this to comment.

    BP-Halliburton-Transocean-Well is loosing 60% or 9824psi of oil and gas pressure to the strata.Chris Landau(geologist)

    LINK.

    • bobschacht says:

      Thanks for the link. My take as a layman is that this is a good hypothesis that needs to be tested. Big Polluter is supposedly doing repeated seismic mapping which should reveal any such leakage in due course. To date, none has been reported.

      If Landau is correct, the leaking gas and oil has to go somewhere. If it is not visibly escaping from the ocean floor (the ROVs have been watching), that must mean that it is forming a bubble somewhere else in the strata between the reservoir and the ocean floor. When it gets large enough, seismic mapping should detect it.

      Bob in AZ

      • fatster says:

        and bmaz @ 91. Thanks so much for responding; now, if only you’d been a wee bit closer on your assessments! I do take heart that neither of you are pessimistic, though. So nice to think that the Great Anxiety that Tony Fiasco has visited upon us might be abating, though the Great Outrage will certainly continue. Thanks again, you two!

        • bobschacht says:

          fatster,
          Please note that I did not assess Landau’s theory. I only said that it was testable, and that the seismic mapping and other monitoring procedures should provide enough information to test it.

          Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      I think this guy is full of shit. His calculations are goofy. By everything I can discern, the expected pressure reading would be in the 8,000 to 10,000 psi range and that has commonly been averaged to 9,000 psi (although BP and Allen have only been saying 8,000 to 9,000). Using the generally assumed 9,000 figure, they are currently getting about 6,750, so there is 2,250 psi “missing”. That is a 25% loss. Now some people are saying the reduced pressure is the result of well depletion from the mostly unrestricted flow all this time; I am not sure I buy that as a full explanation. In fact, I just don’t buy that at all, maybe for a little bit of the “lost” pressure, but not all of it. So we still have a decent chunk left unaccounted for.

      The above having been said, the real key is there has been no sea floor or wellhead leakage detected and we are now almost three days into the exercise. And VERY significantly, the observed pressure is NOT declining (in fact, it still seems to be increasing, although only at a very nominal rate). That is great news and the key takeaway.

      I think this Landau dude is half-baked.