palsgraf_polka: (Scary Sarah)
Disaster Capitalists: Haliburton to Make Money Off Oil Spill

Does a company that both builds oil rigs and cleans up oil spills have any motivation to prevent oil rig disasters?

That's the question some people in business and politics are asking themselves after Halliburton's purchase of an oil clean-up company 10 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and launched the worst oil spill in US history.

Some observers see a conspiracy in the actions of the company once headed by Dick Cheney. Halliburton, which built the cement casing for the Deepwater Horizon's drill, announced its purchase of Houston-based oilfield services company Boots and Coots for $240 million on April 9, just 11 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

According to a report at the Christian Science Monitor Friday, Boots and Coots is now under contract with BP to help with the oil spill. The company "focuses on oil spill prevention and blowout response," CSM reports. Halliburton's purchase is not yet a done deal -- it's still awaiting regulatory approval, though few observers think the purchase won't pass muster.

"[Mergers and acquisitions] in the industrial and oil services sectors is totally normal," writes David Anderson at The Inspired Economist, "but the timing in this case, is not. Boots & Coots sure seems like the perfect company to own if it would soon become necessary to get more involved with some oil disaster.

"Does this strike readers as a coincidence? If so, it’s a pretty lucky one for Halliburton."

But could Halliburton have known that an oil disaster was on the horizon, and planned in advance to profit from it? News reports indicate they could have.

The New York Times reported in May that BP was concerned about the rig's well casing -- which Halliburton worked on -- as early as June of 2009. The Times also reported that a Halliburton employee warned BP three weeks before the explosion that BP's use of cement for the well casing was "against [Halliburton's] best practices."

But even if the company's purchase of Boots and Coots was just a "lucky coincidence," there is still plenty about it to alarm observers. According to CSM, analysts are worried that a company like Halliburton will grow "complacent" in preventing disasters, because there is money to be made from cleaning up the mess -- and then rebuilding the oil rig.

“Working on both sides of the fence” is common in the oil industry, University of Louisiana professor Robert Gramling told CSM, but “it makes for a very complex decision-making environment that can become problematic."

At the very least, Halliburton's purchase should give the company a revenue boost. While Halliburton has been reporting plummeting revenue in recent quarters, Boots and Coots has been a business success story, with its revenue jumping from $11 million in 2000 to $209 million in 2008, before dropping slightly in 2009.
palsgraf_polka: (Chairman)
palsgraf_polka: (Middle Finger)
I got hit with a massive computer virus this morning on reboot of my computer, and my computer is fuxored.

And you know, I'm so safe and I'm so good about not going to any websites that are questionable and I don't do anything weird on my computer at all. I am so pissed that this happened, and apparently, after doing research, this is a nasty trojan that slips in under ALL the antivirus/antispyware programs and hits you. You can pay a $70 ransom to get it to go away, or you can do battle like a true IT Warlord.

Well, I'm not fucking paying. And the worst part is that I was going to back up my hard drive tonight and burn my Windows XP disc tonight in preparation for my reformat on Friday, but now I have 45 pages of instructions on how to get rid of this thing and everything on my computer could be infected with this shit. I don't even know if I want to use the Windows XP file I got that I needed to burn to disc.

For you out there that are more tech savvy then I am, if I go through all the manual removal rigmarole to get rid of this piece of shit trojan, can I go back to using my files as I did? Would you trust the Windows XP ISO I have on my hard drive or should I go out and buy one to have a fresh disc for the reformat on Friday? Also, I have pretty much everything backed up from a month or so ago on my external drive, which has not been connected to the computer. Should I just say FUCK IT to everything and just reformat my drives without removing this thing, or should I remove it first, then reformat my drives? I don't think I'll lose anything major - any pictures I've posted since I did my big backup a month ago can be recovered from photobucket.

Advice please? I've not really dealt with something like this on my own computer. Travis had a similar virus on his computer but I just reformatted it and it was gone. But I'd kind of like to do one final backup of my documents folder before I reformat. Also, without that Windows XP ISO that's on my hard drive burned to a disc, I can't reformat without going and buying Windows XP again because my disc disappeared.

So, please let me know. Hopefully some of you tech peeps are reading this.
palsgraf_polka: (Middle Finger)
After reading about this:

AP source: Hanged Census worker had 'fed' on chest

"MANCHESTER, Ky. – A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher. He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.

The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation. An autopsy report is pending....

as someone who worked the census in 2000 I am horrified )
palsgraf_polka: (Me - Grumpy)
Hours After Pelosi Backs off on Public Option, Health Lobbyist Announces Fundraiser in Her Honor

Story here:
palsgraf_polka: (Pho & Comics)
I bought this little frozen Pad Thai meal from Fresh & Easy and I'm eating it right now for lunch. It's really good. I love all the Fresh & Easy food. I'm so excited for its presence in Lompoc.

So, updates:

1) Apparently there is a serial arsonist in Lompoc:

I e-mailed this story to Mom & Dad last night and Dad says he's seen a few of the burned out vehicles while he and Mom are out serving. No wonder the fire sergeant wasn't too worried about the perpetrator coming back - the device was probably a signature of sorts and apparently he(they) pick targets at random. So at least that's good.

2) First night of school! I'm 1L! Tonight is Criminal Law. Woohoo! I'm so excited.

Ok...time to finish my lunch because I have to brief at least one Torts case at lunch today.


Aug. 21st, 2009 06:22 pm
palsgraf_polka: (Middle Finger)
On the corner of Ocean and H in Lompoc just now as I was driving home. The woman's sign says "Lois Capps [ed's note: one of our congresspeople] I DON'T WANT YOUR WELFARE HEALTH CARE" And the guy is holding a "Don't Tread On Me" flag, natch. The guy whose back is turned to the camera and a cute bearded alternative type guy behind the guy with the flag were arguing with them about health care. I caught the bearded guy saying, "Don't you get it??? Everyone deserves health care!" and then the light changed.

Assholes. I'm amazed they didn't have Nazi signs and signs about the death panels. Maybe those people were getting coffee. If I didn't have to drive on, I was going to yell at Mr. Don't Tread On Me and ask him if he lost his job if he would be changing his tune. Alas, the light changed.
palsgraf_polka: (Rosie)
Here's a new billboard in their summer pro-vegan campaign.

I have no words for how offended I am.


palsgraf_polka: (Default)

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