Sunday, May 30, 2010

DISASTER 2010: Gulf of Mexico Explosion and Oil Spill

a Case of Criminal Negligence and Homicide

by Peter Stern

Seems like no one wants to point fingers at those responsible for the catastrophe that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, where 11 human lives were killed due to faulty, inadequate drilling equipment and unsatisfactory safety precautions. No one is stepping-up to tell the truth about the unknown quantity of crude oil spewing into the gulf waters. No one is discussing the very real possibility that there is another leak 5 miles from the publicized leak. The majority of the truth is being kept hidden as British Petroleum Corp. (BP) is trying to maneuver itself into a position to take "less of a hit" from pending lawsuits and astronomical costs that are sure to come.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Teacher Layoffs?

Or a Simpler and More Practical Solution

by Peter Stern

So, here we go again. Tax dollars for school budgets have nose-dived and apparently the only option is to fire more than 100,000 teachers? Whose political power-play is this?

I have a simpler solution. It will save a ton of tax dollars and achieve better learning outcomes.

Wanted: New Texas Governor

Questioning Perry’s Truthfulness

by Peter Stern

Once a liar, always a liar?

Five years ago Texas Gov. Rick Perry put on his ten-gallon Stetson, saddled-up his taxpayer-paid plane and galloped all over the state lobbying to eliminate what he and his special interest health care industry called “frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.”

Texans were promised that if they voted for this proposal, they soon would see a reduction in the costs of health care and medical related services.

Well, just as in the previous proposed amendment election where only 8 percent of all registered voters approved ALL 16 amendments, back in 2005 Perry and his "good ol’ boys" got what they wanted. Proposition 12 was approved and Texans were duped. Unfortunately, like him or not, Perry usually gets what he and his special interests want.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Americans can no longer ignore illegal immigration

by Peter Stern

It is finally time the U.S. must deal expediently with illegal immigration and the many issues surrounding it. Some of the issues have become physically chaotic and financially detrimental to our way of life. The main issue with illegal immigrants is that “illegal” means illegal. It is against the law that immigrants arrive, work and live in the U.S. without first observing the laws governing immigration. Those who do not follow the laws and rules, who live and work here, are doing so illegally and it is the responsibility of our Federal Government and the various state governments to work together in resolving the various problems.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP’s inadequate safety measures and response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

What is the future of offshore drilling?

by Peter Stern

British Petroleum’s response [physically and verbally] to the Gulf oil spill has been inadequate and ineffective. The causes of the tragic gas explosion and oil spill on British Petroleum’s (BP's) leased Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico have not yet been fully determined, but various pieces of fail-safe equipment did not function as designed. Furthermore, 11 rig personnel were killed by the blast and so far the spillage has not been contained although BP has tried several options to do so. Despite BP's response, the company’s actions in the face of the explosion and spill are facing unprecedented scrutiny, thanks to a long history of legal and ethical violations that strongly suggests that the London-based company places profits above the safety of its personnel and the environment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Give Texas Gov. Rick Perry credit for high tuition costs

Time to get rid of Perry

by Peter Stern

During his 3 terms as Texas Governor Rick Perry has done many things to hurt the wallets of hard-working Texans. Texas children and their parents can thank special interest driven Gov. Rick Perry for unaffordable tuition costs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

President Barack Obama, the change artist: Had enough yet?

Broken Promises Fall All Around Us
By Peter Stern

It is hard to imagine that most Americans thought this was “the great change President.” Obama promised all of us a new nation we could be proud of. Remember the promise of saving “Main Street” from being exploited? Recall the promise of helping middle class Americans? Well, where is this changed America?

In 6 months President Obama has broken and/or forgotten most of his promises to the American people, who had the audacity to believe him. If you want to know where to find Obama, it’s easy --- just follow the trail of his broken promises.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Say Thank You to the Troops

Say Thanks to Our Soldiers

For this Memorial Day and also anytime during the year Xerox sponsors a site that sends thank you postcards to our young soldiers. Please take one minute to send one. It's fast and easy.

Our young soldiers go where they are sent and whether or not you believe in our presence and policies overseas, we still can support our young men and women wherever they may be.

Go to:

Peter Stern
Disabled Vietnam Veteran

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Texas School Board of Education plays politics with our children's lives

To the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE):

Historical documentation must and should be factual and NOT political perspectives. While politics plays a role in history, historical evidence and factual data must take precedence over contemporary political agendas. By letting your political constituents dictate how you develop history curriculum and textbooks is detrimental to educating our children and it is just damn wrong! Furthermore, your political agendas are an embarrassment to the state of Texas.

I request, nay, I demand that the SBOE reconsider its political adventure into the lives and mis-education of our children and vote to present the historical facts instead of pushing political fissure into our education system and into the brains of our children.

What you are doing is NOT educating our children. You are spreading propaganda and brainwashing our children.

Too many American heroes have fought and died for the right of real and proper education. In my mind, you are traitors to the United States and its citizenry.

As a 100 percent Disabled Vietnam Veteran, I believe you are working against the U.S. Constitution and you deserve to serve time in prison as traitors to American education and the rights of students and teachers to learn and present true history.

Change the history curriculum and textbooks to teach history, NOT politics.

Peter Stern

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vote against War by voting FOR 'The War Is Making You Poor Act'

There is a small movement to stop the war in Afghanistan and use the money here in the U.S.  One of the ways to use it is to lower thousands of dollars in taxes for average Americans.  This message is circulating via Internet and you can sign a petition online.

Next week, there is going to be a "debate" in Congress on yet another war funding bill. The bill is supposed to pass without debate, so no one will notice.

President, Congress turn their back on jobless

by Peter Stern

How hard is it to provide jobs to those who need and want them?

Unemployment in the United States is at its highest rate in many decades but apparently is a mystery that only a Sherlock Holmes can solve. Despite his promises, President Obama has not fought significantly to bring jobs to hardly-working Americans.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Acupuncturists Can Further The Education Of Medical Students

by Peter Stern

One of the best practices acupuncturists present to further the education of medical students is to think "out of the box" and to treat patients more holistically instead of focusing on one or two areas of the human body for healing. The medical profession diagnoses an illness or pain and then tries to heal the patient without any regard for the whole being and what is going on for the "entire" patient physically and emotionally.

In addition, as being linear to the above concept, acupuncturists know that there is a network of meridians and points in the human body that are interconnected and that promoting healing by reviewing and considering all such meridians healing the entire psycho-physical being will promote greater and quicker healing response time and will further encourage preventative maintenance instead of the western process of simply healing the local area of pain or illness.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A (very brief) Comparison of Racquetball and 4-Wall Handball

by Peter Stern

For starters, racquetball and 4-wall handball are played on the same court. The dimensions of the court usually are the same, although I have seen some 4-wall handball courts on the east coast that are one-quarter larger in length, which adds an interesting twist to the game. The general rules for each sport are the same, e.g., the sever stands in the serving box and is the only one who can win a point. If the receiver wins the volley it is a "side out" with no points and the receiver becomes the server. Speaking of points, to win a racquetball game a player wins reaching 15 points first; however, the points can be more or less if the players predetermine it. In a handball game usually whoever reaches 21 points first wins, although games may be 11 or 15 points if the players agree to it before the game. Sometimes games can run to 25 points in special circumstances.  Handball players must wear gloves on both hands.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Truth and myths about the snakehead fish

by Peter Stern

The snakehead fish is one of the most prolific and ferocious fresh water predators on earth. The head resembles a snake’s head and the body is thin, long and muscular with snake-like patterns on either side. The origin of the snakehead is located in parts of Africa and Asia, but the fish is now found in many other places in the world, including in the U.S.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How will the Gulf of Mexico oil spill affect off shore drilling regulations

by Peter Stern

There is little doubt that off shore drilling regulations will become stricter due directly to the current Gulf of Mexico fatal explosion and oil spill. Apparently, the information being circulated from the investigation of the oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico shows a lack of appropriate oversight by government agencies of the British Petroleum (BP) Company and lax enforcement of the safety regulations governing its deep water oil rig drilling. In particular the Minerals Management Services (MMS) permitted lax oversight that ensures proper management and associated checks to make certain that safety equipment and lock down mechanisms were installed, implemented and functioning properly on BP's offshore oil rig prior to the pressure building explosion that caused the death of 11 company personnel and prompted the massive oil spill that has become the worst deep water spill in 20 years.

Impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the Texas oil industry

by Peter Stern

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill may have a more positive effect on the Texas oil industry than anywhere else in the continental United States. There are several reasons why Texas may benefit from an otherwise tragic and environmentally threatening offshore drilling occurrence. Unlike the population of many other states, most Texans are pro-oil drilling because the oil industry is a major player in maintaining a strong, successful Texas economy. In fact, Texas is one of the last states to be touched by the national recession and increased unemployment that have hurt the economies of most other states. One of the main reasons for the state’s economic strength during the past decade is the successful growth of the oil industry, which only recently has felt the economic slowdown.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could affect onshore operations

by Peter Stern

The current British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico most likely will affect onshore operations in several ways. As the evidence continues to support the initial observations that the failsafe mechanism known as the blastoff preventer failed to perform its emergency safety shut-off operation, the oil industry most likely will tighten its safety regulations and oversight of onshore and offshore drilling operations especially since the same safety procedures, inspections and failsafe equipment are used for both types of rigs.

Oil Spills: the question of government regulation

by Peter Stern

While we often hear that big government is an intrusion into people's lives, during the past decade we have seen firsthand how government's lack of regulation impacts on our society and environment. In the U.S. it seems that we are a nation of extremes and it is often reflected in our own government.

Currently the Democrat and Republican parties maneuver government control to various points of the grid as directed by various special interests. For example, during the past decade when capitalism was in fashion and the corporate sector and Wall Street were raking-in huge
  profits Congress maintained a hands-off policy on banking and finance. After years of profit taking and corruptive influences over various markets, the profiteers began losing money. The domino-effect included the loss of savings, investments and generated higher number of home foreclosures for the American people. Suddenly, both parties and the special interests wanted the government to assume a larger role in regulating many areas of the economy. Years of deregulation and capitalism gave rise to more control and socialist type of government taxpayer bailouts for the very same companies who made billions in profits. We seldom see government maintaining a balanced or reality approach regarding regulation; however, the past decade of lax business regulation we have seen the folly with runaway business.

Comparing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Exxon Valdez spill

by Peter Stern

In comparing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Exxon Valdez there seem to be more differences than similarities. After all, the Valdez was an oil tanker carrying a load of crude that ran aground due to the poor judgment of one person, while the recent Gulf oil spill occurred under an offshore drilling rig that points directly to faulty safety equipment as the cause of an explosion and subsequent spill. These are two very different scenarios with one obvious outcome: the pollution of our environment. We are told by oil companies that the process of drilling for oil and transporting it are very safe for humans, sea life and the environment. However, it seems that within every decade oil proponents are proven wrong.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What are the fail safes on an offshore oil rig

by Peter Stern

There are several fail safes considered standard mandatory safety equipment on every modern oil drilling rig. Each safety procedure and item has been proven over time to be a major factor in saving human lives, securing capital equipment and protecting the environment by shutting-down a potential and/or pending oil spill before irreparable harm is done.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Challenges for offshore oil and gas production

by Peter Stern

One of the greatest challenges for offshore oil and gas production is to preserve our fragile ecosystem and to protect humans, wildlife and natural vegetation throughout the world. Safety guidelines and regulations have been developed and documented for all offshore drilling companies, In addition, in most cases there is government oversight to ensure that oil companies are abiding by the regulations; however, as may be seen by the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and also from the several incidents during the past several decades, that accidents continue to happen --- mostly due to lax government enforcement of the regulations and the company's inability or conscious effort not to follow all the safety mechanisms in place and to ensure that safety equipment is in good working order. Approximately 20 years ago the Exxon Valdez, the company's storage tanker, was involved in an avoidable accident in its transportation of oil. The human element in part for the tragedy was determined to be the Captain's alcohol consumption. We are in the 21st Century and by now we all know the risks of offshore drilling and transport of oil, yet many of those in charge of oil drilling and transportation have acted irresponsibly in complying with the rules of safety.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How to contain an offshore oil spill

by Peter Stern

There are several options that may used to contain an offshore oil spill. The very first thing that should be done when there is an explosion and/or spill is to immediately use the Blowout Preventer (BOP) that is a safety mechanism found on all modern drilling rigs that uses a series of valves and tanks to relieve the pressure below the drilling rig and thereby shutting off the leak or spill. Crews are trained to perform the shut off process but during the current Gulf of Mexico spill, the crew did not do it. Eleven crew members were killed by the explosion, but there also is a dead man’s switch and another emergency option that activates the BOP via acoustic signals that are supposed to work remotely; however, for whatever reason, it was not installed for this drilling rig. Investigators have a lot to review and research to determine why the Gulf explosion and spill occurred.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Was the government unprepared for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

by Peter Stern

It is still unclear as to why the federal government was unprepared for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Some authorities are investigating a dependable source which points the finger at North Korea as the source of the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Some information points to a North Korean torpedo directed at the oil rigs is the reason for the explosion. Other sources of information consider the possibility of a disgruntled group of environmentalists who determined to cause the explosion to show the inability of the Federal Government to ensure the safe drilling measures taken by oil companies and to create additional chaos concerning the environmental status quo as a means to demand Congress cease and desist oil drilling immediately.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Will US Congress incumbents fare well in the 2010 and 2012 Elections?

by Peter Stern

Naturally Congressional incumbents will fare well in the 2010 and 2012 elections because of several reasons. Firstly, there are few viable, ethical and intelligent legislators out there who are not catering to their wealthy special interest campaign [and perks] contributors. Corporate American has purchased the best government money can buy. Since there are so few candidates to choose from the incumbents will most likely get the votes.

The economics of allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S.

by Peter Stern

It is common knowledge these days that there are approximately 30 million illegal immigrants living and working in the U.S. Many industries, warehouses, manufacturing plants and private individuals hire cheaper salaried illegal immigrants for many and varied jobs over American citizens who expect more pay with benefits. By hiring illegals, companies or individuals do not have to pay the legal hourly wage, in fact pay much less, and also do not have to provide illegals with work related benefits, including health care benefits. Despite the fact that it remains illegal for anyone to hire illegal immigrants, it is done every day and despite the immigration laws has been done so for generations.

Did Congress pass the healthcare bill for moral reasons or control of the populace?

by Peter Stern

There is little these days that is moral or ethical in Congress and the health care reform bill was approved to control the American people, to show some sort of "political correctness" and it was also approved to "shake the trees" a little so that the private sector of health providers will start to work together in providing citizens with more affordable health plans that offer more reasonable coverage for health problems and services.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is behind Arizona's new immigration law

by Peter Stern

The misconception about the new immigration legislation signed by the governor is that Arizona is only being racist against illegal immigrants. The problems relating to illegal immigration have been diverted to state government by the federal government who continues to refuse to resolve the long-time issue. While there often is a case to view immigration issues as racial, the impact of illegal immigrants on our society must be resolved sooner rather than later. Since the federal government, our President and Congress, refuses to deal with the illegal immigration issues and initiate intelligent and long-needed updating and modification of our total immigration laws and policy, the Governor of Arizona felt she needed to do something that would force the federal government to be placed on the hot seat.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sharing the blame for the financial crisis

by Peter Stern

There is enough blame for our financial plight to go around for everybody. The trophy of fault goes to the Corporate-Military Complex whose objective has been higher and endless profiteering. During the George Walker Bush administration corporations made billions in profits getting lucrative contracts overseas fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Africa and other areas of the world. This was done by pulling strings in Washington D.C. and buying the best government money can purchase.