Tag Archives: dead

Turn out the lights: Thomas Kinkade dead

The cynical artist with facile hands and a powerful lust for business, Thomas Kinkade, has died. He was 54.

The controversial Christian and jillionaire will not be missed. It’s a sorry shame he didn’t die a day sooner. He was a gifted man who seduced and repulsed the world with his portraits of incandescent treacle. He trademarked himself “Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light.” He may have mass-produced and sold as many as ten million paintings. Here’s one:

Though he may have rivaled only Andy Warhol for success in the business of art, he was neither satisfied nor respected. He was angry at critics and frequently drunk.

[Kinkade’s Media Arts Group executive John] Dandois also said of Kinkade, “Thom would be fine, he would be drinking, and then all of a sudden, you couldn’t tell where the boundary was, and then he became very incoherent, and he would start cursing and doing a lot of weird stuff like touching himself.” On 11 June 2010, Kinkade was arrested in Carmel, California on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

He thought Pablo Picasso was lame. Kinkade believed himself to be great because he outsold everyone else, as if that were important. Creating factories to produce his ‘paintings’ wasn’t relevant, but you’re welcome to admire that too. His art was licensed to the likes of Wal-Mart and Hallmark for calendars, puzzles, CDs, greeting and gift cards. Have some more:

His arrogance extended to creating entire Thomas Kinkade towns. In 2002, Salon‘s Janelle Brown visited “The Village at Hiddenbrooke, A Thomas Kinkade Painter of Light™ Community.”

Kinkade has parlayed his fame into an entire country-cottage industry of Kinkade-licensed products, as seen on QVC — home furnishings, La-Z-Boy chairs and sofas, wallpaper, linens, china, stationery sets, Hallmark greeting cards and so on . . The Village at Hiddenbrooke bills itself as the culmination of Kinkade’s vision: an actual manifestation of the quaint cottages, charming gazebos and inspiring landscapes in his artwork.

Except that it isn’t. What you find in the rolling hills behind Vallejo is the exact opposite of the Kinkadeian ideal. Instead of quaint cottages, there’s generic tract housing; instead of lush landscapes, concrete patios; instead of a cozy village, there’s a bland collection of homes with nothing — not a church, not a cafe, not even a town square — to draw them together.

Your first glimpse of Hiddenbrooke features four enormous satellite dishes and a radio tower, nestled in a green valley next to an oblivious troop of grazing cows from the adjacent farm. The second thing you see upon arrival in Hiddenbrooke is an endless stretch of the community’s semi-identical greige tract homes, squeezed in close.

Hiddenbrooke is still around. Many of his hundreds of exclusive galleries are not. While it may have cost franchisees $100,000 or more to buy into the Kinkade trade, they labored to make the sort of money they were promised. They frequently encountered competition from a seemingly unscrupulous business competitor: Thomas Kinkade.

Kinkade’s company, Media Arts Group Inc., has been accused of unfair dealings with owners of Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery franchises. In 2006, an arbitration board awarded Karen Hazlewood and Jeffrey Spinello $860,000 in damages and $1.2 million in fees and expenses due to Kinkade’s company “[failing] to disclose material information” that would have discouraged them from investing in the gallery. The award was later increased to $2.8 million with interest and legal fees. The plaintiffs and other former gallery owners have also leveled accusations of being pressured to open additional galleries that were not financially viable, being forced to take on expensive, unsalable inventory, and being undercut by discount outlets whose prices they were not allowed to match.

The unfortunates felt victimized not only for the loss of income, but for a kind of spiritual betrayal.

Former gallery dealers also charged that Kinkade uses Christianity as a tool to take advantage of people. “They really knew how to bait the hook,” said one ex-dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They certainly used the Christian hook.” One former dealer’s lawyer stated “Most of my clients got involved with Kinkade because it was presented as a religious opportunity. Being defrauded is awful enough, but doing it in the name of God is really despicable.” On June 2, 2010, Pacific Metro, the artist’s production company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, one day after defaulting on a $1 million court imposed payment to the aforementioned Karen Hazlewood and Jeffrey Spinello. A $500,000 payment had previously been disbursed.

One more:

A.S. Hamrah, writing in The Baffler, detailed the impact his life would have on others:

“Kinkade is a living testament to how the triumph of kitsch values has repercussions in the marketplace, outside the world of taste.”

Thomas Kinkade, dead at 54. Bury him deep.


Friends, Romans, Douchebags, He is Dead

Wingnut blogger Ace of Spades pays tribute to Andrew Breitbart. It’s some measure of respect for the deceased battleaxe that the blogger feigns his best Antony for Caesar. But then this is Wingnut Antony, one less interested in rhetorical double-dealing and more prone to sincerity in the severe. Please remember that David Frum is Brutus and, though having taken no role in the enfeebling of Andrew’s wussy heart, is crap. Look at this:

And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?

Assassino! Now, our drama opens. Ace drags his heavy self, slowly, into the pulpit. Knee-deep in logos, and pathos. And thus this way, he begins…

Andrew Breitbart died today…

We shall say of them that their legacy consists of more than three words — “Axis,” “of,” and “Evil.”

We shall say of them that they were warriors, and not bitter Vichyites mourning their loss of — loss of? was it ever even possessed? — relevance and reach.

I get it. Andrew Breitbart was to David Frum as Adolf Hitler was to France. Check. We shall laud of them “He slaughtered millions of people without hesitation.” And who did Frum ever really force into a concentration camp? Nobody, that I know of. Loozer.

…from the dawn of time the primitives in the woods envied and feared those with the Magic of Fire.

Ace thinks fire is Magic. Ace remembers when the woods were full of primitives leering at Wichita like it was Brazilian porn. Look at how the cavemen recoil in horror and envy at…the city lights. Andy Breitbart was so trendy and sophisticated, he’d never do that. Because his shocked and spineless heart would immediately catch fire.

As I type this, Breitbart is more alive than David Frum has ever been.

I doubt very much that will change as the years march on.

It is the nature of the rat to envy the lion.

The rat thinks, “If only I could get rich by trashing the lives of anonymous people. I could sleep in the sun.” Oh silly rat boy, dream away.

We should not fault the rat overly for this. For what else can the rat do?

Let’s see: “Rats have been used in many experimental studies, which have added to our understanding of genetics, diseases, the effects of drugs, and other topics that have provided a great benefit for the health and well-being of humankind. Laboratory rats have also proved valuable in psychological studies of learning and other mental processes (Barnett, 2002), as well as to understand group behavior and overcrowding (with the work of John B. Calhoun on behavioral sink). A 2007 study found rats to possess metacognition, a mental ability previously only documented in humans and some primates.” David Frum to the white courtesy meta-phone please. David. Frum.

But we should say that there are lions, and there are rats. And they are easily distinguishable.

And they are as different from each other as the sun is from the mirror that reflects it.

A lion is a ball of fire, a rat is a hunk of glass. Shakespeare coulda written this thing.


Saturday night bore-blogging – wait, Whitney Houston’s dead . .

Mitt Romney wins Maine caucus, boring. Wins CPAC giggle fest, don’t care. Zero point zero-one percent of Catholics are angry about healthcare/contraception, big deal. Whitney dies? Breaking news:

Singer Whitney Houston dies at 48
CBS News | 5:30 p.m. PDT

LOS ANGELES – Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

She was found dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Rest in peace sweet-singing buggy cocaine lady. Have fun, everybody, watching the Grammys tomorrow. That will be a festival of tears and tunic-tearing. At least we know why Andrew Breitbart went diva on #Occupy CPAC.

I know, Andrew. Grief makes us crazy. Here:


Chairman of the GOP and Class and Very Funny

Reince Priebus, leader of the Republican Party, on TV this morning:

“We’re going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who’s abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president,” Priebus said on CBS’s Face The Nation . .

Schettino killed dozens of people. Good zinger.

“What did you just say? What did you call President Obama?” asked Bob Schieffer, the show’s host.

“I called him Captain Schettino, the captain that fled the ship in Italy. That’s our own president who’s fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning,” Priebus said.

Meanwhile, divers risk their lives to recover dead bodies.


Newt Gingrich’s Electromagnetic Pulse Fetish

Newt Gingrich knows something we don’t know. Oh hell, let’s just say it: Newt knows about 100 times more than we’ll ever know. Probably a thousand times more than everything I ever knew multiplied by a zillion.

Here’s a thing: a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack will kill you. Probably soon. Watch the first minute of this clip and take some notes. Then you may find it practical to launch an attack on North Korea before they fritz your ham radio:

North Korea could launch 3 nuclear missiles and completely wipe out our electrical grid? Send us back to a pre-industrial era? Krishna no, don’t be silly.

North Korea could launch just one missile and it would send us back 300 to 400 years. And kill 90% of us within a year. That’s the prediction of that ‘expert,’ Newt Gingrich’s co-author and good friend William Forstchen:

Turns out Russia could lob a dozen nukes at us and kill millions, but most of us would survive. We’d also still be a modern country. But if, say, Iran launches a single, small nuclear-tipped missile from a boat in the Atlantic and detonates it 200 miles up in the atmosphere, most of us will die before Christmas 2013. Oh, and America will become Latvia cerca 1700-something.

My. Conservative experts on national security everywhere play up this scenario frequently. Here’s the President of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney:

The Heritage Foundation:

In 33 minutes or less, life as we know it in America could end. That’s how long it would take for an enemy ballistic missile launched from the other side of the world to hit the United States. If it carried and detonated a nuclear weapon high over the center of the country, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would literally fry the nation’s electrical grid and all of the circuitry that powers our homes, businesses, hospitals, phones, cars, planes, traffic lights, ATMs, water supplies, and anything else not “hardened” against such attacks. The EMP Commission chairman has testified that, within just one year of such an attack, 70 percent to 90 percent of Americans would be dead from starvation and disease.

Heavens, we’re about to die.

There really once was an EMP Commission. They were tasked with figuring out how substantial a threat the EMP from a nuclear explosion might be. The commission produced reports in 2004 (here) and in 2008 (here) and written testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (here).

They predicted the deaths of all but a few Americans? No, they produced plenty of dry boring analysis but no evidence that all but 30 million of us could be slaughtered with a single bomb. Not that that matters, of course. Because the threat of an impending sky-holocaust is simply too wonderful for the right-wing fear and book merchants to let alone. So, we get this.

From what I gather, the popular proof of your approaching death came from a Newsmax article. A reporter named Kenneth Timmerman, attending a meeting of missile defense hawks at The Claremont Institute, heard a talk by the EMP Commission’s chair, Dr. William Graham. Unable to discern the difference between Graham speaking in simpatico to his whacko friends and Graham testifying under oath to Congress, Timmerman became confused. In his sober post titled “U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear Strike on U.S.,” he reported:

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests.

Timmerman was never aware of Graham’s actual testimony. Obviously. But if Graham is saying stuff at the conference, surely he said the same things to Congress, right? Congress has slightly higher standards for shiny intellectualism and honesty, but they’re partisan. And so everything Graham lectured about at The Claremont Institute became the Commission’s report to Congress. Like this:

“If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure,” the report warned.

No, Graham warned. Yes, that’s somewhat what the report said, but the words are Graham’s. And thus, this . .

Asked just how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch the EMP attack it appears to be preparing, Graham gave a chilling reply.

“You have to go back into the 1800s to look at the size of population” that could survive in a nation deprived of mechanized agriculture, transportation, power, water, and communication.

“I’d have to say that 70 to 90 percent of the population would not be sustainable after this kind of attack,” he said.

. . Graham’s own runaway comments became the Heritage Foundation’s “The EMP Commission chairman has testified . . ” Now the League of Doom predicts you’ll die of starvation once Iran manages to buy a fishing trawler. Of course, Newt Gingrich’s stagecraft morality leans to educating the media. And this, friends, is why we call some people “wingnuts.”

And what about this EMP? Is it dangerous? I don’t know, I really didn’t feel like blowing more hours than I already had producing a flawless debunk. But I do know this: plenty of nuclear bombs have been detonated above ground without sending countries 1000 miles away into permanent decline. From the commission’s own 2004 report:

In [1962], the Soviets executed a series of nuclear detonations in which they exploded 300 kiloton weapons at approximately 300, 150, and 60 kilometers above their test site in South Central Asia. They report that on each shot they observed damage to overhead and underground buried cables at distances of 600 kilometers. They also observed surge arrestor burnout, spark-gap breakdown, blown fuses, and power supply breakdowns.

While interesting, we also note that the Soviet Union survived. And it did so without being thrown even further back into the Dark Ages. Now I congratulate myself: I have waited the entire post to remind the loons that electrical grids have been around 130 years. Silly people. Also: we have, for some time, been concerned with our enemies lobbing nuclear missiles at us because they could come down. There’s a whole system in place for tracking incoming strikes, launching lightning counter-attacks, and turning countries into craters.


Michele Bachmann wants Iraq War death reparations

From the Serious People Foundation:

Let’s consider both sides, shall we? Seeing as how we invited ourselves in?

We lost 4,000, they lost . .

Let’s just take a middle estimate of 150,000 dead. If they pay us 25 times what we pay them for every death, we owe them more. If a sense of fairness intrudes, we might go the equal compensation route instead. If we pay the same for our soldiers and their women and children? We owe them much, much more.


Moammar Gaddafi reportedly found hiding in a hole, captured in Sirte. UPDATE: Killed.

Wildly conflicting reports out of Moammar Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte say he’s been at least captured this morning. Some sources say he’s been killed. Either way, we might take it for good news as the town has erupted in a hail of celebratory gunfire.

The BBC:

The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in Sirte: “I have spoken to the man who says that he captured him… he said he found him hiding in a hole”:

Commanders for Libya’s transitional authorities say they have captured ousted leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Unconfirmed reports say Col Gaddafi has been killed, and AFP obtained a mobile-phone image apparently showing his face covered in blood . .

He’s captured. He’s wounded in both legs,” National Transitional Council (NTC) official Abdel Majid told Reuters news agency.

“He’s been taken away by ambulance.”


Conflicting reports surfaced Thursday that deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead or has been captured. Deafening celebrations erupted in Tripoli, but none of the reports could be independently verified.

Gadhafi was killed, AbdelHakim Bilhajj, head of the National Transitional Council’s military arm in Tripoli announced live on Al-Jazeera Arabic Thursday. Gadhafi’s death was also reported by National Transitional Council television station Al-Ahrar. It did not cite a source.

A cell phone photograph distributed by the news agency Agence France Presse appeared to show the arrest of a bloodied Gadhafi. CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the image.

Gadhafi’s capture was also reported by Libyan television, citing the Misrata Military Council.

Here’s the cell phone pic:

UPDATE: The tide of reports has swung in favor of Gaddafi being killed. The New York Times:

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the former Libyan strongman who fled into hiding after rebels toppled his regime two months ago in the Arab Spring’s most violent uprising, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt, the interim government announced.

Al-Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi’s corpse as jubilant fighters in Surt fired automatic weapons in the air, punctuating what appeared to be an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as the self-proclaimed king of kings of Africa.

Good news.


Guereca family sues U.S. and “Agent Doe” for shooting death of 15 year old Sergio

Family of Mexican teen killed by border agent sues
wlbt.com | Jan 17 2010

EL PASO, Texas (AP) – A federal lawsuit filed Monday in Texas accuses the U.S. Border Patrol of wrongful death and civil rights violations in an agent’s fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican boy in June.

The lawsuit filed in El Paso on behalf of the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca seeks $25 million in damages from the U.S. government. The agency has not released the name of the agent involved in the shooting.

The filing can be read here. It charges that Sergio Guereca was unarmed, and that, after the shooting, border agent “Doe” didn’t even bother to check on him:

Suddenly, a United States border agent emerged on his bicycle, detaining one of the individuals, dragging the young boy along the concrete. The US border agent then stopped, pointed his weapon across the border, seemingly taking close aim, and squeezed the trigger at least twice, fatally wounding Sergio with at least one gunshot wound to the face. Sergio, who had been standing safely and legally on his native soil of Mexico, unarmed and unthreatening, lay dead on his back in his blue jeans and sneakers. He was fifteen years old.

More US border agents arrived on the scene, the shooter picked up his bicycle, and then they all left. No one took any action to render emergency medical aid to Sergio, leaving him dead or dying beneath Paso Del Norte Bridge in the Territory of Mexico.

That pretty much squares with the video of the shooting.


Maybe the gun-nuts shouldn’t post pictures of gun-nut Meleanie Hain, gunned down by her gun-nut husband

Over at Tucker Carlson’s wingnut site, The Daily Caller, they picked up an article from the Charlotte Observer: “In North Carolina you can let your gun show

The article ran a photo [below] of a man open-carrying a pistol: ‘Eric Shuford Jr., 67, of Cary typically keeps his Russian 9 mm Makarov sidearm with him from the time he wakes up . .’

gun nut eric shuford

In Tucker’s online fishwrap, though, it came with a different image:

Melanie's ghost re-surfaces

It’s a shocking image, really, one to question the editor’s taste and sanity, to say nothing of his pro-gun stance. Because that photo is perhaps the most infamous open-carry image of all time, burnished in our memories by violence.

The woman, Meleanie Hain, was an open-carry nut in Pennsylvania. She sued her local sheriff for a million dollars because of the emotional trauma she said she suffered when he revoked her permit after the soccer game photos became widely distributed. Another:

meleanie hain and gun and child

The Hain brouhaha and 2nd amendment deification went down at the end of 2008. About a year later, in October of 2009, her unhinged husband came home and shot her dead. He then turned the beloved gun on himself, ending his life as well.

I remember it. I wrote a post with my take on the paranoid psyches of the people involved: how the use of firepower as a crutch to lessen anxiety actually makes you vulnerable. ‘If only Meleanie had seen that her paranoia was well-founded in the relationships she kept with paranoid gun nuts like her husband,’ one wonders. ‘If only she’d traded in her gun for some dignity and common sense . .’

Meanwhile, maybe the firearms freaks should leave her alone?

She was shot dead, fellas.


Video of Border Patrol shooting shows agent’s life in no jeopardy when he killed unarmed teen

For some background on the tragedy, click over to this previous post: El Paso Border Patrol agent fires into crowd of Juarez rock throwers, kills 14 year old

sergio adrian hernandez guerecaWell, the first lies have already been exposed in the tragic shooting and killing of Mexican teenager Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca. Stay tuned for more to follow.

Allegedly fearing for his life and surrounded by a “crowd” (as I wrote, above) of violent rock-throwers, the agent, patrolling in the culvert that forms the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, fired in self-defense and hit the 14 15 year-old’s head. Or so they said.

“Another agent arrived on his bicycle along the cement apron that forms the riverbank on the U.S. side,” [FBI agent Andrea] Simmons said in a release. “That agent detained a second subject, Augustin Alcaraz Reyes, but other subjects ran into Mexico and began to throw rocks at the agent.

sergio guereca shot dead

“This agent, who had the second subject detained on the ground, gave verbal commands to the remaining subjects to stop and retreat,” Simmons said. “However, the subjects surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him. The agent then fired his service weapon several times, striking one subject who later died.”

A Top 10 Rule for Post-Modern Life: Don’t foist a despicable lie upon the public that tomorrow’s cell phone clip will blow out of the water.

Looks like stone cold murder to me. Unless they suddenly want to add the boy, incidentally, had a bazooka in his hands.

That’s all I want to say about this today. One, it’s just too sad. Two, this is an international scandal worthy of weeks of discussion. Three, Americans don’t give a fuck. They are a hard-hearted people when it comes to the deaths and lives of Mexicans.


El Paso Border Patrol agent fires into crowd of Juarez rock throwers, kills 14 year old

It’s not enough that we back the Israelis no matter what they do — now we’re gonna borrow their tactics, too?

Wait, I take that back. The Israelis wised up long ago and learned to use rubber bullets in confrontations with rock throwers. Well . . at least some of the time. Not us, no sir. For us, teens throwing rocks across the border fence-line constitutes a “deadly force” incident. By all means, go shoot one of them in the head:

Mexico asks for probe into teen’s shooting death by U.S. border agent
By Arthur Brice, CNN
June 8, 2010 — Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)

(CNN) — The Mexican government is requesting a quick and transparent investigation into the fatal shooting by a U.S. Border Patrol agent of a Mexican teen in Ciudad Juarez on Monday night, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The teen was shot during a rock-throwing incident, Mexican and U.S. officials said.

juarez killing teen

Mexico “reiterates that the use of firearms to repel a rock attack represents a disproportionate use of force, particularly coming from authorities who receive specialized training on the matter,” the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a news release . .

Monday night’s incident started around 6:30 p.m. when Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents responded to a report of a group of suspected illegal immigrants being smuggled into the United States near the Paso del Norte port of entry, FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons said.

A suspect identified as Oscar Ivan Pineda Ayala was initially detained on the Rio Grande levy, said the FBI, which is leading the investigation.

“Another agent arrived on his bicycle along the cement apron that forms the riverbank on the U.S. side,” Simmons said in a release. “That agent detained a second subject, Augustin Alcaraz Reyes, but other subjects ran into Mexico and began to throw rocks at the agent.

“This agent, who had the second subject detained on the ground, gave verbal commands to the remaining subjects to stop and retreat,” Simmons said. “However, the subjects surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him. The agent then fired his service weapon several times, striking one subject who later died” . .

Mexico Border Patrol Shooting

Ciudad Juarez spokesman Sergio Belmonte identified the dead 14-year-old boy as secondary student Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca.

Belmonte said Hernandez was shot in the head.

“The young man was not armed,” Belmonte said. “He did not have the physical size to threaten anyone. The aggression (by the U.S. agent) is evident.”

Ugh. So, will Arizonans form massive support demonstrations for the brave Border Patrol agent defending himself against the violent Mexican thug? Will they go on and on about how impossible it is to routinely enforce immigration laws when the immigrants are universally angry, armed and anti-American? Free our border agentsWill they point out that even Mexican 14 year-olds are dangerous because that’s just the way those people are, y’know, down there?

Will the Israelis go out of their way to support the right of the United States and its Border Patrol agents to defend themselves? Especially in light of the well-known dangers being constantly smuggled into lands we’re obligated to provide security for? Will they see the teen’s rock-throwing as a shallow p.r. ploy to goad American agents into violence meant to embarrass the U.S.?

Will John McCain make a series of campaign commercials highlighting the incident, calling the courageous but overburdened Border Patrol “HEROES”, similar to our Iraqi soldiers? Will he then draw up a plan for a “SURGE” down at the border in order to get our people the personnel and support they need to “win” the immigration “war”? Will he ride the mess to victory in November and return to the Senate so we can see him on teevee every Sunday morning for another million years?

I dread the fall-out from this sad thing.


Are oil plumes off the coast of Waveland, Mississippi, suffocating sea life?

Sadly, it appears that Waveland, Mississippi, has become an early ground zero for the appearance of dead wildlife from the on-going BP disaster. While the vast quantities of oil that wash onto the barrier islands of Louisiana coat, poison and kill the precious biodiversity where it lays, in Waveland the sea life that once swam washes ashore.

While some of it may be naturally occurring, there’s little doubt that more of it resulted from what is probably the worst environmental disaster in America’s history.

I’ve lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for 33 years. Never have I seen a sea turtle on the beach either dead or alive. Today I saw 2 dead sea turtles covered in oil just miles from my home in Waveland, MS.

ms sea turtle

ms flickr

ms sea turtle 3

ms catfish

ms catfish 2

. . 47 sea turtles on average are reported stranded along the upper Gulf Coast each May, based on a five-year average, officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. The range is from 15 to 80 on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle in May each year.

But this month there have been 77 dead in Mississippi alone, said Moby Solangi with the Institute of Marine Mammals Studies in Gulfport. Most of these are the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle . .

“These are the only three we’ve seen alive in the past three weeks,” Solangi said.

ms sea turtle 4

ms drum fish 2

Came across these shocking images amongst some viewer submitted Gulf of Mexico oil spill photos on the New York Times website. The two photos show thousands of little fish washed up dead in Waveland, Mississippi. The photos are credited to Sabrina Bradford.

According to first hand accounts oil has been spotted washing up in Waveland. One person writes on the Gulf Oil Spill Tracker that,”We walked along the beach just outside of the Silver Slipper Casino area and saw many dead fish, 2 cats and at least 5 trout and a quite large fish we could not identify. In addition we saw upwards of 20 dead baby crabs spread out along the beach. We were not able to locate any tar balls or residues of any type.”

ms dead fish

ms dead fish 2

The increase in dead sea animals ashore along with the lack of an obvious cause of death, like their being coated with toxic tar, may point to a less obvious but troubling culprit: suffocation by oil. Specifically, oxygen starvation caused by being enveloped in oil plumes.

An article in yesterday’s New York Times underscored the possibility. Because the oil originates deep undersea and because BP has aggressively used hundreds of thousands of gallons of dispersant to prevent the oil from coating the Gulf’s surface (and then being photographed, some say), the millions of gallons of oil stay submerged as tiny droplets that loosely aggregate into large plumes.

The scientific work detailed in the article showed:
1). The plumes exist.
2). They are massive.
3). They are so oxygen-poor that they are capable of killing sea life in huge quantities.

Scientists Build Case for Undersea Plumes
Published: May 28, 2010

. . The water samples they pulled up suggested that any oil in the plumes was highly diffuse — not even visible to the naked eye. But when several gallons of the water were forced through a fine filter, tiny black oil droplets appeared.

Even in that diffuse form, the plumes were having a drastic impact on the chemistry of the ocean, with dissolved oxygen levels plunging as each plume drifted through the sea.

That, Dr. Joye said, was most likely because bacteria were ramping up to consume the oil and gas — a good thing, over all, but it was creating a heavy demand for oxygen and other nutrients. Aside from the toxic effect of the oil, the declining oxygen was a potential threat to sea life. Slowly, as the Walton Smith and other boats worked the gulf this past week, the weird physics of a deep-water well blowout came into better focus.

We may be yet unaware of the oil’s terrible impact upon our ecosystems because it’s most evident within these lethal oxygen-less clouds, beneath the surface of the Gulf where nobody can detect it. No one outside a few hard-working scientists and their instruments . .

Previous - Next