Saturday, April 28, 2007

Smokin Okie

WYNNEWOOD, Okla. - Flames and smoke poured into the sky Saturday over an oil refinery where lightning set off a fire and an explosion that was felt miles away, authorities said.

No injuries were reported and there were no immediate evacuation orders in the south-central Oklahoma town, said Mike Hancock, a spokesman for Wynnewood Refinery Co.

Flames and smoke boiled hundreds of feet into the air from two 80,000-gallon tanks in the Wynnewood Refinery complex, officials said.

Firefighters doused the area surrounding the tanks Saturday, Hancock said.

"Tank fires are pretty pesky fires. They're easy to keep contained, but they're hard to fight," Hancock said. "It's hard to estimate how long it will be. It can take a day or so to burn the product."

The fire started Friday when lightning hit a tank containing naphtha, an unrefined form of gasoline, fire Chief Ken Moore said. City and company fire crews sprayed foam on the blaze and transferred naphtha out of the tank, but hours later the explosion — felt by residents of communities several miles away — spread the flames to a second tank, authorities said.

Moore said the explosion may have followed the collapse of the first tank. "This allowed some of the (naphtha) to flow out and flow around the second tank," he said late Friday.

One tank contained about 50,000 barrels of highly flammable naphtha and the second tank contained about 30,000 barrels of diesel fuel, Hancock said.

Nearby highways were closed as a precaution, Moore said. He said the nearest homes were a quarter-mile from the refinery.

The refinery processes about 50,000 barrels of oil a day and employs about 185 people.

It is the second fire at the refinery — which produces gasoline, diesel fuel, military jet fuel, solvents and asphalt — in less than two years. A blaze in May 2006 led to the evacuation of 150 nearby residents. An acid leak a week later related to fire damage caused more evacuations.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 22 violations over that incident.

Wynnewood is about 65 miles south of Oklahoma City.


Oh the travesty! My Hummer needs to have gas so I can make 47 trips daily to get Starbucks, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wal Mart, Soccer practice, birthday parties, and Outback today.

BOO HOO HOO! Another refinery fire, gas prices going up even more!

$4 a gallon? $5 a gallon?

Better ask for a raise there mister Yuppie! or sell your Yacht.

Cost me $9.95 to fill my motorcycle yesterday, good for 150 miles, 60 miles per day, 5 days per week = 300 miles for under $20, shove your gas pig where the Sun don't shine Yuppster!


DEN said...

Happy Saturday everyone!!

Yesterday was a HOOT!

Great comments from all!

Saturday is Honey-do day for me and probably for many of you too.

Lawn won't mow itself, trees won't trim themselves, errands won't run themselves either.

Better get to work!

Carey said...

I'll have to check out the past threads!

We have such incredible weather here in San Diego right now. Can't stay indoors. Just in for lunch.

One very important thing. The Democrats are in town today for a convention. Air America is there broadcasting through it's various local syndicates. Clinton, Edwards and Obama all refused to do an interview with the San Diego deejay.

THAT'S A NO-NO! Air America is the only progressive talk radio station. San Diego is hosting the convention. It's the sixth largest market in America.

If we still had the! I could imagine the phone calls back and forth.

The only progressive national talk radio station. I can't believe it's being passed over. Wrong way to take the campaigns. Way too packaged. Not people-oriented enough.

David B. Benson said...

Kilroy was here.

DEN said...

Carey, Air America now is not the AA of old. Sam Seder went to Sundays and Marc Maron is long gone, Randi and Rachel are it.


DEN said...

,,,,(0|0),,,, Kilroy

micki said...

Foo was here.

DEN said...

Odom smokes the chimp-in-charge;

The following, delivered as the Democrats' weekly radio address Saturday and sent out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), was given by retired Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army.

"Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

"I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.

"In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

"Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

"To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

"Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

"Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President's management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

"But it has served Iran's interest by revenging Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran's influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda's interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

"We cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

"A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

"No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

"It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq's borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused.

"The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not some impossible outcome.

"I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

"This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening."

This is Den, thanks for caring enough about your country to say what needs to be said.

DEN said...


micki said...

Holy macaroni, Den! Thanks for posting General Odom's remarks. I hadn't heard his words. They are poignant and powerful.

If only bush would listen.

micki said...

Carey...regarding Iran...

April 29, 2007

Diplomacy at Its Worst


In May 2003, Iran sent a secret proposal to the U.S. for settling our mutual disputes in a “grand bargain.”
It is an astonishing document, for it tries to address a range of U.S. concerns about nuclear weapons, terrorism and Iraq. I’ve placed it and related documents (including multiple drafts of it) on my blog, KRISTOF.BLOGS.NYTIMES.COM
Hard-liners in the Bush administration killed discussions of a deal, and interviews with key players suggest that was an appalling mistake. There was a real hope for peace; now there is a real danger of war.
Scattered reports of the Iranian proposal have emerged previously, but if you read the full documentary record you’ll see that what the hard-liners killed wasn’t just one faxed Iranian proposal but an entire peace process. The record indicates that officials from the repressive, duplicitous government of Iran pursued peace more energetically and diplomatically than senior Bush administration officials — which makes me ache for my country.
The process began with Afghanistan in 2001-2. Iran and the U.S., both opponents of the Taliban, cooperated closely in stabilizing Afghanistan and providing aid, and unofficial “track two” processes grew to explore opportunities for improved relations.
On the U.S. side, track two involved well-connected former U.S. ambassadors, including Thomas Pickering, Frank Wisner and Nicholas Platt. The Iranian ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, was a central player, as was an Iranian-American professor at Rutgers, Hooshang Amirahmadi, who heads a friendship group called the American Iranian Council.
At a dinner the council sponsored for its board at Ambassador Zarif’s home in September 2002, the group met Iran’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi. According to the notes of Professor Amirahmadi, the foreign minister told the group, “Yes, we are ready to normalize relations,” provided the U.S. made the first move.
This was shaping into a historic opportunity to heal U.S.-Iranian relations, and the track two participants discussed further steps, including joint U.S.-Iranian cooperation against Saddam Hussein. The State Department and National Security Council were fully briefed, and in 2003 Ambassador Zarif met with two U.S. officials, Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad, in a series of meetings in Paris and Geneva.
Encouraged, Iran transmitted its “grand bargain” proposals to the U.S. One version was apparently a paraphrase by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran; that was published this year in The Washington Post.
But Iran also sent its own master text of the proposal to the State Department and, through an intermediary, to the White House. I’ve also posted that document, which Iran regards as the definitive one.
In the master document, Iran talks about ensuring “full transparency” and other measures to assure the U.S. that it will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran offers “active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization.” Iran also contemplates an end to “any material support to Palestinian opposition groups” while pressuring Hamas “to stop violent actions against civilians within” Israel (though not the occupied territories). Iran would support the transition of Hezbollah to be a “mere political organization within Lebanon” and endorse the Saudi initiative calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Iran also demanded a lot, including “mutual respect,” abolition of sanctions, access to peaceful nuclear technology and a U.S. statement that Iran did not belong in the “axis of evil.” Many crucial issues, including verification of Iran’s nuclear program, needed to be hammered out. It’s not clear to me that a grand bargain was reachable, but it was definitely worth pursuing — and still is today.
Instead, Bush administration hard-liners aborted the process. Another round of talks had been scheduled for Geneva, and Ambassador Zarif showed up — but not the U.S. side. That undermined Iranian moderates.
A U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could have saved lives in Iraq, isolated Palestinian terrorists and encouraged civil society groups in Iran. But instead the U.S. hard-liners chose to hammer plowshares into swords.