Category Archives: Halliburton

Hot Air

A Perfect Corporate World — Without People

Here’s a little something I heard on American Public Media’s Marketplace program yesterday evening that burned my generously-proportioned derriere.

Halliburton, the Dick Cheney-affiliated oil services and war profiteering outfit, has lost scads of dough of late. I don’t know precisely why — nor do I care. Perhaps Satan has been too busy elsewhere (Ukraine? Northeast Nigeria? Chicago’s secret Black Site?) and has been lax in manipulating earthly events to his fave multi-national corp.’s advantage.


Too Busy For Halliburton?

Anyway, Helliburt…, er, Halliburton lost a half a billion bucks in its most recent fiscal quarter. Yeesh! Half a bill, babies! Think of the things actual human beings could do with scratch like that. Of course, you’d think investors would be scared off by this news. After all, isn’t it the job of investors to, y’know, make money?

Mirabile dictu, as Kai Ryssdal reported, shares of H. were up yesterday. Up! They went from 46.80 at the opening bell to 48.87 a little over an hour later. What in the hell ever that means. I only know enough to understand that share prices going up causes tumescence in all those ADHD trader characters.

Ryssdal sez a significant reason H-burton’s shares have gone up is that the co. laid off some 9,000 human beings this past quarter.

Methinks we’re entering a bizarro world here. Taking a cue from Right Wingers whose hatred of one Barack Hussein Obama trumps all other considerations, big-money guys seem to be flocking around a single knee-jerk issue to the exclusion of any previously predominant heeds. The Greed Set used to be singularly focused on making dough. Now, their loathing of labor has forced money-making to take a back seat. It’s more important to slice jobs than to see their bread grow. And, if you hate labor, aren’t you really hating humanity?

No Humans

As if we needed any more proof that Free Marketeers and unfettered capitalists despise people.

Alyce’s Animals

Alyce Miller teaches creative writing at Indiana University. She’s also a Flannery O’Connor Award-winning fiction writer.

Her novel and short stories are about people, natch, but I get the feeling she’s as sweet on critters as she is on her species-mates. She’s an outspoken critic of Bloomington’s deer kill plan. She’s big on veganism as well.

To that end, she highly recommends the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.


“Veganism is still a bad word,” Miller says, “even here in ‘progressive’ Bloomington, but if more people ate a broad-based vegan diet, or at least reduced their meat and dairy consumption, we’d do the planet a huge favor.”

Fair enough. I agree, in large part, because the beef industry in this holy land has done everything it could to convince us that an exclusive diet of steaks and roasts is the greatest thing since sliced bread (and, BTW, hold that bread and munch instead on a hamburger patty). Not only that but it takes some 21 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of cattle protein. In other words, that Big Mac you’re eating came about largely through clear-cutting enough land to grow the corn to feed the cow to allow McDonald’s to pay its employees a substandard living wage.

Our beef (and other meats) addiction means the livestock industry has pretty much taken over the planet. Acc’d’g to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, livestock grazing takes up 26 percent of the globe’s surface. A third of the world’s agricultural land is given over to producing livestock feed. In Brazil, where Amazon rainforest destruction has reached crisis proportions, some 70 percent of the cleared jungle is now grazing land with the vast majority of the rest devoted to growing feed for the animals.

Amazon Deforestation

Amazon Deforestation

[Photo: Alberto César/Greenpeace]

I’m not now nor do I plan ever to become a vegetarian. I love my homemade Italian meatballs too much. And a day without cheese is wasted as far as I’m concerned. Still, I’ve drastically cut my meat intake since becoming an adult. My mother served meat almost every single day of the year, save Fridays (we were Catholics) and those odd days when we had chicken or pork. At the time, eating scads of red meat was seen as the key to health — a conceit propagated by the red meat racket.

We know better now. We’re omnivores so the idea that eating meat is somehow “not right” doesn’t wash but to paraphrase a line from Groucho Marx, I like my bottom round roast but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

Cowspiracy will be shown tonight, 6:30pm, at the Monroe County Public Library. To be sure, the auditorium will be filled with vegetarians and vegans. That choir doesn’t need to be preached to. But we meat-eaters can gain a lot from viewing the doc.

Homan In A Truck

Allison Homan had a dream. Any day now she’ll wake up and find that’s it’s come true.

She’s building a home in a truck. It’s a fairly new hot thing these days. It’s called box-trucking. The 29-year-old singer/barista/social mutineer who grew up in New Albany, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, revels in her non-compliance with expectations.


Allison Homan

And few things on this mad planet are more non-compliant that wanting to live in an old work truck for a laminated top company. But that’s what Homan wants and with drips and drabs of help, she’s building her palace in just such a vehicle. With her own hands. And lots of borrowed power tools.

Homan, who lives in Bloomington now, publishes a blog on which she has documented the arduous process of turning a truck into a home. Here’s a taste from a video she made last fall:

These dames, man, they can do anything!

Hot Air

Crime Of The Century

So, al Qaeda and its brethren are taking over Iraq right before our very eyes.

Nice, huh?

ISIS Commandos

Iraq’s Nightmare (Photo: Reuters)

Looks like those +125,000 dead Iraqis as well as 4400 dead US soldiers gave their lives for nothing.

Nothing, friends. Not a thing.

Did I mention we’d spent up to $4 trillion USD on that decade-long slaughter?

All because Georgy-Boy Bush and his coatholders and co-conspirators scared the bejesus out of us with talk of mushroom clouds and poison gas attacks — that weren’t going to come because bad old Saddam Hussein was nowhere near possessing such weapons (the nukes) or having the ability to deliver them (the gas) to New York City, Ellettsville, Wrigleyville and points west.

We fought that pointless, bullshit war because the Bush administration — which hadn’t been elected by a majority of American voters, in case you’ve forgotten — believed it was its god-given duty to remake the Middle East so that multinational engineering firms and oil companies could more easily and happily extract dollars therefrom. The fact that Georgy-Boy’s Poppy had not delivered said hegemony to the global plutocracy also was a motivating factor; the Bush family’s Big Dick legacy was preserved, thanks to the rivers of blood Shock and Awe produced.


Believe Us, America

Sadly, our holy land must reconcile itself to the reality that we have committed yet another crime against humanity.

Not that terribly many of us care.

Hide Your Hate, America

And speaking of America’s crimes against humanity, we did our best to rectify a big one 50 years ago this summer. On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the comprehensive Civil Rights Act into law.

July 2, 1964

LBJ Gives Martin Luther King The Signing Pen (Photo: AP)

Throughout the first half of the year, though, the US Senate wrestled over the bill and, quite frankly, its passage was far from assured. Republican senators from southern states filibustered from late March through early June to prevent a vote. Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virgina) alone filibustered for more than fourteen hours on June 10th. Before that, Senator Richard Russell (R-Georgia), told his colleagues, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our states.”

A small group of senators from both parties crafted a compromise bill that eventually passed, leading to the Johnson signing.

The bill, it should be noted, forbids discrimination by federal and state agencies against people on account of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also banned discrimination against those groups by businesses that provide “public accommodation” — hotels, for instance, and restaurants. The bill called for an end to unequal application of laws and eligibility requirements in voter registration as well as in school admissions.

Imagine that respected senators could stand in loud and forceful opposition to those ideals and not be pilloried. Things are different today, of course. People have learned how to hide such bigotry behind code words and misdirection.

At least we don’t tolerate blatant assholery anymore.

Hot Air

You Can’t Handle The Truth

Ju-u-u-u-ust wondering: Why is it that only Aljazeera is carrying the news that Azle, Texas, mayor Alan Brundrett is calling for fracking data because his town’s been hit by some 300 little earthquakes of a suspicious nature?

I’ve checked CNN, Fox News, and the big networks, among many others, and have yet to find any other news outlet that has ever even mentioned the name Alan Brundrett. That is, save for one: Rachel Maddow referenced his hunch about fracking a few months ago.


Alan Brundrett

From the Aljazeera report:

“That’s the biggest issue, that the data is not available,” Brundrett told Al Jazeera. “The one thing we’d like to see is daily reporting — then if there is seismic activity it can be linked to the disposal wells themselves.”

Here’s a graphic from a paper in another area that’s experienced recent seismic activity and is home to fracking operations:

Tom Baker/Dispatch

From The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch

The pro-frackers, to an alarming degree, are all those bête noires whose philosophies and aims make me want to retch. There’s the Halliburton evil empire and the Sarah Palin dumb empire, plus tons of other folk who would view Bill O’Reilly as the modern-day Oracle of Delphi if they only knew what the original Oracle of Delphi was.

The mega-corps. that own most of our mainstream media outlets presumably would be loath to present news that would be deemed “harmful” to their fellow biz monoliths. News, after all, is no longer a public service but a profit center. And, for all we know, Halliburton might possess thermonuclear weapons and the likes of Comcast (NBC) or National Amusements (CBS) are petrified of being blown off the face of the Earth.

In any case, next to no national news source other than Al-J. uttered a peep about Brundrett’s call for fracking info.

It’s a damned shame we have to, in essence, go outside this country to get any real news about it.

Hot Air

The Big Knife

Last full week before the doctors slice me open and install an electric generator in my chest. They’ll run leads right into my heart so that if said organ decides to go on a drunken bender, the generator’ll shock me with 800 volts and get the ticker back in line, 4/4 beat and all.

Here’s the device:

MG 20140427

I hope it works. Or, better yet, I hope it never has to. We’ll see.

Taking The Blame

So, the S. Korean prime minister handed in his resignation over the capsized ferry that sent some 300 kids and adults to their watery graves.

Imagine that. There exist in this world some nations and societies wherein big shots take the heat for the bad things that happen on their watch.

I realize this is hard for Americans to believe, but in some faraway lands, heads of companies whose fuel depots blow up or whose toxic sludge seeps into the nation’s Capri Sun juice reserves often get sacked or even prosecuted for their misdeeds.

In other words, certain races of humans on this Earth entertain the quaint notion that somebody’s responsible when shit happens.

How odd, no? Here in this holy land, of course, we understand that when a coal company dumps poison into the water supply, well, by golly, that’s merely one of the costs of a free society. Imagine if we blessed Murricans played so fast and loose with the concept of accountability.

Why, our nation’s prisons would be filled to the bursting point with the likes of the CEOs of BP, Transocean and Halliburton, the managers of Freedom Industries, the former decision makers at General Motors, the bosses at West Fertilizer Company, and many other wealthy white folks. Why, in our Murrican lord’s name, would we force the pillars of our society to bunk with, ugh, common criminals?

BP CEO Tony Hayward

What? I didn’t do nuthin’.

Remember back in December, 1984, when Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal, India, accidentally released methyl isocyanate gas into the air? Oops! The death toll estimates ranged from 3787 (the official number) to upwards of 16,000. And a half million people were injured, including partial, severe, and permanently disabling physical trauma. I mean, why get hung up on numbers; none of those affected were job creators — and very, very few of them white.

Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson immediately flew into Bhopal to show how deeply he cared for the suffering of all those brown people. But those wacky Indians — the moment he stepped off the plane, they slapped the bracelets on him and charged him with manslaughter. Oh, the look on his face! His mug read: Don’t you know I’m the CEO of a very important Fortune 500 company?

So what did Anderson do? He promptly posted bail and then fled the country. India still has a warrant out for his arrest, nearly 30 years later. Our federal gov’t, for its part, refuses to extradite him because, well, what’s the big deal?


Quaint Indian Women

Like I said, quaint. Americans are decidedly not quaint. Many of us know precisely whom to blame whenever anything bad happens, be it an industrial disaster, a snowstorm, or an asteroid hitting Yankee Stadium.

Barack Obama!

Your Daily Hot Air

Just Asking For It

Let’s start with some fun. Here’s yesterday’s headline in the Daily Beast on Anthony Weiner’s decision not to withdraw from the New York City mayoral race:

Daily Beast

I mean, honestly, what do you expect a headline writer to do?

Wilde, Man

Here’s a timely quote from Oscar Wilde:

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.


O. Wilde

Dick’s Boys Will Be Boys

Did it slip past you that Halliburton, former Veep Dick Cheney’s personal ATM, admitted to destroying evidence relating to the Gulf Oil Spill?


Deepwater Horizon Explosion

Deepwater Horizon Burning

That’s because the corporate media was too busy making dick jokes at Anthony Weiner’s expense while simultaneously going gaga over that little brat who was born in England this week.

Halliburton was the cement contractor for the Macondo Prospect well, operated by Brit oil giant BP. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig positioned over the well exploded and sank in April, 2010, killing 11 workers and flooding the Gulf of Mexico with some 210 million gallons of crude oil.

Halliburton and BP have been blaming each other for the spill for the past three years. One of the charges Halliburton has made against BP is that the oil company did not follow the contractor’s safety recommendations.

Gulf Oil Spill

Gulf Water?

This gets a little sticky, so follow me here. Halliburton had recommended that BP use 21 metal stabilizer rings to secure the hole in the ground the company had drilled. BP decided to use only six. In the weeks after the explosion. Halliburton ran a couple of 3-D computer simulations using models for both the 21- and the six-ring set-ups. The simulations found that the extra stabilizer rings likely wouldn’t have prevented the disaster.

Uh-oh for Halliburton. IF BP’s decision to go with six rather than 21 rings didn’t make any difference in the outcome, that means Halliburton might be open to some other liability in the mishap.

Now, if you or I destroy evidence in a civil or criminal trial, say your husband stole a loaf of bread and you flush the wrapper down the toilet before the SWAT team arrives, you’re gonna be spending some serious slammer time for your efforts.

The US Department of Justice, which is handling the Gulf Spill case, issued a press release Thursday crowing about how it got Halliburton to admit to doing the nasty and adding, solemnly, that Cheney’s cash cow is about to get its ass whupped.


“Oh, Uh, I ‘Quit’ Halliburton Long Ago.”

So, how’s Halliburton going to suffer for being such a brazen evidence destroyer? The DoJ is fining the company a grand total of $200,000.

Two hundred Gs. Jeez.

According to the US Census Bureau, the average home in this holy land in the year of Our Lord, 2010, was worth $272,900. That means all Halliburton has to do is fork over the deed to some modest ranch house in a so-so neighborhood and by doing so, its debt to society will be paid in full.


Either that or Dick Cheney and a couple of other Halliburton capos can look for loose change under the sofa cushions in their offices and come up with the fine.

You think Halliburton is weeping and gnashing its teeth over this? Hah! Halliburton flacks Kelly Youngblood and Beverly Blohm can hardly stop themselves from nominating their overlords for the Nobel Peace Prize. They write in the company’s official press release on the agreement: “The Department of Justice acknowledged the company’s significant and valuable cooperation during the course of the investigation….”

Man, I hope Halliburton is paying those PR-meisters some good coin, the better to make up for the eternity in hell to which they’ve condemned themselves.

As for the former Vice President of the United States, it pays to be a Dick.

Bombs Bursting In Air

This is a banner day in the history of warfare. If blood and guts is your thing, you’re likely waving your flag and inviting all the neighbors over for a cookout.

On this day in the 20th Century alone, a number of big cheeses ordered their little curds to go out and blow the brains out of the enemy before the good old vice versa. Dig:

July 28, 1914: Austria-Hungary, bummed because its archduke was whacked a month before in the streets of Sarajevo, declared war on Serbia. See, Serbia wasn’t sufficiently apologetic for one of its wild-eyed Black-Handers gunning down the Aus-Hun big shot so all the nations of Europe decided to fight each other. Makes sense, no? Total killed: 16 million; wounded: 20 million.


“Apologize, You Bastards!”

July 28, 1942: Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin issued orders that commanders who retreat or soldiers who leave their positions are to be shot. He played this tough guy card because Hitler’s war machine was rolling through Mother Russia. Total killed in the German/Russian theater: approximately 34 million soldiers and civilians.

July 28, 1943: The biggest night of bombing in the British and American air forces’ Operation Gomorrah, designed to destroy shipyards, U-boat pens, oil refineries, and a major dynamite factory in and around Hamburg, Germany. The planners did not anticipate that concentrated bombing combined with hot, dry conditions in the city that summer would create a something called a firestorm. A virtual tornado of fire, estimated to be 1500 feet high, destroyed the city. Total killed: 42,600; total injured: 37,000. All casualties were civilian.


Hamburg Hell

July 28, 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson nearly doubles the number of ground soldiers in Vietnam as the American involvement in Southeast Asia becomes serious. Total killed in Vietnam during the American involvement there: approximately 600,000 soldiers and civilians; total wounded 1.2 million.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: We are a fascinating species.