Sunday, May 30, 2010
Memorial Day is not just for memories
By Cheramy Rusbuldt, Viewpoint
As life moves along, we all have memories. Some are happy ones. Others, not so much. I have recently noted the 13th date since My Dear Departed left my life, which means I also face another Memorial Day. We McKinney-ites are blessed to have some dedicated and reverent citizen-leaders who plan a Memorial Day commemoration at Pecan Grove Cemetery with all the bells and whistles to remind ourselves of and teach our children the historic value of sacrifice which has, for several hundred years, kept Americans safe.
Thirteen years ago, after Rusty breathed his last, I was faced with arranging a family/ friend/ co-worker get-together at the local funeral home in Virginia. It was Memorial Day weekend, and almost everyone had plans for the long-anticipated three-day holiday. As he wished, he had died at home in our Quaker farmhouse, captured in a rented hospital bed with much of our family at his side.
His father, brothers and sisters were all in the Tidewater region, unprepared for his demise. I had our daughter, her best friend, her husband, our first grandchild, Rusty’s closest friend, my dearest friend and our hospice nurse at the bedside. But, even today, after so many years, I cannot escape the grisly death scene we all witnessed.
It was hot. It was muggy. I gratefully, but sadly, took my place under the tent where all the local muckety-mucks (and a sprinkling of the questionably worthy – including yours truly) were awaiting the morning goings-on. I said hello to those I knew, met those I didn’t know, and squared myself for what was about to unfold. I was not prepared.
Our Congressional representatives made speeches. Our city fathers made speeches. There was a contingent of Civil War re-enactors entertaining the children. And then, it happened: “Taps.” Tears streamed down my face as I remembered those notes wafting over Arlington National Cemetery as my husband was about to be laid to rest in that hallowed ground. As the hundreds of well-wishers filed past the coffin poised for his last journey.
Coincidentally at Pecan Grove, there was a high-ranking Air Force officer seated next to me. When he heard my sobs, he put his arm around me...a perfect stranger...and held me up as the bugler surrendered the last mournful tones hanging over the assembly.
As I looked out toward the citizens sitting in the sun and humidity, I saw a woman who lives fairly close to me in the Historic District. We were acquaintances, but not really close friends. Her tears were for me and all the others who were there to respect our loved ones and those we didn’t even know. I will never, ever forget that moment, now frozen in time.
Harry McKillop, Reps. Sam Johnson and Ralph Hall and other dignitaries never knew about that. But Nina Ringley cried with me (and so many others that day) in remembrance of those who have gone before us.
If you have never participated in this moving event, please delay your barbecues, swim parties or whatever you have planned for Monday. Join your fellow citizens at Pecan Grove for your very own memory and an indescribable opportunity to share with your children what being an American really means.
It starts at 10 a.m. Take your chairs or blankets. Share in an experience which will truly enrich your lives and those of the people who matter to you. God Bless America.
Cheramy Rusbuldt is a free-lance journalist who lives in McKinney’s Historic District.
Slowly, they let out the truth....
Joe Weisenthal | May 30, 2010, 2:35 PM
Good luck finding someone who actually thinks the LMRP is going to work. At best it will capture some of the oil, and at worst, it could cause the spill rate to increase 20%, since it involves removing the bused blowout preventer, which is mitigating things somewhat.
Today on Face The Nation, Obama environmental advisor Carol Browner said what may have been the most honest thing yet: you should probably expect oil to gush until August.
In other words, the oil-soaked wetlands are just the beginning, in all likelihood.
If you want to read what an environmental nightmare looks, read this account of what the oil could do to the encironmental ecosystem around Florida. Or better yet, don't click and try to enjoy the weekend.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Art Walk…Downtown McKinney Is Hopping! May 22, 2010 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Historic Downtown McKinney
Local and regional artists will come out to play in Downtown McKinney on May 22, 2010. McKinney Main Street invites you to come down and visit the shops in Downtown McKinney hosting artists representing every mix and medium of art. Over 50 artists will showcase their art forte in
Where: Historic Downtown McKinney
When: 10:00am Sat 5.22.10-6:00pm Sat 5.22.10
on May 17, 2010 6:42 AM
Friday, May 14, 2010
And Chicks for Free?
on May 10, 2010 6:00 AM
BP tries tube to siphon spewing Gulf oil to tanker
Undersea robots tried to thread a small tube into the jagged pipe that is pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico early Friday in BP's latest attempt to cut down on the spill from a blown-out well that has pumped out more than 4 million gallons of crude.
The company was trying to move the 6-inch tube into the leaking 21-inch pipe, known as the riser. The smaller tube will be surrounded by a stopper to keep oil from leaking into the sea. BP said it hopes to know by Friday evening if the tube works and can siphon the oil to a tanker at the surface.
Since an April 20 drilling rig explosion set off the catastrophic spill, BP PLC has tried several ideas to plug the leak that is spewing at least 210,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf a day. The size of the undulating spill was about 3,650 square miles, or the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, said Hans Graber, director of the University of Miami's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing.
In the fateful hours before the Deepwater Horizon exploded about 50 miles off the Louisiana shore, a safety test was supposedly performed to detect if explosive gas was leaking from the mile-deep well.
While some data were being transmitted to shore for safekeeping right up until the blast, officials from Transocean, the rig owner, told Congress that the last seven hours of its information are missing and that all written logs were lost in the explosion. Earlier tests that suggested explosive gas was leaking were preserved.
The gap poses a mystery for investigators: What decisions were made — and what warnings might have been ignored?
"There is some delay in the replication of our data, so our operational data, our sequence of events ends at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on the 20th," Steven Newman, president and CEO of Transocean Ltd, told a Senate panel. The rig blew up at 10 p.m., killing 11 workers and unleashing the gusher.
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents several rig workers involved in the accident, questioned whether what he called "the phantom test" was even performed.
"I can just tell you that the Halliburton hands were scratching their heads," said Buzbee, whose clients include one of the Halliburton crew members responsible for cementing the well to prepare for moving the drilling rig to another site.
Details of a likely blowout scenario emerged this week for the first time from congressional and administrative hearings. They suggest there were both crew mistakes and equipment breakdowns at key points the day of the explosion.
Buzbee said that when Halliburton showed BP PLC and Transocean officials the results of the pressure tests that suggested gas was leaking, the rig workers were put on "standby." BP is the rig operator and leaseholder.
Buzbee said one of his clients told him the "Transocean and BP company people got their heads together," and 40 minutes later gave the green light.
The attorney said the Halliburton crew members were not shown any new test results.
"They said they did their own tests, and they came out OK," he said. "But with the phantom test that Transocean and BP allegedly did, there was no real record or real-time recordation of that test."
None of the three companies would comment Thursday on whether any data or test results were purposely not sent to shore, or on exactly who made the final decision to continue the operations that day.
Five thousand feet under the sea, the effort to thread the smaller tube into the larger pipe began overnight. But the crushing depth requires engineers to work slowly and carefully, BP spokesman John Crabtree said Friday.
Crews overseeing the effort hope to have a better grasp Friday evening on whether this latest method to stem the gushing oil spill is going to work, Crabtree said.
If the tube doesn't work, BP could try a second containment box, which would be placed over the well and also would siphon the oil to the surface.
In another experiment, BP might wind up shooting junk of all shapes and sizes to plug the nooks and crannies into the blowout preventer — a giant piece of machinery that's allowing some of the oil to escape. In the aptly named "junk shot," engineers would shoot pieces of tires, golf balls, knotted rope and other items into it in hopes the right size stuff makes its way to the appropriate holes. Once the leak is clogged, heavy mud will be poured in. It would then be sealed off with cement.
BP also has sprayed chemicals on the oil to break it up into smaller droplets, with about 4 million gallons of oily water recovered.
The size of the spill, as measured from satellites, seems to have grown about 50 percent from May 10 to late Thursday, said Graber from the University of Miami.
"There's a hell of a lot coming out," Graber said of the oil.
The estimate of 210,000 gallons daily from the leak comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has frequently been cited by BP and the Coast Guard. Some scientists have said based on an analysis of BP's video of the leak that the flow rate is much higher, while others have concluded the video is too grainy to draw any such conclusions.
BP is sticking with the NOAA estimate, company spokesman Mark Proegler said Thursday. He said BP hasn't sent down equipment that might be able to more accurately measure the oil because "our focus is on stopping the leak, not measuring it."
As for the missing data, rigs like Deepwater Horizon keep a daily drilling report. It is the version of that report given to Congress that cuts off at 3 p.m.
The log confirms that three pressure tests, conducted from the morning to the early afternoon of April 20, indicated unseen underground leakage into the well. But there is no mention of a fourth test that BP and Transocean say was conducted and that they say indicated it was safe to proceed.
In the hours leading up to the explosion, workers finished pumping cement into the exploratory well to bolster and seal it against leaks until a later production phase. After the tests that indicated leakage, workers debated the next step and eventually decided to resume work, for reasons that remain unclear.
At the same time, heavy drilling fluid — or mud — was being pumped out of a pipe rising to the surface from the wellhead, further whittling the well's defenses. It was replaced with lighter seawater in preparation for dropping a final blob of cement into the well as a temporary plug for the pipe.
When underground gas surged up uncontrollably through the well, desperate rig workers tried to cap it with a set of supersized emergency cutoff valves known as a blowout preventer. However, the device was leaking hydraulic fluid and missing at least one battery, and one of its valves had been swapped with a useless testing part.
Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said the lack of offsite data storage is something he intends to look into further.
"I'm sure we'll be taking action to follow up with those requirements," he said. "Because it's critical information that would give rise to understanding of what happened and why more wasn't done to shut off the flow of oil and prevent this from happening."
Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Hammond, La., Jeff Donn in Boston, Chris Kahn in New York, Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles, Garance Burke in Fresno, Calif., and Fred Frommer and Seth Borenstein in Washington also contributed to this report.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Disaster slowly unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico...
To date the most unprecedented environmental catastrophe of our time...
Monday, May 10, 2010
Historic Downtown McKinney Local and regional artists will come out to play in Downtown McKinney. McKinney Main Street invites you to come down and visit the shops in Downtown McKinney hosting artists representing every mix and medium of art.
Over 50 artists will showcase their art forte in store fronts throughout downtown. A series of uniquely decorated frogs line the downtown streets to guide shoppers into shops during the event. The ArtWalk is a perfect opportunity to come down and experience the magic of the historic shopping district.
The weather is just right to enjoy the day with your family and indulge in shopping, dining and art of all kinds. For more information please visit www.downtownmckinney.com or call McKinney Main Street 972.547.2660.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Discover Lost Edges and meet the artists on opening night, Saturday, May 8th from 7–10pm. Through June 9th at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios, 107 S. Tennessee in McKinney, Texas.
"When two ecozones meet a transition zone is established. It is a special place, an edge, where the richness and diversity of life is expressed. Lost Edges is a photoshow which explores the edges where those things created by humans interact with nature. It is those special places which begin to return to their origins if they are not maintained by their creators. Don Simmons and Guy Giersch have traveled to those places in order to capture where the edges exist and through their lenses capture the beauty expressed where these two worlds collide."
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Come see our work!
McKINNEY, TEXAS - April 20, 2010 -Beauty and decay seldom go hand in hand, yet the photography of Guy R. Giersch and Don Simmons compels viewers to grasp the imagery of twisted beauty found in the decay of the built environment. Their images engage one to reflect on what has been and what is yet to come. Viewers gain insight into the past that is lost yet is somehow becoming more beautiful as the ravages of time bring it to its ruin.
The exhibit, Lost Edges, presented by Laura Moore Fine Art Studios showcases the photography of two notable McKinney based artists, Giersch and Simmons, who impart a distinct visualization of the decaying landscape, documenting a lost sense of time and place. With their cameras, Giersch and Simmons produce experiences that temper what one sees, allowing the observer to experience a visual language rich in beauty and imagination born in images of a landscape in decline.
Laura Moore Fine Art Studios embraces the vivaciousness of Second Saturday celebrations in downtown McKinney where art galleries and other downtown businesses extend their normal business hours into the evening to celebrate the arts and community with live entertainment, spirits, and food. Discover Lost Edges and meet the artists on opening night, Saturday, May 8th from 7-10pm. Through June 9th at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios, 107 S Tennessee in McKinney, Texas. Hours: Mon-Sat 1-5pm or by appointment. Free admission. 214.914.3630. www.lauramooreart.com.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Worse Than 1789?
on May 2, 2010 10:46 AM
Sunday, May 02, 2010
"Using the oil company's and government's best-case estimates, we can't see how major catastrophe can possibly be averted. Even if a relief well is managed perfectly and their two month time frame holds true, two months of this volume of flow guarantees a Gulf-wide (to include both Florida coasts) tragedy. If things are not managed perfectly - and throw in the odd hurricane or visit from old Mr. Murphy - things could immediately become exponentially worse."