Archive for 24 Feb 2009

A summation of the 11 most expensive catastrophes in history:

# 11. Titanic – $150 Million

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ‘ s dollars).

# 10. Tanker Truck vs Bridge – $358 Million

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

# 9. MetroLink Crash – $500 Million

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles . It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging.. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

# 8. B-2 Bomber Crash – $1.4 Billion

Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ‘ re only #7 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety. 

# 7. Exxon Valdez – $2.5 Billion

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world’s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ‘ s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

# 6. Piper Alpha Oil Rig – $3.4 Billion

The world’s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ‘ s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ‘ s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

# 5. Challenger Explosion – $5.5 Billion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ‘ s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ‘ s dollars).

# 4. Prestige Oil Spill – $12 Billion

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

# 3. Space Shuttle Columbia – $13 Billion

The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ‘ s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ‘ s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history.. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics..

# 2. Chernobyl – $200 Billion

On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

# 1. 2008 Presidential Election

$800 Billion in the first two months and there’s more on the way.

Here’s a couple of great reads by Victor Davis Hansen:

Our Battered American

I am meeting a few battered Americans these days. There are not many left, but those that are seem to sound alike. Yes, I think I am beginning to understand Mr. Battered American, and he sounds tired and a bit like this.

“I’m sorry Mr. President, but we are just not dictatorial in the Middle East. You said the Saudis, not America, showed courage over there. But, Mr. President, the Saudis, they live under Sharia law! And my God!—they once engineered crippling oil boycotts against our nation. And wasn’t it they who produced 15 of the 19 killers on 9/11? So no, Mr. President, those Saudis—they simply are not courageous. Now Mr. Biden, there is no reason to set the reset button on foreign policy, as you promised all those Europeans. None at all. Tell that resetting stuff instead to Ahmadinejad, Chavez, that Korean nut, Putin, and all the other thugs who kill and cause misery, but not to our America that saves and feeds and helps. Mrs. Clinton, it’s now your turn. We are not impulsive as you told the world. So you can stop apologizing for America’s recent behavior—unless you think the world would be a better place with the Taliban, and Saddam and his two boys in power. Or maybe Europe should have Schroeder and Chirac back, or Libya with nuclear weapons, or Khalid Sheik Mohammed freed from Guantanamo. Or maybe America shouldn’t have given that $15 billion for AIDs relief in Africa, or helped with earthquakes in Pakistan and tsunamis in Indonesia. Now all that was sorta impulsive.”

As he thinks about this apology business, the battered American always gets a little angrier, “And another thing. Mr. Holder, I’ve never said or done a racist thing in my life, not one. Always supported equal opportunity, always will. So don’t call me a “coward” or my countrymen “cowards,” not when you’re my Attorney General. You are The Attorney General of the United States of America, so please, no more playing Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, leveling the latest shake-down charge on television. That’s not really in your job description to call your own countrymen “cowards.” When I was in high school I was taught that name-calling like that might be what they said was “projection.” So maybe, just maybe, you have been cowardly—and arrogant too—but not those whom you accused of all that. At least if someone asked me to help pardon a fugitive on the FBI’s most wanted list, I would have said “no.” Always, no exceptions, period! Anything else? That would be cowardly.”

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And another:

Some Reflections in the Times of Hysteria

Imagine…

Had anyone said a few months ago that the federal government would step in to provide a trillion dollars to subsidize gasoline—to bring it down to $1.85 a gallon nationwide from prices that were exceeding $4 a gallon—we would have had a national debate. And yet as quietly as the Iraq war cooled down and was ignored, so too we think nothing of the hundreds of billions of dollars saved in reduced energy costs. For the average driver who puts 15,000 miles on his car per year, the annual savings (depending on regional prices, miles per gallon, and the amount and type of miles driven) could reach $1500-2000.

Or contemplate again: What if the Chinese had announced three years ago that in a spirit of good will they would begin buying trillions of US Treasury bond at a .5% interest rather than the 3-5% of the recent past. The result, of course, would be a multi-billion-dollar stimulus for the indebted US economy that would enjoy a temporary reprieve from the cost of its indebtedness. (Remember, in the Carter years T-bills and US bonds were paying out 8-12% and more).

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Balance the budget he says. “I’ll cut the deficit in half by the end of my term” he says. My ass I says. How can he say that with a straight face? Unreal.

You’re not off to a very good start. What’s a few billion dollars here, or there amongst friends? I’ll cut back later. Better yet! I’ll raise taxes and not cut anything that has a semblance of socialism in it.

You’re funny! And not just in the looks department either!

How to be a Left-Wing Budget Balancer

The Obama administration has barely had time to get settled into the job, yet the actions of this new president have already transitioned into the surreal. Under Barack Obama, every problem facing this country comes with a liberal remedy and a huge, taxpayer-funded price tag. Economy in trouble? Throw money at it. Banks failing? Throw money at it? Mortgage mess? Throw even more money at it?

Obviously, there are numerous problems with this approach, and they all fall under the umbrella of “common sense.” However, common sense is an attribute in short supply in Washington, DC. What’s even crazier than the proposed socialist solutions by Obama and company, is the fact that Obama is now screaming about the deficit. Does anyone really think that Obama or the liberals in Congress would actually cut any government program with the exception of the military and defense?

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Why do the Democrats Demon spawn refuse to redistrict in a fair manner instead of gerrymandering? Because they would lose election after election. America isn’t a socialist nation. It’s been proven over and over. Here’s a good article on it:

Redistricting and the census:

The Coming Battle of Reapportionment and Redistricting

By Bruce Walker

The decision by Senator Gregg not to become Commerce Secretary is the first round in a vital battle over reapportionment and redistricting. US Code Title 13, Section 2 provides “The Bureau [of the Census] is an agency within, and under the jurisdiction of, the Department of Commerce.” Article I Section 2 of the Constitution states that Congress, not the President, defines the census process. If President Obama tries to politically manage the census process, he will violate federal law and the Constitution.

The number of representatives each state gets depends upon the number of people in each state, as counted by the census every ten years. Because there are a fixed number of House seats to be divided among the states — 435 House seats — reapportionment is a zero sum game: a state can only gain House seats if another state loses House seats. The Left wants to replace the census count with a census “guess” based upon a formula. Any formula will be based on politically charged assumptions, like assuming that ten percent of Hispanics do not respond to census workers, so the number of Hispanics in a canvassed area is “assumed” to be ten percent higher than the actual count.

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Yep. More lies on top of lies. They all do it to some degree. They all need to be held accountable for it as well. Even the Obamassiah.

The Stimulus Bill broke 7 Obama promises. From Sweetness & Light:

1. Make government open and transparent.

2. Make it “impossible” for Congressmen to slip in pork barrel projects.

3. Meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. (Even Congressional Republicans shut out.)

4. No more secrecy.

5. Public will have 5 days to look at a bill.

6. You’ll know what’s in it.

7. We will put every pork barrel project online.

Related:

Obama Promises Bipartisan Action on Deficits

By Edward Luce in Washington

Barack Obama on Monday launched what he promised would be an enduring bipartisan process to bring down the fiscal deficits that have started to explode under his watch.

Mr Obama, who called 130 lawmakers and members of think-tanks to the White House for what he described as a “fiscal sustainability summit”, added that by the end of his first term, he would halve the budget deficit he inherited from George W. Bush.

He also promised to deliver a more transparent budget that would factor in the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, natural disasters and the likelihood that Mr Bush’s tax cuts would expire in 2010. Mr Obama’s headline budget is due to be announced on Thursday.

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Related:

Obama’s Promises (and Lies)

President Barack Obama has began breaking his campaign promises almost immediately and continues to do so today.

During Barack Obama’s campaign he promised a 5 day waiting period after Congress approves a law before signing or vetoing it. This so-called “sunlight before signing” period was to ensure the citizens had plenty of time to review the legislation and provide their input to the White House.

Obama SCHIP Obama’s own campaign website stated “Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”

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