Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - "You need to be charged with a crime!"

Port Townsend, today. You may recall as BP CEO Tony Hayward began his opening statement before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, a woman poured what appeared to be oil on her hands and face disrupting the hearing. She yelled, in part, "you need to be charged with a crime." (It was a jar of syrup!)

She was escorted out of the hearing room by capitol police while continuing to yell that "Hayward should be charged with a crime and go to jail."

At the time, no one seemed to know who she was, and the incident quickly became overshadowed by Joe Barton's asinine comments.

One of the pleasures I derive from "doin' my blog" is the challenge of discovery. To that end, here is the same woman we saw last Thursday, in a more flattering pose.

So who is this lady?

Meet Diane Wilson, 61, a fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain from Seadrift, Texas. A mother of five, activist and co-founder of Codepink for Peace. She was featured in a PBS Series "Natural Heroes." The episode, called TEXAS GOLD, profiled her brave actions that have earned Diane Wilson the title of "An Unreasonable Woman!"

Diane first became involved in environmental issues in 1989 when she learned of neighbors' health problems, dolphin die-offs and reduced fishery catches. The Toxic Release Inventory listed Calhoun County, the rural area where she lived, led the national list for toxic emissions, from a diverse array of companies such as Alcoa Aluminum, BP Chemical, Carbon Graphite, Dow / Union Carbide, and DuPont.

Ms. Wilson became more engaged when Formosa Plastics requested a waste water permit for a major expansion in Calhoun county. Together with an affiliated non-profit, Calhoun County Resource Watch, she succeeded in pressuring the company through calls, letters, litigation, and non-violent protest to accept a zero-discharge goal, with full recycling of their waste water stream. Other companies are now following suit.

Book by Diane Wilson you may enjoy: An Unreasonable Woman: a true story of shrimpers, politicos, polluters, and the fight for Seadrift, Texas. - 2005.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - Louisiana Light Sweet Crude

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"

When reporting the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico, news programs often bring up jargon or issues that are not explained or not fully explained. The Great American News Machine has not provided much information about the petroleum, or oil, spewing into the Gulf. So I went looking.




As we recall from high school science class, the name petroleum is combination of two Latin words "petra" rock and "oleum" oil. Petroleum is a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons along with impurities such as sulfur. "Oil" and "petroleum" are commonly interchanged with each other.

Petroleum was formed as dead plant and animal life decayed. Over time, compression and heating of large accumulations of this material created petroleum. Petroleum is a complex mixture consisting of up to 200 or more different organic compounds, mostly hydrocarbons.

To the average citizen, it is just plain oil. However, petroleum or oil, comes in many different types and varieties.

This hyperlink takes you to a PowerPoint presentation, "Introduction to Petroleum Geology." Click on hyperlink, which opens Google Document. To advance pages click your mouse anywhere on the page.

"Crude" references the raw unprocessed liquid, as it exists in the earth and prior to refining. Crude oil is classified on many criteria including its relative weight, sulfur content, and geographical location.

Relative Weight: Petroleum is further classified as being "light" or "heavy." "Light" means low in tar. Tar is the heaviest component of all the hydrocarbons that are in a barrel of oil. So a barrel of light crude is less dense and therefore lighter than a barrel of "heavy" crude.

Sulfur Content. "Sweet" means low in sulfur below .5% by volume. Sulfur is a problem because when it burns, it creates noxious compounds that pollute the air - that rotten egg odor - and fouls machinery and it is hard to separate from the oil. Sweet oil is easier to refine than sour oil, so the sweetness refers to desirability rather than taste. It probably would actually taste better too, if you wanted to taste it. Sulfur tastes horrible.

Geographical Location: Depending on what died and where it died, we end up with many different types of crude petroleum. For example, oil recovered from Prudhoe Bay is known as "Prudhoe Bay Crude" oil. There are large deposits of Sweet Oils in Alaska, Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, West Texas (referred to as WTI - West Texas Intermediate), and Louisiana.

In the Gulf of Mexico we find Louisiana Light Sweet Crude petroleum. This is what is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Louisiana - geographic location
  • Light - relative weight
  • Sweet - low sulfur content
Louisiana Light Sweet crude produces, among other products, gasoline, kerosene, and diesel. The sweetest crude oil in the world - lowest in sulfur content - is produced by from Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria.

This presentation demonstrates equipment and process we euphemistically refer to as "drilling for oil."

video

This introduces you to the terminology and process. Furthermore, this is a land-based operation, with the blow out preventor at ground level. The Deepwater Horizon's well and BOP are 5,000 feet - almost a mile - beneath the surface!

We hear the "volume" or "amount" of oil expressed as "barrels," abbreviated as "bbl." One barrel of oil equals 42 US gallons.

John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil began manufacturing 42 gallon barrels that were painted blue for transporting petroleum. The use of a blue barrel, abbreviated "bbl," guaranteed a buyer that this was a 42-gallon barrel. The extra "b" has stayed with us.

The final step is to transform crude oil into the products we depend on, the process of refining. Refining is a simple yet very complex process of heating crude oil and extracting from its vapors the products we know as gasoline, diesel, lubricating and so on. The graphic illustrates the volume of product extracted from a barrel of oil.

Watching the oil gush from the earth is like watching puss issuing forth from a festering carbuncle. The cozy tarnished cabal of politicians and "profit at any risk" oil barons, is a disgrace to the oil production industry. Perhaps Deepwater Horizon is our wake-up call, demanding renovation and reform.

It was Harry Truman who once said, "Unrestrained, the oil barons will bring the US to its Knees."

See Also:
M/V Joe Griffin and the Magic Box
Tragedy in the Gulf

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - The Misconstruction of Joe Barton

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"

I guess my fascination with Tony Hayward of BP comes from my intense interest in geology as a kid. The family often went to Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. I'd take Dad's eight-pound mallet with us, and spent hours cracking rocks open, looking for geodes. I'm sure the parents wondered where they'd gone wrong with the dawg and me; as I was busting rocks open, Maggie was shoving them around with her nose.

I took a shot at geology in college but ended up in journalism. As I mentioned yesterday, Mr. Hayward began his career as a geologist, working on some of the most dangerous offshore platforms in the world, off the Coast of Scotland. And worked his way up through the ranks. He knows the oil business literally from the ground up! I admire the man for his accomplishments, in a highly technical complex profession.

Don't be mislead by his ostensible lack of knowledge when the committee asked him to comment on "casing hangers" or "centralizers." (He was probably slightly amused to hear them fumbling around with the terminology.) Remember, Tony was hand picked to become CEO of British Petroleum (BP -2001) because of his extensive understanding of the "Hole-to-the-Pump" processes.

Instead of pleading the 5th Amendment privileges one is accustomed to hearing in US trials, he demonstrated creative variations on "I was not there" "I was not involved in the decision" and "I did not know that was done."

You have to remember that the Federal Government has launched a criminal investigation into the 11 lives lost on the Deepwater Horizon. So being in that position, it was not surprising that Tony failed to respond to questions, undoubtedly being rehearsed by corporate attorneys, admonishing him that "Anything you say can and will be used against you."

There is an active crime scene some 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. You can take it to the bank that once, if ever, the oil flow is contained, the Blow Out Preventer will become critical evidence in the criminal investigation. Authorities need to know if the BOP failed, and if it failed, what caused it to fail.

I was startled to see the Great American News Machine announced today the replacement of Tony Hayward, implying it was the result of his appearance before the House.

Not so! The management change was announced two weeks ago! On June 4th, BP announced in the UK Guardian that Tony Hayward was being replaced.

"Hives off" is a quaint British term dating back to 1856, meaning to "spin off" - break away from. In a bid to isolate the "toxic" side of the company, BP America will be run by Bob Dudley, a Mississippian, who carries his own set of luggage into the fray!

The most shocking event of the day was the Committee being blind-sided by Joseph Linus "Joe" Barton, an aging (September 15, 1949)"card-carrying Texas Republican oil man."

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billon shakedown."

His startling apology to Tony Hayward and BP insinuated that the Administration had "shaken down" BP to establish an escrow account for post oil spill damages.

This disgusting person is the Ranking Member of the Energy Committee. "Smokey Joe" Barton does not come to the table with clean hands. This is the same Joe Barton
  • who, along with Bush, Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney helped set "America's Energy Plan" behind closed doors with the oil industry, which can be traced to the Deepwater Horizon.
  • who said we "Shouldn't regulate CO2 because it's in your Coca-Cola." And along with Bush, Tom DeLay and Haley Barbour, helped Bush renege on his campaign promise to control CO2 emissions.
  • who crudely told a press conference that "Henry Waxman doesn't have the nuts" to pass energy legislation.
Haley Barbour and George Bush

I remember as a kid when we were studying about the Congress and the Senate in Civics, we'd stage mock debates in class. Learned how ideas became laws. We were all under the impression that these people had character, honesty and were "learned" intelligent, great thinkers and planners.

With the revelations of such pervasive collusion, misconduct and neglect by the Oil Industry, part of me wants to say, "This had to happen; it was the only way to clean out this festering nest of corruption."


Even in my elder years, I naively expect that when the country is confronted with a common crisis, partisan politics should be set aside. All hands should "be on deck" pulling together to find and implement a solution.

But comments made by other Republicans in support of Joe, led me to the conclusion that no matter what state of emergency hits this country, partisanship trump's solidarity. So to that end, I designed a new logo for the Republican Party.

How ironic that one of the truly great politicians of our time was a Republican!

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Abraham Lincoln
Springfield, Illinois
June 16, 1858

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - Tony Haywards Journey to Congress

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"



Almost from the beginning of the Deepwater Horizon incident, I've been interested in learning who BP's CEO Tony Hayward is, and how he found himself staring into a boiling cauldron of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

What I appreciated about Mr. Hayward when I first read his background, was the fact that CEO, BP, was not bestowed upon him as an aristocratic reward.

Watching him this morning thread his way carefully through the House Hearing minefield, it is interesting to see how he has progressed from his humble beginnings as a working geologist on dangerous offshore rigs off the coast of Scotland, to become a very formidable CEO who knows his first responsibility is to the Corporation.

Here is Tony Hayward's "Journey to Congress:"

  • Anthony Bryan "Tony" Hayward, CCMI (Companion - Chartered Management Institute.) Born May 21, 1957, in England, the eldest of seven children.
  • He grew up in Windsor, on the outskirts of West London. His accent still reflects his roots in the Thames Valley. He went to a grammar school and then to Birmingham University to study geology before gaining his PhD in Geology at Edinburgh.
  • Tony and his wife Maureen, a geophysicist and former BP employee, have two children, Kieran and Tara and make their home in England.
  • Hayward lists his interests as sailing, triathlons and watching football, rugby, cricket, and a devoted fan of West Hamilton United Football Club. They also go skiing each year, often in Vail, Colorado.
  • 1982. Joined BP. First job as a rig geologist in Aberdeen. Advanced his career through technical and commercial roles in BP Exploration.
  • 1992. Moved to Colombia as exploration manager.
  • 1995. Became president of BP's operations in Venezuela.
  • 1997. Returned to London as a director of BP Exploration. He became group vice president of BP Amoco Exploration and Production.
  • 2000. Appointed BP group treasurer. Responsibilities included global treasury operations, Foreign exchange dealing, corporate finance, project finance and mergers and acquisitions.
  • 2002. Became an executive vice president.
  • 2003. Appointed Chief Executive of exploration and production.
  • 2005. Appointed a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI).
  • 2007. Appointed Chief Executive Officer of BP, succeeding John Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley, who left BP under the cloud of a sensation sex scandal.
  • April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
  • June 17, 2010. Requested to appear before the Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In a 14-page letter, the Honorable Henry Waxman details the Committees findings on the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon, to which Mr. Hayward is requested to respond.

I encourage you to read this letter carefully. In it you will find weeks of speculation, theory, and misinformation will begin to succumb to the truth surrounding the chain of events leading to the deaths of 11 souls on the Deepwater Horizon.

CLICK TO READ

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - Of Walruses and Sea Otters

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"




Deepwater Horizon, April 2010 [AP]

Two controversial documents we've been hearing a lot about as the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico continues are the "Oil Spill Response Plan," and the "Drilling Plan" submitted for approval to the Minerals Management Services under the Department of the Interior.

Oil Spill Response Plan. This is the document which seems to prove that BP merely did a "cut 'n paste" from their Prudhoe Bay Plan, in that it lists protecting "walruses" and "sea otters," page 249, not generally found in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the document that lists emergency phone numbers for organizations that no longer exit, and a prominent professor, who passed away 5 years before the plan was published.

This fact made for some uncomfortable minutes for the oil executives, during today's five-hour hearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

[OBAHEAR]

Oil company executives, from left, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Chevron CEO John Watson, ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva, Shell Oil President Marvin Odum and BP America President Lamar McKay testify Wednesday. (Reuters)

Rep. Ed Markey, chairman of the House subcommittee, and one of BP's most vocal critics, toyed with the oil executives the way a cat does a mouse:

"As I mentioned in my opening statement, the Gulf of Mexico response plans for ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell are virtually identical to BP's and just as deficient. As you can see by looking at the covers for these five plans - on the screen and over my head - the pictures are the same for each plan.

All that is changed is the color of the cover of the plan from each of the companies seated at the table. Mr. Tillerson, like BP, on page 11-6 of your plan, ExxonMobil's Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response Plan lists walruses under sensitive biological and human resources.

As I am sure you know, there aren't any walruses in the Gulf of Mexico and there have not been for 3 million years. How can ExxonMobil have walruses in their response plan for the Gulf of Mexico?"


Click to Read

And as it came out in the House Hearing today, all the oil companies are using this same plan, with obvious changes in name, and different tinting color, and same erroneous information. Shocking evidence of the shenanigans taking place at the Minerals Management Services during the previous administration, and further evidence of Big Oil's contempt for the general public.

Drilling Plan. The Drilling Plan, is the "rule book" if you will, that states what BP's responsibilities during drilling operations on Mississippi Block 252. This plan is submitted to the Minerals Management Services (MMS) of the Department of the Interior.

Analysis and approval of the plan by MMS are necessary before drilling is permitted. In essence, it is supposed to insure that the licensee will drill in a responsible manner and has made contingency plans to handle all foreseeable emergencies. Reference Paragraphs 2.5 and 2.7:

Click to Read

Of course, as damages are inflicted upon the Gulf coast beaches and estuaries, it is interesting to find this paragraph within the document:

14.2.3.4 Coastal Wildlife Refuges - An accidental oil spill from the proposed activities could cause impacts to coastal wildlife refuges. However, due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.

All this paperwork is so much smoke and mirrors that obviously no one in the Federal government has paid attention to. The oil companies have been operating by their own game plan, without regard to character, honesty, or integrity. Out of sight, out of mind, 42 miles offshore.

"We could not have stopped the Gulf oil gusher," ExxonMobil chief told Congress. Rex Tillerson and other oil bosses say they would have stopped drilling if they hit the problems BP faced.

The bottom line to this Gothic horror story was enunciated most succinctly by Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who said British Petroleum has effectively admitted to "making it up as they go" in regard to finding a solution to the spill.

If this is true, sounds to me like they should not have been drilling out there in the first place.

See Also:
M/V Joe Griffin and the Magic Box
Tragedy in the Gulf

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - A Common Denominator

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"

For me, the most distressing aspect of the loss of the Deepwater Horizon is the arrogant attitude BP projected from the beginning. The interview of Michael Williams, Chief Electronics Technician and survivor of the Deepwater, by Scott Pelly on 60 Minutes, Sunday May 16, 2010, reinforces that opinion.

As I watched the interview, I was struck by the comments Mr. Williams made about the damaged annular seal in the blow out protector, and the decisions made between BP and Halliburton to replace heavy drilling mud, as much as 14 pounds per gallon, with much lighter sea water, approximately 8 pounds per gallon, to prevent gas from making its way to the surface.

As you watch the interview, pay particular attention to the role Halliburton allegedly plays in this gothic horror story.

The Deepwater Horizon incident was preceded last fall by yet another offshore drill rig losing its seal and blasting gas and oil into the Timor Sea, off the Australian Coast. The Australian accident, known as the Montara spill, began Aug. 21 with a blowout of high-pressure oil similar to the one in the Gulf.

I'll wager you never heard of it.

Montara's crew escaped unharmed and there was no immediate explosion or fire. But with the well spewing 17,000 to 85,000 gallons per day, precious weeks passed before the relief wells were started.

Four attempts were made to drill a relief well, on October 6, 13, 17 and 24. Finally, as the 5th relief well was being drilled, Montara Platform and West Atlas Drill rig finally exploded into fire.

It took 3,400 barrels (142,800 gallons) of heavy mud pumped through the relief well, bringing the incident under control on November 3rd, 2009.

While the companies involved in the Australian and American accidents are different, there is a common denominator:

Halliburton was the concrete work contractor in both the Montara and Gulf of Mexico spills.

A Halliburton employee, David A. Doeg, testified to the Australian commission investigating the incident, that he made the problem worse at the Montara well by re-pumping concrete during an incorrectly handled procedure before the blowout. But Mr. Doeg testified that he was taking direction from PTTEP AA (substitute BP) managers. Sounding familiar?

The Montara spill differed from the gulf spill in some ways that made it easier to stop, and in other ways that made it harder to stop. To begin with, the Montara drilling platform was operating in water that was 250 feet deep, while the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig leased by BP was on a seabed 5,000 feet deep.

It is interesting to note the Montara oil well had no blowout preventer on the sea floor. The oil spill is ravaging some 10,000 square miles of southern waters, and experts warn the effects may take as long as 7 years to mitigate the destruction. Halliburton's role in the Gulf of Mexico disaster is also under scrutiny.

In a statement Halliburton said it was "premature and irresponsible to speculate" on the cause, and that they were cooperating with investigations into the spill.

See Also:
M/V Joe Griffin and the Magic Box

Tragedy in the Gulf

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Turn the Volume Down!"

Port Townsend, today. For the umpteenth time, I've been jolted by a gawd damn TV commercial in the middle of a quiet dramatic scene. It's worse when you live in an apartment and try to be a decent neighbor. I was in the shower the other day when suddenly there was a hullabaloo in my living room, which I could clearly hear above the swooshing shower-head. It was that bozo salamander yammering about car insurance, until I stumbled into the living room and shut the cacophony down.

It's not your imagination that commercials are lots louder than the programming. People have been griping about it for years. I'm not sure just when the restrictions on commercial loudness became irrelevant, but the erosion of broadcast standards the way I was taught them, is just about complete.

I'm sure it's a Republican phenomenon; tied into the deregulation of the broadcast industry and the gutting of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission).

Do you trust the Federal Communications Commission?

But finally Congress is doing something about it. The House has approved S2847, the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM.) Act. It will require the FCC to regulate broadcasters to keep the level between programming and commercials the same. At last check S 2847 was in Committee this past week. Even if it gets everyone's approval, it will allow broadcasters two years to implement a solution.

Naturally.

What is pathetic about this is, the technology to maintain a constant volume output level, regardless of input source, has been with us since the 1960's. Broadcasters kowtow to advertisers who could care less about inconveniencing you.

I worked in radio in the 1960's as a DJ and news director in Oregon and Washington. All the electronics were tubes; records were vinyl, played on a turntable by a live DJ, usually with a catchy moniker so you'd remember who he was. Mine was, "Del Day." As in you "never have a dull day with Dell Day."

News copy came into the station from United Press International or Associated Press on a teletype machine, tucked away in a broom closet to muffle the chunk chunk chunk that chugged away 24 hours a day, seven days a week, devouring purple type ribbons and boxes of paper. Radio was fun.

Every broadcast control room had a ton-and-eighty of humming electrical gadgets. There was one small, innocuous rack mounted piece of equipment that stood guard between the public at large and the animated disc jockey, screaming commercials, and whatever music format being peddled to the public; the Gates M-5167 STA-LEVEL.

The Gates Sta-Level did exactly that. It was the final stage between the control room and the transmitter, receiving incoming volume units, processing and leveling them out to consistent level. In fact, in those days, the public was so sensitive about NOT being hammered by used car dealers that a refinement of the Gates Sta-Level appeared on the market just after I moved into training and video production.

A fellow by the name of Mike Dorrough invented the Dorrough Loudness Monitor with a patented technology he developed to give broadcast and recording engineers a true indication of "loudness" as perceived by the human ear. The audio loudness monitor has been in use worldwide in radio production, motion picture production, posting, music mixing, and dubbing applications.

Hailed as the definitive stabilizer between programming elements, the Dorrough Loudness Monitor directly attacks that "fall back position" argument broadcasters still peddle to "dumb audiences." They call it "perceived audio differences."

Call your local TV station and complain about the volume difference between programming and commercials. I bet they give you the "perception" routine. They will explain to you "Well, it's just your imagination. You think the commercials are louder just because they are commercials!" Or my favorite oldie but goodie, "Well, commercials are recorded using sophisticated audio production equipment to make them sound "clearer!"

Just remember where you learned the truth!

Both of these units are available off the shelf right now. Dorrough's been around since the 1980's. And there has been a resurgence of the Gates system, which has been "rediscovered" by the recording industry. And could be in use right now, IF your broadcaster was truly interested in "self regulating." But they will continue to snub their nose at the "dumb public" until federal regulation finally stops the abuse.

Of course the usual gang of righteous lawmakers yammer on about "let the market place regulate itself!" And the TV industry supposedly has standards to self-govern. So are enjoying "self governing" or "market place regulation?"

Of course not.

Well I'm not waiting around for the wheels of justice to creak along. So I am gong to purchase a Terk VR-1 "Automatic TV Volume Controller." Placed in line between my satellite receiver and audio system, it is supposed to deliver a smoother audio level.

I'll give it a spin and let you know how it turns out!