I wish they would identify the REAL problem…

The new agency, which would be called the National Preparedness and Response Authority, or NPRA, would have responsibility both for natural disasters, such as a hurricane, and a possible terror attack.

While the NPRA would be within DHS, it should be a “distinct entity” and should be protected from diminution by the department. Numerous witnesses testified that FEMA had been stripped of resources and power in recent years, making it less nimble and effective.

“The Director would have a direct line of communications to the President during catastrophes,” the report reads.

The committee’s recommendations went into great organizational detail, calling for more regional offices than the 10 FEMA now has, the consolidation of three interagency coordinating groups into one and greater funding for preparedness at the state and federal levels.

Amazing how things come full circle. They’re saying what many are saying without really saying it. huh? Yeah that’s return FEMA to an independent agency. Why? Well FEMA used to have a direct line to the president. FEMA used to have resources and power. FEMA seemed to work fine during the september 11th terrorism attacks. Amazing what FEMA has asked for (noted back in the post-katrina days) is now being said should be given to some other agency?

Of course now I can’t find the quote regarding how FEMA is broken due to a lack of leadership and funding…a quote made by a senate committee member. Think about that for a second. Read into that a bit. Who decides the leadership? Who decides the funding? So…who’s broken?

BUT, take the cash cow out of Homeland Security? Take away the Homeland Security privelege tax from the FEMA cash cow? Preposterous.

Its a wholesale housecleaning…..of an acronym.

Of course the problem isn’t this crazy DHS thing. Duh.

FEMA’s a good idea. DHS is not. Its creation was political, a ‘yes we’re doing something to change things due to sept 11th’. Why create an independent agency within a department? How does that make sense? I’d love to be there when this ‘independent agency within a department’ goes straight to the pres and the chertoff-esque guy is left out. That doesn’t work within the framework of politics nor the National Incident Management System.

Its the regulations that are the freaking problem, but they can’t admit that. That would mean votes.

Get your gas – NOW

After I overheard some conversation among Wawa supervisors at their Glen Mills store about possibly running dry on some gas pumps by this weekend, and then seeing every station filled with cars waiting to get gas, I went on-line to see if there was some sort of gas shortage in the area. The following is taken from the Philadelphia Inquirer web site.

Problems at refineries have disrupted some supplies. AAA warned that problems could continue for weeks – and drive prices higher.

By Harold Brubaker, Edward Colimore and Marc Schogol
Inquirer Staff Writers
Tanker trucks wait in line to fill up at Pacific Atlantic Terminal in South Philadelphia. Gasoline supplies have been disrupted in the Philadelphia and New York markets as refiners have run into problems working to replace a gasoline additive with ethanol. Some Philadelphia- area gas stations have had to close temporarily when they ran out of fuel to sell.
MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Inquirer
Tanker trucks wait in line to fill up at Pacific Atlantic Terminal in South Philadelphia. Gasoline supplies have been disrupted in the Philadelphia and New York markets as refiners have run into problems working to replace a gasoline additive with ethanol. Some Philadelphia- area gas stations have had to close temporarily when they ran out of fuel to sell.

As if rising prices weren’t enough, the tanks have run dry at some Philadelphia-area service stations in the last few days as the refining industry stumbles through a change in the formulation of gasoline.

Oil refiners are phasing out a petrochemical that makes gasoline burn cleaner but which also has been found to contaminate groundwater. Refiners are switching to corn-based ethanol.

The changeover is creating supply-chain bottlenecks because much work must be done at fuel terminals and service stations to handle ethanol.

The maintenance-related shutdown of one area refinery, production problems at another, and the change from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline are exacerbating the problems.

“There is truly a dearth of supply in the Philly and New York markets today,” Wayne Hummel, of Liberty Petroleum L.L.C., said yesterday. His firm supplies 40 stations in the Philadelphia region.

Hummel said four Liberty stations had run out of fuel the last two days, as tanker trucks drove from terminal to terminal, unable to find fuel. “It’s ugly. It’s very ugly,” he said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic warned drivers yesterday that gasoline-supply disruptions could continue for the next few weeks and contribute to higher pump prices.

The group said the average gasoline price in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs had climbed 52 cents a gallon – or 22 percent – to $2.85 since the most recent upturn began on March 7. In South Jersey, yesterday’s average was $2.71 a gallon, an 18 percent increase from a month ago. A key benchmark price for crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday was $71.95 a barrel, up more than $10 from a month ago.

Catherine Rossi, spokeswoman for AAA, said she knew of eight stations in the region that were out of fuel yesterday.

Areas of Virginia and Texas, also going through the ethanol conversion, have experienced similar supply disruptions, said Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Locally, gas retailers said scheduled deliveries had been late – sometimes up to a day or more – causing them to turn customers away.

Lou Stiles’ Sunoco service station in Mount Laurel ran out of gas at least four times this month. Yesterday afternoon, he ran out of regular and was waiting for a tanker.

“We’re a 24-hour operation and pay two men to stay on when there’s nothing to do but wait for a load of gas,” said Stiles, who has operated the station at Route 38 and Hartford Road for 40 years.

As of 6:25 p.m., cones were blocking the gas lanes at the station.

Jai Kulkarni, owner of a Lukoil station and Kwik Farms convenience store on Route 23 in West Conshohocken, said he was out of gas for about four hours Wednesday. He kept the convenience store open, but he closed the pumps – at a cost of $200 an hour in lost sales.

At that station yesterday was Vinnie Zambuto, a 31-year-old graphic designer from Coatesville who said he had never seen a dry gas station before encountering one last week. Recalling the gas shortages of the 1970s that his “parents keep talking about,” he said he hoped the new shortages were short-lived.

“I’m hoping it will work itself out.”

The conversion to ethanol was prompted by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, which left refiners vulnerable to groundwater contamination suits and mandated greater use of renewable fuels. The use of ethanol forced gasoline retailers to clean their tanks, remove all water from them and install extremely fine filters on their pumps.

Ethanol is a solvent that picks up any gunk in tanks and readily blends with water. Those properties could ruin a 9,000-gallon tank of gasoline at a huge cost to a retailer.

It costs up to $1,500 to clean tanks, said Kevin S. Kan, president and chief executive officer of American Auto Wash Inc. in Malvern, which operates 18 stations in the region, including 13 BPs that have converted to the ethanol blend.

Ethanol is logistically more complicated than the petrochemical it replaced – MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether. Refiners could blend MTBE into gasoline at the refinery and send the finished gasoline through pipelines to terminals.

But ethanol must be blended into gasoline at the terminal because it would mix with water if it were sent through pipelines, ruining the fuel. So, fuel terminals have to go through a similar process of cleaning tanks to store ethanol before it is blended.

They must also install blending equipment.

Independent gasoline distributors said few fuel terminals had gas yesterday. Those that did, such as the former Exxon terminal in South Philadelphia now owned by Pacific Energy Partners L.P., had trucks waiting four hours for fuel because the terminal was filling trucks in only two of the five lanes that they use normally. “We are doing our best to activate the others,” said Jennifer Shigei, manager of investor relations for the Long Beach, Calif., company.

The three companies that operate refineries on the Delaware River – Sunoco Inc., Valero Energy Corp., and ConocoPhillips – declined to discuss the supply situation in much detail.

Valero spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown said the company’s Paulsboro refinery began blending ethanol yesterday, but did not respond to a question about a disruption there this week.

Shannon Breuer, a spokeswoman for Sunoco, said the company was “focused on being a reliable supplier” and was confident that any problems would be short-term.


Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

Primary just the Beginning

As you know I’m running for the 164th District seat in the PA Legislature, representing Upper Darby, Drexel Hill, East Lansdowne and Millbourne. I don’t want to abuse this blog by posting self-serving political appeals. So if you find this post out of line then please delete it.
Yesterday Mr. Heron, editor of the Delco Times, wrote an editorial basically saying that we in Delaware County don’t care about who represents us in Government. I disagree. Just because we don’t protest in the streets doesn’t mean we don’t care. We have families, jobs, responsibilities that are more important than politics at this point of the year. When the time comes Mr. Heron will find that we do care, and care deeply. Of course I would prefer to win, but I prefer more that we are not accused of being sheep who blindly follow to the slaughterhouse.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The embers of discontent are still burning in Delaware County, and in November the blaze will erupt. One can only scream so much before the voice grows hoarse and needs to rest and recuperate. Be assured that memory has no such need, people are not forgetting that their Legislators betrayed them. I’ve spoken with hundreds of people and visited countless homes, most of them are quietly waiting for November to pay back that betrayal. Howard Beale is dead but the “mad as hell” is alive and well.

Look at what’s happened thus far. A vote for the minimum wage, a giveback of the raise, and attempts to make up for their arrogance. When I organized the Delaware County protest against the payraise, little did I realize that the result would be to remind our Legislators that they work for us and not that we work for them. Even if I don’t win the election, the fact that reminding those who have represented us for too long that we do care is a victory. But I do plan on winning. New ideas and a respect for those who we wish to represnt is a breath of fresh air to those who have been taken for granted for too long. Your opinion that threre won’t be much turnover has validity. Those in power have incredible advantages against challengers, particularly a 20 year old challenger whose opponent has been in office longer than I’ve been alive. Even with that the people I’ve met are ready for a change and I’m preparing to be the best Representative Upper Darby has ever seen. My opponent’s big claim is that he delivers, but that’s only part of the job. I’ll deliver too, but I will never forget that I’m the employee and the people are my boss. I guess what I’m saying is don’t underestimate the power of the silent majority who care more about integrity of our Legislature than the fact that it’s always been this way so why expect anything different. I think you’ll need an extra large printing of the Delaware County Daily Times on November 8th.

Casey R. Roncaglione
State House Candidate
164th District

Nicky Yarris: Just A Punk

Yeah Nick, you read it right. You and I met a long time ago in Southwest Philly. (65 & Dicks)

I just started dating my girlfriend Sheila and you came around acting all bad. Stay in London. Although you were found “innocent” by “DNA” your morbid account of your knowledge of Linda Mae Craig’s murder makes me sick.

What I’m getting at is the fact that you told a lot of people that you knew what happened to her, only to save yourself from some drug charges, and in the end , you almost became burnt toast. BTW, So everyone in Philly did YOU wrong?

Pleeze! Just stay away, I remember you from the past and your far from being a Saint.

Why am i posting this? Check out my referrer logs for tonight.

LATW

Something Screwy Going On

I recently transferred this blog to my WordPress one. WP messed up everything. Also, our web site database server was down. I am wondering if there are any web hosting providers in the area (Not ones who have their servers out west.)

Anyway, I’m testing stuff here. Please disregard this post.

P.S. To the spammers/shills who are attacking this blog and our forums. Get a life.

Meth in Delaware County

I met a woman in Delaware County with a big problem, and I’m sure she’s not the only one. Meth has destroyed her life. She lost her children, has no insurance to pay for rehab and steals to feed her addiction. Meth is an insidious drug. It takes over a persons life and is sure to end it prematurely. I don’t know what we can to to solve the problem but there has to be a way. This meth problem is going to cost us all. There are not enough jail cells for those who are hooked on this drug. The saddest part is the effect on the children, innocent victims who suffer from the actions of those who use. This epidemic is only going to get worse and as always good people are going to end up wit the bill. We need a blue ribbon panel of local leaders to deal with the problems that are just about to explode into an epidemic. These users weren’t forced to use, but we have to do something to help them. They are our neighbors and they deserve our help, if not for them but for us.

Curt Weldon – Below The Belt


I received an email concerning Curt Weldon, and what he said concerning Joe Sestak’s choice of hospitals (Like it matters Curt?)

A statement from Joe Sestak on Congressman Weldon’s remarks in the
Hill newspaper this morning regarding their daughter Alexandra:

Congressman Weldon’s remarks to the Hill magazine in a story
published this morning regarding my daughter Alex’s treatment are
inappropriate. To imply, that I should have sent my daughter to a
hospital in Delaware or Pennsylvania for political purposes is beyond
the pale.

I understand the political arena. I knew that this campaign would
thrust my family into the media spotlight and we are prepared for
that. But I want to make it very clear to Congressman Weldon, that
any remarks regarding my daughter, Alexandria’s, treatment will not
be tolerated.

Like many families dealing with illness, we have had our challenges
in the last year. Through the grace of God, the many prayers of our
friends and family, and the wonderful doctors and nurses, we have
made it through this experience with our daughter Alex, who continues
to inspire us everyday.

Though we recognize the important work done by the many hospitals in
and around Philadelphia, it was our personal choice to have Alex
treated in Washington at the Children’s Hospital because of its
outstanding work on pediatric brain tumors. This decision was based
on many things – none of which were political.

This was our choice as Alex’s parents and as I have said publicly, I
believe these medical choices should be left in the hands of parents
and family members throughout the country and not in the hands of
beauracrats, special interests and especially not in the hands of
politicians like Curt Weldon.

Now about Joe’s daughter. She was dianogsed with a malignant Brain tumor last year and was given three to six months to live. Mr & Mrs Sestak chose to have her Chemo treatments done in Washington D.C. Curt Weldon took it upon himself to chastise his opponent by suggesting treatments could be done in PA or Delaware.

My question to Curt: Would it have been okay to have her treatments done in Russia?