Comments by Eckermann

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Posted on January 24 at 9:08 p.m.

Where do I start? Firstly, this is a very old refinery that specializes in high-sulfur content crude and gases (it actually extracts and sells elemental sulfur from the crude oil liquids and gases) and only makes intermediate products (no gasoline or diesel fuel is produced there). It has been plagued with environmental pollution problems since at least the 1980s, perhaps before that. The air quality on the Nipomo Mesa is unhealthful due to the pollution from that refinery. The facility produces a highly toxic waste product call petroleum coke, which they used to sell in raw and calcined versions but the market for which has severely declined so that it is now simply piles of toxic waste. Secondly, rail transport of petroleum products is inherently more dangerous than either pipelines or ships (I draw this conclusion simply from the comparative numbers of spills and explosions from those three petroleum liquid transportation methods). Thirdly, if Phillips wants the mention of Bakken crude removed from the EIR, then they should be able to live with a condition that no Bakken crude will ever be received at the Santa Maria Refinery, a condition which I am sure they would refuse to accept. Finally, this refinery was built to refine (into intermediate products) crude oil from southern Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, Northern Santa Barbara County, and the San Joaquin Valley. If those fields are played out, then the refinery as come to end of its natural and intended life. As some native American tribe used to opine (maybe it was just a movie line), "nothing lasts forever but the mountains and the sky."

On SLO Refinery Wants Oil by Train

Posted on January 19 at 3:04 p.m.

Dr. Dan, it has been a while since I read the Dworkin, but as I recall he based his arguments on the fact that feelings like awe and rapture were real regardless of whether or not science could explain them (my memory may not be accurate here). In fact he rejected the position of most materialists that things are real only if they can be subject to scientific inquiry and scrutiny. He was a very smart guy, but I don't buy his argument. Belief in things for which there is no scientific evidence and which are in fact contradicted by all scientific evidence (such as magic, the survival of individual consciousness after death, and so on) is simply relying on faith. Unlike religious folk, I am not wedded to my current world view, if things that I believe are so can be shown by science to be untrue, I will drop those believes like trash into a bin. Religious people, in my experience, hold on to precepts with tenacity and vigor despite evidence that the beliefs are not true. You are correct about one thing though, I am an ignorant lout and there is not enough time in my life to learn all that I wish to learn.

On Junipero Serra, Ready for Liftoff

Posted on January 19 at 1:49 p.m.

There are two reasons why this conversation is silly. Firstly, it is silly to attempt a rational conversation about religion because, for some reason, the proponents of religious ideas are exempt from the process of the scientific method and rules of rational discourse. Since acceptance of religious precepts requires only faith and no proof or reason it follows that whatever a religious person believes about the world is inherently true. That does not leave anything about which to argue. Secondly, humans have been merrily slaughtering each other ever since we have walked on the Earth, long before we invented religion. Considering how frequently we engage in murder and choose depictions of it as entertainment, one could conclude that it is our second favorite activity, next to the act of procreation. Humans have never needed and currently do not need religion as an excuse to kill each other. If Christianity, Islam, and Judaism were to somehow vanish off the face of the Earth, the tribal tensions that are responsible for all the violent conflicts among humans would not be suddenly resolved. Now there I've gone and put much more time into this silly string of posts than I ever intended to do.

On Junipero Serra, Ready for Liftoff

Posted on January 18 at 8:43 p.m.

Like all religion, this is silly and really not worth even a smidgen of any person's time. Silly, silly, silly.

On Junipero Serra, Ready for Liftoff

Posted on January 14 at 7:33 p.m.

This is just another case where Wallar's arrogant, autocratic, and inept management style proved to be a disaster for Santa Barbara County. She was a disaster in San Diego as well, but San Diego County sources (except a few who blabbed to friends) kept their mouths shut in order to get rid of her. She thought that she could fire a perfectly competent employee who just happened to get cancer and need a little accommodation while he recovered. The whole issue of having the professional engineer designation on his business card being the best excuse to fire him demonstrates how weak her grounds were. During my career, I used to role my eyes at the PE appellation on business cards (especially those from certain states that were famous for having simple testing requirements). My first boss got a PE in California despite the fact that is bachelors degree was in biology and he never took a single engineering class (ok, he was a very smart guy, but still...). The County is going to have to pay a pretty penny for Wallar's malfeasance and she will never be held accountable for it. How she ever rose to the positions she held, I will never be able to discern.

On Judge Sides with Fired County Manager

Posted on January 13 at 9:10 p.m.

Well John Tieber I just don't know where to start. My first instinct was to attack you as a danger to society. But I'm not going there. Let me you tell you a personal story. Both of my parents barely survived childhood due to infection (my father suffered from osteomyelitis and my mother suffered from a kidney infection) before there were antibiotics. It is amazing that they both survived to have children. My father was a career military officer and by the time I turned 14 I had lived all over the U.S., in Europe, and Asia. My siblings and I have been vaccinated much more than most children. I have been vaccinated against diseases that no longer plague the mainland U.S. I was once vaccinated against 6 strains of flu all in the same day (three shots in each arm). While living in Asia, the medical personnel came to our school and we lined up to get our booster shots. My siblings and I remained robust and healthy. We are now all old and retain our general good health despite the depredation of age. My military brat friends, as a group, never seemed to be the worse for all the vaccinations we received. If an epidemiologist really wants to study the effects of vaccinations, they should round up all the old military brats from the 50s and 60s and see how we did. By the way, I never contracted pertussis or polio or small pox, or cholera, or yellow fever, or any of the dozens of strains of Asian flu against which I was vaccinated (I did get measles and chicken pox for which there were no vaccinations when I was young). Neither did my siblings and neither did any of my military brat friends. Based on the experiences of my life, I had my children vaccinated against all the common diseases. They are today healthy adults who have never contracted polio, pertussis, small pox, chicken pox, measles, or mumps despite being exposed to all these diseases. So I am the first to admit that the experience of my siblings and me and that of my children does not constitute a scientific study. However, John Tieber needs to address such anecdotal data in order to provide any validity to his claims.

On Infant Dies from Whooping Cough

Posted on January 13 at 5:52 p.m.

Congratulations Eric! I remember Eric from the late 80s when he looked like scruffy surfer, his hair all bleached out and frizzy above his ears and that untrimmed moustache. He was always a bright kid and now he's Chief. Good on ya Eric!

On Eric Peterson Named New County Fire Chief

Posted on January 13 at 2:45 p.m.

We are such a mobile society that diseases such as pertussis could come from nearly anywhere. The most important thing is for people to get their children vaccinated. People who opt out not only put their own children in danger but they also endanger the entire community. When I was a kid we were all vaccinated and nobody was given an option not to be vaccinated. Thus diseases like polio and pertussis which had been common became rare and were nearly eradicated. Even if we "closed the border," which is impossible (the Soviet Union and East Germany could not even accomplished closed borders with severe military dictatorships), we could not prevent the movement of diseases around the globe. The only way to combat these diseases is through preventative vaccination. Make sure your kids get their shots.

On Infant Dies from Whooping Cough

Posted on January 11 at 9:15 p.m.

Yikes! Get the Winchester out of the attic mother, the Minutemen are coming to town. Honestly, my father was a hunter and I grew up with guns and have owned many during my life. But I gave them up as one gives up childish things. Are we now to put up with fanatic gun nuts roaming about Del la Guerra Plaza at all hours protecting the News Press building from tagging? Can we just go back to being a small fishing village with a university and some high tech defense business out in Goleta and few rich people in Montecito and a little tourism business on the side? Life used to be so simple. I'm beginning to wonder what it would be like to have the lights back on Highway 101. Those were the days.

On Protestors Blast <em>News-Press</em> Headline

Posted on January 10 at 9:27 p.m.

I was going to "wallow" about 14noscams use of the word "subjective" (of which I believe he/she and I must hold different definitions). However, JarvisJarvis, in deference to your desire to have the very last word, there you have it. Indeed, enough bashing a simple target such as an inferior and poorly produced publication that is the Santa Barbara News-Press. Enough of shooting at ducks in a barrel. Indeed, let us cease wallowing and move on something else.

On Protestors Blast <em>News-Press</em> Headline

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