July 9, 2010
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Central Library at Night
Staff from the Seattle Public Library met with the Seattle City Council today to begin hashing out funding issues for SPL beginning in 2011.
All of us here at the library (full disclosure, I am a denizen) are very well aware of the the funding shortfalls in our budget; it’s costing us jobs (fortunately taken care of through attrition rather than lay-offs, but it’s pinching) and operating hours. Plus we get a week off, unpaid… again… Many city and county departments are doing the same thing. It’s also being felt in our collection development, meaning we don’t order as many titles, or as many copies of popular titles, as we would have prior to the economic downturn.
In doing a quick read it appears that there are a half-dozen or so proposals on the table and about all of them will require legislative action and a few will pit SPL’s funding against the needs/wants of other city departments. Not a pleasant position to be in.
Larry Lange at seattlepi.com sums it up pretty well:
Even with a $50.9-million budget this year, the system will have to lay off three staffers and has cut back hours at 15 branches to deal with a revenue shortfall.
This year’s capital budget for maintenance was cut 37 percent, and libraries are likely candidates for more spending reductions as the City deals with a general-fund budget revenue shortfall estimated at $121 million through 2012.
Read the rest of his article here, it’s a good overview.
The raw Statements of Legislative Intent (SLIs) aren’t exactly thrilling tales, but they are pretty enlightening reading. One thing that caught my eye, though, was a metric they are using; per capita cost. Read more of this post
July 6, 2010
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As of this moment somewhere north of 85 Million gallons of oil has been leaked into the gulf. Depending on whose numbers you take on either spill this is from 3 to 15 times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
Over the course of several disasters, natural and otherwise, nothing is being learned. Or rather, an amount is being learned, but that learning is not being applied. Prior deficiencies have not been rectified, prior mistakes are being repeated.
There is a certain proximity the Gulf spill has to the political arena, unfortunately, apart and aside of the business interests involved. There is also a political aspect that is fully meshed with business and finance. (and I could fill this and many more posts about it’s huge impact on disaster response over time. don’t tempt me, I might still, but it’s alotta work.) These stymie the application of common sense to current response or future preparedness. Read more of this post
June 23, 2010
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Can’t seem to get the widget to embed properly so here’s the link to NPR’s feed that includes the widget, live cams, and various reportings. [EDIT: It appears I’d have to install WordPress on my own server as the hosted site has an aversion to embedded iframes. Simply not worth it as nobody but I reads this thing…]
For conversion purposes: A Barrel (bbl) of oil is 42 gallons, so the lowball setting on the widget of 1.47M gals/day equals about 35,000 bbl. High estimate last I heard was 60k bbl or about 2.5M gals.
One possible reason BP is lowballing estimates, and I’d bet it’s a large concern, is that civil penalties carry a price per barrel of $4300. On the low side of 35k bbl that comes to $150.5M per day.
A side note, but one I hope will get attention in the coming weeks:
Louisiana residents 45 miles off the Gulf of Mexico claim to have videotaped an oily substance raining down. Worst case scenario? It’s petroleum mixed with Corexit, the cancer-causing dispersant BP’s spraying on its oil slick. Best case scenario? Dirty roads.
[Corexit] is associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems as sides effects at high doses to clean-up workers. 2-BE has also been documented to cause the breakdown of red blood cells, leading to blood in urine and feces, and can damage the kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow of humans – effects not included on the information sheet for workers.
We heard about workers experiencing headaches and nosebleeds almost immediately after dispersant began to be used…
The full article is here and worth a read.