Books & Writings by SPam McGee

Alaska Short Stack Stories, Series I, II, & III ~ Alaska's Deadliest Sin-Drill Baby Drill ~ Alaskan Company Man ~ Eklutna Lake Worrier ~ From the Fifth Floor ~ Hannah Cove ~ My Journey to Landes House ~ Poemetrics ~ Quinn the "Tanik" Eskimo ~ S.O.S. from Beaver Lake ~ The Teachings of the Swamp Fox ~ Trans-Alaska-Pipeline Funny Stories ~ Spirit Dog & the Ghost Wind


Beware an "Eyes Only" Site
Stories All About Alaska and More...
Contact the Ghost of Spam McGee
We All Tweet in a Twitter Submarine: @AlaskaChinook
(CopyRight Protected)

~ This Machine KILLS Fascists ~
Solidarity National Anthem
"This Land Is Your Land"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

City of Bigotry Love

Even though there exists a budget shortfall in Anchorage, newly elected Mayor Dan “Little Brat” Sullivan has opened a new office at the main municipal office building in downtown Anchorage. It is an office specifically reserved for Jerry Prevo and the main objective of the “devils” presence at the main municipal headquarters is too make sure there exists no longer a separation between state and church. Please call (907) 343-7100 and ask for Jerry, to welcome him to his new office wherein his main objective is too disenfranchise righteousness with government and continue to hijack the “will of the people”. If the receptionist keeps telling you that Jerry isn’t there, tell her to look under Dan’s desk, as the “Closet Man” might be on his knees praying to some fake “Almighty”. And call again that same phone number in efforts to congratulate Dan and Jerry on Anchorage’s new slogan, “City of Bigotry Love”. Bottom line, the entire Anchorage Assembly’s “good faith” obligation to hear out the people and vote “for all the people” went hijacked by Sullivan’s latest veto, based on pressure from the Prevolites. Those out there that believe there should be a separation of church and state should immediately boycott Sullivan’s political future and aspirations based on his vindictive attitude towards being “different” with his ban on discrimination here in Anchorage. And I say this about that. If Prevo can have so much influence upon “OUR” government by spending time, money and effort to change the vote of the people after the Assembly has spoken and Sullivan has been not the Mayor during such emotional debates on this issue, then Prevo’s organization has too much disposable income. Sullivan should have recused himself away from the Assembly’s vote realizing that Prevo set a trap, too delay the Assembly’s vote until Sullivan was sworn in. It is as clear as day verses night, the people have been skunked! So maybe it is time to tax the bastards, like Prevo and his ABT theatre of hypocrisy! Now that my true American friend is a way to fill in the budget shortfall. And I say this about that. Anchorage relies upon tourism. This city should be boycotted as not so friendly a city to visit, as discrimination is alive and well, and when it hits home, maybe corrupt politicians will realize that the “Corrupt Bastards Club” is not what the people care for any longer, as we are so tired of preferential treatment towards a select few special interests, like what Prevo has managed to construct, at the expense of Constitutional righteousness.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Anchorage's Mesothelioma Nightmare

Alaska has always been considered a unique state, most of the time that sentiment towards its unchallenged natural beauty. But one cannot always judge a book by its cover. So on the environmental atrocity scale, this state may tip the scale. Sure there came the EXXON Valdez wreck wherein crude oil devastated reality of pristine environments and ecosystems unaffected by human abuse. And there was the radiation fallout scare out at Amchitka - but what about the asbestos Armageddon that occurred right here at “ground zero” Anchorage? What am I talking about? It all started back in the early 50s. In efforts to fuel a growing military presence, Army and Air Force bases were placed on the drawing boards and money was appropriated to place Alaska front and center as a defense against cold war invasions. Now military bases need heat and electrical energy, lots of it, to heat military housing and electricity to light the runways. Out at Elmendorf Air Force Base, a 45-Megawatt central heating and power plant was designed and built, and for years was part of the Government Hill landscape. In fact, even though some 50-years old and still running until 2004, it was considered a modern day power plant by stack emission standards when it was converted from coal to natural gas back in the 70s. Something the air quality community was happy about! Now this emissions thing doesn’t measure or try to control everything that can belch out of a power plant’s smoke stack. It doesn’t include “asbestos”. The original plant used all of the modern marvels of engineering, like asbestos insulation covering every piece of pipe, in efforts to conserve energy. As a matter of fact, back then the construction concrete for massive foundations upon which the plant was erected contained “asbestos” as a fire retardant. Now this type of power plant uses fuel to heat water to steam, similar to what you may find heating your own house, except on a scale thousands of times greater. With six running furnace boiler combinations, this place was a heat source of gigantic proportions. So even when it was winter like conditions outside and hovering at zero ambient temperatures, inside a plant like this it is short-sleeve 100 degree weather - were maintenance workers have not a problem sweating for a living. But over time, this heat takes a toll on things, like the “asbestos” insulation. When the plant was new, the pipes were encapsulated with an asbestos fiber that was rigid and was not a threat to the environment. But over time, it breaks down, called friable – wherein the solid fiber breaks down to a powder like form. As an example, the same display that occurs when you step on a puff ball mushroom, wherein thousands of spores go air borne with the slightest of disruptions. It was the same at the EAFB Central Heating Power Plant in the last years of its life. The plant was operated through contract by Chenga, an Alaskan Native shareholder corporation - from Prince William’s Sound. See, the EXXON Valdez wreck thoroughly wrecked this village’s subsistence lifestyle, so they needed something to fuel a missing infrastructure, so came the lucrative contracts with the United States Department of Defense. This was at the beginning of the “No Bid” contracting era between private entities owned by Native Americans and the U.S. government. The preferential treatment type contracting wherein competition is missing in action. The shareholders really had nothing to do with the business specifics, so in reality, it was just another Ponzi scheme controlled by “white” businessmen capitalist. Sidebar: This was all started by Ted Stevens and his buddies, wherein the Native Corporation were used as a shell against prosecution for profit. Basically, the native corporations for the most part were just a parent company that reaped a little money to fuel their infrastructure devastated by other “white” man atrocities. It snow-balled out of control and now the Native Corporation “No Bid” phenomenon is front and center in controversy. Bottom-line, one cannot blame the Natives for what has come of this free-for-all handout from Uncle Sam gone crazy. Blame the politicians, like Ted, Don, Frank, MoanaLisa and newcomer Begich. Anyway, since the EAFB power plant was scheduled to be shut down - due another Ted Stevens’ atrocity move wherein friends benefited and the taxpayer was screwed over - very little to none with respect to maintenance was performed. It was considered a waste of money. And money wasted away from the contract meant less money in the coffers and I am sure that in itself affected the top management’s end-of-year bonus! So no action meant letting asbestos fallout run the gambit, as a majority of the plant’s insulation by now was in a state of disrepair and such a health problem that it would have allowed any other plant under “worker’s rights” to be closed down by the EPA. But this was a military base installation still, even though the plant was privatized - so the EPA stayed away. In fact, all floor sweeping brooms were confiscated! Efforts to sweep meant disrupting the years of settled dust, which contained asbestos - loose and friable - that if disrupted would go airborne. In fact, at the recommendation of the military brass, the entire asbestos problem could have been remedied for about 5-million, but the management decided against any further remedial work, as that meant spending money and towards the end, that meant wasting money away from the contract’s profit margin. Now the furnaces used to heat water to steam utilize a “negative” pressure, like your household vacuum cleaner, like when you turn on your kitchen oven fan. But with a whole lot more sucking action! In fact, if one were to open an overhead door in the wintertime, it was like a blizzard, as the negative pressure would suck in the snow. And in the summertime, it was the best way to control the mowed grass clippings. See, it was all for appearance. The work-crew would spend more time manicuring the lawn, as that was something the top brass could see while driving by the plant. It looked good from the outside, but inside it was a different tune, it was an environmental nightmare, an escaping nightmare at that. But due the fact that the power plant was now privatized, it was really out-of-sight out-of-mind those in uniform and once in control. There was a definite separation! And maybe the brass had more important things to do, like mobilizing troops for the Iraq conflict. Now in efforts to save money on energy consumption, as that also paid handsomely the contractor, the inlet air heaters were tuned off. Usually combustion air is heated at the expense of wasted energy in efforts to support the combustion process. Cold air doesn’t cook as well as heated air. But this caused problems, as the cold air entering the ductwork allowed bearings on giant fans to freeze up, causing run-up and run-down problems. It would cause the CO readings in the furnaces to go critical, which was dangerous. So in efforts to stay cheap, the ductwork was opened up to suck in plant air, that which was already heated from the furnaces’ background heat. But that is where the problem existed. The suction was so great that it would suck in anything that went airborne. And the lift created by the “negative” draft supported things to fly where no things have flown before, including the friable asbestos that was in such bad shape that it could be seen floating around when a pipe went into vibration, due water-hammer, or some other type of upset. It was not unusual to see little piles of asbestos from a pipe vibration accumulate then disappear over time, sucked up into the air. Now management was required to test the air, but seemed not to do it on any regular schedule, or during shutdowns, startups – when it would have been a good indicator of something not good for the workers. And testing didn’t come cheap! So it usually went by the wayside. Remember, it is all for profits. They just didn’t give a rat’s ass as the bottom-line towards the end and the sentiment remained, take it all to the bank. During that ending, when the plant was close to being shut down and some workers became concerned about the state of affairs with the free-flowing asbestos, tests were performed by an independent, but some of the tests mysteriously disappeared? And the re-testing that was performed showed no signs of asbestos, which was rather peculiar because the workers could see it plain as day. Why the samplers never caught any fly-by asbestos was simple, as the velocity of the air from the negative draft was causing vortices around the devices used to collect any loose asbestos, so the samplers could not retrieve a representative sample of what was really floating around the plant. It is believed that the “missing” samples may have been situated in such a way as to get a direct hit of asbestos, and would have shown massive amounts of asbestos on the loose, getting sucked into the furnaces, not annihilated by time and temperature, and sent out the stacks upon Anchorage proper. Now the stacks utilized were low elevation type, not like you envision with modern day power plants, so anything that made its way to freedom was distributed all over Anchorage, as part of the breathing air. The management was so dumb, na├»ve or in denial over the asbestos problem, that they would invite in grade school classes from the base! See, this was their way to reinforce upon themselves and others - including the workers and 3rd graders - that there was nothing wrong! And the workers couldn’t disrupt anything in the plant, not even a broom was allowed, a plant that looked good from the outside but inside remained as filthy as a New York City back alley slum! In ending, for years the EAFB power plant belched copious amounts of partially burned friable asbestos airborne out the six operating furnace stacks, targeting Anchorage and outlying areas. This stuff would not be destroyed by the furnaces’ high temperatures and would end up free-flowing into the air, and most likely breathed in by this city’s unknowing residents. If you were here during those years, there is a possibility that you may have sucked in some air that seemed alright - remember it looks good from the outside - but there comes the possibility that it was laden with asbestos fibers. And it takes only one fiber in the wrong place at the wrong time to cause mesothelioma, a devastating decease of the lungs. It may be years before the effects of loose asbestos confronts and alarms the general public here in Anchorage, but I am sure that some day will be looking for answers and find only excuses as the culprits seek immunity and preferential treatment, just like they have always done at the expense of others. And now that the landmark power plant is missing in action with commencement of the wrecking ball and the leftover asbestos has been so carefully packed up and sent somewhere outside for annihilation, this tidbit historical is testament that we should be on the lookout, as Mesothelioma may be coming to a neighborhood near you!