Florida-born and pulling for BP

Terry Garlock's picture

In Pensacola, Fla., where I grew up, where the crystal white sand reflects the mid-day sun to make a glow along the beach you can see from the roadway even when the water is hidden by dunes, where the double-dose of sunlight will force your eyes to mere slits without sunglasses, where as a high school student I often swam to the offshore sand bar to snorkel at low tide, where turquoise is a special water color telling me the winds are onshore and the water calm and snorkel-friendly, where my siblings and 86-year-old mother still live, where I always drive to the beach when I visit family there because it draws me like a strong magnet, the pristine beaches are being fouled by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The tourist economy is being wrecked and countless lives are headed for financial ruin.

In Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, just across the Alabama Point bridge where at the apex there is a million-dollar view of the inter-coastal waterway inlet and sugar-white beaches in both directions, where fishing boats clustered at the Perdido Bay coves are still at their docks instead of far out in the Gulf of Mexico, where I sometimes rent a fifth-floor corner condo at the Pelican Pointe high-rise with a panoramic view of the beach and sliding glass doors to leave open at night to be put to sleep by the pounding surf, phones ring constantly with vacationers canceling reservations.

In Destin, Fla., where as a schoolboy my dad took me deep sea fishing for red snapper many times on Cpt. Ben Marler’s boat named Her Majesty, where my family has a reservation for a beach condo next week and I have arranged for a small boat captain to take us on a red snapper trip with emphasis on the kids, locals are tense in their knowledge the oil is coming very soon, angry that their community’s livelihood is suffering and poised to get much worse.

I’m angry, too, but maybe we should pause to ask ourselves where our anger should be directed?

Why was BP drilling in mile-deep water where solving a leaking pipe problem becomes a nearly impossible task?

If you call yourself “green,” then maybe your answer is “greed,” they are seeking to make profits from their risky venture. Exactly so, and while BP is not a domestic company, the foundation of our capitalist American system is taking risk in pursuit of rewards, even though it seems the American notion of risk is fading away, trying to follow the death of common sense and customer service.

We now look to our government to absolve us of risk, to deliver the stable, comfortable life we have come to expect as our birthright. We are raising generations with little understanding of risk but with a very firm grip on the notion of rights and guarantees.

Every leap forward in progressing civilization has involved the calculation of how much risk to take, whether the objective or potential rewards make the potential consequences of failure worthwhile.

Going to the moon involved enormous risk. The June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion was far from a sure thing, teetering on the brink of pulling back until General Eisenhower took the risk and personal responsibility to give the order.

When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, the outcome was anything but certain, all of them subject to be hanged for treason by the British, the most powerful military force in the world at the time.

How would the blame games of TV news affect those risky ventures if they happened now?

Oil companies take massive risks in the mountains of regulatory obstacles they must overcome, in the exploratory wells they drill hoping for a big strike, making calculated bets they will make huge profits.

Of course we forget the corporate corpses littering the economic landscape when companies fail, and the current administration has made bashing capitalism a new art form, making “profit” into a dirty word, demonizing the corporate world that provides us our jobs, campaigning against those who have realized their dreams of riches.

We also forget that it is we, the consumer, who benefit from the products of the fossil fuel industry, which has given us the mobility of the automobile, the airplane, plastics, medicines and a thousand other by-products, including the convenience of flipping a switch to turn on the lights.

Drilling for oil involves risk, meaning risk of lost money when a well doesn’t succeed, risk of government regulation adding new layers of costs and restrictions, risk of spills and cleanups.

When political gas-bags step up to the microphone in front of TV cameras to stomp their feet in anger at BP, I can’t help but wonder if they drove to work today in a car, if they fly on airplanes, if they realize the products they use and the clothes they wear contain oil by-products, whether they even know the oil industry provides 9.2 million jobs in the U.S.

When true believers preach the evils of fossil fuels and push the virtue of clean energy like windmills and solar power, I wonder if they realize those alternatives can likely replace no more than 5 to 10 percent of our energy needs.

I wonder if they remember their environmentalist movement prevented the start of new nuclear power facilities in the U.S. for decades.

I wonder if they realize the onerous EPA regulations they championed have prevented any new refineries in the U.S. for over 30 years while TV news and the public squawk at oil companies when supply and demand spikes gas prices.

When someone uses the mobility provided by oil and uses electricity for lights or computers, or for a microphone in front of TV cameras, their message of conservation is lost on me. I’ll consider them to be serious when they live the austere life of the Amish.

There are cries of frustration insisting that our government do something about this oil spill. I agree. Our government should stop covering their backside and currying your favor and your vote by pointing the finger of blame at BP.

Our government should cease and desist their public chatter about the Justice Department conducting a search for the guilty unless and until an actual allegation of a criminal act exists.

Our government should treat BP as a partner in bringing all public and private resources to bear on the problem, even from other oil companies and other countries, to stop the terrible mess in the Gulf.

Our president should stop his shameful tactic of using this crisis to sell his idea of new and punitive carbon taxes.

And there is one other thing our government should do that would be their hardest task of all.

Our government should admit its own complicity in making the risk of drilling far higher than it needs to be by severely constricting on-shore and shallow-water drilling, by gobbling up tax money from every gallon of gas we buy at the pump – far more than the oil companies make — while barring construction of nuclear power plants. Our government should admit they are a big part of the problem.

So long as we use fossil fuels there will be the risk of oil spills and all the environmental damage that entails. I don’t know about you but as much as fouled beaches break my heart, I will not be living an Amish lifestyle, and that makes me a participant in the risk.

I don’t know if BP will survive the aftermath of the current disaster in the Gulf, and I don’t know if it was preventable by BP misdeeds. But I do know this.

I feel more kinship to the risk takers in the oil industry than I do with the self-righteous, self-promoting professional finger-pointers in Washington DC.

I hope BP comes through this mess and makes an obscene amount of money while they supply fuel and products you and I require.

[Peachtree City resident Terry Garlock writes opinion columns occasionally for The Citizen. His email is tgarlock@mindspring.com.]

carbonunit52
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Well, there are risks and then there are risks

I have no problem with people taking risks with their own finances, or their own necks. I do have a problem with taking risks with the environment, and especially when the bet loses. BP bet they could drill in mile deep ocean, take short cuts, ignore warnings, and win. They lost and now the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico is paying dearly. The Three Mile Island nuclear reactor #2 took similar risks, and lost. The result was a partial meltdown, a very near catastrophe that would have rendered a large area off limits for hundreds of years. The things that pass for logical I just can't understand.

The problem is addiction to oil, not by casual users, by hard-core addicts. All the signs are there: denial, manipulative behavior, self-destructiveness, no responsibility for the results of actions.

The Amish were mentioned a few times. One aspect of the Amish lifestyle to consider is that for the most part they are satisfied when they a making a living, and that living is as simple as it needs to be.

I think that blaming this mess on environmentalists is as silly as going dove hunting with Dick Cheney.

NUK_1
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Well said, CarbonUnit

100% agree. The oil addiction needs a major intervention but no one wants to step in and do it because it might be "unpleasant." W had the best chance so far in my lifetime to make serious progress in this regard and he totally blew it.

Garlock might need some anti-senility pills or something stronger because this was an article lacking in any common sense whatsoever and came off as just another rant from a whiner who doesn't like the fact that it's not the Leave It To Beaver days any more and never will be again. Grow up already.

I like most of what Garlock writes, but this was a real joke and went into territory that should be reserved for birthers and other tards. There are whiners on the other side of the globe about all of this due to British pensioners taking a big hit because the value of BP is taking a nose-dive and they dislike Obama's public criticism of BP's ineptitude. BOO HOO.

Cyclist
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You are right carbon....

about the Amish. So let's go party like it's 1699!!!!

Joe Kawfi
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Obama sings a song

OBAMA SINGS KICK A-- SONG

This is funny. This "president" has made himself the laughing stock of the American people.

S. Lindsey
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Terry excellent piece

Couldn't have said it better.. One correction.. Oil is not a "fossil" fuel but that's another argument for another day...

Gort
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S.Lindsey, can my mind

S.Lindsey, can my mind believe what my eyes see? S.Lindsey agrees to a government bailout for BP? So you agree with Tgarlock!

Quote:

“Our government should treat BP as a partner in bringing all public and private resources to bear on the problem, even from other oil companies and other countries, to stop the terrible mess in the Gulf.”

Why don’t you have your puppeteers at Freedom Works ask the Honorable Lynn A. Westmoreland to sponsor a bill so it can become law? They can call it the “Crony Capitalism Financial Heath Care Bill.” I wonder if you have to be a multi national to qualify or can American companies participate too?

One more thing, a week or so ago, you belittled anyone in favor of a government bailout of any kind and now you’re asking for one. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Want some Louisiana Hot Sauce to go with that crow you’re eating? Spin, Baby, Spin!

(Note to self: I wonder why I didn’t feel the tremor as the galaxy accelerated into a more ‘progressive’ rate of expansion?)

tgarlock
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Gort, I guess you have to be a liberal to

equate stopping the mess in the Gulf with a "bailout" and the assumption that means legislation and turning trainloads of money over to BP. You guys must be so eager to give away money your knee seems to jerk in that direction. Why is it you can't see that it is in the public interest as well as BP's interest to ". . . stop the terrible mess in the Gulf" even if that means bringing in experts and manpower and equipment from Shell, Exxon or even other countries and that a US president might be needed to bring such resources to bear?

Of course I'm probably compounding your error here by responding seriously to the spitball-throwing set.

Terry Garlock

Gort
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Tgarlock, actually Terry,

Tgarlock, actually Terry, when the news broke that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, caught fire, and eleven men were missing, I new the government needed to get involved. As time went by and the magnitude of the spill became clear, I don’t think an adult in the room didn’t recognize it. (Except maybe, Joe Kawfi.)

My objection made to S.Lindsey is based on his never ending bellyaching about our government not being capable of doing anything. All of a sudden he wants that same ‘ineffective government’ to intervene and “bring all public resources to bear on the problem.” Now that is news!

Although I did enjoy the opening lines of your opinion piece, the remaining 29 paragraphs and 1300 words were your personal point of view. I don’t doubt that you sincerely believe each and every word you wrote however, this is a public forum so you must have known, and expected, not everyone would agree with your point of view. Instead of defending your opinion, the only response we seen from you, so far, was to call people names.

S. Lindsey
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Obviously a serious lack of understanding

is your problem. Bellyaching as you say about how ineffective Government is and wishing it were not true in your liberal world is wrong??

I guess an ineffective Government to a liberal is as good as it gets..

I for one hope for better. But don't expect it.

Come on Gort use a little common sense for a change will ya.. You become more bonkers like every day.

To expect our Government to be able to respond to a National Emergency is what we really pay taxes for..

Gort
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S.Lindsey, okay buddy, I’ll

S.Lindsey, okay buddy, I’ll send you a bottle of Maalox instead of Louisiana Hot Sauce to help you with that bellyache. Will that make you feel better?

I’ve always had faith in our system of government and have said as much when expressing my views on this forum. The views you have expressed on this forum, have lead me to believe you to be an arch opponent of government and spin every current event as more proof of some conspiracy by the government against its people.

If you are now saying, you hope for a more effective government. Well, we now have something in common and I welcome you to my point of view! (Ta-Ta!)

Now if you could only get that name calling under control and actually talk that ‘common sense’ you tell me about, we might be able to debate an actual issue. If not, we can continue pulling on one another’s pig tails in the cyber funny papers.

S. Lindsey
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Gort.. No obviously not..

Telling TG that he wrote an excellent piece in no way is it implied I am for any bailout.. You quoted TG not me..

But good spin... tee it up try again and try not to shank it will ya...

Gort
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S.Lindsey, okay, let me try

S.Lindsey, okay, let me try it again.

Exhibit A

Quote:

Tgarlock wrote this

“Our government should treat BP as a partner in bringing all public and private resources to bear on the problem, even from other oil companies and other countries, to stop the terrible mess in the Gulf.”

Exhibit B

Quote:

S.Lindsey wrote this;

Terry excellent piece … Couldn't have said it better..

That sounds like you’re for a “bailout” to me. Unless you want to quibble and spin your way around what you mean by, “bringing all government recourses to bear.”

Davids mom
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Fossil fuel

Not for argument - just clarification.

Interesting definition

S. Lindsey
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Another possibility-DM

New Discovery backs theory that Oil is not a Fossil Fuel..

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59991

borntorun
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Terry Garlock - Comedian

This was written as a satirical piece of journalism, right? You know, along the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert style of comedy. I mean, come on. Please tell me you didn't write this with any intent of being serious. Please?

survivor33
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Garlock, no comedian!

I can not decipher either what he was trying to say!
In my opinion he was trying not to rile either side---oil interests, therefore conservatives, or those poor people on the gulf and a ruined Gulf of Mexico.
He is also calling this an unavoidable accident, it seems just like Palin.

One reads one paragraph and think you know what it said, and then a big question mark appears with the next one!

Garlock should have done what most other hypocrites have done----said nothing about this.

Braveswin
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Snapper season over

While technically snapper season may not be over, for all intents and purposes it is. A friend of mine down in Orange Beach, AL, showed me some beautiful snapper pics one day, then the next day told me that the fishing was virtually closed in Alabama waters due to the oil spill.

And you have the audacity to look to Washington to fix this problem that was aided and abetted by the Repugnicans in office pre-Obama? "Onerous regulations" - is that really how we got here? Is that why BP took shortcuts to safety - because there were TOO MANY REGULATIONS? REALLY? And why does "our president" now own this problem when so many other times and with so many other problems - like unaffordable healthcare - Washington is "intruding on the lives of taxpayers?" Why doesn't the free market own this one now? BTW, has anyone told you that oil is a finite resource that probably has already peaked in supply - certainly in economically viable supply? Oh, and while we have a free frontier of attitudes in this country on adequate regulation - in the financial services industry and the petroleum energy industry -- by all means, let's starting ramping up the nuclear energy industry, too. That way, when the nuclear Deepwater Horizon-like accident occurs and wipes out lives and livelihoods in interior America, we can blame President Obama because HE didn't do his job.

You don't have a response to any of that without coming up with some ridiculous circular argument. So, Terry, go back and stick your head in the sand on BP. Just watch out for the oil globs that are washing up and don't get them in your hair. Oh...I see your picture now...never mind.

It's sad what's been done to that ecosphere. Yet, it's pitiful to see people like you who are too pigheaded to change direction meaning we're doomed to more catastrophes like this.

Drill, baby, drill! Kill, baby, kill - life on the Gulf Coast.

tgarlock
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Sorry about your reading comprehension

disorder. Get well soon.

Terry Garlock

Gort
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Tgarlock, I thoroughly

Tgarlock, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the beginning of the first paragraph in your opinion in “The Citizen.”

Quote:

“In Pensacola, Fla., where I grew up, …the crystal white sand reflects the mid-day sun to make a glow along the beach you can see from the roadway even when the water is hidden by dunes, where the double-dose of sunlight will force your eyes to mere slits without sunglasses, where as a high school student I often swam to the offshore sand bar to snorkel at low tide, where turquoise is a special water color telling me the winds are onshore and the water calm and snorkel-friendly, ….”

It read like some pulp fiction ‘true detective magazine,’ they used to sell at the drug store in the rack above the funny books. Were you going for a tone and style reminiscent of Raymond Chandler? Not exactly what I expect to see in “The Citizen?” Please allow me to finish it for you.

Quote:

“… It was in these same warm waters of the gulf where I found love for the first time. I was a mere a school boy at the time and she was the abandoned wife of a conservative radio talk show personality. Somehow, someway, the invisible hand of fate brought us together on this particular day. As we swam, and snorkeled, in the sea, we shared a view of the sun gently setting on the horizon, lighting up a hot red sky. As the cover of darkness blanketed us from the prying eyes of the daylight she wrapped herself around me. The buoyancy of the gulf waters gave us a magical sensation like floating in the air. We closed our eyes and kissed for the first time. As I held her tightly in my arms I could hear her murmur the words I will never forget as long as I live, “drill, baby, drill... Drill, Baby, Drill... DRILL, BABY, DRILL!”

Thanks for the laugh.

survivor33
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Garlock: A favor

Have you decided that BP is not at fault? That the BOP was in good condition, and that BP had not gotten over 600 managing letters from the government?
And, were they simply ticked off at JEB Bush and others for making them drill in 5000 plus feet?
They sure showed the coast didn't they?

Their profits are insane and so are the managers!

Mike King
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Not Quite A Circular Argument....

... but it seems borntorun and braveswin are afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome.

First, we will and do look to Washington for leadership, but currently that void is growing faster than the size of the problem. Don't place blame upon just one of the political parties, its your Congress as a whole that regulates drilling. The current President "owns" this calamity no more or no less than Mr Bush owned Katrina. You are welcome to spin as you might, but when you engage big government you end up with a dysfunctional beauracracy.

Many solutions to ease the impact have been offered since day one, but the void I mentioned earlier can't/won't listen. Probably due to the same logic you used by inserting the healthcare issue.

borntorun
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Chill Mike!

Uh, Mike....I wasn't blaming Bush or Obama even though the argument could be made that had it not been for Bush/Cheney gutting MMS and pretty much any federal oversight with the oil industry, maybe this could have been averted or at least not as severe. No, the blame for this lies purely with BP. That was my point. The old saying goes...prepare for the worst...hope for the best was not obviously in BP's strategy. As for leadership void in Washington, yes I agree with you on that. But to blame leadership void for what is obviously a private industry failure is pretty damn stupid. As for the administration not listening to solutions, again, BP should be inviting other solutions to the problem. The problem with the Republicans is if Obama had intervened on day one, they would have been screaming he's a socialist trying to take over. Fact is the federal govt has no expertise with this problem. And unfortunately apparently neither does BP. Mr. Garlock's rather cavalier attitude about the situation is shocking especially for someone from that area. I'm sure the thousands of shrimpers, fishermen, tourist industry people who will lose their jobs would not appreciate his column.

S. Lindsey
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I suppose the Dutch ...

offering ships and booms 3 days after the event only to be told no means nothing.. How about that Maine company that told the administration they had miles of booms only to be ignored.. until now.. means nothing..

Face it btr Leaders lead and Obama has failed that test.. Just like Mike said the Oversight for Oil is with Congress not the President.. and just who has controled Congress for the last 4 years..?

Hint not he party of Bush.

PTC Observer
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Lindsey - government

As you well know government does nothing well, especially things that require quick action.

We should expect nothing out of Washington accept increased taxes and corruption.

This is political party independent.

borntorun
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S. Lindsey

I agreed earlier that Obama has failed to show leadership with this situation.

However, MMS is an agency within the Dept of Interior. And while Congress does provide oversight on energy issues, the reality is that the day to day control and operation of the Dept of Interior and MMS as one of its agencies comes from the Secretary of the Interior who is appointed by the President.

MMS gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA that assesses threats to endangered species and despite strong warnings from NOAA about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf. Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig. MMS also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of drilling proposals in the Gulf.

In September 2008, reports by the Inspector General of the Interior Department were released that implicated over a dozen officials of the MMS of unethical and criminal conduct in the performance of their duties. The investigation found MMS employees had taken drugs and had sex with energy company representatives. MMS staff had also accepted gifts and free holidays amid "a culture of ethical failure", according to the investigation. In 2009 the regional supervisor of the Gulf region for MMS pled guilty and was sentenced to a year's probation in federal court for lying about receiving gifts from an offshore drilling contractor.

A May 2010 inspector general investigation revealed that MMS regulators in the Gulf region had allowed industry officials to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency. MMS staff had routinely accepted meals, tickets to sporting events, and gifts from oil companies. Staffers also used government computers to view pornography.

Most of these infractions and illegal activities occurred on the Bush/Cheney watch.

If it makes you feel better, blame Obama, Congress, Capt Kangaroo or whoever. The fact is the fault lies with first BP for not having a plan in place for the worst case scenario and second with MMS which failed to follow established legal requirements and just plain common sense.

S. Lindsey
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btr make no mistake about it

both are at fault..

However, it is typical of government to react slowly if at all. The problem is lack of oversight and too much money going into the hands of politicians.

When has there ever been a Governmental agency that worked?

borntorun
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S. Lindsey - Govt Response

S. Lindsey, a few points. First. I'm afraid the govt doesn't have the technical expertise to respond to this kind of disaster. That would have to lie with the oil companies. Perhaps if Bush/Cheney had not hijacked the Dept of Interior and MMS and allowed the oil companies to self regulate maybe there could have been some govt/industry response plan developed. Second, we have to be careful with the clean up. There have been dozens and dozens of proposed clean up plans offered but the danger is that some of them may actually make matters worse. That is why it is important that any clean up plans go through a thorough review process. Third, I can only imagine the hue and cry from conservatives if the govt had stepped in and taken over this from the get go. Rush, Sean, Sarah would all be screaming socialism. I do fault Obama for relying too much on BP's information from the beginning as to the amount of oil being expelled and the gravity of the situation. Obviously, it has always in BP's best interest to underplay the severity of the situation the latest being their denial of an underwater oil plume even though scientists have produced video of such a plume. But you know at this point, placing blame is a waste of time. Our energy needs to be expended on stopping the leak, trying to protect the natural resources in the Gulf and while there are no guarantees that this couldn't happen again, at least working on miminizing those risks. Yes, Terry.....that means govt regulation and oversight. Sorry.

Mike King
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S Lindsey

I would ask that you look at each session of Congress since oil first was drilled offshore. With all the regulatory requirements imposed, is it not odd that BP actually did not own the platform from which a most productive well was pumping? Could it be that each the MMA, BP, and the oversight committee share responsibility?

Having known Mr Garlock for a time now, borntorun is mistaken by describing Terry as cavalier. As a former gun pilot Terry would be best characterized as calculating, perhaps, but certainly not cavalier. That would be reserved for the more 'dignified' of helicopter jocks.

Cyclist
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Gee,

I wonder how Braveswin's commute was today?

AtHomeGym
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Red Snapper Season

Terry, you'd best go for them soon, season will close again on July 24th.

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