Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill’

I never thought I’d write this, but I think we’ve discovered a new level of stupid below the heretofore impenetrable Sarah Palin floor.

It’s not unlike the discovery of a previously unknown species of protohuman deep within a cave somewhere, revealing some new twist in the constantly expanding canon of human evolution. There is, in fact, a Republican of national prominence who makes Sarah Palin seem brighter and less contradictory by comparison. That’s not to say Palin has miraculously become smarter or better spoken, it’s just that the idiot curve is now redrawn in her favor.

Yes, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi is arguably the new king of all Republican stupids. Palin must now relinquish her Twitter feed, her fork cork and her trident. For Haley Barbour has arrived.

What is it about Republican governors? They’re either appearing in interviews with a blood-soaked cletus geeking turkeys in the background, or they’re lying about hiking the Appalachian Trail, or they’re honoring the Confederate States of America while ignoring slavery, or they’re entertaining the treasonous option of state secession, or they’re bitching about government stimulus money one minute, then posing with giant stimulus checks the next minute.

2010-06-23-boss_hogg.jpgAnd now there’s Haley Barbour, who said this week about the $20 billion escrow fund to compensate victims of the oil spill:

“It bothers me to talk about causing an escrow to be made, uh, which will, which makes it less likely that they’ll make the income that they need to pay us.”

Let’s ignore the Palin-ish phrase “causing an escrow fund to be made” and focus on the substance. Paraphrasing Jon Stewart’s analysis: Governor Barbour appears to be suggesting here that if BP sets aside $20 billion to be paid to victims of the oil spill, it won’t have enough money to… pay out to victims of the oil spill. In other words, Barbour is against compensating victims because he supports compensating victims.

Perhaps next time, Barbour should consult with his smarter sidekicks Roscoe and Enos before speaking about complicated topics like “causing an escrow fund.” (Jon Chait gets full credit for the Boss Hogg comparison.)

Of course, this isn’t the first and it surely won’t be last blast of stupid from Barbour during the ongoing oil spill disaster. He’s a study in colloquial southern language and exaggerated accents — a real life character from an unproduced Coen Brothers movie, and it seems that whenever Barbour opens his mouth for something other than pie, stupid things gush out.

For many weeks, Barbour has been downplaying the toxicity and danger of the oil. Back in mid-May, Barbour said the oil spill will have “minimal impact,” rivaling Tony Hayward’s infamous remarks about how environmental damage will be “very, very modest.”

He’s also coined some of the finest “the oil is just like delicious food and therefore harmless” metaphors during the whole disaster.

Who can forget the classic description of the oil as “weathered, emulsified, caramel-colored mousse, like the food mousse.” Yum. The food mousse. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to sample some delightful Gulf seafood that’s been marinating in the food mousse.

And the good news is, according to Barbour, “Once it gets to this stage, it’s not poisonous.” Oh boy!

Seriously, if that’s the case, I’d like to see Barbour strap on a pair of inflatable arm floaties and dive into a big old slick of the food mousse and flail around in it for a while. See if he can eat his way out. Maybe the Mississippi tourist bureau could videotape it for their next advertising campaign. You know, because the food mousse is both delicious and not poisonous.

Yet, at the same time, Barbour said, “But if a small animal got coated enough with it, it could smother it. But if you got enough toothpaste on you, you couldn’t breathe.” This made me wonder if Barbour has had one or two mishaps with a gigantic tube of toothpaste. “Dagnabbit! I’ve accidentally caused toothpaste to be made all over myself again! Can’t… breathe! Glug! Glug!” Aides rush into Barbour’s bathroom to find the governor coated from head to toe in toothpaste like a real life version of the Shmoo.

But, as with many Republicans carved from the George W. Bush cloth, the doofish behavior tends to overshadow Barbour’s more sinister underbelly.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The president wrapped up his address Tuesday night by asking Americans to pray for the victims — both human and environmental — of the BP oil spill. I thought it was a strange way to end his first Oval Office address during a national emergency insofar as praying makes the situation appear too big for conventional solutions. As though all that remains between us and a sea of oil is the Hail Mary.

This morning it occurred to me that this was the only thing he could really ask Americans to do.

Why? Simply stated, it doesn’t require any effort to silently invoke spirituality while stopped at a traffic signal or while chewing a gluttonous mouthful of Double Down. Actually, I take back that second part. I can’t imagine doing anything other than suffering a massive infarction while eating a Double Down.

Instead of prayer, the president could have asked us all to make sacrifices towards the goal of weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. Maybe he should have asked for sacrifice. It probably wouldn’t have hurt. But it would have been mostly ignored.

Americans simply don’t do “national sacrifice” anymore. During World War II, Americans were asked to ration everything from sugar to oil to cheese — even shoes. Those days are long gone. Today, we’re asked to go to Disneyland or the beach. Or we’re asked to pray. (It’s difficult to imagine the modern right-wing, for example, accepting the rationing of anything at the behest of the current president when most of them refuse to fill out a U.S. Census form. More on that presently.)

The BP oil spill has been a daily reminder of our toxic relationship with decomposed dinosaurs. On just about every blog and every cable news show, we’ve watched in shock-horror as 75,000,000 gallons of oil spew from the top of the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer. We see it. We cringe. Some of us shout, “Why, oh, why?!” Others curse Tony Hayward and BP. Maybe some of us curse President Obama or former President Bush. A clear majority of Americans are pissed off, and they’re taking it out on everyone except themselves: the ones actually buying the oil.

Once we’re exhausted with blaming and yelling, we climb into our oversized cars, crank up the air conditioner, drive to Burger King and order a ammonia-washed beef sandwich the size of a baby — while mindlessly idling at the drive-thru.

As the president pointed out last night, scientists, experts and politicians alike have been urging us to make the transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels. In the last ten years alone, we’ve endured the largest terrorist attack on our soil and subsequently fought two wars, all prompted by American intrusions into the Middle East to satisfy our collective petro fix.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

On her Facebook page this week, Sarah Palin outlined a pretty solid case for tough government regulations against corporations. (By the way, none of the sentences ended with the word “also,” nor did the entry read like a really bad local newspaper letter to the editor, so I assume it was ghost-written.)

Yes, seriously. Sarah Palin is in favor of the federal government planting its gigantic boot on the throats of energy companies. She put it in writing. Not only that but she even proposed that our socialist, anti-capitalist, wealth-redistributing president call her on the phone so she can describe to him specifically how to impose all kinds of big government regulations against BP and others.

It’s about damn time.

I knew if we just continued to make the case for serious government regulation of corporations, we’d finally win some minds and hearts — even minds as airy, and wolf-snipering hearts as hardened as Sarah Palin’s.

Here’s the centerpiece of what she wrote:

Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!

I can only assume she was suggesting that “we must!” regulate and drill. For the record, we’re already drilling offshore, so enough of this hackish “drill, baby, drill” screeching. There are already 3,858 oil and gas platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico alone, according to NOAA. Here’s a convenient map with yellow dots indicating all of the locations where we’re already, you know, drilling, baby, drilling:

2010-06-09-Gulf_Coast_Platforms.jpg

I understand, however, that most Republicans aren’t satisfied and want more drilling. They want the moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits to end, and they want new exploration for oil in heretofore untapped leases all along the entire coast of the United States. The problem is that it would take around 10 years to get platforms online and producing in the areas where there are untapped leases, and the deepwater platforms that are ready to drill now don’t have the failsafe mechanisms — and the regulations Sarah wants — in place yet. So how about this compromise: we continue to drill with the existing offshore wells, but, as Sarah Palin suggests, we regulate the hell out of them? Once those regulations are in place, maybe we can talk about new offshore leases rather than drilling willy-nilly.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

A bird flies over oil trapped in booms at Cat Island in Barataria Bay off the Louisiana Coast Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Louisiana Oil Spill 2010 PHOTOS: Gulf Of Mexico Leak Reaches Land

Huff Post- First Posted: 06- 1-10 01:24 PM   |   Updated: 06- 8-10 09:47 AM

The catastrophic explosion that caused an oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the shoreline. Efforts to manage the spill with controlled burning, dispersal and plugging the leak have so far been unsuccessful. This oil spill has now obtained the dubious distinction of being the worst oil spill in US history, surpassing the damage done by the Exxon Valdez tanker that spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound in 1989. Unlike the Exxon Valdez tragedy, in which a tanker held a finite capacity of oil, BP’s rig is tapped into an underwater oil well and could pump more oil into the ocean indefinitely until the leak is plugged.

Here are updated photos of oil hitting coastlines and the damage throughout the ocean, which poses a serious threat to fishermen’s livelihoods, marine habitats, beaches, wildlife and human health.

Do you live in an area that is being affected by the oil spill? Do you have photo or video of what’s happening on the coastlines? We want to see your on-the-ground photos. Send them in by hitting the participate button.

PHOTOS HERE

Read Full Post »

I’m sitting here at my desk watching the oil droids hack away at the blowout preventer in preparation for the “cap” portion of the “cut and cap” procedure, which, contrary to what I’m hearing on cable news, is intended to do something other than stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, this latest solution isn’t a solution for stopping the flow of oil at all. The oil will continue to gush from the well, only now BP will be able to more effectively harvest some of the oil — a more reliable version of what they were doing with the riser insertion tube for the better part of last month.

Good for them. So they can resume drinking their milkshake between now and August when, we hope, the relief well will be completed. At which time, corporate milkshake drinking will carry on via more conventional methods.

And why not? It’s the free market after all. As I watch these robots slice the riser from the blowout preventer and read the news about lakes of oil moving towards the coasts of Florida, I’m wondering who to blame for this. The list is long, but, in part, I blame anyone who bought into the lines: “government is the problem” and “the era of big government is over.” It’s been systematic deregulation and the elevation of free market libertarian laissez-faire capitalism that have wrought this damage and allowed potentially destructive corporations to write their own rules and do as they please.

Does anyone seriously believe that BP has suddenly become a philanthropic venture interested in doing whatever it takes — sparing no expense — to make the Gulf region whole again? It will do the absolute minimum necessary to weasel its way through this crisis. Not a red cent more.

Last week, while the “top kill” procedure was failing, BP continued its effort to fight regulations in Canada mandating relief wells for every offshore rig. Simultaneously, Rayola Dougher, a lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute laughed off the notion of requiring relief wells here in America.

Dougher said on MSNBC, “That would be — that would really make it unviable [sic]. I couldn’t even imagine such a suggestion.” A relief well costs around $100 million. That would cut into revenues and so — nope.

This is one of many reasons why Robert Reich’s plan makes sense at this point. Temporary receivership. Despite the political peril involved in such an endeavor, the government should take over BP, its manpower and assets, and eliminate the corporate revenue motive from the capping and cleanup process. BP has proved itself incapable of tackling this job with the best interests of Gulf coast livelihoods and the marine environment in mind, and so they ought to lose their privileges to operate in the Gulf of Mexico for a while.

After all, the nature of any corporation is to mitigate losses and increase revenues. Keep the shareholders as happy as possible, spend the least amount of money necessary, hire the best lawyers to avoid paying punitive fines and get back to drilling and selling oil for profit. This is what corporations do.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The words “government takeover” were originally injected into the discourse by Frank Luntz in the early stages of the health care reform process and have been repeated in the pejorative sense by Republicans across the board.

Despite the fact that thousands of Americans die every month from a lack of affordable health insurance, the Republicans have argued that the government isn’t allowed to “takeover” the industry. It goes without saying that the president wasn’t proposing any such thing and, in fact, publicly denounced single-payer health insurance, but okay. The Republicans truly believe the health care reform bill is socialism and a total takeover of the industry. It’s not.

Likewise, the Republicans and tea party people have been screeching about the bailouts. They insist that the banks and financial institutions (and GM) should have been allowed to fail, rather than receiving emergency loans from the government in order to, at the time, prevent the American economy from being dragged down along with these institutions had they not been hoisted with an infusion of cash.

Speaking of which, the Republicans also loudly opposed the recovery bill, which included, as a total dollar amount, the biggest middle class tax cut in American history as well as a considerable amount of funding for the states. Yet the Republicans, once again, screeched about state’s rights and tried to block the funding.

In his response to the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana famously mocked such obviously hilarious things as volcano monitoring in the recovery bill. Volcanoes? Why should we monitor those?

The dominant centerpiece to all of this outrage has been the Republican idea that the states and the free market should be left alone to deal with problems and crises on its own without “socialist” — or even “communist” depending on which AM radio station you listen to — interference from big government and our America-hating president. No government takeovers. Freedom! Liberty! And no stupid volcano thingees also.

Americans dying from a lack of health insurance? Too bad. No government takeover. The economy about to sink into a second Great Depression? Too bad. No government takeover. The Earth growing warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels? Too bad. No government takeover.

That is until last month.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: