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Posts Tagged ‘Gulf Oil Spill’

A poet once wrote: “When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble. Give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best.” This famous Python ditty appears to be the government, BP and media spin on the oil disaster at this point, and it could be the biggest display of wishful thinking, denial and deception in the face of a serious crisis since Chris Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy swooned over President Bush’s crotch bulge aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln when the Iraq war was apparently “over.”

For several weeks now, the traditional media, and especially cable news, has been wondering, “Where’s all the oil?” as if to suggest the biggest water-based oil disaster in history is over and the oil is gone. And while it’s easy to pick on the press, its short attention span and the superficial reporting typical of TV news, it’s only right to underscore who specifically is to blame for downplaying the size and scope of the disaster.

Remember the first time this “where’s the oil?” question was raised? Back on May 16, Brit Hume asked, “Where’s the oil?” on Fox News Sunday. Days later, the oil washed ashore and no one dared repeat the same question. Until now.

Patient zero in the most recent “where’s the oil?” analysis appears to be Thad Allen:

“What we’re trying to figure out is where is all the oil at and what can we do about it,” said US spill response chief Thad Allen.

Coincidentally, my next book is titled: Where Is All The Oil At? (And What Can We Do About It). I’m joking, of course, because we know precisely where the oil is. And there’s very little we can do about it, other than to stop candy-coating the post-kill status of the disaster.

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Louisiana Oil Geyser: 20-Foot Oil Leak Shooting Up In Plaquemines Parish After Hit By Tugboat (PHOTOS)

Huff Post- First Posted: 07-27-10 01:29 PM   |   Updated: 07-27-10 02:51 PM

NEW ORLEANS – (AP) Oil is spewing from a damaged well north of a bay where officials have been fighting the spill from the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard says a tow boat called Pere Ana C. hit the wellhead near Mud Lake early Tuesday. No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard did not know who owns the small well or how much oil has leaked. But a sheen has been spotted in the lake. Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts says oil is spewing from the wellhead.

Coast Guard Lt. Brian Sattler says a helicopter has been dispatched to survey the area, which is accessible only by boat.

Mud Lake is part of a network of bayous and lakes north of Barataria Bay, an ecologically sensitive coastal estuary where authorities have been fighting waves of oil from the Gulf spill.

See photos below of the leak:

PHOTOS HERE

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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.

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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.

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Huff Post- First Posted: 06-15-10 08:15 PM   |   Updated: 06-15-10 11:31 PM

Video and full text of President Obama’s Gulf oil spill address, as prepared for delivery, appears below.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge – a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we have directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

But make no mistake: we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

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We must become the owners, or at any rate the controllers at the source, of at least a proportion of the supply (of oil) which we require….and obtain our oil supply, so far as possible, from sources under British control, or British influence.” (Winston S. Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1919)

A BP petrol prices sign outside a BP Shop garage in the United Kingdom (prices in UK pence per litre)

From the bedroom window in  my house at the end of a little cul de sac in a large village/small town called Syston on the outskirts of Leicester, England, I can see a row of houses built in neo-Georgian style on the other side of the road, another row of similar styled houses to the right at the end of the cul de sac, a few flags with the cross of St. George, the flag of England (it’s the World Cup), draped from upper story windows, a “Sold” sign, and a “For Sale” sign, and, between the gap in the two rows of houses a disused and dirty BP (or should I say, as President Obama, in this mid-term election year, is wont to do, British Petroleum), sign, lying on its side, its top visible above a garage roof.

Ever since I moved into Syston in the summer of 2001, there have been two petrol-filling stations, one at my end of the village, which was run by Shell when I first moved in, and the other, at the other end, owned by Texaco.  (“Petrol”, btw, is what we Brits call the stuff you Yanks call “gas”, or “gasoline”.) Then Shell sold up and BP took over with their bright, shiny green and yellow logo betokening their much trumpeted commitment to the environment and green issues! (In fact, bp’s environmental record is the worst of all the major oil companies, as this video of an interview of Steve Lendman by James Fetzer shows.) It is the back end of this garage that I can see from my bedroom window.

Of the two petrol-filling stations, Texaco’s was usually the slightly cheaper.

Then the Texaco-filling station was closed down and into their place, yes, you’ve guessed it, came another BP station with the same bright, shiny green and yellow logo betokening their…etc. etc., etc,.

The heart-rending events in the Gulf of Mexico are, naturally, concentrating minds here in the UK, home, as Obama continually likes to remind us, of BP, and my cogitations on the subject revolve around three main issues.

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Bill Maher On BP Oil Spill: ‘I Feel Oily … I Feel Their Sh*t On Me’ (VIDEO)

Huff Post- First Posted: 06-12-10 01:06 AM   |   Updated: 06-12-10 09:09 AM

Friday marked Bill Maher’s last show of the season, and while the BP oil spill has been a subject on “Real Time” from week to week, this time Maher defined it as the subject.

“I have been holding my nose about this oil issue. Every week, I do not want to talk about it and we do. But you know, this is the last show of the season, my last time to vent, so I kind of had a change of heart this week, and this whole show might just be about how much oil sucks,” he said at the opening of the show’s panel segment. “And I feel oily. Now that those pictures come in of the wildlife, I feel dir– I feel their shit on me. I feel like someone from Greenpeace should scrub me down every night.”

Rachel Maddow, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) joined Maher on the panel, and when he asked what would have to happen for the gulf catastrophe to have some meaning, all three turned to the obvious answer — a major step forward on a comprehensive alternative-energy policy.

“We’re trying to drill all of our oil, or a huge proportion of our oil, from the place where we get all our shrimp and oysters. And that’s awkward, it turns out,” Maddow quipped.

Maher let loose on a host of villains-of-the-week during the segment, laughing at Blanche Lincoln’s claim that her vote was “not for sale” and calling the Houston oilman, lifelong game hunter and recent estate-tax dodger Dan Duncan a “world-class asshole.” But the panel zeroed in on the Senate filibuster as the reason why President Obama, in Maher’s words, “had to lie, basically.”

“I saw this week that Lindsey Graham is pulled out of the global warming bill, and the whole reason Obama was coming out in favor of more drilling was as a sop to the conservatives. To try to get Lindsey Graham on his side, somebody like that, to get a couple of Republican vote, which would not be necessary if we did not have this filibuster nonsense, if you didn’t need 60 votes to pass anything. That’s why this president said something. That’s why he had to lie, basically. And the lie was, drilling has never been safer. And we know for a fact, actually, drilling has never been more dangerous. Not just this spill, but before this spill.”

Frist employed several less-than-coherent defenses of Senate procedure and minority rights (most notably: “In the Senate, you can do anything that can’t be done”), but Maddow laid the blame at his party’s door for paralyzing Congress by procedural means. “And Republicans should have to answer for that,” she said, “because it’s a really stupid way to run the country.”

Later on, Maher targeted the political canard of “running a state like a business,” which he and Maddow pointed out can be foolish given the cross-purposes of government and private enterprise. And Arizona won the final showdown in Maher’s “Stupidest State” contest, edging out Texas to receive a trophy of a man with his head up his ass. Maher claimed he’d send the trophy to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

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