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Posts Tagged ‘Haley Barbour’

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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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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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.

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