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Posts Tagged ‘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.

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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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BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability and is actually disappearing oiled wildlife.

June 12, 2010 |

Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Orange Beach, Alabama — While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP’s spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP — not our president — controls the response. In fact, people on the ground say things are out of control in the gulf.

Even worse, as my latest week of adventures illustrate, BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability.

For example, while flying on a small plane from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot suddenly exclaimed, “Look at that!” The thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama.

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“There’s only one reason for that,” the pilot said. “BP doesn’t want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. You should see the oil that’s about six miles off the coast,” he said grimly. We looked down at the wavy orange boom surrounding the islands below us. The pilot shook his head. “There’s no way those booms are going to stop what’s offshore from hitting those beaches.”

BP knows this as well — boom can only deflect oil under the calmest of sea conditions, not barricade it — so they have stepped up their already aggressive effort to control what the public sees.

At the same time I was en route to Orange Beach, Clint Guidry with the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Dean Blanchard, who owns the largest shrimp processor in Louisiana, were in Grand Isle taking Anderson Cooper out in a small boat to see the oiled beaches. The U.S. Coast Guard held up the boat for 20 minutes – an intimidation tactic intended to stop the cameras from recording BP’s damage. Luckily for Cooper and the viewing public, Dean Blanchard is not easily intimidated.

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A few days later, the jig was up with the booms. Oil was making landfall in four states and even BP can’t be everywhere at once. CBS 60 Minutes Australia found entire sections of boom hung up in marsh grasses two feet above the water off Venice. On the same day on the other side of Barataria Bay, Louisiana Bayoukeeper documented pools of oil and oiled pelicans inside the boom – on the supposedly protected landward side – of Queen Bess Island off Grand Isle.

With oil undisputedly hitting the beaches and the number of dead wildlife mounting, BP is switching tactics. In Orange Beach, people told me BP wouldn’t let them collect carcasses. Instead, the company was raking up carcasses of oiled seabirds. “The heads separate from the bodies,” one upset resident told me. “There’s no way those birds are going to be autopsied. BP is destroying evidence!”

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property – the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public. Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages – and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

MORE HERE

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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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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

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(H/T to Driftglass.)

Halliburton Pours Money Into Campaigns Of Congress Members Who Will Investigate Oil Spill. Gee, I Wonder Why.

Crooks and Liars- By Susie Madrak Thursday Jun 03, 2010 1:30pm

Just when you think Halliburton couldn’t be any more blatant, and Congress members couldn’t be any more corruptible, it gets worse. No, we don’t need publicly funded campaigns! Nope:

As Congress investigated its role in the doomed Deep Horizon oil rig, Halliburton donated $17,000 to candidates running for federal office, giving money to several lawmakers on committees that have launched inquiries into the massive spill.

Gee, I wonder why. Do you suppose they simply want them to let them know there’ll be no hard feelings if they should find Halliburton at fault in some way? I’m sure it’s something like that.

The Texas-based oil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions during the month of May, according to a federal campaign report filed Wednesday — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. It was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008.

Of the 10 current members of Congress who got money from Halliburton in May, seven are on committees with oversight of the oil spill and its aftermath.

They just want them to know they’re behind them 100% as they do their jobs!

Halliburton’s political contributions in May are the highest they’ve been since September 2009, when the PAC also gave $17,000 in donations. In fact, the last time the company gave more than $17,000 in one month was when it donated $25,000 during the heat of the presidential campaign in September 2008.

I’ve often told people that instead of the netroots funding candidates, I’d rather see all that money go to hiring our own lobbying firm. Because then we could pay them off, too: to be honest.

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