Day: May 27, 2010

Why “spill baby spill” is NOT Obama’s Katrina

Every so often I run into a post on TMP, Democratic Underground, Daily Kos or Huffington Post, to name a few, in which the writer expresses herself so well, that it bears repeating on other sites.  The following is one such post:

From Pat McGrowan’s TPM Blog

I can understand the frightwingers frothing at the mouth to make this comparison. For one, it diminishes the actual events of the Katrina disaster by comparing apples to oranges. Number two, the best way to take Obama down is to make sure everything he does, is as bad as the worst president this country has ever known. That is the ironic part, everytime the right tries to paint Obama as Bush, they are admitting the absolute disaster that Republican administration was. But now for the meat and potatoes of the argument, there are some major differences that people (and the media) need not ignore.

First, we did not have weeks of warning that an oil rig was going to explode unlike the much hyped hurricane coverage. The government knew far in advance that Katrina was going to be one of the most dangerous hurricanes the gulf had ever seen, They knew the dangers New Orleans faced before the disaster. Unfortunately with the oil gusher, it was just common knowledge something like this would never happen, so no need to have any kind of a contingency plan in case it did. Heck even if you suggested that the oil rigs in the gulf could pose a major risk to the delicate waters, you were just some anti-oil tree hugging lefty. I mean look, no spills during Katrina, right?

Number two, a greedy multi-billion dollar corporation did not cause the Katrina catastrophe. Mother nature, along with an inept government, and poorly maintained levee system killed thousands of people. And yes don’t forget that people DIED, no matter how bad the oil gets I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no one, other than the workers on the rig will die from this disaster. And again, those workers died at the hands of the greedy company that chose to take shortcuts and make cheap decisions. I guess making a million dollars a minute isn’t enough for these people.

And lastly, the government knew how to save drowning people. During the aftermath of Katrina the government knew what to do and how to do it, they just didn’t do anything for too long. In the case of the oil it seems no one knows what to do or how to do it. That’s a hell of a lot different than having ice trucks sent up north when the ice was needed in the south. That’s a lot different than leaving people to drown when there were mulitiple ways of saving them. We knew how to rescue people after Katrina. We knew how to give people food and water. It just didn’t get done. Right now we don’t know anything for sure about removing god knows how many gallons of oil from the Gulf or how to stop its flow.

So I would like to suggest to my progressive friends and the reckless media, please think about the true comparisons of these two disasters. No doubt there were government failures in oversight and regulation. And a bright light has been shown on the corrupt connections between government workers and dangerous corporations. Perfect examples of how the country would operate under small, ineffective, weak Republican government. But to say they are equal catastrophes plays into the hands with the Katrina blood on them. People in the gulf coast died because the government refused to save them, not because they didn’t know how.

BP stops, restarts ‘top kill’ effort

First reports coming out about two hours ago said BP’s “Top Kill” effort had failed.  Now, it appears things are back on track:

CNN

Venice, Louisiana (CNN) — BP’s much-anticipated attempt to cap its undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, a spill now estimated at twice the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster, was suspended for more than 16 hours before it was restarted late Thursday afternoon, a BP executive said Thursday.

The “top kill” procedure that started Wednesday continued until “just before midnight, when we stopped pumping operations,” Doug Suttles, the company’s chief operating officer, told reporters.

BP evaluated the results of the first round of pumping over the past 16 hours. Shortly after the conference, Suttles told CNN’s John King that BP had restarted the process.

The light-brown material that was seen spilling out of the well throughout Thursday was the previously pumped fluid mixed with oil.

CNN.com Live: Underwater view of top kill procedure

“Nothing has actually gone wrong or unanticipated,” Suttles said at the news conference. He said engineers have been monitoring the process for the past 24 hours, and determining adjustments to the mud-like fluid being injected into the line to counter the flow of oil.

He said the next step will be to restock the drilling fluid and restart in the evening, with the possible introduction of solids — known as “bridging material,” or its variant “junk shot” — into the mix.

BP officials say the procedure could take another 24 to 48 hours to complete, though whether the “top kill” will successfully stop the flow of oil is uncertain.

Enormous brown plumes of drilling “mud” billowed from the damaged well during the process, which BP Managing Director Bob Dudley called “a “titanic arm-wrestling match” a mile below the surface. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is leading the government’s response to the oil spill, earlier said the work “is moving along as everyone had hoped.”

“They’re pumping mud into the well bore, and as long as mud is going down, hydrocarbons are not going up,” Allen told reporters Thursday afternoon. The work could take another night, he told reporters in Venice, near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Watch Allen respond to critics Video

Read more…

O’Reilly tells African-American Columbia University professor that he looks like a ‘cocaine dealer.’

This should not come as a surprise to anyone, after all, it’s Bill O’Reilly and Fox News, as well as the current trend these days.  It doesn’t matter if one is a Columbia University professor or President of the United States, if he or she is Black, (s)he’s subject to racial demagoguery and epithets in these times.  What does that say about America?

Think Progress

Last night on Fox News, during a conversation about sending military forces to the U.S.-Mexico border, host Bill O’Reilly suggested that a larger show of soldiers would “intimidate” drugs dealers from entering the country. But as he made his point about cocaine dealers, O’Reilly asserted that Fox News contributor Marc Lamont Hill, an African American Studies professor from Columbia, “kinda look[s] like one a little bit.” Hill, who was dressed in a suit and tie, laughed off the awkward moment, retorting “as do you,” and joked that to be “even,” O’Reilly looks “like a cocaine user”:

OREILLY: I don’t need IEDs. If I have 10,000 guard down there, that’s an intimidating force. That intimidates. Say you are a cocaine dealer, and you kinda look like one a little bit–

HILL: As do you, you, in fact, look like a cocaine user. So we’re even.

OREILLY: I know, I’m too thin. I’m twitchy. […]

O’Reilly is no stranger to racial stereotypes and inflammatory racial rhetoric. In 2007, O’Reilly declared his surprise that “there was no difference” between Sylvia’s, an upscale Harlem restaraunt, and other New York restaurants. “I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship,” said O’Reilly before adding, “there wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.” In another instance during his unsuccessful radio program, O’Reilly warned listeners that proponents of inclusive immigration reform wanted “change the complexion” of America. (HT: Gawker)   Watch:

 

Rove Finally Admits That Bush Really Blew It During Katrina

No matter how Karl Rove spends this, the truth of the matter is that this current Gulf Coast disaster belongs to Dick Cheney, lock, stock and barrel.

Think Progress

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove pens an op-ed titled: “Yes, the Gulf Spill is Obama’s Katrina.” He predictably places blame on Obama for a “lethargic,” “slow,” and “unacceptable” response to the BP oil spill. But the real significance of the op-ed is not what Rove has to say about Obama; rather, it’s that Rove is implicitly acknowledging that Bush screwed up the response to Katrina. Rove is essentially trying to make the case that Obama mismanaged a disaster almost as terribly as he and Bush did.This is breaking news because, for years, despite all the evidence to the contrary, Rove has defended his administration’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. As recently as March, Rove told ABC News:

The federal government’s responsibilities were met under Katrina which were to provide the immediate assistance, to pluck people off of the roofs.

And in his recently released memoir, Rove “staunchly defends” Bush’s handling of the disaster, and praises former FEMA administrator Michael “Heck of a job, Brownie” Brown.

It’s refreshing to see Rove finally concede his own failures, albeit in a roundabout way. After all, it was he who “was in charge” of the botched reconstruction effort. In his book, Rove touted, “I’m one of the people responsible” for the administration’s response to Katrina.

Rove’s analysis would be sharper if he noted that “Obama’s Katrina” actually highlights some very real Bush and Cheney failures. By filling the Minerals Management Service — the government agency responsible for regulating off shore oil drilling — with industry shills who took drugs and had sex with the officials they were supposed to be policing, the Bush administration dangerously eroded the regulatory regime, and missed warnings that could have helped prevent the BP disaster.

Right Wing Round Up

Right Wing Watch

Timothy Kincaid: Review of Family Research Council’s study on lesbians.

Think Progress: FoxNews.com edits out applause during Obama’s West Point speech.

 Joe.My.God: Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle Meets With Anti-Gay Side On Civil Unions.

 Americans United: South Dakota Scofflaws: Pastors Mount Campaign To Rush More Pulpit Endorsements.

 Andy Birkey: GOP-linked punk rock ministry says executing gays is ‘moral’.

 Zachary Roth: GOPers Try To Derail Tea Party Favorite.

 Raw Story: Virginia governor gives NRA monopoly on teaching gun safety to kids.

 Media Matters: The intricate conspiracy to “destroy” Glenn Beck, his family, God, and the founders.

Sarah Palin Takes On Joe McGinniss

Salon

As you’ve no doubt heard, journalist Joe McGinniss rented a house next door to Sarah Palin while he works on a book about her. And Palin complained on Facebook about this fact, and many people seemed to take her accusations of stalking seriously.

McGinniss is by no means an ideal reporter, but he is a serious and talented one. He wrote a critically respected book on Alaska 30 years ago, and his one reported story so far on  Palin was factual and responsible. There’s nothing even remotely tabloidy about McGinniss’ Portfolio story on the years Palin wasted not getting a gas pipeline built.

But Palin is banking on the fact that, much like she could turn the story of a right-wing blogger fessing up to an affair with a candidate into a story of liberal media smears, she can, through sheer force of will and the devotion of her cult, make this into the story of a creepy gotcha journalist stalking her, and threatening her children.

After a day or so of coverage that just repeated her Facebook claims, media critics and political journalists are wondering if she’s crossed the line this time.

Jack Shafer says McGinniss is an asshole, but, because this is Jack Shafer we are talking about, he means that as an unambiguous compliment. He also points out that in-depth reporting is not pretty and requires that the reporter act like an asshole. (This is why there is so little of it in D.C., where friends so often cover friends.)

Dave Weigel is disgusted with Palin for insinuating and leading her followers to believe that McGinniss is a pervert and a threat to Palin’s children.

In a follow-up today, Weigel links to a truly ridiculous Glenn Beck segment in which Palin and Beck double down on the “McGinniss is a threat to Sarah Palin’s children” lie. Whatever McGinniss could possibly be reporting about Sarah Palin could hardly be more vile than accusing a man of voyeurism and pederasty because he’s writing a book about you.

Greg Sargent wonders how absurd a Sarah Palin attack can possibly get before people stop paying attention to her. But Palin is obviously newsworthy, and so her attacks are newsworthy. All you can hope for is that they’re reported with context and not simply parroted.

Unfortunately, as long as there is a Fox News, they will simply be parroted. If Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page tomorrow and posted a note that said, “well, whaddya know, I’s’a jus’ out trawling’ for catfish with my ol’ hubby Todd, and a neighbor tol’ me that he saw Rahm Emanuel crushing an endangered tropical frog to death while saluting a portrait of Mao, and also the sky is green,” you can bet that the next day’s “Fox & Friends” would treat the greenness of the sky as a self-evident fact, and Glenn Beck would ask Sarah why Rahm threatened Willow like that.

But McGinniss is a grown-up, and he’s faced criticism and attacks before. Outrage on his behalf is justified, but jumping to his defense is probably not worth it. He’ll write his book, and Sarah Palin will say he made fun of Trig, and the usual suspects will defend her right to blatantly make shit up on technicalities, as always.

No, Really (Mr. President)

Nance writes an open letter to the president.  She expresses exactly how I feel on the following issues:

NanceGreggs’s Journal: Nance

Dear President Obama:

A lot of people are upset with you right now. Not me, but a lot of people.

And here’s why …

On your first day in office, you should have overhauled the entire legal system, financial system, education system, healthcare system, rooted-out and fired every incompetent person with a government job, repealed DADT, saved the country from the looming economic crisis, rebuilt the crumbling infrastructure, investigated every government department and made whatever changes were necessary, re-established respect for our nation with every foreign leader and their people, put every American back to work, solved the immigration problem, fixed the mortgage crisis, reversed global warming, lowered crime, housed the homeless, fed the hungry, cured the sick, raised the dead from their graves, righted every wrong – and just generally un-do every single thing that has ever been done incorrectly, unjustly, inefficiently or ill-advisedly by your immediate predecessor, as well as every administration going back to George Washington.

On your second day in office, you should have done even more.

The problems with you, personally, are pretty overwhelming. You talk too much, but not enough. You make too many public appearances – what are you hiding from? You’re all talk and no action – except when you act, and then one has to wonder exactly what it is you’re not talking about, and why.

And for God’s sake, don’t go blaming the MSM for your woes. We all know they were all up in W’s face, 24-7, for eight years. Hey, you think the birthers are on your last nerve? That was nothin’ compared to how the librul media wouldn’t shut up about Georgie’s missing military records, lying us into war, wiretapping without warrants, torture – hey, you name it, they were on his case. If it wasn’t for runaway brides, missing blond teenagers and Terry Schiavo, the man wouldn’t have had a minute’s peace from the relentless hounding of every newspaper and TV news outlet in the nation. So kwityerbitchin’.

You promised change – and as far as I can see, a year and a half into your first term, you still haven’t changed everything yet. The colour blue is still known as b-l-u-e, the Equator is still where it’s always been, and American Idol is still on the air – so much for your empty rhetoric.

As for hope – well, where do I begin? I’d hoped to wake up to world peace, the announcement of a cure for every disease, and lookin’ twenty years younger while sportin’ a rack that would make Pamela Anderson cry. I didn’t. And it’s all your fault.

But now we come to the latest bone of contention, your total ineptitude in handling the BP oil leak. Here’s where you run out of excuses.

You should have thrown BP off the job immediately, and sent in a bunch of really smart guys who know how to fix this problem. I know from reliable sources that this is easily done, that the appropriate personnel are at-the-ready. Why you are standing in their way is anybody’s guess. Or you could have simply turned to the internetz, where people on message boards with absolutely no experience, education, or expertise in the area of deep-well drilling have all kinds of solutions that you should be testing, analyzing and weighing as viable options that will be immediately successful – so just pick one, why don’t ya?

Why haven’t you just done the right thing – by breaking the law and seizing BP’s equipment and assets? The last president didn’t give a fuck about the law – why should you? Don’t worry about those who would yell and scream that you have no right to do so. They only say that when it’s the other guy who’s in the WH, not one of their own – which is kinda what they said when it was the other guy in office, and not theirs, and took the opposite position – but I digress.

It comes down to this, Obama: Why aren’t you in the Gulf, pluggin’ that hole? Why aren’t you in DC, tending to business? Why aren’t you on TV all day, every day, explaining what it is you’re doing – and why aren’t you holding everybody’s hand while you’re doing it? Why are you acting calm and controlled in the face of disaster – don’t you get how serious this is? Why are you not acting like a raving lunatic – don’t you know how reassuring that kind of behavior is? Why aren’t you clearing brush somewhere, like a chosen-by-God president does?

It’s being said that this is your Katrina, sir. And despite the differences in the circumstances, as well as the response, that must be the case – because Anderson Cooper said so, and he had his shirt-sleeves rolled up when he said it. For a lot of Americans, that’s pretty much all it takes. Even those who claim that the MSM is not to be trusted will change their tune when AC’s cufflinks rise above the wrist – or when Bobby Jindal yells for sandbags – and plenty of ‘em, boys, keep ‘em coming.

You are being perceived as too weak, too strong, too self-assertive, too self-effacing, too loud, too soft-spoken, too patient, too quick-to-anger, too analytical, too spontaneous, too fast on your feet, too slow to understand, too outspoken, too silent, too dumb to deal with this disaster of mammoth proportions – and way too smart for your own damned good.

So why don’t you just cut that out? Why don’t you just display some leadership*? (*definition may vary – but vague enough to mean, uh, whatever)

Like I said, Mr. President, some people are really upset with you right now. And not only are they willing to tell you that whatever you’re doing, it’s completely wrong, they’re also more than happy to tell you that __________ (their preferred candidate here) would have done a much better job.

And, like I also said, I’m not one of them.

Keep doing what you’re doin’, Mr. Prez – we’ve got your back.

Despite what you may read on the internetz about so-called real Democrats, real progressives, and real liberals, your real base is here to stay.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted this week that his fellow Kentuckian, Republican Senate Candidate Rand Paul, needs to take a hiatus from the press circuit.

Rand Paul is having a bad week again.  First Kentucky Libertarians say the Paul betrayed them and now Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has pretty much thrown Rand Paul under the proverbial “bus”.

Huffington Post

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted this week that his fellow Kentuckian, Republican Senate Candidate Rand Paul, needs to take a hiatus from the press circuit.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, John King asked McConnell if he had “convinced [Paul] not to show up on ‘Meet The Press’ this past Sunday, to go dark for a little bit.”

McConnell responded that he would advise that Paul spend more time talking to Kentucky voters and less to the national media.

“He’s said quite enough for the time being in terms of national press coverage,” McConnell said.

Last week, Paul garnered widespread criticism for his comments on the Civil Rights Act and the Gulf oil spill.

But despite McConnell’s recommendation that Rand Paul may have spoken imprudently last week, the minority leader remained optimistic about Paul’s chances in November.

“Well look, according to the polls that came out after the primary he has a 25 point lead going in to the general election,” McConnell pointed out. “He’s in a very good position to put this Senate race in Kentucky in Republican hands.”