Jean-phillippe’s: The Mossback Theory

I recommend reading regular Fifth Column commenter jean-philippe‘s post entitled:The Mossback Theory.  Here’s an excerpt:

One, among progressives, that he’s a mediocre, spineless, complacent leader who accomplished very little after promising hope and change. A weak politician unable to deliver a decent healthcare reform with public, universal healthcare, like 86 countries already have. A passive president who witnessed the oil spill and the Tucson shooting without doing anything. An impressionable man who caved in to agree to let the wealthies keep outrageous tax cuts. A loser so infuriating that he has been able to anger the dullest man in America.


Gulf Coast 2010 · Gulf Coast Oil Spill

BREAKING NEWS: 100-Mile Long Oil Slick Spotted Off Louisiana Coast

Seal of the U.S. Coast Guard Deployable Operat...
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Oh no, not again…or is this simply a case of the sea giving up the oil that BP tried to bury back in 2010?


The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of a potentially massive oil sheen about 20 miles north of the site of last April’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

A helicopter crew and pollution investigators have been dispatched to Main Pass Block 41 in response to two calls to the National Response Center, the federal point of contact for reporting oil and chemical spills, said Paul Barnard, an operations controller for Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

The first caller, around 11 a.m., described a sheen of about a half-mile long and a half-mile wide, he said.

About two hours later, another caller reported a much larger sheen — about 100 miles long — originating in the same area and spreading west to Cocodrie on Terrebonne Bay, Barnard said.

“We haven’t been able to verify that, and it would be very unlikely for an individual to be able to observe a 100-mile long sheen,” he said, adding inspection teams were en route around 3 p.m. to the site.

Eileen Angelico of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil and natural gas production, said late Saturday afternoon that her agency was awaiting Coast Guard confirmation of the nature of the sheen. The bureau had not received word from any operators in the gulf of a spill, she said.

Please stay with NOLA.com for updates.

U.S. Politics

BP Not Denying, Just Not Paying Nearly 40,000 Oil Spill Claims

Huffington Post

Sheryl Lindsay’s wedding planner business is on the brink, crumbling with each cancellation over concerns about oil. Brides-to-be are walking away from plans for beachside vows, leaving Lindsay waiting to see whether she’ll be part of BP’s promise to make whole everyone who’s suffered from its spill.

BP said Monday it had received 145,000 claims from residents and business owners like Lindsay citing lost income because of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and had paid out $324 million without denying a single claim.

That sounds pretty good, until frustrated residents and officials point out that 39,000 claims are in limbo – some of them, including Lindsay’s, have been there for months. Some that have been paid are only partial payments, and many of those people are still fighting for more money.

“Therein lies the problem,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said recently. “They don’t deny them. They just hold them open forever.”

Hood speculated that BP PLC would rather wait for Kenneth Feinberg, the federally appointed administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund BP established at the behest of the White House, to take over the claims process this month. That way, if a claim is denied, “he’s the bad guy” instead of BP, Hood said.

BP claims director Darryl Willis said the company isn’t deliberately delaying. Rather, 26,000 pending claims are still being evaluated and thousands of others need more documentation, the company said.

“Our intent is to continue paying claims until this process is handed over to Ken Feinberg,” Willis said. “There’s no intent to slow this thing down.”

However, BP does defer “questionable” claims to Feinberg, including “restaurants and tourist claims from areas that haven’t been impacted by an oiled beach,” company spokeswoman Pat Wright said.

“We believe there are some tough decisions out there that need to be made on a variety of these claims because many of these are claims are not squarely within the guidelines of the Oil Pollution Act,” she added.   Continue reading…

U.S. Politics

Gulf Oil Efforts SUSPENDED: BP Shuts Down Well Work Due To Bad Weather

Huffington Post

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — A tropical depression racing toward the Gulf of Mexico Thursday increased pressure on BP and the U.S. government to decide whether to evacuate dozens of ships at the site of the ruptured oil well.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said a cluster of thunderstorms in the Bahamas formed into a tropical depression Thursday morning. Forecast tracks show it moving into the eastern and central Gulf in the next several days, Hurricane Specialist Michael Brennan said.

Work on plugging the well is at a standstill just days before the expected completion of a relief tunnel to permanently throttle the free-flowing crude.

Worse yet, the government’s spill chief said foul weather could require reopening the cap that has contained the oil for nearly a week, allowing oil to gush into the sea again for days while engineers wait out the storm.

“This is necessarily going to be a judgment call,” said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who was waiting to see how the storm developed before deciding whether to order any of the ships to leave.   Continue reading…

U.S. Politics

Gulf Oil Spill Stopped: BP Says Oil Leak Is HALTED (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Vodpod videos no longer available.



Huffington Post 

NEW ORLEANS – BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday — 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded — then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak. 

To the relief of millions of people along the Gulf Coast, the big, billowing brown cloud of crude at the bottom of the sea disappeared from the underwater video feed for the first time since the disaster began in April, as BP closed the last of three openings in the 75-ton cap lowered onto the well earlier this week. 

But the company stopped far short of declaring victory over the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history and one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters, a catastrophe that has killed wildlife and threatened the livelihoods of fishermen, restaurateurs, and oil industry workers from Texas to Florida. 

Now begins a waiting period during which engineers will monitor pressure gauges and watch for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. The biggest risk: Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse. 

“For the people living on the Gulf, I’m certainly not going to guess their emotions,” BP vice president Kent Wells said. “I hope they’re encouraged there’s no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. But we have to be careful. Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up.” 

The stoppage came 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first report April 20 of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill. 

Between 93.5 million and 184.3 million have already spilled into the Gulf, according to federal estimates.

Jon Stewart

Blame | Video Cafe

Vodpod videos no longer available.



Ya gotta love Jon Stewart… 

Crooks & Liars 

Brilliant. From The Daily Show: 

Fox &Friends” deems it inappropriate for the Obama administration to mention Bush when talking about the wars, economy or oil spill. 

…So everything bad that happened during the Bush administration, was Bill Clinton’s fault.

U.S. Politics

Barack Obama’s Very Good Week

Contrary to how the Right wing media portrayed the president’s week…by and large it was a very good one.

Salon – Joan Walsh

Getting BP to cough up a $20 billion escrow fund paid off politically in more ways than one. Plus: Apologize to BP!

Talk about snakebit: Peggy Noonan chose Friday to publish a column writing off President Obama off as an unlucky president, comparing him to Jimmy Carter, just when his presidency has a little spring back in its step. Its title is luscious: “A Snakebit President: Americans want leaders on whom the sun shines.”

The sun seemed to shine on Obama this week. It’s true his Tuesday night speech wasn’t his best, but that’s because it lacked the news he was able to reveal Wednesday: That BP had agreed to create a $20 billion escrow fund to compensate the victims of its Gulf oil disaster, to have it administered by the tough Kenneth Feinberg of the 9/11 fund, and also to put off paying shareholder dividends through the end of the year.

And on Thursday, Obama got relief from the harsh, unnatural media glare in the wake of the disaster, which had landed upon him in the absence of any other visible hero or villain in the mess, when Tony Hayward testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Hayward’s constant insistence that he either didn’t know or couldn’t recall … virtually anything he was asked, finally made clear there is one leader whose lack of preparedness can be blamed for the crisis, and his name is Tony Hayward.

BP announced Friday that Hayward would be replaced as the man in charge of the spill response, though he’ll remain as CEO.

Of course, things got even better for Obama when Rep. Joe Barton apologized to Hayward on Thursday, calling the escrow fund not only a “shakedown” but a “tragedy.” Barton was then forced by a panicky GOP leadership to apologize for his apology, but the damage was done. Besides, from Barton to Michele Bachmann to the Republican Study Group to Rush Limbaugh, most of the party was ready to try out the shakedown, “share the wealth” criticism – until Barton went too far. Even today, Kentucky GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul left his bunker to express sympathy for Barton, and for BP, too (remember, before he entered the witness-protection program, one of Paul’s last utterances was to call Obama ‘s criticism of BP “un-American.”)

Friday the GOP began trying out a new message. They’ve gone from calling Obama a Chicago thug who shakes down business to a guy who had nothing at all to do with BP’s generous concession, but is now trying to claim credit for it. That was fast, even for Republican liars. Obama could still falter in his handling of the BP disaster, because the disaster is going to be with us for a very long time. But the president has mostly quieted critics who weren’t sure he was doing enough on that front, for now.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, check out You Should Totally Apologize to BP, and leave your own regrets (h/t Greg Mitchell.)


Americans Want Democrats, Not Republicans To Control Next Congress: Poll

Well, this is encouraging for the Dems in Congress.

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — There’s encouraging news for Democrats battling to retain control of Congress in this fall’s elections, with the party holding a slender edge in public trust for shepherding the economy and small gains in those saying their finances are healthy, according to a new poll.

The reeling economy remains people’s top concern, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted earlier this month, making public attitudes about it crucial for both parties’ hopes in November. The good news for Democrats: By a margin of 47 percent to 42 percent, people trust them more than Republicans to guide the economy, and slightly more – 64 percent – say their household budgets are in good shape.

In addition, people want Democrats to win control of Congress by a 46 percent to 39 percent margin. That is the second straight month in which Democrats have held a delicate advantage on that question since April, when 44 percent preferred Republicans and 41 percent picked Democrats.

“When Clinton was in office, we were doing exceptionally well. Then Republicans got in office and we are where we are,” said Daniel Lowery, 23, a warehouse worker from Fostoria, Ohio, who wants Democrats to continue leading the House and Senate.

Even so, there’s plenty in the poll to encourage Republicans, and nothing that contradicts many analysts’ views that the GOP has a solid shot of capturing majorities of one or both chambers of Congress.

The public’s anti-Washington mood remains robust, with 55 percent saying they want a new member of Congress – bad news for Democrats with more incumbents to defend. A low 24 percent approve of how Congress is doing its job, a hefty 72 percent still say the nation’s economy is in poor condition, and 77 percent consider huge federal budget deficits a top concern.

“It’s just my conservative views on taxes, on how involved government gets in people’s lives,” said Jessica Iskander, 25, a homemaker from Hartly, Del., who wants Republicans running Congress.

People also remain upset about the anemic job market and the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama gets mediocre marks for handling the economy, unemployment, the deficit and the oil spill, numbers that over time could rub off on congressional Democrats.

“They’re leading us down the wrong road,” Raymond Beard, 60, a minister from Crowville, Ala., said of Democrats. “They’re doing a lot of things against what I was raised to believe, such as going to a socialist-type government where the government takes care of people instead of people taking care of themselves.”  Continue reading…

U.S. Politics

Barack Obama: I’m Talking To Gulf Experts ‘So I Know Whose Ass To Kick’

To all those news pundits out there who suggested that the POTUS should get tougher on BP: Be careful what you wish for…

Huffington Post

Critics pushing for more visible anger from President Obama will get their wish, Chuck Todd reports: In an interview with Matt Lauer, the President said he has been consulting with experts to learn “whose ass to kick.”

“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf,” Obama said. “A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

“It was an animated Pres. Obama,” Todd wrote. The full interview with air on “The Today Show” Tuesday morning, he said.