What Exactly Are They Supposed To Do?

I know that no matter what I say, some of you are going to claim I am shilling for Obama while others of you will read the same piece and claim I am unfairly attacking Obama, but I have a serious question- what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to do about the oil spill?

I’ve thought about it, and there are some things that really have pissed me off:

1.) BP keeps missing deadlines they themselves set to cap the spill

2.) BP keeps trying to hide the size of the spill anyway they can, whether it be using dispersants to keep the oil under the water so no one can see it, refusing to allow independent sources access, or just flat out lying.

3.) The government is, as we speak, issuing more permits to drill, even though it is perfectly clear we aren’t prepared for this kind of catastrophe.

Of course, the obvious damage to the gulf and the wildlife has me livid, but these are specific things that have pissed me off about the government and BP’s response. I also almost through something at the wall yesterday when I read Jake Tapper report that the Coast Guard called BP their “friends.”

Having said that, I just don’t know what the administration is supposed to do. What can be done? That, I think, is the real lesson from this- that we can’t really do anything about this sort of disaster, and i think the administration has done a really shitty job of getting that message out.

I hear screams to “take over” the operations from BP. And do what? Is there some secret naval division that handles deep-sea drilling that we have not deployed? Does the government have some elite unit with better equipment than BP? I’m as pissed at them as anyone and want the government to make them pay for every penny of the clean-up, but I have to believe that all the people with experience fighting these things and all the equipment to deal with this sort of thing is already there with BP. And that if we “took over” from BP, it would still be the same people.

In short, I just don’t know what kind of federal response there really could be to this kind of disaster. In Katrina, the reason fro anger was clear- there were people who needed food, shelter, water, and medical treatment, things we have a lot of all over the country, and we just dropped the ball getting it to them. But with this- what are we supposed to do?

I suppose if someone can point to millions of feet of boom stockpiled in a government warehouse somewhere, or some sort of equipment the government has but is not using, then I could understand screaming about the federal response. But other than that, what do we expect them to do? FEMA and the Coast Guard don’t drill oil wells 5,000 feet underwater. As I said to JSF last night, this is like one of those disaster movies where we have to come up with some plan to explode the comet before it hits the earth, except in this case, the comet has already hit the earth and Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman are fresh out of solutions.

And again, that is a real thing team Obama could do right now. Stop issuing permits, because until industry can demonstrate they can handle this sort of thing, we should just presume it is unsafe. Period.

400 replies
  1. 1
    DA says:

    Use explosives to close the well? I honestly know very little about how this would work, but the idea gets tossed around by people who seem to know what they’re talking about.

  2. 2
    The Moar You Know says:

    what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to do about the oil spill?

    Nothing. The law is explicit as hell about this. The onus is on BP to fix it and the government is expressly forbidden to interfere.

    That every major media outlet and most every citizen in this country persist in thinking he’s a fucking king who can order the well be plugged with just a word is infuriating.

  3. 3
    Guster says:

    Call the head of BP and remind him that extrajudicial assassinations are legal for high value suspects who are implicated in the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States.

  4. 4

    a to the fuckin’ men. i’ve been saying this for days. There’s not much more Obama can do, other than photo ops.

  5. 5
    JD says:

    How about an immediate and open-ended moratorium on any new permits, waivers etc for new/continued drilling. If BP can’t be shamed into getting its actor together by the government, the public or the media, maybe they can be pressured by their peers in the oil industry.

  6. 6
    Paul in KY says:

    I just posted in another thread, we ‘temporarily’ nationalize all their American assets, then run it with the understanding that we’re gonna use as much of the assets as we need to rent American or other countries vessels (civilian and/or military) to carry huge amounts of concreate or make a fucking siphon that works or whatever the Hell it takes (using their money to do this) until the gusher is capped. BP made 18 billion in profit last year. They may so far have lost/used 800 million in aftermath of explosion. There’s alot more m oney that can be thrown at this thing & if they don’t open up the pocketbooks & pay till it hurts, then we’ll start writing their checks for them.

    Also, Pres. Obama needs to use the bully pulpit (more) to point out what happens when businesses like these are not regulated & he can either explicitly or implicitly mention which party doesn’t like regulation.

    If the head of BP is not visibly quaking in his topsiders, then Pres. Obama hasn’t gotten his points across (IMO).

  7. 7
    Darius says:

    I agree 100%. In all of the MSM articles I’ve read complaining about the Obama administration’s response to this disaster, I have not seen anyone suggest a single concrete thing the administration could have done differently to fix the problem. Not one single thing.

  8. 8
    Fern says:

    @The Moar You Know: I can’t imagine that the best technical experts in the industry are not working on this.

  9. 9
    Will says:

    I think the inability of the government to handle these types of disasters, win wars or generally keep control of the economy is starting to seriously freak people out. In each case, there is a logical reason why the problem is complex and the solution is hard.

    Taken as a total, though, and compared with the past image of the government as an entity that could win world wars and send men to the moon, it’s been a terrible wake-up call for many. That’s why people want the government to “do something.”

    The plus side to this, and it is a small silver lining, is that a lot of people – especially young people – are beginning to understand at a deep level what it means to have a “limited government.” People don’t like paying taxes, but the reality of their communities rotting out from under them and disasters going unchecked is not playing well, either.

  10. 10
    Alice Blue says:

    I’m with you John. I just really don’t know.

    As I said on another thread a couple of days ago, I feel enraged and helpless. On top of everything else, take a look at any news program. Except for fingerpointing and bitching about what Obama should be doing, the story about damage to the Gulf and wildlife seems to be fading into the background.

    Yes, I almost had a stroke when I heard that Coast Guard Admiral say that BP is our “friend.”

  11. 11
    Dan says:

    Um, a press conference or regular statements, showing that you give half a crap. It’d be nice to see a little more concern. A lot of people are really worried about this for a wide range of reasons. So far the response hasn’t been much more than the Bush photo op where he was shown in the plane flying over Katrina 5 days later with his “serious” face on.

  12. 12
    Jbird says:

    Yeah, you put your finger on it – what can be done is a shift away from deep sea drilling and a renewed commitment to energy alternatives, like we were promised by Obama’s 2008 campaign. But of course that would be “taking advantage of the situation” in the eyes of Chris Matthews or whoever so I don’t expect the Democrats to man up anytime soon.

  13. 13
    demimondian says:

    @DA: Um…yeah.

    So, let’s talk about that. It’s entirely possible that it would work. It’s also entirely possible that it would not. Either way, it would be an act of desperation.

    We may almost be at that point, but building an explosive device which will successfully detonate after being lowered to a depth of 5000 feet is itself a major engineering project. Since we can be reasonably confident that the first try may not work, we’re going to need to make more than one…

    It might work, but it’s not a choice I’m eager to pursue. Regrettably, I think Jed Lewison was right this morning — given that this kind of blow-out is going to happen again, we kind of need to have means available to prevent a disaster like this from following before we allow this to be done again. In the meantime — maybe we’ll be able to suck enough oil out of the destroyed wildlife preserves to make it worth the cost?

  14. 14
    Violet says:

    If the government is forbidden to act by law, then they need to explain that to the American people. Right now people think the government can do things it’s not allowed by law to do.

    That being said, isn’t there the executive order option, or something like that? The government could require that BP let independent sources access to the site because at this point it affects more than just BP (obviously) and needs to be independently verified.

    If the Obama administration, or Congresspeople, kept pounding home the message of “The law does not allow the government to step in” then pretty soon there would be a big cry for people to change the law.

    I agree that the government “taking over” the spill wouldn’t help. There’s not much they can do that isn’t already being done.

  15. 15
    gpleigh says:

    I highly recommend either reading the transcript or watching the video from yesterday’s daily press briefing with Robert Gibbs, Thad Allen and Carol Browner. It is pretty thorough and addresses lots of issues, including the NYT story on permits where Browner debunks the impression that new permits are still being issued. Here is the transcript:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-.....ant-presid

    Here is the video:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/phot.....g-20100524

  16. 16
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    It’s time to fix it!

    This oil leak needs to be fixed!

    Fix! It!

    Fix It!

  17. 17
    cleek says:

    my problem is that Obama and his people are completely failing to demonstrate any visible leadership. they are confused; they talk at cross-purposes; they are mad at BP and then they are close and happy partners. they are frustrated and they are willing to wait.

    they should definitely stop issuing permits, and they should be talking shutting down all currently-working rigs until they can be proven safe.

    but at the very least, Obama and his people should be talking directly to America, telling us what the situation is, what they plan on doing about it, what BP has tried, is trying, will try, what the prospects are, what consequences will BP face, etc.. they should be acting as our advocates here, and that includes keeping us in the loop. and they should do it as directly as they can – not counting on news programs to pull sound-bites from speeches, but doing prime-time speeches and announcements.

    i’m not getting much of an “accountability” and “transparency” vibe from this. i’m seeing more of Obama’s typical weak-ass patient facilitator bullshit. fuck that. be on our side and let us know you’re on our side, and make sure BP knows it too.

  18. 18
    QuaintIrene says:

    I hear screams to “take over” the operations from B

    Yup, the right especially is yelling about Obama’s ‘tardy’ response. Yet if he’d rushed in like gang-busters the first day they’d then be screaming about power grabs and tyrant-like behavior.

  19. 19
    Dan says:

    Thank you Cleek. Spot on. Oily, oily spot on.

  20. 20
    Guster says:

    @Dan: The rules of the game says that ‘bully pulpit’ answers don’t count. Despite the fact that the bully pulpit is a powerful tool that moves attitudes and political realities, it’s just flat out silly to suggest that Obama use it. Better to wonder what he could do with a wetsuit and a really big cork.

    Um. Not that. I mean to plug the flow of oil.

  21. 21
    AhabTRuler says:

    The wellhead is situated in several hundred (a couple thousand?) feet of sediments. Explosives would just muddy the waters and destroy the rest of the LMRP.

  22. 22
    orogeny says:

    Thank you, John!

    This is a point I’ve tried to make on a couple of other blogs without success. The “take over operations from BP” and “fine ’em out of existence” folks can’t seem to understand that, at this point, BP is all we’ve got. The whole system is set up with the idea that the oil companies have the capabilities to deal with this type of situation. It appears that BP lied about this, but that doesn’t give the government the equipment and expertise to take over. The administration can do lots of stuff to punish BP (hopefully after the spill is cleaned up) and to reduce the risk of future incidents, but that’s about it.

  23. 23
    Drive By Wisdom says:

    I guess this is what liberals mean when they say they are going to put the boot to the neck of the oil industry.

    Lots of tough talk, swagger, dog whistles to the environuts, press briefings and no there there. Pretty much sums this Presidency. I am sure everyone here would have been as accomodating if this issue had occurred under a Republican administration.

    Obviously, a couple more months of this, and they will have to find a way to distract folks like Clinton did. Look over here! North Korea!

  24. 24
    Athenae says:

    @Paul in KY: THIS.

    Call the head of BP and remind him that extrajudicial assassinations are legal for high value suspects who are implicated in the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States.

    That too.

    A.

  25. 25
    dmsilev says:

    Interesting point about the permits. A week or so ago, I was at an event featuring John Holdren, Obama’s Science Advisor, and during the Q&A someone asked him why permits were still being issued despite the President’s order to stop. The reply was essentially that the culture at MMS was broken, and that an order from the top won’t necessarily be followed if someone two or three levels down thinks its a bad idea and is willing to cast around looking for loopholes.

    Not really a surprise to anyone who’s ever had to work for or with a large bureaucracy, but rather depressing none the less.

    Edit: What he didn’t say, but probably could have, is that having a pair of hard-core oilmen spending 8 years appointing people who’d act as industry tools means that the rot runs deep.

    dms

  26. 26
    Asshole says:

    This is good news for McCain. Now America knows that inexperienced people won’t be able to think of solutions to problems. McCain and Palin have demonstrated experience in thinking of things. Things like solutions. To problems.

    I think Obama should force Biden to resign, appoint McCain his Vice President, and then resign. Then McCain should appoint Sarah Palin his Vice President. Then we’ll see some real leadership here.

  27. 27
    mrmobi says:

    Stop issuing permits, because until industry can demonstrate they can handle this sort of thing, we should just presume it is unsafe. Period.

    That makes sense to me. Zero chance of that happening, btw.

    I think it is more likely that BP is going to be unable to cap the well, or provide any reasonable lessening of the gusher, and that the relief well will be the final resolution, several months from now, and only after most of the gulf is a dead zone. I pray that doesn’t happen, but past history is that relief wells are almost always the solution.

    Halliburton, the gift that keeps on giving. At least they’re not electrocuting soldiers anymore, that we know of. Just destroying the fisheries of the Gulf Coast. Good times.

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    @cleek:
    This. Exactly.

    The government’s messages have been mixed and limited. It would be nice to know that they are on our side.

  29. 29
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Fuck “leadership.” “Leadership” is striking poses. “Leadership” without results means fuck-all, and there are no obvious ways to get results, so being a “leader” under these conditions would mean looking like a clown. Finger-wagging? Day after day of statements saying, “Hey, we’re working on it, and it’s important, but we can’t measure progress in days?” Who exactly would that satisfy?

  30. 30
    kay says:

    @Darius:

    David Gergen listed a series of orders for Obama, all of which have been done, excepting the last, which is silly.

    Brought in the CEOs of all the major oil companies and charged them with the duty of an all-hands collaborative effort to stop the spill and help ward off the damage.

    • Brought in the best minds in the country, from universities and technology, for emergency efforts to find solutions.

    • Moved quickly to mobilize the National Guard and other military forces, if necessary, ensuring that they received the resources needed to protect our beaches.

    • Made a clear call to citizen volunteers to help where necessary.

    • Given Cabinet officers an ultimatum: Get this under control in the next 30 days, or else.

    This particularly made me mad:

    Brought in the CEOs of all the major oil companies and charged them with the duty of an all-hands collaborative effort to stop the spill and help ward off the damage.

    It’s pathetic, because this specific question was asked of the CG commander yesterday, and it’s actually a good question: “are they relying on the good faith of BP, or did they consult with other oil companies?”

    They consulted with other oil companies. Not the “CEO’s”, but engineers.

    So Gergen didn’t listen to the press conference.

  31. 31
    red plaid says:

    I agree with your general point, but I think the administration should do more to allow the independent scientists, journalists, etc. to investigate the spill and report its findings. With the parts of the government helping BP hide the size of the spill (ie. coast guard turning boats away, discouraging scientists to talk to the media), it then becomes part of the cover up and creates distrust. Then again, with the current state of the media, maybe this doesn’t really matter.

    I believe BP is doing everything it can to stop the spill (I don’t buy into the idea that it is destroying the coastline to gain access to oil in ecologically-sensitive areas). They have every incentive to stop the spill. Unfortunately they also have every incentive to hide the true extent of the destruction, so the government really needs to step in here to increase transparency (hah!).

  32. 32
    Tungsten Man says:

    What’s galling to me is the lack of numbers or estimates that BP’s providing, and the fact that the government isn’t demanding these from them.

    You don’t say “oh, it could take days or weeks or months” or “we don’t know how much of these dispersants we’re gonna use” or “hey, how much oil is there? we don’t know.”

    You give estimates, set goals and timetables, and then if they’re inaccurate or you don’t meet them, someone gets fired – that’s the responsible thing, and the only thing, to do in this situation if you’re a government, or a small business, or a large business, or anything that’s not an absolutely gigantic energy concern.

    But instead we get the insular CYA philosophy of the boardroom, written in oil across the Gulf and in type across our media. We don’t know what’s going on and the Coast Guard just signed off on that.

  33. 33
    tbogg says:

    At the very least, Obama should be curb-stomping the shit out of BP. There is no downside in that so he might as well make political hay while he can. Announcing imminent criminal charges would be a nice touch. Gallows and focusing the mind, don’cha know…

  34. 34
    Stooleo says:

    BP doesn’t know what to do, just like the guys running this disaster didn’t know what to do.

  35. 35
    Gotta Ask Why says:

    Thank you JC…All of this Monday Morning Quarterbacking is starting to piss me off. We “take over” (whatever that means) from BP and then what???

    This thought hit me last night. Given his response to the financial calamity, how big of a mess would we be in if it was President McCain and Vice President Palin? Because it would have been the most Mavericky thing to do, BP would have been kicked out leaving the federal government begging for equipment and expertise to try and address the problem, most likely at extraordinary additional costs.

    This situation requires exactly the guy we have in charge. Someone who will eat the necessary crow, absorb the blame and provide political cover so the experts can do their effin’ jobs. However satisfying it would be to rake BP over the coals right now, we’ve got and ecological system to try and salvage first.

    Yes, we should have gutted the MMS. Yes, regulatory bodies should have been more effective and this administration should be called to task on it, once / if this calamity is stabilized. Beyond that, anyone that wants to comment on the Fed’s inability to solve this problem that doesn’t have a foolproof plan to plug a hole filled with billions of gallons of oil that have been building up pressure for millions of years from exploding through the Earth’s crust from 18,000 feet deep needs to STFU, because they’re not helping.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The law is explicit as hell about this. The onus is on BP to fix it and the government is expressly forbidden to interfere.

    What law are you talking about?

  37. 37
    Paul in KY says:

    @Violet: Good point, Violet. If there is a law that absolutely forbids the U.S. government from taking extraordinary action, then that law needs to be succinctly explained to the viewing public.

    Personally, I think there’s ways around the law. He could declare martial law in the area. Get some of those ‘creative’ Bush-lawyer types to give some kind of whacked out ‘opinion’ that guts that law. Now is the time for bold action.

  38. 38
    Splitting Image says:

    Pretty much in agreement here. Issuing more permits was a dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks thing to do, but beyond that I’m out of ideas.

    And it bothers me as well that people don’t seem to get the difference between a natural disaster like Katrina and a man-made disaster like this one. Bush wasn’t responsible for either the lack of preparation in New Orleans or for the storm doing as much damage as it did, and it’s stupid to blame him for either. But as you said, helping to organize relief efforts and get food and medical supplies to the people hurt in the disaster is something the President is in a position to do and Bush did a horrible job of it.

    Capping the well is a technical problem not an organizational one, so I’m not clear on what Obama is supposed to be doing about it. Looking ahead he can punish BP for not having the proper safeguards in place and allocate more money to research and development, but that’s about it.

  39. 39
    The Moar You Know says:

    I can’t imagine that the best technical experts in the industry are not working on this.

    @Fern: I can. I think BP is going to do this as cheaply as possible, and hey, if the fucking oilcano goes for six extra months, so be it. I heard one of their flacks on the radio yesterday pimping a deadline of August for this thing to be plugged.

    Consequences are an empty threat. They hold all the cards, and have all the legal power to handle the spill as they see fit, and will simply do what Transocean is doing now and give all their assets away to the major stakeholders before their bills come due.

    Not a goddamn thing the government can do about any of it, though. The legislation passed in the wake of the Valdez disaster has ensured that.

    Who could have predicted that legislation written by the oil industry would backfire so horribly when we had the next major spill?

  40. 40
    William Q. Pilgrim says:

    what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to do about the oil spill?

    How about we issue subpoenas against those responsible?
    How about finding what that big party on the rig was about before the explosion?
    How about NOT allowing BP to gather their own evidence in advance of them being a defendant in a future trial?
    How about taking action against the oil thugs that held survivors in captivity for 48 hours while their family members worried about them?
    How about taking action against the fatcat bubbas who tried to get residents to sign a “we won’t sue BP” waiver for a $5k payoff?
    How about getting adminstration officials on TV who know what the hell they’re talking about?
    How about doing away with the last 30 years of laissez-faire regulation for the oil industry?
    How about Obama making the decision to start acting like Huey Long instead of Ghandi?

    Goddammit, I feel more thankful than ever that I’m an ex-Democrat.

  41. 41
    williamc says:

    JC, you have expressed the same frustration I have about friends complaining about what the government should be doing about this.

    As I said to some friends back when CBS News couldn’t get on the beaches of Louisiana because the Coast Guard doing BP’s dirty work: I don’t know what’s up with the Coast Guard and CBS news (well, I do, but the corporate capture of our government would take longer than I have to give right now, since it also explains how this happened in the first place), but I do know that the President is caught in a vice on this. There are those on his side who want to stick it to the oil companies and his opponents were already accusing him of destroying private industry in the United States cause he’s on a Marx!st jihad, and from what I see in public opinion polls, the majority of the country still wants to engage in offshore oil drilling, regardless of this tragedy, so I don’t see what can be done here. It hurts my soul, as an environmentalist, that this is the best we can do, but life is not a movie, no one’s gonna bomb this leak into stopping or sacrifice themselves stuffing the hole. I have heard no one with any authority or expertise on deep-sea oil wells opine on how to solve this problem. The President is not a magician he can’t just summon the will to solve this.

  42. 42
    nightshift66 says:

    By executive order, Big O can:

    1. Prohibit BP from removing any assets from this country until the well is capped and some realistic cost to this country is estimated.

    2. Stop new permits at those depths. If legal, void any existing permits if no drilling has begun under them.

    3. Send govermental personnel to get independent data on rate of spill at the site, amount of oil in the Gulf, and amount of oil reaching the shore.

    By legislation, the government can:

    1. Remove all caps from actual damages caused by oil spills. Make oil spills “strict liability” incidents under existing “ultrahazardous activity” tort law. (Short version: it is no defense that your company was not negligent, you’re still on the hook for actual damages. A showing of negligence elevates how much the company pays.)

    2. Prohibit deep drilling until/unless the tech exists to seal these things, and require said tech as a condition of getting a drilling permit in the future.

    It’s not a long list, but the feds aren’t even doing any of that. They are the best government corporate money can buy, after all.

  43. 43
    Oscar Leroy says:

    One good thing to do would be to forget about going forward with more offshore drilling.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c.....e_lie.html

    Fail.

  44. 44
    CJ says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    They’ve got to clamp it down and FIX IT. When I wake up tomorrow it better be FIXED.

  45. 45
    Paul in KY says:

    @Athenae: If that’s what it takes. You declare a ‘war on the spill’ & make all of the BP response people/stuff temporarily members of the military & under military discipline.

  46. 46
    Comrade Jake says:

    More cowbells would be nice.

  47. 47
    Darius says:

    Fuck “leadership.” “Leadership” is striking poses. “Leadership” without results means fuck-all, and there are no obvious ways to get results, so being a “leader” under these conditions would mean looking like a clown.

    Exactly.

    Obama should be curb-stomping the shit out of BP.

    And what does that mean? Issuing angry statements? What the hell would that accomplish?

  48. 48
    The Moar You Know says:

    I almost had a stroke when I heard that Coast Guard Admiral say that BP is our “friend.”

    @Alice Blue: There’s something to watch, there. Somebody good and high up in the Coast Guard is on the motherfucking take from BP, they have been running interference and damage control for those sons of bitches since day one.

  49. 49
    georgia pig says:

    Yeah, there are suddenly a million experts on petroleum engineering, I’ve quit going to the GOS because of them (their hysteria has reached to the point of parroting David Gergen’s uninformed emissions). As to your three points, (1) and (2) can be explained away, (1) because shit doesn’t always go as planned when things are really fucked up and (2) because it’s normal for people to lowball disaster and the use of dispersants is likely the lesser of two evils. (3) might also be explained away on technical grounds, but I agree that it’s mystifying that this kind of drilling has been going on for quite a while and there were apparently no concrete backup plans for dealing with a failed blowout preventer at this depth.

  50. 50
    tim says:

    Freeze/confiscate all of BP’s assets under U.S. control or in U.S. territory.

    Kick BP’s ass out of the way

    Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP.

    Put all relevant government resources behind the effort NOW.

    Criminal arrests NOW, of BP executives.

    Criminal arrests NOW, of government “regulators” who allowed lax oversight.

    Freeze new drilling permits in the gulf, as well as any additional work on wells already approved but not yet pumping.

    Detail the ways in which 8 years of Bush administration oil whoredom led us to this point.

    KICK OFF AN IMMEDIATE, MEGA EMERGENCY, MANHATTAN PROJECT-LEVEL NATIONAL PROGRAM TO GET US OFF FOSSIL FUELS.

    Raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year to pay for this, tax the hell out of the oil, gas and coal industries to pay for this.

    Do all of the above very publicly, kicked off with a major hoo hah, night time, prime time speech, followed up with weekly speeches to keep us updated on progress.

    And to you losers in comments who keep whining about how Obie cannot DOOOOOOOOO ANYTHIIIIIIIING…what the hell? Why did you bother to vote for him then, if you did? What difference does it make if he can’t do anything when it matters the most? I saw him a couple of days ago doing some lame ass interview/photo op with ES-fucking PN, talking sports and draft pics and what not? WTF? The man has nothing more important to do? It was embarrassing.

    He can be twisting arms in the bureacracies and in congress, making threats to withhold money and election support as he does to get funding for wars passed. He can be firing asses and taking names, and he can let us, the public, know that like FDR, he “welcomes the hatred” of the fossil fuel industry, the financiers, the corporatists, the war machine, and the polluters who care nothing for this country and only for their own pocketbooks.

    And of course, none of the above will happen because Obie can’t DOOOOO ANYTHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING. WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DOOOOOOOOOOOOO? BOO HOO HOO.

    Jesus, somehow everyone knows just what to do if there is a war to be declared or taxes to be cut, or a filthy oil well to be drilled or a wind farm or solar project to be killed.

    But let an oil well blow and they’re all helpless. right.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    Okay, I’m more than a little creeped out that people are upset that Obama isn’t acting like Huey fucking Long for chrissake.

    So much for “let’s return to the rule of law.” I guess it’s more like, “we love dictators as long as they’re our dictators.”

  52. 52
    Irony Abounds says:

    About the new drilling permits: They are NOT permits for new drilling. As was explained by Dick Durbin on MSNBC this morning, the “new” permits pertain to projects already underway and are necessary when there is the slightest modification to the drilling (a slight change in the angle of the drilling, for example). No new projects are being permitted. The New York Times got it wrong. A shocker, I know.

    Now, should Congress pass legislation that requires the immediate drilling of relief wells for all existing projects, yes. Try getting that through Big Oils’ pet legislative body.

  53. 53
    kay says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    I agree with that. The only possible upside is a hard lesson in what this costs. It’s too expensive to drill for oil in deep water. It doesn’t matter if it never happens again. It’s already unrealistic. The cost is too high.

  54. 54
    Eunice Aaron says:

    John,
    Once again the MSM is doing a terrible job of informing the public. Each of the points you make could, and should be covered in our “news” programs. It makes me so sad that the people know so little about how government works (when it works.)

  55. 55
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @dmsilev: I think a lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is to FIRE a bureaucrat. IIRC, several can’t be directly fired; all you can do is make their situation miserable and hope they resign. I’m not sure how many Bush appointees are buried in the bureaucracy, but whichever ones are there are probably still causing trouble.

  56. 56
    tim says:

    And I LOVE that the U.S. can invade Iraq and Afghanistan, sovreign countries halfway around the world, but it can’t invade the northern edge of the Gulf of Mexico right off its shores to do whatever the fuck it takes to stop this.

    Constrained by laws, my ass…

    PUH LEEEEEEEEEEEASE.

  57. 57
    lotus says:

    Use explosives to close the well? … the idea gets tossed around by people who seem to know what they’re talking about

    Uh, not so much. Over at TheOilDrum, where people actually do know what they’re talking about, here’s the talk:

    Did you hear the question about using explosives (not nukes per se)? [BP COO Suttles was] emphatic that all government and industry experts agreed it could make it worse.
    __
    I [did] have a nice chat with a [seismologist] friend on the effect on other production facilities of placing a nuke in delta mud. Interesting waves would propagate. Of course a news outlet mentioned this Russian idea today. Project Gasbuggy in 5000 feet of water!!!

    Next guy says:

    I’m not an expert, but when things built for “blowing things up” are used to “fix a leak,” I get very nervous. It makes about as much sense to me as fixing a leaky faucet by dropping a grenade on it. I guess your faucet would stop leaking because your entire plumbing is now spewing water instead.
    __
    [Suttles] said most of those explosives were used [onshore] to put out fires and not to stop the flow. That makes sense to me.

    Some folks been reading too much Tom Clancy, yo creo.

  58. 58
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @cleek:

    …visible leadership…

    Speeches saving the world again? Look, I don’t want to be insulting here… and am not specifically addressing cleek with this… but as much as we make fun of Maureen Dowd, it really does seem that a lot of people are more interested in a Daddy in Chief to talk sternly to the Bad Company.

  59. 59
    cat48 says:

    @demimondian:

    Dr. Chu had a Weapons guy in 2 wks ago at BP headquarters so I’m sure that has been researched. They are doing a 12hr pretest today to make sure tomorrows “trick” is safe to pursue.

    They started drilling a relief well a few days after the accident which is the only proven and sure way to cap it. Unfortunately, 2 more mos. for that. Obama did go down there around May 2 so I guess time for another trip. Adm. Allen has been frank as was Obama. They said 3 mos for the relief well.

  60. 60
    Darius says:

    Speeches saving the world again? Look, I don’t want to be insulting here… and am not specifically addressing cleek with this… but as much as we make fun of Maureen Dowd, it really does seem that a lot of people are more interested in a Daddy in Chief to talk sternly to the Bad Company.

    It does seem that way. Maybe if Obama wore a flight suit…

  61. 61
    kay says:

    @tim:

    What would they do to stop this? If they were to “invade”?

    A lot of the members of the “US government” are in Houston, and they’ve been there for a month.

    Are they just sitting on their killer idea until someone asks their opinion? Secretary Chu and Secretary Gates have a plan they haven’t revealed?

    That’s sort of dastardly. I wonder why they’d do that?

  62. 62
    Comrade Jake says:

    Ezra Klein made the point the other day that team Obama really hasn’t used this event (combined with the recent mining disaster) to push for the energy/climate bill. That is indeed mystifying.

  63. 63
    ronin122 says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    And all of that would do, what exactly, to stop this oil leak or mitigate the damages it causes? Oh right, nothing. This is why I have learned to filter out my fellow leftists right here: all you guys want is your photo op and are more concerned about “hitting the big corps where it hurts” than actually coming up with valid solutions. Unless your calls for action actually solve the IMMEDIATE problem, I honestly don’t give a fuck what you think on the matter.

  64. 64
    tim says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    Wow. A-fucking-men, brother.

  65. 65
    kay says:

    @cat48:

    They’re drilling two relief wells, one additional as a fail-safe, at the feds insistence, according to Gibbs, yesterday.

  66. 66
    Crashman says:

    The Russians used nuclear bombs to seal off oil leaks… Just saying…

    On second though, maybe we should save those for North Korea.

  67. 67
    The Moar You Know says:

    What law are you talking about?

    @Mark S.: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The unintended consequence of this legislation was that it put the responsibility and onus of spill containment and mitigation squarely on the shoulders of the oil company responsible, and removed the government from the process. The idea was that the government wouldn’t have to pay for the cleanup as they did with the Valdez.

    Law of unintended consequences and all that. The government is hamstrung from doing anything, because it’s not their legal responsibility, it is British Petroleum’s, and if BP doesn’t want the government’s help, or wants to dictate the terms of how the government helps (like how they’ve gotten the Coast Guard to be their private police force) there’s not a damn thing the government can do about that.

    Not that there is anything the government can do anyway. The government does not have either the people or resources to deal with an incident like this.

  68. 68
    ronin122 says:

    @tim: Oh please do tell us all the laws that allow us to do all that.

  69. 69
    Floyd says:

    I see Kevin Costner is up 1% in popularity this week on IMDB.

  70. 70
    Fern says:

    @tim:

    but it can’t invade the northern edge of the Gulf of Mexico right off its shores to do whatever the fuck it takes to stop this.

    Please be more specific about “whatever the fuck it takes” would look like. I was not aware the the administration had a staff of experts in deepwater drilling.

  71. 71
    Smudgemo says:

    Well, to start, WE could decide to stop driving so much. We could also stop buying our food out of season from far away places.

    (Flame suit on.)

  72. 72
    Maude says:

    The MSM doesn’t have any idea what’s going on with the spill.
    The bit about the bomb is BS. Pure BS. It was circulated as truth.
    I am so sick of people saying that they are upset. Too bad.
    This is a critical oil disaster and no one’s feelings are going to fix it.
    Thad Allen tried to explain things to the reporters and had a hard time.
    If people want to understand what is going on, they can find out.
    Obama can’t do anything about this except what he is doing.
    For Obama to go out and yell about it is pointless.
    The clap louder crowd needs to go into an echo chamber and close the door.
    The frustration is from stupid media types spewing nonsense. The attitude in the US that We are Exceptional and We don’t have to put up with anything.
    Things don’t always solve easily or quickly.
    This is going to be a long haul.
    McCain would have flown out to one of the ships and made bold statements.

  73. 73
    Alex S. says:

    @cleek:

    I agree. It’s not that he can actually do something to close the hole. But he should make use of the bully pulpit and apply pressure on BP. Otherwise, people will blame him, it’s already starting. Also, he is a little stuck in a mess of his own making because he allowed more offshore drilling, and I can remember the townhall he used to defend this decision. He stated that the technology was far enough to make this a safe way to achieve energy independence. That happened about 1 month before the biggest oil spill ever.
    Maybe he could propose a moratorium on offshore-drilling until the technology has actually made it safe. Until then, there is water, wind and solar power….
    And the jobs that would not be made in that case, well, now the fishing and tourism industry of the gulf states is dead.

  74. 74
    flukebucket says:

    If I am not mistaken it took 10 months to cap the well at the Ixtoc I oil spill and they were working in water that was 160 feet deep.

    Right now I think that Obama and BP and everybody involved is doing everything they can to stop the leak and stopping the leak should be the priority right now.

    I am still stunned that nobody had ever sat down and wondered what in the hell they would do if one of those blow out preventers failed.

  75. 75
    kay says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Agreed. I suspect some of the “this can be controlled with the right man at the helm!” theme is coming from the energy industry themselves, or their media mouthpieces.

    If it can’t be controlled, they probably can’t drill in deep water. So it’s a matter of an “ineffective” response, not a full-on fuck-up that no one knows how to fix.

  76. 76
    Kristin says:

    How about if he just did some-friggen-thing! Said something maybe. Jesus. That is my issue with him, over and over again. Whether it’s this clusterfuck, repeal of DADT, letting last summer’s healthcare debate become the monster it did, the Goldman Sacks/bank stuff: Where the fuck is he?! How about some leadership? CONVINCE US, or at least try to, of what’s right, instead of letting the entire message (and the easily-predicted way that the politics and policy follow) be determined by the morally-bankrupt other side. God dammit.

  77. 77
    the fake fake al says:

    He could manage the news cycle better. The spill gets headlines when there is nothing else. Its been going on for 33 days. They need to anticipate a slow news cycle and counter with statements, photo ops, accusations against bp, saber rattling, whatever. Obama should fly down there today and talk with BP scientists then hold a photo op, take half a day, tops. He should talk to media outlets about the latest top kill plans. Someone in the admin should have a list of things the preznit can do when the news cycles swings back toward the spill.

    You are either lead the news cycle with your own news or you get run over by it. Come now, play the game, Obama.

  78. 78
    Mumphrey says:

    “What Exactly Are They Supposed To Do?”

    That really is a big thing to ask. I was driving yesterday, flipping through the dial on the radio, and I came across some clown filling in for Limbaugh, and in the half a minute I took to listen, he was going on about how the “liberals” would have been all over Bush if this had happened when he was president, since they were sooooo pissed off about New Orleans. And I thought, pretty much, “They knew Katrina was coming for a week ahead of time; nobody knew this thing was going to blow. It was BP’s fault, not Obama’s. That’s why people aren’t as upset with him as they were with Bush.”
    But then, these clowns don’t care whether what they say is true or not: they have the gospel to spread, and they say whatever they think they need to to get the drones to hate Obama.

  79. 79
    Flugelhorn says:

    This ought to make me popular…

    If they had been allowed to drill off the shelf rather than be forced to go so far from the coast to drill in water over a mile deep, this could have been contained by now.

    This is the unintended consequence of the environmental policies that forced such deep water, off-shore drilling. How is that for irony?

  80. 80
    cleek says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    i explained exactly what i meant by “leadership”: he should visibly acting as our advocate.

    there should be no doubt about who he is representing. there should be no doubt about who’s concerns are paramount. people shouldn’t have to resort to conspiracy theories about BP’s campaign donations, or schemes to open up drilling in coastal marshland, or whatever.

    or, he can keep playing it like he is now: out of sight, secretive, ineffectual, meek, dithering, content to wait for BP and to accept their pronouncements despite their obvious conflicts of interests, letting people come up with their own answers for the delays and the problems.

    that’s leadership. that’s telling us he’s on our side in this, even if he can’t fix the problem himself. at least let us know that he’s willing to exhaust possible every option on our behalf.

  81. 81
    tim says:

    @ronin122:

    Idiot. The same laws that allowed the U.S. to invade Iraq, I guess, who the fuck cares. Make up laws like Bush did…get it done.

  82. 82
    Fern says:

    @Comrade Jake: It might be more appropriate to do that once the thing is solved, rather than in the middle of it. My guess is that he IS going to use this, just not right now.

  83. 83
    Jules says:

    https://twitter.com/Oil_Spill_2010

    This is the twitter feed for Updates from the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center (JIC) on Unified Command response efforts to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  84. 84
    BGK says:

    So “Bobby” Jindal is out there flapping his face about building sand berms around the barrier islands and tidal marshes to prevent oil infiltration. I’m not an environmental scientist, but I do live in an area thick with tidal marshes and I know a nontrivial amount about fluid dynamics. Has anyone told young Piyush that those berms are a seriously stupid idea? That damming up the normal tidal flow through the marshes will probably kill them as dead as the oil will, albeit more slowly? That the plants and animals in them need the tidal flow to survive? That the first significant wave action (e.g. a tropical storm) will undermine the berms, washing sand and/or oil into the grasses? That the excavation for the sand supply will make the waters turbid, causing the same problems?

    I would guess the silence by the Army Corps isn’t so silent, away from the teevee cameras.

  85. 85
    Scuby says:

    We do what the USA is best at doing… OUTSOURCE.

    BP needs to move aside and be replaced by PBR. Brazil has been making strides with deep water drilling, contracting more deep water rigs than any other organization in the world. It seems given their record, they may know something about drilling in deep water that others have yet to learn.

    Outsource the problem to PBR and send the bill to BP.

  86. 86
    kay says:

    @Maude:

    I read on an oil site that a commenter here reads that they can’t use explosives because the sea floor in the gulf is “like pudding”. It’s soft, a long way down, so the effect of any explosive would be completely unpredictable.

  87. 87

    head/desk, face/palm etc. The federal gov’t doesn’t have the equipment to do fucking shit about this oil leak! Even the booms, etc. are only secondary considerations. They can fix things for the *future* but we’re dealing with the *now*. How many more military personnel do you want to deploy?

  88. 88
    tim says:

    @Fern:

    Well, simpleton, perhaps I would know if I weren’t a writer and artist and were instead a deep water drilling expert.

    But I’m fairly certain the government has a few dollars and some leverage it could use in a heartbeat to kick BP’s ass out of the way, hire whomever is best aat this from anywhere in the world at any cost and take care of it.

    You know, you’ve heard of…scientists and engineers, right?

  89. 89
    kay says:

    @BGK:

    The CG commander pretty much dismissed this idea yesterday, although diplomatically, for the reasons you cited.

    I think Jindal probably needs political cover. He has to appear to be doing something.

  90. 90
    4tehlulz says:

    @BGK: Yeah I saw that. You know something is a horrible idea when even the Army Corps is hesitating to build it.

  91. 91
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @nightshift66:

    By legislation, the government can:
    __
    1. Remove all caps from actual damages caused by oil spills. Make oil spills “strict liability” incidents under existing “ultrahazardous activity” tort law. (Short version: it is no defense that your company was not negligent, you’re still on the hook for actual damages. A showing of negligence elevates how much the company pays.)
    __
    2. Prohibit deep drilling until/unless the tech exists to seal these things, and require said tech as a condition of getting a drilling permit in the future.
    __
    It’s not a long list, but the feds aren’t even doing any of that. They are the best government corporate money can buy, after all.

    The Feds aren’t “doing” any of that because the Congress we have is one big incompetent clusterfuck. They, literally, can’t get any of the items you suggest here passed. So what’s your next brilliant solution, and how is that one also going to be blamed on President Obama? Let me guess: Bully Pulpit.

    It’s been more than three weeks since Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) unveiled a proposal to raise the liability cap to $10 billion for oil companies involved in economically damaging offshore spills. And despite two efforts to pass the legislation through the Senate, the backing of the president and an ever-dire crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, there currently exists no clear path forward for getting the idea into law.

    @tim:

    You do realize not a single fucking thing you named here would stop the oil from leaking, right? I mean, you do realize you put together a list of feel-good superfluousness like “Criminal arrests NOW, of BP executives,” “Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP,” and “KICK OFF AN IMMEDIATE, MEGA EMERGENCY, MANHATTAN PROJECT-LEVEL NATIONAL PROGRAM TO GET US OFF FOSSIL FUELS,” don’t you? There is nothing legitimate on that list that gets the leak and spill cleaned up and fixed a moment sooner.

    But I’m sure that was one hell of a ragegasm you had putting that list together. I’m sure it felt mighty nice.

  92. 92
    El Cid says:

    There may not be too much more at this time that the U.S. can do to solve the situation, but it’s all the more reason we need to strengthen our resolve and invade and occupy Venezuela and Iran and North Korea because right wing conspiracy ultra-hawk nuts say they were blown up by North Koranizuela agents.

  93. 93
    kay says:

    @tim:

    But they tried that, tim. They consulted with other oil companies, we found out yesterday. “Due diligence” to determine if BP were holding out, or just incompetent.

    The engineers told them they don’t how to fix it.

  94. 94
    Keith says:

    If you constrain the lists of things the WH or government agencies might do to stopping the gusher / spill then yes, you have a fair point. There isn’t all that much, physically that they can do.

    But that misses the point.

    What has people frustrated is not just the continuing wound flooding the Gulf with black ooze. It is the lack of any obvious responsive constraint on the party, and industry, responsible for this mess. This is made more confusing when words and deeds are in conflict with each other.

    Moratorium on offshore oil leases. Fine and dandy idea. Why then do we keep hearing of new leases (some in even deeper waters) being released. Stop them all till we set in place some straightforward criteria. Criteria, I might add, which have been in place elsewhere in the world for years.

    Example 1 – follow the lead of the Norwegians. Insist that all future operations employ the best BOP back-ups, screw this nonsense of “gotta study that” – enough.
    Example 2 – follow the lead of the Canadians. Insist that all future and all existing offshore drilling operations have a parallel relief well already drilled – ready to be put into action at short notice to stop an accident. Had that been in place we might only have been looking at a few days to end this spill, instead of months.
    Example 3 – insist that spill response begin with a verifiable estimate of rate of flow, demand – under risk of implemntation of OPA penalties and fines for continued obfuscation – that the basis for flow rate be independently verified.
    Example 4 – the use of those dispersants is bad enough, we are running a science experiment of massive proportions on the Gulf, with a likely failing result. Worse, BP is not willing to back down in the face of a directive, from the primary environmental regulator in this country, to use less toxic and more effective dispersants.

    All of which leads to …

    Example 5 – that response by BP to the EPA, coupled with a lack of any other reasonable action by the administration, bolsters the firm impression that our government is impotent in addressing this issue. By that I mean not just the present disaster, but the prevention of future disasters through the imposition of appropriate controls on a rogue industry.

  95. 95
    AxelFoley says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    More cowbells would be nice.

    Well, I do have a fever…

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mumphrey: True, people _would_ be giving Bush a hard time for it. Obama deserves to get a hard time because he’s the president and fucked-up shit is going down. But it’s still not evident that there’s a Something To Be Done _that actually fixes it_. And making public statements that explain that it’s very complicated even to the smartest experts out there, and they’re not making a lot of progress–which seems to be the case–would be reassuring how?

  97. 97
    MikeJ says:

    Why hasn’t Hitler Obama dressed in feathers and danced around BP?

    http://www.rumproast.com/index....._you_nsfw/

  98. 98
    cat48 says:

    @kay:

    Thank, the Lord. They are smarter than I gave them credit for. I had my freakout long ago when they said 3 months in April or May. It is very sad to me now, no more anger.

    I honestly don’t see what else can be done except to try different things in the mean time.

  99. 99

    @DA:

    Use explosives to close the well? I honestly know very little about how this would work, but the idea gets tossed around by people who seem to know what they’re talking about.

    As I understand the explanations from the tech guys:

    The problem is that whatever you do, you are likely to cause cracks in the bedrock around the well and further away. Those cracks could become new gushers.

    Traditional explosives would create a lot of pebbles and boulders around the well but these have spaces that would be quite permeable to pressurized oil. Nuclear explosives would generate enough heat to melt the rock at ground zero but would still cause cracks in the bedrock in the surrounding area.

    In short, explosives would probably not be good as a short term solution and would definitely cause problems in the longer term.

  100. 100
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @tim:

    Idiot. The same laws that allowed the U.S. to invade Iraq, I guess, who the fuck cares. Make up laws like Bush did…get it done.

    Unreal. Your solution to this is to just “make up laws like Bush did” and you have the gall to call someone else an idiot.

    You have got some brass ones, son.

  101. 101
    Zifnab says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim: This. Lots of this.

    I mean, subpoenas seem like the very very first order of business. Get the freak’n FBI involved if need be. This is like the world’s biggest car accident. Why is there not a cop on the scene? BP executives should have federal agents crawling all over their turf. Sunshine, disinfectant, you know the drill.

    I have no idea why Congress bothered calling the CEOs of the three companies involved before they had reams and reams of evidence spelling out exactly what happened. The federal government shouldn’t be asking these clowns “Oh, hey, btw, what went wrong?” They should be telling the assholes exactly what went wrong and asking how best they’d like to be frog-marched out of the building.

  102. 102
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cleek: So, what, yell impotently _every_ day? How often do you want the scolding to occur, and how much effect do you expect it to have after the first time, _which already happened_?

  103. 103
    tim says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Hey Obie-licker, what part of “Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP,” don’t you understand?

    are you actually asking ME, an artist and writer, to provide you with engineering specifics on how to fix this well.

    Not my job. Obie’s job. Get it done or get the fuck out of the way.

    Wow, this is really embarrassing for you Obamabots.

    But he can’t DOOOOO ANYTHIIIIIIING. It is not within his POWWWWWWWEEERRRR…stop being mean to our President!

  104. 104
    kdaug says:

    @Alex S.:
    Water, wind, and solar power?

    Do you drive a non-electric car? Ever fly anywhere? Use anything plastic? Eat foods grown with fertilizer?

    Winding our way out of our dependence on oil is going to be really, really hard. So hard that it’s not likely to happen until we’re well into the down slope of peak oil, the shit’s more expensive than gold, and civilians are no longer able to buy it because it’s reserved for the military.

    So hard we won’t do it until we don’t have any choice.

  105. 105
    Dan says:

    Thank you cleek, thank you Kristen. That is my point too.

    Jindal may have bad ideas, but I’ll bet the people down there appreciate that he is fucking engaged in this thing.

  106. 106
    licensed to kill time says:

    When there is instability and confusion people long for Big Daddy to take charge. It’s simplistic and emotionally satisfying.

    Jeez, Obama must wake up every morning with a ‘what fresh hell awaits today ?’ in his gut. Now the Korean War seems to want to start up again, the Haitians are rioting in the rain, Jamaica is in a “Lords of War” movie, the Blob is taking over the Gulf…..I do not envy his job, not one teeny bit. Just watching the news makes me want to slit my wrists.

    I don’t know what he can do, but I’m glad he’s the one in charge and not Shrub or Walnuts or Bible Spice. I mean, really, really glad.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Zifnab:

    I have no idea why Congress bothered calling the CEOs of the three companies involved before they had reams and reams of evidence spelling out exactly what happened

    So… they acted too soon? They should have waited to have more information before just hauling people up to answer questions? Interesting.

  108. 108
    cleek says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    there are plenty of people making the argument you seem to want to attribute to me. why don’t you try asking them ?

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @tim: So the humongous cash award buys some actually-existing piece of equipment that they can just drop in the fucking hole, like, tomorrow? Did you watch _The Core_ recently?

  110. 110
    tim says:

    @kay:

    Why in god’s name would you believe, after the last 11 years, ANYTHING the government says, without independent verification?

    Look at ACTIONS, not words. What is being DONE? What concrete ACTIONS are being taken? Talk is cheap if not backed up with action.

  111. 111
    Paul in KY says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: We use their stuff & their money to get whatever is needed from anywhere in the world (outside of the PRK). The military taking over is so we can compel them.

    You declare martial law & order them to do things they have thought about, but didn’t want to do because of the cost.

    How about BP rents an aircraft carrier, loads it down with cement & has a huge pipe attached to the carrier that directs the concrete down to the hole? Give me 5 billion & I can get one made pretty quick, I bet.

    Carrier is 1000 feet long. You have the pipe in 5 sections on deck with one of those cranes they used to raise the Korean ship & you put it together & start the operation.

  112. 112
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    The main thing the Obama administration can do is get into the game. The president should give a daily briefing. His people should talk and act like they are out to be in control of the situation to the greatest possible extent. Act like they are in charge, and doing something, even if it is just checking and pushing BP. And some one savvy person who can look and talk savvy on tv needs to be the point person on this, every day.

    So far they are giving the impression that this is just another item in just another news cycle. Right or wrong, that is the impression, and the people affected by it are not getting much comfort from that approach.

    I might be the biggest Obamabot here, but AFAIC their handling of this sucks dick.

  113. 113
    chopper says:

    I hear screams to “take over” the operations from BP. And do what? Is there some secret naval division that handles deep-sea drilling that we have not deployed? Does the government have some elite unit with better equipment than BP?

    yes. the navy has a secret fleet of wildcatter frogmen. they’re called ‘frogcats’. they’re motto is ‘LOL, i’m in ur gulf, capping ur gusher’.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cleek: You’re the one who keeps demanding “leadership.” “Leadership” is short-term theatrics and bullshit unless you’re also announcing _tangible progress_. Until there’s tangible progress, I don’t see any point in shows of “leadership.”

  115. 115
    Maude says:

    @kay:
    Exactly. I read that too. The comment about why no explosive would work was by someone who knows what he was talking about.

  116. 116
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Guster: FTW

  117. 117
    tim says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Idiot. How the hell do I know? I’m an artist/writer.

    Your president should be in charge of finding out what to do and getting it done by the people who know how to do it, not giving interviews on ESPN so he can maintain his jock cred.

  118. 118
    Seanly says:

    But, but, but if we stop issuing new permits for offshore drilling, then The Snowbilly Grifter will throw her magic word salad at Obama, the Tea Baggers will not vote for Demoncrats and the oil companies will only make billions of dollars in profits instead of billions and billions. All of which proves that Obama is a soc.ialist!

  119. 119
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Paul in KY: Yeah, why didn’t anyone think of that yet? Just grab a boat and pump cement down the hole, easy peasy. It’s almost as though there are serious technical constraints that make that somehow difficult.

  120. 120
    the pair says:

    it’s no surprise that rand paul had a “leave BP alone!!!” moment; as your post points out intentionally or otherwise, this is what libertarian ayn rand heaven looks like…the government has less money, skills and resources than the private company and will be glad to say “oh, don’t worry – we’re glad to wipe your ass for you at the expense of the ‘little people'” (thanks for that gem, leona.)

    who knew the island galt and his pals moved to was actually an oil rig?

    as for what the obama people should do, how about ANYTHING. as least throw the pricks to the lions and give us the catharsis of a thumbs up/down vote; do it roman style. for god’s sake, the chinese executed the guy responsible for killing our pets with tainted food but when BP wipes out vast swathes of endangered species and wrecks the economy of entire coastlines we have a few “have you no decency sir!?!?!” moments for the cameras while simultaneously tossing out more drilling permits.

  121. 121
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @tim:

    Hey Obie-licker, what part of “Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP,” don’t you understand?

    Oh, I understood all of it. What you clearly don’t understand is that it’s a stupid fucking idea, and more importantly, they already have the best engineers, scientists, experts, etc. from all over the world working on the goddamn problem. They’ve been doing that for weeks now. So the point is that your “suggestion” is something a) they’re already doing; and b) is framed in such a manner that it would be utterly laughable if the President took it with him to the famed Bully Pulpit.

    are you actually asking ME, an artist and writer, to provide you with engineering specifics on how to fix this well.

    No. I’m telling you that the “ideas” you proposed are moronic, irrelevant, and useless in stopping more oil from spilling into the Gulf. But it would give you another ragegasm, so who am I to stand in the way of pleasure?

    But he can’t DOOOOO ANYTHIIIIIIING. It is not within his POWWWWWWWEEERRRR…stop being mean to our President!

    I see your critical reading skills are as developed as your intellectual maturity.

    Kudos.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @tim: So, you just like to scream about how Someone should be Doing Something. That’s nice.

  123. 123

    @Flugelhorn:

    If they had been allowed to drill off the shelf rather than be forced to go so far from the coast to drill in water over a mile deep, this could have been contained by now.

    What is the topography of the reservoir? Could it be reached from the shelf? Or would they have to drill 40-something miles out in order to tap the reservoir?

  124. 124
    gregw says:

    All this talk of BP paying for the clean up is nonsensical. There can be no clean up. There is no way to clean it out of the marshlands. NO way. Sure, some efforts and a lot of money will be expended but look at Prince William Sound. It still is a mess more than 20 years later and it is not as complex a system as the marshlands of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Further, it is questionable whether they can even shut this volcano off so that a clean up can be done at all. There was an estimated 50,000,000 barrels of oil in the Macondo Prospect when it was initially surveyed. At a leak rate of 50,000 barrels a day it will be 30 years before the well is empty. The consequences of this are apocalyptic. This makes Chernobyl inconsequential in comparison.

    The most similar oil “spill” event to this occurred at the Ixtoc I, a 2-mile-deep exploratory well that blew out on June 3, 1979 in the Bay of Campeche off Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. It took ten months to shut it off and as near as I can tell it was a less difficult project than we now have.

    We are truly fucked here. I motorcycled much of the area that will be closed down by this catastrophe. I am sickened. Those magnificent beaches and wetlands are gone, gone for generations and there ain’t shit anyone can do about it now.

    I have not always been such a pessimist. What this country had done to the world since the felonious five installed Bush and his ilk has changed me. And not for the better I fear.

    Cheers, gin at 10:30 am doesn’t seem like such a bad idea right now.

  125. 125
    Paul in KY says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m sure there are (ha, ha). I bet, though, that they haven’t thought about as big a pipe as I’m thinking about & as much concrete as I’m thinking about. The reason probably is that they are constrained by cost. If I can get my hands on all BP’s money, then I’m no longer constrained by cost.

    Also, it doesn’t have to be concrete, it can be some other material.

  126. 126
    LanceThruster says:

    Declare a state of emergency which will mean certain powers kick in. Use these powers to move quickly to cap the flow and mitigate damage. See what legal and enforcement means can be taken to ensure BP’s (and various contractors) responsibility for the costs of the damage and assess what criminal actions might be taken (as in the pressure to sign affidavits by survivors). Make as big an effing stink as possible as a shot across the bow to other scofflaws and greed merchants who calculate paying fines is cheaper than the destruction they wreak.

    These corps are now imbued with personhood status. With great ‘status’ comes great responsibility.

    And btw, I think you do a pretty good job not being anybody’s “butt-boy” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  127. 127
    Flugelhorn says:

    @the pair:

    this is what libertarian ayn rand heaven looks like…the government has less money, skills and resources than the private company

    I would just like to point out that this is and has ALWAYS been true of government. The only thing they ARE good at is signing a check and fucking things up, which was Ayn’s entire point. Government has not evolved into its current state. It has always been thus.

    Horse, then cart.

  128. 128
    James Hare says:

    Some people want a national Daddy. They get upset when the national Daddy isn’t part of their tribe. Simple enough. For all the talk of individuality and freedom many folks just want Daddy to solve all their problems.

    The thing I don’t get is why people think the President COULD do something and just doesn’t. It would be far more politically advantageous for the President to order the military to cap the well. It would be a great Presidential moment, and he would be saving the livelihoods of many people who probably didn’t vote for him the first time.

    If there was something that could be done, it would have been done. If threatening BP executives would cap the well faster, I’m sure we would be threatening BP executives. I just don’t see where any of that would do any good.

    The desire to “do something” isn’t going to solve this problem. Whether we like the experts or not, they should be in charge here.

  129. 129
    cleek says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    i’ve already explained what i mean by leadership. unfortunately, i don’t think it’s what you seem to think i mean.

  130. 130
    Alex S. says:

    @kdaug:

    I don’t demand a change overnight, it will be a very long process indeed. The hard part is changing people’s minds, and right now, there is an opportunity to do that.

  131. 131
    steve says:

    I’m glad someone finally said this. People are clamoring for Obama to “take over” … what’s he supposed to do? Send in the A-Team, MacGyver, or the Impossible Missions Force?

    Of course, I’m sure someone will suggest that Obama should have had an elite Offshore Oil Well Blowout-Stopping Team already set up and ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice when they receive their coded activation messages.

  132. 132
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Also, it doesn’t have to be concrete, it can be some other material.

    Right. Because that was the factor stopping it from being such a great idea.

  133. 133
    Pococurante says:

    I vote for the nuke idea. Turn the whole pan down there to glass. Hey, the last time there were nuke-class blasts in the GoM it was a worldwide party.

    Mmm iridium…

  134. 134
    Emma says:

    I am sitting here reading actual liberals advocate for chinese style action. After eight years of whining that Bush didn’t obey the laws, you want the government of the United States to act like a communist dictatorship.

    I effin’ give up.

  135. 135
    Citizen_X says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    This is the unintended consequence of the environmental policies that forced such deep water, off-shore drilling. How is that for irony?

    Oh, bullshit. Please, stop promoting Limbaugh talking points.

    We’re drilling the deep Gulf because we’ve already drilled everything in the Gulf closer to shore. Just like Norway’s drilling the deep North Sea, and Brazil’s drilling the deep Amazon cone. We’re drilling the deep waters of the world, at the very edge of the sedimentary wedge off the continents, because we’ve drilled the sediments everywhere else. This is the essential fact that puts us at Peak Oil now, or in the very near future. There is nothing in environmental regs that prevents us from drilling the inner shelf in the Gulf. *

    Yes, if we opened up the Atlantic and Pacific shelves, that might slightly slow down the pace of drilling in the deep Gulf, as well as the onset of Peak Oil. But nothing, at this point, can really stop either one.

    *Some of the actual Louisiana wetlands are now off limits as wildlife preserves. But they were drilled to death long ago.

  136. 136
    4tehlulz says:

    THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF HILLARY WAS PRESIDENT

    SHE WOULD HAVE PERSONALLY TIED THE BP BOARD OF DIRECTORS TO H-BOMBS AND THEN DROPPED THEM DOWN TO THE WELLHEAD

    THEN SHE WOULD DROP ONE ON KIM JONG IL WHILE RIDING THAT SHIT LIKE MAJOR MOTHERFUCKING KONG

  137. 137
    Chat Noir says:

    Thanks, John. I agree with your post. Not sure what more the Obama Admin is supposed to do. When the well started leaking at the end of April, I could tell it was going to be bad and that it didn’t seem like BP had a handle on how to contain it.

    The sight of the wetlands and the birds covered in oil is horrible. And I feel so bad for the people who depend on the Gulf Coast for their livelihoods.

  138. 138
    chopper says:

    @tim:

    lol, maybe you should stomp your feet and hold your breath until the well is capped.

    in fact, please do so, you’ll be doing us and all of humanity a favor.

  139. 139
    Pococurante says:

    @Flugelhorn: Fortunately we can instead turn over control to corporations. Because they are so efficient and stuff.

  140. 140
    russell says:

    This is the unintended consequence of the environmental policies that forced such deep water, off-shore drilling.

    Sorry, but this is crap.

    The Gulf produces maybe 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.
    The US consumes not quite 20 million barrels of oil a day.

    Assuming that all of the oil from the Gulf came to the US, which it likely does not, Gulf production is about 7.5% of what we use.

    We could make that up elsewhere, or just use less.

    Nobody “forced” anyone to do anything. BP is drilling in the Gulf because they can make many, many millions of dollars doing so.

  141. 141
    Will says:

    I would just like to point out that this is and has ALWAYS been true of government. The only thing they ARE good at is signing a check and fucking things up, which was Ayn’s entire point. Government has not evolved into its current state. It has always been thus.

    Horse, then cart.

    Bullshit.

    In the U.S., government has:

    Built the canal system
    Built the highway system
    Built the rail system
    Developed the infrastructure that made development of the West and Southwest possible
    Electrified the nation
    Put a man on the moon
    Etc.

    Governments do a lot of fine work and employ a lot of smart people. When you add the public universities, governments do the majority of basic and applied research.

    Governments work. The very idea that private sector is superior to government is a modern (post 18th century) idea that honestly doesn’t have as great a track record as the private industry flacks and hacks would like you to believe.

  142. 142
    frankdawg says:

    Some angry joke comments:
    Anyone that thinks the President is constrained by law has not been paying attention from 2000-2008.

    I do like the extrajudicial killing idea so the CEO really can believe he has suffered more than others because of this.

    more seriously –
    Really there is very little useful that I can imagine being done to solve this mess but a lot could be done to prevent a reoccurrence.

    Truman acted during the Railroad strike in ways he knew would not pass the courts. But by the time the courts ground out justice the situation was fixed. It would be interesting to see the response to at least the threat of confiscation or freezing assets.

    He could investigate the possibility of using Naval ships to aid in containment – in affect offering more tools (and aren’t the military academies engineering schools?) WP used to say they were.)

    He could call for the creation of a special court with jurisdiction over all claims coming out of this. It was just in the last few months that he USSC finally ruled (badly btw) in the Exxon Valdeze case – 21 years late is not justice to those screwed over

  143. 143
    kay says:

    @tim:

    Look at ACTIONS, not words. What is being DONE? What concrete ACTIONS are being taken? Talk is cheap if not backed up with action

    Oh, tim, you don’t have any idea what ACTIONS they’ve taken, because your first suggestion has been done.

    For God’s sake. I listened to one press conference because I was in the car for four hours and I’m a freaking oil disaster specialist compared to you.

    The price of admission to be a critic is to know what they’ve done. You haven’t paid it.

  144. 144
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Guster:

    Call the head of BP and remind him that extrajudicial assassinations are legal for high value suspects who are implicated in the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States.

    You are my new hero, Guster.

  145. 145
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Good one! I still think BP is cheapy cheaping this whole thing. They have been shown to be lying about the amount of oil coming out & are aggressively keeping any independent observers away from the disaster site. So I’m sure they have nothing to hide.

    I applaud your faith in our corporate overlords ;-)

  146. 146
    cleek says:

    @James Hare:

    Whether we like the experts or not, they should be in charge here.

    the experts work for a company which does not put our best interests first.

    because of their technical expertise, they should be a big part of the solution, but since the experts are the people who caused the problem in the first place, they should not be in charge of anything but implementing whatever solution the government agrees is best for the country (and the rest of the gulf nations, frankly).

    that i don’t exactly trust the government to do 100% by us is a big part of the reason i wish Obama was more forcefully advocating for us. i want to believe he’s on our side. but he’s very very close to losing the benefit of the doubt – as far as i’m concerned. i know he’s already lost it, for many people.

  147. 147
    Flugelhorn says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Oh, bullshit. Please, stop promoting Limbaugh talking points.

    I do not listen to Limbaugh. It is simple common sense.

    Yes, if we opened up the Atlantic and Pacific shelves, that might slightly slow down the pace of drilling in the deep Gulf, as well as the onset of Peak Oil. But nothing, at this point, can really stop either one.

    Half correct. If they could drill in the more shallow Atlantic and Pacific, they would have no need to drill so deep in the gulf. Drilling in deep water can be prevented with laws.

  148. 148
    kay says:

    @frankdawg:

    He could investigate the possibility of using Naval ships to aid in containment – in affect offering more tools (and aren’t the military academies engineering schools?) WP used to say they were.)

    He could, and he did. Last week.

    Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) has positioned equipment and personnel from Texas to Florida to support the oil spill response efforts led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

  149. 149
    jl says:

    I think it is important to keep the issue of stopping the spill and containing the damage of the spill separate.

    It is also important to keep the issue of BP’s corporate brass and its technical staff separate.

    Who knows at this point whether the WH did all it could, or trusted BP too much? As I said in a earlier post, if I were the president, I would certainly not trust BP to do the right thing, and would have explored all legal avenues to oversee and put pressure on BP. I think calls heard at Kos that the WH should have just preemptorally gone in a kicked BP out are silly. But calls that ‘only BP’ knows how to fix it are also silly.

    I hope that when it became clear the spill could be catastrophic, and that it was due to negligence on the part of BP, the WH let BP know that it was being watched, and that it would accept all help offered from anyone who was competent to give it, that BP would or would not be required to put forth its best effort, or there would be consequences.

    As for the cleanup, I heard a news report that there were several cases where it was known oil was coming ashore, it did come ashore, and BP equipment was sitting there on the docks. I heard an interview with a Coasty who sounded extremely pissed and it did not sound like he would be calling BP his ‘friends’ anytime soon

    Maybe the WH should have been more aggressive in taking over the containment operation.

    If BP’s attitude is as bad as some of its behavior indicate, I think that seizing operations should be considered, in the sense that the BP corporate suits are taken out of the picture. The technical staff would stay. It may come to a point where the feds need to consider that approach.

    IMHO, Also. Too.

  150. 150
    Yossarian says:

    Rhetorical leadership without tangible progress backing it up will actually UNDERMINE confidence in Obama. And why shouldn’t it? What it boils down to is a lot of talk with no follow-through, and frankly I more than had my fill of that for eight years.

    I mean, do we want the fucking thing capped? Or do we want to feel slightly reassured that even if it’s not capped, we have the right guy in charge? I’m not sure how much the latter option really works for me. So unless someone can respond to John’s original post with some concrete ideas about potentially effective administration action that has not yet been taken, his question still stands.

  151. 151
    liberal says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    IIRC, several can’t be directly fired; all you can do is make their situation miserable and hope they resign.

    Bullshit.

    It’s _hard_ to fire GS employees, because of (IMHO) an excess of protections. But you can do it. It’s a major pain in the ass to do so, but it can be done.

  152. 152
    Pococurante says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Yes, if we opened up the Atlantic and Pacific shelves, that might slightly slow down the pace of drilling in the deep Gulf, as well as the onset of Peak Oil.

    The USA hit peak oil in 1972. Which is why the drill babies are doubly stupid. Why burn through our domestic reserves faster when there are other countries willing to sell the future to us today.

  153. 153
    Gotta Ask Why says:

    Paul,

    Are you a screenwriter or something? If I’m correct, your plan requires

    – an aircraft carrier
    – between 5000 and 18,000 feet of “big ass pipe” (aka BAP)
    – machinery to lower said BAP down to the see floor
    – assuming BAP would be in pieces, machinery to weld BAP together at a minimum of 5000 feet below the sea surface in a cloud of oil
    – and a funnel to pipe the oil from BAP to the various oil tankers that would be waiting for it

    Assuming this is a good plan (a huge assumption) how much time do you think it would take to put all of this together. 1 month, 2 months? In any case probably way more time than it will take to drill the relief wells…a method that is KNOWN to work.

    But in any case the facts are that your plan is actually less preferable than having Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clark Duncan, don dry suits and swim directly into the fissure with nuclear weapons to blow up the well. And I’m not talking the characters those actors played, but actually Bruce, Ben, Michael and Steve themselves.

  154. 154
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Will:

    Taken as a total, though, and compared with the past image of the government as an entity that could win world wars and send men to the moon, it’s been a terrible wake-up call for many.

    The government could send men to the moon because the government oversaw every major aspect of the process. If JFK had privatized the whole thing under the theory that private aerospace corporations could do the job cheaper, safer and more efficiently than a government agency, Neil Armstrong would probably have died on the landing pad in an explosion resulting from shoddy equipment. And then, we’d have probably found out that the CEO of the company had taken out a life insurance policy on him.

  155. 155
    kdaug says:

    @Alex S.: Agreed, but I don’t believe that most minds will change until they have been forced to ($15 gas, civilian rationing, etc).

    And we will have foregone a smooth transition that we could have had (we’ve been talking about this crap since the 70s) and instead will have a long, dark period of major upheaval.

  156. 156
    buermann says:

    I’m at a loss for how stupid it is to complain about this and not see something else they could have done:

    “BP keeps trying to hide the size of the spill anyway they can…outright lying”

    They could have and can force the truth out of them. That presidential commission Obama created could have been given subpoena power.

    Instead it was given the power to ask politely.

  157. 157
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Good one! I still think BP is cheapy cheaping this whole thing. They have been shown to be lying about the amount of oil coming out & are aggressively keeping any independent observers away from the disaster site. So I’m sure they have nothing to hide.
    __
    I applaud your faith in our corporate overlords ;-)

    Who said anything about having faith in corporate overlords? I think BP is filled with a bunch of lying liars who lie. That doesn’t make suggestions like these coming from you any more legitimate:

    Personally, I think there’s ways around the law. He could declare martial law in the area. Get some of those ‘creative’ Bush-lawyer types to give some kind of whacked out ‘opinion’ that guts that law. Now is the time for bold action.

    At least I understand now. Disagreeing with the President of the United States declaring marital law in the Gulf equates to blindly trusting and believing soulless corporations like BP.

    Good to know. I am having a blast learning from the liberal authoritarian “Daddy” playbook. By all means, keep the hits coming.

  158. 158
    MikeJ says:

    @liberal:

    It’s hard to fire GS employees, because of (IMHO) an excess of protections. But you can do it. It’s a major pain in the ass to do so, but it can be done.

    You can *not* simply fire them because they were hired by Bush flunkies though. It’s against the law, and darn well should be. And those are the people s/he wa talking about getting rid of.

  159. 159
    Tom in NOLA says:

    Well, I for one would appreciate it if Obama would at least come hang out down here for a few days and make his presence known. The most frustrating thing to me as a Gulf Coast resident is knowing that the political geniuses in the White House have decided that this situation is FUBAR, so best not to tie Obama to it directly, lest the public hang the blame for the situation on him. Well, the public’s going to blame Obama regardless, because he’s the man in charge when shit hits the fan for real. The least he could do is come show us some fucking solidarity and passion. We’re getting pretty close to full-on panic down here.

  160. 160
    Punchy says:

    Just dump a whole shit-ton of Ju-Ju-Bees in there.

  161. 161
    Bill H says:

    An art critic does not need to have painting materials and need to know how to make paintings himself in order to provide expertise on the subject of art.

    The government needs to take charge, not to be doing the rescue effort, but to be directing the marshalling of resources and coordination of efforts. To believe that such marshalling and coordination is being done to the best effect by one party with a vested financial interest requires a staggering degree of credulity.

    The government needs to take charge so that estimates of spill damage are coming from the government, so that we see equipment from multiple companies on the scene, so that we see Woods Hole participating, so that statements of planning are coming from someone who does not have a financial interest.

    That’s what Obama could do.

  162. 162
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @kay:

    He could, and he did. Last week.

    You could pretty much respond to 3/4 of the “suggestions” in this thread with that comment.

  163. 163
    Citizen_X says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    It is simple common sense…If they could drill in the more shallow Atlantic and Pacific, they would have no need to drill so deep in the gulf.

    Oh, jeez. Read these words slowly, so you understand them: There’s. Not. As. Much. Oil. There.

    Oil is not evenly or randomly distributed about the earth’s crust. There is a lot more oil from the submerged deltas of major rivers–the Niger, the Amazon, the Mississippi–than there is from passive margins of continents, like our Atlantic coast, or active margins, like our Pacific coast.

    Economies of scale force a preference (both for the oil companies, and us consumers) for big oil deposits. Those are in the deep Gulf, not in our part of the Atlantic.

  164. 164
    Douglas says:

    @Will:
    This

    I’d add one little caveat, though:
    For it to be able to do stuff like that, it needs two things: Funds and authority.

    The “financial conservatives” have been working to undermine the first, and in this case, the second has been taken away (and of course, conservatives are doing their best to limit it as well… except when it comes to what you can or cannot do with your own body and/or consenting partner. Or if you’re “an enemy(as defined by them)”)

    As for what Obama could do… two things
    1. Send someone to MMS to find out who’s responsible for the continuing permits and fire them (sounds like a job for Rahm)
    2. Get on TV and explain (cite if necessary) what parts of the law prevent him form acting. Point at it, and then say that the law has to be changed now.
    …then, of course, some senator would make a secret hold, the house blue dogs would want a secret exemption and the oil companies sink billions of dollars into the election, resulting in no change at all.

    There, removed all the swearwords…

  165. 165
    Quiddity says:

    The White House could tell the top execs at BP – on the QT – that they are going to experience a hell of a lot of investigations into everything they do. For compliance with regulations, of course. If they don’t speed up their actions and give more access to government inspectors.

  166. 166
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    @Bill H:

    I totally agree with you. It’s leadership, not magical solution, not bullshit, not hot air, and that’s what is needed here.

  167. 167
    An American in Exile says:

    Over at dailykos last week, a diarist called “fishgrease” had a righteous two-part rant (language NSFW) about how the BP people haven’t got a clue how to do the booming properly.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/11/11558/1890

    Part Two: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/14/31041/9176

    At a bare minimum the Obama administration could and should have been screaming bloody murder at BP to get THAT job done correctly.

    The administration also should insist that organizations with expertise in rescuing “oiled” wildlife be given the access they need to save as many as they can of the most innocent victims here. I fear the number rescued will be only the tiniest percentage of the wildlife affected.

    As to stopping the gusher, I fear that if it’s ever done at all before the oil just runs out, it won’t be for a very long time. BP doesn’t know how to fix it, and the government doesn’t know how to fix it. Obama looks impotent because he IS impotent, but so, apparently, is everyone else.

    I agree with posters above that Congress is too “bought and paid for” to pass any legislation that might help mitigate the scope of this catastrophe or reduce the risks of similar catastrophes in the future. Obama should be having his lawyers determine what useful steps he can take via executive orders. That’s obviously not how governing should work in a better world, but in the world we have — one in which Obama asserts a right to assassinate American citizens — I see little reason why Obama couldn’t assert a right to protect the country against environmental catastrophes.

  168. 168
    cat48 says:

    Rahhhm, is on vacation in Israel for his son’s bar mitzvah so don’t assign him any jobs.

  169. 169
    cleek says:

    @Bill H:
    damn straight

  170. 170
    Neutron Flux says:

    @Emma: Tim is not an actual liberal.

  171. 171
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gotta Ask Why: You weld the pipe together as it is going down to the gusher (with subs guiding the end part). Risky, dangerous, super expensive, yes to all that.

    One part of crane or 1 single crane holds the part that has been welded, while another crane holds the next part to be welded to it. The connecting takes place on flight deck or beside ship before it hits water.

    Would make a Hell of a Bruce Willis movie ;-)

  172. 172
    Pococurante says:

    @Bill H: They could but then we’d violate the whole “small government” thing.

    See rather than keep specialists on staff who work with legislators and regulators it is much more effective to outsource everything to a company owned by someone’s in law and in which that someone has an equity stake.

    After squeezing the government for every penny and making sure every government employee with any accountability has had their career ruined you then flip the company and its now worthless contract to Lockheed Martin or some other military-industrial behemoth. Rinse and repeat.

    This is because corporations are much more efficient and stuff then government.

    You may have thought a morality-neutral business entity dedicated solely to making money and enriching its executives (sometimes even its shareholders) was a less appropriate approach than a government for the people by the people.

    But I’m sure you see now the errors of your ways. ;-)

  173. 173
    Citizen_X says:

    @Pococurante: This is why my personal response to this disaster has been to adopt the motto, Jimmy Carter was motherfucking right, bitches!

  174. 174
    sherparick1 says:

    One of the sad things is that I, a lowly citizen just browsing the web can find the Wikipedia article and the Fish and Wildlife Service summary of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. http://wildlifelaw.unm.edu/fedbook/oilpollu.html. As Bob Somerby has pointed out, if we did not have a MSM that is both extraordinarily dumb and driven by celebrity entertainment goals, there would be a story about this law, and 1) how it was apparently a “dead letter” (legalese for a law on the books but not enforced, sorta like the Anti-Torture statutes and treaties) for the last 15 years and 2) now that we have the worst case scenario the extraordinary power it gives BP as the “responsible party” to essentially make the Government its adjunct.

    The “Gross Negligence” language however is something BP and its subs must be worried about. That could lead to an uncapping of the claims ceiling.

    I think there are two things Obama can tell the Coast Guard and NOAA. First, establish and independent task force to evaluate the size of the Oil spill and the on going flow and the Damage it is causing. Second, tell them that they are to allow media full access to areas being impacted by the spill and to the Deep Horizon site to witness the efforts being made to contain the spill and the damage being caused.

    I would also ask the NTSB to go in and investigate the cause of the disaster using the same procedures they use to investigate aircraft, train, and ship disasters and accidents.

    One thing that is pretty obvious is that BP failed to have a plan for a blowout for this particular well, or any real plan for a blow out from any of the deep wells they are drilling. I am afraid they came to believe their own propaganda that this thing could never happen.

    But we should all do a a look in the mirror as the whole country is responsible because we we have screamed bloody murder if gas goes up 5 cents in a week and “drill, baby drill” was supported by 60% of the country just 6 weeks ago and throughout the 2008-2010 election cycle. This spill is a low probability, high disaster event. But when you drill thousands of wells, eventually you get snake eyes, especially when you the natural sloppiness, laziness, and temptation to save a buck by short-cutting “because nothing bad” has happen yet when short-cutting. We hate the oil companies, and they of course want us to keep on driving, but really, they are just delivering what the customers want, doing so by engaging in an enterprise that is heroic in scale and, as the 11 dead on the Deep Horizon attest, tragic as well.

  175. 175
    wrb says:

    @Paul in KY:

    How about BP rents an aircraft carrier, loads it down with cement & has a huge pipe attached to the carrier that directs the concrete down to the hole? Give me 5 billion & I can get one made pretty quick, I bet.

    That is essentially what they are about to do, except they are using super-heavy drill mud instead of concrete.

    For a detailed explaination of what they’ve been preparing with the assistance of Chu’s team: (warning, contains very cool graphics).

    I don’t see what more they could be doing or how they could be doing it faster.

    A problem with concrete is that it generates heat as it cures. A likely cause of the original explosion is curing concrete melting frozen methane.

    The methane makes the explosives option even more thrilling. The floor there isn’t just pudding, it is pudding laced with frozen methane.

    Imagine the worst case.

    “Ooops we just blew up the gulf.”

  176. 176
    Pococurante says:

    @Pococurante: I can’t even begin to guess what was in that post to merit the moderation filter…

  177. 177
    Flugelhorn says:

    @Pococurante:

    Fortunately we can instead turn over control to corporations. Because they are so efficient and stuff.

    Generally true, yes. At least the efficient part. What about government shows that is it MORE efficient than a corporation which MUST adhere to its bottom line and is accountable to a budget? That rewards you for effort and success rather than through graft and excess? Which set of institutions do you think would attract the most talented individuals?

    I never said to turn things over, but you can be as obtuse as you like. I am simply suggesting that corporations in their particular field of expertise will always be more efficient than government. Government is an overbloated organism with too much money and too little accountability with very ineffectual means of accomplishing anything. It is a ship that cannot be turned in time to avoid any iceburg, so they just hit every single one and write a check to cover it.

  178. 178
    JD Rhoades says:

    Um, a press conference or regular statements, showing that you give half a crap. It’d be nice to see a little more concern.

    This sort of thing reminds me of the complaints from people in Nashville complaining that while it’s true that, FEMA’s been on the job after the flood, yes, millions of dollars of aid has been pouring in, yes, the wealthy country stars are pitching in with nationally televised benefits…But it’s all irrelevant and they’re being “ignored” because Obama hasn’t personally come down for a photo op. And when you ask what else the Federal government could be doing you either get dead silence or an indignant “Nothing! We Are Nashville!”

    Is there some secret naval division that handles deep-sea drilling that we have not deployed? Does the government have some elite unit with better equipment than BP?

    Nope. No one’s ever tried something like this before. You’re working at incredible depths, at insane pressure. You can blame BP for the series of cock-ups that led to the explosion n the first place, but for not being able to cap the leak? You might as well blame them for not being able to go to Jupiter.

  179. 179
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: If something isn’t done soon, the whole panhandle is fucked. Rightly or wrongly it will be pinned on Pres. Obama. Do you think the GOP will refrain from gigging him? This could destroy his presidency.

    He needs to take whatever measures he deems necessary to get this thing fixed and he needs to be able to show the American people he went above & beyond to try to fix it. I don’t think he has done that yet.

  180. 180
    ruemara says:

    I already said, robot sharks with bombs strapped to their heads. Seriously:
    A real moratorium on drilling. The admin claims the supposed new permits are revised safety permits, not new ones. I’m not so sure, but, hey, not my department.

    Firings at MMS. Big, ugly departmental cleanings.

    Heavy fines, a takeover of leadership of the efforts with the bill publicly being on BPs desk.

    Debarment proceedings. Public, ugly debarment. It may not pass, but let it happen. We need a public level of catharsis.

  181. 181
    AxelFoley says:

    @tim:

    How the hell do I know? I’m an artist/writer.

    That explains a lot now.

  182. 182
    MMonides says:

    Actually, no NEW permits to drill, just modifications of previous permits, FYI.

  183. 183
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @tim:

    Hey Obie-licker

    I didn’t need to get any further than that to know that your comments are entirely worthless, without any useful content at all.

  184. 184
    Bobby Thomson says:

    John, you’re attacking a straw man. Obviously, the technical solution will have to come from the oil industry because, thanks to decisions made decades ago, oil companies were allowed to cause problems that only they have the technological expertise to fix.

    Technological problems have a way of fixing themselves, though, with the right mixture of incentives and penalties. I don’t think any reasonable person would dispute that the federal government has not exhausted all tools at its disposal to alter BP’s cost-benefit analysis. From where I sit, the feds have done nothing in that regard.

    The president is probably no more to blame than the other corrupt members of our federal government for failing to effect dramatic changes in BP’s incentive structure, but he is to blame.

  185. 185
    Pococurante says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    What about government shows that is it MORE efficient than a corporation which MUST adhere to its bottom line and is accountable to a budget? That rewards you for effort and success rather than through graft and excess? Which set of institutions do you think would attract the most talented individuals?

    I don’t want something that is efficient. I want something that is effective. I think you are seriously confused about how corporations work if you think they aren’t prone to graft and excess.

    When it comes to a nation of laws that serves all its citizens I want a government that is at least nominally accountable and whose rogue elements can be at least partially forced to transparency. Corporations were never meant to serve society – they exist just to make money. By definition they are a-cultural and a-social.

    That corporations have been efficient at destroying public service doesn’t automatically disqualify public service. And they were efficient at doing so through graft and excess.

  186. 186
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So much for “let’s return to the rule of law.” I guess it’s more like, “we love dictators as long as they’re our dictators.”

    Brilliant, Mnem, and so true. By the time I got to your post ~50, I could not believe the whining and the magical thinking.

    This is a terrible and frustrating ordeal, but to lose one’s wits over this and begin spouting ideas unworthy of a 12th grader in a government class is just silly.

    As to this:

    And I LOVE that the U.S. can invade Iraq and Afghanistan, sovreign countries halfway around the world, but it can’t invade the northern edge of the Gulf of Mexico right off its shores to do whatever the fuck it takes to stop this.

    Ha! I hope you are some performance artist/bizzaro troll, or a twelve year old, because that is just witless.

  187. 187
    AxelFoley says:

    @steve:

    I’m glad someone finally said this. People are clamoring for Obama to “take over” … what’s he supposed to do? Send in the A-Team, MacGyver, or the Impossible Missions Force?

    FTW, baby

  188. 188
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    I can always spot people who have never actually worked for a corporation but only worshiped them from afar.

    What about government shows that is it MORE efficient than a corporation which MUST adhere to its bottom line and is accountable to a budget?

    The fact that the government does not have to make a profit or pay shareholders a dividend, so they can put all of their money towards services and not have to hold anything back to pay their investors.

    That rewards you for effort and success rather than through graft and excess?

    Good thing Enron, Countrywide and Washington Mutual never existed or you’d look like a complete moron right now.

    Which set of institutions do you think would attract the most talented individuals?

    Depends on which talents you want. If the talent you want is coming up with complicated financial instruments that end up taking down the entire world economy, then you go with corporations. If you want talented people who can build a Mars rover or a national healthcare system, you want the government.

  189. 189
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    If something isn’t done soon, the whole panhandle is fucked. Rightly or wrongly it will be pinned on Pres. Obama. Do you think the GOP will refrain from gigging him? This could destroy his presidency.

    Rightly or wrongly, as this thread demonstrates, people were pinning the blame on President Obama before the disaster even struck. And while I’m in no way dismissing the seriousness of this tragedy, I will place this event on the shelf with the other supposed albatrosses that were/are going to spell the end of the Obama Administration.

    @Paul in KY:

    He needs to take whatever measures he deems necessary to get this thing fixed and he needs to be able to show the American people he went above & beyond to try to fix it. I don’t think he has done that yet.

    And I don’t think people like you are paying attention.

    @Bobby Thomson:

    John, you’re attacking a straw man.

    I also like when people say that John’s argument is attacking some kind of straw man, when in fact, this very thread is filled with numerous examples of the mentality he is talking about.

    Honestly, what blog have you been reading?

  190. 190
    Bill H says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    My reading of that law was a bit cursory, but I could not find anything in it applicable to drilling. All of it that I could see dealt with the transportation of oil by tanker and pipline.

    In any case, I did find this:

    (n) SAVINGS CLAUSE.—
    (1) REGULATORY AUTHORITY.—Nothing in this section shall
    be construed as modifying, repealing, superseding, or preempting
    any municipal, State or Federal law or regulation, or
    in any way affecting litigation arising from oil spills or the
    rights and responsibilities of the United States or the State of
    Alaska, or municipalities thereof, to preserve and protect the
    environment through regulation of land, air, and water uses,
    of safety, and of related development.

    I am pretty sure that, while it does placce responsibility on the company, it does not remove the government from a position of authority.

  191. 191
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    Nope. No one’s ever tried something like this before. You’re working at incredible depths, at insane pressure. You can blame BP for the series of cock-ups that led to the explosion n the first place, but for not being able to cap the leak? You might as well blame them for not being able to go to Jupiter.

    Well, no. I can and will blame them for the foreseeable and proximate consequences of their creating problems they didn’t have the ability to solve.

  192. 192
    Douglas says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    Except that before that they installed thrusters on one of Jupiter’s moons and it is now on collision course with Earth… and we can’t shut of the thrusters cause they kinda forgot to check if all cables are plugged in.
    Of course, usually you have to proof how you would prevent that from happening, but they assured us that it wouldn’t happen so we waived those requirements. Well, with any luck, some of the stuff they’re doing will work and it’ll only bare miss us… sure, who knows what the longtime effects of a large moon “barely missing” us will be, but hoocoodanode.

  193. 193
    AxelFoley says:

    @Emma:

    I am sitting here reading actual liberals advocate for chinese style action. After eight years of whining that Bush didn’t obey the laws, you want the government of the United States to act like a communist dictatorship.

    I effin’ give up.

    Ain’t that some shit, Emma? Ever since he won the Democratic nomination, many on the left have wanted the liberal/progressive/whatever-the-hell-the-left-identifies-with version of George W. Bush.

  194. 194
    Elizabelle says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Endorse Paul’s suggestion in comment 6.

    And trusting he’s not [Ayn] Rand Paul.

  195. 195

    Gotta Ask Why said:

    But in any case the facts are that your plan is actually less preferable than having Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clark Duncan, don dry suits and swim directly into the fissure with nuclear weapons to blow up the well. And I’m not talking the characters those actors played, but actually Bruce, Ben, Michael and Steve themselves.

    I would think that Michael “Let’s Blow Some Shit Up” Bay would be the only qualified person to orchestrate said event.

    Fuck James Cameron.

  196. 196
    Corner Stone says:

    @orogeny:

    The whole system is set up with the idea that the oil companies have the capabilities to deal with this type of situation.

    No it isn’t. The whole system is set up with the idea that we don’t give a shit one way or another if they have that capability.

  197. 197
    AxelFoley says:

    @chopper:

    lol, maybe you should stomp your feet and hold your breath until the well is capped.

    in fact, please do so, you’ll be doing us and all of humanity a favor.

    hahahahahahahaha

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gotta Ask Why:

    This situation requires exactly the guy we have in charge. Someone who will eat the necessary crow, absorb the blame and provide political cover so the experts can do their effin’ jobs.

    What in the ever loving fuck are you babbling about.

  199. 199
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Bill H:

    An art critic does not need to have painting materials and need to know how to make paintings himself in order to provide expertise on the subject of art.

    On the other hand, science works different.

    I guess if you want to still use the art critic analogy for this situation, make it so that the critic has no idea what a paint brush is, and is blind from birth.

  200. 200
    jl says:

    @Paul in KY: I agree with you. Glad some one here understands the political reality.

    I think some people here are so stuck in Obotatude, they are fooling themselves. The feds will get the blame if this turns into a catastrophe for the whole Gulf Coast, and perhaps merely a huge disaster for parts of the Atlantic Coast.

    The feds will not be able to say, nor should they be able to say, well it was BP’s fault. That does not cut it when problem is large enough to shut down a whole region of the country for the rest of many peoples’ lives.

    WTF is government for then? Why not live in Hobbes’ state of nature, with corporations being the big dogs on every block? Ordinary people would have about the same chance.

    Obama needs to be very aggressive in making sure everything is being done that can be done, and given BP’s incentives and behavior so far, means you best not trust BP as far as you can throw a house. So every damn thing BP does gets monitored, every legal avenue is explored to exert control on BP so that it acts in the public good, and BP is kept in line every possible way.

    In response I suppose a corporate troll will comment that government is inefficient, and some one will assert that ‘only BP knows what to do’.

    Wrt to stopping the spill, it should be clear that no one knows for sure what to do. And as for containment, I think it is becoming clear that not enough was done, and I hope someday we find out why.

  201. 201
    DaddyJ says:

    Folks, here’s an AP article on some of the physical difficulties involved. There are no easy fixes because of the extremes of pressure and temperature at play.

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Disagreeing with the President of the United States declaring marital law in the Gulf equates to blindly trusting and believing soulless corporations like BP.

    The hell he is. Me and that cat will tango Kirk-Spock style before he passes a law forcing me to get married again.

  203. 203
    Allison W. says:

    Every comment here should be: “I don’t know”.

    No one knows what to do that’s why there is frustration. And any suggestions offered still has the risk of causing major long term harm to the environment down there.

  204. 204
    slag says:

    I want to know for a fact that everyone in this administration wakes up every single day with the understanding that this is an unacceptable state of affairs. Maybe that does mean I want a Daddy. I don’t know. What I do know is that this spill is a huge problem for me, and I want reassurance that the people I elected to handle problems like this share my priorities.

    I don’t get a sense of shared priorities when I read about the administration’s continued support for offshore drilling and issuing more oil drilling permits. That is reaching “stay the course” level of unacceptability.

    I have no end of outrage about this situation that we’ve chosen–repeatedly over time–to put ourselves in. I’m past ready to know that we’re finally going to stop repeating history, and I don’t know it. Out of all the things that are pissing me off about this, that’s probably the highest on the list. Zero confidence.

  205. 205
    Neutron Flux says:

    There is some precedent for events like this. Three Mile Island. If you study this report, you can see the Root Causes of the meltdown.

    Corrective actions took years. But, if a similar event was to take place today, all similar designed plants would be shut down and essentially have to be relicensed. The relicensing would take years.

    Gas prices would go thru the roof.

    http://www.threemileisland.org/downloads/188.pdf

  206. 206
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    If you got cancer from some corporation’s gross malfeasance, would you even complain about it? Or would you be happy to die for the glory of your corporate god?

  207. 207
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The hell he is. Me and that cat will tango Kirk-Spock style before he passes a law forcing me to get married again.

    What you did there.

    I see it.

  208. 208
    wrb says:

    The president is probably no more to blame than the other corrupt members of our federal government for failing to effect dramatic changes in BP’s incentive structure, but he is to blame.

    Bullshit. What power has he had to significantly change it in the time he’s had? Now with this disaster he might be able to get congress to go along, but considering their refusal to raise the liability cap, signs aren’t all that hopeful.

    I do expect he’ll do some serious house cleaning at the MMS and tightening of those regulations the executive has the power to tighten.

  209. 209
    Corner Stone says:

    I’ve never really wanted to work for the government before, but now I’m thinking about trying to get hired at MMS.
    Drinking, sex, drinking, partying, drinking. Sounds like my kinda place.

  210. 210
    Bill H says:

    @Sentient Puddle:
    Well let’s continue the analogy. The only painting allowed in the museum is DaVinci, because nobody else knows how to fucking paint.

  211. 211
    Tungsten Man says:

    As far as I can tell, many Democrats simply don’t trust the White House to handle this properly, or handle DADT properly, because they fumbled universal health care so badly – and by their own admission never really cared about it much in the first place, dividing them from their base.

    Similarly, they dropped the ball on swift withdrawal from Iraq and planning a way out of Afghanistan.

    Similarly, they dropped the ball on indefinite detention, military tribunals, and issues of Constitutional rights to a fair trial.

    And you know what? It’s not clever, and not fair, for people to conclude that they’ll do the same with this ‘compromise’ on DADT, or that this oil spill could be handled better if the administration was more in line with the voters who placed it there.

    But when you make your supporters feel they can’t trust you, they won’t trust you, and on issues like the environment where people have only the Democrats to turn to – they’re going to remember that was the only place they had to turn to get universal health care, or end the war, or end indefinite detention. And they won’t be so sure anymore.

  212. 212
    Fern says:

    @cleek: It’s in BP’s interest to cap this thing as quickly as possible.

  213. 213
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Believe me I’m paying attention. That is where I vacate at every year (Navarre Beach, FL). This is not a spill with a finite amount of oil to clean up, this is a much, much worse disaster.

    That’s why he needs to think outside the box (I don’t like that trite phrase, but it’s shorthand for thinking of unconventional fix options & means to pressure BP to throw ALL their assets at this disaster) or do stuff which may be considered unconstitutional later on, but gets the gusher turned off. As another poster mentioned (much more elegantly than I), he hasn’t made BP alter their cost/benefit analysis.

    I want to see an ashen faced BP chairman stammering into the camera. I can read people & I will then know he’s been properly counseled about how his company will fix it now or will suffer all the consequences (up to & including long prison terms).

  214. 214
    Corner Stone says:

    There’s no reason for Obama to give some kind of daily report or briefing, and every reason not to.
    Make him look weak and ineffectual, and steal his most valuable resource which is his time.
    The second Obama lays a finger anywhere within peeing distance of this disaster and it is ALL his. That’s not to say that plenty of people will not be forcefully making their argument that it is ALL his anyway – but so far he’s done what he does best.

  215. 215
    Recall says:

    Here’s an option that he might be considering:

    http://www.propublica.org/feat.....operations

  216. 216
    Tiparillo says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Ah political opportunism as the oil continues to flow. Yeah that makes me all warm and fuzzy.

  217. 217
    BGK says:

    @kay:

    I think Jindal probably needs political cover. He has to appear to be doing something.

    Right, but I had the misfortune of seeing Soft-focus Sawyer on ABC last night, portraying young Piyush as the lone voice in the wilderness, desperate for any crumbs of help from an indifferent and terminally incompetent federal government.

    Or something.

    So far, despite the best MSM shilling, there hasn’t been too much uptake of this meme, but the public has always let me down before.

  218. 218

    @Allison W:

    This. I understand the impotent rage, and the desire for cathartic action (against the wall, etc.), but the bottom line is that there is and has been no contingency for this sort of thing. The DFH environmentalists have been warning about this for years, but crunchy granola, Al Gore is fat, hoocodanoode, etc.

    The result is something we’re just starting to contemplate, and it’s making us crazy. The scale of the disaster – the loss of the entire fucking Gulf of Mexico, and maybe the western Florida coast – is unfathomable. Knowing that I’ll never be able to take my little girl fishing on the Gulf kills me. Then the devastated ecosystem, the lost jobs. . .

    I’m remembering colleagues describing life in NOLA post-Katrina, how everyone was afflicted with an almost psychotic depression. People sitting in cafes just breaking down crying. This being the norm for years.

    That’s what we’re looking at, times one thousand, for the entire Gulf Coast region. I sincerely hope the President understands this and acts accordingly. We’re going to need a regional stimulus and recovery act, at a minimum.

  219. 219
    Citizen_X says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The hell he is. Me and that cat will tango Kirk-Spock style before he passes a law forcing me to get married again.

    Aaaaannnnd Corner Stone wins the thread!

  220. 220
    scav says:

    So nice to see so many calling for more of the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.

  221. 221
    Nellcote says:

    If the Feds takeover the containment project, does that relieve BP of liability? Can’t they argue that in court for the next couple of decades?

  222. 222
    Cain says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    How about Obama making the decision to start acting like Huey Long instead of Ghandi?

    It’s “Gandhi” not “Ghandi”.

    cain

  223. 223
    JasonF says:

    MMS is clearly broken and needs to be fixed, and the fact that permits are still being issued is bad. However, there’s a long time between issuance of a permit and operation of an oil well. What we need in the short term is to have thorough inspections of all currently operating oil wells, and if even one bolt is one iota of an inch out of place, the well gets shut down until it comes into compliance. In the medium term, we can start worrying about the permitting process and reforming MMS.

    I think we also need to think long and hard about the $1.75 billion worth of federal contracts that BP has.

  224. 224
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Bill H: OK, never mind. The art analogy clearly doesn’t work at all. The art critic can get away with making his critiques because of subjectivity. People critiquing solutions to an engineering problem are judged on whether or not it works, which is entirely empirical.

    So people complaining about how whoever they want to blame isn’t getting shit done and don’t have a clue in hell how the engineering works…well, it’s pretty bloody useless. We kind of already know there’s a problem, and the complaining isn’t helping anyone figure out a way to fix it.

  225. 225
    Citizen Alan says:

    What I would like to see is a public recognition by the Obama administration that BP has just inflicted far more structural and economic damage on the United States of America than al-Qaida did on 9/11. What I would like to see is for Obama to state publicly that it is his belief that we are now in a state of war with BP Oil and that it is his intention to utterly destroy this rapacious monster of a company by any means necessary.

    Of course, I do not seriously expect to see either of those things. Instead, I expect to see continued groveling before BP’s “expertise,” because this is America, and in America, we worship corporations like they were the pagan gods of antiquity. BP is one of the chief gods of the petro-chemical pantheon, and the total destruction of the ecology and livelihood of an entire region of this dying nation is a small price to pay in order to magnify BP’s glory.

  226. 226
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    That’s why he needs to think outside the box (I don’t like that trite phrase, but it’s shorthand for thinking of unconventional fix options & means to pressure BP to throw ALL their assets at this disaster) or do stuff which may be considered unconstitutional later on, but gets the gusher turned off. As another poster mentioned (much more elegantly than I), he hasn’t made BP alter their cost/benefit analysis.

    He hasn’t made them or they just haven’t done it yet? These are two very different tracks and I think it gets right to what’s driving the disconnect in this thread. There are a lot of things people think the government should be doing, and in large part, they are doing those things and demanding action from BP. Where we run into problems is that BP has a vested interest in sticking to their own plans and not really cooperating with the government. So we get into a situation of how much can the government pull/push to get BP to actually do something, and it’s frustrating, but that’s the reality we are faced with. And no, taking to the Bully Pulpit every day and forcefully shitting on BP is not going to fix this crisis.

    I want to see an ashen faced BP chairman stammering into the camera. I can read people & I will then know he’s been properly counseled about how his company will fix it now or will suffer all the consequences (up to & including long prison terms).

    Again, do you think the Obama Administration doesn’t want this? Do you think this current debacle is their first choice? Because it would certainly seem that way from a great deal of the posts in this thread, and I’m sorry, but that is just fucking crazy talk.

  227. 227
    debbie says:

    What needs to be pointed out is that the slow response by Bush and Obama were not for similar reasons.

    Bush did nothing at first because he insisted it was the state’s responsibility, not his. Obama did nothing because BP did not even acknowledge that there was a leak until 3-4 days after the first explosion. Who’d have thought they’d lie about that?

    Here’s the real problem: we’re now living in a world where it’s quickly becoming commonplace for corporations to outright lie and defraud. How could BP not have had a contingency plan in place before they started drilling? Could they possibly be so hubristic that they thought nothing could go wrong, or did they think they wouldn’t be held accountable?

    This disaster (as well as GS and Massey) is the real face of “small government” and this is the legacy of Reagan and his kind: less oversight and minimal regulation. And this is the kind of atmosphere that Gingrich et al. want to return this country to.

    I’d like to see Obama come out and nationalize the oil companies. Since 2000, they’ve done nothing but rape this country. Cheney must be grinning from ear to ear.

  228. 228

    […] John Cole expresses the view of, I think, many liberals on his blog today when he asked: what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to about the oil spill? […]

  229. 229
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    What I would like to see is for Obama to state publicly that it is his belief that we are now in a state of war with BP Oil and that it is his intention to utterly destroy this rapacious monster of a company by any means necessary.

    Unbelievable.

    WHAT IN THE FUCK IS THAT GOING TO FIX?!

    Edit: Besides your flaccid wang. Obviously.

  230. 230
    Corner Stone says:

    @Fergus Wooster:

    That’s what we’re looking at, times one thousand, for the entire Gulf Coast region. I sincerely hope the President understands this and acts accordingly. We’re going to need a regional stimulus and recovery act, at a minimum.

    I think a lot of us are still in shock and desperation regarding the ecological disaster we can’t really begin to understand. And rightly so.
    But I really wonder if it’s ever going to start sinking in that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of families have lost everything due to this disaster.
    People in NOLA post Katrina were just flat fucking given up on, and pushed aside as soon as possible. Even with their best PR efforts, and then the Saints winning the SB – whole communities were never going to be rebuilt.
    Thousands of communities across the coast are just not going to make it after this.

  231. 231
    SectarianSofa says:

    Has anyone mentioned the Maddow interview with Doc Chu in the other threads? Didn’t see it mentioned here….

  232. 232
    burnspbesq says:

    @tbogg:

    “Announcing imminent criminal charges would be a nice touch.”

    Got a crime in mind? Would be especially nice if it were one that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

  233. 233
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie:

    Here’s the real problem: we’re now living in a world where it’s quickly becoming commonplace for corporations to outright lie and defraud.

    Shockingly, this is my default position for every piece of information I see or read from just about all sources.

  234. 234
    Jody says:

    Damn. So late to the game.

    I don’t have to blame Obama for the spill. I can be upset with him over his trying to co-opt the GOP’s advocacy of offshore drilling.

    I also don’t have to insist he dismantle BP for their obvious disregarding of the meager safety measures that we as a nation cared to put in place. But I can sure as shit demand something be done to loosen the stranglehold the corporations have on this country. They are literally killing us.

    And I sure as fuck don’t want any more offshore drilling.

  235. 235
    4k says:

    The only thing to do is place a call to:

    International Rescue.

    Within a short period of time Thunderbird 1 with Scott Tracey piloting will arrive and right behind them is Thunderbird 2 (Virgil at the helm) likely carrying pod 4 with Thunderbird 4 ready for action!

    I believe they already performed such a rescue once. I saw it in an old documentary (I think) from the 60’s when I was a kid. It wasn’t the best production because all the Traceys were a bit stiff, like Keanu Reeves only they say “F. A. B.” alot instead of “whoa!”

    I’m really surprised Obama hasn’t already placed the call.

  236. 236
    Dan says:

    It’s not about wanting a Daddy, assholes. We want teachers to teach and roofers to roof and firefighters to fight fires and leaders to f’g lead. Oh, my heavens, what can Obama do? I don’t f’g know, but that is why I am not the f’g president.

    Oh, all you want is photo ops! No, I would prefer some kind of action, but photo ops count for a lot, too. It shows you’re engaged and concerned and it rallies people. Think of Bush on the 9/11 rubble. 95% approval rating after that.

  237. 237
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I think he is too deferential to them. You haven’t seen the BP guy as I have described, right? Thus, he hasn’t got them by the balls. He’s the President (with all of Chimpy’s powers), put the screws to them.

    Have Rahmbo do it. Put a dead horse’s head (metaphorically) in his bed.

    I know he laments this situation, but I think he can overthink the politics of the situation (not wanting to piss of the GOPers & their Talkin Head lackeys anymore than has been par for the course since he was elected) & he needs to get on top of this in a forceful and unambiguous manner.

  238. 238
    artem1s says:

    @Gotta Ask Why:

    But in any case the facts are that your plan is actually less preferable than having Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clark Duncan, don dry suits and swim directly into the fissure with nuclear weapons to blow up the well.

    I predict this will be the plot for next summer’s block buster.

  239. 239

    @Corner Stone:

    But I really wonder if it’s ever going to start sinking in that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of families have lost everything due to this disaster.

    It’s sunk in for me, hence the impotent rage and despair. Forget the European crisis – a regional depression will drag the whole country down.

    Thousands of communities across the coast are just not going to make it after this.

    Yup. Fuck.

  240. 240
    cleek says:

    @Fern:
    yes. but it’s also in their interest to obscure the details about exactly what happened, and how much oil leaked, and to make sure that the search for a fix doesn’t turn up any concerns about other wells, and to make sure that the fix doesn’t impede any nearby wells, etc.. in other words: they have billions of dollars worth of profits to worry about hurting. every thing they do to find a fix and implement it will be ultimately weighed against their business interests. and if, hypothetically, they can save a billion dollars by delaying the fix for a few weeks, they just might do it.

    in theory, our government should be unconcerned with BP’s bottom line. but it’s not obvious to outside observers that they are.

  241. 241
    Corner Stone says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I want to see an ashen faced BP chairman stammering into the camera. I can read people & I will then know he’s been properly counseled about how his company will fix it now or will suffer all the consequences (up to & including long prison terms).

    This reminds me of the misplaced outrage during the financial crisis, and the glee some displayed when Obama wagged his finger and said his “admin is the only things between you and the mob”. That was bullshit then and any kind of wagging at BP would be bullshit now. And they know it.
    BP may in fact cease being BP, but it isn’t going away and there isn’t a damned thing anyone can or will do to it. And they know it.
    These same C-level people will get jobs or seats on the Board at some other Fortune 100 company and be just fine. BP will sell off some of its assets and lots of little people will lose their jobs as cost savings measures, but no one will ever go to jail or personally pay one thin dime.
    Has no one watched these assholes? This is a redux.

  242. 242
    Bill H says:

    @Sentient Puddle:
    Well, my point is the issue of who has the equipment, or even the expertise, should not be determinitave of who is in charge. The point is that BP does not own the Gulf of Mexico, the US does, and the elected representatives of the US should be running the show.

    If you hire a contractor to rebuld your kitchen, are you then going to say that he is in charge? Not if you own the house, you’re not. You’re not going to turn him loose and let him flub arounf when he is clearly fucking things up, you’re going to fire him and put somebody else to work because you are in charge of your own house. You don’t know how to build a kitchen, and you don’t have any tools, but it’s your house, and you are in charge of it.

  243. 243
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Dan:

    It’s not about wanting a Daddy, assholes. We want teachers to teach and roofers to roof and firefighters to fight fires and leaders to f’g lead. Oh, my heavens, what can Obama do? I don’t f’g know, but that is why I am not the f’g president.

    At least for everything else, you could describe in reasonably concrete terms what “teaching” or “roofing” or whatever involves. Nobody seems to have any idea what “leading” is supposed to be.

    Oh, all you want is photo ops! No, I would prefer some kind of action, but photo ops count for a lot, too. It shows you’re engaged and concerned and it rallies people. Think of Bush on the 9/11 rubble. 95% approval rating after that.

    …because that 95% approval rating went on to fix the problem of terrorism for good!

    No really, we’re talking about fixing a damn problem here, not scoring political points.

  244. 244
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I just don’t know what the administration is supposed to do. What can be done?

    My guess is that there is no one in the federal government who has the slightest idea, from a technological viewpoint, about what to do. That’s what happens when there is a bipartisan consensus to put large corporations in charge of the entire world. You’ll notice that the best ideas that have independently been presented are along the lines of saving everybody’s hair clippings.

    Here in the belly of the Obot beast I guess this makes me something of an Obama defender in this case. He’s frankly a minor player in this whole fiasco, though he could have saved himself a lot of grief by not being a hypocrite on drilling.

    I guess I just have to keep being the “extremist” on this issue and point out (this time in all caps) that it was FUCKING INSANE TO DRILL THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Deepwater Horizon was allegedly as difficult as flying to the Moon. The emergency plan involves old tires and hair clippings. Let me repeat, then, in case it didn’t sink in, that if your project is to drill through three miles of ocean and rock and your emergency backup plan involves old tires and hair clippings then it is FUCKING INSANE TO DRILL THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. I don’t speak for everybody but I can afford the extra two cents a gallon if it means fewer workers being burned alive and less risk of unstoppable oil leaks on the ocean floor.

    I too am getting sick and tired of the likes of Chris Matthews puling about this every day on TV. He and the rest of us have been perfectly happy to consume cheap gas and let oil companies take ridiculous risks in exchange for a miniscule benefit to society. I wish this could be a teachable moment but my guess is that we’ll just get another fucking commission which will apply a few more layers of bureaucracy to oil drilling so that BP can continue raking in billions while we consumers save a few bucks a year at the pump.

  245. 245
    Corner Stone says:

    @cleek:

    in theory, our government should be unconcerned with BP’s bottom line. but it’s not obvious to outside observers that they are.

    The entire focus during HCR was how could they keep the for-profit insurance companies intact. How could they rig it so the bottom line stayed smooth?
    That’s always the obvious thing to anyone paying attention.

  246. 246
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Bill H: Y’know, I’m pretty sure BP has gotten the sense that everyone knows they took a shit in the pool and are really fucking pissed about it. I don’t think the president needs to get on their case to impress upon them how angry everyone is.

  247. 247
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I think he is too deferential to them. You haven’t seen the BP guy as I have described, right? Thus, he hasn’t got them by the balls. He’s the President (with all of Chimpy’s powers), put the screws to them.
    __
    Have Rahmbo do it. Put a dead horse’s head (metaphorically) in his bed.

    So, again, just to make sure we have this clear. You don’t really care about tangible progress or results in dealing with this crisis. You are more concerned about whether the President of the United States has sufficiently bitchslapped the CEO and other executives of BP on national television for all to see. Right? Because he hasn’t had a group of BP executives groveling for their fucking lives in the Rose Garden during a midday press conference, he is some kind of ineffective, passive observer in all of this. Correct?

    This is what I am getting pissed off about. WHO GIVES A FUCK IF PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS BP BY THE BALLS?! I don’t need to see that shit on my television, particularly if it has nothing to do with the actual cleanup efforts. Too deferential? He’s making up for almost an entire decade of two oil industry lackeys stocking the MMS with all their cronies. This shit is going to take some time. This isn’t fucking China; he isn’t going to execute the CEO of BP to alleviate the country’s suffering.

  248. 248
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    the government is expressly forbidden to interfere

    No it’s not. If you’re thinking of the Oil Pollution Act, the liability rests with BP, but the govt can certainly do what it wants and make BP reimburse.

  249. 249
    kay says:

    @BGK:

    So far, despite the best MSM shilling, there hasn’t been too much uptake of this meme, but the public has always let me down before.

    I agree. I don’t even blame people there for wanting Jindal to appear to be doing something.
    It’s still a dumb idea, so I’m glad they’re not doing it.
    Do I think the EPA and the Coast Guard know more about the ill effects and cost-benefit of Bobby Jindal’s sand berms than fishermen in Louisiana? Yeah, I do. Elitist, I know. I’d rather not screw around there because Jindal needs a compelling photo op.

    This is absolutely not to beat up on people that are getting hurt, but I have to say this: is drilling for oil in the state’s prime fishery a good idea? I say the same thing about agriculture here, so I’m not picking on fisherman. Farmers here are the first to rubber-stamp any environmentally hazardous industry action, so that’s the comparison. I don’t get why they want to shit in their own backyard, being as they are completely dependent on a viable backyard.

    They have a vested interest in protecting those waters. I would think they would act politically to trump Louisiana’s powerful oil interests, in defense of their lifestyle. It looks like oil trumped fishing. How did they let that happen?

  250. 250
    Sheila says:

    Fine posting, John. I have nothing good to say about BP or our dependence on oil, but I am amazed that so many people truly believe that the government, or BP for that matter, actually knows how to fix this and are simply refusing to do so. Neither has anything to benefit from the continuation of this situation. It is important, however, that the messages are heeded and our future path is altered for the better. What about Kevin Costner’s giant vacuum cleaners? I’ve read this morning that they actually work and are being put into place. If this is the case, why weren’t they brought in immediately? And if they do provide a successful solution to this problem, does this mean that we must all rent “Waterworld” and “The Bodyguard” and like them?

  251. 251
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    There’s massive confusion on what “responsible party” means.

    I don’t know that it will ever get straightened out.

  252. 252
    Nick says:

    @Will:

    I think the inability of the government to handle these types of disasters, win wars or generally keep control of the economy is starting to seriously freak people ou

    40 years of voting to less government will do that.

  253. 253
    Pococurante says:

    @debbie:

    Bush did nothing at first because he insisted it was the state’s responsibility, not his. Obama did nothing because BP did not even acknowledge that there was a leak until 3-4 days after the first explosion. Who’d have thought they’d lie about that?

    Exactly.

  254. 254
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: He does that so they throw all their corporate might & assets at the problem. IMO, BP is not taking this as seriously as they should. 3 or 4 stories down, John has a post where he basically says the same thing.

    I want Pres. Obama to do whatever is necessary to scare BP into doing whatever they have to do (billions of dollars be damned) to fix it.

    Is that clear enough or do you have a reading comprehension issue?

  255. 255
    cleek says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    This is what I am getting pissed off about WHO GIVES A FUCK IF PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS BP BY THE BALLS?!

    who ?

    the next oil company project manager who decides to cheap-out on the blowout valves and leak prevention systems. the CEO who approves drilling into places where there’s no hope of stopping a leak. the PR lackey who tries to cover-up a leak. the shareholders who are deciding to invest in oil companies which look like they might be trying to drill without being able to handle the consequences.

    they’ll care.

    make the penalties painful enough and they’ll care.

  256. 256
    sparky says:

    @Recall: thanks for the pro publica linky, which, in the middle of the article, provides the most likely reason you are not going to see more action from the feds:

    Discretionary debarment is a step that government investigators have long sought to avoid, and which many experts had considered highly unlikely because BP is a major supplier of fuel to the U.S. military. The company could petition U.S. courts for an exception, arguing that ending that contract is a national security risk. That segment of BP’s business alone was worth roughly $4.6 billion over the last decade, according to the government contracts website USAspending.

    so, there you have it, or at least part of it. so you see there’s a reason whackos like me care more about the DoD operations around this planet than little gestures of social compliance (see my rant in the DADT thread). i live in monroe county florida and don’t wish this mess on anyone (and am not looking forward to the possible death of the local economy), but for so many reasons we have no one to blame but ourselves. here’s one little example:

    In 2006 Air Force consumed around 2.6 billion gallons of jet-fuel which is the same amount of fuel U.S. airplanes consumed during WWII (between December 1941 and August 1945).

    so yes, there’s a lot Obama could do. but he isn’t going to do any of it. i used to think the Empire would collapse the day China stopped buying USTs. now i think it’s the day the Empire’s murder machine runs out of fuel.

  257. 257
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Link to Oil Pollution Act liability provisionshere.

  258. 258
    The Moar You Know says:

    If the Feds takeover the containment project, does that relieve BP of liability? Can’t they argue that in court for the next couple of decades?

    @Nellcote: The core of the issue, right here, folks. Feed that puppy and it’s yours forever.

  259. 259
    Montysano says:

    Anytime the subject of Katrina comes up, and its ruinous effect on my beloved former city of residence, I have to point out that, once the storm passed, you could land aircraft at the Naval Air Station and drive in a fucking car to the Superdome and the Convention Center. A POTUS should be able to pull that off.

    As to capping a leak of fossil fuels, which are under extreme pressure and coming from 18,000 feet below the sea bed (which is itself a mile underwater)…. I got nothing, and neither does Barack Obama.

  260. 260
    Nick says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    How about we issue subpoenas against those responsible?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about finding what that big party on the rig was about before the explosion?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about NOT allowing BP to gather their own evidence in advance of them being a defendant in a future trial?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about taking action against the oil thugs that held survivors in captivity for 48 hours while their family members worried about them?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about taking action against the fatcat bubbas who tried to get residents to sign a “we won’t sue BP” waiver for a $5k payoff?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about getting adminstration officials on TV who know what the hell they’re talking about?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about doing away with the last 30 years of laissez-faire regulation for the oil industry?

    Cause that’s gonna stop the leak how?

    How about Obama making the decision to start acting like Huey Long instead of Ghandi?

    Rather have Gandhi (which btw is spelled G-A-N-D-H-I-) He got far more accomplished in his life than Huey Long.

  261. 261
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    The CG tried like hell to draw the distinction between “responsible party” and “I’m in charge” yesterday and every news story said “the Coast Guard Commander explained why he was not in charge”.

    Which is not what he said. At all.

  262. 262
    slag says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    No really, we’re talking about fixing a damn problem here, not scoring political points.

    Actually, there are two problems. The problem of the leaking oil well itself. And our collective response (yes, our fragile fee fees) to said leaking oil well. It’s the government’s job to address both problems using all the tools at its disposal.

    Just like John’s post about why people like Apple products. We expect to have some problems, but we also expect a certain level of confidence that our problems will not be catastrophic or infinite. You have engineering and you have customer service. Those two things are connected but require different tools for management. And I expect at least as much from my government as I do from Apple.

  263. 263
    Resident Firebagger says:

    Are you kidding me? BP dumps deadly toxins into the Gulf, then way, waaaaaaay, after the fact, the EPA tells them to stop, and BP refuses? Are you fucking kidding me? There’s not some sort of law being broken there? There’s nothing more an administration can do other than write a sternly worded letter?

    At the very least, Obama could tell BP to stop spinning this, because they should have more important things to do at the moment. By restricting media access and making up shit, they seem are more concerned with PR than with actually cleaning up the mess or — and, remember, they still haven’t done this — stopping the damn leak.

    And BTW, the administration is going forward with more offshore drilling.

    I wanted to believe it was absurd to call this Obama’s Katrina. Not so sure now.

    Finally, read this. It’s galling.

  264. 264
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Is that clear enough or do you have a reading comprehension issue?

    No, it’s perfectly clear that you would be fine with President Obama declaring martial law on something in order to do…who the fuck knows? I understand that your suggestions in this thread consist of fantastical scenarios that make Armageddon seem like a fucking documentary. I understand that you want a bunch of gratuitous, fatuous gestures on your television so you feel better about yourself.

    On that point, you are perfectly clear.

  265. 265
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    There’s massive confusion on what “responsible party” means.

    Actually, the act makes it pretty clear it’s the lesee, which in this case is BP. (See 33 USC Sec. 2701)

  266. 266
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @cleek:

    the next oil company project manager who decides to cheap-out on the blowout valves and leak prevention systems. the CEO who approves drilling into places where there’s no hope of stopping a leak. the PR lackey who tries to cover-up a leak. the shareholders who are deciding to invest in oil companies which look like they might be trying to drill without being able to handle the consequences.
    __
    they’ll care.
    __
    make the penalties painful enough and they’ll care.

    Of course, we are primarily talking about cleaning up the Gulf, and what more the Obama Administration could do on that front.

    I am sure when the time comes to deal with possible criminal or civil action, they will very much so be looking at such suggestions as you propose here.

  267. 267
    kay says:

    @Resident Firebagger:

    Are you kidding me? BP dumps deadly toxins into the Gulf, then way, waaaaaaay, after the fact, the EPA tells them to stop, and BP refuses?

    What actually happened? Did BP refuse? What was their response?
    Were the “deadly toxins” approved for use by the EPA?

  268. 268
    KevinD says:

    They just need to “Complete the Danged Fence!”

  269. 269
    sparky says:

    @Nick: you’re right, none of it is going to stop the spill. but since that is apparently not possible for the moment it would be a good time to try to prevent similar events in the future, no? and yes, i think it’s fair to say that preventing a mistake from happening again and seizing an opportunity to wrench a sliver of power back from private industry would both be considered “leadership.”

    you can say it’s not Obama’s job to fix the leak, and that’s true, but it is his job to lead, and right now he’s doing diddly. but then he always does diddly, except for saying some nice words that sound great.

    perhaps some of the people here can look at this event and realize that, as with Bush, there’s a difference between what you say and what you do, and at the end of the day only the latter is relevant. the preznit’s job is not chief speaker, except incidentally.

  270. 270
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Resident Firebagger:

    At the very least, Obama could tell BP to stop spinning this, because they should have more important things to do at the moment. By restricting media access and making up shit, they seem are more concerned with PR than with actually cleaning up the mess or—and, remember, they still haven’t done this—stopping the damn leak.

    I guess we will all just pretend like President Obama didn’t get on national television and say the following:

    Let me also say, by the way, a word here about BP and the other companies involved in this mess. I know BP has committed to pay for the response effort, and we will hold them to their obligation. I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter. You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.

    But it’s just words, right?

  271. 271
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: My main theses is that BP is trying to fix this on the cheap (for whatever reason).

    I think the President has tools at his disposal to remedy that situation.

    I have given suggestions (some fantastical, some not) as to how he can get them to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Remember, for the bosses of BP, their beaches are over in Europe where they have the regulations that make this catastrophe a remote possibility of ever occurring.

    IMO, you are mendaciously twisting my comments into something they are not. You can do better.

  272. 272
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sparky:

    perhaps some of the people here can look at this event and realize that, as with Bush, there’s a difference between what you say and what you do, and at the end of the day only the latter is relevant. the preznit’s job is not chief speaker, except incidentally.

    I see we’re back to the “Republicrats” bullshit again. Bush and Obama, twins separated at birth!

  273. 273
    tim says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I like to scream about how the people who are paid huge amounts of money to run this country should be doing something, you moron.

  274. 274
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Haven’t been following the news conferences, etc. as am using an iPad on a tropical island (yay!). But as to the distinction between who’s the “responsible party” and who’s in charge, I’d guess this:

    The Oil Pollution Act (which defines “responsible party”) has to do with liability. In the end, BP is liable for the costs of cleanup and specified damages.

    There is a unified command structure for response to these sorts of emergencies. Usually it consists of the relevant public agencies and private entities. In this case, the USCG, EPA, MMS, NOAA, BP, etc. etc. I believe the head of the Unified Command is (I think) the USCG Admiral.

    In any case, the provisions of the Oil Pollution Act imposing liability for cleanup and damages on BP could not supersede the authority of the fed govt to exercise its emergency response powers if necessary. So the idea that Obama is “prohibited by law” from doing anything isn’t really true in the strict sense.

  275. 275
    Paul in KY says:

    Midnight Marauder, do you think BP is throwing the full weight of their corporate might into fixing the blown out well?

  276. 276
    sparky says:

    @Mnemosyne: nope, not what i said, though i thought i might catch some careless readers, and i guess i caught you rather quickly. go me!

    what i said was that there’s a difference between pretty words and actions and that both Bush and Obama have pretended otherwise: that words suffice. look at the quote above–“i’m not impressed”. ooh, yeah, that’s real leadership! they are empty words, just words.

  277. 277
    tim says:

    @kay:

    Kay: you’re a gullible fool.

  278. 278
    Nick says:

    @sparky:

    for the moment it would be a good time to try to prevent similar events in the future, no?

    No, that’s called grandstanding…do that AFTER the leak is fixed and the damage has been attended to.

    you can say it’s not Obama’s job to fix the leak, and that’s true, but it is his job to lead, and right now he’s doing diddly. but then he always does diddly,

    Your firebag is showin’

    except for saying some nice words that sound great.

    Wait, isn’t nice words that sound great exactly what you moron want him to do. Isn’t that “leading” and “using the bully pulpit”

    perhaps some of the people here can look at this event and realize that, as with Bush, there’s a difference between what you say and what you do, and at the end of the day only the latter is relevant. the preznit’s job is not chief speaker, except incidentally.

    so why don’t you jerk stop bitching and whining about the “bully pulpit”

  279. 279
    LanceThruster says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Goddamned right X!!

    Suddenly, the insanely radical idea of maybe putting on a sweater or something doesn’t seem so much like a fate worse than death that it was made out to be afterall.

    I guess all those conservotards and their endless trashing of President Carter will just have to swallow a little bit of their ego when they come waltzing back to apologize.

    They’ll need to ask for “Mr. Blue” because I’ll be holding my breath waiting for it.

  280. 280
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    IMO, you are mendaciously twisting my comments into something they are not. You can do better

    Please, tell me what comments I’m twisting around. You think BP is trying to do this on the cheap; I agree with you. You think President Obama “has tools at his disposal to remedy that situation”; I think that’s a dubious position but I have been open to hearing what tools you think he has.

    You have provided such suggestions as the following:

    we ‘temporarily’ nationalize all their American assets, then run it with the understanding that we’re gonna use as much of the assets as we need to rent American or other countries vessels (civilian and/or military) to carry huge amounts of concreate or make a fucking siphon that works or whatever the Hell it takes (using their money to do this) until the gusher is capped

    Personally, I think there’s ways around the law. He could declare martial law in the area. Get some of those ‘creative’ Bush-lawyer types to give some kind of whacked out ‘opinion’ that guts that law. Now is the time for bold action.

    You declare a ‘war on the spill’ & make all of the BP response people/stuff temporarily members of the military & under military discipline.

    You declare martial law & order them to do things they have thought about, but didn’t want to do because of the cost.
    __
    How about BP rents an aircraft carrier, loads it down with cement & has a huge pipe attached to the carrier that directs the concrete down to the hole? Give me 5 billion & I can get one made pretty quick, I bet.
    __
    Carrier is 1000 feet long. You have the pipe in 5 sections on deck with one of those cranes they used to raise the Korean ship & you put it together & start the operation.

    That shit is a joke, son. A fucking joke.

  281. 281
    tim says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Idiot.

  282. 282
    slag says:

    @tim: You need to go back on your medication.

  283. 283
    cleek says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Of course, we are primarily talking about cleaning up the Gulf, and what more the Obama Administration could do on that front.

    well, i think the conversation has widened to include more than just cleanup. i know i’ve been talking about more than that.

    but, i don’t think BP is doing everything it can as fast as it can. or, at least it wasn’t until recently. and i think sitting in the hot seat might motivate BP’s management in a way that occasional statements of frustration from Obama’s press secretary won’t.

  284. 284
    Paul in KY says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Well oh great one, since you agree BP is not doing all they can to fix the disaster, and you think my brainstorming of ideas is a joke, tell us how you think the President of the United States can get BP to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

    (sit’s back in chair, gets popcorn).

  285. 285
    debbie says:

    @ Corner Stone:

    I’m not naive enough to think that no one’s ever lied or cheated; what I can’t get over is the degree to which it’s being done. Ten years ago, would you have thought your stockbroker would misrepresent the value of an investment solely to make profit at your expense? What kind of a world has this become?

  286. 286
    Clockwork Buddha says:

    Since the liberals are at a loss, it falls to the Conservatives and Friends to save the day:

    1) Glenn Beck could fly down and cry. His tears would supplement the ocean and allow for faster absorption

    2) Limbaugh could be sent down with a metric fuckton of chicken-fried steak (aka “Hillbilly lembas”) and instructed to sit on the well and “snack with gusto”

    3) Send the Tea Partiers. They are remarkably effective at repelling anything black.

    4) Dress the well up as an intern/aide/friend’s wife/cabana boy. Equip any number of Republicans with performance enhancers and Barry White albums. Instruct them to “plug the hole *wink, wink*”. Bonus here is that they can supply their own wetsuits.

  287. 287
    Bostondreams says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    Obviously you know nothing about Huey Long. Big fan of wanna-be dictators are you?

  288. 288
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @cleek:

    well, i think the conversation has widened to include more than just cleanup. i know i’ve been talking about more than that.

    I think it has widened because people are conflating two very different issues with each other as though they are interchangeable and they are not. The energy reforms and regulations that come out of this debacle (as well as any criminal or civil charges against BP) is a very separate issue from how we get this leak plugged and this spill cleaned up right now. You’ve got people here who are talking about pushing BP out of the way, and it betrays an absolute ignorance in how this situation is going to play out.

    I’m not really going to take the comments of people making outlandishly fanciful suggestions that have no basis in reality seriously in this discussion. And why would you? They are talking about things without any idea as to their validity. It’s just a steady stream of magical thinking and meaningless platitudes.

  289. 289
    tim says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Midnight Marauder, what exactly is your skin in this game that you would spend half your day in this thread shilling for Obama and the administration? Why is it so important to you that those of us calling for action and the appearance of action and ruthless pursuit of results be shouted down?

    Please put aside all your verbosity for a moment and answer that?

    Thanks.

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    FYWP!

    That is all.

  291. 291
    tim says:

    @slag:

    No, it’s all good. I took it this morning just like regular.

  292. 292
    slag says:

    @Clockwork Buddha:

    3) Send the Tea Partiers. They are remarkably effective at repelling anything black.

    Paradox. They seem to be remarkably effective at attracting anything slimy. So, their impact on this situation could easily end up being neutral.

  293. 293
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie:

    Ten years ago, would you have thought your stockbroker would misrepresent the value of an investment solely to make profit at your expense?

    Actually this is a bad example. I used to train with a guy who was a broker and he would laugh when he told something like this, “Got a client on the phone and he’s asking about XYZ. I call research and say what’s the deal on XYZ? $.26 per share profit?? Nah, that’s not going to work. I’m going to tell the client $.86 per share.”
    And that was in the early 90’s.

    This is a legacy result. We’re finally starting to really see the effects of what’s been put in place since WWII.
    Now the question is what will we do about any of it?

  294. 294
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Well oh great one, since you agree BP is not doing all they can to fix the disaster, and you think my brainstorming of ideas is a joke, tell us how you think the President of the United States can get BP to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

    Like a lot of people here, I honestly don’t know. That’s part of why people are so angry. Most of the suggestions you see being tossed out (that are legitimate, I might add) are already being deployed by BP and The White House. The reason we have no answers is not an accident; the last administration did not require such information before approving companies for deep water drilling. That’s part of why we are so fucked right now. Bush Co. gave these guys free reign without so much as an afterthought about what might happen:

    BP’s official response plan for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t actually say anything about how the company would stop a blowout, wildly underestimates the worst-case scenario, and lists walruses among the Gulf’s “Sensitive Biological Resources” — leading an environmental group to suggest Monday that no regulator could possibly have seriously examined it.
    __
    “This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on,” PEER board member Rick Steiner, a marine professor, said in a statement. “Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deep water blowout even though BP has significant deep water operations in the Gulf.”
    __
    The entire 582-page plan, titled “BP Gulf of Mexico Regional Oil Spill Response Plan” and dated June 30, 2009, can be found here; the section on “worst case” scenarios is here.
    __
    The plan also doesn’t contain information about tracking sub-surface oil plumes from deep-water blowouts.

    Not to mention that you have the EPA considering sanctions against BP:

    Days ago, in an unannounced move, the EPA suspended negotiations with the petroleum giant over whether it would be barred from federal contracts because of the environmental crimes it committed before the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials said they are putting the talks on hold until they learn more about the British company’s responsibility for the plume of oil that is spreading across the Gulf.
    __
    The EPA said in a statement that, according to its regulations, it can consider banning BP from future contracts after weighing “the frequency and pattern of the incidents, corporate attitude both before and after the incidents, changes in policies, procedures, and practices.”
    __
    Several former senior EPA debarment attorneys and people close to the BP investigation told ProPublica that means the agency will re-evaluate BP and examine whether the latest incident in the Gulf is evidence of an institutional problem inside BP, a precursor to the action called debarment.

    There are plenty of ways to light a fire under BP’s ass without declaring martial law.

  295. 295
    Corner Stone says:

    OK, this is my third time trying to spit this out there. So, cry me a river if you see it 3 times. And FYWP!

    “Mendacious Midnight Marauder”?

  296. 296
    Clockwork Buddha says:

    @slag:
    But they *are* capable of absorbing an incredible amount of crud…

  297. 297
    Paul in KY says:

    Midnight Marauder, please tell me how you’d ‘light a fire under their ass’. I didn’t ask how you’d go about fixing the disaster. Since we have agreement (it seems) that BP is dragging their feet, etc. then how would you have Pres. Obama get them to go all out?

    I put my suggestions out there for your ridicule, now it’s time for you to pony up to the bar :-)

  298. 298
    angler says:

    This troll bait is clearly a big hit for the site. Carry on.

  299. 299
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Corner Stone: @Corner Stone: Well OK, I just blew coffee all over my monitor. This is such a depressing subject & depressing thread, that I appreciate a good laugh…cross my heart.

  300. 300
    Paul in KY says:

    @And Another Thing…: You know, he got that from me ;-)

  301. 301
    slag says:

    @Clockwork Buddha: True. I wonder if there’s any oil-absorbing tea they could toss into the gulf for us. Some sort of green tea maybe? A hint of jasmine might be nice.

  302. 302
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @tim:

    Midnight Marauder, what exactly is your skin in this game that you would spend half your day in this thread shilling for Obama and the administration? Why is it so important to you that those of us calling for action and the appearance of action and ruthless pursuit of results be shouted down?
    __
    Please put aside all your verbosity for a moment and answer that?
    __
    Thanks.

    For starters, I’m not shilling for anyone. And I spend most of my time on this site during the day at work, like a good deal of other regular commenters here. So your attempts to apply something more unseemly in my presence here are rather sadly misguided.

    And who is shouting you down? You are engaging in a back-and-forth discussion in a vibrant and aggressive online community. If you can’t handle it, I would seriously question why you subject yourself to the rigors of posting here. I mean, after all, you’re the tough guy who wrote this:

    And to you losers in comments who keep whining about how Obie cannot DOOOOOOOOO ANYTHIIIIIIIING…what the hell? Why did you bother to vote for him then, if you did? What difference does it make if he can’t do anything when it matters the most? I saw him a couple of days ago doing some lame ass interview/photo op with ES-fucking PN, talking sports and draft pics and what not? WTF? The man has nothing more important to do? It was embarrassing.

    If you don’t understand what kind of reaction this type of comment will receive on this site, you are either wholly unfamiliar with this blog or you are a moron. There is no other option that makes you look favorable.

    And understand something about the plural you are using in saying “those of us calling for action.” Who is that “us” and what action are you calling for? Do you mean the multiple people calling for such patently nonsensical “solutions” as these you offered:

    Freeze/confiscate all of BP’s assets under U.S. control or in U.S. territory.
    __
    Kick BP’s ass out of the way
    __
    Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP.
    __
    Put all relevant government resources behind the effort NOW.
    __
    Criminal arrests NOW, of BP executives.
    __
    Criminal arrests NOW, of government “regulators” who allowed lax oversight.
    __
    Freeze new drilling permits in the gulf, as well as any additional work on wells already approved but not yet pumping.
    __
    Detail the ways in which 8 years of Bush administration oil whoredom led us to this point.
    __
    KICK OFF AN IMMEDIATE, MEGA EMERGENCY, MANHATTAN PROJECT-LEVEL NATIONAL PROGRAM TO GET US OFF FOSSIL FUELS.

    Tell me, tim. Which one of those proposed solutions is going to stop the leak in the Gulf? Which one of those solutions is going to lead to a breakthrough in cleaning up the oil spill? Is it your call for a “MEGA EMERGENCY” modern-day Manhattan Project?

    No. No, it is not.

    You’ve been pulling this WATB routine for weeks now, and then pouting and whining when someone responds. I would advise you to rethink your approach here if you find the reception you receive unwelcoming.

  303. 303
    Citizen Alan says:

    @cleek:

    make the penalties painful enough and they’ll care.

    This. I want Obama to take affirmative steps to see to it that nothing like this happens again in our lifetimes. He won’t, of course, for the same reason that he won’t take any steps to see that no one ever tortures terrorism suspects again or that no one ever demolishes the economy through derivatives again. Because accountability in any form is an alien concept in this decaying shell of a nation. I can’t wait for the day when someone asks him point blank about pursuing criminal penalties against BP execs and his response is that he wants to look forwards instead of backwards.

  304. 304
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Midnight Marauder, please tell me how you’d ‘light a fire under their ass’. I didn’t ask how you’d go about fixing the disaster. Since we have agreement (it seems) that BP is dragging their feet, etc. then how would you have Pres. Obama get them to go all out?
    __
    I put my suggestions out there for your ridicule, now it’s time for you to pony up to the bar :-)

    LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE, I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW.

    I guess you missed that first sentence in the post you responded to. I put it in all capital letters for you this time.

  305. 305
    Paul in KY says:

    Have to leave now. Look forward to seeing this thread tomorrow morn. Enjoy debating with my fellow Juicers.

    Marauder, I can’t believe you can’t think up something (one suggestion). Don’t be afraid of some feedback. I know you can handle it ;-)

  306. 306
    Nick says:

    Listen trolls, the media meme today is that Pres. Obama ot his ass kicked at the Senate GOP meeting today because Sen. Corker says so because Obama hates bipartisanship and wouldn’t let him move forward with a bipartisan financial reform bill. It’s all over the news.

    Now would be a good time to defend him against right wing media memes.

  307. 307
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @William Q. Pilgrim:

    How about

    we issue subpoenas against those responsible?

    By whom? And for what?

    How about finding what that big party on the rig was about before the explosion?

    To celebrate seven years without a major accident. It wasn’t a secret.

    How about NOT allowing BP to gather their own evidence in advance of them being a defendant in a future trial?

    What does that mean?

    How about taking action against the oil thugs that held survivors in captivity for 48 hours while their family members worried about them?

    An outright falsehood propagated by lawyers suing Transocean. See, for instance, this. Or the USCG testimony at the hearing. Or any number of accurate reports.

  308. 308
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    You know what else wouldn’t stop the leak? Burning down every god-damned BP station in southern Louisiana. But if I were a Gulf Coast fisherman, that’s sure what I’d be doing right now. The people responsible for this should be afraid for their lives. Instead, they’re trying to figure out the best way to manipulate things to get their stock price back up.

    BTW, for people with no moral scruples, this is probably a good time to buy BP stock. It’s low right now, but as soon as the Repukes figure out a way to give BP a bailout and blame it on liberals, it will shoot right back up.

  309. 309
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I can’t wait for the day when someone asks him point blank about pursuing criminal penalties against BP execs and his response is that he wants to look forwards instead of backwards.

    Who’s going to do this? The same people complaining he’s too hard on BP and he’s too hard on Wall Street because he’s using it as a political tool?

  310. 310
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I am sure when the time comes to deal with possible criminal or civil action, they will very much so be looking at such suggestions as you propose here.

    “They” will do nothing of the sort. Mere mortals do not presume to challenge the will of the corporate gods, and their richly rewarded high priests and priestesses in Congress certainly don’t.

  311. 311
    lawguy says:

    Don’t worry I would never accuse you of being unduly critical of Obama.

  312. 312
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Burning down every god-damned BP station in southern Louisiana. But if I were a Gulf Coast fisherman, that’s sure what I’d be doing right now. The people responsible for this should be afraid for their lives.

    you know what I find funny about liberals..the fact that they can be as big of hypocrites as tea baggers.

    It’s funny to listen liberals threaten all forms of violence and human rights abuses against BP and Wall St execs, but then whine and cry about torturing terrorist suspects.

  313. 313
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    But it’s just words, right?

    Um, yeah. The fact that you were able to quote it verbatim pretty much means that it’s “just words.” And since I don’t for one second believe that BP or Transocean will ever pay anything close to the true cost of this disaster, that’s pretty much all we’ll get.

  314. 314
    tim says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    hahaha…your very serious, veteran BJ commenter schtick is a joke.

    You obviously have a lame ass job at which you are underperforming if you are able to give all this time and attention to posting mega-multiple, long ass comments in defense of your president’s worthless response to this crisis in the gulf.

    and your weak insults won’t chase me away. I enjoy dropping in here to see what freaks like you are promoting today.

    and once again, read numbers three and four on my list. Just because YOU claim to find my suggestions worthless, doesn’t mean that an objective observer would feel the same.

    You’re out to defend the status quo no matter what, and then you dig yourself in deeper with each post.

    Furthermore, your credulous acceptance of the weak propaganda coming out of BP and the white house is telling.

  315. 315
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan

    I don’t for one second believe that BP or Transocean will ever pay anything close to the true cost of this disaster, that’s pretty much all we’ll get.

    Who the hell do you think is paying for it right now, my aunt?

  316. 316
    D-Chance. says:

    But the truly important question to ask among the “serious” libertarian watchers here at BJ is this: What does Rand Paul think?

  317. 317
    les says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Dude, you’re really good at this. I think I saw an ad on a matchbook cover for a comic-writer school. Go for it.

  318. 318
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @tim:

    You obviously have a lame ass job at which you are underperforming if you are able to give all this time and attention to posting mega-multiple, long ass comments in defense of your president’s worthless response to this crisis in the gulf.

    You are right. You have deduced my true identity rather well. Me and all the other people who frequent this site on a daily basis and comment in the threads all have lame ass jobs at which we are underperforming.

    Clearly, that is the only explanation for why I am posting here.

    @tim:

    and once again, read numbers three and four on my list. Just because YOU claim to find my suggestions worthless, doesn’t mean that an objective observer would feel the same.

    Okay then. Number three on the list:

    Issue an immediate/emergency appeal, with a humongous cash award, to person/persons who can fix this, inside or outside of BP.

    Good one. Because without that appeal from President Obama, we would never have situations like Kevin Costner suddenly becoming a possible hero in the Gulf.

    The actor has been overseeing the building of oil separation machines just in case another calamity on the scale of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill were to occur, as reported by the New York Times. And, lo and behold, they have built it, and the oil has come.

    And number four:

    Put all relevant government resources behind the effort NOW.

    Amazing. I wonder why the White House hasn’t thought of that yet…?

  319. 319
    les says:

    @LanceThruster:

    Use these powers to move quickly to cap the flow and mitigate damage.

    Do you perhaps see the fly in the ointment here?

    The stupid is not usually so concentrated around here; show of hands: how many people believe there’s a magic shut off valve just laying around, and they forgot it was there1!!

  320. 320
    MBSS says:

    John, you’re attacking a straw man. Obviously, the technical solution will have to come from the oil industry because, thanks to decisions made decades ago, oil companies were allowed to cause problems that only they have the technological expertise to fix.

    Technological problems have a way of fixing themselves, though, with the right mixture of incentives and penalties. I don’t think any reasonable person would dispute that the federal government has not exhausted all tools at its disposal to alter BP’s cost-benefit analysis. From where I sit, the feds have done nothing in that regard.

    The president is probably no more to blame than the other corrupt members of our federal government for failing to effect dramatic changes in BP’s incentive structure, but he is to blame.

    this.

    right or left, democrat or republican, we have corporatist leaders, and obama sits right in the middle of it. despite the protestations of rand paul, we have not put the boot to the neck of BP. i want to see action along with rhetoric, and i want to see the legal boot to the neck until i hear a loud snap.

  321. 321
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Um, yeah. The fact that you were able to quote it verbatim pretty much means that it’s “just words.”

    What the fuck? Have you never heard of Google?

  322. 322
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    The current CEO of BP Oil is Tony Howard. Perhaps you could call him up and ask him if he needs anyone to lick his anus clean every time he gets done taking a shit. I suspect corporate shit tastes like Godiva chocolate to your sensitive palate.

    The entire way of life for hundreds of your fellow citizens is effectively over, and you’re worried about the tender fee-fees of people who would rape your children if they could make a buck doing so. Fuck you.

    Burn BP Oil to the mother-fucking ground.

  323. 323
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    Is BP paying out any cash right now? Because when this is all over, Uncle Sam is going to send BP a bill, and BP is going to tear it up and throw it in the trash. And then, whether BP pays anything more than the costs they’re already out depends on whether a Repuke appointed judge feels like making them pay it. It took 20 years for Exxon-Valdez to reach the Supreme Court, and John Roberts let Exxon off with a slap-on-the-wrist.

  324. 324
    MBSS says:

    Who the hell do you think is paying for it right now, my aunt?

    yeah, chemical dispersants, the cheap, easy, toxic, camera friendly way to do it.

    as has already been said it will be impossible to fully clean this mess or pay the full amount of the damage to that beautiful coastline, as well as the entire gulf. there is not a monetary amount to compensate and if there was one we can be certain that BP won’t get close to paying it.

    i don’t think the full magnitude of this disaster is fully understood.

    my mother cleans up oiled birds here on the central coast of california. i’ve seen the damage from small scale, localized problems with water toxicity. the scale of this is exponentially greater. i’m beyond anger, laughing, or crying. that oil will be on the seabed for 100 years and we cannot clean the marshes. i haven’t even touched on how it will economically effect local fisherman and the tourist industry.

  325. 325
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Is BP paying out any cash right now

    Yes douchebag, BP is using their own supplies, their own workers, at their own expense.

    Because when this is all over, Uncle Sam is going to send BP a bill, and BP is going to tear it up and throw it in the trash.

    No, that’s what will happen if we take over from them, which is why our President decided he wouldn’t break the law to do it.

    And then, whether BP pays anything more than the costs they’re already out depends on whether a Repuke appointed judge feels like making them pay it. It took 20 years for Exxon-Valdez to reach the Supreme Court, and John Roberts let Exxon off with a slap-on-the-wrist.

    You do know the law was changed AFTER Exxon-Valdez so that this won’t happen again, don’t you?

    The current CEO of BP Oil is Tony Howard. Perhaps you could call him up and ask him if he needs anyone to lick his anus clean every time he gets done taking a shit. I suspect corporate shit tastes like Godiva chocolate to your sensitive palate.

    His name is Tony Hayward, but stay classy asshole.

  326. 326
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sparky:

    what i said was that there’s a difference between pretty words and actions and that both Bush and Obama have pretended otherwise: that words suffice. look at the quote above—”i’m not impressed”. ooh, yeah, that’s real leadership! they are empty words, just words.

    In other words, you said that Bush and Obama are alike because both of them make speeches and don’t actually do anything.

    Sorry, not really seeing where I was wrong here. You think Bush and Obama are the same.

  327. 327
    MBSS says:

    The current CEO of BP Oil is Tony Howard. Perhaps you could call him up and ask him if he needs anyone to lick his anus clean every time he gets done taking a shit. I suspect corporate shit tastes like Godiva chocolate to your sensitive palate.

    this.

    we haven’t even begun to address the criminal negligence of these dollarfuckers/demons in pinstripe.

  328. 328
    kay says:

    @tim:

    Kay: you’re a gullible fool.

    Yeah. I’m the gullible fool. Which is the reason I’ve seen the media statement given by the plaintiff’s lawyer on what happened after the rig blew up quoted 70 billion times as FACT. I read it, and thought “media statement from plaintiff’s lawyer”. You said “that’s FACT!” Because he said it? You savvy sophisticate, you. No one gets anything by you!

    I’m the fool, which is the reason why you didn’t bother to read past the first paragraph in the story about the dispersing agents, and why you’re advocating arresting people, for what, you don’t know, but you want an ARREST made. Can we get charges first, or is that a pesky formality?

    The price of admission on acting as critic for the Obama administration’s response is knowing what they’ve done. You haven’t paid it. You know less than I do about the facts here, and I don’t know much.

  329. 329
    MBSS says:

    sorry, democrats. your partisan hackary is showing. as long as obama doesn’t lose political capital over this, right? he looks about as engaged as me at the national shuffleboard championships.

  330. 330
    chrome agnomen says:

    if someone could just persuade rushbo that the leak was coming out of a dominican boy’s ass, it would get plugged up tomorrow.

  331. 331
    robertdsc says:

    Thank you, John. Great post.

  332. 332
    Nick says:

    @MBSS: look harder Jane

  333. 333
    Mnemosyne says:

    Two out of the four videos on the front page at whitehouse.gov are about the oil spill and BP.

    But why isn’t Obama saying anything? Why this long silence? Why doesn’t he ever mention it?

    I think we’ve found the lefty equivalent of the birthers who want Obama to go door-to-door with his birth certificate in hand. Unless the president personally comes to their house to discuss the oil spill with them, he’s not doing anything.

  334. 334
    kay says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Burning down every god-damned BP station in southern Louisiana. But if I were a Gulf Coast fisherman, that’s sure what I’d be doing right now. The people responsible for this should be afraid for their lives. Instead, they’re trying to figure out the best way to manipulate things to get their stock price back up.

    Why would they be? The good people of Louisiana have been hiring oil industry promoters to Congress forever. Their governor is an unrepentant oil industry hack, who is running around looking like his best friend just shot him the back. They’re holding street fairs to celebrate that relationship. They didn’t even cancel this year.

    If they’re held hostage by the oil industry, it’s hard to tell.

  335. 335
    Tax Analyst says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    You know what else wouldn’t stop the leak? Burning down every god-damned BP station in southern Louisiana. But if I were a Gulf Coast fisherman, that’s sure what I’d be doing right now. The people responsible for this should be afraid for their lives. Instead, they’re trying to figure out the best way to manipulate things to get their stock price back up.

    Ooh, good! Did you know that a lot of gas stations are privately owned and operated by folks who only buy product from the oil companies? BTW, they generally make very little in the way of gross profit per gallon.

    I hope you’ll at least wait until the poor clerks at these places have an opportunity to get out before you burn them down. Or maybe that doesn’t really matter to you, as long as “something” is done.

  336. 336
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kay:

    I think “Stockholm syndrome” is the phrase that Citizen Alan is looking for.

  337. 337
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think he should go. I think we’ve seen this in him before. I think he stays away when he can’t affect a result, he thinks behind the scenes is as important as “for show” (health care!). But the President has a dual role. He’s not just a manager.
    I read a long time last night on what they’re doing, and I believe it’s the maximum effort, but public shows are important, substantively, not just politically.
    So, I think that’s a mistake. Although I am sick to death of the phrase bully pulpit, and I’m not talking about that.
    I mean simply showing up. That usually matters to people.

  338. 338
    MBSS says:

    hah,

    i’m sure behind that veneer of rhetoric we will see the appropriate legal response to BP.

    rand paul can say he would march with MLK while he supports absolutist private property laws which would re-institutionalize segregation.

    obama can say “boot to the neck of BP,” but let’s see what he proposes legally.

    let’s see how hard obama hits BP.

  339. 339
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @kay:

    I think he should go. I think we’ve seen this in him before. I think he stays away when he can’t affect a result, he thinks behind the scenes is as important as “for show” (health care!). But the President has a dual role. He’s not just a manager.
    I read a long time last night on what they’re doing, and I believe it’s the maximum effort, but public shows are important, substantively, not just politically.
    So, I think that’s a mistake. Although I am sick to death of the phrase bully pulpit, and I’m not talking about that.
    I mean simply showing up. That usually matters to people.

    A senior administration official tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama will travel Friday to the Louisiana Gulf Coast to review firsthand the efforts to counter a disastrous oil spill.
    __
    The White House is expected to release more details about the trip later Tuesday.

    So I guess we can mark off one front where President Obama “isn’t doing enough.” He’s making his second trip to the Gulf.

  340. 340
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I feel for them. I do. They have an economy that relies on fishing, tourism and OIL, and they hire leaders who focus on the OIL part of that triad.
    Two of those three are dependent on protecting water and coastline, and one is a grave threat to water and coastline.
    There is no group here in the midwest that are more hostile to environmentalist regulation than farmers, so it’s not just fisherman.
    It’s a dilemma, all right. But they’re in it, and they got there without coercion.

  341. 341
    Lit3Bolt says:

    The primary complaint people seem to have against the Fed response is one of messaging. People have gotten so used to “disasters” followed by “federal response” that they expect this situation to be similar. However, the technical and engineering hurdles have not fully been explained (seriously, those little newspaper graphs don’t do it justice. Drawn to scale, a mile deep is very very deep).

    So the public perception rightly or wrongly is one of the Coast Guard and BP standing around, observing a house on fire, and muttering “Hmm, that’s a big fire.” “Yup, sure is a big ‘un.” while the residents and wildlife in the Gulf roll around in flames.

    Obama is aware the political clock is ticking. The countdown has already started (even the liberal James Carville! Taylor Marsh! Daily Kos!) but he’ll enter the fray when he can no longer afford to stay aloof, which hopefully coincides with a BP solution. However, the main reason he can afford to stay aloof, and for so long, is because it’s the fucking South. The South is America’s East Germany, its North Korea, its Kurdish province. He doesn’t have fret or pretend the care if the entire region goes to shit, because no one who lives here will vote for him or his party anyway. (Seriously, imagine if oil was washing up on Manhattan or San Fran Bay. People would be going APESHIT.)

    One last note, people defending Obama saying “WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO?” need to get off the fucking high horse. You sound like douchebags, seriously. Every single crisis, problem, adversary that we as a nation have I could say the same damn thing, “WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO?” and you would be either gaping like buffoons or frantically searching google for solutions to a difficult problem and doing mental hoops on how the President could implement said solutions. The fact is he’s President, we’re not, and we assume he has technical and legal data and experts on hand to advise him on every single thing, including taking a shit probably. Obviously blaming an ecological disaster on a President is silly, but so is crediting the President with economic or military success/failure. Soon Obama will have to at least PRETEND to care, PRETEND to do something, otherwise he’ll be POLITICALLY DAMAGED. Which is what a lot of Balloon Juice commentariat seem to only care about these days.

    Fight the right wing meme!

  342. 342
    kay says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Good. I think he should go. Look, I do this, what he’s doing. If I can’t “fix” something I’d just as soon stay away, because I’m frustrated, or have delusions of grandeur, or don’t want to appear weak, or whatever.
    But people expect you to show up. In a sense, they want to shift some of this fear and uncertainty to him, and he should shoulder that.

  343. 343
    Berlin says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    “But why isn’t Obama saying anything? Why this long silence? Why doesn’t he ever mention it?
    I think we’ve found the lefty equivalent of the birthers who want Obama to go door-to-door with his birth certificate in hand. Unless the president personally comes to their house to discuss the oil spill with them, he’s not doing anything.”

    Really? Then you can count Bob Herbert in with your “lefty birthers”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....rbert.html
    President Obama should have taken charge of the response to the oil spill — which he called a “potentially unprecedented” environmental calamity — from jump street. He should have called in the very best minds and operatives from the corporate and scientific worlds and imposed an emergency plan of action — to be carried out by BP and all others who might be required. Instead, after all this time, after more than a month of BP’s demonstrated incompetence, the administration continues to dither.

    Incredibly, until The Times blew the whistle in an article on Monday, environmental waivers were still being offered for oil drilling in the gulf. What will it take for sanity to prevail? How many people have to die or face ruin, and how much of nature has to be despoiled before we rein in the cowboys of these runaway corporations?

    Steadily increasing numbers of anxiety-ridden coastal residents are watching not just their livelihoods but an entire way of life slip away. Even as BP’s lawyers are consumed with the task of limiting the company’s liability, the administration continues to insist it has little choice but to follow the company’s lead in fighting the spill. That is dangerous nonsense.

    President Obama has an obligation to make it unmistakably clear that BP’s interests are not the same as America’s interests.

  344. 344

    @The Moar You Know:

    actually, the onus is on Obama too:

    the administration might not have much of a choice legally if BP’s latest attempt to shut the well fails.

    The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which was passed in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989, amends a portion of the Clean Water Act to not only allow but require the federal government to take over if discharge from a “vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility” is determined to be “of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States.”

    “The President shall direct all Federal, State, and private actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of the discharge,” the law states (emphasis mine). One would certainly think that the gulf gusher qualifies as a “threat” at this point.

    more at the link.

  345. 345
    Cain says:

    @gregw:

    All this talk of BP paying for the clean up is nonsensical. There can be no clean up. There is no way to clean it out of the marshlands. NO way. Sure, some efforts and a lot of money will be expended but look at Prince William Sound. It still is a mess more than 20 years later and it is not as complex a system as the marshlands of the Gulf of Mexico.

    I guess Trent Lott will have to build his goddam house somewhere else or invite the ex buffoon-in-chief to come over and watch the oil slick.

    cain

  346. 346
    kay says:

    @brendancalling:

    I think if you read further they’ve already done that.

    It’s a “spill of national signifigance” so akin to when they declare a disaster on land, and it’s already got that designation.

    That’s my understanding of the language.

  347. 347

    As for what they can do, they can show they’re serious by:

    1) Arresting Tony Hayward, holding him without bail as a flight risk (he is, after all, a British citizen with a deep interest in avoiding prosecution)
    2) freezing BP’s US assets
    3) calling together the rest of the Oil Industry (shell, mobil, citgo), explaining it is a national emergency, and putting them ALL to work cleaning up the mess, on BP’s dime (hence the frozen assets).

    That would be start. Hayward should be in jail.

  348. 348
    Badtux says:

    Your problem is that you don’t know how the oil industry works.

    BP is nothing. Nobody. They have no real employees who do oil well work. They don’t have anybody on their entire staff who has the foggiest idea how to run a drilling rig. All BP does is shovel money around. They don’t get their hands dirty doing things like placing manifolds on top of casings or anything like that. They have contractors for that.

    Contractors. Like Halliburton. Like Schlumberger. Like dozens of other major oilfield services companies, any one of which will *not* have a conflict of interest.

    The United States contracts out disaster response all the time. If a hurricane hits the coast and food and water and ice are needed, the U.S. government has not a single food truck or water truck or ice truck in its inventory. The United States government contracts for food and water and ice.

    The same applies here. There is no reason why BP should be in charge of contracting out the response to this oil disaster (contracting it out because, as I point out, BP has no expertise or equipment in their inventory to do it themselves). BP inherently has motivation to low-ball the amount of contracted services and equipment needed to shut off the oil, because every piece of equipment and every contractor hired is taken directly off their bottom line. The U.S. government could hire a prime contractor — like, say, Halliburton Energy Services — on an emergency all-expenses-paid contract to shut down the gusher, and my bet is that it’ll be shut down within a week, especially if the contractor got a double-bonus for each day under two weeks that it took to shut down the gusher.

    Disclaimer: My brother works in the oilfield services industry and I once did too. But neither of us work for Halliburton — he works for a competitor (but one without the scale to handle something of this nature), as did I. Both of us had a ton of respect for Halliburton Energy Services as a competitor — some seriously competent and professional folks who don’t do the corner-cutting, which means they get underbid sometimes but they don’t care, they’re Halliburton, they don’t have to :).

    – Badtux the Oil Penguin

  349. 349
    les says:

    @cleek:

    So, if Obama just has a crotch shot on an aircraft carrier and threatens BP’s management, then:

    the next oil company project manager who decides to cheap-out on the blowout valves and leak prevention systems. the CEO who approves drilling into places where there’s no hope of stopping a leak. the PR lackey who tries to cover-up a leak. the shareholders who are deciding to invest in oil companies which look like they might be trying to drill without being able to handle the consequences.

    they’ll care.

    make the penalties painful enough and they’ll care.

    Uh, wrong. They got cheap disaster planning because Bushco (i) didn’t believe in gov’t, (ii) did believe in big oil profits, and (iii) did staff MMS just like they staffed FEMA and everything else. This is what you get when you have rule by personality/ideology, instead of actual governing. And your solution apparently is for Obama to pull a Bush. Swell.

    The level of pantswetting and stupid ideas going on in this thread rivals a paleocon vision of the middle East.

    The clean up of the Gulf, if it is even possible, may absorb the entire next generation. As Hunter Thompson named the Supreme Court that Nixon packed, this spill (and the anti-gov’t Repub incompetent cronyism that let it happen) is the first part of Bush’s pus-filled legacy.

    And now this gang wants Obama to pull the same kind of empty headed, reactionary, useless shit. Jebus. Look some shit the fuck up.

    There’s no magic capper left unused. Here
    Gov’t doesn’t have the expertise or assets to deal with it—why the fuck would they?
    There are no new drilling permits going on, but modifications of existing permits are.
    Check the damn press conference–Here.
    Bobby Jindal is an idiot–are you surprised? The Coast Guard, the Corp and environmental academic types are (i) doubtful his berms will work, (ii) worried that building them will do as much or more damage, and (iii) don’t know what the effect on the wetlands will be of channeling the tidal flow. Perfect for the DO SOMETHING NOW crowd, though.

  350. 350
    Elie says:

    @JD:

    But that does not “plug the hole” so to speak. No more permits is an understandable lesson from this — not the fix.

    Please — the question is how to fix it, not what to do as a consequence of policy going forward…

  351. 351
    les says:

    @sparky:

    but since that is apparently not possible for the moment it would be a good time to try to prevent similar events in the future, no?

    Maybe they could reorganize MMS, and try to get some sanity and responsibility into the process. Oh, they already are doing that? Gee.

    Ignorant slut.

  352. 352
    Elie says:

    @Badtux:

    This is some really weird thinking to me:

    The U.S. government could hire a prime contractor—like, say, Halliburton Energy Services—on an emergency all-expenses-paid contract to shut down the gusher, and my bet is that it’ll be shut down within a week, especially if the contractor got a double-bonus for each day under two weeks that it took to shut down the gusher.

    So in essence, you are saying, BP with revenues upwards of 300 billion last year cannot afford what you are asking us tax payers (you know, WE fund the government that you are instructing to do this and that) to do? BULLSHIT

    If BP should be fucking coerced if necessary but they are going to pay for all of this sucker. How dare you even suggest that the tax payers foot the bill for these cheap, murdering (murdered their own people on that rig and in Texas City among others) assholes! Frankly, I think that they should take the entire company and put them out in the oil water without lifesavers and have them swim to shore!

  353. 353
    kay says:

    @brendancalling:

    BP is already paying property damage claims. They’ve paid 27 million in claims.
    I don’t really understand what freezing assets is going to accomplish. They’re a huge company. You’re going to freeze the assets of a company that potentially owes us billions of dollars? So they can’t borrow, or make payments on debt, or make money? Why would I want that?
    I don’t think “destroying the debtor” is a smart money move, in terms of taxpayers, at this juncture.

  354. 354
    Elie says:

    @brendancalling:

    I understand your anger, but NOTHING of what you suggest fixes the problem. Not.One.Thing.

    Have your scream attack. I do completely understand. But know that you and much of us are truly powerless to do anything but help BP and the huge part of the technical support from around the world and the US government by not preventing them from paying attention to what they need to do. Jailing their CEO aint gonna cut it, though, as I said, I am totally sympathetic with your impulse — having expressed similar desires myself in my own comment..

    But I calm down and realize that the punishment and lessons have to come later. First order of business is to plug the gd hole as soon as possible. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS RIGHT NOW

  355. 355
    Elie says:

    @Berlin:

    Berlin:

    Maybe you should do a little more research and reading before you spout off–

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....cation=rss

    The government and the administration are doing a shit load. Unfortunately, the fix is not easy and people like you want magic

  356. 356
    NobodySpecial says:

    Thinking people realize that there’s nothing Obama can do – we know less about operating at 5000 feet below sea level than we know about operating in space. There’s no quick fix solution, and there’s a reason this is called a ‘disaster’.

    But please don’t insult our intelligence by insisting that taking punitive actions against BP is bad because it doesn’t fix the leak.

    News flash: The CEO is not down there running a robot sub. Upper management is not the ones drilling the relief well or shooting ping pong balls into their unusable safety equipment. All they’re doing is planning how best to divide the assets before they actually have to pay a bill for destroying Gulf communities and businesses and how to avoid shelling out one thin dime for anything they don’t feel they have to.

    The engineers and scientists doing the actual work can be protected by the machinery of government and aided in the quest to get this thing fixed. At the same time, the government needs to make moves to prevent BP’s management from taking the money and hiding. They have failed massively, and should not be allowed to socialize the risks.

  357. 357
    Badtux says:

    @Elie: No, what I’m saying is that BP *HAS NO MOTIVATION* to shut the thing down with all their resources — their motivation is to use as few resources as possible. And I can’t think of any way to give them motivation to shut it down with all possible resources, because any possible penalties that we apply will be basically trivial compared to their losses here. Given that, it makes sense to take them off the job and put someone on the job who *DOES* have motivation to shut it down with all possible resources — and that someone will *not* be BP.

    Put Halliburton Energy Services or Schlumberger in charge, with huge bonuses if they get it capped quickly, and the chances of it getting capped quickly go *way* up because their incentive structure then becomes to cap ASAP. Then bill BP for whatever was billed by Halliburton. BP has to pay, but BP being both the person who pays, and the prime contractor for the shutdown effort, is an inherent conflict of interest and should have never been allowed to continue after it became clear BP was trying to cheap out on the response.

    – Badtux the Oil Penguin

  358. 358
    The Raven says:

    For one thing, Obama could order the Coast Guard to stop covering for BP. For another, Obama’s Justice Department could work to protect reporters covering the story. Beyond that, I think the person who knows best is Secretary of Energy Chu, who I have a lot of respect for. I think he might have some ideas which haven’t yet been put into practice because Obama is protecting BP’s interests.

  359. 359

    I can understand why some of my thoughts weredidn’t respond the matter at hand (kind of focusing on
    ‘after’, not ‘during’). But I don’t understand why the combined resources of the oil industry (skimmers, boom, etc) haven’t been called in. If, as is argued, BP is the only actor with knowledge of drilling and oil fields, it stands to reason that Exxon, Sunoco, Shell, etc do to.

    get more of them in there cleaning up, and make sure that BP pays for it.

    When it’s stablized, that’s when Hayward can go to jail.

  360. 360
    les says:

    @Badtux:

    Jebus, at least read Elie’s link before spouting off. While your read of BP’s motivation has some appeal, I’m not totally convinced that’s what’s going on. They have to know now, if they didn’t up front, that BP ain’t walking on the clean up/derivative costs totally, and there’s some counter motivation. If you’re right that BP is nothing but suits with checkbooks, then what you want is already happening–subcontractors are doing the work. Reports don’t show stinting, the CG press conference referenced numerous times in this thread indicates both gov’t and 3rd party input to the process being accepted, $800MM spent so far ain’t chump change. Taking them out of the picture will complicate getting them to pay, in my estimation.

    As far as the calls to pillory BP management, if crimes happened or regulatory violations happened, I don’t doubt they’ll be pursued. But there’s nothing obvious (outside of gross malfeasance by MMS) yet, and shit like that doesn’t happen overnight–and won’t be helped by manufactured perp walks for pants wetter entertainment.

  361. 361
    les says:

    @brendancalling:

    But I don’t understand why the combined resources of the oil industry (skimmers, boom, etc) haven’t been called in.

    Press conference. Read transcript. The only accurate thing you said is “I don’t understand.”

  362. 362
    les says:

    @The Raven:

    I’m astonished at the level of ignorance on parade here; I expect better from BJ. How the hell is the CG “protecting” BP? And in fact, Obama has gone outside the planned response set up, IN ORDER TO GET SEC. CHU INTO THE RESPONSE TEAM. I swear half of the thread has been demanding that Obama pull the magic pipe capper out of his ass RIGHT NOW, and the other half has been insisting that he do shit he is already doing.

  363. 363
    tavella says:

    How the hell is the CG “protecting” BP?

    Informing a CBS news team that they’ll arrest them on BP’s orders if the team tries to film oiled beaches is certainly protecting BP.

  364. 364
    The Raven says:

    Coast Guard officers are reported to be participating in BP’s efforts to keep news agencies from photographing the oil as it comes ashore. See here (CBS News.)

    Secretary Chu is involved, and I’m glad of that, but I suspect at this point he’s wishing that drilling license had never been granted. I wonder what he thinks about the Administration’s initiative to grant more drilling licenses, which is still on the table.

  365. 365
    Berlin says:

    Elie — Before I spout off? Why so horsey?
    Did you actually read the post? Those weren’t my words.
    That was an excerpt from Bob Herbert’s editorial in yesterday’s NYT — you know Bob Herbert…brilliant opinion writer, very liberal, black, Obama supporter….

    Can you cite for me one passage where Herbert is asking for “magic” — whatever you define that to be? And since this is the first time I’ve posted on BJ, and I didn’t offer my opinion, but an excerpt from someone else’s, how do you presume to know whether I want magic or not? There’s nothing to base that on, I have no record of posting or debating at BJ so it’s just a careless, coarse assumption on your part and it adds nothing to the discussion.

    In another post you wrote:
    First order of business is to plug the gd hole as soon as possible. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS RIGHT NOW.

    While stopping the leak is the first order of business, I would suggest that many other things matter as well — not the least of which is bringing in other oil company experts from other countries (eg Norway) to work on the problem, not just BP — who has only one interest in this, their bottom line as it is impacted by their legal liability. Quite a few people have said it’s not in their interest to let this spew, but BP doesn’t care if it spews till they get the relief well working– they’re spraying dispersant to make it “go away” and now that that is failing, so what? They know, per their own measly fines and no consequences for their crimes, and per the Exxon Valdez litigation, that they’ll never have to be accountable for this catastrophe or its true costs. Their lawyering will outlive and outspend every victim and the US government will lay down and die for them, like they do for all of Big Oil and King Coal.

    Of course Obama can’t stop the leak — no one is suggesting he can, but why the reductionist argument that that is all that matters? This catastrophe did not happen in a vaccuum, it has a past and what happens today — legally, politically, scientifically and culturally — will create the future and either increase or decrease the chance for more of this.

    So in aid of that, Obama could use his authority and office to clearly, legally and publicly articulate the difference between BP’s legal and financial interests and America’s environmental interests. Right now, the two are married, one and the same. How does it look when Commander Allen keeps repeating on the teevee that he has Tony Hayward’s cell number and that Tony is always friendly and always answers his questions? That would be Tony who went to friendly UK media a few days ago, while the dispersant was still working to keep the spill invisible (Brit Hume was buying it!), and said the ultimate impact would be “very very modest.” That serves Tony’s bottom line and liability to tell those lies — not ours. So again, Tony and BP’s interests are antithetical to ours, yet BP and the US gov are totally in bed together.

    Why doesn’t someone in the Obama administration come out and speak firmly in defense of US law — that the CBS film/news crew had every right to film on US land. What does it say when the Coast Guard stopped the crew, threatened them with arrest and then said ‘Those are BP’s rules, not ours.’ Oh really? Who is our Coast Guard serving, the US or BP? So BP is now making the law and the Coast Guard is their enforcer? The optics and the reality on that are hideous — why hasn’t Obama or one of his spox repudiated that and reiterated that of course all media have access to film the spill’s consequences on US land? That’s something his administration could do.

    Cmmdr. Allen keeps meekly deferring to the awesomeness that is BP, saying BP is the only one with the equipment to do this, but everyone can see with their own eyes that while they may have equipment, they don’t have a solution — and since they did such a reckless, miserable job of containment, opting instead to “disperse” why would we think they’re the ONLY oil people on earth with a good solution to the leak and the expertise to pull it off? Could we open that discussion out and make it public? Could we have more transparency in this process, please? But no — did you hear today that once they do the top kill, they are removing the cameras? Why? So when this goes to trial there’s no visual documentation of ‘their solution’ to be picked apart by defense? or is it b/c their “solution” will now be proprietary? Why would we let them remove the camera? Please.

    On Rachel’s show last night, someone said that in Canada, the law and regulation insists that relief wells are drilled at the same time as the original well, so they have a ready made solution and not a 3 or 5 month delay with spewing oil. Why doesn’t Obama or one of his spox come out and say what a fantastic idea, we’ll do the same!! That’s something he could do…Why doesn’t Obama come out and say, effective this minute, a moratorium on ANY drilling, new or old — especially on the Atlantis rig, with its missing blueprints — until every single one of you drills a relief well as a precaution. That’s something Obama could do…..

    If this were Bush, you’d be riding his ass like white on rice.

  366. 366
    debbie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It was a bad example because I wasn’t specific in my words. I was referring to GS’s indictment for misrepresenting that John Paulsen fund to clients. They sold it without mentioning that it was constructed to fail and that they were betting on it to fail.

  367. 367
    les says:

    @The Raven:

    I wonder what he thinks about the Administration’s initiative to grant more drilling licenses, which is still on the table.

    I guess you haven’t noticed the moratorium on new licenses, and the pledge to not issue more until there’s better assurance of safety. I guess you missed the administration’s ongoing effort to fix MMS, which in a democracy can’t happen overnight.

    Shockingly, CBS may have been in error.

    Maybe you’re just trolling, but responding to the debunking of your bitching seems to lead to further irrelevancies, rather than curing the ignorance.

  368. 368
    wrb says:

    @The Raven:

    Coast Guard officers are reported to be participating in BP’s efforts to keep news agencies from photographing the oil as it c

    A single event where some jr. coasties do the bidding of those they were assigned to help tells us what about policy?

    I wonder what he thinks about the Administration’s initiative to grant more drilling licenses, which is still on the table.

    Since he is fully aware of the overwhelming imperative to act against global warming, and is smart enough to realize that the new drilling was a give essential to to getting the climate bill passed, he’s probably fine with it.

  369. 369
    les says:

    @Berlin:

    If you had bothered to read the fucking press conference, or followed Elie’s link to the Seattle(?) Nation and World, or checked out The Oil Drum, or followed up on the media harassment story (every one a link presented in the comments, so you don’t have to wear out your precious research skills), you would find that every whine you listed (and more) are in fact being used, explored and addressed. STFU.

  370. 370
    wrb says:

    I think he might have some ideas which haven’t yet been put into practice because Obama is protecting BP’s interests.

    So he’s deep into this brainstorming/skunkworks thing but he’s holding his best ideas back until hippies rule the world, gulf be damned?

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....38824.html

  371. 371
    Berlin says:

    @les:
    Hey, if you want to be a tool, be a tool. go for it.
    Many of the items I listed have not been addressed at all — but if you think they have, enjoy your magical world. (And you didn’t address any of the points that Herbert made. why not?)

    They’ve been “addressed” the same way the Obama admin “addressed” BP’s refusal to comply with the EPA’s order to use a different dispersant. BP is still using Corexit, and they’re still using the amount they want. EPA caved.

    I voted for Obama, I’m a very left wing democrat — but as Bill Maher said, when he was growing up, the republicans were the party of business and the democrats the party of working people. Now, the democrats are the party of big business and the republicans are in a mental institution. I’m not saying Obama shouldn’t compromise sometimes, but EVERY time? On HCR, Wall street reform — he leaves all the corporate structures in place, untouched.

  372. 372
    Mnemosyne says:

    You know those criminal investigations people have been demanding? They started three weeks ago:

    In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said he could not confirm or deny a criminal investigation was under way, but he said a team of investigators has been in the Gulf for three weeks. Justice lawyers have been meeting state officials and federal prosecutors to assure a coordinated effort, Weich said.

    But I guess if the investigations started before you demanded them, they don’t count, right?

  373. 373
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Having said that, I just don’t know what the administration is supposed to do. What can be done? That, I think, is the real lesson from this- that we can’t really do anything about this sort of disaster, and i think the administration has done a really shitty job of getting that message out.”

    The mistake was not having the required assets to rapidly address a failure like this either govt-owned or privately owned but on call to the govt. To plan for a disaster scenario like this, in the same way we do for other disasters. At the very least, any expansion of offshore drilling should have had a levy to pay for buttloads of ROVs, containment vessels, etc.

    Now, that’d be at least a five-year planning exercise.

    I’m not sure whether the relevant agency would be FEMA or MMS or USEPA, but all three of those agencies got f**ked over with the previous administration. Even if such a planning effort began on Jan 20, 2009, we’d only now be seeing the continguency plans coming into Final Draft phase.

    So I partially blame the president, but not much the current one.

  374. 374
    RalfW says:

    It sounds somewhat silly in some ways, but one option for the time being would be for BP to deploy a bunch of oil tankers that would, in effect, vacuum up vast areas of oil/water mix, then offload that mess to be separated and either refined or burned after the water is removed.

    It was done by the Saudis in the 90’s. A former Shell exec is out promoting the idea, and it seems worth trying. He talks about super-tankers, but there are very few places supertankers can dock in the Gulf. Still, 80,000 ton Panamax tankers could do it.

    I used to work for a company that ran 2-3 of these out of the port of Houston all the time, offloading supertankers offshore. It would take a fair number of Panamaxes, but they’re out there, charter-able, and the lightering firms that operate in the Gulf could probably work up a plan pretty fast – they’ve got the hoses, work boats, tanker contacts, and experienced pilots.

    The Shell guy says BP doesn’t want to do it due to cost. Wahhh. Do it no matter the cost.

    I suspect that BP has an additional incentive to not do it because it’s another way that outside people can actually measure how much damn oil is flooding the gulf.

  375. 375
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    The mistake was not having the required assets to rapidly address a failure like this either govt-owned or privately owned but on call to the govt. To plan for a disaster scenario like this, in the same way we do for other disasters.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that some people have tried to model this type of scenario and discovered that there are no good solutions to a blowout under a mile of ocean. So they drilled in deep water anyway.

  376. 376
    Badtux says:

    @les: My point is that there is an inherent conflict of interest between having the person who has to pay for the cleanup also be the prime contractor on the cleanup. The conflict of interest is that this gives them a motivation to do the job with as few resources as necessary to get the job done, and also gives them motivation to understate as much as possible the amount of oil coming out of the gusher and the impact upon the environment. Some other party as prime contractor would have none of these monetary motivations.

    And yes, I view top managers as motivated by nothing but checkbooks. They do not become top managers by being altruists. Stockholders demand that managers produce top financial performance, or else. Managers who do not emphasize the checkbook over all other priorities do not last long in a multinational public corporation, with very rare exceptions. Everything they do is motivated by the checkbook.

    I would state that the history of attempts to stop the gusher shows that these inherent conflicts of interest have played a significant role in BP bringing in equipment that did not work (the top hats) or that were laughably inadequate (the sippy straw), as well as in their long delays in deciding to go for a top kill. A different prime contractor with no motivation to keep expenses down could have had multiple things going on at the same time — e.g., working on a top hat, while attempting to repair the blowout manifold, while devising a sippy straw that actually sealed into the pipe and captured the majority of the oil, while coming up with a plan to do a top-kill that might actually have a chance of success. And they wouldn’t be trying to hide the extent of the spill either.

    Again, I’m not saying that BP’s executives should be hogtied to the Washington Monument and pilloried with rotten tomatoes. What I’m saying is that having them as prime contractors on the response is an inherent conflict of interest and the moment the top hats failed, they should have been removed under a state of emergency and a different prime contractor put in charge. Having BP in charge is like having the fox in charge of the henhouse. Even if they haven’t eaten any chickens *yet*, the fact that there’s so much motivation for them to eat chickens is a good enough reason to not have it persist.

  377. 377
    Pat says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Nothing. The law is explicit as hell about this. The onus is on BP to fix it and the government is expressly forbidden to interfere.

    I call bullshit on this. I spent some time this afternoon going through 33USC40 and the National Contingency Plan (40CFR300), and there’s nothing remotely resembling this, let alone “explicit as hell.” Citations?

  378. 378
    tc125231 says:

    This is a very coherent post. Nice job.

  379. 379
    slag says:

    @RalfW:

    The Shell guy says BP doesn’t want to do it due to cost.

    If this is remotely true, I’m going to beat someone with one of asiangrrl’s rusty farm implements. No one should be sparing any cost in this situation. No excuses.

  380. 380
    Joe Buck says:

    Perhaps the administration can focus BP on the urgency of the task by suspending their leases, so they have no distractions. They can start operating again once the leak is capped and their other operations have been thoroughly inspected.

  381. 381
    JakeG says:

    Actually, responding to natural disasters is one thing that is in the fedral gov.’t job description. I propose they would be much better in this area, if they didn’t place all their time on passing government entitlement programs. This aside, NOAA did have the response in place to deal with this type of accident. It was tested in the early 90’s (http://thebustednut.net/2010/0.....an-borrow/), and is known as a fire boom. It was tested successfully, but when time to implement, the fed’s didn’t even have a boom to use. Sad. While I certainly won’t lay the blame of the oil spill at Obama’s feet, you can certainly gauge his leadership ability by his response. I still don’t remember ever seeing Obama tour the flood damage in Nashville. 36 days later, and all we’ve seen from the Administration since day 1 of the oil spill is alot of rhetoric towards BP. There is certainly time for rhetoric, but by not focusing on addressing the crisis at hand day 1, they’ve dropped the ball on this one.

  382. 382
    Liberty60 says:

    Wow, coming in late after this thread has already exploded, but will give it a shot anyway.

    Whenever I hear people expounding on X Files type gummint conspiracies, I remind them that the Really Big Secret that the gummint wants to hide, the One Big Thing it is terrified to let everyone know….

    Is that they have no fucking clue what those lights are in the sky, or how to fix this thing.

    BP doesn’t either. Can anyone name five or ten blowouts at 5,000 feet that have been fixed? Is there a crew that can say with confidence, “Oh yeah, we handled things like this a bunch of times.”

    Not so far as I can see; BP, the Coast guard, and everyone in between is just grasping at straws here.

    Which makes John’s point about halting any more wells until we can come up with a plan, a pretty solid idea.

  383. 383
    Recall says:

    @sparky:

    On the other hand, it was something that was being considered even before the blowout.

  384. 384

    […] BP Spill May 25, 2010 tgirsch Leave a comment Go to comments Balloon Juice, via ObWi, noting that while the administration is doing a god awful job of communicating during […]

  385. 385
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Joe Buck: This.

    Of course, this makes you a “deeply unserious” poutrager.

  386. 386
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @les:

    I expect better from BJ

    Heh. You must be new here.

  387. 387
    LikeableInHisOwnWay says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Heh. You must be new here.

  388. 388
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Heh. You must be new here.

  389. 389
    sherifffruitfly says:

    You need to shut this blog down, John. You’re not gonna make a better post than this – get out on top.

  390. 390
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Liberty60:

    Whenever I hear people expounding on X Files type gummint conspiracies, I remind them that the Really Big Secret that the gummint wants to hide, the One Big Thing it is terrified to let everyone know….
    __
    Is that they have no fucking clue what those lights are in the sky, or how to fix this thing.

    Unfortunately, I think you’re right — no one involved has any idea how to stop this thing short of waiting until the relief wells are done, what, six or eight months from now if they work around the clock?

    I think that’s really what’s underlying a lot of the poutrage. We’ve all spent a lot of our time handwringing about how terrible things are, but what if we really did manage to screw the pooch this time and no one can do anything to fix it?

  391. 391
    Dan says:

    This looks like a job for……THE BULLY PULPIT!!!!!!!!!

    That, and a whole shit-ton of SHAM-WOW!!!!!

  392. 392
    Liz says:

    Rayne over at Firedoglake has specific answers to your question. And this is only the beginning of what the administration could do. Cole seems to lack an appreciation of what power the president SHOULD wield on behalf of our country.

    Rayne’s full post here.

    1) Obama needs to use that goddamned unitary executive power he’s been clinging to and declare a state of emergency in federal waters along the Gulf of Mexico, using an Executive Order. This is now an international situation, not just an American one, because the oil will eventually end up in the North Atlantic.

    2) Declare British Petroleum in violation of its lease and kick them off the site. Threaten to seize all American assets of BP-America immediately if they do not assist in setting up a claims system which will be administered and overseen by the U.S. and paid by BP. (Hire all those poor Sallie Mae folks who were going to lose their jobs because of student loan reform for this purpose. /snark)
    3) Ask the Department of Energy’s Steve Chu to create a skunkworks rapid solutions team from NASA and DARPA along with schools which specialize in oceanography, mechanical technology, geology, and computer modeling. Stop waiting for the nice old farts they pulled from JASON because this is an emergency, goddamnitall, we don’t have time for them to come up with a vetted, peer-reviewed whitepaper on this. Don’t listen to anybody’s crap about so-called experts on deepwater drilling and how they’ll solve the problem. As my 16-year-old said, “If there’s experts, where are they? Show me one.” Yeah. What she said.

    4) Threaten to kick Ken Salazar to the curb if he doesn’t not immediately have every one of the 15+ deepwater offshore drilling sites reevaluated; every evaluation must be on POTUS desk inside 15 days from the date the Executive Order. And we want the evaluations made public — no more of this bullshit opacity the White House calls transparency. No excuses; all this stuff should have been submitted when BP and the other oil industry firms applied for the leases to begin with.

    5) Approach corporations to develop an X-Prize type program to develop a private solution in tandem with the skunkworks solution. Ask Congress to create a special R&D tax credit for firms which donate money to the X-Prize for development.

    6) Approach Florida State University (which now owns the former Scripps’ Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and its submersibles) along with Mississippi State (which has an oceanography program) and ask them to work with NIUST to develop models of the plume’s distribution, along with identifying the impact short and long-term on the ocean bottom and the ecosystem above it.

    7) Suck up the arrogance and pride and ask the elder statesman of the environment to be the face of this effort. Ask Al Gore to do the legwork with the corporations and educational facilities whose cooperation is needed. Tell him this is to be used as an example of what people can do for the larger environment if they focus on this problem first. If they can solve this, they can solve the big problems.

    8) Tell the Catfood Commission (read: Presidential Deficit Commission) to find a way to shoehorn in funding for an alternative energy Apollo Program or Marshall Plan. If you have to find a front man, go to Al Gore because this was his idea back in 1992. Jeebus, catch a clue and use the resources you have already; Gore wrote it all out for you in 1992.

    9) Call that lazy-assed sad-sack Joe Lieberman and tell him whatever super-secret-y deal you guys have going in the way of a quid pro quo is off if Lieberman cannot find some reason to investigate the relationships between Department of Interior and any corporation with which it deals. Make the call private, and tell him if he doesn’t have hearings within 15 days you are going to publicly call him on the carpet for the benefit of CT voters every chance you get until 2012.

    10) You know damned well if they cut corners in the Gulf of Mexico, they did it elsewhere. Threaten to go for the jugular on them if they don’t continue to play ball with clean-up in the Gulf.Take a bunch of bloggers up to BP’s operations in Alaska and let them roam around for a couple weeks. Make BP pay for it — figure it out, you have the EO in one hand and the power to print money in the other. Keep the pressure on BP until they beg for mercy.

    11) And right now I’m tempted to tell one Barack Obama to get really, genuinely excitedly-upset, be more than that Spock character for once, add the passion of Captain Kirk and the anger of Dr. McCoy in the mix. That fakery last week only made us heave with nausea. And Rahm? Just bite me; whatever counsel you’ve offered Mr. Spock-the-President has been both incompetent and impotent.

  393. 393
    Paul in KY says:

    My last comment in this thread: Rightly or wrongly, the response to this disaster will be laid at Pres. Obama’s feet (if only by the Repubs & their news lackeys). Does he want his legacy to be controlled by BP? Does he want to stake his presidency on BP being willing/able to stop/clean up this mess?

    If I were him, I would not want to leave it to them. I would want to take charge & ensure that it was being directed/funded the way I want it to & not necessarily the way BP would want it to be managed.

    Excellent thread. Please pray for the Gulf.

  394. 394
    rickstersherpa says:

    Finally, the media should not have a hard time finding out about the Oil Pollution Act of 1991, as amended. I mean, a simple Google search gets you here:

    http://www.epa.gov/oem/content.....paover.htm

    But people on the media are not paid to tell you information anymore. They are paid to shout loud or tell funky “narratives” and give you the “inside gossip,” all the type of entertainment that they hope attracts eyeeballs.

    (Frankly, I would not mind seeing an edition of “naked news,” with the presenters giving very straight who, what, when, where, information while sitting au naturel. Then the eyeball attraction factor would be there, and the rest of us would get some real information without being our own reporters on the internet.)

  395. 395
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “I have a sneaking suspicion that some people have tried to model this type of scenario and discovered that there are no good solutions to a blowout under a mile of ocean. So they drilled in deep water anyway.”

    That’s hard to believe that there wasn’t an engineering solution (beyond having better shutoff valves). I don’t know – maybe a polymer gel or resin that sets faster than concrete to restrict the flow from the leaks. Some robot with a chiller that can clamp onto a leaking pipe and chill it to increase viscosity (especially given a fair bit of the produced liquid is water). Anything to partially reduce the flow is win.

    Or that having 5x the ROVs, including heavy-duty ones to shift serious quantities of kit, wouldn’t make a difference to the speed at which we could evaluate and implement options.

  396. 396

    […] United States, energy, off-shore drilling, politics by allisonkilkenny on May 26, 2010 John Cole expresses the view of, I think, many liberals on his blog today when he asked: what exactly is the […]

  397. 397

    It would be wrong to blame Pres. Obama and his administration. However, their mindset reflects to quite an extent the ‘ruling’ mindset of the past several decades. In the US this has played out as this: the US federal government and its ability to do things–such as repsond to unprecedented emergencies–has become atrophied in most areas except DISPROPORTIONATE MILITARY ACTIONS and law enforcement.
    The country can spend a trillion dollars a year on the military and intelligence, but it has to defer to BP and Halliburton while a fossil-fuel Chernobyl scenario unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico?

  398. 398

    […] Everybody from BP to Rand Paul to the GOP At Large Unmitigated Scorn It occurs to me that Balloon Juice’s take on whether or not the anger at the Obama administration’s handling of the BP oil spill crisis is […]

  399. 399
    Scott says:

    @Darius:

    In 2007, South Korea suffered a major oil spill off of it’s shores. It was much smaller in comparison with this one, but it is worth investigating the response of the South Korean government in the first 30 days of their disaster as compared to our governments response.

    While there were certainly differences in the spill in that the Korean spill was from a ship, and not an on-going situation, the government activated hundreds of thousands of military/government personell, and nearly 1,000,000 civilians were rallied to participate in working to clear oil off of the shore lines, and environmentally fragile areas (all within the first 33 days!).

    It is nonsense of incredible proportions to say that our government is doing even a mediocre job in responding to this spill.

  400. 400
    SY says:

    Perhaps a couple of things that can be done by government is to ensure/verify that no options are left out by bringing together the company (BP) or perphaps (Oil) companies and experts together. Communicating more about the efforts.

    On a different note it appears that the criticism directed at the government is political in nature, especially when it is compared with Katrina, while the comparison essentially pales when looked at the situation with a modicum of commonsense.

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  1. […] Everybody from BP to Rand Paul to the GOP At Large Unmitigated Scorn It occurs to me that Balloon Juice’s take on whether or not the anger at the Obama administration’s handling of the BP oil spill crisis is […]

  2. […] United States, energy, off-shore drilling, politics by allisonkilkenny on May 26, 2010 John Cole expresses the view of, I think, many liberals on his blog today when he asked: what exactly is the […]

  3. […] BP Spill May 25, 2010 tgirsch Leave a comment Go to comments Balloon Juice, via ObWi, noting that while the administration is doing a god awful job of communicating during […]

  4. […] John Cole expresses the view of, I think, many liberals on his blog today when he asked: what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to about the oil spill? […]

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