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Failure and the Gulf Spill

Is BP blowing the Gulf oil spill challenge? And, is there a cover up? We ask the questions.

A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, just inside the the coast of Lousiana, Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP)

The gusher of uncontrolled oil goes on and on at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. So does the battle over what we know, and how we understand what’s happened. 

At the very beginning, seven weeks ago, oil giant BP called the spill minor – and kept the sea floor video to itself. 

Now BP’s chief is calling the environmental impact “very, very modest,” while Louisianans watch their shoreline go under. 

Some in Washington cry “cover-up, but Washington is in for criticism now, too. 

This Hour, On Point: the Gulf oil spill challenge, Day 34.


Andrew Revkin, writer of the “Dot Earth” blog for the New York Times, where he’s reported on the environment for almost fifteen years. He’s also a senior fellow at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

Sylvia Earle, renowned oceanographer, author and lecturer. She’s current Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the founder of Mission Blue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean exploration, research, and conservation. She’s the former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Steve Werely, fluid dynamics expert and professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. His analysis of BP’s early video footage of the leak suggested a much higher flow rate than official estimates; BP has since conceded the leak is bigger than it previously stated. Read Werely’s New York Times op-ed, “The Measure of a Disaster.”

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  • C.P.T.L.

    “Is BP blowing the Gulf oil spill challenge? And, is there a cover up?”

    These questions are not unimportant, but are of lesser importance: they have been paved over by the magnitude and immediacy of the emergency.

    At this point, BP is the guy who tipped over a lantern in the barn which caused the city to go up in flames, and all the cities around it are going to burn. Is he, BP, fighting the fire? Is he, BP, lying about his culpability?

    That’s something to figure out later; right now an ungovernable death bomb is blowing up the Gulf of Mexico in slow motion.

  • Mr. Trees

    Hey Tom,

    Why don’t you get Secretary Chu back on the show. I’m sure that the feedback would be much more animated this time around.

  • Al B.Sure

    For sure, something must be done. The time to act is NOW; it is all hands on deck. The U.S. Government is not exploring all options available for fighting this very severe and potentially catastrophic problem. There are products available to absorb the oil that finds it way to the surface on the water. Discovery Channel aired a program demonstrating such a product. Breaking up the oil is a terrible idea; containment is the method that should be considered.
    BP should be held responsible for the entire clean up, even if it means having to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is a disaster of the first magnitude.
    We need the best minds in the World working on this. If the oil is not stopped, and soon- we will face severe consequences

  • Christopher M.

    This is a really messed up predicament we are in (pun intended). This oil mishap has serious implications for:
    1. The environment – that much crude in the Gulf? Just think about it.
    2. Public Policy – What role should offshore drilling play in our nascent environmental policy?
    3. Employment – will future off shore rigs hire at 4/19/10 levels? Will Gulf fisherman ever be able to apply their craft again…at a livable level?
    4. Law – Obama, Salazar and Napalitano are all lawyers. They MUST be thinking about possible statutory amendments to deal with future ‘mishaps.’
    5. Social and political conscience – How important are the above matters to us, and can we discuss them in a mature, productive way? Or will political calculations continue to trump reasoned discourse and long-term strategic planning? How many Gulf fisherman will we let commit suicide?
    6. Armed Forces – Is the Coast Guard able to do what we think it should be doing? Should it have to be the police of foreign companies? yadda yadda

    Really, the list goes on. Thanks Tom for trying to tackle some of them outside the scream chamber (though I would really like to hear some real conservative voices on this).

  • Adam S.

    This is no longer Obama’s Katrina, this is America’s Chernobyl. At least that Soviet disaster had a beginning and end to point to. If this is going to be a permanent, bleeding scar in the earth, it truly is apocalyptic stuff, as Jim Wallis said this weekend.

  • Al B. Sure

    While it hurts to say this, the truth is- nothing is going to get done in Washington. Clean energy is the way to go…we already have the technology.
    Face it, Washington is broken and no one seems to know how to fix it, or should I say, no one can agree on how to fix it. America, so much power and so little understanding of what to do with it.

  • Dierdra D.

    I can’t help but feel the administration is conflicted on this by all the money the government gets from oil companies, both through lobbying and leases. What is clear is that the government’s response has been inept and underwhelming. Where does the buck stop on this disaster?

  • Kash Hoffa

    I’ld like to do something about this oil problem in the gulf, but I’m in my SUV on the way to the mall so that I can buy a lot of plastic stuff to take with me on the jet to the beach.

  • pw

    From the Reagan administration on, Republicans have worked overtime to starve and demean federal government. Agencies lost staff, funds were cut, job were farmed out. And then began the campaign — during and after the slash job — to convince America that “government doesn’t work.” Of course it doesn’t. They poisoned it.

    More than corrupting, corporate money is responsible for the government’s underwhelming reaction to the spill. What’s left to respond with?

  • Andrea Wilder

    There has to be something here about Eminent Domain.
    The site should be taken away from BP and the best brains be put on finding a way to stop the flow.

    Something is awfully wrong, here. Has BP bought off the federal government in some way? Way isn’t our gov’t doing more? this is incredible. No, we are not getting the whole story.

    Andrea Wilder

  • Mr. Trees

    The time has come for the nuclear option…no seriously. Small nuclear warhead, blow it up and cauterize this wound in the earth. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? (Tongue planted firmly in cheek)

  • John

    Does BP buy its textbooks from the Texas Dept of Education?

  • Rae Lynn Kasdan

    In addition to the current crisis, the headline in today’s NY Times is very discouraging. We not only need to deal with the present crisis, we must be proactive about the future. Article link below:

    Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead

  • Rex Henry

    Your guest seems to have a little attitude like knows more than everyone being quoted.

    He should tell us how to fix the oil leak or lose the smug laugh.

  • peter nelson

    It’s bizarre that the Obama administration has allowed this to become their Katrina, given what a clear, recent, and local-to-the-Gulf object lesson Katrina offered!

    Simple Question – As an engineer I understand the value of “parallel processing” – doing several things simultaneously. Why didn’t the Obama Administration require BP to prepare their attempted fixes in parallel? Build the big dome while they were building the little dome while they were preparing the “straw” while they were preparing to shoot the mud, etc?

    That way they could have a line of ships waiting in queue at the site so the moment it became clear that one trick had failed they could instantly try the next one! Instead we have days of delay between each experiment, while they prepare the next one.

    Obviously BP would object because doing it in parallel is more expensive and if the first trick worked the rest of the cost would be wasted. But who cares? I’m not going to worry about BP’s money, compared to OUR environment!

  • Frank

    Trying to make this political is ridiculous. You’d have to be ignorant to have seen the actions of the past 2.5 years and not recognize that this government can do anything it wants to when it wants to. In this situation it’s decided to do very little and the lack of leadership is pathetic. Millions are suffering, but it’s small businesses and individuals not banks with political ties.

  • Angela

    Rumor has it BP initially lied to the President, knowing that concrete ‘cap’ wouldn’t work, but had no idea what to do and needed to buy time – any evidence to substantiate that?

  • Jim Nail

    Whether there is a cover up or not, it is clear we do not have the technology or knowledge to deal with situations like this. That alone is reason enough to halt offshore drilling in water this deep and deeper.

  • Ted

    How much methane is being released?

  • jeffe

    I think it’s obvious that BP is out to save as much money as they can here.

    I’m not impressed with how the Obama administration has dealt with this.

  • John

    Modest spill? To borrow from Churchill, BP has a lot to be modest about.

  • John

    BP is focused on the cover-up not the cover-up.

  • Carol Gundlach

    It’s pretty obvious by now that nobody, nobody (including the federal government or the oil companies) knows how to stop an oil leak at 5000 feet. If this is the case, then we can’t continue allowing drilling at this depth. Maybe some off-shore drilling is safe, I don’t know and feel like the proverbial burned child, but clearly we can’t operate at this depth and, until someone proves they can, all permits for deep water drilling should be canceled.

  • Bob

    “60 Minutes” covered this last week, describing what happened from the standpoint or a worker who witnessed the explosion and survived. There’s been little comment about that program since. Did your guests see the program? What’s their reaction?

  • Chas V.

    Didn’t some citizens wants smaller Federal government?

    President Obama and Governor Jindal should take a page from King Canute, standing at the shore and forbidding the tide.

    Energy is expensive for everyone. It’s the unseen economic costs that seem the greatest now. Fishing and tourism shut for years? We’ll all pay for that.

  • Nancy White Cassidy

    I have already written to the White House, politely demanding that the Army Corps of Engineers take over this capping and recovery effort, but no reply.

    Collectively, isn’t there something that the American People can do to pressure our government to do their job and take over this operation?? This goes way beyond keeping government out of the corporate business. We are being poisoned, along with our environment, period.

    If the USA, on very short notice, was able to get the war machine going for WWII (and to win that war), then THIS WELL CAN BE SEALED. I’m beyond frustrated….I am very, very alarmed.

  • Ben Hale

    How can BP plan to contain the leak if they don’t know the volumes and pressures involved? If they are underestimating the volumes and pressures, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised their ‘fixes’ haven’t worked. (assuming they are being truthful in their estimates released to the public).

  • peter nelson

    I have already written to the White House, politely demanding that the Army Corps of Engineers take over this capping and recovery effort, but no reply.

    I can’t stand Bobby Jindal, but one of his legitimate complaints is that the Corps of Engineers has been indecisive, saying neither yes not no to his proposal to build sand berms to protect the islands. Furthermore the Corps was reponsible for New Orleans being flooded by Katrina. There’s no reason to have any confidence in the Corps.

  • AD McClellan

    WHY is BP in charge of the spill site a month later?!!!

  • Darcy Dale

    Three Words: Cheney Oil Policy…talk about behind closed doors. Will we ever know if his policies led to this lack of due diligence?

  • http://bruceguindon.com bruce guindon

    do you think maybe BP is really just trying to save the oil and has little or no interest in any other part of this tragedy, perhaps Washington and our President will get involved right about at the time they run out of sea food for a State function
    Remember Oil First planet we live on last, Greed is the new black very fashionable

  • http://NPROnPoint TCLifford Bibb

    Would not a bomb to stop the oil-flow cause a problem with the volcanic fault in the area?

  • Mason

    After some time in the Ground water industry we stopped using dynamite to expand the underground fissures and improve water flow in wells as it was to unpredictable. You could terminate the flow of water as well as shift the ground water of all of your neighbors not to mention it’s dangerous!
    These day’s the problem is tackled differently but my observation is that the use of a large concussive to break the thread thereby cutting off the oil leak in the gulf may adversely affect other deep water wells that are near by. I’m not sure if it holds true as it did with ground water drilling but I’ve seen blasting for hiway construction shut off water wells nearby, hydro-fracturing do it as well as dynamiting a well causing the failure of a neighboring well. All environmental and political repercussions aside do you think the petroleum industry will gamble on the chance of disturbing active producing wells to stop this one?

  • http://www.theiowagardener.com Benjamin Allen

    The administration is in a tough spot. If they did swoop in and just say we’re in charge there would immediately be charges of socialism and how Obama wants to take over everything. On the other hand, as a taxpayer I want to make BP pay for the cleanup. I don’t want to get in a situation where the oil industry gets to make messes all the while collecting profits and then have the taxpayers pay for the cleanup.

  • Andrew Coutant

    Why can’t BP control this thing? With the undersea robots, it would seem possible to fabricate a section of pipe 21″ in diameter, with a quick coupling at one end, and then tapering to 16″ at the other, coated with a thick layer of rubber, and slotted, to relieve pressure as it was inserted into the existing well line. Photos show a coupling about 10 feet from the end of the ruptured line. Open the coupling, insert the tapered pipe, and continue inserting until sealed. Use the quick coupling at the other end to hook up to the new pipe to bring to the surface.

    Or, if BP likes clowning around, buy a 75 ft circular circus tent, install over the leaks, hook the circular opening for the pole to a large flexible pipe to the surface, and pump up the rising oil. (Bad humor)

  • Brian

    If I put myself in BP’s place, my interest is NOT to stop or contain this eruption but to capture it as completely as possible. BP has invested in selling that oil. If they can succeed in capturing and selling it then they leapfrog the crisis and come out with their reputation at least partially repaired.

    The government’s stance, on the other hand, is to protect the public interest by stopping the eruption. This is what we have to demand of Obama.

    I doubt that we can “push BP aside” though; the Navy probably doesn’t have the same technology they have because there’s no military threat a mile deep in the ocean. We should take BP into full compliance and disclosure of what they have done and can do.

  • peter nelson

    WHY is BP in charge of the spill site a month later?!!!

    If the Obama administration had been more aggressive and proactive about this they could have at least contained the political damage, even if not the environmental damage.

    The Democrats were facing an uphill fight in November anyway, but this is the final nail in their political coffin. It’s ironic that the Republicans, with an even worse environmental voting record than the Democrats, will be swept into power due to an environmental disaster on the Democrats’ watch.

  • http://timberati.com Norm

    What were the lasting effects of the Ixtoc 1 oil spill which put 3 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico in 1979?

  • Paula Garber

    Hi Tom

    Can someone explain why this isn’t a criminal matter when
    the ‘mud’ that should have been used directly after the ‘drill’ wasn’t used.
    The mud that mitigates the ‘pressures’ at 5.000 feet.
    This was a decision by BP. The ‘mud’ is expensive, it seems,
    runs to 10% of the project cost……..

    Also after Valdez wasn’t their legislation that mandated that the Oil Company
    that causes the spill be in charge of it’s clean-up?????

  • Delia Windwalker

    your last caller on the show was talking about a patented chemical stabilization process.

    like so many inventors… dismissed to a queue….

    Please help this man get his process evaluated and reviewed by the people who are in the action.

    I heard enough to think that it was a shame to have his voice cut off by time and the constraints of your radio programming.

    HELP him get his voice heard in the right place!

  • peter nelson

    Delia Windwalker writes:
    I heard enough to think that it was a shame to have his voice cut off by time and the constraints of your radio programming.

    Oh, come on Delia, where are your priorities? OnPoint had to urgently switch to an important show about TV. The “Lost” TV series is ending and there’s also vital coverage of “24″ and “Jack Bauer” that NPR listeners need to be well-informed about the world. As NPR station members and contributors we should be grateful that they are utilizing our hard-earned money on such important subjects instead of wasting it on fluff.

  • JP

    All of the boneheads who have been harping on and on about how the free enterprise system solves all of its own problems and no one should have to pay a cent for “Big Government” to do what business can do for itself and govermnent should only pay far a military and the police…

    … well, now those same boneheads are harping on and on about the government response being too small and too slow and that the Obama admininstration’s response is underwhelming.

    Which is it, tea-bagger brainiacs?

    Of course, I myself am totally disappointed by the underwhelming response by government, and by the persistent low-balling of the extent of the spill, but then I haven’t been spouting off stupidities about business being able to solve all of its own problems.

  • JP

    This is the main outline of an On Point post I first made on May 3rd, when BP and the govt. were claiming a spill of a few thousand barrels a day… it is a breakdown of the LEAST toll the oil spill will take:

    The toll on the economy may be massive:

    -Countless heavy industries will ultimately pay dearly as a consequence of the Gulf oil spill, and some may be obliterated… from fishing to aquaculture to real estate sales and development

    -Sport revenues of all kinds will be affected, from sport fishing to scuba to boating and surfing… all of the businesses that support these pastimes will suffer

    -Tourism will be hard hit… from hotels and restaurants to the retail and service industries.

    All of the commerce delineated above will suffer for the benefit of a single sector of the economy… and U.S. offshore drilling just doesn’t net a very significant benefit for the country.

    If one Googles images for “Gulf drilling platforms,” then Googles images for “Gulf dead zone,” one finds that these areas overlay perfectly, as if a single map… Gulf drilling is killing the Gulf of Mexico… one of the planet’s most fertile oceanic breeding grounds.

    This will be the worst man-made environmental disaster in history, having occurred in an ecologically critical and sensitive area at a time when the biodiversity of the region is already stressed to its limits.

    “Catastrophe” barely describes the ultimate damage to the ecology of Gulf waters, but the toll on life in the delta marshlands, and to the American hemisphere’s migratory fowl moving through and nesting in the region will be irredeemable.

    The birds killed directly by contact with oil will be overwhelming, but only the tip of the iceberg.

    This spill will decimate some of the most important nesting and feeding grounds along the most important migratory route in the Americas.

    Not only will some already endangered species be severely affected, but also the contaminated feeding grounds will poison and/or outright starve the vast majority of species that utilize these most important wetlands.

    Nesting and mating will also be severely affected, and the consequences will last for generations.

    Add to the problem the fact that Gulf fish species are going to be decimated, which despite being a tragedy in itself, will further exacerbate the problems facing Gulf fowl populations that feed on the fish and fry.

    Also add in the ecological problems that will result from some species being so decimated that the ecology of interspecies competition will also be dramatically altered, cascading all through the food chain and the environments in which these bird and animal populations live and migrate throughout the delta, the Gulf, and the Americas.

    The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most important oceanic breeding grounds in the world… many important aquatic species come to the Gulf to feed and breed.

    There is really no equivalent to the Gulf anywhere else in the world.

    Several major rivers flow into the Gulf, including one of the world’s greatest, the Mississippi. Wherever freshwater meets saltwater, a nutrient rich confluence occurs that is crucial to the fry of many species.

    In addition, the gulf is the world’s largest, shallow water protected Gulf, with a huge continental shelf extending out from every coast, again making it a unique habitat for world species to come and breed.

    This disaster is epic and has world-wide ramifications.

  • cory

    Peter Nelson,

    As to why these solutions weren’t prepared concurrently instead of consecutively… Money, of course. If fix #1 works and you’ve already built fixes 2,3, and 4, you’ve squandered some shareholder money. Nothing in this world trumps profit, not ethics, love, environment or anything else.

  • Real Engorged American

    I’m not concerned about oil in the gulf AT ALL.

    I’ll bet anybody interested that 5 years from now there will be fish in the ocean and gas and oil in my Ford Excursion (and in the large boat it pulls).

    I’ll make anyone a second bet that on that day Republicans will be running this place and oil will be flowing like never before.

    Read it and weep, all you lefties!

  • John in SC

    You know, I get a little tired of Bobby Jindal and other Republicans yelling ‘states rights’ (which translates as ‘Don’t mess with my fiefdom’) and then whining and griping about “Why isn’t the government pulling us out of this mess?”

    They’re talking about the oil spill being “Obama’s Katrina.” But how much did they prepare for Katrina? How much has Louisiana done to protect its shoreline and preserve the Mississipi delta, which is disappearing at the rate of a football field a week? They’ve collected megabucks from the canals the Corps of Engineers built, but how much of that money have they used to protect New Orleans or redirect development? Likewise, in spite of the taxes they’ve collected from the oil companies, how much have they used that tax money to prepare for an oil spill? No, instead, it’s now the Federal government’s responsiblity. They want it both ways – and in the process shun as much responsibility as they can. ‘Keep the government off our backs, but keep the pork dollars rolling in!’

  • JP

    John in SC,

    Sorry to say, but it’s a football field every half an hour that is disappearing, not a football field a week, which would be only a relatively small amount a year.

  • peter nelson

    cory says, As to why these solutions weren’t prepared concurrently instead of consecutively… Money, of course. If fix #1 works and you’ve already built fixes 2,3, and 4, you’ve squandered some shareholder money. Nothing in this world trumps profit, not ethics, love, environment or anything else.

    .. which is why I pointed out that …
    Obviously BP would object because doing it in parallel is more expensive and if the first trick worked the rest of the cost would be wasted. But who cares? I’m not going to worry about BP’s money, compared to OUR environment!

    The Obama Administration could have insisted that BP do that despite the costs (to BP).

    JP, above, complained about the Tea Party trying to make hay with this despite their hypocrisy on it. I’m not worried about the Tea Party because they would oppose Obama no matter WHAT he did.

    I’d be worried about the environmentalists like me. As an LCV member I’m aware that Democrats have a slightly better environmental voting record than Republicans. But many of us are fed up with voting for the lesser of two evils, especially when Obama’s weak action makes the difference smaller every day. When I start hearing myself agreeing with Bobby Jindal in his criticism of Obama on an environmental matter, then I KNOW something is seriously WRONG in this administration. They cannot afford to alienate a core constituency.

  • peter nelson

    Likewise, in spite of the taxes they’ve collected from the oil companies, how much have they used that tax money to prepare for an oil spill? No, instead, it’s now the Federal government’s responsiblity.

    But it IS the federal government’s responsibility! The federal government sets most of the rules WRT safety and liability for drillers. The area where the drilling is being done is under federal jurisdiction. And much of the wetlands are NWR’s. And even much of the land loss you mention is under the jurisdiction of the feds, for 2 reasons:

    1. Much of it is due to the extensive levee system all along the Mississippi run by the Corps of Engineers and used for navigation and flood control.

    2. Problems at the mouth of the Mississippi reflect a host of issues all along the Mississippi so require a Federal approach.

    I can’t stand Jindal, so I’m always happy to blame him for anything I can, but unfortunately in this case the Feds bear the lion’s share of the guilt.

  • JP

    BTW, the use of the dispersants is criminal, will not alleviate significantly the damage to the delta, marshlands, and beaches, and is being used mainly to mask the extent of the spill by creating a less visible “suspension” hidden below the surface.

    These detergents and chemical garbage are simply exacerbating the problems facing Gulf and ocean ecology… some of the chemicals may take years to break down, and will simply circulate around the entire Atlantic region.

    This is another area in which the Federal government deserves blame… they should have never allowed BP such wanton use of these chemicals, merely for PR purposes.

  • Al b. Sure

    This is the stuff Second terms are made of. Obama is blowing his chance. So who will be our next president?

  • Julie McMullen

    Does oil sprew on its own without a well being drilled? In other words are there natural leaks from oil under the ocean?

  • Nathan

    Seeing the current incompetence of the federal government in terms of its ongoing responsibilities will only push states to endeavor to administer these issues directly and deny the feds the associated tax revenues. This episode is about federal government failure on a tremendous scale.

  • Drew

    Does oil sprew on its own without a well being drilled? In other words are there natural leaks from oil under the ocean?

    Posted by Julie McMullen, on May 24th, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    The answer is, yes. Nature can deal with a certain amount, but this is certainly not a that minute amount. Start planting tons of Oyster Mushrooms down there on the coast. If people aren’t aware, just google Oyster mushroom and oil.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Bobby Jindal is calling for a plan to dredge and pile up sand bars to keep out the oil which at first blush sounds like a good idea. But, I’ve also heard that doing so would kill the marshes/wetlands as surely (or maybe more surely) as the oil. Could this be explored?

  • Tim Kramer

    somone recently sent me a video of 2 farmers using HAY to soak up oil, why are the people in charge of the clean up looking into this? http://www.wimp.com/solutionoil/

  • JP

    These dredged up, artificial berms are a terrible idea.

    Again they will likely do little but forestall the ultimate damage to coastal areas, and mainly PR to buy time for BP.

    The dredging, in the short-term, would outright damage the sea floor ecology, without doing much to alleviate the oil damage… longer-term, the dredging would weaken natural barriers to erosion and natural defenses against storm surge.

    The berms are no kind of solution, and will do more harm than good.

  • peter nelson

    Does oil sprew on its own without a well being drilled? In other words are there natural leaks from oil under the ocean?

    Yes, of course. One study found the volume of oil involved seeping at Santa Barbara alone as “equivalent to 8−80 spills of the Exxon Valdez accident of 1989″ But the whole process is different so its apples and oranges. See: Farwell†, Reddy, et al Weathering and the Fallout Plume of Heavy Oil from Strong Petroleum Seeps Near Coal Oil Point, CA Environ. Sci. Technol., 2009, 43 (10), pp 3542–3548

    Of course the quality of scientific education in the US is so poor that the average person will see that “8−80 spills of the Exxon Valdez” number and either freak out or complacently assume that therefore big oil spills are nothing to worry about. Few people will bother to read or understand the research.

    Incidentally, the second author, Reddy, has been interviewed extensively on the BP disaster because he is the author of several research papers on the 190,000 gallon oil spill (i.e., tiny compared to the BP one) in Buzzards Bay Massachusetts in 1969. His research shows that parts of that ecosystem STILL haven’t recovered!

  • peter nelson

    The berms are no kind of solution, and will do more harm than good

    You may be right but the point about the berms is this: The request was put before the Corps quite a while ago and they still haven’t issued a crisp response. And this is why this is called “Obama’s Katrina”. Because the government looks just as dithered as it did under Brownie.

    In a situation like this the federal government must demonstrate leadership. The Corps should have either said “yes” or “no” and either way given a sound, thoroughly defensible reason. Hemming and hawing and being indecisive in a crisis is the wrong thing to do.

    Currently WEEKS after this began there is still no plan to protect the barrier islands and shorelines. This is a lack of leadership and decisiveness.

  • S. R. Snook

    If BP were pumping oil from the well into ships or pipelines, they would probably owe the US some “per barrel” royalty. Since the current situation is depleting the potential reservoir of oil, same as if it were being pumped out for sale, shouldn’t BP be obligated to pay the same royalty on every barrel “produced” by this well? If it were being pumped into a ship and then that ship had a spill, BP would still owe the royalty for all the oil removed from the reservoir and be responsible for the cost of the cleanup as well; so should it in this case also. Please address this question on a future show on the oil.

  • John in SC


    Re: “a football field every half an hour that is disappearing, not a football field a week,” I stand corrected, and thanks. I heard “a football field every…” on the recent NatGeo channel program about the issue, but couldn’t remember the time frame. I didn’t want to overstate the amount so I was conservative. Whatever the amount, the problem has been ignored far too long and has resulted in the kind of storm surge that caused so much loss of life and damage in New Orleans.

  • http://phys106spring10.pbworks.com/Louisiana-Gulf-Oil-Spill brian

    Explosively imploding the well should be “relatively” safe and “easy” (as easy as doing anything is under 5000′ of water and then a bunch of mud). A well is a relatively fragile structure, it doesn’t take a nuke to break it. <100 lbs of explosives a few hundred feet away would send a shock wave (a wave of energy) though the ground Upon hitting the well bore, the discontinuity in the speed of sound would result in huge stresses on the wall of the well, breaking off pieces. Subsequent seismic waves would further shake the dirt up and the well would collapse with the weight of dirt above it. BP is trying to FIX the well, so they can control it. But we all know that its much easier to break something than fix it. BP is proposing to drill into the existing bore. It would be far faster and easier to just drill near the well, place a small amount of explosives there, and let the shaking and entropy BREAK the well.

  • Susie Button

    At the present time it doesn’t matter if its political or who’s fault it is.. Stop the flow and the damage. Then figure out who’s to blame for not doing what. First of all, exploding the thing could very well be the end of earth, the way we know it. Oil and Methane gas are down there. Blow it up and who’s to say the entire supply wont blow and weaken the crust of the earth and start a chain reaction. The mantels of the earth are already shifting like mad now. Lets not help it along with a blast. Plus if blown and exploded can ANYONE imagine the tidal wave that would cause? You wouldn’t have to worry about the wet lands the oil has ruin or the wild life that is endangered because that entire region would be under water along with the people that lived in that area. Why don’t they put a bigger pipe 50 or 60 feet long over the leak let it start to flow up that pipe and then cap it at the connecting pipe. Then connect other pipes to the 50 or 60 foot pipe and start pumping the oil into a tanker? Yes they’ve tried to put a box over it.. Didn’t work. Yes they put a smaller pipe inside the larger pipe. It wasn’t enough. Try bigger over smaller.

    l l
    l l<<< Bigger pipe
    l l
    l l
    l L______________________________
    l l__________________________________________l
    l l <<< smaller pipe oil leak l
    l l____________________________________ l
    L_____________________________________ l l


  • John in SC


    Re: “But it IS the federal government’s responsibility!”

    I’ll not argue with you; I agree that issues that affect a range of states should be decided at the national level. But I think you miss my point. It seems like the people who yell the loudest about federal interference are the first to holler for help when the going is bad – or accept federal pork.

  • Susie Button

    All I have to say is STOP TALKING ABOUT IT AND FIX IT! I don’t care at the moment whos fault it is just FIX IT!

  • Al B. Sure

    I have visited Google and found no shortage of products that address absorbing oil on water. What is the problem?
    If we can spray the jungles of Vietnam why can’t we spray this stuff (take your choice of products) over the oil spilling into the Gulf?
    It works and it is safe for the enviroment.
    Right now my heart hurts…make us proud and do something. FIX THIS- now.

  • Bush’s fault

    No one wants this kind of problem…but let’s be rational. Crude oil and sea water both exist naturally, and sometimes they mix at inappropriate times for mankind. This has happened before. And mankind has survived ecological disasters, both man made and natural, before. This too shall pass.

    Ultimately nature will provide the solution if BP, the US government, or the Army Corps of Engineers cannot.

    So I submit; for all the hyperbole posted by people whose hair is afire, think about the incalculable benefit oil and it’s use have brought mankind through all time. We implicitly accept the risk of disaster as the price of our well being. Would we reverse and relinquish all those benefits as barter to salve this disaster?

  • Miller Johnson

    Napolitano calls Gulf of Mexico ‘this ocean’……

    Please tell Big Sis that the Gulf of Mexico is not an ocean. Please tell Big Sis that the world’s oceans are these five: Atlantic Ocean, Pacific, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and the Southern Ocean (a/k/a the Great Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean, and the South Polar Ocean)

  • http://jamesyaun.com james yaun

    i am an artist living in the mountains of western nc. you give me 50 million dollars and 10 days and i will stop this oil leak. thanks james yaun

  • peter nelson

    It seems like the people who yell the loudest about federal interference are the first to holler for help when the going is bad – or accept federal pork

    Absolutely. Recently when the Senate tried to raise liability limits to $10B from the current $75M, Senator Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK) blocked it saying that this would discourage companies who didn’t have that much money from drilling. So presumably this Republican Senator thinks the TAXPAYERS should foot the bill above the current liability limit! How she squares that with her alleged Republican philosophy is anybody’s guess!

    What IS it about Alaskans?! Are they all that crazy? It sounds like between her and Sarah Palin they still wouldn’t have a full deck of cards! I’m going to be in Alaska in a few days for a vacation but I won’t have internet access – I’ll be in a yacht off the coast – I’ll report my findings when I return.

  • Stefan Mrozewski


    BP seizing on NOAA’s obvious underestimate is hardly a cover-up, it’s just a short-term PR convenience. BP know the proper flowrate and are tackling the leak stoppage(s) accordingly. You said it yourself not 15 minutes ago that they’re mindful of shareholder interests; and that is to kill the blowout.. To suggest, as you and Andrew just did, that BP might not be trying every means to stem this flow is irresponsible. If you’ll watch some recently-posted video of ROV work on choke/kill line valves, you’ll appreciate work like this isn’t trivial and doesn’t happen overnight. In my mind a testament to BP’s interest in stemming this is the – I believe unecessary – drilling of the second relief well (at ~$1M/day) when the first one is almost certain to succeed if some subsea method doesn’t work first.

    Stefan Mrozewski
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

  • Emilie

    Somewhat off topic but the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st. What happens when hurricanes come up through the Atlantic and churn up the oil, then move inland into Fl, GA, NC, SC, etc.? I used to live 5 hours inland from the NC coast and flooding, heavy rains, etc. from hurricane activity were major problems almost every year…This BP mess is catastrophic and horribly depressing so I dread to think of what the east coast will look like when oil pollution is added to possible hurricane devastation.

  • peter nelson

    And mankind has survived ecological disasters, both man made and natural, before. This too shall pass.

    Ultimately nature will provide the solution if BP, the US government, or the Army Corps of Engineers cannot.

    We implicitly accept the risk of disaster as the price of our well being.

    No one is questioning that we will “survive”! Good grief! And you talk about being “rational”.

    We do not implicitly accept these risks. The risks are EXplicit. They can be calculated and assessed – and compared with the costs of ameliorating and preventing them. Plus with the liabilities of those who cause damage to the environment, to the commercial fishing industry and to tourism, and all this can be compared to alternative sources of energy. So it really is a fully rational, explicit economic calculus. Involving billions of dollars.

    Since you are fond of rationality, (as am I) a rational approach is to build-in the explicit risks to the cost of oil. Every barrel of oil should include the risks and liabilities of providing it, and the costs and liabilities of protecting its sources (for instance the DoD costs of defending shipping lanes and politically unstable oil-rich states), cleaning up messes, plus the costs of global warming and CO2-induced ocean acidification.

    Currently oil costs around $70/bbl. If all of these other costs were included, instead of being hidden by being transferred to taxes, oil would be a lot more expensive. Only then could we have a rational economic calculus.

  • http://www.paisleybabylon,com valerie kacprzak

    I believe that BP is covering themselves. The government wanted BP to pay. In the beginning BP alluded to having the situation under control. It is obvious that they had no plan for an accident like this. If BP has to pay off all the people that this accident will effect, they will be broke. There is not enough money in the world. The ruination of the eco systems of the whole Gulf South will affect many, many layers of business and livelihoods. There are those who give tours: swamp, fishing, etc. Then the fishers and shrimpers. The oystermen. Those who live off the food. Then the seafood sellers, and eventually the restaurateurs. It doesn’t stop there. You have the health problems this may create. Also, the mental health problems created by the loss of the very culture of a people. It just goes on and on. So, BP is probably very careful about any statements they make. The damage being caused by this catastrophe is simply beyond calculation.

  • Joey G

    WE NEED STERN POLICY. Not politicians, not lawyers, not salesmen. We have a Guillitine in front of Freedom Tower Miami; use it on any and all involved (simple). If WE executed 10-20 executives and most importantly the B.P. Manager who deleted standard operating procedure so he could hasten the production schedule that would be a good start. The next step is for Obama to shut the oil off (by any means neccessary) and give the bill to B.P. In Fact, sieze B.P. and give the liquidation poceeds to the EPA and Gulf states. If that is not enough, then liquidate the managements personal holdings. Liquidate anyone who is accountable, and implicate anyone contrary to the policy. This type of policy works and will stop the spill quickly.

  • http://www.DisclosureProject.org Eric A. Cusimano

    A question: Can or will we use this environmental disaster to force advanced technology off the corporate black shelves? Long ago Nicola Tesla invented machines that can safely and cleanly provide all our energy needs without oil, gas or coal, that run on the earth’s magnetic field. These machines and ones created since Tesla’s work exist now on corporate black shelves with the collusion of the shadow government (Majestic Group, Bilderbergers, et al). Can we now use the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its aftermath to generate the political will to hold open congressional hearings on the clean, non-polluting energy technologies that are available right now, but which are being kept hidden by certain oil corporations and covert illegal government elements? Can we call on the President and the Secretary of Energy to openly explore the safe, clean energy technologies and urge Congressional hearings on ending all use of oil, gas and coal?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    This oil is coming from a salt dome about 4 miles beneath the surface of the water. It is shooting out a 20″ pipe at such force that it can blow away a building sized concrete structure. Two methods (1. injections from an intersecting well now being drilled 2. forceful injections of mud, concrete and debris) are now in preparation to stopper it. A shallower but similar accident Pemex had more than twenty years ago took ten months to cap. The flow rate may be as high as 95 thousand barrels a day so that, even at this advanced juncture, time is critical. Stopping this flow too suddenly or at the wrong point could produce a larger, less manageable blowout. Careful preparation and care are in order.

    I would think the financial health of BP is no longer at issue, that it is financial toast, and very dark.

    Why so great a pressure? If any contained fluid has 3 miles of rock and 1 mile of water above it and a leak or hole occurs it’s gonna spew like Mentos in 7 UP Actually out of human scale). I wish whomever the technicians and engineers may be the greatest wisdom and luck in all their attempts. The leak is at a crushing depth when humans can’t go. I hope the world’s finest technology is being applied.

    This may actually be the Chernobyl of the American Empire, no joke, and stated with every reverance and humility. Comparatively it does not matter who is elected to office. It may be too late for our electorate to learn and too late for government to adapt.

    Our technology has outstripped our intellectual inventiveness and our ability to control it in several areas at once, not only energy, but genetics, chemical applications and human medicine. This happened because our ambitions dwarfed our ability to predict consequences. We exist in a temporary twilight era of corporate citizens with computer array brains. Their reason for being and their purpose is contrary to our mental nature and physiology.

    I do not think us capable of humane voluntary reform. Nothing we hold dear can be depended upon, even in the short run. Enjoy the advantages you have and try to be considerate of others according to your level of understanding. I am weighing the proposition that if I gave my life today, could I even partially save the Gulf? Probably not, so I guess people who want to look at “Lost” or the Sex in the City film aren’t really that bad. They’re just people trying to be happy. The bad people are the ones who use tragedy as a means of having their selfish way.

  • G. Hatt

    I agree with your viewers but has everyone forgotten the Red Adair Team, those people still exist and they have!! managed this in the past..when does someone step up to the plate and tell BP to step aside. Also see this when you have time ” Cool solution to clean up oil disaster. [VIDEO]
    http://www.wimp.com. And I’m under whelmed by BP what was their back up plan?

  • Tim Hayes

    Dear Tom,

    I think the media is blowing this spill way beyond the information available. Yes, it is catastrophic. and yes it is large.

    However, no one can possibly know how catastrophic, nor large, until oceanographers, marine scientists, and wildlife biologists have done their jobs. They can’t begin to do their jobs until the spill is stopped.

    As far as the talking heads go, both politicians and scientists, their input is useless.

    I am an engineer. We have a saying and a couple of acronyms.

    The saying: Them what can–does, them what cain’t–teaches.

    Acronyms; WAG–Wild assed guess, SWAG– Scientific WAG.

    The well was a test well. It had no fluid meter. There is no way on God’s green earth those scientists can look at a poor video and say how large the leak is.

    I have heard no mention by anybody about the pressure from the well. The water pressure at that depth is in the neighborhood of 5,280 PSI. Depending on water density and exact depth that number will vary. If anybody in the oil industry has a handle on the actual well pressure, or a good guess as to its neighborhood, then a relatively accurate flow rate can be calculated. Barring a calculation along those lines, or a flowmeter reading, all these individuals are giving you a WAG.

    The posturing politicians are no better. They don’t know any more than I do.

    Consistantly offering us this regurgitated pap from these two groups doesn’t provide us with the information we need to decide about responsibility. Until we know good numbers and who knew what and when we can’t possibly heva a decent opinion on either cover ups or responsibility. All we have so far are WAGS and they are a waste of our time and yours.

    Offering this discussion did my opinion of your program no harm. It did sadden me that you would waste time on the subject at this time. Later would have been more appropriate.

  • Bronson Hurt

    I have an idea to plug the well with a very long very heavy cone shaped concrete plug. A cone shaped needle if you will.

    For that matter it could be a way to re-tap the well, and act like a cone shaped hypodermic needle with its own blow out preventer, and hollow core to reconnect to a surface vessel

  • wavre

    Our response to this oil spill crisis confirm what i sometimes suspected. We never actually went to the moon and those probes to Mars may just be PR’s. Instead of wanting to explore space, why don’t we explore and conquer our deep seas first?! Where no man has gone before( oops, sorry, BP went and we know that corporations are people!)

  • Mark L. Taylor

    We need a new word to describe the BP fiasco in the Gulf. This is more than a spill. A spill is a finite amount of liquid getting out of it’s container. When the Exxon Valdez finally emptied it’s deadly 11-million gallon cargo into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound that was a spill.

    This is more than a leak. A leak is something you can stop. If nothing else you get far enough upstream and shut off or divert the flow feeding the leak.

    No, this is far, far worse than a massive spill or even a really big leak. BP has created something that quite conceiveably has no meaningful end in sight. I call this the BP oil rupture. They have carelessly punched a hole into something truly massive without the kind of necessary redundant blow-out shut-off valves routinely used in other nations, like Norway.

    There is a bitter irony in this disaster. Americans have insisted on cheap oil at any cost, be it soldiers, national treasure or the environment. We have given our government over to the oil industry lobbyists. Well now we have plenty of oil. Looks like we will be awash in oil – and tears.

    Perhaps BP has not only ruptured a geologic barrier, perhaps now our naive belief in cheap oil from responsible oil corporations is now also ruptured. We can only hope.

  • Janet

    The administration seems pretty much defeated and never did try to fix the problem.

  • William

    Where are all those big government fans now? One month into this disaster and the government has done nothing..send down some GS-15 to do a drive by, photo op, go back to DC. Why are we paying all these taxes and they can’t fix a simple oil leak?

  • peter nelson

    Where are all those big government fans now? One month into this disaster and the government has done nothing..send down some GS-15 to do a drive by, photo op, go back to DC. Why are we paying all these taxes and they can’t fix a simple oil leak?

    Why should the government fix a problem caused by a corporation?

    How would this problem have been dealt-with or prevented in your conservative paradise?

  • William

    The obama mantra is big government is the answer to all the problems of the USA. He proudly says that on a daily basis. But, when a real problem happens, wham…big government failed. Where are the liberals now? Did big government not anticipate this kind of problem? Not one of the government agencies ever thought to consider “what if?”…naw..they will just sit on the sidelines…then complain..”we were underfunded”..then obama and congress will richly reward their failure with more money..more power…but not one person in government will get fired.

  • peter nelson

    William ducks and dodges the questions:

    Why should the government fix a problem caused by a corporation?

    How would this problem have been dealt-with or prevented in your conservative paradise?

    William, are these questions too hard for you?

  • jeffe

    William if government was doing it’s job, regulating and imposing strict guidelines for drilling in places such as the Gulf this accident might not have happened or BP would have deemed to risky and costly to put the exploratory drill in operation. The problem as I see it is not to much government but one that does not work well. That is to easily bought out by the special interest.

    I have always thought that we were the government, that the people we elect work for us, not BP, Exxon, Shell, Goldman Sachs, Health insurance corporations or big pharma or Monsanto.

  • William

    Did BP cause this? or was it the government regulations that pushed BP and other oil companies out into the deep water drilling? Did BP “push the envelope of technology” or did the government? Where are the “tree huggers” now? If government is so smart, so cutting edge, with all their wisdom, did they not see this coming by pushing BP out to those deep water drills? Or perhaps, was government just there for the taxes? In my conservative world I would have opened up Anwar, yes, that barren stip of land..and across the usa..if it has oil or gas, drill, before I would have pushed BP and the rest of the oil industry to deep water drilling. Now, in your liberal world, how would have you prevented this spill?

  • William

    Jeffe – Our world will eventually implode if we don’t stop this assault on “big business” Who do the NGO, non-profits, and government run to when they are looking for funding? Who generates the wealth for government? Who generates the jobs? Europe is imploding now due to their idea of Socialism is a sound economic policy.

  • peter nelson

    Did BP cause this? or was it the government regulations that pushed BP and other oil companies out into the deep water drilling? Did BP “push the envelope of technology” or did the government?

    This is the most bizarre, nutcase theory I’ve ever heard. You don’t present the slightest evidence that BP was “pushed” into doing dangerous things. They made some calculations and got it wrong. Now they have to pay. Bigtime.

    I’m a shareholder in a whole bunch of oil and gas companies – XOM, MRO, CHK, to name a few. I know quite a bit about the industry – probably a lot more than you do. Companies make business decisions based on their analysis of business costs, market risks, technology risks, and opportunities to sell products and services at a profit. Just because they can’t drill in ANWR doesn’t make the business rationality of drilling in the Gulf any different. It still has whatever costs, risks, and sales potential it had before.

    What is your evidenced that BP was pushed into drilling where they didn’t want to and didn’t think it could be done safely?

  • peter nelson

    Our world will eventually implode if we don’t stop this assault on “big business”

    OK, let’s talk business. I was laid off a year and a half ago and I have been getting by fine while I look for work, thank you, and have not spent ONE PENNY of my very generous severance package nor any of my unmployment checks, partly because I’ve been doing so well in the stock market. I’ve consistently beaten the S&P500 by a mile.

    We are not “assaulting” big business. There is nothing unreasonable about expecting big businesses to operate safely, legally, and transparently. I support banking reform because it increases transparency which we shareholders value. Don’t you? I was a member of the dissident shareholder group that ousted BofA’s Ken Lewis because of his very UNtransparent acquisition of Merril. I support very strict safety and liability rules on oil and gas drilling because it will create a level playing field where companies can compete on their exploration talent and business skill, allowing the best companies to win, instead of being undercut on price by companies like BP with a long history of cutting safety corners to save money.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about WRT “Europe is imploding now due to their idea of Socialism is a sound economic policy” The counties which are “imploding” are countries like Greece and Portugal which had had bad economies under both left AND right wing regimes (Aren’t you embarassed to show you didn’t know this?) But of course that would require you crack a book and study some European history. If you look at the northern European nations like the Netherlands, which are at least as “socialist” you’ll see that they have smaller deficits, or even surpluses and lower unemployment rates than the US, as well as lower rates of lots of other problems.

  • jeffe

    William you misunderstand my point. Nothing wrong with big business, but they can not control themselves and history has proved time and time again that they need to be regulated. For some reason you don’t seem to see this as a problem. Why? Do you think big business should do what ever they want? They have had decades of very little regulation in all sectors, and the evidence does not point to them be able to police themselves. How else can one explain the recent wall street and banking melt down.

    Now we have this huge environmental disaster brought on by the same lack of regulatory oversight.

    If we study the history of big business the picture is not very pretty. From the exploitation of workers and safety issues, to the monopolies of the past and present the record does not support your argument. As for pollution what we see is big business left to it’s own devises has a very poor record and in some cases it is criminal. Again the record from the past does not support your argument. If there are no rules and regulations to keep these entities in check it seems to me that the consequences are dire.

  • William

    I know quite a bit about the industry – probably a lot more than you do.

    Oh really..I’ve always wondered why oil companies love to go out to 5000 feet to drill instead of being closer. They must really enjoy paying 500k ..per day…for those deep sea rigs…rather than drilling in closer..i.e. cheaper…it’s all about pushing them out to areas that make it harder and more expensive…you have no clue what you are talking about….be honest..it’s all about making it too expensive to drill for oil..too expensive for the oil companies and the consumer..forcing us off oil….

  • Yolanda

    Can we be honest for a moment about what’s going on here, folks?

    FACT: We know the mainstream media have no problem ignoring environmental issues in their typical reportage.

    FACT: Media coverage of this issue has highlighted how this BLACK substance is spreading, and threatening pristine shorelines (with significant coverage of lily WHITE birds being in danger).

    Surely it doesn’t take a genius to deconstruct the coded racial language present in the media’s coverage of this disaster.

  • William


    So the companies should operate open with more transparency? the same transparency of say..the obama administration?…

    BofA bought a loser…and way overspent…I don’t own BofA stock..never did….any idiot that did should have looked how they have run their banks for years….

    Sure…have all the rules..regulations you want for oil and gas..but the reasonable man theory should come into play…”Does it make any sense to drill at 5000 feet when we could explore and drill for oil closer, in Anwar, in Utah etc….

    You forgot Spain?…or they are not on your reading list…Remember they were obama’s poster child for the green economy..green jobs..how is that working out for Spain these days?….

    Nope..Europe got their Socialism for the last 60 years…strong radical unions…dumb economics..now they are imploding…if not, why did we give the IMF 50 billion?..why is German pumping more money in?…where is the sound logic of Socalism?….

    Nope…sit back..drink your coffee..I’m not buying it…

  • jeffe

    William what are you talking about? There is plenty of drilling going on in the Gulf of Mexico at all depths.

    The reason this rig exploded was cutting corners and a complete lack of oversight.

    We should ween ourselves of of oil, as you suggested.

  • jeffe

    Yolanda are you seriously going to make this into a race thing? Oil is black sand is white… wow such metaphors.

    The Gray Pelican is… gray.

  • Brett

    What Yolanda is saying…isn’t it the most ridiculous spin you’ve heard yet?

  • William

    Sure, I would love for us to reduce oil imports. But the liberals just won’t go along. Just look at the Cape Wind project. Nine years of delays and now they want to go back to court to block it. One simple wind project, nine years!.

  • Yolanda

    I am appalled that some of you would be so quick to deny the pervasive racism that still exists in our society. To many of you, racism is only someone screaming the N-word or the murder of Emmett Till. Many forms are much more subtle and, therefore, more invidious.

    Given the coded attacks we see on our President everyday by the likes of the Tea Party movement and Republican obstructionists, I would urge all of you not to be so quick to dispel racism when it is staring you in the face.

    Finally, let’s all just agree that President Obama acted wisely and judiciously in banning further offshore oil drilling, after this disaster.

  • Yolanda

    Herr Cheney, I mean, William–

    We all agree here that socialism is not Utopia. However, capitalism has failed utterly as an economic system, bringing nothing but environmental degradation (as witnessed in the petroleum spill), massive social dislocation, tremendous income gaps, and grinding poverty. You talk of Europe–you fail to mention that, in the United States (yes, that paragon of capitalism), studies show that the majority of children born today will be malnourished at some point in their lives, and we all know that this leads to an array of negative social outcomes, including higher incarceration rates and diminished performance in schools.

    So please stop belittling socialism, unless you have a better alternative. In the meantime, stop being part of the problem, and join the President and the progressive movement in being part of a collective solution!

  • jeffe

    Yolanda seeing an oil spill as a metaphor for racism is absurd. I’m very critical of Obama, I think he’s done a pretty lousy job so far. The Health Care bill, a joke.
    The war in Afghanistan, no end in sight. Iraq, still unresolved. Removing the questionable laws put into effect under the Patriot Act by Bush, not much head way in that department. In fact he has increased some of the most draconian aspects of the Patriot Act. You can cheer lead all you want and claim people like me are racist for speaking out against this presidents short comings. However that does not change the reality that Obama’s centrist pragmatism is not working very well.

    Obama has not banned all off shore drilling, they just passed a permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic ocean.

  • jeffe

    Yolanda Obama is many things, a Progressive is not one of them.

  • William


    - Capitalism has failed? Don’t you mean government intervention has failed…Quiz – What two companies were at the root cause of the real estate disaster? Freddy/Fani Mae..which are…..government run companies!!!!…
    Income gaps? Why?..some people work harder than others..if you don’t have enough money in your life..get to work..nobody is stopping you…unlike in your Socialist countries…
    “Studies show…”…kids are malnourished?…have you talked to Mrs. Obama lately?..American kids are not starving….

    Face the facts of history..progressives or liberals..(what is it now?…)..failed in the 1920′s..failing again now…obama is a failure..just like Jimmy Carter was…

  • Glory

    John, the last caller from Ohio with the 3 US patents on your solidifier product, if you read this blog would you please leave your contact information or website in order for those of us who are terribly concerned to contact you? You may have the solution to this utter DISASTER but your contacting BP in order to assist will go immediately to their file 13. Tom, the radio host is either an idiot or intentionally had no interest in informing his listeners how to contact you. TOM, THAT IS OUT OF ORDER!!!!! AND YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO YOUR LISTENERS!!!!

  • Yvonne

    Corporate control of our country only increases – Obama is not a progressive in that sense, it seems, as he is quite pro- large corporation.

    We have a highly flawed system – corporations should not have human rights, should not “limit liability” for their leaders, and their boards should not be bound by law to maximize shareholder short-term profit above all else. These issues are never touched on by the standard left-right debates.

    Responsibility has been legislated away completely, leaving that small white bird in your photo of the oiled marsh to suffer for our pleasure.

  • informed American

    Since Barack Hussein Obama was the top recipient of donations from BP of any political candidate, left, right, or socialist for the past twenty years, he should take the money given to him by BP, and donate it to the clean up effort.

  • jeffe

    ace the facts of history..progressives or liberals..(what is it now?…)..failed in the 1920’s..

    # 29. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
    # 30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
    # 31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

    Besides Wilson every president in the 20′s was a Republican and up to the Great Depression the Republicans held the power in congress for most of the 20′s. They were also more progressive than the Democrats in the teens and early part of the 20′s. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. The Democrats were had a huge Southern contingent and were very conservative.

    What the progressive movement gave us was more workers rights as in the 40 hour work week, the right of women to vote, meat inspection, and a host of other things we take for granted now.

    William your spin is so off. If the Republicans were so successful than why did Reaganomics fail? Also you need to get your facts straight on Fannie and Freddie. While they jumped into the housing frenzy it was not caused by them. It was caused by the smart people on wall street, extremely low interest rates and way, way to much speculation.

  • William

    jeffe – Was TDR (Teddy) the father of the progessive movement? He spun off to form his own party? Then President Willson pushed the idea..locked up anyone that did not agree with him…a bit of a nutter….

    I’ve always wondered why the liberals call themselves progressives since it was soundly rejected back in the 1920′s. Thomas Sowell wrote a chapter about how the liberals like to bounce back and forth with the “progressive/liberal” name ( Sowell – Intellectuals and Society)

    Reagan-nomics failed? Really – we had a boom for 20 some years.

    Freddy/Fani – they did not cause the housing disaster? Are kidding? They are/were at the root of the entire failure. They back more than 80 percent of the mortages..it’s a total failure of government.

  • jeffe

    Freddy/Fani – they did not cause the housing disaster? Are kidding? They are/were at the root of the entire failure. No they were not. They were part of it but not the root cause. That’s false idea put forth by the Republican’s. Plenty of blame to go around here for the financial collapse. So you think trickle down economics works, well good for you. The reality is it did not.
    The only growth came during Clinton and at least he had the fortitude to balance the budget. Can’t say that about Reagen or Bush I.

    See you on the barricades comrade.

  • Wilson

    Fre/FNM – total failure and has been out of control for years. It turned into a political slush fund for people in government to enact social change…i.e. put everyone into a home…even if they can’t make payments…

    Trickle down economics – The left likes to rewrite history, but we had a good economy. The left and especially obama have made it their mission to undo everything Reagan did.

    Clinton – He moved to the center and stayed away from Gov. healthcare. (pawned it off on Hillary..he knew it would not pass..real smart guy..tossed his wife under that bus)..he also had a Republican congress that would not let him spend..and a booming stock market..high tech did well too….

    Bush I – He was more liberal than conservative. He tried too hard to reach across the isle (Remember movie night with Teddy?). The left burned him bad. He failed to control the Congress (both right/left) and was hell bent on that silly idea that government can solve all problems (expanded every gov. program). But his policies proved that big government..big spending…are a economic failure….

    It will be interesting to see how obama recovers from this oil mess. He had a good chance to show some leadership but must have got bad advice from Ron.

  • Yolanda

    Since when did Glenn Beck start telling his zombies to start posting comments on this board?!

    Although I am very much in favor of greener technologies that will diminish our need for oil, I also admire and respect the President for understanding that millions of lesser-resourced people in this country rely on oil to heat their homes and shelters in colder months. Many of you who support more knee-jerk environmentalism would have these people freeze. The President is primarily interested here in a compassionate response to the basic needs of his followers, and we should not fault him for that.

    I believe that a responsible approach to our world’s energy needs requires a well-calibrated transition to greener energy sources, but we must also proceed with a massive restructuring of our economy and society, in order to ensure that the costs of these transitions are not shouldered by our most vulnerable.

  • Arnold

    This may come as a surprise to those who live to consume, but we have not been put on this planet to purge it of all its resources, and yet we are getting dangerously close. The primary reason is that this vessel is over-populated by a factor of 5. Letting some freeze and some naturally expire would serve to lessen the burden on our overtaxed planet, or we risk the future of us all.

  • Yolanda


    As someone whose infant daughter froze to death two decades ago when our gas company cut off our heat because of a missed payment, I find your comment extremely hurtful.

  • http://memewaterbabies@hotmail.com Mary-Ellen McGonigle-Roberts

    The initial postings on the 28th of May were captivating and thought proviking, sadly the dialogue led to words about human demise by freezing. What on earth. I do believe that one must use caution and dialogue tastefully. Sadly, some have lost love one’s due to socioenvironmental and socioeconomical situations created by our society, our global society. Yolanda, I’m sorry for the loss of your wee infant, and thank you for sharing. I grew up in the north (Yellowknife) in a cabin and lived of the land. My uncles, aunts, mom, siblings and I hunted and we lived off caribou, moose, bear, beaver, squirrel, rabbit, wild chicken and fish so much of our time was spent in the elements. Our way of life was in sync with the earths rhythm, the seasons, the migratory patterns. Life was harsh, yet very serene, simple, and fun! Frostbite was no stranger, and the winter food supply was worth every bit of frostbite, and so, at the tender age of around 6 years old, I began to learn how everything is linked together. I’m so with David Suzuki!!
    We have to care for each other, and our earth, there is only one of each. How much effort do we take in caring for ourselves to ensure self sufficiency? This energy should also be carried out into our daily care of earth, and seeing a “man” made well’s oil spew out of the ocean bottom is horrible because natural force was released and what safety measures were put in place when the well was created? The consequences of this natural force are cast and worst of all, we may not be able to “contain” the well. I am an optomist, so I hope for a cap or government cure for all (to contain and control people and natural elements). Note to self, be tasteful. I realize it takes time to try to contain this force, but how much time? How long did previous “top kills” take? Isn’t there enough mud in place, when will the cement be put in to finally and forever close this money making well? I can only hope new policies will be born out of this disaster to protect the worlds waters, animals, food supply and people.
    See ya later,
    Mary-Ellen McGonigle-Roberts

  • Mary-Ellen McGonigle-Roberts

    Oceans, strike that, Gulf of Mexico is what I meant!! Mexico, oil hmmmm this sounds vaguely familiar hmmmm. Take care, Meme

  • Arlys Carter

    My concern is of the promised pay off level for all the damages done to the many industries that is loosing their business’es? Can BP have those many billions of dollars readily available for several years that will need to be considerd for this recovery to occur? What is the current expenditures that has been promised to be paid to these coastal residents, as well as the cost expended in these attempts to stop the runaway flow and the damage to the wetlands? Is bankruptcy going to happen to BP. ?

Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

Aug 26, 2014
Matthew Triska, 13, center, helps Alex Fester, 10, to build code using an iPad at a youth workshop at the Apple store on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Stanford, Calif.  (AP)

Educational apps are all over these days. How are they working for the education of our children? Plus: why our kids need more sleep.

Aug 26, 2014
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose–the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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1 Comment
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

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Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

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