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Anger and Despair in the Gulf

Hard times in the Gulf. Jobs and a way of life now on the brink. We hear from folks living in the midst of it all.

Workers collect snare booms used to remove oil washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon spill in Belle Terre, La. (AP)

Hard times rolling ashore in the Gulf of Mexico.

While oil giant BP weighs a ten-and-a-half billion dollar dividend payout to stockholders worldwide, fishermen and shrimpers and busboys in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and maybe soon Florida are in trouble.

Whole towns in trouble. A whole region in trouble, as Deepwater Horizon oil spill pollutes deep waters and, increasingly, the shore.

The President is coming down for another look. Our guests are already there – living it. 

This Hour, On Point: survival stories from the Gulf of Mexico.

Guests:

Chris Kirkham, staff writer for the Times-Picayune.

Tony Kennon, mayor of Orange Beach, AL.

LaTosha Brown, activist and consultant for the Gulf Coast Fund.

Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Joey Rodriguez, shrimp boat owner and operator who works in Bayou La Batre, AL.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • W Foster

    To much confidence has been given, to many of our Government agencies!
    Look at the lack of oversight by the MMS in it’s regulation of the drilling industry.
    Look at the disorganization of our Coast Guard in directing operations to capture and contain oil slicks. Look how inept NOAA has been in it’s efforts to better understand subsurface oil plumes and the toxic effects that dispersants are having below the surface.

    Who’s studying the impact this spill is having on marine life? Senators and Congressman have been asking these agencies to provide more information and oversight concerning the impact this spill is having, and the response has been pathetic!

    Millions of gallons of oil and dispersants are being released into the ocean each day, and NONE of them will even care to speculate the impact it could have on the marine life. We will only get this information from independent scientists and researchers, if they permit them to do this work!

    More transparency and facts are need. The public deserves to know the complete impact this disaster is having on marine life and shoreline habitats!

  • JP

    The berms that some Republicans want are another moronic idea, like the dispersants, that will do great harm and is being pushed only for the short-term PR benefits it will provide the oil industry. Politicians like Jindal are only concerned about looking impotent in the face of a disaster they helped to create… BUT THEY ARE IMPOTENT!!! THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF THIS DISASTER WITHOUT MAKING THINGS WORSE!!!

    The simple fact is the berms and their construction process will severely damage natural barriers to beach erosion, will interfere with natural tidal processes, and are such a shoddy solution that they will be wiped out by the first significant storm that comes their way.

    Don’t let Republicans like Jindal push for more PR stunts benefitting the oil industry and themselves at the expense of the environment!

    The only chance for a real solution is to keep the pressure on BP for a genuine fix, and to let the public continue to see the damage offshore drilling and Republican deregulation has done to our country… then maybe we can finally progress to proper government oversight and a sane energy blueprint for the future.

    DON’T LET REPUBLICANS AND THE OIL INDUSTRY CONTINUE TO WHITEWASH THE EFFECTS OF THEIR GREED!!!!

    The Obama administration is at least doing what’s within the realm of their realistic capabilities without being moronic about makeshift PR stunts that cause more damage to gulf ecology.

    Keep the pressure on BP, and keep pressure on Republicans to support the proper regulation of industry and a sane energy policy for the future!

  • JP

    … and don’t let the oil industry and Republicans convince you that coming down on their industry will cost jobs! This is more industry propaganda!

    Oil drilling is continuing, the vast majority of oil industry jobs, direct and indirect, will remain. They don’t need our sympathy!

    The REAL TRAGEDY is the billions of lost dollars and all the lost jobs that will be CAUSED BY THE OIL SPEW!!!!

    -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.

    This damage will amount to far more economic devastation than a relatively small number of lost oil sector jobs… remember, drilling has not and will not cease!

    …and the above doesn’t even address the incalculable environmental damage and loss!

    Don’t listen to the oil industry hype, and don’t listen to Republicans who want to find a way to whitewash their pre-spill, idiotic cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill!”

  • Mitch Moore

    Over 50 days and Obama still has not met with the head of BP. The Obama administration had no plan for dealing with such a disaster and neither did BP. Obama is a joke. Inexperience, ineptness, and incompetence are on full display.

  • nick

    Mitch,

    That’s right let’s blame it all on the “N”.

    Everyone wants the government to be out of their pockets and out of their lives until a disaster hits and then they are suppose to be there to save us all.

    Can’t have it both ways………

    If it is any body’s fault, it is the voters for continually voting in the whores who are suppose to represent us but only represent Corporate America – since the Reagan era we have been doing this.

  • Eric

    I think “spill” or “leak” are completely inappropriate & inadequate words to convey what’s happening in the gulf. They don’t convey the sense of urgency which the situation deserves. “Hemorrhage” is headed in the right direction, but isn’t accurate or appropriate, either. I do not intend for this comment to be interpreted as ‘academic’; I do think that we (and the media) need to be on point with the language that describes this ongoing tragedy.

  • Ellen Dibble

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/jan-june10/oil2_05-05.html

    On May 5th the NewsHour on PBS broadcast a piece with Sylvia Earle, National Geographic oceanographer, on the impact of the oil spill on the Gulf and on oceans generally. It isn’t very long, but it made a “believer” out of me. The oceans are the lungs of the planet, and they “work” because of their capacity to exchange oxygen. This can be compromised, and so on.
    The video is at the site, and probably a transcript, as well as another video about her and her work.

  • jeffe

    It is interesting how some conservatives and Republicans who are for small government and want government to be out of their lives are now crying that the government is not doing enough.

    As already stated you can’t have it both ways. If you want small inefficient government you should be prepared for it do to little or nothing.

    That said Obama’s handling if this has been pretty poor.

    I want government to work, and work well.
    As far as the Cost Guard goes I think they are doing the best that can do under the circumstances. There job is to patrol the coast and to rescue people in distress at sea. I don’t think cleaning up oil disasters is what they were designed for. So given that this is the case, taking cheap shots at the Coast Guard to forward ones political agenda is a bit much.

  • aletheia33

    could you please bring up the problem of BP and local and state collaboration (including using law enforcement personnel) in controlling journalists’ access to the story, including preventing them from taking photographs of dead wildlife and cleanup operations; prohibiting cleanup workers from talking to journalists, on pain of losing their precious employment in these emergency jobs; and prohibiting the wearing of protective masks etc. in an attempt to create/control the image of safety. is it really legal for them to do this kind of thing to control the story? (these censoring activities have been reported in various reliable media sources.) and why is the media accepting this kind of control without loud protest?

    i’d also like to make the point that in all the hand-wringing over wildlife and habitat preservation, what too often gets lost is that we humans are the species most endangered by the fallout of our own reckless, unquestioning pursuit of technological “happiness.” we don’t need to be good, compassionate people (“tree-huggers”) to “save the planet.” all it takes is recognition of how threatened is our own survival.

  • Brad Gillers

    Those statists, who in their simple minded manner criticize those who desire less government, really must develop a more sophisticated and nuanced evaluation of your opponents’ positions. The conservatives and the tea party protestors never said that there is no role for government. That claimed position is the propaganda that is vomited by the statists and their accomplices and apologists. Government has a role in performing those tasks that responsible individuals and States cannot perform themselves. The Federal government also is obligated to perform those functions that the Constitution and Federal statutes obligate it to perform.

    Incidentally, how come the government and BP are making it up as they go along? This disaster occurred on April 20, 2010. It is now June 14, 2010 and there is no resolution in sight. You statists cannot continue to make up the facts and have any credibility. Keep dreaming about your supposed victories in November 2010. Delusional thinking is really quite unattractive.

    Obama accepted millions of dollars from BP and Goldman Sachs. Deal with it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8664684.stm
    The BBC radio this morning was reporting on the 1979 Ixtoc oil spill on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico, and how it was larger, and yet the high temperatures led to photo-deterioration and biodegradation of the oil, and thus to reasonable recovery after a few years. BBC says the report will be on their TV BBC newshour today. Looking on the net, I see Rachel Maddow covered the comparison weeks back, as did the BBC. There is a map of the history of big spills and shows comparative sizes at the site I put here, but it is in tonnes, and data for Deepwater is from a month ago.

  • jeffe

    Brad so your saying that Bush and company really wanted government to work well. Is that your thesis here?
    It’s as if conservatives like Norquist never existed.
    In the past week Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle has been coming under the microscope and here views on what should be eliminated clearly point to idea if less government. Rand Paul is another example of recent Republican candidates who one primaries and who hold the beliefs that government should be small, and I would argue that Paul and Angle are more extreme than Norquist.

    As to BP trying to manipulate the information well that’s pretty clear is it not. They are trying to save money and are protecting their stock and shareholders which is understandable as that’s what the law requires of a publicly traded company.

    The Obama administration is really a corporate friendly administration that is not really going to push unless public anger makes them move as recent events seem to prove.

  • Ellen Dibble

    http://oils.gpa.unep.org/facts/oilspills.htm
    Looking for World War II oil spills (I know about tar circa 1950 coming ashore off Miami), I found the UNEP site with Global Marine Oil Pollution info. 10,000 gallonos is 34 tonnes. Barrels is something else.
    Rotting WWII wrecks are indeed a threat as they release their oil.
    Deepwater is more of a volcano, like cutting a hole to bleed the earth. It is bad.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli @ I Believe in Butter

    Will there be any mention of the smaller spill in Utah which now threatens the Great Salt Lake? This time it’s at the feet of Chevron.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jD8YsErqosS1OtHjMRgJrNhdaCvAD9GALQN81

  • Ellen Dibble

    In 1950 we used turpentine for the tar or oil or whatever it was. You got a rag from the pile there by the wooden walk, and dipped it in the common turpentine bucket, and you scratched at your toes and ankles till you could walk inside.

  • jeffe

    The moratorium on all drilling is a bad idea.
    While I understand the reasons for this blanket approach, it’s pretty clear that the economy of the area will soon resemble Detroit or worse.

  • Charlie Mc

    How much profit received by the “Family of Deceit” from their vast oil interests is being tapped to defray the ecological and financial ruin which their deregulated oil drilling companies are causing so many innocent victims. All those who succeeded in oil are seeking only to get away with their securities as best they can. Where are the useful quotes and contributions of the Bush-Cheney-Saudi billions? The “drill baby ,drill” quotes have been replaced with “It’s Obama’s fault”.
    Look again at the space photos of our beautiful christmas ornament, the blue-white and green earth, slowly turning black and realize that to which the rape of the earth by an unchecked,deregulated technology has brought us.

  • Ellen Dibble

    BP should commit to creating renewable energy jobs for every BP job lost in the gulf area. Let them take the lead in the new economy, and instead of paying sort of unemployment checks for sitting there, let them pay for windmills and their makers. That sort of thing.
    This is a great chance to MAKE them go that way, like their advertisements say they are doing.

  • TomK

    This is the result of years of deregulation and the attitude that “the free market always finds the best solution” which we have been cursed with since Reagan. It is no different from the financial crash.

    BP is a rogue oil company. It’s safety record is FAR worse than any other oil co. Obama has made a horrible mistake by depending on BP to cap the well. The USA is NOT in charge. He should have contracted with a competent oil co or team of oil cos for a national response to the engineering problem, escorted BP personnel from the area, and seized BP assets.

  • Ellen Dibble

    When invited to visit the areas as a tourist I think: Tell us about the air quality. People talk about asthma provocations, and I believe it. Personally, certain odors give me neurological symptoms and headaches beyond belief. Some people seem immune to the effects of certain outgassing, fumes from buses and so forth. People lose that immunity after a while.
    I’d like to know the medical view of what’s happening to the people.

  • frances

    Thanks LA for embracing off-shore drilling in the 60′s. Now you’ve ruined the entire gulf coast (and East coast soon) with your unbalanced economy.

  • jaron klimer

    Just listen to the local official who is witnessing the response by BP and the Feds: Keystone cops, arrogance, no assets on site, destruction of the local way of life, Mom and Pop shop businesses destroyed, disengagement by Obama for weeks, no plan of response, etc.

    Neither BP nor the Feds were prepared for this disaster. Blame whomever you choose, however the facts are crystal clear, both BP and the Feds had no plan and no on-site assets at the ready to deal with this matter. Weeks passed and nothing was done of substance. We are watching a disaster worsen. It is only going to get worse. Why was BP permitted to use dispersants at the well head? Wouldn’t it have been better to allow the oil to reach the surface and then collect it?

    Neither BP, nor the Feds followed this principle: prior proper preparation prevents poor performance.

  • Sally Strange

    Can you please get the guests to comment about Robert Reich’s suggestion that the federal gov’t should but BP into temporary receivership, so that there is no more need to take it to court just to get accurate information?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Apparently only Dawn laundry liquid removes gulf oil from birds, so our local supermarkets joined with local public radio fundraisers and sent many bottles of Dawn down South.
    Also, we have special hair cutting days when hair is sent South to soak up oil. I have my doubts, but if there were a public hair recycling center, I would bring the hair I cut off my head to that place. Altogether, we might have enough for a harbor or so.

  • George Johnson

    While BP must still bear primary responsibility, all of us who drive share a part of the blame for the tradegy that has unfolded in the Gulf. I suggest that President Obama and Congress enact a one or two cent per gallon supplemental tax on gasoline and other petroleum products to fund a special trust fund for the Gulf that could fund recovery efforts for a period of up to 20 years. This funding should be used to supplement, not replace the amounts that BP is legally responsible to provide in damages.

  • jeffe

    Ellen I hate to break this to you but cleaning off the birds will not help them, most of them die within weeks of cleaning from other complications, such as organ failures.

  • altimon kelly

    Tom there is a company in New Hampshire with new oil cleaning technology which can clean the wetlands and clean birds completely of oil in less than a minute. tom could you find out why BP or the government is not using these new green resources.
    Tom the name of the company is MOP environmental.

  • TBrandstad

    It is nice to hear ignorance at its best with all of the listeners that hate disbursants yet know nothing about them.

  • http://n Les Wetmore

    Brandstad,

    What do you know about them?

  • Jason S

    Tom,

    President Obama has claimed that he was on top of this situation from day one. Has anyone asked Obama what he did on day one? The first week? The first month? It seams like he claims he was in charge of everything but responsible for non of the failures.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Jeffe, LOL. I think I see where people are using their best instincts to come together and help (Dawn, hair), and don’t have the information or organization to really be able to help. Might even be counterproductive, definitely a waste of time and money. Gotta hear more about dispersants yea or nay.

  • TBrandstad

    Not much, that is why I don’t endorse nor condemn them. Apparently they are used to break down the oil into forms that are more quickly attacked and dissipated by bacteria in the water. Apparently Obama and his scientists approved using them for some reason before political opposition became to high.

  • peter nelson

    It is interesting how some conservatives and Republicans who are for small government and want government to be out of their lives are now crying that the government is not doing enough.

    Yes, isn’t it?

    It’s fascinating to watch these people twist themselves into knots trying to square their contradictory positions. “Government should stay out of our lives”; “the only legitimate function of the state is to prevent force or fraud”; No healthcare for the poor or sick because “it’s not the job of the taxpayers” to help the suffering; Spending tax money to help the suffering is an indefensible “transfer of wealth”; etc, etc.

    Lower taxes, lower taxes, lower taxes. Stop tying the hands of big corporations. More regulation will kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

    … and then suddenly it’s “why isn’t the government doing more?”.

  • peter nelson

    And speaking of conservative hypocrisy . . .

    I just returned last week from southeast Alaska, where despite AK’s conservative reputation, many locals are concerned about the effects of CO2 on the local fish population, due to ocean acidification and isostatic rebound (from melting glaciers) pushing tidewater habitats where fish breed up out of the water.

    10 years from now these same Alaska “conservatives” will be whining about why the government didn’t do more!

  • Jean

    Why do people seem to be jumping in to interfere with BP’s recovery plan as on-file with the government assuring the prevention of economic and ecological impacts. They plan to even save the marine mammals.

    Surely people wouldn’t want the government to spend money when BP has the responsibility. My ears get burnt every day on government spending and the need to shrink it to let corporate America roll. Though BP is a foreign entity.

    Implement Supertanker Oil Spill Solution
    Facebook ^ | June 4, 2010 | John David Powell
    Posted on Fri Jun 04 2010 16:10:56 GMT-0500 (CDT) by John David Powell

    This idea came about while talking with another marketing person this morning.

    It’s time to implement a proven solution to cleaning up the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Please read the following info. If you agree this sounds like the best solution out there, then share the page. If Facebookers can make NBC take notice and sign up Betty White to host SNL, then surely we can get the attention of federal officials & BP executives to implement the supertanker oil-spill solution now.

    Read the information. If you agree, become a fan of the page and tell your friends and family. If you’re not on Facebook, then read the links below and decide.

    Thanks.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Implement-Supertanker-Oil-Spill-Solution-Now/129090837117817

    links for non-Facebookers

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gulf-oil-spill-supertankers-051310

    http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/could-cleanup-fix-for-gulf-oil-spill-lie-in-secret-saudi-disaster/19476863

  • Steve T

    This is nuts.

    Blah blah blah
    Spurt spurt gush
    Blah blah blah
    Gush gush whoosh
    Point point point
    Whoosh whoosh Whoosh
    Whoosh whoosh whoosh

    It’s also like watching the earth bleed out like a human.

    If anyone “knew” this would happen, of course it would never have happened.
    Yeah right.

    When ever wherever a oil rig is built there is pollution. Just a fact!

    People of this earth don’t know they come from whats beneath their feet.
    Before we kill it it may well kill us, and start over.

  • Jason S

    What has Obama don’t to prevent the oil from reaching shore? What has he done to cap the well? Do you think he is doing everything in his power to help solve the problem and what evidence do you have to support your position. This is an example of how the Government has failed to enforce their current regulations and failed the environment in their lack of an attempt to help clean up the mess.

  • http://n Les Wetmore

    lots of things get approved by ouur government that maybe shouldn’t. The chemical that makes up 60% of the dispresent is banned in europe. Breaking the oil down so that it no longer floats doesn’t make much since to me. Then you think we are doing that by pouring poison on it. Pretty dumb!

  • TBrandstad

    I laugh at anyone that said BP is more woried about their profits than stopping the oil spill. Do you not realize that BP has to spend Thousands if not millions more $ every minute the oil continues to spill! Don’t you think this might be motivation enough for them to do their best to stop it!

  • linda coffin

    please consider whether the exploitive shrimping and fishing industries in the area were really sustainable?? were drift nets used?? if so does anyone think it possible that the lack of respect for the living ocean creatures killed cruelly and discarded with zero respect could be an element in the tragedy?

    a caller mentioned how the area is responsible for the consumption of shrimp and fish in the whole usa, (large percentage)

    isn’t about time we realize the only solution to oil consumption and vociferous seafood consumption is downsize our thoughtless waste and overuse?

  • Joyce Greenfield

    If the regulations, that are in place, had not been corrupted it is likely that this disaster would not have happened. If corporations are allowed to do as they please this is the result. If you take exception to that take a look at Nigeria and see the damage Shell Oil has done there.

  • TBrandstad

    Les,

    I didn’t know you were an expert!

    Where did you get the information that dispursants sink the oil! Why would dispursants sink the oil?

  • http://none Les Wetmore

    Right on Linda. We are all responsible for this. Maybe this disaster wil help to wake up to that fact. But hearing all this blame the president talk doesn’t make me feel good about that possiblity.

  • Cody Holliwt

    I see all the accusations about BP and the President not doing enough and I recognize the frustration with the continued problem but I have never heard anyone justify what motive the President or BP would have for not trying as hard as they can to fix this. It has become PR nightmare for BP and the President and I don’t know what motive they would have for not trying as hard as possible to get this fixed. Anyone have any ideas?

  • peter nelson

    however the facts are crystal clear, both BP and the Feds had no plan and no on-site assets at the ready to deal with this matter.

    Where does it say that it’s the taxpayers’ responsibility to have a plan for a problem like this? Do you have any idea what it would cost to have assets on hand to deal with a crisis of this magnitude?

    The only responsibility of the government WRT a situation like this is to insist that oil-drilling companies have assets and technology in place and already tested and verified to deal with a crisis like this. The feds’ failure to keep their foot on the neck of the oil drillers in this respect is my biggest criticism of them.

    BTW, I’m a shareholder and trader in several major oil and gas companies (but not BP). It’s a strictly parasitic relationship; if, say, Exxon did something like this, I would be the first to suggest we try plugging the leak with Exxon executives. That idea hasn’t yet been tried with BP but I think it should be considered.

  • peter nelson

    I suggest that President Obama and Congress enact a one or two cent per gallon supplemental tax on gasoline and other petroleum products to fund a special trust fund for the Gulf that could fund recovery efforts for a period of up to 20 years. This funding should be used to supplement, not replace the amounts that BP is legally responsible to provide in damages.

    Why do we need to supplement BP with our tax dollars? If there is something that needs to be done WRT recovery, even 20 years down the road, every penny should come from BP.

  • http://none Les Wetmore

    Brandstand,

    have you not listened to any news in the last month? That is common information. I am no expert, but I would say listening to the “experts” for the past 40 years hasn’t done a lot of good.

  • TomK

    Jason, I’m afraid I have to agree with you, Obama’s main effort has been spin control. Before the disaster, it doesn’t look like he made much of an effort to clear the “drill baby drill” bush-cheney zealots out of MMS, either.

    I think using disperants is insane. Nobody knows what all that dispersed underwater oil will do to marine life. OTOH, if it’s all floating to the top near the well, it’s easier to collect, skim, burn, etc. Of course, it might make some really ugly pictures that would make even worse PR for BP and the gvt….

    I’m also outraged about the stories that BP has told journalists they can’t go in certain areas and can’t interview cleanup workers. BP has no police power in the USA, I hope. Why don’t some journalists confront these goons and see f they will try to “arrest” them?

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems to me that countries that are most dependent on the oil industries (Saudi Arabia) are most aware that this is an industry with an endpoint in sight. If there is not a limit to accessible oil reserves, there is certainly a limit to the earth’s ability to sustain the toxic effects and the global warming effects. In short, if you have the kind of money that BP has or Saudi Arabia (or maybe Iran?), you are in a position to start up the way-of-life of the future, sustainable energy, sustainable housing, transportation, all that. Saudi Arabia has built an oil-free city, I believe. I don’t know if they are pioneering batteries of the future or whatever, but they have the resources to do so. And I believe I’ve read that they are planning (unlike some of us).
    So does BP. There is manpower in the Gulf area to help make that sort of thing a reality. It’s about time. Take the 10 billion in profits and instead of dividends, start an Institute of the Future, and build it in Louisiana. Hire the displaced. Train them first, sure. Ask Saudi Arabia for inspiration and guidance — if I’m right about them. Or do they keep secrets like BP…

  • peter nelson

    TBrandstad says Do you not realize that BP has to spend Thousands if not millions more $ every minute the oil continues to spill! Don’t you think this might be motivation enough for them to do their best to stop it!

    You’re wrong. BP could have developed each of their proposed solutions (“dome” “top hat” “straw”, “top kill”, etc, etc) in parallel instead of serially. This would have saved WEEKS. But BP insisted on developing them one-at-a-time to save money. BP was afraid that if the first one worked they would have wasted the money spent preparing the others. So there you have proof that they were thinking about money first, environment second.

  • informed American

    President Obama is doing an outstanding job of dealing with the spill in the Gulf. So sorry that I ever doubted his competency or commitment.

  • cory

    Wake me up when there is ANY change in this story. The facts we have have been sliced, diced, chopped, hashed, and rehashed. The only thing worse than another show about gulf oil is another about Israel.

  • TomK

    BP is by far the worst major oil co. We have left the class clown in charge of protecting the USA. Obama should have assembled a team from the competent oil cos like exxon, chevron, and shell so he could really be in charge and not have to rely on these bozos to plug the hole. So long as the engineering is up to BP, BP is in charge.

  • peter nelson

    but I have never heard anyone justify what motive the President or BP would have for not trying as hard as they can to fix this

    Money, in BP’s case. As I explained above, BP deliberately chose (what they hoped would be) a cheaper strategy to deal with the leak. On top of that they SHOULD have had tested hardware in place on shore to deal with a leak like this the same way their filling stations (at least around here) have a fire-extinguishing system already installed. The idea of NOT having a contingency plan is criminally reckless on the part of BP.

    I’m not sure what Obama’s problem was. Partly, like most US politicians, he drank the Kool-aid that the free-market can do no wrong. The fact that Obama has received $77,000 from BP since he ran for Senate can’t be ignored. BP only gave McCain $44,889 and Bush II $47,388 – so does this mean they would have acted faster?

  • David Stasney

    Two points I would like to hear you and or your guests address and one comment:

    1. Why are the efforts now focused on recovery of the oil instead of stopping the flow? Have we just rolled over and are now waiting for the so called “relief wells” to be completed?
    2. Why aren’t the greatest minds in America (or the world for that matter) being pulled away from what they are doing elsewhere to solve this problem (NASA, MIT, etc.) – Do you really believe the world’s best scientists and engineers cannot design something to stop this leak?
    Comment: It is a true crime that we (the common people) have no affordable or available alternative to oil or coil

  • http://none Les Wetmore

    Let’s use Sarah Palin to plug the hole.

  • peter nelson

    Why aren’t the greatest minds in America (or the world for that matter) being pulled away from what they are doing elsewhere to solve this problem (NASA, MIT, etc.

    There’s too much domain-knowledge involved, so that wouldn’t work.

    Someone else suggested Obama forming a team of the best specialists from Exxon, Chevron, etc. I think that idea has merit but those companies would have to volunteer them (which would be great publicity for them, I think). I don’t think the government has any authority to just pluck them.

  • http://none Les Wetmore

    David,

    I am not sure that the world’s greatest minds can solve this that easily. That seems to be the myth that keeps use going down these dangerous roads, “humanity will always solve any problem.” Maybe we should have the greatest minds in the world figuering out what to do to change the way we do things.

  • peter nelson

    Let’s use Sarah Palin to plug the hole.

    Yeah, what ever happened to “Drill Baby Drill” that she and Michael Steele were leading the crowd in chanting at the RNC convention? Why don’t those two clowns stand on the beach on the Gulf Coast right now and try chanting that?

  • TBrandstad

    Why did Obama refuse foreign assistance in cleaning up and containing the oil spill 5 days after the explosion!

  • Jason S

    I think Obama should apologize to the affected golf residents for not doing everything he could have done. We would be far better off if we had accepted foreign assistance with the cleanup.

  • peter nelson

    Why did Obama refuse foreign assistance in cleaning up and containing the oil spill 5 days after the explosion!

    Actually BP HAS accepted help from Norway and Mexico.

    You’re still trying to promote the idea that it’s the government’s job to clean up this mess (what kind of a conservative are you?). It’s BP’s job and the job of the government is to keep their foot on BP’s neck until they do it.

  • informed American

    Where is Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano? She sure as hell isn’t securing our borders or the spill in the Gulf.

  • peter nelson

    We would be far better off if we had accepted foreign assistance with the cleanup.

    You STILL haven’t explained why it’s the government’s job. It’s BP’s job. Obama should be demanding that BP have every one of their office workers and filling-station down there on the beach in hip-waders cleaning oil off of things.

    When other countries are offering assistance it shouldn’t be up to Obama – he should refer them to BP and then we should be asking why BP did not accept their offers of help.

    It’s very important that we do not lose sight of the fact that BP is the responsible party here.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard what LaTosha Brown of the Gulf Coast Fund said about Cancer Alley and the medical costs of having so much petrochemical industry on the Gulf Coast. She mentioned that people are getting sick from the oil spill, and I’m thinking that my own experience from “sick building” syndrome in the aftermath of the oil crisis under Jimmy Carter when people were waiting in lines at gas stations and the White House was so chilly that Carter’s wife was in tears. In those days, oil scarcity made builders build buildings to air-tight that any problems with the air flow could ruin the health of various people in various ways. People got cancer, or like me got multiple chemical sensitivities. One’s natural immunities run amok, and the cost of straightening that out (100s of allergies, to foods, all the usual things, plus untreatable reactivity to odors) — that is something medical know-how is not up to. Doctors still call it psychological. I.E., learn to live with it. Get disability and go away.
    It is particularly difficult to define the environmental toll on humans because we go into hard-to-quantify environmental hazards with differential physical “loads” in our fats and so on to begin with. My insurer (most insurers) won’t pay the $150 to test for heavy metals stored in the body (versus recent, and in the blood). And they sure won’t pay for the chelation over many months to reduce that toxic load. Apparently there are just too many people afflicted. And if you don’t find yourself in the fumes of an oil spill, you might be just fine. And who is going to pay the cost of the treatment if the causation is deep in your bones and your personal history of exposures? Did you live downwind of a plastics plant, a rubber tire burning facility, play in the yard where trash was once dumped, breathe DDT when young, on and on.
    No one will take the blame. No one will try to “fix” you. God knows what happens to your offspring. Cancer is only the easiest-to-fix part of an environmental disaster — apologies to those with cancer. I had that too. Survive that and you get to deal with unmentionable disorders that we (the medical profession, the insurers) wish did not exist. Think of the number of people that could be miserable for many decades apiece. It’s truly awful.

  • JP

    More extremely bad oil spew news:

    Where those dead birds, tar balls
    and oily booms go for disposal?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37598538/ns/disaster_in_the_gulf/

    This horrid catastrophe has limitless disastrous dimensions.

  • peter nelson

    I’m still waiting for some conservative to explain, consistent with their conservative philosophy, why they think the government has a responsibility to clean up this mess.

    There is nothing to stop BP from getting on the phone to every employment agency in the world, especially in countries that have experienced oil spills or have an oil industry, and saying “we need nn,000 of people with the following skills … we need them now and we’ll pay whatever it takes – finders fee, fat salaries, transportation, room, board, equipment, etc Obama’s only role should be to expedite the work-visa process.

    Ditto with equipment – if there’s a specialized ship or other gear, there’s nothing to stop BP from acquiring it. All offers of help from foreign nations should directed to BP.

    There are even temp management agencies, if BP doesn’t have enough management staff to oversee this. There is absolutely no reason why BP can’t manage this whole thing themselves, and Obama’s only job should be to make sure they do it with alacrity and dispatch.

    Seriously, this is a great opportunity for BP – if they survive as a company, There are bound to be oil spills in the future and with the experience they gain from this they could have a whole cleanup and remediation division whose services they rent out to other companies when these things happen.

  • TBrandstad

    A Belgian group–DEME– contends it can clean up the oil in three to four months with specialty vessel and equipment, rather than an estimated nine months if done only by the U.S. And other nations have offered aid – only to be refused by Obama.

  • TBrandstad

    Despite the vow by President Obama to keep the Gulf oil spill a top priority until the damage is cleaned up, 50 days after the BP rig exploded, a definitive date and meaningful solution is yet to be determined for the worst oil spill in the U.S. history.

    So, you would think if someone is willing to handle the clean-up with equipment and technology not available in the U.S., and finishes the job in shorter time than the current estimate, the U.S. should jump on the offer.

    But it turned out to be quite the opposite. .

    According to Foreign Policy, thirteen entities had offered the U.S. oil spill assistance within about two weeks of the Horizon rig explosion. They were the governments of Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.

    The U.S. response – Thank you, but no thank you, we’ve got it.

    “..While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future.”

    Blame It On The Jones Act?

    Separately, Belgian newspaper De Standaard also reported Belgian and Dutch dredgers have technology in-house to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, butthe Jones Act forbids them to work in the U.S.

    A Belgian group–DEME– contends it can clean up the oil in three to four months with specialty vessel and equipment, rather than an estimated nine months if done only by the U.S. The article noted there are no more than 5 or 6 of those ships in the world and the top specialist players are the two Belgian companies- DEME and De Nul – and their Dutch competitors.

    The U.S. does not have the similar technology and vessel to accomplish the cleanup task because those ships would cost twice as much to build in the U.S. than in the Far East. The article further criticizes this “great technological delay” is a direct consequence of the Jones Act.

    What Is The Jones Act?

    The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, deals with coastal shipping; and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

    The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. merchant marine industry. Critics said that the legislation results in increased costs moving cargoes between U.S. ports, and in essence, is protectionism, Supporters of the Act maintain that the legislation is of strategic economic and wartime interest to the United States. .

    European Service Sector – Offshore Subsea Specialist

    As discussed in my analysis of the oil service sector, the European companies typically possess the knowhow in offshore and subsea; whereas their North American counterparts excel in onshore drilling and production technologies.

    So, it is more than likely that European firms do have the expertise to clean up the spill quicker and more effectively as DEME asserts.

    Since the Jones Act means the Belgian ship and personnel cannot work in the Gulf, it does seem the Act has inhibited technology and knowledge exchange & development, and possibly prevented a quicker response to the oil spill.

    Jones Waiver Time

    On the other hand, waivers of the Jones may be granted by the Administration in cases of national emergencies or in cases of strategic interest. It would appear the U.S. government’s initial refusal to foreign help most likely stemmed from a mis-calculation of the scale and deepwater technological barriers for this unprecedented disaster, and/or perhaps ….. pride.

    Whatever the rationale, and if De Standarrd’s claim that the Jones Act forbids the European companies to help fight the spill is true, it is high time the U.S. government grant the Jones waiver, and let this be an international collaborative effort.

    Bush waved the Jones act within days of hurricane Katrina, why hasn’t Obama done the same?

    It’s always better late than never.

  • JP

    You’ll be waiting forever for conservatives to reconcile THAT contradiction, Peter, as of course it makes no sense whatever.

    It’s just one more in the long littany of hypocritic contradictions that conservative sheep are willing to forgive their “chosen” in order to preserve ideological “purity,” no matter how inane the political and cultural positions prove to be.

  • TBrandstad

    peter & jp,

    The Jones Act prevents them! Read above.

    The contradiction is thinking the government can protect the environment and do everything better than private industry.

    Did they protect the Gulf of Mexico? If they can clean up the oil spill better than BP why don’t they? If they can’t why does Obama have to approve everything that BP does?

  • JP

    Another absurd and ignorant conservative position is the contention that the oil spew can be “cleaned up.”

    There has never been any real possibility of mitigating the disastrous effects of the spew, short of stopping it right at the mouth of the drill bore.

    This stupidity is just more Republican spin to try and divert attention away from the blame of Republican deregulation.

    That’s like someone setting off an atomic bomb, then saying “the bomb isn’t the problem for those people… the problem is no one is cleaning up the aftermath fast enough.”

    The real joke, as Peter points out, is that Conservatives scream for small government, and then expect immediate success in government action when it’s all the public has as a recourse.

    WAKE UP BRAINIACS!!! A HUGE GOVERNMENT BUREACRACY IS WHAT IS NECESSARY TO KEEP AGENCIES IN PLACE AND READY WHEN SUCH UNANTICIPATED EVENTS OCCUR, NOT TO MENTION THE BUREACRACY THAT’S REQUIRED FOR CONTINUOUS OVERSIGHT.

  • Ellen Dibble

    TBrandstad, I think congresspeople should be lobbying the administration to waive the Jones Act in case they don’t get the idea direct from you. Have you called your senators and congressmen?
    Some of the media should be insinuating this matter into the public domain so that more of us can get informed and start bothering our representatives. If you are right, thanks, and please blanket all the blogs you can access with this info.

  • peter nelson

    TBrandstad says A Belgian group–DEME– contends it can clean up the oil in three to four months with specialty vessel and equipment, rather than an estimated nine months if done only by the U.S. And other nations have offered aid – only to be refused by Obama.

    Still ducking the question, I see.

    There is nothing to stop BP from accepting DEME’s offer.

    The federal government’s only role here should be to expedite the paperwork – work-visas, customs requirements for bringing in equipment, etc. If the Jones Act is an impediment then they should deal with that, too, but please point us to where BP has indicated they’d like to hire DEME but were prevente3d from doing so.

    BTW, virtually your entire posting was lifted from an article by Dian L Chu on globalresearch.ca without attribution. Another example of conservative “ethics”?

  • TBrandstad

    Ellen Dibble,

    A few people on FOX are talking about the Jones act but the remainder of the media have ignored the refusal of foreign assistance and the Jones act. I have called my legislators and a few from nearby districts. Please do the same.

  • peter nelson

    The Jones Act prevents them! Read above.

    I read the entire article that you plagiarized and nowhere did it say that BP claimed that they tried to bring in some foreign help and were blocked by the Jones Act.

  • TBrandstad

    Peter Nelson,

    I am not ducking the question, I just thought you could read. Since my previous post must have had too many words for you to understand I will repost the answer to you question.

    “Belgian newspaper De Standaard also reported Belgian and Dutch dredgers have technology in-house to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, butthe Jones Act forbids them to work in the U.S.”

    The Jones act forbids them from working in the gulf for BP, the US Government or even Al Gore!

    The Jones act was enacted during the Woodrow Wilson administration as an attempt to bolster the US shipping industry. Many business complain that this act increases the cost of shipping, especially on agricultural commodities like corn.

  • peter nelson

    “Belgian newspaper De Standaard also reported Belgian and Dutch dredgers have technology in-house to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, butthe Jones Act forbids them to work in the U.S.”

    This is pure speculation since the article you plagiarized never claimed that BP attempted to use foreign resources but was prevented from doing so. Tony Hayward has spent lots of time talking to the media, ans presumably would like to see the crisis resolved, so you’d think if the Jones Act was stopping him he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to complain about it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Let’s see. So BP has to have US-built rigs? Or is that so far off the coast that Jones doesn’t apply. Most of the spill is off the coast, and that is where the super technology is needed. Surface oil, we’ve heard, you can use woodchips etc., although one would think the oil would be a lot heavier and just as toxic thus trapped.
    I guess I know what to listen for tomorrow night when Obama speaks. Who’s in charge? What help do we need? Is BP handing over the necessary information so our multitudinous not-too-well-coordinated agencies can, um, help? Would receivership of BP by us put us in position to better assist their know-how? To assess their efforts? To command their cooperation with other entities, Dutch, Belgian, or other?
    Um. What does China do when say an earthquake puts them into overdrive? Does Bill Clinton go over there and offer technical know-how? Global philanthropy? Just curious.

  • TBrandstad

    The US government has refused help from 13 countries so far. Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands are a few of the countries that offered to help but the US government refused. Please see the article below.

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/05/06/us_not_accepting_foreign_help_on_oil_spill

  • JP

    Yes… we’ve seen countries across the globe prove their technological prowess at tackling this kind of unprecedented spew again and again… remarkable BP isn’t falling over itself to enlist their help.

    BTW, he even plagiarized his moniker.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The article says the decision not to accept help was from the top AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT, as I read it, and that was May 6th. State Department wouldn’t release the names of the offering countries right off the bat, but e-mailed it. The article specifically mentions Iran offering technical aid. Maybe I need a new pair of glasses. I think Trojan Horse. Or was that actually Turkey — I mean Greece.
    I think if the State Department was turning down assistance before May 6th, one would hope they were at least polite enough about it to leave the possibility open. My impression is that expertise THAT IS NOT LOCKED UP INTO PROPRIETARY CORPORATE THINKTANKS is shared internationally. So corporate “culture” of own-it-and-profit-by-it is working against us. Only if the State pays for knowledge and know-how does it have the right to access it? Is Government big enough for you yet, Republicans?

  • TomK

    peter nelson, you’re right that the gvt couldn’t order the other oil cos to do anything, but you’re also right that they might like the publicity. Also, the gvt could simply hire them as contractors, paid from seized BP assets.

    There’s been a lot of talk about who’s in charge. imo, the entity trying to plug the hole is in charge.

  • TBrandstad

    I see since no one here can refute the facts they have attempted to attack and belittle me.

    That is very big of you.

    Why can’t you take your political blinders off and realize that the Democrat and the Republican parties are both equally bad. That is why our government is unable to react to emergencies.

    Unless you can explain the following:

    Why new government regulations will prevent the next disaster even though our current regulations didn’t prevent this disaster.

    Will additional government spending prevent us from going bankrupt because we spent too much money in the past?

  • jeremiah georger

    You all assume that Obama wants to clean up the Gulf. This is the chaos and crisis upon which Obama and his Chicago thugs thrive. What was it that Rahm said? “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    The statists will destroy the country.

  • Ellen Dibble

    T, it’s wars, interest on debt, and entitlements in the future that are sinking the ship of United States. Money to solve problems is a necessity. Money to solve nationwide problems likewise.
    Say you are sick, kneeling at the porcelain throne, as they say. First you restore yourself enough to remobilize. If you don’t have enough money (borrowed or saved) to remobilize, forget about planning for the future. It isn’t going to happen.
    Look at the pie. Without vomiting. Look at the pieces for entitlement, debt, and defense. It isn’t Big Government Spending for say R&D that is making the future of Medicare look like Scylla and Charybis; that is caused by an aging population plus a government program in need of a fix. What about the wars — that was a cost issue in 2001; perhaps it is necessary to fight where we do; perhaps not.
    But if meanwhile the nation is fracturing (poverty, drugs, crime) and despoiling (toxins, CO2) itself, what exactly are we fighting for? A dream deferred? Or generalized disenchantment?

  • peter nelson

    I see since no one here can refute the facts they have attempted to attack and belittle me.

    It’s not up to us to refute your speculation; it’s up to you to prove a connection. It’s pure speculation whether the Jones Act has any bearing on why BP has failed to mobilize the necessary resources to deal with the situation.

    Does anyone seriously doubt that if Heyward started complaining to the press that “Gee, there’s all this great talent and technology out there that I’d love to hire to fix the situation but I’m prevented by the Jones Act/work-visas/customs rules/import quotes/other bureaucratic red tape .. that the red tape would shredded faster than you can say “all in favor say aye”?

    And as far as attacking and belittling you, you still haven’t manned up to your plagiarism. Your behavior is highly unethical.

  • gary crossman

    No leadership from Obama. The liberal think tanks control all.

    If you want to see where President Barack Obama’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster is heading, try following the urgings of the Center for American Progress.

    The liberal think tank with close White House ties appears to have more influence on spill policy than the president’s in-house advisers. On May 4, for instance, the CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, called on the president to name an independent commission to look at the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On May 22, he did just that.

    On May 21, CAP president, John Podesta, privately implored White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the spill response. A week later, the White House announced that Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen would hold daily briefings on the spill, wherever he would be on any given day.

    On May 26, Weiss said the White House needed to demand that BP immediately set up an escrow account with billions of dollars from which claims for Gulf state residents would be paid out.

    Monday’s headlines proclaimed the president’s latest get-tough stand: BP needs to set up a billion-dollar escrow account.

    What’s next, Mr. Podesta?

    On May 25, 2010, instead of attending the memorial service for the dead oil rig workers, Obama went to a fund raiser for Boxer.

  • JP

    TBrandstad,

    I’ve read your posts since they started appearing a week and a half ago, and I see lots of blame for Obama, but none for the zealous Republican deregulation preached fervently by conservatives since Reagan.

    At least conservatives before the Reagan era tempered their pro-business rhetoric with a little wisdom, since they new damn well the need for government regulation… ahter all, they were a generation who lived through the depression and previous corporate and Wall Street abuses… some may have even remembered the times of the Robber barons and their abuses.

    Your post above is the first I’ve seen which acknowledges any Republican culpability whatever.

    If you want any credibility for your arguments, then place specific blame where it really belongs, and don’t simply try for political spin… people like you force people like me to counter with equal fervor, since the elecorate has proven their inability to think past spin and rhetoric.

    I’ve seen the results on the apatheitc in this country of lies and spin by the right… it’s disconcertingly effective, and so it demands an equal response by the left.

    Balance your commentary if you want to carry on an adult dialogue… otherwise you force an immature dialogue, as many know that the idiotic rhetoric of the right is effective enough on the populous as to demand equivalent response.

    I’m sorry to admit this fact of American politics, but it’s true.

    A third of my posts try for educated and informed argument, the other two thirds are a direct response to conservative stupidities, hyperbole, and outright lies.

    Any objective study of lies and hyperbolic rhetoric comes from the right, as their arguments simply don’t hold water when it comes to the historical and academic evidence, and their only hope for avancing their ideology is through misinformation… therefore, the burden of raising the intellectual level of discussion lies with the right.

  • JP

    correction:

    “Any objective study of lies and hyperbolic rhetoric shows that it mainly comes from the right, as their arguments simply don’t hold water when it comes to the historical and academic evidence, and their only hope for avancing their ideology is through misinformation… therefore, the burden of raising the intellectual level of discussion lies with the right.”

  • peter nelson

    On May 4, for instance, the CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, called on the president to name an independent commission to look at the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster

    On May 21, CAP president, John Podesta, privately implored White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the spill response.

    On May 26, Weiss said the White House needed to demand that BP immediately set up an escrow account with billions of dollars from which claims for Gulf state residents would be paid out.

    These all sound like perfectly sensible ideas – good for Obama for doing them. What’s your complaint?

    I only hope that CAP next suggests that Obama require BP to hire enough cleanup workers and resources so state and federal taxpayers don’t have to keep using our own resources for this. Bobby Jindal was complaining to Obama that there are whole sections of beach where there was no one working on the cleanup, and there were thousands of feet of oil boom sitting around up in the northeast waiting to be shipped down.

    While I agree with Jindal that this is deplorable, he should be directing his complaints to BP, who should be chartering whole fleets of planes to fly in workers and gear to perform remediation.

    The responsibility here is BP’s now matter hoiw much the conservatives try to shift the focus. Obama and Thad Allen’s job is to keep the pressure on BP.

  • TBrandstad

    peter nelson,

    This is a blog…. it is essentially a bathroom stall that is written on daily with random markers. I don’t need to apologize for bringing mainstream non-partisan ideas to this leftist blog.

  • Jason S

    Do I remember correctly that Obama said in his previous press conference that he has been on top of the situation since day one and everything BP does he has to approve?

  • JP

    TBrandstad,

    This is NOT a blog.

    This is a comments forum for a radio program.

    There is a considerable difference.

  • peter nelson

    the other two thirds are a direct response to conservative stupidities, hyperbole, and outright lies.

    “Conservative intellectual” has almost become an oxymoron. When I was in college the most prominent conservative was William F Buckley Jr, who I admired greatly despite his being on the other end of the political spectrum (I actually got his autograph once). He could say some outrageous things but he was erudite and a good debater. Today the most prominent conservative is Sarah Palin.

    The conservatives have retreated more and more into emotion, tribalism and religion. They see scholarship and academia as liberal and corrupt.

    To me the most surprising thing is in the sciences. When I was in college scientists were conservative. It was the arts and humanities majors who came out against the Vietnam War – the scientists were the guys with short hair, white shirts, narrow ties, and Nixon/Agnew stickers.

    But nowadays I’m a member of AAAS – the largest professional science organization in the country – and the science community feels besieged by the conservatives! On everything from climate change (where there is near unanimity in the scientific community) to evolution to big-bang to stem cell research to various aspects of quantum physics , not to mention issues involved with bringing in students and fellows from foreign countries, scientific exchanges with scientists in countries we have difficult relations with, school standards and curricula and funding for pure research, science is being attacked from the right!

    It’s amazing – here he have a group that was solidly conservative a generation ago, and which is vital to the future of our country, and which represents perhaps the pinnacle of human intellectual achievement, and its being systematically attacked and discredited by the right wing all over the US. Anyone who doubts this need merely read an issue of the journal Science (our flagship publication and one of the most prominent peer-reviewed research journals in the world) and look in the news items in the front. It’s scary.

  • peter nelson

    This is a blog…. it is essentially a bathroom stall that is written on daily with random markers. I don’t need to apologize for bringing mainstream non-partisan ideas to this leftist blog.

    This is not a blog, and you’re not being criticized for bringing in any kind of ideas; you’re being criticized for plagiarism – for quoting someone else’s work wholesale without crediting them. That’s just plain dishonest.

  • TBrandstad

    Who did I plagiarize?

  • TBrandstad

    So you agree with the facts!?!

  • TBrandstad

    The fact that this is NOT a blog doesn’t change the facts.
    Why do you even waste your time mentioning this? Do you have no facts to offer? only insults and criticism’s.

  • peter nelson

    Who did I plagiarize?

    Dian L. Chu, the author of the article on the Jones Act.

  • Jason S

    Has anyone seen this interesting explanation of how Oil spreads and decomposes.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/?descr=uuijsybmeuxyqx

  • peter nelson

    Has anyone seen this interesting explanation of how Oil spreads and decomposes.

    Yes, that was part of the reasons why they wanted to use dispersants. Contrary to what some people here seemed to think, dispersants are not just some nefarious oil-company trick to hide the oil – by increasing their exposed surface area they really do accelerate the natural process by which oil slicks eventually break down.

    The problem is that the dispersants in question are themselves pretty toxic so it’s not clear there’s a win, environmentally.

  • Dan

    Does everyone know that Obama was in the air on his way to a democratic fundraiser while the memorial was going on for the victims of the oil rig explosion. I am glad that our leader has his priorities in order.

  • JP

    Yes Dan (Joe)… Obama should be posing for as many disingenuous photo ops as he can… any Republican certainly would.

    After all, the workers killed on the rig are the real story here… that is why Republicans demand that Presidents attend the hundreds of deaths per year that occur on oil rigs, at refineries, at natural gas depots, etc…

    Try making a significant point sometime, will you?

  • Dan

    The finger pointer & chief can do no wrong.

    It is funny that he said that he didn’t want to talk to the BP CEO because the CEO wouldn’t tell him the trough anyway but he was willing to sit down with the leader of Iran. Does that mean that Obama feels the leader of Iran is more honest than a CEO?

  • JP

    Peter,

    If the use of dispersants by BP were intended primarily to aid bacterial and UV breakdown, they would have used it primarily nearer the surface where most of the bacterial action and UV exposure occurs.

    Instead, BP used the dispersants primarily at 5000 ft. of depth, where the toxicity to effectiveness benefit was the least beneficial.

    This shows, IMO, that BP was primarily concerned with keeping the oil in deep water suspension, where it would be invisible to the media and thus the public eye.

    The dispersants were never going to significantly temper damage to the coastline, as the sheer volume guaranteed the coastline would not be spared at total catastrophe regardless of dispersant use.

    The use of dispersants was never worth compounding the toxicicity problem, and should never have been allowed more than very sparse use at the surface, if used at all.

  • Janet

    A failure of a government agency, MMS, was the leading cause of this industrial accident. It’s failure was not due to a lack of regulations, but rather, failure to conduct inspections to ensure everything was “up to snuff” on the oil rigs. Additionally, the head of the MMS was not qualified to hold that positon. AG Holder should be conducting a criminal investigation on her and other members of the MMS to find out how poorly they were doing their jobs.

  • TomK

    “The problem is that the dispersants in question are themselves pretty toxic so it’s not clear there’s a win, environmentally.”

    dispersing the oil is not an obvious win either. nobody has a clue what spreading it through all depths of the water will do to marine life, and it makes it harder to skim it or burn it.

  • CHRIS M

    Hi Janet, Again with the government always being the one at fault. Wow, I guess BP, Deep Horizon and Halliburton had absolutely nothing to do with causing this accident. Yes, the MMS did an atrocious job of inspections (another gutted or bloated agency thanks to all those wonderful appointees from Dubya), but the above listed companies are the principles who caused this accident, not the MMS.

  • http://none Les Wetmore

    janet,

    Criminal behavior by government agencies is far from new or resigned to this situation. If we want to investigate some criminal behavior within the context of government policies, look at a food system that won’t let farmers save seed and arrests a farmer who doesn’t play, if he’s field is polinated by his neighbor’s. (investigate monstanto). As to this, why do we play the blame game when we are all using the oil?

  • Bob Johnson

    The rigs are required to be inspected every month. MMS routinely ignored this requirement. When you have corrupt and dishonest government workers and offcials and managers, no amount of regulations will be effective. It is all about implementation and enforcement.

    Hey Pete, please more stereotypes. They are so accurate and inciteful.

  • jeffe

    Seems like there is plenty of anger and despair right here on the BUR forum.

  • TomK

    “The rigs are required to be inspected every month. MMS routinely ignored this requirement. When you have corrupt and dishonest government workers and offcials and managers, no amount of regulations will be effective. It is all about implementation and enforcement.”

    The “corrupt and dishonest government workers and offcials and managers” are the legacy of reagan-gingrich-gramm-clinton-delay-bush ideology. When you think “the private sector always finds the best solution”, that anyone who works for gvt is a loser, and appoint agency heads who think the way you do, you get ” corrupt and dishonest government workers and offcials and managers”. Duh – what do you expect? Ditto for the SEC.

    It’s a great tactic for the gvt bashers. Appoint agency heads with a mandate to NOT do their jobs, and when the agency messes up, you say “see- we told you gvt can’t do anything right.” Nothing like a self-fulfilling prpphecy, eh?

    Obama doesn’t get a pass because he did not clean the bush-cheney types out of MMS, but there is many years worth of damage to repair.

  • peter nelson

    A failure of a government agency, MMS, was the leading cause of this industrial accident.

    You can only call it the ‘leading cause’ if you don’t think BP had any responsibility to do it right by themselves.

    You’re painting yourself into a corner: if lack of proper regulation is the “leading cause” of an accident like this then how should we prevent such accidents?

    Following your logic, less regulation would result in even more accidents. But I take it you don’t want more regulation because you don’t think a government regulatory scheme can be done right. So what exactly, ARE you proposing?

  • jeffe

    Following your logic, less regulation would result in even more accidents. But I take it you don’t want more regulation because you don’t think a government regulatory scheme can be done right. So what exactly, ARE you proposing?

    Chaos.

  • Edward Allen

    Hi Tom
    I’ve listened to many of your shows via podcast and really enjoy the diversity of topics you cover, usually pretty fairly, but today I was amazed at the one-sidedness of the opinions you aired, and many of your own inferences about the situation. I am British living in North America and a BP shareholder too boot just for the record, and I have been covering the spill closely, especially BP’s responses.

    Why did you not have any representatives either from BP, or other parties involved in capping the well, or the clean up? Why did you keep postulating that there was “no end in sight” If you reviewed BPs detailed materials online about the options being explored, the timelines, the staff involved etc, you would see that yes they’ve played a part in a monumental error, but they are VERY engaged in addressing both stopping the flow and clean up operations. There were SO many instances where the comments made by your guests were just plain ill informed and you did nothing to highlight this, or to pose an alternative perspective. Thats poor journalism, and I’d come to belive that you held your broadcast to a higher standard that that.

    Yes, this is a disaster, but come on, lets try to stay rational, fair and open to the facts.

  • TomK

    MMS failed because it was configured to fail, as was the SEC, by the righty voodoo economics zealots, and Obama did not repair it fast enough. Gvt regulation works just fine, when the agencies are staffed by people who believe in their mission. Regulation doesn’t work when the agency heads have a mandate to NOT do their jobs.

  • peter nelson

    Why did you not have any representatives either from BP, or other parties involved in capping the well, or the clean up? Why did you keep postulating that there was “no end in sight” If you reviewed BPs detailed materials online about the options being explored, the timelines, the staff involved etc, you would see that yes they’ve played a part in a monumental error, but they are VERY engaged in addressing both stopping the flow and clean up operations.

    What makes you think they didn’t ask BP?

    Anyway, I’m an active participant in discussion forums like this on the BBC and Guardian (newspaper) websites. And over there, in the UK, many people feel very defensive about BP and point out, as you do, that they are VERY engaged in trying to mitigate the disaster.

    I think you and the Brits are missing the same point. We already know that BP is “very” engaged, but given the magnitude of the problem they should be maximally engaged!

    When I hear Bobby Jindal complain that there are beaches with no cleanup crews or that thousands of feet of boom are sitting on a dock in the northeast, I want to know why BP hasn’t paid whoever has to be paid to take care of this. How can BP even think about paying a dividend to shareholders when that same money could be used for more cleanup?

    Do you think that if a BP rep was on the show he would give us any more than corporate boilerplate? BP reps spend all day talking to the press, but, while I have all the respect in the world for Tom Ashbrook, I don’t think that even he could get anything out of them we haven’t already heard. Do you?

  • JP

    I would add to what Peter said by pointing out BP’s much publicized lapses in safety and environmentally responsible behavior that the media has exposed since the accident.

    … as well, I can imagine only one reason the work on this particular well was so shoddy: a handful of BP execs and perhaps a couple of platform managers were very eager to pad their paychecks with bonuses by completing the bore as early as possible and as under budget as possible.

    Why in the world is the tens of billions this company makes in profit each quarter so little that they cannot afford the utmost care, safety, and patience?

    I have read media reports on inter-company communications that show intentional pressure to go with the cheapest and quickest methods to get to the oil in this well.

    I don’t think BP can take any sort of defensive position here whatever, regardless of how they try to spin PR.

    I’m sorry for all of the British pensioners who will suffer due to the greed of a few BP execs, but I can only imagine how the Brits would react if this were Exxon-Mobile off of the beautiful west coast of England amid their spectacular isles (and that area is not nearly as significant to the world ecologically).

  • JP

    … or to their country economically.

  • Potter

    Listening to people cyring on this show and elsewhere I have heard so much screaming and it does not add up. There is plenty of blame to go around for this disaster, but those that are most effected by this have also had a duty prior to this disaster to safeguard their envoronment or to make sure that their environment was safe from such a catastrophe and to not allow drilling if it was not if there were not adequate ways of dealing with such a horror. And if there was not, to make sure that there was no drilling. Of course one can also blame the Federal government and the oil companies. But to hear then that drilling jobs must be saved to go after this desperate last bit of oil beneath the sea makes me want to tear my hair out.

    Also there was a fellow who called who said that the wildlife would come back but the people who were dead does not know that the individual dead birds and other innocent creatures will not themselves come back though their species will probably- just as human beings will survive this.

  • Potter

    I meant to write:

    Also there was a fellow who called who said that the wildlife would come back but the people who were dead will not come back. He does not know that the individual dead birds and other innocent creatures will not themselves come back either though their species will probably- just as human beings will survive this.

    Somehow the creatures we kill are not seen as individuals. They are.

  • peter nelson

    Reuters is reporting that BP is facing isolation from the other oil companies in Congressional hearings tomorrow:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/BP-to-face-isolation-from-rb-1376750056.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

    The line of questioning will focus on whether BP followed industry standard practices or failed to. If they say they followed them then it would reflect badly on the whole industry, but if they say they failed to then it’s an admission of guilt.

    According to the Reuters article the oil industry is normally very cozy and clubby, but this strategy is driving a rift between the other companies and BP.

  • peter nelson

    I would add to what Peter said by pointing out BP’s much publicized lapses in safety and environmentally responsible behavior that the media has exposed since the accident.

    Yes and these safety lapses have been well-known among people who follow the industry. I’ve mentioned before that I own stock in several oil and gas companies but a big reason why I’ve never bought BP is because they’ve had an abysmal safety record for years – fires, explosions, leaks – they really are uniquely shoddy in their safety standards.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Cryogenics is the answer. All we need is a way to deliver a large quantity of liquified gas (oxygen or nitrogen) to the juncture of the drill casson and the underground oil and gas reservoir. Freeze the outflow at the bottom and you stop the flow. Then the remaining crude in the “straw can be pumped our and the casson filled with concrete. The real danger is in rupturing the drill casson in an attempt to plug it. This oil is coming out under 10,000 lbs.per square inch, about 5 times the pressure in the most advanced petroleum or gas pipeline. Please listen to my idea, at least. Didn’t your oil ever thicken up in winter?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Remember what I said now. We may need this method later in relation to the relief wells, even if it can’t be used at present.

  • Frank DellaFemina

    I amazed with the great minds in this country, never mind aroud the world.
    Just thinking out of the box, way out.
    It is not ture that our Federal government is illequipt to take charge solve the problem of this oil leak.

    The most advanvced Navy in the world can’t engineer a transmitter and reciever to guide a torpeedo less the warhead to plug this whole
    Or even Nassu can’t guide a missel with out the warhead into this oil leak?

    I could go on and on. And if for some unknown reason these methods can not be used. Than lets have a 24 hour open formum on talk radio country wide the areo spce and oceanography scientist on a pannel to field more idea’s. Or is this just not important enough??????

    Thanks

    Frustated with this isssue.

    Frank

  • Ellen Dibble

    See today’s edition on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman interviewing Stephen Kinzer for the hour on his new book “Reset,” about the community of interest (post-cold war) of, get this, Turkey, Iran, and us. Congruent interests and populations that more or less click.
    Why mention this? When I switched to that, the part I could hear, Kinzer was explicating the history of BP, how up until one Mousadek (sp?) an elitist in Iran who wanted to nationalize the oil in Iran, Iranian oil ran Britain, their industry, their admirable fleet, and their empire. He was referring back to the era of Teddy Roosevelt.
    In those days Britain bought 51 percent of the Iranian oil industry (here is where I tuned in), and the bones of BP were in place.
    Then around 1953, when the British were trying to get the US to help oust Mousadek (sp?), they figured out that under Eisenhower/Dulles, who were running on the idea of Push BACK Communism, would respond along with Americans in general to the idea that Mousadek, the elitist nationalist, was actually the leading edge of Communism in Iran, because (far-fetched, yes, but we were paranoid in some ways) he was likely to be supplanted by a Communist government. And Americans fell for that, and thus we had the Shah.
    But he argues that Saudi Arabia and Israel were chiefly important with congruent interests in the days of the CIA — or rather the examples are Reagan, how he got Israel to do Reagan’s bidding in Guatemala and Nicaragua when Congress forbade it. Or Israel and Saudi Arabia could and would cooperate in clandestine Cold War operations. The question is, do we still need to be fighting the Cold War?
    But the role of BP in the late British Empire and the birth of the unrest in the Middle East — that’s part of what you can find, I guess, in “Reset.”

  • peter nelson

    I was just on a Guardian (newspaper) discussion forum where people were discussing the huge estimates for the cleanup costs (14-34 $bn) with disbelief. How could it possibly be that high? It must be some political vendetta against the poor British pensioners someone suggested.

    What I pointed out is worth reminding people here: Coastlines are long. Because of their complex – virtually fractal – geometry they are way longer than they look on a map. For example our tiny state of Massachusetts has 1500 miles of saltwater coastline! It if were a straight line it would stretch halfway across the country, but coastlines are anything but straight. This is going to be a huge cleanup job.

  • Katie

    As a high school student in Ann Arbor, this is what I think we should do. What we need to do to help people who are out of jobs and to reduce our dependancy on oil is to build offshore windmills for energy as well as using tidal power with things such as the Eco auger. This will help bring up the local economy and green our country. I am horrified by this terrible disaster and really want to help somehow. I want to volunteer and save some turtles and birds but every time I research this I can’t find a straight answer of how I can be a part of this. There needs to be a way people like me can easily go down to Louisiana or Alabama and help in the effort. Everything I can find says you need to be 18 or have specialized training. Youth are the people who have driven change in this country in the past, so why aren’t we able to help fix this problem as well?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Katie, Organizing for America is always e-mailing me, asking me to organize house-parties, call voters, add my name to lists. You are too young to vote, but I’m pretty sure you can get on the e-mail list and add your name to this or that; I quote what Obama wants support for today, and I clicked and added my name. You’ll see where, and adding your name will get you on the e-mailing list.

    “The BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast is the worst environmental disaster of its kind in our nation’s history. I am returning to the region today to review our efforts and meet with families and business owners affected by the catastrophe.
    “We are working to hold BP accountable for the damage to the lands and the livelihoods of the Gulf Coast, and we are taking strong precautions to make certain a spill like this never happens again.
    “But our work will not end with this crisis. That’s one of the reasons why last week I invited lawmakers from both parties to join me at the White House to discuss what it will take to move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil.
    “Today, we consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than two percent of the world’s oil reserves. Beyond the risks inherent in drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month — including many in dangerous and unstable regions.
    “In other words, our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk. We cannot delay any longer, and that is why I am asking for your help.
    “Please stand with me today in backing clean energy. Adding your name will help Organizing for America create a powerful, public display of support for making this change happen.
    “The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a new future. That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything — from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks — more energy-efficient. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
    “Many businesses support this agenda because shifting to clean energy creates opportunities for entrepreneurship. This is how we will reinvent our economy — and create new companies and new jobs all across the country.
    “There will be transition costs and a time of adjustment. But if we refuse to heed the warnings from the disaster in the Gulf — we will have missed our best chance to seize the clean-energy future we know America needs to thrive in the years and decades to come.
    “The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate — a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans — that would achieve the same goal. But this is an issue that Washington has long ignored in favor of protecting the status quo.
    “So I’m asking for your help today to show that the American people are ready for a clean-energy future.
    “Please add your name to mine:

    http://my.barackobama.com/CleanEnergy

    “Thank you,
    “President Barack Obama
    “Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee — 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

  • david

    A friend of mine is a Micro-biologist, specializing in water problems. Last week he showed me a 16 ft. walmart pool full of micros about 3 ft. deep he has in his lab.
    He and his partner went to the Gulf and brought back several gallons of oil from the area.
    He had BP, Homeland Security and State Dept. Reps present a week or so ago for a demo. He poured several containers of oil into pool, 30 mins. later the oil was gone. They made a video of it and left.
    With every disaster there comes invention.

    About the boycotts:
    The vast majority of BP stations – the targets of the boycott – are privately owned by small businessmen.
    Dumb Anger vented on Americans trying to make a living.

    About the so-called moratorium:
    Experts Say White House ‘Misrepresented’ Views to Justify Drilling Moratorium
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/10/experts-say-obama-misrepresented-views-justify-offshore-drilling-ban/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+(Text+-+Politics)

    BP has on TV stated they will pay for the spill and will be responsible for clean up.

    Why is Obama refusing to waive the Jones Act?

  • JP

    We have, as yet, seen only the beginning of the devastation.

    This spew will eventually reach all of Florida’s beaches, perhaps Texas, Mexico, Cuba and innumerable Caribbean islands… then it will start making its way up the eastern seaboard. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Great Britain ultimately finds its shores soiled as oil within the Gulf stream ultimately reaches acroos the Atlantic.

    In a year or two, we’ll begin to see documentaries on PBS, Discovery, and TLC showing the long-term effects of the spill on wildlife and ecossytems throughout the Atlantic region: from gulf estuaries, marshlands and mangrove swamps to caribbean coral reefs to the ocean depths.

    Some species will likely go extinct, while others will be added to the endangered species list… all attributed to the oil spew.

    We’ll also see documentaries and news hours devoted to the economic devastation the spew will have caused.

    A couple of weeks after the spew began, NBC took a moronically premature poll of the number of Americans still in favor of offshore drilling… that number has changed significantly as we begin to see the scope of this catastrophe.

    Wait a year or two to see the toll this disaster will REALLY take on the public’s perception of offshore drilling.

    We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet… then 14-34 bln. will seem like a joke of an estimate for the true costs of the spew in economic and ecological terms.

  • JP

    David,

    so let’s turn the Atlantic Ocean into a Walmart pool full of microbes so they can eat that oil right up.

    BTW, does Walmart sell the microbes as well as the pools?

    That was several gallons of oil to what, a couple of thousand gallons of microbes?

    How long do you think it will take to get that ratio of microbes to oil going in the ocean?

    Luckily, all those microbes will fatten up the bottom of the food chain, and everthing will be fat and happy in no time at all!

  • Harrison Picot

    I did not hear the entire show, but most of the comments I heard were either ill-informed or ordinary slander, not supported by facts. When Obama came into office, he appointed a former BP employee to help over see the MMS. BP did not drill the hole, Transocean, the preeminent U.S. firm did. BP was the owner not the expert. If you have hired a contractor yourself, you are aware that relationship is described on many pages of contract, and if you tell a contractor to take risks so you can make a profit, they will not; at least the ones at the top will not, and Transocean was/is at the top. The reason BP has not had the equipment at the scene to fix everything is that either it does not exist or it is oceans away and takes time to get here. The fact is that no one knows how to fix the well. If Exxon or Shell knew how they would say so.

    Obama is clearly running for re-election and planning to use BP’s money to do it, even if he has to give away ever cent they are earning. If you doubt that, here are some facts: The banking bailout. Bush spent $150 billion in pork to get the TARP bill passed, with Obaba’s acceptance. Bush spent $180 billion to save AIG so they could pay off unregulated derivatives that were owed Goldman Sachs, and Obama did raise a stink about that. Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus bill was loaded with pork and Obama did not get excited about that either. The bank meltdown cost 8 million Americans their jobs, and Obama did not suggest taking money from banks and letting an independent group hand it out.

    Obama when Obama came to office, it was well known that MMS was screwing around, but Obama did not fix it. Now it is all BPs fault, not Obama’s fault, not MMS’s fault, not Transocean’s fault, but BP’s fault. Because BP has money that can fuel O’bama’s re-election, and nothing says good government more than taking money from foreigners and giving to Americans. Too bad there is lot’s time before we vote for someone to point out that his fingerprints are all over this.

    We need to stick the law, and remember that it took Exxon about 20 years to pay off what they owed. If that was the law for Exxon, and Obama did not like it, he had time to say so before now, and he did not. We don’t need a president seizing companies. That may be socialist dream, but I am a Ralph Nader, Bob Graham liberal Democrat, and King Obama writing his own laws is as bad as Bush doing it. Obama messed up too. If he had fixed MMS, and he had time, this might not have happened. He needs to accept that government has an established right to regulate and did not do the job, and he is in part to blame.

  • JP

    Harrison,

    If BP has no blame here, then why are they agreeing to pay for “all legitimate costs related to the spill?”

    Why aren’t they fighting tooth and nail using our notoriously corporate-friendly legal system?

    What are they, STUPID?

  • Mike C

    Loved the show tonight, lots of good info. Do another show on this topic. You cut off way too many good conversations right in the middle. I know you have limited time, but this is a story that needs to be told, heard, and understood!

    I agree that BP shouldn’t be allowed to use dispersants on the oil! They’re simply making the oil easier for the sealife to absorb into their bodies, which means toxic seafood is going to linger in the Gulf for years after this mess is finally cleaned up. The dispersants also make the oil soak into the beach and wetlands much deeper than it could if it wasn’t full of dispersants. All the dispersants do is break up the oil on the surface, making it a little easier to hide the problem from public view. I think we’re way beyond that now.

    I hope BP and the President are committed to this for the long haul, since we won’t be able to eat seafood from the region for years!

  • peter nelson

    Why is Obama refusing to waive the Jones Act?

    The other poster who brought this up disappeared when we asked him to show us a specific example of where someone tried to do something about this crisis and was blocked by the Jones Act.

    Show us specifically where BP has attempted some remediation and was blocked by the Jones Act. Did Tony Hayward go on TV and say “we could have has all this cleaned up last Thursday but Obama wouldn’t life the Jones Act”?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Someone thinks Obama is milking this disaster: the worse it is, the more credit he gets. Go figure. If blocking BP from solving it will prolong our agony, well Obama will clearly block BP from solving it. That way he will get more campaign funding. Somehow.
    OMG. Who taught us how to think. But then again, we have had presidents who seem entirely destructive to our well-being. So.
    I just don’t see it here, not at all.
    I’m thinking the Jones Act is right up there with “where is the original of your birth certificate.” All the senators and congresspeople would have to be in on this plot to prevent the oil spew from being squelched. Make no waivers, no, no. No matter how much Tony Hayward asks. Block him.

  • peter nelson

    BP did not drill the hole, Transocean, the preeminent U.S. firm did. BP was the owner not the expert.

    Totally irrelevant. BP signs the checks. Under US custom and US law that makes them the ultimately responsible party. They knew this at the time and could have exercised any degree of oversight they cared to, had anyone they wanted review the contracts drawings, plans, etc. Basically they don’t need to BE experts because they can hire all the experts they want.

    I worked for years as a design engineer for a medical products company. If one of our products injured a patient (or a clinician for that matter) we were legally responsible. The fact that someone else made the monitor or power supply or some circuit board was irrelevant.

    BP has every right to try to recover damages from Transocean, Halliburton, et al, but at the moment it’s BP. Today the business press is seriously questioning whether BP will survive this crisis. We’ll have a better idea after tomorrow’s Congressional hearings.

  • JP

    Republicans always latch onto some stupidity like this (the Jones act) to try and make their accusations sound official, or as if they are somehow based on reality.

    As usual, they can’t win without trying to count on the ignorance of just enough Americans to start an opinion bubble lasting just long enough to divert attention from real issues.

  • JP

    Documents reveal BP’s missteps before blowout:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37695879/ns/disaster_in_the_gulf/

    MSNBC Front Page story right now.

  • Brett

    “I’m thinking the Jones Act is right up there with ‘where is the original of your birth certificate.’” -Ellen Dibble

    Ellen, I had to laugh! Indeed, I’ve heard the “Jones Act” talking point being batted around on conservative media outlets the last couple of days.

  • JP

    … after reading the above MSNBC Front Page story, look again at my 7:19 p.m. post, wherein I wrote:

    “… as well, I can imagine only one reason the work on this particular well was so shoddy: a handful of BP execs and perhaps a couple of platform managers were very eager to pad their paychecks with bonuses by completing the bore as early as possible and as under budget as possible.

    Why in the world is the tens of billions this company makes in profit each quarter so little that they cannot afford the utmost care, safety, and patience?”

    I wrote virtually the same thing in an On Point thread a couple of weeks ago, and it is looking more and more like the whole thing really did result from the greed of a handful of BP execs.

  • jeffe

    If those documents are correct it seems that BP did not take the recommendations from Halliburton on how to safely cement and cap the well. It seems from to me from what I have read on this so far that BP cut as many corners as they could to save money.

  • JP

    Jeffe,

    … and BP makes billions in profit each quarter!

    BP execs would not do something so stupid to save the company a realtive few bucks… but they WOULD do it to guarantee THEIR OWN BONUSES for bringing the project in early and under budget.

    That degree of greed is definitely criminal, at least morally and quite probably legally.

  • David

    WHY do you give credence to people like LaTosha Brown?
    She kept “suggesting” that people give her organization money so her organization could “support” other organizations….. talk about useless layers of bureaucrats / paper pushers !!!!
    And she wasn’t even on the Gulf Coast !!

  • Janet

    Posted by peter nelson, on June 14th, 2010 at 5:58 – Following your logic, less regulation would result in even more accidents. But I take it you don’t want more regulation because you don’t think a government regulatory scheme can be done right. So what exactly, ARE you proposing?

    You can have all the regulations you want but unless you are willing to hold government employees charged with enforcing regulations accountable, they are worthless.
    I suggest that like in Japan, the AG Holder bring criminal charges against the former director(s) of MMS and other government agencies for failing to do their job. Like Mao said “Kill one, scare a thousand”.

  • Bruce Foster

    If the BP oil leak had occurred during the Bush administration and if Bush had performed the way that Obama has performed, this moment would be the end of Bush. Obama was late to the Gulf. He ignored it for almost 2 weeks. The incident occurred on 4/20/2010 and Obama made his first visit to the Gulf on May 3, 2010, some 13 days after the incident occurred. He also made three subsequent visits, after he realized that the public was incensed about the inaction and ineptness of BP and the FEDS. Now Obama is playing catch up and the press is covering for his inexperience and poor performance.

    Do you ever notice how the dems and libs never ever mention the taxes, fees, rents, and other monies paid to governments by corporations?

    To the dems and libs all corporations are evil and profits are evil.

    The public sector builds no wealth. The public sector only consumes.

    The wealth of the United States was not created within the structure of a socialist system.

    How many people work for corporations and pay taxes?

    Corporations do not always do the right thing. BP is contemptible, no doubt about it. BPs performance and its behavior is outrageous. But when dems and libs condemn all corporations, you know that they are seriously deranged.

    Obama is a usurper. His inexperience is on display for all to see. He was challenged by the BP leak and he has failed.

  • peter nelson

    Reuters is reporting that in today’s Congressional hearings . . .

    The industry is seeking to stave off tough new regulations on offshore drilling the government could impose. They could range from blow-out preventer certification to safety training.“>

    I’m sorry, but safety training or certification for blow-out preventers are “tough“? They seem perfectly reasonable to me – anyone care to explain why they are regarded as “tough”?

  • Janet

    WaPo Article:
    Michael Bromwich, a former Justice official, is tapped to head Minerals Management Service. He has little past experience with oil and gas issues.

    So, once again, the pattern of appointing people to positions they are not qualified for continues. He is replacing a lawyer that resigned in disgrace. Where are all those big government guys now?

  • Brett

    “I’m sorry, but safety training or certification for blow-out preventers are “tough“? They seem perfectly reasonable to me – anyone care to explain why they are regarded as “tough”?” -peter nelson

    Sorry, peter, but it is just simply a lot more fun for conservatives to chant (I’ll try to do a credible impersonation of a conservative here) “not more regulations but better enforcement of existing regulations. Libs and Dems always want more regulations!” Then for conservatives to cite specifically which of the regulations they consider excessive or unnecessary.

  • Fran Blecker

    The question that the dems and libs have to answer is will the US participate in the oil indurtry? The Gulf drilling moratorium is a mistake.

    It has been 40 years and this country has no energy plan. But we have a Department of Energy.

    The Obama drilling moratorium is a political trick to try to gain momentum for Obama.

    Obama will pay a very serious price for shutting down perfectly safe drilling rigs.

    The US government has incentivized the drilling for oil in deep water.

  • peter nelson

    Obama will pay a very serious price for shutting down perfectly safe drilling rigs.

    How do you know they’re perfectly safe? Did you see the hearings today? The other oil companies don’t have a clue what they will do if there’s a spill!

    The Exxon plan had a list that they would need to protect, It included walruses. Walruses don’t live in the Gulf. It turns out it was simply photocopied from their Exxon Valdez disaster. THAT’s how much thought they’ve put into it.

    What is your evidence that they’re perfectly safe? Because they haven’t had a disastrous blow out? A few months ago we could have said that about BP.

  • peter nelson

    WaPo Article:
    Michael Bromwich, a former Justice official, is tapped to head Minerals Management Service. He has little past experience with oil and gas issues.

    So, once again, the pattern of appointing people to positions they are not qualified for continues.

    Bromwich doesn’t need experience in oil and gas for that position – he needs experience managing and cleaning up screwed-up organizations – whish he has in abundance. His job description is: “ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight.”

    I’ve been an investor for years and I have lots experience looking at management teams. Do you think you need automobile industry experience to manage a car company? Think before you answer. The business world is filled with examples of top executives who went to entirely new, different, completely unrelated industries and excelled.

    The skills you need to sit in the corner office are leadership and motivational skills, and a good eye for who to hire and trust. Bromwich doesn’t need domain knowledge – he can hire people for that.

  • Greg Songen

    There are drilling rigs that are operating safely. The knee jerk reaction of shutting down all drilling in the Gulf is the typical mindless response by the statists. It is not targeted. It is not rational. The assumption that all Gulf rigs are in the condition that the Deepwater Horizon was in, is not based on fact based evidence. People who make assumptions are not very bright. The BP rig had many problems that were evidenced by the emails from the engineers. Read the emails. Assuming that all Gulf rigs are dangerous is not rational. The problem is that the regulators are dishonest, corrupt, and lazy and do not do their jobs. Why are walruses mentioned in the plans? Walruses do not exist in the Gulf of Mexico. Did anyone read the plans? Probably not. Just like the politicians who do not read proposed bills. You libs and dems can declare that walruses exist in the Gulf, but there are no walruses in the Gulf of Mexico. The regulations that govern the oil drilling industry in the Gulf are likely inadequate and inappropriate. One company writes all of the plans for all 5 companies that drill in the Gulf. The plans are cookie cutter products. They are likely useless. I cannot help it that the politicians are ineffective in crafting and drafting statutes. I cannot help it that the politicians are dishinest and corrupt. Unlike you dems and libs who worship all statists, I condemn most politicians regardless of their party affilitiuon. I cannot help it that the regulations are written by the lobbyists.
    You can have every possible regulation in the world and it will not insure safety. You libs and dems still cannot get your brains around that concept. Regulations must be effective and then must be implemented. The problem is that the regulators are captured by the industries that they regulate. You dems and libs refuse to believe that. You are not well informed. Get informed. Keep praising and worshipping OPbama. He is one term president. It is day 55 and Obama is still making speeches. Plans were submitted by May 1 by the affected states, and the Feds took forever to approve the plans. Corexit is banned in GB. The EPA should have told BP not to use Corexit. The decisions by the Feds were made in consideration of BP, not the citizens. Read the Rolling Stone article about the Obama and Federal response. Obama has feet of clay. November 2010 is coming inexorably.

  • peter nelson

    There are drilling rigs that are operating safely. The knee jerk reaction of shutting down all drilling in the Gulf is the typical mindless response by the statists.

    I’m an engineer with years of experience in the medical products industry, where safety issues are taken seriously.

    I think a complete shutdown is perfectly rational, until the safety procedures and, more importantly, blowout prevention systems and procedures are reviewed. This is especially rational in light of the recent discoveries that MMS was not doing their job.

    You didn’t way what your background is but my professional background says that a brief halt to drilling while things are reviewed is an eminently rational course of action.

    You can have every possible regulation in the world and it will not insure safety. You libs and dems still cannot get your brains around that concept. Regulations must be effective and then must be implemented. The problem is that the regulators are captured by the industries that they regulate.

    So as we asked earlier in this thread, if you don’t believe regulation can be effective AND we can’t trust the oil companies (THEY were the ones putting walruses in the Gulf, not the libs and the dems) they how should we ensure safety? Think before you answer because if we can’t ensure safety then we can’t resume drilling.

  • Mark Leonard

    Tom,

    I just heard Obama’s speech (6/16)on WBUR followed by corrosive comments by Charlotte Randolph a Parish President in Louisiana who claims to speak for all people in the region. Who is she, and who’s been loading her war chest? Is it big oil? She sounds like a K-street PR spindoctor. Is she truly a reputable publicly elected spokesperson or a foil?

  • peter nelson

    I just heard Obama’s speech (6/16)on WBUR

    Hmmmm … a politician, Celtics-Lakers, a politician, Celtics-Lakers, a politician, Celtics-Lakers . . .

    I dunno . . . you’re made of stronger stuff than I am.

  • Janet

    Bromwich doesn’t need experience in oil and gas for that position – he needs experience managing and cleaning up screwed-up organizations – whish he has in abundance. His job description is: “ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight.”

    So, we should have appointed an enginner to head the Justice Dept? Just so this engineer is a good manager? I think not.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard some of NBC evening news Tuesday saying that ships from 8 different countries are now in use by BP thanks to waivers, listing Great Britain (of course) and not listing Iran — surpise ;>) — . So the Jones Act has been successfully addressed.
    And I saw the president’s speech, and all of a sudden I understood why Brett was laughing at my post. Ooh-la-la.
    Anyway, I am going to be relentless on the man. I think he expects us to do his job FOR him, i.e., persuade this country into a whole new disposition. After all, it is OUR country; he is just one sitting there for 4 years or so trying to herd us cats. It’s a new style of leadership for sure, but the cowboy style we had before didn’t go down too well, in my opinion.

  • jeffe

    What I have learned from all of this is that not one oil company has spent one penny in doing R&D into finding better ways to contain and deal with spills. They still rely on 40 year old ideas and technology.
    i have to ask, are they kidding? They make billions a year in profits and they can’t get it together to work on an industry wide strategy to deal with spills and disasters like this?

    This tells me that the corporate world is incapable of doing anything other than maximizing the bottom line.

    Every country that has rigs off shore should be demanding these companies invest in developing state of the art technology to deal with accidents.

    I love this BP COO Doug Suttles claims that the reason they are not up to date on dealing with oil disasters is that there are not enough of them. WHAT! WHAT! Is he kidding!???

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/15/rachel-maddow-blasts-bp-c_n_612843.html

  • jeffe

    You people who say it’s not BP’s fault are so off base it’s not funny. We have the smoking gun folks. There is enough evidence to possible put these guys in jail.

    Haliburton is even on record questioning BP’s shortcuts in the capping of the well. All the companies are libel here, but BP created the environment that caused this disaster.

  • jeffe

    Some of the comments here are amazing.
    Bruce Foster and Janet, you guys win the Glenn Beck prize for blaming Obama for everything including the end of America as we know it.

    By the way Beck thinks that the World Cup is an Un-American sporting event. As if millions of people around the world could be wrong.

    I just watched North Korea play Brazil and give them a run for their money. What other sport does this?

  • bob markel

    You will recall how the dems and libs on this site keep recounting how the oil industry is merely an arm of the Republicans. Now read the truth about just one of those oil giants:

    BP has more Democratic lobbyists than Republicans. It employs the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, Obama’s transition director and confidant. Other BP troops on K Street include Michael Berman, a former top aide to Vice President Walter Mondale; Steven Champlin, former executive director of the House Democratic Caucus; and Matthew LaRocco, who worked in Bill Clinton’s Interior Department and whose father was a Democratic congressman. Former Republican staffers, such as Reagan alumnus Ken Duberstein, also lobby for BP, but there’s no truth to Democratic portrayals of the oil company as an arm of the GOP.

  • peter nelson

    What other sport does this?

    Oil spills. It’s the US versus Mexico for the championship. According to Wikipedia the largest oil spill in the ocean so far is the Ixtoc I oil spill northeast of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in 1979. But the current BP spill is hot on its heels and is expected to pass it soon – some estimates say that it already has.

    On land the US, with the Lakeview Gusher in 1910 holds a wide lead over Iraq’s deliberate oil spills during the first Gulf War.

    U.S.A! Number One! U.S.A! Number One!

    …it kinda (sniff!) makes you proud to be an Amerkin, don’t it?

  • peter nelson

    You will recall how the dems and libs on this site keep recounting how the oil industry is merely an arm of the Republicans

    Really? I’m pretty liberal, so show me where I said that. If you could read as well as you can set your TV remote to Fox you would see above where I pointed out that Obama got more campaign money from BP than either McCain or Bush.

    Why is it so hard to find a conservative with 2 brain cells to rub together?

  • peter nelson

    Bob Merkel posts:

    BP has more Democratic lobbyists than Republicans. It employs the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, Obama’s transition director and confidant. Other BP troops on K Street include Michael Berman, a former top aide to Vice President Walter Mondale; Steven Champlin, former executive director of the House Democratic Caucus; and Matthew LaRocco, who worked in Bill Clinton’s Interior Department and whose father was a Democratic congressman. Former Republican staffers, such as Reagan alumnus Ken Duberstein, also lobby for BP, but there’s no truth to Democratic portrayals of the oil company as an arm of the GOP.

    This is the SECOND case of plagiarism we’ve had here in as many days! The above was lifted word for word from an article by Timothy Carney in the Washington Examiner without attribution.

    The ethical “standards” of the conservatives on this discussion forum are quite remarkable.

  • TomK

    “You can have every possible regulation in the world and it will not insure safety. You libs and dems still cannot get your brains around that concept.”

    This is just another reaganomics talking point, repeated ad nauseum since 1980. The police don’t stop every crime, so should we disband the police? I don’t think so. Nothing will INSURE safety, like nothing will wipe out crime – the goal is to INCREASE safety, and decrease crime. Saying nothing will INSURE safety as an argument against regulation is nothing but high school debate tactics.

    “Regulations must be effective and then must be implemented. The problem is that the regulators are captured by the industries that they regulate. You dems and libs refuse to believe that.”

    Oh, I believe it – it is the deliberate policy of the right. Corrupt regulators didn’t just appear out of nowhere, the voodoo economics presidents and congress, reagan, gingrich, gramm, clinton, delay, bush etc aggressively appointed regulators whose mandate was to NOT do their jobs, just like in the SEC, and they let it be known that anyone working for the gvt was a loser. It’s a beautiful tactic, the way the right destroys gvt agencies when they’re in power, and then uses their poor performance as an argument that regulation doesn’t work.

    Regulation work just fine with agency heads who believe in the mission and haven’t drunk the “the private sector always knows best” kool aid, as it did before 1980.

  • Richard C

    The notion that BP should pick up the tab for consequences of actions taken by others beyond its control, specifically government, is asinine. Here we have Mr. Eysink (I think it was he) calling for BP to pay Louisiana the royalties on oil that isn’t pumped from wells that aren’t drilled on leases that aren’t issued because Obama or Pelosi or Markey has called for a moratorium

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