Monday Mashup Part One (6/21/10)

June 21, 2010

(Once again, no posting tomorrow and probably Wednesday also – TBD for the rest of the week.)

  • 1) Oh noes! is telling us that gas prices are going up under our Kenyan Muslim pre-zee-dint who won’t show us his Hawaiian birth certificate (here)…

    Motorists heading out for the long July 4th weekend will find that filling up the family car is getting more costly.

    Retail prices for gasoline have climbed over the past week and are headed back toward a national average of $2.80 to $2.90 per gallon with higher prices on the West Coast, said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.

    This tells us that, in April 2008, the average price for a gallon of gas was $3.35 under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (it was about $1.66 a gallon when he took over). And every time Number 43 made noises about attacking Iran or threatening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that country’s “president,” the price went up (not saying the puppet for the Mullahs didn’t deserve it then as now, though).

    The price of gas always goes up in the spring and summer (especially now with the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico) and, if we’re lucky, it comes down in the fall and close to winter. It has more to do with the driving habits of the people in this country more than anything else, though as noted above, other “actors” can affect the price also to some degree.

  • 2) Not to be outdone, though, someone named Kevin McCullough at Fix Noise tells us here that Obama should resign over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe; according to McCullough, Obama was supposedly approached by BP for help on February 13 and the company was rebuffed (this starts off a really umbrage-filled rant by McCullough aimed at Obama – “how can you sleep at night,” did you inform the families of the victims of the rig’s destruction of your negligence when you posed with them for a photo-op, blah blah blah).Well, when you read the Bloomberg story linked to McCullough’s rant, what you find is this…

    On Feb. 13, BP told the (Minerals Management Service) it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster.

    The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks.

    BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.

    “Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”

    Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.

    So how is it Obama’s fault if BP was using the wrong material to try and seal the fissures?


    BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and other top executives were ignorant of the difficulties the company’s engineers were grappling with in the well before the explosion, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said today during a hearing in Washington.

    “We could find no evidence that you paid any attention to the tremendous risk BP was taking,” Waxman said as Hayward waited to testify. “There is not a single e-mail or document that you paid the slightest attention to the dangers at this well.”

    BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles and exploration chief Andy Inglis “were apparently oblivious to what was happening,” said Waxman, a California Democrat. “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing.”

    In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill.

    And have to admit that I dismissed at first the story about film director James Cameron offering to help with fixing the mess, until I did more reading and learned about Cameron’s extensive experience filming at the depths similar to that of the leaking pipe; you think his expertise would have come in handy here? And I had a similar reaction to the stuff involving Kevin Costner and his supposed oil/water separation device.

    The Obama Administration is guilty of trusting BP to know what they were doing in this mess, though, as I’ve said before, if they’d taken over earlier, I’d bet McCullough and his pals would have been one of the first to complain that that Number 44 is trying to “nationalize” the oil company the same way he allegedly did to the car companies and the crooks on Wall Street (and the only mention of Obama in the Bloomberg story has to do with the $20 billion fund BP set up for the victims of the oil flood).

  • 3) Finally, to complete this little “threesome” of stories pertaining to “Obama and the oil,” Roger Wicker of Mississippi gave the response to Obama’s Weekly Address on Saturday (here), stating as follows…

    “(Obama) was slow in listening to state and local leaders, slow in getting skimmers to the Gulf, slow in understanding the seriousness of this crisis, and slow in taking ownership and responsibility for the recovery. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction.”

    Since Wicker doesn’t get into specifics about how Obama was supposedly “slow in listening to state and local leaders,” I’m not going to do his work for him by responding. However, on the subject of getting skimmers to the Gulf, this story from June 4th tells us the following…

    MISSISSIPPI — Dozens more private boats were deployed Friday to search for and skim oil, and many more were on standby as their crews awaited hazardous-materials training.

    The new boats bring to 158 the number primarily working the Mississippi coast, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials. There are another 220 in Alabama and 112 in Florida.

    And this story from last Thursday says “A decision is expected shortly on whether as many as 55 additional skimmers can be sent” to the Gulf (the Coast Guard reports that they’re reluctant to send more skimmers since it might risk leaving other waterways vulnerable to oil spills also). Also, this tells us that oil seeped past skimmers in the Pensacola inland waterway; the county deployed booms to protect 17 separate individual inlets from bayous and coves where the seagrass is especially sensitive. But (resident Dorothy) King noted mournfully that “they said a month ago our seas were too rough for the boom.”

    Oh, and for Wicker’s information, this New York Times story tells us that Mississippi governor Haley Barbour said that Obama “did more things right than wrong” on the spill.

    You could go back and forth on whether or not the Obama Administration should temporarily waive the Jones Act, which Repug Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison argues here (apparently, Dubya did that when Katrina hit – as noted here, the Act protects our martime interests, but critics argue that the Act makes the U.S. less competitive in the global shipping industry, but the counter argument is that “U.S.-citizen mariner pool needed for the Department of Defense in times of national emergency or war would simply disappear”). Perhaps waiving it for now would make it easier to put in place skimmers of other countries who have offered to help.

    But I shudder to think what would have happened by now if it had been up to Sarah Palin and John McCain to try and fix this mess (maybe they would have taken this idea seriously, for example).

  • Update 7/9/10: Gee, I wonder if Wicker will ever acknowledge that the Obama administration accepted 68 offers of help from other countries (here)? Do you even need to ask (and I never gave much of a thought to Mark Haines, but he did some good work here).

    Money As Dirty As The Goop In The Gulf

    June 20, 2010

    As I look at the pics of the wildlife covered with sludge, the phrase “you get what you pay for” comes to mind.

    A “Berm Notice” From “TRMS”

    June 17, 2010

    You want to hear about “junk science” for real? This is what Rachel Maddow said last night about constructing berms to fight the oil in the Gulf.

    Update: Oh, and by the way, the next time I read some wingnuttia about Obama’s supposed overseas “apology tour” to Iran and al Qaeda or whatever, I’ll just recall this, which is an example of Repugs apologizing to their true “base” for real (h/t Atrios).

    “Love And Kisses” From BP

    June 11, 2010

    Somehow I don’t think ’60s pop star Skeeter Davis had anything like the Gulf disaster in mind when she sang this song.

    Oh, how I’d like to see Tony Hayward stuck head first into a relief well (here and here are reasons).

    Update 6/12/10: And maybe I shouldn’t give Chicago fans credit since their team just beat us in the NHL finals, but kudos to them for protesting the “BP Crosstown Cup” here.

    Say No To The Repug “Big Oil” Bailout

    June 8, 2010

    More here…

    I’m Sure Gordon Jones Would Like His Life Back Too, Hayward

    June 5, 2010

    Along with his 10 former co-workers who also perished on the Deepwater Horizon rig; more here…

    Thursday Mashup (6/3/10)

    June 3, 2010

  • 1) File this one under “A Headline I Wished I’d Seen When A Certain 43rd President Took Up Space In An Oval Office.”
  • 2) And speaking of presidents, I give you some true hilarity from Repug strategist Cheri Jacobus here from The Hill…

    Obama has big problems. No doubt about that. To be considered as incompetent as Jimmy Carter, and as sleazy as Rod Blagojevich, is no one’s idea of “good news” on even the worst of days in the White House.

    President Obama’s protracted fumbling of the BP oil spill and the mess in the Gulf of Mexico is going to have long-term consequences for him. As it stands now, the nation is stunned at the lack of competence or ability to convey that he is capable of leading a charge to get this thing under control. Throwing everything but the kitchen sink — literally — into the hole is hardly comforting. At this point, many Americans might even be asking, “What would Jimmy Carter do?” because even the worst of the worst seems better than what we’ve got now.

    I realize that this is typical in the world of accountability-free punditry, but here, the numbers I see are a lot closer to 39 percent approval of Obama’s handling of the spill with up to 55 percent disapproving which, though not good numbers, are not apocalyptic either (and again, it’s a bit ironic that those who are screaming the loudest about Obama getting the government involved in the oil refining industry are those who also screamed the loudest when the government became involved with the “banksters” and the auto companies).

    Also, to get a pretty good snapshot of just how bad it is in the Gulf (and I think calling it a “spill” at this point is, unfortunately, too benign), I would suggest reading this Times of London article, particularly the first four paragraphs.

  • Update: Yep, it looks like our somnambulant corporate media is finally paying attention (here, though I certainly don’t put Think Progress in that category).

  • 3) Finally on the subject of our chief executives, I give you Former Senator Man-On-Dog in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday (here)…

    Are Obama’s efforts to make friends in Muslim countries working? A Gallup poll released last week suggests that his charm offensive is a bust in some key Muslim nations.

    The poll examined public approval of U.S. leadership in those countries today compared with that under President George W. Bush in 2008. The approval rating in Iraq, at 30 percent, was down from 35 percent under Bush. Lebanon’s, at 25 percent, was the same as under Bush. Egypt’s and the Palestinian territories’, at 19 and 16 percent respectively, were up from 6 and 13 percent.

    Seriously, Little Ricky? You’re actually going to try comparing Obama’s overseas popularity to that of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History?

    Well, since Santorum doesn’t include a link to the poll in question (and I looked but couldn’t find the exact poll also), I should point out the following from here in a poll from last September (the latest information I could find)…

    …77 per cent of European citizens support Obama’s handling of international affairs, while only 19 per cent found former President George W Bush doing the same.

    It also revealed that 75 per cent of Europeans have confidence in Obama’s ability to combat terrorism and two thirds now have a favourable view of America.

    “We see a remarkable shift in trans-Atlantic opinion from the previous administration,” The Telegraph quoted Craig Kennedy, the president of the German Marshall Fund, as saying.

    And if he’s really interested to learn about one famous Englishman’s opinion of our most recent president, perhaps Little Ricky should take note of Sir Paul’s “library” anecdote here (special “I’m Looking Through You” citation…thanks again for “The Concert For NYC” right after the attack).

  • This Just In: BP Top Kill Fail

    May 29, 2010

    I’ve got an idea (not original, I know); let’s start plugging the hole with BP executives, starting with Tony Hayward (here).

    And Tony Hayward Will Still Be Rich

    May 27, 2010

    No word on whether or not “Operation Shock And Awe” in the Oilpocalypse has plugged everything up yet; here are some people whose lives will probably be ruined as a result – love to be wrong.

    Not Hearing “Drill, Baby, Drill” Anymore, Are We?

    May 25, 2010

    Ugh – it will be a miracle if anything survives (and sorry, George, but “extraordinary” isn’t quite the word I had in mind).

    (Oh, but the life forms responsible for what you see must be doing the right thing – after all, they ran these ads…yes, that’s definitely snark.)

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