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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

BP, Random Stuff, and Open Thread

Hiya, Moose!

Welcome to SUMMER!

Thought we could use a new open thread, a couple of articles on BP, and a bit of randomness. Soooooo… I’m sending mail, so give me some action, mooses!

It’s been about six weeks since the disastrous oil leak began in the Gulf of Mexico. This tragedy hits rather close to home for me, so I have diligently avoided diarying on the topic because it depresses me. Even now, I am recounting only the latest news on the containment efforts. It’s actually kind of galling to see the way in which the Right is blaming this on Obama, calling the fiasco “Obama’s Katrina,” despite the two catastrophes — and the separate responses to them — having literally nothing in common.

Not surprisingly, BP shares continued to fall this week. Investors are, understandably, balking at the severity of the crisis and are becoming increasingly concerned about the failed efforts to halt the leak.

BP shareholders are fleeing the company’s stock amid growing uncertainty about the ultimate bill for cleanup costs, lawsuits, fines and damage to the oil giant’s reputation.

BP’s shares fell an additional 15 percent on Tuesday, as investors reacted to news that the latest effort to stem the gushing oil in the Gulf of Mexico failed over the weekend. It is the steepest drop in shares in about two decades.

[. . .]

The prospect of billions of dollars more in legal payouts and fines is also weighing on the company.

BP officials say they have already paid $36 million to settle claims of economic loss and damage under the Oil Pollution Act, a 1990 law passed in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster, and that more than 26,000 claims have been submitted.

That law caps some varieties of damages at $75 million, a source of consternation from lawmakers like Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who has written legislation that would raise the cap.

Still, the cost of the cleanup may rise well above $75 million. After all, it does not apply to the costs of removing the oil, and the cap can be lifted entirely if the spill is found to have involved gross negligence, willful misconduct or even violation of applicable federal regulations having to do with safety, construction or operations. Suits filed on legal grounds other than the Oil Pollution Act are not restricted by the cap.

One analyst calculated that in a worst-case scenario, BP’s cleanup liability would be around $14 billion, which would account for the entire loss of all fishing and tourism revenues for coastal states closest to the spill, said Kevin Book, a managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. Even then, Mr. Book said, the market overreacted, and BP can easily handle the cleanup bill.

New York Times

Meanwhile, the administration reported yesterday that it had opened civil and criminal investigations into the spill.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in New Orleans that he planned to “prosecute to the fullest extent of the law” any person or entity that the Justice Department determines has broken the law in connection with the oil spill. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 120 points shortly after Mr. Holder’s announcement as energy stocks tumbled on expectations of the federal investigations. BP lost 15 percent of its market value during the day’s trading.

BP and government officials said flatly for the first time that they had abandoned any further plans to try to plug the well, and would instead try to siphon the leaking oil and gas to the surface until relief wells can stop the flow, most likely not before August.

Mr. Holder’s comments, which echoed those of Mr. Obama earlier in the day in the Rose Garden, reflected deepening frustration within the administration at the inability to stop the spill, along with wide concern that the government and the president appear increasingly impotent as oil laps at the shorelines of Louisiana, and now Alabama and Mississippi.

New York Times

As for my commentary… I don’t know how much I really have to say on the issue. I have a lot of feelings about it, but not a lot of words. It’s too personal to me, perhaps. Some of the happiest times of my life have been spent on the Gulf Coast, and maybe there is no way I can hope to detach myself enough from this tragedy to discuss it in depth.  I find the images of the spill crushing — the videos of oil gushing forth into the Gulf make me feel physically ill. The Gulf of Mexico is precious to all of us — even many of those who have never visited it will be affected by this. And it is so very vital to so many people who live along or near the water. The impact of this disaster will be profound and far-reaching, and the longer it goes on — the longer I watch containment efforts fail — the more convinced I become that generation upon generation of young Americans will continue to suffer for it long after I am gone, and learn to curse the stupidity of their forefathers.

Yeah, so now that I have thoroughly depressed myself — think I’ll cheer myself up. Fortunately I have the attention span of a gnat, so it shouldn’t take much to distract me.

Here’s some silliness to brighten your day:

If you haven’t seen this crazy nastiness, you’re missin’ out:

A couple of random songs for your listening pleasure: The first is Daniel by Joshua James (I have really gotten into him as an artist lately), and the second clip is Charlie Darwin by The Low Anthem (I dig the song musically, but I freakin’ love the name of it!).

Hope everyone is having a great start to summer! Everyone needs to stop having lives and come back to the blogs — post something, anything, and entertain the sricki!



  1. sricki

    Hate to have been so scarce — is terrible to think that if the Moose worked like dKos I’d have lost my trusted user status by now. ; )

    How’s THIS for random?

  2. Kysen

    I don’t know where I read it…most likely Dkos or Balloon Juice…but, some wise soul made the observation that ‘Obama’s Katrina’, ‘Obama’s Watergate’, ‘Obama’s 9/11’— are all attempts to paint Obama with the degree of FAIL that has only ever happened when REPUBLICANS are ‘in charge’.  

    Just kinda made me snicker.


  3. HappyinVT

    I can’t look at the pictures too much, either.  The whole thing breaks my heart.

    It is a shame that the media seems bent on making it seem possible that this ginormous spill is going away any time soon.  It’s likely going to be months before oil stops gushing but yet from what I’ve seen pundits are hyping the it’s been “x” days since the explosion.  Keith Olbermann has apparently switched from his “it’s been xxx days since the previous president declared ‘mission accomplished’ in Iraq” to “it’s been xx days since the Deep Water Horizon explosion.”  The last is a paraphrase because I haven’t watched him in a few weeks.

    Obama’s going to suffer some backlash on this because he’s president and people want something, anything done to make the oil stop gushing and stop heading toward the coast.  So far, though, it seems BP is bearing the brunt of the negative feelings.  I do wish the president had given the presser about 2 – 3 weeks earlier.

  4. HappyinVT

    Sarah Palin says “drill, baby, drill” really meant “drill on land only, baby, drill on land only.”  Guess the whole thing didn’t fit on her palm.

    Lisa Murkowski must be glad Sarah’s endorsed her opponent given Palin’s batting less than .500 on successful endorsements.

  5. DTOzone

    First he says the country is hopelessly conservative, then he announces he’s done with the Democratic Party and it’s better to turn the country over to the Republicans because it’s the best way for progressives in the future?

    Jerome had a fucking orgasm with this diary

  6. jsfox

    or proving that is unwise to every underestimate the stupidity of the American public. W released his book Decision Points (I guess Decider Points was overruled) yesterday and the publisher set up a face book page for W to go along with the launch. So here are just a couple of comments from said page:

    You are greatly missed! Thank you for all you did for us, Mr President! Washington needs more help now than ever thanks to the current administration! The country seems to have lost all its’ morals, values and slowly but surely, our freedoms that were fought so hard for! Anyway, thankful for your 8 years of service to us.

    I’ve noticed your approval rating rising ever since you left office. Sometimes people don’t realize what they HAD until it’s gone. You must LOVE being blamed for everything including the BP oil spill . . . LOL . . . we know better.

    Is there a “Super Like” button? Better there a ‘re-wind’ button that can take us back to your leadership, and away from the mess we’re in today? Thank you for your service, your heart, and your strength.

    I really miss you, George. I wish you got to run a third term so Nobama would never try turn this country into New USSR.

    Please come back. We need someone to stick up to Venezuala, Russia, Iran, China and so on. The current administration can’t tell our enemies and friends apart and wants to give Miranda rights to terrorists.

    Gathered from Time’s Swampland, because there was no way in hell I was going to click on George’s Facebook page.

  7. HappyinVT

    Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican lawmaker from Texas, said that people were expecting too much from the president in his ability to react to the ongoing spill into the Gulf.

    “I’m a pretty big critic of the president,” Paul said during an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” on the Fox Business Network, “but I just don’t see the justification for coming down hard on the president.”

    “I think it represents the idea that the American people think the president is everything to everybody that he should fix an oil leak,” Paul added.…  

    Of course, Paul’s suggestion for what Obama could do:

    Obama could do more to help out with the spill and the cleanup by clearing out and waiving federal regulations so that governors of the states affected by the spill have more leeway in addressing cleanup efforts

    Which rather ignores the fact that at least one governor, Jindal, has complained about the too-little government assistance.

  8. sricki

    From Raw Story, some physics professor says the leak could last for years:

    “You have to do this over and over again until you get it just right,” Kaku said. “It takes many tries. So August is optimistic.”

    “So this could be spewing oil for months. Could it last for a year?” asked Lauer.

    “It could last for years, plural. Okay? If everything fails and all these different kinds of relief wells don’t work, it could be spewing stuff into the Gulf until we have dead zones, entire dead zones in the Gulf. For years,” Kaku said.

    More victories for the assholes looking to restrict/eliminate abortion rights:

    In a flurry of activity last week, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi signed a bill barring insurers from covering abortion in the new insurance exchanges called for under the federal health care overhaul, and the Oklahoma Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Brad Henry of a bill requiring doctors who perform abortions to answer 38 questions about each procedure, including the women’s reasons for ending their pregnancies.

    [. . .]

    At least 13 other states have introduced or passed similar legislation this year. The new laws range from an Arizona ban on coverage of abortion in the state employees’ health plan to a ban in Nebraska on all abortions after 20 weeks, on the grounds that the fetus at that stage can feel pain.

    Fetal pain is a subject of debate in the medical community, and the United States Supreme Court has recognized the government’s right to ban abortions only after a fetus becomes viable, which is more than a month later.

    “The right-to-life folks are seeing just how far they can push things,” said Joseph W. Dellapenna, a law professor at Villanova University and the author of “Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History.” Professor Dellapenna said it was “almost a certainty” that one of the laws would end up in front of the Supreme Court, where Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s views on abortion are untested, as are those of Elena Kagan, President Obama’s new court nominee.

    “It could turn out they can push things a lot farther than people think,” he said. “Or, it could not.”


    More bull for the GOP to blame on Obama:

    Some conservative commentators and lawmakers are pointing the finger of blame at President Barack Obama over Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that ended with the death of nine activists.

    On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain told Fox News that the Obama administration’s calls for a settlement freeze in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem set the stage for the deadly May 31 incident.

    “This is another step in a chain of unfortunate events beginning with President Obama’s insistence that there be a freeze, as a precondition for peace talks, a freeze on settlements in Jerusalem,” McCain told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement.”

    Raw Story


    SEATTLE – Police said a man accidentally shot himself in the testicles at a Lynnwood department store. Police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said the man was carrying his handgun in his waistband and it accidentally went off about noon Sunday.

    She said he was wounded in the testicles and also in his leg and foot. No one else was hurt.


  9. HappyinVT

    During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, Dana Perino said, “I think that we are expecting a little bit too much of the administration. I’m not fully defending their response, but I do think President Obama can’t don a snorkeling outfit and do it himself.”


    She added, “Nobody knows how to deal with it.”…  

  10. DeniseVelez

    that we here in the US seem to have a complete lack of interest for events that take place outside of our borders.

    Oh – we stir up a bit of angst about the rest of the world every now and then, but our outrage tends to be localized.

    See this:

    Nigeria’s Agony Dwarfs the Gulf Oil Spill. The US and Europe Ignore It

    Quite an eye-opener.  

    Response from here: crickets.

    On that note, try to find a headline about Haiti there days.

    Oh, NPR recently did a feature on “cock fighting” in Haiti.  

    A waste of band-width, imho.

    I’m grouchy today.  

    Sick of the “Obama’s Katrina” bullshit.

    I think I better get offline and pull weeds.  A good use for all this pent-up grumpiness.

  11. sricki

    Conservative pundits and pols claimed after Congress backed health-care reform that southern Democrats who voted for the measure had doomed themselves politically.

    In fact, it may be the other way around, and that’s something that Democrats across the country should note.

    The spin holds that backing health-care reform was a politically risky move for Democrats.

    But the evidence from primary after primary this year points to a different interpretation: That the opponents of reform may well suffer more serious electoral consequences than the supporters.

    The latest evidence comes from the deep south.

    [. . .]

    While Davis was a winner with the punditocracy, he didn’t appeal to grassroots Democrats in Alabama. In fact, his candidacy was opposed by African-American political groups, veteran civil rights campaigners and many of the state’s unions.

    On Tuesday, Democratic voters rejected his gubernatorial bid by an overwhelming margin — choosing instead an old-school populist who highlighted the congressman’s conservatism.

    While Davis peddled DC-insider bromides about cutting taxes and spending, Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks talked about doing everything that was necessary to improve education and health care in the state — even if that required legalizing gambling.

    The Nation

  12. GMFORD

    Isn’t that the advice given to someone when they go on a date?  That’s the same advice I have for BP and other oil companies.

    Don’t say “I promise there will be no leaks” but instead assume that there will be leaks.  All wells in deep water should have some type of protection (a containment field) built around them from the beginning to prevent inevitable leaks from turning into major disasters.

  13. jsfox

    because in the never ending stream of depressing, more depressing and just f’ing shoot me news something totally heart warming helps.

  14. HappyinVT

    NEW YORK – Rue McClanahan, the Emmy-winning actress who brought the sexually liberated Southern belle Blanche Devereaux to life on the hit TV series “The Golden Girls,” has died. She was 76.

    Her manager, Barbara Lawrence, said McClanahan died Thursday at 1 a.m. at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of a brain hemorrhage.…  

    I watch the Golden Girls every day.

  15. HappyinVT

    Skocpol Responds to Reich on what Obama should do …

    I like Bob Reich and consider him a friend, but he is nuts. see article Skocpol is responding to here  There is a reason why the right, including Sarah Palin, is calling for Obama to “take charge” of the BP disaster, including fixing the leaking pipe. This is a problem that cannot be solved, and probably will not be for many months. They want Obama to directly own it so they can reinforce their message that government does not work. Why should liberals, stupidly, be pushing for this? I cannot figure out what the left and many liberal pundits think they are doing in all this.

    When a huge private corporation makes a mess and cannot fix it, it is sheer lunacy to take direct charge of that mess unless you can fix it right away.

    Obama and the government can (a) hold BP accountable in criminal and financial terms; and (b) orchestrate the mitigation, restitution, and financial help for the regions affected. They are doing this and should be as visible as possible about steps in both areas. The last thing they should do is take charge of fixing the leak itself when they cannot.


  16. HappyinVT

    WASHINGTON – The Obama administration late Wednesday moved swiftly to plug a hole in its much touted six-month ban on new deepwater drilling when the Interior Department ordered oil companies to overhaul and resubmit dozens of exploration plans that had already been approved but were virtually identical to BP’s and that called major spills and environmental damage “unlikely.”

    The action came after McClatchy informed the White House and Interior officials that it had reviewed 31 deepwater exploration and development plans approved for the Gulf under the Obama administration and found that all of them downplayed the threat of spills to marine life and fisheries.


    Following inquiries by McClatchy to White House and Interior officials, the Bureau of Land Management announced late Wednesday that oil companies would need to resubmit the plans with additional safety information before they’d be allowed to drill new wells.


    While the moratorium had blocked new wells and freezes new drilling permits – the last step before drilling begins – it didn’t stop companies from taking the earlier step of filing exploration and development plans. These plans include the most thorough environmental studies that companies must conduct during the entire approval process.

    Experts say these plans are often filled with incomplete or overly hopeful statements about the likelihood of spills, blowouts and ecological damage.

    There were folks at DailyKos who apparently know Elizabeth Burnbaum personally who claim she was scapegoated by the administration, Rahm specifically.  This, however, makes me wonder how qualified she was (from the same article):

    On May 18, four weeks after the blowout preventer on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sent oil gushing into the Gulf, the MMS approved an exploration plan by Petrobras America for Block 697 of the Mississippi Canyon area, the same area where BP was drilling. The Petrobras site is 7,150 feet underwater – nearly one-and-a-half times deeper than where BP was operating.

    The Petrobras plan states: “In the unlikely event a blowout were to occur during exploratory operations, the well would most likely bridge over very quickly considering information known about (rock) formation types in the Gulf of Mexico.”

    The plan also said that a relief well would take “approximately 7-10 days to drill”; BP’s relief wells aren’t expected to be completed before August, 90 days after the accident.

    A defense could be mounted that a holdover from the Bush years approved the permit but it seems to me that a directive should have gone out that no permits for exploration meeting certain requirements would be approved without the expressed written permission of Major League Baseball the MMS Director.  (Sorry, Yankees won today and I got carried away.)   🙂

  17. HappyinVT

    assholes need to take a close look at the front page of Huffington Post and then come kiss my ass.  “Extreme greenies” because we care more about God’s creatures then corporate profits?!  Fuck all of them!  I’d like every one of them to see those pictures day after day, hour after hour, and explain how they think it is conceivably honorable to even risk letting something like that happen again.  Especially after her own fucking state went through it.  I hate that woman and her ilk with every fiber of my being.  Run in 2012, Sarah, I beg you.  I’ll go broke working to defeat you and anyone else who holds that it is remotely okay to take such chances with the Earth your God created.

  18. DTOzone



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