Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weary Blues

I had intended today to post the second part of my review of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office, David Blumenthal's and James A. Morone's excellent and important history of the presidency and health care reform. But, sadly, the BP/Halliburton Oil Spill has intervened. I'll post part 2 of my review on Monday. The New Orleans Ladder is the go-to place on the web for the latest and most relevant information on the spill. Check it regularly for updates.

Unsurprisingly but nonetheless pathetically, the right-wing media has chosen to make the spill a matter of partisan politics by terming it "Obama's Katrina":
Remind you of something: disaster hitting Louisiana, military called too late - observing while the losers in charge cannot give a decent estimate of the problem for days, The White House waffling on the issue being afraid of midterm elections? Such erratic behavior brings a Katrina déjà vu.
Well, at least one conservative has finally admitted that Bush-Cheney botched the response to the federal flood of New Orleans. In fact his description of that is right on the money, except that it's irrelevant to the Obama administration's response to the BP/Halliburton Spill. Media Matters has a detailed description of the administration's initial actions here, which I've summarized and expanded  to include the response to date:

April 20: The BP Deep Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 and injuring 17 (one of whom later died).

April 21: The Administration dispatched Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes to the Gulf Coast "to assist with coordination and response." Meanwhile, the Coast Guard sent four ships to the site of the disaster and announced that more were on the way. Because BP had reported -- and the Coast Guard visually confirmed -- no sign of a spill, the Coast Guard concentrated on rescuing or recovering the bodies of the 11 missing workers.

April 22: Deep Horizon sinks and Obama receives his first briefing on the explosion. The Coast Guard detects no sign of a spill, although the platform's sinking leaves oil in the water.

April 23: The Coast Guard continues to focus "...on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water."

April 24-27: At some point, BP confirms a spill and reports a leak of 1,000 barrels a day. This begins an effort to systematically mislead -- lie, some might say -- the Administration about the extent of the spill.

April 28: Federal experts determine that the leak amounts to 5,000 barrels daily.

April 29: President Obama mobilizes an extensive federal disaster response and rescinds an earlier executive order allowing additional off-shore drilling.

Now, I suppose one could apply this syllogism:

Free Market lies to Government;
Government believes Free Market, therefore
It's all Obama's fault.

But I don't think that the right wants to go down this path, although they are trying mightily to jump to the conclusion while evading the logic. Of course, logic has never been one of their strong suits.

The leak may take months to cap, if it can be capped at all. The oil company booms set up to inhibit the spread of the spill can't withstand the Gulf's wave action and are collapsing. The surface oil slicks have resisted burning. Commercial fishing and shrimping is at grave risk. There's a full-fledged environmental catastrophe underway. Using public airwaves for lies and dissembling instead of education is disgraceful...

Friday night and the sweet smell of petroleum...

So much for Drill, Baby, Drill...

JUST A SONG: Got a short in this connection way down below! Robert Johnson's incomparable "Terraplane Blues"...

Life is overrated, life is complicated.Clint Maedgen, the streets of New Orleans, and the sounds of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (thanks, Bigezbear):

Of course, these guys knew it before anyone else:


Roy said...

Well, that was predictable - the right trying to blame the Obama administration for the oil spill. They still haven't lived down Bush's total fail in the aftermath of Katrina; unfortunately for them the only resemblance this has to that is that both happened in the same place. But then they're experts at grasping at straws.

Thanks for the Kinks video; I haven't listened to them in a while!

Jerry Critter said...

Sometimes you gotta take the bad with the good. In this case, let the republicans bring up Katrina. It just reminds people how badly the republicans are running things. To say a natural disaster is the same as an industrial accident is ridiculous. But OK. It does no harm to remind people of how republicans handle disasters.

Jerry Critter said...

I meant "how badly the republicans are AT running things".

Anonymous said...

Everything has to be politics with some, and politics is synonymous with lying. And the media is no longer neutral reporting merely news.

What did that guy say to McCarthy?
"Have you no shame?"

thanks for the report.

mommapolitico said...

Great timeline and link for updates, K. Hope you don't mind - tweeted a link to the post. Thanks for the solid info! As always, you're the go-to guy...and looking forward to part 2 of review soon! Thanks.

K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. said...

Roy: Exactly right. So why wasn't the MSM prepared to report on either the Administration's lack of preparedness (which didn't happen) or on the nakedly political attacks? (That was a rhetorical question: I know they're lazy and chase headlines.)

JC: I'll try to keep that in mind the next time these guys have me on the verge of a stroke!

Greg; Welcome and thanks for the commment! I don't have quite as negative a view of politics as you, although it certainly applies to far to many politicians.

MP: I'm honored! And thanks for the compliment. This book is one of the few I've read that actually altered my way of thinking about something.

Reading that book, it occurred to me that my father -- who will be 82 next week -- lived through it all. He remembers Roosevelt. He went to Eisenhower's inauguration in 1952 and saw Harry Truman off at Union Station. He shook hands with John Kennedy and was Clean for Gene when McCarthy ran against a president Dad admired in many ways. He detested Nixon. [He jabbed his finger at Nixon on TV one night, declared Tricky Dick "basically a dishonest man" (the worst thing he could think of to call anyone), stalked out of the room, and never again watched Nixon until he resigned, as far as I know.] And so forth. I know, I know: We need to get it on film.