May 4, 2010 archive

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP deploys giant ‘dome’ to stem oil spill

by Mira Oberman, AFP

46 mins ago

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – BP prepared Tuesday to deploy a 98-ton containment “dome” to try and stem a tide of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and avert an environmental catastrophe.

The operation to place the giant structure over the largest of three oil leaks is unprecedented and, facing depths of almost a mile, remote-controlled submarines will have to guide it into place, hopefully by the weekend.

“We are aiming to put in on the ship today and start the process,” BP spokesman John Curry told AFP, adding that containers for the remaining leaks were still being built.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – A Cry for Help

Crossposted at Daily Kos


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

Open Bar


May ’70: 5. The Gathering Storm

May the Third, 1970 was a Sunday.

The main thing about it was that we still really didn’t quite have a handle on what was happening. Not did we know what was about to happen. Those who had spent years fighting campus battles–or who felt ourselves part of the broader multifaceted forces of social justice generally known as The Movement–were pretty much as full of excitement and uncertainty as the high school sophomore who had suddenly decided that she would cut school on Monday and head on over to see what was happening at the local college.

With the benefit of hindsight, of course, we now know that forces were gathering which would only one day in the future recast everything that had happened so far and intensify it by an order of magnitude.

What were we doing on May 3?

Though Students for a Democratic Society was gone, and with it any chance of real national leadership and coordination, it would be wrong to overestimate our isolation. Local successor groups and semi-formal regional networks were solidly in place in many parts of the country.

The first thing we did was share information. That was harder in the pre-Internet days, but every nugget plucked from a high school classmate or sib who had gone to a different school halfway across the country, every report from the radio, the teevee or the newspaper, circulated immediately.

And we networked. 20 campuses in the mid-Atlantic area had representatives at an emergency meeting at the University of Pennsylvania to coordinate strike activity.

And we organized. In the Boston area alone, organizers at M. I. T., Harvard. Tufts and Boston University were building for mass meetings on Monday to vote on strike proposals, while students at Brandeis met in their dormitories on the 3rd to decide what action to take. More than a dozen campus newspapers around the country endorsed the demands coming out from New Haven rally two days before.

[Interestingly the article from the Harvard Crimson dated May 4, 1970 where I found some of this info reported 1. that a “National Strike Committee” had come out of the May Day rally in New Haven and 2. that there was a fourth demand, Impeach Nixon. A good call, history would prove, but I don’t remember it myself, and for sure it was not on the semi-canonical 11×17 black on yellow strike poster.]

Tell Obama: Offshore drilling means more spilling

The giant oil spill caused by an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico is wreaking ecological havoc on the Gulf Coast.

A Coast Guard report that the leak could be five times bigger than previously thought has sparked fears that this may become the “biggest oil spill in the world”, far worse than the Exxon Valdez spill. [1]

This heart-wrenching disaster highlights the danger of President Obama’s plan to open vast expanses of pristine ocean for the massively polluting oil industry.

Tell President Obama not to open 167 million acres of ocean to offshore drilling.

If you’ve already sent a letter, invite 5 friends to take action to protect our oceans.

President Obama’s plan to open the ocean to Big Oil will mean more emissions, more spills, and more pollution of our irreplaceable ecosystems.

It’s not just whales and birds that are threatened by offshore drilling expansion – it’s the entire planet.

Tell President Obama today: don’t open 167 million acres of ocean to offshore drilling!


1. “Gulf of Mexico oil slick said to be five times bigger.” BBC, April 29, 2010.

Jacob Freeze Bashes John R. Bolton at the WSJ

I don’t like preaching to the choir, and mostly reserve bashing right-wing bullies for right-wing venues like the Wall Street Journal.

So now that the repulsive psycho John R. Bolton is chanting “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” at the WSJ…


Bolton’s genuinely weird excuse for supporting the war in Vietnam while he simultaneously ran away from combat is worth quoting more or less in full from Wikipedia.

I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”[13] In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because “by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.”

Bolton never stopped cheering for the war, but after those goddamned liberals lost it, he “had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” as if the 58,000 American soldiers who died in Vietnam had any more “desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy” than John R. Bolton.  

But of course a few neo-con freaks objected to my ad hominem attack upon their hero.


And now it was time for some neo-con hoodoo to parade their ridiculous equivalence of Obama with Neville Chamberlain at Munich, with Obama appeasing the monster Ahmadinejad instead of Hitler, while the goddamned chicken-hawk John Bolton is cast in the role of… Winston Churchill, bravely urging resistance.


No decent person should even so much as acknowledge the existence of John R. Bolton!

And this is only an echo of Heinrich Heine’s grand anti-epitaph for the right-wing fanatic Metternich.

Nicht gedacht soll seiner werden!

Aus dem Mund der armen alten

Esther Wolf hört ich die Worte,

Die ich treu im Sinn behalten.

“Let no one ever think of him again!”

Out of the mouth of a poor old woman,

Esther Wolf, I heard those words,

which I have faithfully remembered.

Erase John R. Bolton, and the same for Bush and Cheney, and all who traveled with them!

‘we smoked that cop’

I just posted these over in the open thread as well as cheers and jeers, at kos, first it was the article about the Cop Killing, which I’ve been following the last couple of days;. He was still strapped in his car seat and shot in the head, point blank range!

But than another report hits this morning, unrelated to that but of equal mentality and showing in what direction this country is quickly going also following the report that a judge is allowing the Hutaree group to post bond

As well as to the failed bombing threat and arrest of the suspect

The Short-Term Fix or the Long-Term Solution

I feel a bit late to the party writing about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Had I chosen to focus on this subject a few days ago, I might have been inclined to draft a personal narrative about the summers I spent on Alabama’s Gulf Coast as a boy and young teenager.  My post would have certainly have been in good company; it heartens me to recognize just how many people have an emotional and personal connection to the region.  I myself didn’t realize how much the warm salt water and white sand meant to me until I began to contemplate what both might look like covered in oil.  It is very unfortunate that tragedies like these have to happen before we ever seriously consider the long term consequences.  Off-shore drilling was, until very recently, touted as some kind of snake-oil panacea or fix-all curative.  One hopes that we now understand the complexities and potentially catastrophic drawbacks in tapping the reserves present in our coastline.  

On This Day in History: May 4

On this day in 1970, At Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fire their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding 11. This incident occurred in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon’s April 30 announcement that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had been ordered to execute an “incursion” into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese bases there. In protest, a wave of demonstrations and disturbances erupted on college campuses across the country.

There were no warnings when the Guardsmen opened fire. 60 rounds were fire into the crowd of demonstrators. After an investigation, all the charges were dropped against the National Guard in 1974.

New audio from the day of the shootings has been released on a website dubbed The site also features images of the historic day’s tragic events.

Docudharma Times Tuesday April 4

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Arrest Made in Times Square Bomb Case


Death toll rises as river crests, floods Nashville

BP claims absolute responsibility for oil cleanup


Volcanic ash cloud forces Ireland to ground all flights on Tuesday morning

Rock to become a hard place for tax dodgers to hide cash

Middle East

Why Yemen’s future threatens to destroy its past


Sole surviving Mumbai gunman must hang, say prosecutors

South Korea stops just short of blaming North for sinking


Grandmothers’ summit to put spotlight on Africa’s ‘forgotten victims’ of Aids

Latin America

In Mexico’s drug war, military has to defend reputation, too

Climate: This Oil Spill is Bigger Than Delaware, You Idiots!

The BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig failed on Tuesday evening April 20, 2010, 14 days ago.

This is what it looked like Saturday, May 1st.   I took a satellite picture from the NRL Monterey of the Gulf of Mexico that was showing biological substances, cropped it, and color enhanced it by playing with the settings on iphoto, to make the colors have more contrast. Since oil is based on organics, this made it show up better, and I could recreate, roughly, what the LSU ESL  was doing to get the oil to show up on their pictures I posted previously.  Because there were thunderstorms this past weekend, the area was obscured by cloud cover often.  I also noticed the government was not putting up daily picture updates.

climate Nature

May 1, 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon’s oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, photo NRL Monterey, color enhanced by ARC  The thicker part of the slick is the part that looks like a bird’s beak pointing upside down off the New Orleans Louisiana Delta, which is to the left in green and pink. Pink is the coastline, drawn in.  The greenish tint is where the slick is thinner.  The blue is the water.  



This is the same picture from May 1st, larger area,  without my increasing the color contrast.

Climate Nature

May 1, 2010, BP Deepwater Horizon’s Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, photo NRL Monterey.  The heavier part of the slick is gray, the lighter part of the slick is very hard to see, but is there and greenish grey.  The coast outline is drawn in pink by the website.  The ^ triangle to the north in the shoreline is the Bay of Mobile, Alabama.  To find the origin of the slick, look down from the left side of that triangle of the Mobile Bay and come out from the Delta about at a 45º degree angle, where the lines would meet, is roughly where the broken drill rig is.   Where the up and down brilliant blue longitude line is to the right touches shore, is where Pensicola Bay is in the Florida panhandle.



As you can see from this larger view, the slick actually has spread quite a bit towards the Florida Panhandle by Saturday the 1st.

Climate Nature

5/1/2010,  Larger view of Gulf with BP DH Oil slick southwest of the New Orleans delta, spreading towards Alabama and Florida.



Sunday May 2-  This lovely overlay picture below is the satellite of the eastern half of the US, including the gulf of Mexico,  with the wind direction and speed marked on it.  Think of the little color icons as brooms with the stick end pointing towards what way the wind is going, and the bigger the broom, the faster.  There were several thunderstorm fronts moving thru to the southeast, and the wind in the Gulf is spinning in a clockwise manner, driving the waves and the oil around and around and easterly at the same time.

This is known as the “Conveyer Belt.” photo NRL Monterey

  Climate Nature  

Wind Direction on Sunday the 2nd, showing the Gulf’s classic “Conveyor Belt.”

The other thing you can see here is a big low pressure system spinning off the eastern coast and it’s spinning counterclockwise.  Look at Florida.  Now look at Cuba, the long island under it, then to its right, the island with Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and to the right of that, little bitty Puerto Rico, the rectangle island.

Do you see how small Puerto Rico is ?  Do you see how big the oil slick is, in the first picture ?   Do you know how stupid White House Correspondent Cokie Roberts looked, prattling about how the oil slick is so big it was as big as Puerto Rico, all day Saturday, when she wasn’t blathering about the White House Correspondent’s dinner ?    

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Division 3

(Click on image for larger view)


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