May 23, 2010 archive

Is This Obama’s Katrina? Nice Work, Kenny.

Exactly how far does BP have to go, how many times does it have to blunder and fail and make excuses while it tries to preserve its investment in the leaking well, before the US pushes BP out of the way and stops the leak that is now destroying the Gulf of Mexico?  Apparently, pretty damn far.  Long story short, the US isn’t going to take over the problem at this point.  You know we’re in big, big trouble when the intervention of the US Army Corps of Engineers looks like an improvement in disaster management.  

This from Reuters makes the US government’s intentions less than perfectly clear:

The U.S. government will move aside BP (BP.L) from the operation to try to halt the Gulf of Mexico oil spill if it decides the company is not performing as required in its response to the well leak, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Sunday.

“I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this oil from leaking and to stop the pollution from spreading,” Salazar told reporters after visiting BP’s U.S. headquarters in Houston.

“We are 33 days into this effort and deadline after deadline has been missed,” Salazar added, referring to the failure of containment efforts attempted so far by London-based BP to control the gushing undersea well one mile (1.6 km) down on the ocean floor.

President Barack Obama’s administration is facing growing public and political pressure to take full charge of the oil spill containment operation as criticism against BP grows.

Yeah, Ken, we’re all angry and frustrated.  But, guess what?  We’re not the Secretary of the Interior or of anything else.  We’re not in the cabinet.  We’re sitting here watching the Gulf of Mexico turn into a petrol gumbo laced with oil coated pelicans.

And what exactly do you  mean when you say, “if” the company isn’t performing as required?  Performing as required means that the leak is stopped.  Closed up.  That there’s no more oil.  Running a straw into the leak so that BP can sell it and make money on it isn’t exactly “performing as required.”

If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” Salazar said, but he did not specify at what point this would occur or what might be the trigger for it.

“This is an existential crisis for one of the world’s largest companies,” he said, in a reference to the billions of dollars of cleanup and damages costs that BP faces.

Give me a f*cking break. That last paragraph has to be some kind of sick joke.  “An existential crisis for one of the world’s largest companies?”  Dude, it’s an existential crisis for the Gulf of Mexico, its inhabitants, and its wild life if not the oceans generally and the planet.  You think I or anybody else gives a rat’s ass whether BP fails?

If you know how to stop the leak, it’s really time to stop it.  This sitting and watching as BP diddles and tries to harmonize stopping the leak with preserving its investment in the well is going to kill the Gulf, if it hasn’t done so already.  33 days is more than enough time to stop the leak.

The federal response, described in your brilliant statements today, is what I call feckless.  And that’s the nicest term I can find to describe it.  This is a disgrace.  The only thing we’re lacking at the moment is the icing.  That would be Obama telling Ken Salazar what a great job he’s doing.  I wish I didn’t think that was next up.


simulposted at The Dream Antilles and dailyKos


Not much HOPE of that.

Open Tea


The End Of The Beginning?

In the nineteen sixties and seventies the western world was in the throes of a cultural and psychological revolution of awareness that at times threatened to bring down the governments and destroy the societies of some of the most powerful countries on earth, and terrified many who were unable to step outside of the structure and limitations of the worldviews they had constructed for themselves in the course of their lives.

Questioning cultural norms and prejudices and searching for alternatives that better respected and valued human beings and their relationship with the larger society and with the natural world as the basis and reason for societies actions and existence rather than society and the state and the status quo as the determining factors of how people should interact with each other, were the drivers behind this revolution.

The insecurity of many in the face of insistent and deep questioning that in a religious context would have been labeled blasphemy and heresy caused knee-jerk fear reactions that in many arenas turned into violent confrontations, particularly but not only race riots and countless smaller horrors of the racial Civil Rights Movement, and in the struggle for equality under law and social systems of  more than half the population in the Gay and the Women's Liberation Movements, and what was often termed a Sexual Revolution, all of which had been percolating and growing for many years and all of which naturally contributed to making up the more encompassing psychological or awareness heightening Cultural Revolution of the times.

It’s Deja vu all over again, from the Timor Sea

History is full of “flashbulb moments” — when FLASH!

the course of History, changes instantly, on a dime,

as the result of some collective common experience.

This is not one of those tales.

Rather it’s another kind of story entirely,

when we all collectively sense something’s wrong,

but no one can really pin it down, to …

Exactly what the problem is.

Deja vu

Déjà vu [Deja vu] is the experience of feeling sure that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously (an individual feels as though an event has already happened or has happened in the recent past), although the exact circumstances of the previous encounter are uncertain.


The experience of déjà vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of “eeriness,” “strangeness,” “weirdness,” or what Sigmund Freud and other psychologists call “the uncanny.” The “previous” experience is most frequently attributed to a dream, although in some cases there is a firm sense that the experience has genuinely happened in the past.

So Long, Disneyland South

Sometimes the White Man’s Burden is just unbearable. Try explaining that to my Stockholders now. All they want is a bottom line of profit. They don’t understand at times, what we are up against.


Katrina wasn’t enough, you know those levees had to fail for it to be the Perfect Disaster for a nice white Capitalist takeover. It was almost done. Most of the tract houses and apartment buildings are still boarded and abandoned. There were “just enough” people of color left to play for the Tourists on Bourbon. Maybe a couple Chiefs who can still convince themselves that there is “pride on Bourbon” enough to create a second line or two here and there; while working two jobs and moonlighting at the strip clubs as musicians. But overall, the Blacks and the Creoles left en masse, and the Real Estate is there for  the picking. Like manna from the heavens, room for all the rich white people who love just a “tiny bit” of color in their lives. You know, the “cultural absorption” spectator sport that convinced them in the past that seeing Buffalo Bills traveling Indian Show made them experts in Lakota, and that on Prince Spaghetti day everyone is Italian. God knows, there was no culture there in the slums, anyway. Poor people and their poor English, and the scariest of them at least stay way-back in the deep bayous. Those people are crazy.

We had such plans. The Resorts. The Marinas. The theme parks with genuine Cajun shrimp kabobs, but not too spicy for the freckle faced kiddies from the corn belt. Gauhrunteeeeed. Its not like we weren’t planning on buying east coast shrimp, anyway; and no one swims in the ocean when you have a series of cascading pools, but the smell? Its not just the oil and dispersants, now its dead fish too.

May ’70: 17. May 21 In The Streets

Though the national student strike was three weeks old on May 21, 1970, it was not yet over. While this is a day late for the 40th anniversary, I am going to highlight the day in two separate posts.

Ohio State University saw one of the biggest clashes of the whole May upsurge with hours of mobile combat as students and townspeople from Columbus took on the Ohio National Guard, even though they were the force that had gunned down four students at Kent State University on May 4.

Actually Governor Rhodes had initially mobilized the Guard at the end of April, because OSU had already blown wide open, even before the Cambodia invasion and the start of the national student strike. As at other campuses, the issue of racism was an initial trigger, with two Black students brought up on charges after a March 13 protest.

On April 20, 100 students in the School of Social Work had walked out, demanding more student voice in decisions, followed a day later by protests targeting recruiters for corporations from the military-industrial complex at a campus jobs fair. Various activist groups united and issued a joint call for a student strike to begin on the April 29, a call quickly endorsed by the student government.

The strike started successfully with picket lines closing classes and a 2000 strong rally on the Oval. By evening it had evolved into a blockade at the campus gates to keep out the Ohio Highway Patrol, called in by the administration. After a night of fighting and 300 busts, student heading for the Oval on the 30th found their campus occupied by the Ohio National Guard.

The Guard teargassed a rally of 4000 students that day. Following days saw more fighting and more gas. On the May 4, the administration finally started making concessions, even as the Guard occupation and the strike continued. Once the news from Kent State hit, it was too little, too late. The protests stepped up!

Two days later the administration announced the suspension of classes. OSU was closed effective May 7 at Governor Rhodes’ urging. They tried to reopen it on the May 19. Mistake. Two days later, renewed clashes erupted on the campus and spilled into adjacent Columbus. Scores were arrested. The strike was still on!

Docudharma Times Sunday May 23

Sunday’s Headlines:

U.S. strategy rests on Kandahar offensive

After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all


Gulf coast oil slick headed for Grand Isle, Louisiana

Battles brew over Fort Hood shooting suspect’s past


After 467 years, Copernicus gets a hero’s burial

The European Disunion – will the euro survive?

Middle East

The tragicomedy of Iran sanctions


Mongolia: Nomadic way of life at risk as harsh winter kills 17% of livestock

Vengeful redshirts threaten tourism


Crisis as East African states battle over control of Nile

Ethiopia votes in crunch election

Latin America

Signs of a Cover-Up After Killings in a Haitian Prison

Late Night Karaoke


May ’70: 16. The Other Side Of The Chasm

40 years ago this Thursday just past, around 100,000 people marched down Broadway in Manhattan. With thousands of safety helmet-wearing members of various construction unions in the lead and American flags everywhere, it was perhaps the largest single demonstration in support of the war during the whole Vietnam era. As the march traversed the Wall Street area, it was greeted by cheers from crowds on the sidewalks and showered, from the upper floor offices of bankers, stockbrokers and lawyers, with spirals of tape from stock tickers.

Naturally the media gave the march intense play, contrasting it with the campus protests, by that point near the end of the third week of the national strike. And this hooray-for-war rally was in fact a direct outgrowth of the campus explosion. Specifically, it was the culmination of two weeks of orchestrated actions in NYC aimed at pushing the idea that the working class of the US supported the war and hated the protesters, starting with the intensely violent “Hard Hat riot” attacks on peaceful protesters which I wrote about on May 8, forty years after the event.

Why Is This Man Smiling?


Barack Obama, May 22, 2010

Today in the New York Times…

President Obama previewed a new national security strategy rooted in diplomatic engagement and international alliances on Saturday as he essentially repudiated his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage preemptive war.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama forms spill commission as oil mess spreads

by Stephane Jourdain, AFP

2 hrs 22 mins ago

GRAND ISLE, Louisiana (AFP) – President Barack Obama unveiled a commission Saturday to probe the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as the growing environmental catastrophe hit Louisiana’s fragile wetlands.

With the federal government facing accusations of lax supervision of the lucrative offshore oil drilling industry, Obama vowed to hold Washington accountable and warned that the future of the industry hinges on assurances such a disaster would not happen again.

He also sharpened his tone against the three firms involved in the spill — BP, Transocean and Halliburton.