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    • Accepting and Using Climate Change
      A couple days ago I was thinking about the problem of surveillance states and I realized “this problem is likely to become less of one because of climate change.” And I started thinking about all the opportunities and good things climate change makes possible. My grieving was done. My pre-grieving, I suppose. I see grieving […]
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Thursday Morning News and Views

"Morning News" by Cooper

Good Morning Conflucians!

The BP oil spill is still the top story in the news and with each day that passes, it becomes clearer that President Obama not only dropped the ball on handling this nightmare, he never picked up the ball in the first place. And once the ball was thrown in his lap, he attempted to hide it for as long as he possibly could. As always in politics, the cover-up is worse than the crime, and in the end the truth eventually comes out anyway.

We now know that Obama knew from the beginning [warning: right wing link] how bad this catastrophe could be, yet he continued taking frequent vacations, meeting with various sports teams, and hanging out with over-the-hill rock stars and Hollywood celebrities.

In concert with BP and the Coast Guard, the Obama administration made every effort to prevent news organizations from covering the shocking damage caused by BP’s reckless irresponsibility:

Journalists struggling to document the impact of the oil rig explosion have repeatedly found themselves turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.

To some critics of the response effort by BP and the government, instances of news media being kept at bay are just another example of a broader problem of officials’ filtering what images of the spill the public sees.

Scientists, too, have complained about the trickle of information that has emerged from BP and government sources. Three weeks passed, for instance, from the time the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and the first images of oil gushing from an underwater pipe were released by BP.

We now know that offers for help with the crisis came from a number of foreign countries, including the Dutch government, which offered expert help just three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The Dutch government

was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.

U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

Obama has now lost Rolling Stone and Jon Stewart. Yesterday, Jon Stewart suggested that President needed to kick his own (Obama’s) ass, since Obama has declared himself responsible and said the buck stops with him.

Anderson Cooper has been doing a good job of covering the situation on the ground in Louisiana for CNN, but others at CNN are still trying to explain away Obama’s inability or unwillingness to deal with the disaster. You probably guessed it already–it’s because he’s black.

If you’ve followed the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, you’ve heard the complaints that Obama isn’t showing enough emotion.

But scholars say Obama’s critics ignore a lesson from American history: Many white Americans don’t like angry black men….

“Folks are waiting for a Samuel Jackson ‘Snakes on the Plane’ moment from this president as in: ‘We gotta’ get this $#@!!* oil back in the $#!!* rig!’ But that’s just not who Obama is,” says Saladin Ambar, a political science professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Some of the same people crying for Obama to show more emotion would have voted against him if he had displayed anger during his presidential run, says William Jelani Cobb, author of “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.”

“It would have fed deeply into a pre-existing set of narratives about the angry black man,” Cobb says. “The anger would have gotten in the way. He would have frightened off white voters who were interested in him because he seemed to be like the black guy they worked with or went to graduate school with — not a black guy who is threatening.”

Of course all of these discussions ignore the fact that Americans don’t really care if Obama gets angry. They just want him to DO something–and if he were actually angry about what has happened, maybe he would act. And BTW, Samuel L. Jackson was black the last time I checked. How come white Americans like him so much if they dislike angry black men?

So now Obama’s approval ratings are dropping lower and lower. So what does he plan to do next besides belatedly accepting help from the Dutch? Well, he is finally going to meet with BP CEO Tony Hayward next week, according to Jake Tapper.

Though no final decision has been made, White House officials are planning to meet with Hayward, and the president will also likely have a few words to say to him.

Hayward is scheduled to appear on June 17 at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee.

Asked earlier this week why he hadn’t yet spoken to Hayward, the president told NBC that “my experience is when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he’s going to say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions.

OMG! He’s not interested in words, just actions. Here’s hoping Jon Stewart picks up on that quote.

Obama will also meet with David Cameron about the BP spill, according to today’s Guardian UK.

A spokesman for the prime minister said he was “sure” that the pair would speak about BP during a telephone call this weekend, in a further sign that the Deepwater Horizon disaster has now escalated into a political issue.

“The prime minister understands that there are many people who are angry and emotional about what has happened,” said Cameron’s official spokesman.

“This is an environmental tragedy and the impact will be much broader than the environmental impact, and that is why we are encouraging BP to find a solution as soon as possible,” he added.

If BP’s shares keep dropping, will the company even be able to meet its obligations to clean up the mess and pay restitution to those who have lost their livelihoods?

At long last, Obama will meet with families of the 11 men killed in Deepwater Horizon blast.

President Barack Obama is offering condolences to relatives of the 11 workers who were killed when an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Obama wrote to the families and invited them to visit the White House on Thursday.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama also wants to hear the families’ thoughts on changes the government can make to ensure that future deepwater oil drilling is safe. Obama put a temporary halt to such drilling after the April 20 explosion off Louisiana’s coast.

Isn’t 50 days after the fact a little late to be offering condolences? I don’t think I’d be very happy about this if I had lost a relative to this disaster.

Actor Kevin Costner appeared before Congress yesterday to again offer help with the clean-up.

Actor Kevin Costner told Congress on Wednesday that he has a solution to ocean oil spills: a machine that separates oil from water.

Costner said he has spent more than $20 million for the patent and development of the machines since 1993 because he was inspired by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989. [….]

Costner said he had a hard time initially getting anyone interested in buying the device and that tests performed for the Coast Guard, private companies and other government agencies drew no response.

“My enthusiasm for the machine was met with apathy,” said Costner.

Suddenly that has changed, and BP has ordered 32 of the machines.

I know there is plenty of talk about the recent primaries in the news as well, but again I’ve filled up my post with oil spill news. What are you reading this morning? I hope you will all make up for my deficiencies in posting non-oil spill news.

Have a terrific Thursday!!!