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Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

Let’s get right to it on this late midweek morning. It looks like BP is delaying the tests from their new cap:

BP PLC remains in a holding pattern on a crucial pressure test of a new containment system over its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico while pursuing other options to capture the gushing crude, the company said Wednesday.

And just when you thought it was safe to sail in the oily seas, some people are looking at possible mass extinction (including us) scenarios from the Gulf:

Ominous reports are leaking past the BP Gulf salvage operation news blackout that the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico may be about to reach biblical proportions.

251 million years ago a mammoth undersea methane bubble caused massive explosions, poisoned the atmosphere and destroyed more than 96 percent of all life on Earth. Experts agree that what is known as the Permian extinction event was the greatest mass extinction event in the history of the world.

Those subterranean seas of methane virtually reshaped the planet when they explosively blew from deep beneath the waters of what is today called the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, worried scientists are increasingly concerned the same series of catastrophic events that led to worldwide death back then may be happening again-and no known technology can stop it.

The bottom line: BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years.

The oil giant drilled down miles into a geologically unstable region and may have set the stage for the eventual premature release of a methane mega-bubble.

I for one welcome our new apocalyptic methane mega-bubble overlord.

WaPo has an article on Obama trying to reconnect with voters. First they talk about the good old days, then:

Nearly 17 months later, Gibbs is once again talking about the president’s travels around the country to pitch his economic policies. But this time, it probably doesn’t feel so much like the good old days.

In a series of polls, the public has expressed deep skepticism about the economic direction Obama began taking in early 2009. A clear majority now say they disapprove of his handling of the issue.

That has put the White House on the defensive as the midterm elections approach this fall. For two straight days, Gibbs has been repeatedly asked versions of the same question: What happened between then and now?

“I think there is, rightly so, a great frustration in this country with where we are economically, and understanding the depths of the numbers of jobs that were lost, the length of this recession, what it has meant for people on Main Street,” Gibbs explained to reporters Tuesday.

In related news, the Pennsylvania Senate race is in a dead heat:

Pennsylvania’s Senate race is dead even, with Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey both drawing 43% of support in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

At this point in the race, momentum appears to be on Sestak’s side. He was down 2 percentage points in May and 8 percentage points in an April survey by Quinnipiac.

The NAACP passed a resolution saying the Tea Party was a bunch of racists:

The NAACP has passed a resolution that condemns what it feels is rampant racism in the Tea Party movement. Members passed the measure on Tuesday at the organization’s 101st annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tea Party activists have swiftly denounced the action as unfounded and unfair.

The resolution pits the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, with its storied history of wins on behalf of racial justice, against a grassroots conservative movement that has won some recent political races and is flexing its muscle in Republican circles.

“We take no issue with the Tea Party. We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy,” Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement.

“We take issue with the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements. The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no space for racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in their movement,” Jealous said.

There are certainly some crazy nutjobs in that group as we’ve seen from some members and their signs. And the Tea Party leaders have been inconsistent in how they react to that. Then again, the Tea Party seems a little less organized and controlled than they’d like to admit. So the question is, is this a good idea? Sara Palin commented on the matter:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came to the defense of the Tea Party on Tuesday night, saying that the NAACP was wrong to pass a resolution condemning what it says are racist elements of the conservative movement.

“I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow ‘racists,'” Palin wrote in a Facebook note. “The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.”

Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee who is now seen as a leader of the Tea Party movement, quoted conservative icon Ronald Reagan, who called America’s past racism “a legacy of evil.” She said that with the election of the first black president, the United States has become “a new ‘post-racial’ society.”

“We, as a united people, applauded that sentiment. We were proud of that progress,” Palin said. “That’s why it is so sad to see that 18 months later, the NAACP is once again using the divisive language of the past to unfairly accuse the Tea Party movement of harboring ‘racist elements.'”

It sure looks like given this and some other recent activities that some political players want a race war of sorts. It’s a tried and true tactic of course to raise a bunch of overblown issues and get people emotional and angry  in order to have them mobilized on your side while at the same time distracting them from issues that would likely keep them from your side. That’s not to say there aren’t real issues worth having a dialog about. But passing a resolution instead of trying to have a dialog ensures a permanent rift.

Back to Katrina news, what you say, it looks like four cops involved in gunning down civilians in the Katrina aftermath may face the death penalty:

Four police officers, charged with shooting and killing two unarmed civilians on a bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina, could face the death penalty.

Those four officers and two others are accused of gunning down citizens and trying to cover it up. Five other former police officers have already pleaded guilty to helping cover up the killings, bringing the total to 11 charged so far. The entire New Orleans police department is under investigation, stemming from allegations of misconduct.

“We will not tolerate wrongdoing by those who are sworn to protect the public,” said Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in New Orleans Tuesday to announce the charges in the civil rights investigation. “This will not stand.”

And finally, Bill Clinton is joining with others at WH for job creation meeting:

The White House is seeking help from former President Bill Clinton in its efforts to create jobs.

Clinton will join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with business leaders. The White House says the meeting will focus on new ways to create jobs in the private sector. The leaders will also discuss ways to increase new investments in the clean energy industry.

Kind of late in the day isn’t it? Perhaps they should have thought about stimulus plans that actually created jobs, oh I don’t know, maybe 18 months ago.

That’s a bit of what’s in the news. Chime in with what you’re finding.

Hapless Harry Enjoys Being an Oprecious Prop

Yesterday from Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants President Barack Obama to be “more firm” and stop avoiding “confrontation” with Republicans.

“He is a person who doesn’t like confrontation. He’s a peacemaker,” Reid said in an interview with Las Vegas television station KSNV.

Oh really? And yet a month and a half ago, we heard about a very different Obama, also from Politico:

President Barack Obama battled with Senate Republicans in a tense closed-door meeting Tuesday, facing tough criticism from his GOP adversaries — including John McCain — on issues ranging from health care to border security.

Senators and other sources inside the meeting described the gathering as “testy” and “direct” — and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) accused Obama of acting two-faced by asking for GOP support on regulatory reform only to push forward with a bill supported mainly by Democrats. Others felt that the meeting may have made already tense relations between the two parties even worse.

I wrote about this Obama-GOP showdown at the time, in a piece called “We are all but props in the Land of Oprecious.”

From my post:

Politico’s reporting gets even more comical:

In one of the most heated exchanges of the lunch, Corker accused Obama of acting “duplicitous” in his calls for bipartisanship, saying that he was trying to cut a deal on regulatory reform only to see the rug pulled out from underneath him. At one point, Corker said Obama was using lunch with Republicans as a “prop.”

Everybody Loves Oprecious

Poor witto GOP. They always carp so much about others playing the victim, it is hard to feel sorry for them. On the other hand, Oprecious is the titular star of his own comedy-drama, and we are all just his lowly props. I wouldn’t blame anyone for tearing up that script.

Apparently, Harry Reid really enjoys this script, though.

He certainly doesn’t mind perpetuating the myth that Obama is “too nice.” Here’s more from the Politico write-up on his recent interview with KSNV:

“Sometimes I think you have to be a little more forceful. And sometimes I don’t think he is enough with the Republicans,” said the Nevada Democrat, whose allegiance with the White House is hurting his reelection prospects.

“On a few occasions, I think he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle,” he said.

Reid pointed at the long battle for health care reform as the key example of when he would have liked to see the president act more forcefully.

“I think much of that early on scrimmaging was done in the Senate itself. And the White House didn’t come in until later,” Reid said.

“Now, we came up with a great product, and I’m sure he can look back and say I was right,” he added, “but boy for me down in the trenches, I know it was a time when I wanted a few folks in the White House behind me.”

Good luck to Harry on pitching that “great product.” According to the latest polling from CBS, the American public hasn’t bought what the Dems are selling so far:

More Americans disapprove than approve of the health care bill that was signed into law in March. 36% support the law, down seven points from last month, and similar to the level it was in late March. Most Republicans and independents disapprove of the law, while Democrats approve.

From the breakdown of the polling: 49% disapprove of Harry and Barack’s Excellent Product, while only 36% approve.

Americans continue to see little personal benefit from the health care reform legislation. By more than two to one, Americans think it will hurt rather than help them, and 48% expect the reform to have no effect on them personally.

As for the narrative that Obama is so utterly meek and conflict-averse that he can’t bother to be the leader of his party, this excuse was well past its expiration date the day Obama said this:

Since when is telling one’s supporters to “get in people’s faces” the hallmark of a “peacemaker” ?

Senator Reid is putting on quite an act playing the poor hapless Harry trying to steer the dear, sweet, well-intentioned Oprecious to be the best Oprecious he can be. But, the facts are the facts. Obama didn’t fight for healthcare policy proposals that actually put people before profit. He only came in with his fighting gloves at the end of the healthcare battle, when the bill was whittled down to an insurance industry giveaway.

For whatever reason, Harry seems hellbent on being an Obama prop. Harry is lucky his opponent seems just as hellbent on saving him his seat.