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BP Backs Down on Threat to Shut off Live Feed of Oil Tsunami

Exclusive ABC News video of Philippe Cousteau and Sam Champion diving in the Gulf of Mexico. A couple of quotes:

Announcer: “…it appears the mixture [of oil and chemical dispersants] is now breaking into small droplets, capable of passing right into the flesh of fish and birds.”

Sam Champion, ABC News after swimming in the Gulf water: “I am slippery. I feel like I was just…buttered.”

The Boston Globe has published a series of shocking, horrifying, depressing photos of the oil spill aftermath. After looking at them, I cried. Then I felt nauseated. Now I’m angry, so very very angry.


Meanwhile, I just got an e-mail from my Congressman, Ed Markey.
Here’s the text.

BREAKING: BP Attempting to Blackout Live Video Feed for “Top Kill” Operation

Today, BP informed the Select Committee of their intent to pull down their video feed of the oil spill during their so called “Top Kill” operation. This move would deny the public access to vital footage from the ocean floor. Chairman Markey was the first to uncover this information and has been pressuring BP to keep the cameras turned on. The White House also believes the public should have access. [Yeah, right….]

*Stay tuned to the Select Committee Web site for breaking information on the availability of live “Top Kill” video footage.

Since Chairman Markey pressed BP into releasing the live feed to the public last week, response has been overwhelming. Several thousand people have sent comments and suggestions on the BP video. Chairman Markey took several of those suggestions and put them into a letter to BP [PDF], calling for:

1) More Video: BP has as many as 12 different camera feeds from the ocean floor, but they are only offering one view to the public. Click here to see an example of BP’s multiple cameras. Markey called on BP to make all video available.

2) Archived Video: So that scientists, engineers and students can learn from the underwater operation footage. This archived video can help protect against future disasters.

3) Time Stamp: To ensure the video the public is watching has time and date information.

To read this letter, click here.

BP Oil Spill HEARINGS this WEEK:

WED & THURS: The Natural Resources Committee will hold two days of hearings on the Deep Water Horizon oil spill (Wed & Thursday). Click here for more information.

THURS: Chairman Markey’s Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment will hold a hearing entitled “Combating the BP Oil Spill” on Thursday, May 27, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

INVITED WITNESSES:

· The Honorable Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

· Timothy Keeney, Assistant Secretary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

· S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, Director, Minerals Management Service

· Peter Neffenger, Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard

MARKEY QUERIES FDA on DISPERSANTS in FISH, FOOD CHAIN

In light of continued use of chemical oil dispersants by BP, Chairman Markey asked the Food and Drug Administration for information on how Gulf seafood that could be purchased and eaten by humans will be monitored for potential long-term exposure to chemicals.

According to a new CNN Opinion Research Poll, 51% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of this global environmental catastrophe. The Hill says they blame BP more, so I guess that’s supposed to somehow show that Obama is doing OK?

Anyway, the plutocrat in chief plans to drag his sorry ass down to the Gulf on Friday.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE: Apparently, Markey’s leaks to NPR and other new outlets today, along with his mass e-mail, have had an impact. CNN reports that BP has agreed to keep the live feed going during the “top kill” procedure tomorrow.

Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts expressed concern Tuesday that BP might terminate the images during the top kill attempt.

“It is outrageous that BP would kill the video feed for the top kill,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Massachusetts before BP’s announcement to continue the live video.

Markey chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Now what about those other 11 live cameras?

God Forbid we Should Change the Status Quo

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Jake Tapper of ABC News had an “exclusive” interview with President Obama today. The first part of the interview was shown on ABC News hour tonight, more will be shown on Nightline tonight, and the rest on Good Morning America tomorrow. Tapper asked the President about the abortion language in the “health care reform” bill passed by the House on Saturday night.

“I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill,” Obama said. “And we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.

Saying the bill cannot change the status quo regarding the ban on federally funding abortions, the President said “there are strong feelings on both sides” about an amendment passed on Saturday and added to the legislation, “and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.”

Call me crazy, I thought Mr. Hope ‘n Change was elected because he wanted to change the status quo. Can someone please explain to me why it is so important to make absolutely sure there is no change in the status quo on funding abortions? And furthermore, doesn’t the Stupak amendment already guarantee a very big change in the status quo? So does that mean Mr. Obama will do something about the Stupak amendment to return us to his beloved status quo? It’s not really clear, but no, I don’t think he plans to do anything but sit around waiting for someone else to take responsibility for this ongoing nightmare of a health care bill.

Obama told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that he was confident that the final legislation will ensure that “neither side feels that it’s being betrayed.”

“I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test — that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices,” he said.

I don’t know what the heck that means except that Mr. Obama is not going to take any kind of stand. He’s going to carry on with the “on the one hand…on the other hand” crap until someone else take responsibility for limiting women’s rights so dramatically that many of us are still in shock. But Mr. Bipartisanship is still trying to please both “sides.” Of course both of those “sides” are mostly made up of very rich, old men.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the President is not going to “take sides” on the Stupak amendment controversy.

The White House on Monday signaled it would keep its distance in the increasingly vocal debate over whether health insurance reform should include language related to abortion.

When asked whether the president supported Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) amendment to prohibit the public insurance plan from covering abortion services, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question — multiple times.

“Well, ask me that right before Christmas and the end of the New Year,” Gibbs said during today’s press briefing, noting the president still expected to sign a healthcare bill before the year’s end.

The press secretary later clarified, “We will work on this and continue to seek consensus and common ground.”

Now there’s a surprise. Has Barack Obama ever taken a stand on anything? I don’t think so. And once again he’s going to vote “present” while women are stripped of what reproductive rights they had left. Good luck finding “common ground” on the abortion issue. If there is any common ground, it’s a very small strip of land indeed.

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the house bill *only* makes older people pay twice as might for health insurance as older people. These are the figures:

under the House’s 2-to-1 cap, a 20-year-old would pay $3,169 in annual premiums and a 60-year-old would pay $6,339 for comparable plans, if they both had incomes above the subsidy-eligible level. Under a bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee, which had a 4-to-1 age-rating ratio, the 20-year-old would pay $2,258 and the 60-year-old would pay $8,357.

I have never in my life had to pay more than $2,000 for health insurance. The idea that I could ever afford to pay more than $6000 or $8,000 per year is unimaginable to me. What have these so-called Democrats done to us?!!

We are so screwed. I guess I should be grateful that I’m past menopause, so at least I won’t be needing an abortion. It looks like some young women are going to be finding out what it was like when I was in college. No birth control, no abortion, no help for women in crisis.

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