Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stop Fiddling

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20.

11 men died in that explosion.

June 10 was the day that the President announced his invitation for the family members of the men who died in the rig explosion to meet with him.

Today is June 14.

We all know now that President Obama is not a leader. That much has been made clear to us over the last year and a half. We knew he liked to vote "present" while in the state legislature, and we know he started campaigning for the presidency after an extraordinarily short tenure in the US Senate. In fact, we know he thought he wasn't qualified enough for the position. We know he never held a job of consequence in the real world (academia does not count), he never produced anything, and we know he never ran anything except his campaign for President. (He touted running a presidential campaign as an example of his ability to be President, remember?)

We all know he loves parties. Did I mention he loves parties that raise tons of cash for the Democrats? We all know he loves celebrities, going out for a night on the town, going on vacation, playing golf, playing golf, playing golf, playing golf, and he loves being the super-cool, rock star President.

We all know Obama didn't even want to talk to the CEO of BP. We now know he was aware of the size of the disaster very early on, but made no efforts to convey this or respond to it appropriately. We all know that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal begged for three to five million feet of boom less than one week after the explosion and that he has only received about 800,000 feet as of the last report. We all know that President Obama is also Commander in Chief Obama who has access to the vast resources of the military, including the Army Corps of Engineers (pronounced core, not corpse) and the National Guard. We all know that that the National Guard is good at these types of things and that the military already possesses the organizational structure, chain of command, and resources necessary to combat the oil spill, they just need the orders to do so.

We know that Obama promised to clean up the corruption at the MMS and the department of Interior during his campaign and yet has done nothing about it in his first 18 months because he was solely focused on forcing through the health care bill that the majority of Americans still want repealed. We know that his administration gave BP a safety award in 2009. We know that his M.O. is to blame everyone else when challenges exist. We know Obama has no problem getting into bed with corporations if it furthers his own ideologically driven agenda, contrary to his populist rhetoric.

We know all of this. What we didn't know was that the President had yet to meet with the family members of the deceased rig workers. We hit the eight week mark tomorrow, Tuesday, and Obama is only now just getting around to inviting the family members. I can't imagine many other US Presidents acting so cavalier about an incident of this magnitude.

Hope and change? More like hope that round of "Hey Jude" was worth it champ because America is burning, and we are looking for a leader, for a change.



More photos here.

21 comments:

  1. yeah thats cute but bush took more vacations like playing golf while invading iraq talking about 'where gonna get those terrorists,Now watch this drive"or my persional favorate "mission accomplished" cuz you know he loved that outfit cuz he thought it made his package look huge dude was born on the east coast but he's the only one in the family with a texas accent his dad did'nt oh and don't forget all the time he's spent at crawford but we will see if you post this cuz the truth hurts

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  2. Liberty Belle, This is the most intemperate of all your postings. Is it possible, just possible, that President Obama, with his various failings, is a little more complicated than the grotesque caricature that you present here? Is there any reason to suppose that he was anything but appalled by the oil spill, or unaware of its consequences for our country, or committed to finding a way to stop and and repair the damages? This is not a reasoned or balanced posting. Beware of what you "know" -- it may not be entirely so.

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  3. Jesse, you obviously did not take the time to click through the links and references provided. Had you done that you would have seen that many of the articles linked to were written and researched by authors at Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Slate, etc., hardly beacons of conservative thought.

    And, you did not understand the entire point of the post. The point is that he knew a lot more about the extent of the spill very early on and did nothing about preventing the oil from reaching the shores - we have the technology to do that. This info is per a memo released by the Obama Administration. He also refused help from 13 other nations that offered their expertise, resources and equipment.

    Obama deserves real criticism about his response to this spill. I didn't even think it was that bad until I started researching it. You can't continue to be so reactionary whenever anyone criticizes him. It is our job as citizens to keep elected officials accountable. No one is suggesting that he should have been able to stop the gushing. I am merely showing you the evidence that he has spent the last eight weeks twiddling his thumbs when he could have used the existing technology and resources to halt the oil's reach to our shores.

    Check out the links and think critically before assuming so much.

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  4. Trent, My objection was not that Obama is above criticism. I think he could have handled the spill better. He himself thinks the same. My objection is to the tone of so many of Obama's critics -- to whom he is undeserving even of a "day in court". Yes, Obama should have reformed the MMS immediately upon taking office. He should have done that, and he should be doing a hundred other things, too. Undoubtedly, there are other time bombs ticking away that we won't be aware of until they go off. But in Obama's defense, this disaster is unprecedented in its nature and scope. No one, perhaps not even BP initially, knew how bad it was going to be. No one has more reason to wish that Obama had sized it up sooner than Obama himself. He learns from his mistakes and contrary to so many posting on this site, he is not ideologically committed to any one approach. If he allows something like this to happen again, under similar circumstances, then I lose faith in him. Not now.

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  5. First, apologies to Trent; my previous posting was to the other commentator. I've had my second cup of coffee now, so I'll do better now.

    JFK was once shown a poll by historians that ranked presidents as great, fair, or poor. It made him furious. He said that no one except those who have actually been president know how hard it is to get anything done. This is worth bearing in mind as we evaluate Obama's response to the oil spill.

    Among the obstacles that he has had to face are: the lack of an agency with authority to coordinate the response by federal state and local officials; the difficulty of getting exact information about the size and scope of the spill (estimates of its size are still being revised); the fact that he had to rely on BP itself for the technical means to cap the leak at the well head; and opposition from state officials to actions that could have helped keep the oil from reaching the shore.

    For example, opposition to Gov. Jindal's plan, which would have relied on Dutch dredging companies, came from state officials in Louisiana. According to Garret Graves, who chairs Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, state officials "have made it clear to our contractors from the beginning that we want to use American dredges to complete this sand berm as quickly as possible . . . Ultimately, any effort to expedite these berms will be fully considered, but we remain committed to our American companies." But the American companies have much less dredging capacity than the Dutch companies -- much less than required to contain the spread.

    Almost certainly, Obama should have started to "kick ass" sooner and harder. But we until we have a better understanding of all the difficulties he faces, we might want to temper our criticism by wondering whether anyone else, in his position, would have been able to do a whole lot better. My guess is that a spill of this size would have led to disaster no matter who was president.

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  6. Jesse - First, were you this tempered in your reaction to George W. Bush's failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina as he should have?

    Second, read the Rolling Stone article and check out the press release dumped on a Friday night by the White House itself that admits that they knew very early on how bad this could be. Obama himself has said he knew. Again, even if he had thought it was much smaller, he still didn't mobilize the resources and materials and people he could have to keep the oil from hitting the shore. He has failed miserably and yes, he deserves the criticism now because if he doesn't learn from this, then we are all very screwed.

    The biggest criticism of Obama when he was running was that he was inexperienced and had never led anything before, and I think it shows. He spent the entire year last year on health care legislation that a majority of Americans STILL want repealed. Rather than spending time on cleaning up D.C. as he promised, he went forward with his ideologically driven policy agenda. That is a rookie mistake. I don't believe he has leadership qualities. I think he is a community organizer and rabble rouser and he's great at reading from a teleprompter at pep rallies. A true leader shows their leadership and talent in a crisis, when their mettle is tested. He has failed this test, and I hope, hope, hope, he learns from it, but I'm disappointed we elected a person that needed to learn this lesson while in office. However, the only way he is going to learn is if there are consequences for his inaction and bad decisions. Therefore, he does not get a pass on this.

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  7. My problem with Obama's handling of the Oil Spill is that it STILL is NOT focused on 1.) keeping the oil from reaching land; 2.) stopping the gusher. Instead, between parties and golf dates, Obama has spent government energy on finding targets for blame, channeling public anger toward those targets, talking about criminal charges, setting demanding deadlines that were not fulfilled and that might have been technologically impossible, refusing help from other countries with experience in containing the damage from oil spills, and focusing on the long-term...on how this will fundamentally change how we view energy and the environment for generations to come.

    When a huge multilevel warehouse, full of flammable materials, is on fire and the warehouse sits amidst blocks of other buildings close enough so that their roofs are vulnerable to flying hot coals, Firemen concentrate on two things: 1.) putting out the original fire and 2.) keeping surrounding buildings from going up in flames. In a really big fire, help is welcomed from other outlying Fire Stations, every piece of equipment available is put to use, and there is a 24/7 urgency that does not abate until the fire has been controlled and put out.

    During this effort, it would be insanity for the Fire Chief to have a presser about setting up a committee to investigate how to fundamentally change the use of anything flammable to prevent future fires and another committee to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against the building owners or managers or SOMEBODY. And, oh yes, a third committee to oversee the payment of claims to anybody who suffers a loss due to the ongoing, raging fire. This before the fire is contained, before it is clear how much damage it will ultimately cause, and the reason for the fire actually known.

    The Fire Deparment approach to a 5-alarm fire emergency is NOT what I have seen happening in the Gulf. They are not out there putting out the fire, but fanning the flames of environmental and economic catastrophe with an eye toward passage of a calamitous Cap and Trade bill.

    The past two months would have been the time to work WITH any and all entities that could help bring this to an end. Just think, if the Obami had waived the Jones Act and accepted the help from other countries in the first week of the spill, we could have had tankers sucking up the oil, separating it from the water and keeping it from creating deep ocean plumes, tar balls on beaches, and oil soaked birds and turtles. During this time, other engineers could have been concentrating on capping the gusher without being distracted by threats of criminal charges.

    This would have been the grown-up, common sense way of handling this man-made disaster.

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  8. LibertyBelle,

    Perhaps you should change your title to "Redistributing Opinions"

    Your hatred for the President Obama is palpable and disheartening. And it clouds what could otherwise be an interesting education in how a proclaimed Tea Partier sees the issues.

    One of the most frustrating things about your blog, which I've tried to read in an effort to understand how you come to these conclusions, is your assumption that your opinions are the reasonable conclusion of the majority.It's great to state as fact "we all know Obama is not a leader" with a link to an opinion piece by Mitt Romney.

    True, polling has shown that the majority of Americans are for repeal of the healthcare bill. I wonder how many of those polled actually understand the true nature of the bill?

    And there is a huge difference between Obama's handling of the oil spill and Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina- notably that Bush was advised of an impending natural disaster http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11627394/ or http://www.thinkprogress.org/katrina-timeline/

    From what I've read you are not a muckraker. You cast a demoralizing eye on all things that fall outside of your personal believe system your while masquerading it as fact and logic.

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  9. Amanda - I love how you think criticizing the President with multiple, multiple, reliable, and diverse sources to back up said criticism is hateful, and that if only I wouldn't be so critical you would be able to understand and be educated in a tea partier's opinions. Would you like to read an LA Times piece about how Obama is failing to show his leadership qualities? How about a New York Times piece? Both are available online today.

    An article by Mitt Romney is an article written by a man who is a political opposite of Obama, but that doesn't mean that it is inherently wrong because of that. He makes incredibly shrewd and logical points in the article and it is due to your own bias that you refuse to acknowledge that Obama has shown himself to be out of his depth.

    I think it is sad that you cannot recognize criticism for what it is, but rather label it as hate because you do not have an argument with which to respond.

    Lastly, I pointed out that Bush's response to Katrina was inadequate in my last comment on this post, and so the question really is, why can you not admit that Obama's response is also inadequate? Really, it seems as though your hatred for Bush and your love for Obama is quite palpable and disheartening.

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  10. LibertyBelle,

    When did I ever say I thought Obama's response was adequate? I don't believe I cast my vote either way in my comment.

    I'm simply commenting that I find your writings frustrating because your undefined personal biases are broadcast far louder than your analytical thoughts.

    But in your response good job. There's "I love how you..." and "I think it's sad..."

    See, I came to your blog to try to understand where you are coming from. Perhaps you're not writing to educate those like me, someone cautious but interested enough in your views to try to learn them.

    Free speech is awesome, so keep it up. I'm just sad it's less a contribution to the debate and more of a self-fellating exercise in preaching to your own choir. I'm sure other conservatives love it though.

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  11. Amanda - you can attempt misdirection, but it won't work. My post is well referenced, including many articles from the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, and other sources that are not known for their Conservative opinions. Have you clicked through to the various links? Have you read the sources? Rather than attacking me for writing a well sourced article, debate me about the subject and my conclusions. Rather than trying to write me off as nothing but a hater, debate me about my assertions. Show me where I am wrong. Let's have a dialogue and a discourse about this topic. I'm totally game. But so far, all you have done is attempt to dismiss my post as ideological and trite, and you have thus avoided a conversation where you may be held accountable for what you write.

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  12. well it's alot tougher to clean up after one of dick cheney"s boyfriends remember he gave the greenlight to all the oil companies so if anything it"s bush's fault for giving in to big oil but then again when your in iraq it"s drill baby drill and it's funny cuz that's what your girl was shouting from her doorstep in alaska now all this obsession with drilling as come back to bite us in the ass oh and bush spent 879 days at crawford as of 2008 not to mention all the other trips so yeah those who live in glass houses should"nt throw rocks cuz someone might toss a brick at your crib..we will see if you post this...

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  13. I'm not really attempting to misdirect anything. But I appreciate that your response is calm and thoughtful, which is my main gripe about some of your postings.

    I'm also not defending anything Obama has done. so I'm not quite sure where your comment "why can you not admit that Obama's response is also inadequate?"

    I haven't defended him. and I haven't said anything about Bush other than than I find drastic differences in how one would respond to an impending natural disasters that threatens thousands of lives and how one responds to an industrial accident, albeit one with such large consequences.

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  14. Chuck Dee or whatever else you call yourself (I've seen you comment under various aliases), have fun: http://www.engl.niu.edu/comskills/students/editing/Joy.html

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  15. Amanda - okay, we're getting somewhere now. Again, my initial post is full of references and sources, so if there is something you disagree with regarding content, then let's talk about it. If there is something you don't like about the tone of the post, then that's a personal preference. Sometimes the tone of a blog post will be dry and academic, and other times it will be more emotional. The goal is to have a balance and to source and reference as often as possible. With that behind us, want to talk about the issues?

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  16. Liberty Belle FanJune 15, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Obama is making Bush's response look absolutely sterling.
    And really, the only reason that Bush looked so bad with Katrina was because of the left wing media in this country. Propaganda, lies and distortions. They expected Bush to perform miracles and if you look honestly at what he and his team accomplished they did move mountains. Just because they couldn't get the lazy arseholes to evacuate and just because they couldn't stop all the crooks from defrauding us out of the $2,000 credit cards doesn't mean they didn't do a fantastic job against all odds. Of course the biggest problem again was the entitlement attitude of a significant portion of that population. Give me a hand out not a hand up.
    Can you imagine what the left wing kooks in the media would be saying if it was day 58 and Bush was in charge of this? Could you even imagine what day 14 would have been like?

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  17. Lbierty Belle, I am surprised to learn that you are such a trusting reader of Rolling Stone! When is your birthday? I'll buy you a subscription to The Nation.

    About articles in the Rolling Stone and elsewhere in the left of center press: the left has been on Obama's case from the beginning for being too "centrist", too friendly to the power structures that be. (Wait a minute -- I thought he was a Socialist!) So of course they are raking him over the coals for not having rapped corporate knuckles sooner. And everyone including Obama himself agrees that he was not fast out of gate on this one.

    My original posting on this subject was not so much in defense of Obama's actions as in defense of Obama as a human being. I do not believe that he is the icy aloof elitist who is indifferent to the sufferings of his fellow Americans. His whole career in politics belies that view.

    And as for Bush and Katrina: upon taking office, the Bush administration emasculated FEMA as a disaster-response agency, redirecting its efforts to the fight against terrorism. Thus, Bush ensured, in advance, that when disaster hit, we would be unprepared. Obama did nothing similar to NOAA or the EPA or any other agency that might have helped deal with the oil spill.

    Question for Tea Partiers: You fault Obama for not having reformed MMS and ended its cozy relationship with the oil industry. Are you saying, then, that at least sometimes, government regulation is a good thing?

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  18. For better or worse, presidents are picked more by personal charisma and the effectiveness of their media campaigns than by the strength of their resumes. George W. Bush and Sarah Palin have weak resumes and are not exceptionally smart compared to many people in politics, yet Bush was elected twice and Palin is still considered a possible presidential candidate for 2012.

    As for Obama and BP, I am confused as to what the Tea Partiers want. Until recently they wanted a limited government which kept completely out of areas better left to the private sector (like health care). But when a private company and its contractors create a disaster in the gulf of Mexico that they are responsible for fixing, the TP joins the far left and insists government should be intervening.

    If a meeting between Obama and Tony Hayward a month ago would have led to the well being capped by now, I would agree with you. But I am not aware of any expertise or resources possessed by the Government that BP doesn't. And BP gains nothing and loses a lot every day that the well continues to gush. So the Obama/Hayward meeting is purely symbolic and does nothing the improve the situation in the sea and on the beaches and wetlands.

    There is probably more that could have been done by the government to protect the beaches and wetlands, and to quickly clean up those that have been damaged. Government does have resources that might have been used more effectively here. But focusing on symbolic issues are a distraction from the real issues.

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  19. at least obama sites his faults and says he"s sorry i did"nt here "i'm sorry " once from george after katrina or when those choppers went down in iraq or even after 9-11 when all he could have said"my fellow americans i am truly sorry for all those families that lost lives in 9-11" but he did'nt he never said sorry for shit and where"s dick"s smart ass at im suprised he has"nt thrown his 2 cents in maybe that black heart of his is being replaced with a baboons

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  20. Dancar, the dichotomy you think you have found in Tea Partier espousal of small government and our demands that the Feds fulfill their responsibilities in the Gulf is a straw man.

    1. The Federal government already has innumerable Regulations and Bureaucratic rules that govern everything that is occurring with the containment, capping and clean-up of the spill in the Gulf:

    There are the EPA rules that prevented the Dutch from sending over their skimmer arms so that tankers could begin immediately skimming the oil just days after the explosion; there are EPA rules that have been cited for the delayed permission for building the berms that Gov. Jindal requested; there is the Jones Act that has prevented foreign tankers from coming into the Gulf to help but which could be waived by President Obama. The Administration itself has stated that THEY ARE IN CHARGE AND TELL BP WHAT TO DO. Therefore, Tea Partiers are holding the Federal Gov't responsible for its delays, incompetence and waste in HOW it has managed this disaster that it owns through existing regulations and laws.

    2. Holding the Federal Gov't responsible for competent exercise of its existing powers is NOT GROWING the government. Contrary to how the critics of (for want of a better name) the Tea Party movement want to spin it, we are NOT Anti-Government. We are for a Fed. government that will do extremely well those things that it is Constitutionally mandated to do. National Security is first and foremost. Since there are existing laws, rules and regulations that put the Feds in command of how we deal with this spill, they own it.

    No confusion for us Tea Partiers.

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  21. Liberty Belle FanJune 16, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Dancar,
    Sarah Palin and George W. Bush are 1,000 times the human being that you are.
    You are a pathetic piece of ....

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