Well, kiss off those Electoral College votes

November 11, 2010

A couple of days ago, I linked to news that the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General had concluded that the White House had (deliberately, in my opinion) altered a report by a panel of scientists on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to support the imposition of a moratorium on all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.

“The White House edit of the original DOI draft executive summary led to the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer-reviewed by the experts,” the IG report states, without judgment on whether the change was an intentional attempt to mislead the public.

Bear in mind that Carol Browner is at least closely affiliated with the Socialist International and has served as a member of their panel on its Commission for a Sustainable World Society. As recently as 2008, she participated in their international Congress. Killing, or at least heavily regulating oil drilling in favor of Green (and Green Statist*) energy programs be high on her agenda, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Browner saw this report as a chance to advance the cause.

Well, those edits may well have cost her boss the Electoral College votes of the Gulf Coast, because, in the wake of this revelation, people there are mad. Really mad:

Gulf State lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of putting politics above science after a government watchdog said Interior Department officials misled the public by altering a report to suggest that a group of outside scientists supported a blanket ban on deepwater drilling.

The administration maintains that the flap is the result of rushed editing and nothing more. However, members of Congress from the Gulf region, already incensed over what they described as a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all reaction to the BP oil spill, are crying foul.

“This was not an accident at all. It was a deliberate attempt to use the prestige of the scientists to support their political decision,” said Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of several Republicans who this summer requested an investigation into the moratorium by the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Mr. Cassidy, who said the IG’s conclusions will come as “bitter news” to about 12,000 workers who lost their jobs because of the moratorium, noted that the administration ignored later arguments by five of the panel’s seven scientists in favor of targeted inspections over a blanket ban – something he said violated Mr. Obama’s vow to let science, and not politics, guide his policies.

As Jim Geraghty said, all Obama promises come with expiration dates. Obviously, this needs to be added to the list.

Meanwhile, how do you think those 12,000 workers who lost their jobs -or their families, friends, and the people at the businesses they used to buy from- will feel when the Hope and Change roadshow comes calling in 2012, knowing that their livelihoods were sacrificed on Socialism’s green altar?

Yeah. Me, too.

*It’s not for nothing that, in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, many Reds clothed themselves in Green. Environmentalism is an open door to state control of everything.

Via Lucianne.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Thank goodness Obama has cleaned up the White House

November 9, 2010

He and his team would never cook an official report to get what they want. Not like those naaasssttyyy BushChimpHitler* goons.  Never.

via Patrick Ruffini

*(For the record, I don’t believe the Bush White House tampered with the intel leading up to the Iraq invasion. There’s a big difference between being wrong and being dishonest. And even then they weren’t as wrong as assumed.)


The price of Obamanomics

August 23, 2010

It’s measured in lost jobs – 23,000 of them, in this case:

Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.

Critics of the moratorium, including Gulf Coast political figures and oil-industry leaders, have said it is crippling the region’s economy, and some have called on the administration to make public its economic analysis. A federal judge who in June threw out an earlier six-month moratorium faulted the administration for playing down the economic effects.

After his action, administration officials considered alternatives and weighed the economic costs, the newly released documents show. The Justice Department filed them in a New Orleans court this week, in response to the latest round of litigation over the moratorium.

Spanning more than 27,000 pages, they provide an unusually detailed look at the debate about how to respond to legal and political opposition to the moratorium.

They show the new top regulator or offshore oil exploration, Michael Bromwich, told Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that a six-month deepwater-drilling halt would result in “lost direct employment” affecting approximately 9,450 workers and “lost jobs from indirect and induced effects” affecting about 13,797 more. The July 10 memo cited an analysis by Mr. Bromwich’s agency that assumed direct employment on affected rigs would “resume normally once the rigs resume operations.”

If the administration assumed those jobs would start up again after a moratorium ended… Well, they’re smoking the good stuff. The companies that own the drilling platforms aren’t going to sit around losing money while waiting for Bromwich, Salazar (who should be impeached), and Obama to one day, maybe, reopen drilling in the Gulf. In fact, they’re already leaving, and you can bet more are headed for the door.

In reality, those jobs are either lost or soon will be. A competent administration, one that grounded itself in reality rather than wishful thinking, would have realized that platform owners would follow their economic interests and go where they’re allowed to do business. This isn’t even economics; it’s just common sense, something that seems to be in short supply at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Meanwhile, 23,000 Gulf residents are losing their livelihoods thanks to a stupid, panic-born, and deliberate decision by the Obama Administration.

What do you want to bet they’ll remember this come November?

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Is incompetence an impeachable offense?

June 29, 2010

I ask that only half-tongue in cheek, because right now I am ready to put the whole Executive Branch on trial, from Obama down to the night janitor. Time and again in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster, we’ve been treated to one mind-boggling example of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude after another. First there was the overall lackadaisical response. Then we learned of miles of containment boom sitting in Maine, unused and unwanted, even though the scale of the disaster called for every square foot of it and more.

Now comes the capper. Word has been going around for weeks that foreign governments had offered their expertise and equipment to help deal with the crisis. As I said at the time:

When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

But, we were told, the situation wasn’t quite as it seemed. Not as bad as it looked. The Dutch weren’t being blown off and, by the way, Sarah Palin is an idiot.

Guess what? It’s worse than we thought and the idiot lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Avertible catastrophe

(…)

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Funny. I thought it was the American instinct to “dive into action” in an emergency. I guess it goes dormant whenever we have a President who’s “too cool to care.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf states are seeing their beaches destroyed and economies ruined in a disaster that could have been prevented, all because we first turned down the best available help and then dragged our feet after accepting it to appease labor unions. This lack of urgency and initiative and any sense of priorities falls squarely at the feet of President Obama, who could have set relief efforts in motion much faster had he actually kicked some bureaucratic tail, instead of just talking about it.

But that would interrupt tee-time, wouldn’t it?

Tell you what, Mr. President. You go golfing, but, before you leave, how about putting someone in charge of this who actually knows what to do to clean up the mess?

After all, she was right about the Dutch.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Fausta, who brings us the news that the Feds have finally asked for help, and Allahpundit, who links to this beauty.

Pardon me, but I need to pull my hair out.  At wits end


Don’t cry over spilled milk – call the EPA!

June 27, 2010

Yes, according to the EPA, cow’s milk is now classified as “oil:”

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

Remember that the next time you wonder why the price of milk has gone up. And it’s not that I don’t believe agricultural pollution can be a problem, but with the Earth vomiting tens of thousands of barrels of real oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, you’d think that the EPA would have more pressing matters to deal with, instead of spilled milk. Then again, if their boss isn’t worried…

But some politicians should be. This won’t play well in any big dairy state, not just Michigan, whether it’s California (“It’s the cheese!”) or Wisconsin, which has such large dairy industry that it bills itself as “America’s Dairyland” and where liberal Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough reelection battle. It’s another intervention and expense imposed by a regulatory agency at a time when most believe government does too much and has too much power. And, as the party of government and the party pushing for a vast expansion of an already intrusive government, the Democrats are doing a bang-up job of turning the public’s suspicion into electoral anger.

Come November, they may be crying over more than a spilled glass of oil milk.

(via Legal Insurrection)


The unengaged president

June 26, 2010

Mark Steyn has a great column at National Review you should read, comparing the President’s lack of interest in dealing with the Gulf oil spill to his lack of interest in Afghanistan (except when he’s accuse of being uninterested) and find the major media finally getting the message our enemies already understand:

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.

Read it all.

(via Sarahbellumd)


Shouldn’t Ken Salazar be impeached?

June 23, 2010

Okay, we know it isn’t going to happen for two reasons:

  1. It’s a Democratic-controlled Congress through at least next January.
  2. And, as far as we know, he’s committed no criminal act, and precedent would seem to require that.

And yet, shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior be impeached or, at the least, be fired or forced to resign for blatantly lying in the report that justified the Gulf drilling moratorium?

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.

That’s from the ruling (PDF) of Federal Judge Martin Feldman, whose restraining order blocked the moratorium. To translate that last sentence, it’s a nice way of calling Secretary Salazar a big, fat liar. For background on the controversy over the experts’ opinions and Salazar’s fictionalization, read this article from NOLA.com, which also reports Interior as claiming “the White House made us do it.”

Since it’s evident that Secretary Salazar is willing to lie to the American people and misrepresent facts in court in order to serve the (anti-drilling) political needs of the White House, and since he’s quite happy to use those lies to justify actions that would do undoubted harm to the people  of the Gulf states during a time of national disaster, shouldn’t he be forced out? Shouldn’t he be hounded into resignation? Shouldn’t his boss be made to pay a political price by firing him for being revealed as a willing and dishonest tool? Hasn’t he lost the confidence of the American people as steward of our natural resources?

Or does he get a pass for all this?

(via Michelle Malkin)


Obama: an impotent thug

June 21, 2010

Michael Barone coined the terms “thugocracy” and “gangster government” for the Obama style of governance. He should know, being from the Chicago area, himself. He returns to that theme in an article in today’s Washington Examiner, observing that, for a thug president steeped in the Chicago Way, Obama is pretty darned ineffective:

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s Gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.

Barone then goes through several examples related to the Gulf oil spill to show that Obama’s strong-arm tactics haven’t done a thing to clean up the Gulf, though they have damaged the rule of law and shown that the “professor of constitutional law” is more comfortable with “Boss” politics than, well, acting within the constitutional limits of his office.

Be sure to read the whole article; Barone concludes with a hit that’s sure to leave a mark on our thin-skinned president’s hide.

RELATED: I’ve written before about the thuggish nature of Obama’s politics, notably with regard to free speech.


The Maine oil booms: Yes, they’re blowing smoke

June 17, 2010

Earlier in the saga of the Packgen oil-containment booms that apparently neither BP nor the Federal government wants, ostensibly because of quality issues, I had asked the following question:

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

Silly me. I should have realized this was a rhetorical question; of course they’re just lying to cover up their bumbling:

Engineering Professor Gives Maine Boom Thumbs Up

“I have never directly looked at boom before,” says Ian T. Durham of the Department of Physics and Cooperative Engineering at Saint Anselm College.

That said, Durham says, analyzing boom “is a fairly standard, pretty simple mechanical engineering problem.”

Durham was recently hired by Packgen — the Maine packaging company that manufactured roughly 80,000 feet of boom that the US Coast Guard says failed an initial BP quality control test. Packgen president John Lapoint III has expressed frustration at BP/Coast Guard bureaucracy, insisting that the boom he’s making will work well in the Gulf, where boom is desperately needed.

Durham would not say how much he was paid, but he says he’s generally paid $100 an hour for consulting, and his analysis of Packgen boom took rougly 40-45 hours.

You can read Durham’s report HERE.

He says Packgen’s boom is superior to other boom. Its woven polypropelene is “practically indestructible,” he says. “Packgen uses it to make toxic waste disposal containers.”

Using woven polypropelene means the Packgen boom isn’t “going to twist like the vinyl” boom. “And it’s easier to deploy. It’s nice and stiff and it floats really nicely.”

As far as the professor is concerned, the boom meets or exceeds accepted ASTM standards. So, I ask again: aside from  connector problem that was easily rectified by Packgen, what is BP and the Coast Guard’s problem with Packgen’s product? If it’s even 50% effective, isn’t that better than nothing? Why hasn’t the whole supply been bought and shipped to the Gulf via military airlift?

It seems now that the answer is clear: the administration and BP screwed up by not acting on Packgen’s initial offers, which were conveyed through Maine’s two senators, and are now covering their rears by making up excuses that don’t stand up to the mildest challenge. Rather than admit they were slow off the mark and fixing the problem, the Lightworker administration waves its hands and tries to distract the audience like a cheap stage magician in Vegas whose tricks the crowd can see right through.

Pathetic.

(via Hot Air)


Mr. President, we have plenty of good places to drill

June 16, 2010

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office to inform us of the steps he’s taken to deal with the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. To be frank, I didn’t watch. For the 50-plus days oil has been spewing into the Gulf and wrecking local economies and ecologies, I’ve seen his response in action and I haven’t been impressed. Feckless, incompetent half-measures have been matched with an attitude of taking responsibility in name, only.

But, later, I read the speech out of curiosity. Of the many things to say about it (see the links below for good analysis), one item jumped out at me at the point at which the President tried to explain why we were drilling in such risky areas:

After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

(Also here. Emphasis added.)

Huh? To quote the mighty Joe Wilson, “You lie!!”

Okay, maybe he’s not lying, but it’s either that, or he’s ignorant of economics, the recent history of drilling in this country, and the established natural resources of the United States. To be fair, he says “part of the reason,” but it’s a big part of his argument.

And it’s a false part.

Forget for a moment the vast resources sitting off the Atlantic coast, the near-shore Gulf of Mexico, off California, the oil shale of Colorado and neighboring states, and the humongous amount of oil sitting under Alaska and just offshore. Let me provide just one example, which his own Geological Survey could have told him with a 30-second phone call:

In March, 2008, I wrote about the Bakken formation, a large oil bearing area under North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan province. Go ahead, read it for background. I’ll wait.  Whistling

Ah, you’re back. Okay, so the easily recoverable reserves for just North Dakota were estimated at 660 million barrels. A report from the USGS of about the same time puts the recoverable reserves under North Dakota and Montana at 3-4.3 billion barrels.  (See also here) And that still does not include the whole formation. Snopes points out that this would cover US oil imports for roughly only one year, not the 41 years some have hyperventilated over, but that’s a bit of a straw man, for it doesn’t consider other reserves in the US and nearby waters.

But, back to President Obama’s mendacious argument. It’s not that we’re “running out of places to drill;” it’s that government policy has been dominated by environmental reactionaries who opposed any drilling whatsoever onshore and in coastal waters, especially if it gets in the way of the pretty view from their house. That’s been the politics of oil here in California since the 1969 Santa Barbara spill. Since then, even with improvements in drilling technology and safety measures (this latest event aside, US platform drilling has an excellent safety history), it’s been almost impossible to get new drilling off the coast, thanks to a combination of the environmental Left and coastal homeowners playing the role of NIMBY.

It’s this Luddite eco-tyranny that’s lead to drilling in risky areas, such as where the now-destroyed Deepwater Horizon rig was located. By blocking exploration and exploitation in safer, more reasonable areas, the environmentalist Left has helped create the conditions for this catastrophe. No, I’m not excusing BP’s lousy practices or the Fed’s failure to properly supervise them and plan for a catastrophe. But the pressure to drill in riskier deep-water areas, which we first incentivized under Bill Clinton, originated with the anti-oil environmental lobby that has time and again fought to block intelligent exploitation of safer fields, such as ANWR or the coast of California via slant drilling.

So, Mr President, far from running out of places to drill, we have plenty. More than enough to safely supply our oil needs (or more realistically, greatly cushion our dependence on foreign oil) while we work to develop alternative sources of fuel and lubricants that are economically viable.

The Federal government just has to stop barring the door.

LINKS: Analysis of the rest of the President’s speech from Power Line, Hot Air, Big Government, the LA Time’s Andrew Malcolm, Jonah Goldberg, and Nick Gillespie.


The Maine oil-booms: CYA in action?

June 14, 2010

A few days ago, we covered the stunning revelation that the Coast Guard admiral in charge of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill seemed never to have heard of the miles of containment boom sitting unused in Maine. ABC’s Jake Tapper broke that story and followed up with the Coast Guard, who told him the boom hadn’t met quality standards.

Eh… Not so fast. Tapper, again:

Over the weekend, Capt. Ron LaBrec from Coast Guard Public Affairs told me that according to a BP quality control inspector the PackGen boom did not pass an initial quality control test.

“Boom is subjected to great wear and tear when placed in the water and must be frequently tended,” LaBrec told me. “In order to retain its effectiveness boom must be of high quality. Once Packgen’s boom passes inspection, the company can be considered as a source for supplying boom.”

LaBrec noted that in the meantime, “suitable boom is being identified and obtained quickly” with 459,000 feet of boom stored in the region in addition to the 2.24 million feet deployed.

So what was wrong with the PackGen boom?

“There were concerns with material and end connectors,” LaBrec said. “BP has inspectors who visit facilities and regularly test boom. In addition to testing boom from new suppliers, boom from existing manufacturers is also tested/inspected. The Coast Guard also inspects boom that we purchase from suppliers. It is important because poorly designed boom may not work as intended.”

[Packgen President] Lapoint said the boom “not only meets” standards, “it exceeds it.”

“The only issue was the end connectors,” Lapoint said. So, he said, “we changed it to the universal connector, so there shouldn’t be any problems at all.”

Packgen further claims their boom exceeds standards by a factor of two, while Tapper quotes the relevant ASTM standards.

So, I ask again: What’s the hold up? Are the Coast Guard and BP using some standard other than ASTM (which would be odd)? If the switch to a universal connector was the only problem, why aren’t these booms on the way to the Gulf? Are there any other problems not mentioned?

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

I don’t suspect we’ve heard the last of the Maine boom, by any means.

(via Jimmiebjr on Twitter)


Incompetent or just plain dumb? You make the call.

June 11, 2010

Three days ago, I linked to a Pajamas Media article that exposed the stunning fact that millions of feet of containment boom were sitting unused and unbought at a factory in Maine, in spite of the owner’s efforts to get the government’s attention.

So you’d think that, in the intervening time and with the slick spreading wider and wider, the government would have jumped right on this, bought Packgen’s entire stock, and ordered more.

I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, too.

TAPPER: I talked to a guy who runs a company in Maine that offers boom, and he has – he says – the ability to make 90,000 feet of boom a day. High quality. BP came there 2 weeks ago, looked at it, they are doing another audit today. He is very frustrated, he says he has a lot of high quality boom to go and it is taking a long time for BP to get its act together. Don’t you need this boom right now?

ALLEN: Oh we need all the boom wherever we can get it. If you give me the information off camera I’ll be glad to follow up.

That’s from an interview of Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the man in charge of the federal “response” to this disaster, by ABC’s Jake Tapper. I’m so glad the admiral’s willing to get right on this; I’d hate to think it’s interfering with something important, like his tee-time.

“Sense of urgency?” What’s that? No wonder Governor Jindal is blowing a gasket.

Forget basic competence; does anyone in the federal government even care?

(via Hot Air)

UPDATE: A follow up from Jake Tapper:

Coast Guard finally got back to me: “The boom manufactured by Packgen did not pass an initial quality control test.”

Fair enough. I assume this means they’ve tested it since Tapper gave Admiral Allen the phone number, though it begs the question of why it took them this long to even check.


Oil slick: if you thought they were incompetent yesterday…

June 9, 2010

Yet another beauty from the Keystone Kops Obama Administration. So far, we’ve learned that the administration and the agencies it supervises have moved, if at all, at a snail’s pace regarding the offer of a Maine businessman to supply them with roughly eight miles of containment boom per day. Now, per Loren Steffy of the Houston Chronicle, we have yet another example of how the Greatest Administration Ever couldn’t find it’s rear end with both hands and a flashlight:

U.S. and BP slow to accept Dutch expertise

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It 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.

Oh, well, that’s just dandy! Only a month-and-a-half after being offered help from experts in this kind of crisis, the government and BP finally get around to saying “Yeah, okay. Might be a good idea.”

Call me parochial and lacking in nuance, but, isn’t it better to have more resources on hand to fix a problem than not to have what you need? Do you wait to go the store for a hammer to fix the hole in the roof until it collapses during a downpour? When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

Oh, and they were even willing to build Governor Jindal his sand berms – the ones the Interior Department couldn’t make up their minds about.

WTF? I ask again, W.T.F.??

Does anyone in the White House or BP know what they’re doing?

(via Hot Air)


Gulf oil slick: mindboggling incompetence

June 8, 2010

When an oil spill occurs in water, one thing you want a lot of is boom: floating barriers that can contain the oil to a relatively restricted area. Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began the largest oil spill in US history, gulf-state governors have been begging for boom to protect their coastlines. Louisiana Governor Jindal asked for 5,000,000 feet of “hard” boom in early may. So far, he’s only received 20% of that. Supposedly, there just isn’t enough.

Wrong.

In what has got to be one of the most frustrating, infuriating moments of bureaucratic foot-dragging and incompetence since this whole mess began, a company in Maine has miles of boom available. They can churn out 40,000 feet per day, they’ve contacted federal officials and executives at BP – and no one will buy it from them:

John Lapoint of Packgen in Auburn, Maine, says he’s got plenty of floating oil containment boom and can make lots more on short notice. There’s just one problem: no one will buy it from him.

(…)

Packgen’s main business is not making oil boom. They make specialty packaging materials for shipping and storing environmentally sensitive materials. But when Packgen’s president, John Lapoint, saw the BP oil spill in the news, he understood right away that to have any hope of containing the oil drifting towards the shoreline, lots of floating boom would be necessary.

(…)

Maine, like the rest of the country, is suffering from very high unemployment. But its residents aren’t out of work because they aren’t useful; they’re useful, but out of work because there’s nothing much useful to do. Lapoint was able to immediately add two shifts of competent and motivated workers, and by the fourth day of production was making forty thousand feet of boom a day.

It’s likely they could make even more. But no one was ready to purchase it.

This comes down to a failure of anyone other than Mr. Lapoint, from the President of the United States to BP executives, to take any initiative. Instead they’ve stuck to approved procedures: when the Governor of Louisiana wants to build sand berms to protect his marshes, he has to wait for approval from Washington because of environmental regulations. And when a company stands ready to do its part and work round the clock to supply the equipment we need, no one from the Fed can be moved to do anything, while BP sniffs because the design isn’t approved, yet.

This is the worst of all possible situations: a Federal government that makes everyone wait on it, depend on it – and then won’t act decisively in a situation where it is given the lead role by law.

All while the ecologies and economies of the Gulf states are devastated.

Here we have Americans willing to take the initiative, from the Jindal administration to a small company in Maine, and the statist nitwits in DC are blocking them every step of the way. They should have instead have said “damn the regulations” and bought every foot of boom Packgen had, shipped by military airlift to the Gulf, and then set the company to working 24 hours a day. If the President is so willing to “kick ass,” here is just the situation in which he should put boot to tail. This is disgraceful.

Apparently, there are two clean ups in order: first the Gulf, and then Washington, D.C.  Angry

LINKS: More at Hot Air.


When you’ve lost the Associated Press…

June 2, 2010

Wow. Check out the caption to this photo:

Because sending the president of the United States down to help clean up the mess with his bare hands wasn’t enough.

I’m not sure if the AP photographer  or the editor at New York Magazine wrote that, but, considering how deeply into the Cult of Obama both organizations were, it’s impressive.

I think it’s safe to say the marriage between Obama and the press, if not officially over, will soon be in divorce court.

(via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt)


BP means “Bastard Petroleum”

May 30, 2010

My God, if this story is true, then BP stands revealed as not just incompetent, but as lying sacks of you-know-what, too. From The New York Times:

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.

“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”

The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.

As the article goes on to say, these pukes from BP testified before a panel composed of Coast Guard officers and officials from the Minerals Management Service that they didn’t think BP was “taking risks.” And yet the documents show they knew of serious problems well before the blowout. They told baldfaced lies to the board and may well have lied in their testimony to Congress, too.

This is appalling. Like the mad scientist in an old movie who forges on with his insane project in the face of all the warning signs, these idiots ignored clear signals that they had a serious problem on their hand, and now the Gulf of Mexico and the states bordering it are paying a terrible price for BP’s folly.

Not only should BP be civilly liable for every penny of the damage done, but I hope to God the Department of Justice and the State of Louisiana go after these rat-turds in criminal actions, too.

(via Allahpundit)

Mark E. Hafle

The anger in New Orleans

May 28, 2010

Radio host Garland Robinette rips everyone outside Louisiana for the what’s befallen his state:

Can’t say I blame him.


Obama’s Katrina? Oh, yeah.

May 28, 2010

It’s already become a cliche to say that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become President Obama’s “Katrina,” a reference to the political harm done to George W. Bush over a perception of fecklessness, indifference, and incompetence in response to the 2005 hurricane that struck New Orleans. In Bush’s case, while some of the criticism was deserved (Brown’s appointment at FEMA, for example), the 1988 Stafford Act (PDF), section 401, made clear that the initial responsibility for disaster response laid with local and state authorities, who had to execute their plans before invoking Federal aid. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco failed at this. But, thanks to Democratic demagoguery and a hysterical press, all blame was dumped on Washington. Fair or not, that was the political reality.

In the current disaster, however, all the blame now finally starting to be hurled at the Obama administration is merited. For this type of disaster, the 1990 Oil Pollution Act makes the Federal government the lead agency:

Many believe that there were lost opportunities in the immediate aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill to help contain the damage. For example, the oil sat around the grounded tanker off the Alaskan coast for several days before it was blown toward coastal areas and caused onshore environmental damage. But conflicting state and federal actions stymied the cleanup efforts and slowed the initial response to the spill.

Congress concluded that the existing response protocol was poorly coordinated. One of the goals of the Oil Pollution Act was to clarify the lines of authority in the immediate aftermath of a spill so that the response can be swift and effective. The statute also beefed up preparedness measures in anticipation of spills and created a liability scheme for the government’s cleanup costs and to injured third parties for damages.

The act authorizes the President to either federalize the spill or oversee the cleanup efforts of the responsible private party or parties. Spills in coastal waters are handled by the Coast Guard, while the Environmental Protection Agency handles inland spills. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, the President delegated authority to the Coast Guard, which in turn coordinates efforts with other federal agencies and state officials as well as BP and other private parties. The Coast Guard has at its disposal the resources to address spills.

More than a month into the disaster, the administration’s feckless, indifferent, and incompetent response to a problem over which it has clear statutory authority has caused it to be hammered in public opinion and even the media, the latter of which normally fawns over anything “Obama.”

And the administration’s opponents are taking advantage of this. Via Ed Morrissey, this web ad from the NRSC slamming Obama over his handling of the oil spill is devastating, especially when it quotes leading Democrats and the President’s own words:

(And I never, ever thought I’d find myself sympathizing with James Carville.)

So, to answer the initial question of whether this is “Obama’s Katrina,” I’d have to say a qualified “yes.” Yes, because it’s a disaster feeding a perception of incompetence that’s starting to cost him politically, even though the press is only belatedly starting to take him to task. Qualified, because we don’t know yet if this will cause a permanent negative change in public perception, as Katrina did for President Bush.

RELATED: Former Governor Sarah Palin, who was intimately involved with the beginning and end of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, breaks out the industrial nightstick on Obama:

Nearly 40 days in, our President finally addressed the American people’s growing concerns about the Gulf Coast oil spill. Listening to today’s press conference, you’d think the administration has been working with single-minded focus on the Gulf gusher since the start of the disaster. In reality, their focus has been anything but singular to help solve this monumental problem.

If the President really was fully focused on this issue from day one, why did it take nine whole days before the administration asked the Department of Defense for help in deploying equipment needed for the extreme depth spill site?

Why was the expert group assembled by Energy Commissioner Steven Chu only set up three weeks after the start of this disaster?

Why was Governor Jindal forced more than a month after the start of the disaster to go on national television to beg for materials needed to tackle the oil spill and for federal approval to build offshore sand barriers that are imperative to protect his state’s coastline?

Why was no mention of the spill made by our President for days on end while Americans waited to hear if he grasped the import of his leadership on this energy issue?

Boom.

Read the whole thing. If Sarah Palin has one undoubted area of expertise, it’s in the oversight of natural resource development and regulation, and in dealing with oil companies. Her experience here dwarfs that of the President and his top cabinet officials. While false pride would keep him from ever giving her a spotlight that would inevitably shine badly on him, he could go a long way to getting this under control by making her the “Oil Clean-up Czarina.”