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Posts Tagged ‘BP’

The Oil Spill That Wasn’t

The BP disaster will fade from the news, now that the well has been capped.  Thankfully, it’s impact appears far less than originally feared.  Time Magazine, to its credit, ran a piece noting that a variety of environmental factors–the temperature of the water, the type of oil involved, the significant presence of oil eating bacteria, the currents created by the Mississippi River–have all conspired to prevent significant mass death of birds, marine mammals, and fish.  The spill resonated so long as the awesome flow of oil and methane continued from the broken wellhead, but what was missing were the pathetic images that came out of the Valdes spill:  hundreds of dead fish, animals, and birds covered in black sludge. The apparent problem and its downstream impact diverged wildly.

This spill clearly was a very big problem, and BP should pay for what it has done to the region and its various stakeholders.  But, at the same time, rational adults should weight the pros and cons of drilling, particularly if the factors at work here would mitigate any future spills, and particularly if “lessons learned” can make such spills less likely in the future.   A society governed by adults does not act on the basis of emotional over-reaction. This is the point of legislative deliberation and public policy:  to elevate our decisions and balance all of the competing interests, an important one of which is the steady supply of oil to our energy-dependent, modern society.

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Brief Update

I’ve been in process of moving cities.  I haven’t forgotten you dear readers.  This weekend the home internet is getting hooked up, and I’ll be back to regale you with the usual stuff.  My brief recap of the week:

Iraq is still a hell hole, and if this is “success” we should pull up the chocks on Afghanistan today.

Economy still looking bad.

Kagan is a leftist and an extremist, but also witty and likable, and this is why she’ll be confirmed.  Indeed, this may be why Harvard Federalist Chapter liked her:  she had a sense of fair play and liked the exchange of ideas.

Thank you WASPs for letting us displace you (at the NY Times of course).  We won’t return the favor for the next up and coming group of people looking to displace us, of course.

Ammo on sale at ammunitiontogo.com.  1000 rounds .223 for $200.   What a way to celebrate Second Amendment Supreme Court victory this week, which was expected after Heller, but a nice triumph after all my years disarmed by Daley’s thugs in Chicago.

Al Gore has gone from enviro-crazy to possible criminal.  A lot of folks are sugegsting this is beyond the realm of possibility–and to me it’s equally likely this woman is an opportunist engaged in high stakes blackmail–but, then again, the sexual passions can be strong and overwhelming even for people otherwise successful.  Look at Eliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton.  Plus, Al Gore seems to have become very angry and nasty after the 2000 election.  Anything’s possible.  What a fitting denoument for the Clinton administration if this comes to pass.

I’m hopping mad that Obama’s felaty to unions and myopic concern for peacetime environmental regulations is keeping effective, foreign, non-union oil skimming vessels from assisting in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Obama’s Limits

The Bush Obama era should be known for this above all else:  both were elected because of who they were, not what they could do, had done, or promised to accomplished.  Bush was his father’s son and an antidote to the scandal-fueled Clinton years.  Obama was the racial healer, who would impress with his seriousness, smart words, and capability of healing racial divisions.  Neither had shown himself the type that could think clearly, make tough decisions, reevaluate already made decisions, push others to accomplish things, see through the smoke and mirrors of dubious experts, analyze issues correctly, and all the other skills of a successful politician.

And never has this been more apparent than in the Gulf Spill, where Obama’s famed “cool” has become a liability.  He appears indifferent, more concerned with the NBA than the destruction of the Gulf.  He has since over-corrected, taking numerous trips to the Gulf and talking trash about BP’s CEO.  This is as useless as his initial reaction.  What he has not done, what he does not know how to do, and what he appears tempermentaly incapable of doing is mobilizing resources and federal power to assist in solving the problem and mitigating the damage on the Gulf Coast.

This is a nonideological issue of presidential competence, not so different from Katrina.  Granted, in both cases, critics have perhaps overstated the federal responsibility and federal ability, but, nonetheless, in both cases the Presidents’ indifference, failure to grasp the gravity of the problem, discomfort with real responsibility and, in Obama’s case, apparent hyper-concern for his own image above all else, make it plain how incapable and useless our famed politicians mostly are in a crisis.  Obama’s attempt to talk about what he wants to talk about originally–the “cap and trade” bill–shows a lack of agility on his part, not so different from his excessive concern with health care when the real economic crisis is high unemployment and deleveraging.

Where is a General Honore or Rudy Giuliani when you need one?  That’s what real leadership looks like–commanding, sensible of the problem at hand, empathetic–and Obama lacks these qualities to an extreme degree.

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I think Obama seriously underestimated the magnitude of this event (and the risks it created) in the early days of the spill.  I also think it’s rather indicative of how much bullshit is involved in the modern American presidency, as if he were the chief entertainer or motivator of children.  Along these lines, it’s telling that President Bush was reading to fifth graders the morning of September 11, 2001.  That’s apparently half the job these days.  These side events should be secondary to a real job, with real decision-making and information gathering as the primary focus, but in the age of TV the opposite has happened.  It’s in large part PR mythmaking and appearing to “connect” with ordinary people through manipulation of images.

I also am struck by how much golf Obama plays.  He apparently has played a lot more than Bush ever did, and it appears, like Bush, he is a bit lazy and also majorly in need of down time.  The latter is certainly forgivable considering the nature of the job, but unlike Bush, Obama has a reputation as a transformational leader and also a genius, but appears like neither, and he is quite oversold.

I always thought events would define Obama’s term more than his own agenda, and so far BP and the economy remain the agenda items above all others.  Let’s hope that another successful terrorist attack or war in North Korea do not become additions to the list, but the existing stories are bad enough.

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