Saturday, May 29, 2010

Last Call

James Fallows explains precisely why our government doesn't work.
As you may have heard elsewhere, the Obama Administration has been relatively slow in vetting and choosing nominees for many of its important posts -- but then has encountered extreme slowness from the Senate in approving the appointments once they get made. If you go to this White House site, you'll find a searchable, sortable list of all 820+ nominations and appointments made so far in the Administration; about 240 have not even come up for a Senate vote. If you go to this U.S. Senate site and click on the link for "Executive Calendar," you'll get a long PDF showing in its "nominations" section the scores and scores of people who have come through committees but not received a vote on the Senate floor. (Direct link to the PDF here.)

On Thursday afternoon, just before its Memorial Day recess, the Senate had planned to consider about 80 of these nominations as a group. They all had been through financial and security vetting; they had been through committee consideration; they were headed for jobs that in many cases now stood vacant; they were ready to go. Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, moved for approval by unanimous consent, apparently believing that a deal to clear out the huge backlog had been struck. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, begged to differ. He was still sore about the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Therefore he wouldn't agree to the en-bloc vote. As he put it:
Unfortunately, we are snagged over one particular nomination which has already been defeated by the Senate, and that was the nomination of Craig Becker to be on the NLRB. The President then recessed Mr. Becker and recessed a Democratic nomination to the NLRB but not a Republican nominee to the NLRB. There is a fundamental lack of equity and fairness involved, and that has been a significant hindrance in coming to a consent agreement.
Fundamental lack of equity and fairness, indeed.
It really is that simple, folks.  Republicans right now are pointing at the Gulf of Mexico and screaming that Obama has failed, that the federal government has failed, and that it can never work.  Of course it can never work when the Republican Party does everything it possibly can to make sure it cannot work for anyone but the Republicans themselves.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

In the end, say what you will about Sarah Palin's politics, political acumen, capacity for wonkery or her speeches:  there is one thing that Sarah Palin does better than practically anyone else in America, and that's playing the victim card.
After that happened, McGinniss -- who is hoping to finish his local research for the book by Labor Day -- became the target of fury from Palin fans. After radio host Mark Levin gave out the author's e-mail address, McGinniss got 5000 messages in four hours, eventually shutting down the account. Wasilla police and state troopers are keeping a watchful eye on the place, although McGinniss said no one had come to the house to threaten him on Friday. He simply didn't anticipate the scale of Palin's response.

"I would term this hysterical," said McGinniss. "The mayor said to me, when I chatted with him in his office a couple of days ago, 'You know, if Sarah had the brains that we like to think she has, Todd would have come back and said, do you know who's living next door? This son of a bitch McGinniss who wrote that Portfolio piece. He's writing a book about you. Sarah should have baked a plate of cookies, and come around the fence, and said hi, and laughed about this.' I would have happily accepted a cookie, and then in my book I would have had a lovely scene about how gracious she had been." McGinniss sighed. "She is, in many ways, a very gracious person."
Even Joe McGinniss himself feels like the bad guy here is Joe McGinniss, when it's not.  And there are probably millions out there who would like to take this guy into the Alaskan woods and "finish his book for him".

If this is really what McGinniss thought, he's either very brave, crazy, or incredibly naive.  Either way, I don't expect him to last much longer up there.  He'll be "convinced" to leave somehow.

Top Kill Slays The Drag--OH YOU'RE KIDDING ME!

Top Kill(tm) has now officially failed.  Surprise!
BP's "top kill" attempt to stop the flow of oil from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico failed, the company's chief operating officer said Saturday.

The oil giant has tried for days to stop the the largest oil spill in U.S. history by pumping heavy, mudlike drilling fluid into a ruptured oil well, a method known as "top kill."

The next option is to place a custom-built cap known as the "lower marine riser package" over the leak, the company's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles said. BP crews were working Saturday to ready the materials for that option should it become necessary, he said.

"We've been prepping that all along in case we need to move to that option," he said. "People want to know which technique is going to work, and I don't know."

And if "lower marine riser package" were to fail, he said, BP engineers would try placing a second blowout preventer on top of the first, which failed to cut of the oil flow after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. The failed blowout preventer is a 48-foot-tall, 450-ton apparatus that sits atop the well 5,000 feet underwater.
If these other plans were more likely to work than top kill, wouldn't BP have tried them first?   Everything BP has thrown at this thing has failed miserably.  If we're risking 3-4 months of unrestricted flow putting potentially tens of millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf from any one deep water well, then why are any of the hundreds of these wells still being allowed to operate?

The Last Easy Rider

Via the Rumpies, we'll miss you, Dennis Hopper.

Ride on, brother.  Ride on.

Oiling The Wheels Of Justice

Oh hey, looks like there's federal criminal charges on the way for BP.
A team of top federal prosecutors and investigators has taken the first steps toward a formal criminal investigation into oil giant BP's actions before and after the drilling rig disaster off Louisiana.

The investigators, who have been quietly gathering evidence in Louisiana over the last three weeks, are focusing on whether BP skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.

The team has met with U.S. attorneys and state officials in the Gulf Coast region and has sent letters to executives of BP and Transocean Ltd., the drilling rig owner, warning them against destroying documents or other internal records.

Underscoring the gravity of the inquiry, the team is headed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ignacia Moreno of the environment and natural resources division and Assistant Atty. Gen. Tony West, who heads the Justice Department's civil division.

The move by federal prosecutors represents an escalation in the government's involvement in the oil spill — from coordinating the environmental cleanup to searching for possible criminal violations.

The Justice Department's inquiry is a standard preliminary step taken to determine whether a formal investigation is warranted. But even in this early stage, it has the earmarks of one of the largest investigative undertakings of the Obama administration.
This is of course all happening because Obama is controlled by BP, right?

Look folks, what happened at Deepwater Horizon was criminal negligence, followed by BP misleading the government, the public, and investors about their ability to solve the problem, capped by mounting evidence that the company was cutting corners to save costs at every opportunity.

Yes.  Some people need to go to jail for a very, very long time...and BP needs to be punished so badly that every oil company that drills off our shores is more afraid of the legal action than the response from the damn stock market.

The Newest Winger Outrage

The White House sent in hundreds of cleanup workers to be photo ops at the President's speech on Thursday!

Only it wasn't the White was BP.
Officials from Jefferson Parish claim BP bused 400 cleanup workers into Grand Isle on Friday in time for a visit from President Barack Obama.

Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young said the workers were brought in to clean oil off Grand Isle's beaches.

The extra workers were brought in for Friday only, at a rate of $12 an hour, officials told WDSU. They were mostly from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts didn’t buy into the cleanup effort.

"They must think we're all fools," he said.Roberts called BP's efforts "shameful.""The level of cleanup and cooperation from BP in the last week in no way compares to the effort shown on the island today," Roberts said.

"This is a total shame that a mockery has been made of this visit by the executives of BP."
Now, how this ended up being the "White House" doing this I have no idea.   Oh wait, yes I do:  Wingers love their Obama Derangement Syndrome.  When it comes to facts, not so much....

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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