Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quote of the Day 3

Which is actually something Maitri said yesterday and it's pretty much the whole post. Or to put it another way. It's a lot. Every day I'm pissed. And exhausted.

Bullshit Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day 2

Tom Benson answering the italicized question from ESPN Magazine
How close did the team come to moving?
The rest of the world thought we were down and weren't coming back. We had to relocate in 2005. Our practice facility was occupied by the military during that time. Publicly, everybody was talking about that. But we -- ourselves and our staff -- wanted to come back. We just had to find a way. And that's what we did.

Tom Benson is full of shit. Not only was he dragged back to New Orleans kicking and screaming after Katrina, he spent the years immediately preceding the event crying to get out. Oyster covered a lot of this in detail in this response to a sappy ESPN paean to the Bensons back in December.

Bucking the trend

MOJO: Love Boat Lobby Fights BP Victims
Well, turns out the Love Boat lobby has indeed stepped up to do BP's dirty work in fighting the SPILL Act. Late Tuesday, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) sent a letter to members of the Florida congressional delegation "strongly" opposing the bill because it would allow cruise ship victims to sue the companies for noneconomic damages. That would open the industry up to real liability for all the crime and other bad stuff that happens to hapless passengers. CLIA says the bill would expose it to lawsuits that could prove to be extremely unpredictable, the same line Exxon took in its many appeals of the Valdez lawsuit. CLIA is joined in its campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which naturally is opposed to any law that might make it easier for the little people to sue big corporations that kill them.
Didn't I just read some exultant article somewhere about how the expanding cruise ship business was a good sign for the local economy? How soon before Bobby Jindal starts crying that the Spill Act will amount to a moratorium on luxury vacationing and thereby puts people out of work?

Everybody Hates Tom

Actually I think Fitzmorris is well entitled to his opinion of Vietnamese food even though I and, I guess a lot of people, tend to disagree with it. A better criticism would revolve around just how honest the process by which that opinion is formulated is. Ask yourself if Tom would be more enthusiastic about Vietnamese food if more of those style restaurants sponsored his radio show.

Yesterday Matt Taibbi wrote a scathing critique of the attitude CBS' Lara Logan and other establishment media figures have adopted in reaction to the Gen. McChrystal Bud Light Lime affair. As with everything Taibbi writes, there are numerous quoteworthy passages but I think this sums it up best.
As to this whole "unspoken agreement" business: the reason Lara Logan thinks this is because she's like pretty much every other "reputable" journalist in this country, in that she suffers from a profound confusion about who she's supposed to be working for. I know this from my years covering presidential campaigns, where the same dynamic applies. Hey, assholes: you do not work for the people you're covering! Jesus, is this concept that fucking hard?
And that's often my biggest beef with Tom Fitzmorris.

Update, clarification and a little backtracking: Oyster comments:
Holy smokes! What an embarrassing food thread. There's a dozen or so commenters who conflate an opinion about limited MENUS at Vietnamese restaurants with a complaint about Vietnamese CUISINE itself, just so they can rag on Fitzmorris.
Fitz's stuffy reply does him few favors, but he's essentially correct: the author and commenters under a post titled "Missing the Point"... missed the point.
Yes that's all true and I should have said so. I think Tom actually conflates the point himself though in this paragraph
I read an article in the New York Times a few weeks ago about the resurgence of the New Orleans restaurant scene. I was astonished by the writer’s ten best places to dine in New Orleans. In it were three Vietnamese restaurants, all of them pho and banh-mi shops. What? Did he talk with anybody here over the age of thirty, living outside the Marigny and Bywater? To read the article, you’d think pho were more important to the local eating scheme than gumbo is.
Of course I very much like the line where Tom says "Did he talk with anybody here over the age of thirty, living outside the Marigny and Bywater?" and could talk about that all day but it's incidental to the point here. What he does wrong is he starts by making the point that the NYT reviewer assigned too much importance to what Tom considers the wrong Vietnamese joints but finishes by saying something that can be read as disdain for the cuisine's importance as a whole. Thus the indignant piling on.

Anyway I was in a hurry to get to the important point about Fitzmorris that isn't made often enough. He tends to shill as much as he critiques and never establishes a clear enough line between those activities. That, more than his "stuffy" style (which I actually like) is a better reason to pile on.

Quote of the day 1?

It's early. There may be more.

I think if Fidel was an American he would be a commentator on Mad Money with Jim Cramer...or better yet he would have his own show.

Not the first time we've survived the British

At the top of the sidebar there you'll see an image of General Jackson and St. Joan. They both know something about the Brit problem. Better click there and see what's up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kill Switch 2

Facebook Briefly Disables 'Boycott BP' Page

Again, The Future, not so great

NYT: Roberts Put His Stamp on Supreme Court in Latest Term
“They’re fearless,” Lisa S. Blatt, who served in the solicitor general’s office for 13 years before joining Arnold & Porter last year, said of the justices in the majority. “This is a business court. Now it’s the era of the corporation and the interests of business.”

Private Police Forces

MoJo: More on BP's Private Police Force
Louisiana police don't have any right to tell you you can't walk onto a public beach (even to, as Esman puts it, "roll around in sticky gunky tar that I'll never be able to get off—if I want to, that's my right"). However, they do have the right to mislead you about who they're really working for. In Louisiana, as in many places, it's legal for police officers to wear their uniforms regardless of whether they're acting in an official capacity or working for a private corporation. Which is why Andrew Wheelan, the environmentalist mentioned above, was unaware that the cop who pressured him to stop filming a BP building and later pulled him over so that a BP official could question him wasn't on duty at the time.
I really hate the future

Kill Switch

Internet Kill Switch Approved by Senate Committee
WASHINGTON (CBS4) ― The White House is one step closer to having the authority to flip the Internet "kill switch" in case of emergency.
I hate the future

Show Us Your Guns

Sorry about the poor video. It's the best I could find.

Supreme Court limits local gun bans

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Experts" weigh in

Celebrity Chefs say Gulf seafood safe to eat

Also: Gas station owners say it's safe to drill at any depth. Lifeguard says there are no sharks near his beach. Star Trek fan club president certifies Space Shuttle external fuel tank. Ivor Van Heerden says levees are fixed. Les Miles says two-minute drill is running smoothly.

Lake Woebegon

Where all the dead fish are above-average.
Researchers predict the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone," an underwater area with little or no oxygen, will be unusually large this year. But it's unknown how the oil spill will affect it.
In an earlier comment thread, FP alluded to the multiple problems involved in restoring the Gulf Coast to the "better than before the spill" status President Obama has promised.
But while we demand that BP pay to clean up the oil spill, are we demanding that the agricultural industry pay for the dead zones their fertilizer use creates? Are we demanding that food companies put billions in escrow accounts to pay for the damage that unsustainable fishing practices cause? Are we demanding that fossil fuel burning be taxed to pay for the environmental damage it does? Are we demanding the government do more about any of these things? A little, maybe, but not nearly like we're jumping all over BP and the government for the Deepwater Horizon mess. We call them externalities, not catastrophes, and these far greater harms persist, in large measure because they just don't upset us as much as catastrophes do.

To that list, I might as well add, will we ever get anything better than the inadequate 100 year flood protection system the corps is building for us right now? Do we even know how to pay for that?

Bill Clinton wants to make big explosion

Clinton: Blow up the well

Meanwhile, BP says its relief well is now "within about 20 feet horizontally" of the blown-out well.
BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said Monday that the rig is going to drill an additional 900 feet down before crews cut in sideways and start pumping in heavy mud to try to stop the flow from the damaged well. It's currently about 16,770 feet down.
According to Wells the well won't reach the well for another month... assuming all goes well. We can only hope that Wells isn't being overly optimistic about the outlook for these wells.

I think I guessed 5 that year

"We might not win three games this year." That's what Payton recalls telling general manager Mickey Loomis in the locker room after the Saints first preseason game -- Payton's first as Saints head coach -- in 2006. They wound up 10-6 and reached the NFC Championship Game.
I am officially a better optimist than Coach Soupy

10 memorable quotes from Sean Payton's Super Bowl memoir 'Home Team'

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This is what happens when you're not playing againt Brett Favre

Your opponent doesn't blow it big time in the waning minutes. Oh well. Guess it's time not care about soccer again for another four years. Except for whenever we get to root against England again. I'm not even sure I know what a World Cup even looks like.

No trouble at all recognizing one of these, though

Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Facebooks where any minute now Sarah Palin will explain to us how Obama caused the U.S. team to be eliminated. It's just what Hitler would have done.

I never said Bobby Jindal isn't full of shit

Only said that his full-of-shitness was briefly loud enough to draw attention to the fact that others were also full of shit. But in the end, it's important to remember that Bobby Jindal is pretty damned full of shit too.
But a review of Louisiana’s prespill preparation suggests that the state may be open to the same criticisms that Mr. Jindal has leveled at BP and federal authorities.

The state has an oil spill coordinator’s office. Its staff shrank by half over the last decade, and the 17-year-old oil spill research and development program that is associated with the office had its annual $750,000 in financing cut last year. The coordinator is responsible for drawing up and signing off on spill contingency plans with the Coast Guard and a committee of federal, state and local officials.

Some of these plans are rife with omissions, including pages of blank charts that are supposed to detail available supplies of equipment like oil-skimming vessels. A draft action plan for a worst case is among many requirements in the southeast Louisiana proposal listed as “to be developed.”
The sad fact is everybody's worst case action plan was "to be developed" to one degree or another. BP's was "to be developed" with walruses and sea lions in mind. MMS's was "to be developed" over a few rounds of cocaine and hookers. The Coast Guard's was "to be developed" under BP's direction. And on and on.

I didn't know the Lakers were playing today

Looks like they sent their fans to G20 for some reason.

Friday, June 25, 2010



Bad taste

The oil disaster has already caused so much damage to people and wildlife, you'd probably think twice before using it as a convenient excuse for why nobody liked your restaurant. Or maybe you wouldn't.

Free Dollar Bill?

This week the Supreme Court answered former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's appeal of his fraud conviction by very nearly striking out the "honest services" corruption statute underpinning his and numerous well-known public corruption convictions. One such example is that of former Congressman William Jefferson who now stands a chance of significantly reducing the sentence against him as a result of this ruling. Although, according to this, he probably won't get away entirely.
"It's a significant development for Jefferson's case, but it doesn't mean he will walk free," said Randall Eliason, former chief of the Justice Department's corruption and government fraud section.

Jefferson was convicted of three explicit honest services counts, and some of the remaining eight guilty counts -- there's disagreement on whether it's as few as two or as many as six -- may have included some elements of the honest services statute.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Berm, Bobby, Berm?

To some degree, Jindal's war pander has been useful in that it obligates an otherwise passive Obama to demonstrate action in order to counter the image of Jindal as a "warrior" or whatever. I think sometimes phony political bluster is good in this regard. What happens next, hopefully, is that the eventual action it inspires is more useful than the stunt that begins the confrontation.
The roots of the current showdown strech back to last month, when Jindal raised a fuss in order to get an expedited permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to construct sand berms off the coast of his state. The berms, he said, would protect the nation's second oldest wildlife refuge, Breton National, and Chandeleur Islands from the oil coating the Gulf. The FWS granted the permit on the condition that the state pipe in sand from a point further up the island chain, rather than harvesting it from the the shoreline of the Chandeleur Islands, a critical nesting area for birds like the brown pelican and an essential barrier to protect the refuge from storms.

The state agreed to those conditions, which are clearly outlined in the permit. But when construction began on June 13, the state said the piping wasn't ready. The federal government, in turn, agreed to allow the state remove sand from the prohibited area for about a week until the piping arrived. That grace period has expired, but Louisiana says the pipes still aren't ready. It wants to keep removing sand from the off-limits area, but this time the federal government put its foot down.
When I first read about the berm-building plan, I was pretty sure it was a hollow gesture but maybe something that could eventually steer the conversation toward the topic of rebuilding the Louisiana coastline in a more sensible fashion. It could still do that regardless of whether the particular program Jindal is pushing is itself a good idea.

I really tried to be nice

But I have officially had it with the Brits.

Everybody fired

Or shuffled around or something.
NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas will completely overhaul the top ranks of the beleaguered department, demoting and reassigning all of the NOPD's deputy superintendents and district commanders, the WDSU I-Team has learned.

Serpas has notified those individuals -- all longtime members of the department -- that they will serve as captains if they choose to stay on under the new administration. Some are expected to retire instead.
Of course it wouldn't be the greatest idea to fire all the top-rank NOPD at once. Can't have that many criminals running around idle.

Still not raining oil

Must-read follow-up from Dambala and Adrastos. Also check out the conversation between Dambala and Kevin in the AZ comments. Huff-Po is really quite awful.

Just sayin'

Inspired by something Dambala said in a comment thread below, we bring you the City of Los Angeles celebrating a professional sports world championship.

And here we bring you the City of New Orleans celebrating a professional sports world championship.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food poisoning?

2 People Involved in Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Have Died, Coast Guard Reports

Also I've seen two examples of random speculation by questionable sources about "oil rain" in Florida and in Louisiana but I'd like to hear something more definitive before I freak out all over again.

Update: Looks like one of these died from a poisoned gunshot. Speculation is that it could be a suicide. In which case any claim by the family will not be considered legitimate.

Upperdate: Looking at the videos people have shown me, I can say that I think the "oil rain" business looks like utter bullshit.

Watch where you're going, WALL-E

NEW ORLEANS -- The Coast Guard says BP has been forced to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says an underwater robot bumped into the venting system. That sent gas rising through vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap.

Also weren't they supposed to have this thing down to "a trickle" by now?

Government interest

Terrible News: Court Says It's Okay To Remove Content From The Public Domain And Put It Back Under Copyright
On Monday, the appeals court reversed the lower court's ruling and said there's no problem with the First Amendment because copyright law "addresses a substantial or important governmental interest." This is, plainly speaking, ridiculous. The argument effectively says that the government can violate the basic principles of the First Amendment any time it wants, so long as it shows a "substantial or important government interest." But that makes no sense. The whole point of the First Amendment was to protect citizens' interests against situations where the government's interests went against citizens' interests. It should never make sense to judge a First Amendment claim on whether the government has "substantial or important" interests.

Read that whole analysis if you really want to be upset about the fragility of your basic rights. And also keep in mind how often we've seen "substantial or important" government interests dovetail with those of BP, for example.

USA wins!

Bud Light Limes for everybody

Oh my

Senator Vitter and his chivalrous band of knights continue to make merry.
A trusted aide to Louisiana Sen. David Vitter resigned Wednesday morning after ABC News reported that he had been arrested for attacking his ex-girlfriend with a knife, and had an open warrant for his arrest in Baton Rouge on a drunk driving charge. The aide, Brent Furer, worked on the Republican senator's last campaign, and has spent the last five years posted in his Washington office to handle, among other things, women's issues.

via Adrastos' First-Draft gig

Despite his well-publicized issues with fidelity and prostitution and such Vitter leads Melancon 46-34 among women in this recent PPP poll (PDF) That's 20% undecided for those of you who like counting. But I don't expect this to move the numbers much. There are too many other things going on and I have doubts about any Louisiana Democrat's ability to capitalize on an opponent's weakness.

We like to start the morning with the happy news

Oil spill puts the Gulf oyster industry on ice
Though oysters are grown from the Northeast's Long Island Sound to Humboldt Bay in California, industry officials estimate that 60 to 70 percent of the oysters eaten in the U.S. come from the Gulf. Those Gulf oysters grow in submerged beds from Texas to Florida, with Louisiana accounting for more than half of the supply.
Oh well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All of those tourists covered in oil

I continue in my inability to understand this mindset which assumes we can marketing campaign the oil off of all the beaches.

Organizers hope to present five shows this summer, all of them falling in the middle of the week, he said. The bands would donate their time, Craft said, with other costs paid out of money BP PLC gave the state to promote tourism.

According to an Associated Press report, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley applauded the idea and agreed to allow the state tourism department help with production costs.

"This will begin the turnaround to bring tourists back to the beach despite occasional tarballs and help save the summer season," Riley said in a statement. "Millions of Jimmy's fans will see how clean and beautiful Gulf beaches are and many will decide to visit. This being the beginning of the important July the Fourth weekend, it could not come at a better time."

"Occasional tarballs" pictured below

Many more like that one here.

Meanwhile I've been seeing people complain all day today about a different ad campaign promoting non-Gulf beaches.

Spirit Airlines -- they of the multi-year labor dispute and the charge for carry-on bags -- would like to encourage you to buy tickets to Cancun, Puerto Rico, Atlantic City or Fort Lauderdale with a timely new ad campaign called Best Protection. The tag line? "Check out the oil on our beaches." And you thought Haley Barbour's tourism promotion campaign was offensive.
Offensive, sure. But at least it isn't lying to people about how clean the oil spoiled beaches and seafood are.

Oil is untouchable

Judge who struck down moratorium owned Transocean stock

Seems like only one administration ago when the unitary executive was supposedly free to be a decider without having the shareholders meddlesome courts overrule the decidings.

Oil is untouchable

Judge issues preliminary injunction blocking federal deepwater drilling moratorium

Somewhat related, here's Colbert's take on Tea Party demands that we all lay off BP.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joe Barton's Misconstrued Misconstruction
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

"The French Quarter is not Disneyland"

Kimberly Butler may still disagree, of course, but this interview with representatives of the French Quarter Citizens neighborhood group is worth considering in regard to the recent controversy over police enforcement of noise ordinances.
Neither Furness nor Bissell had seen the 10,000 member Facebook group that has been set up to protest the enforcement of the curfew law against brass bands. People in the group are saying that tourists come to the French Quarter for the bands and the atmosphere that those bands create. Is that something that Bissell and Furness can sympathize with, or do they feel that perhaps some of the concerns of the residents are more important?

“I think we can certainly sympathize,” says Furness. “We can understand their point of view, we certainly hear it a great deal…but I think what makes the French Quarter truly unique and authentic is the fact that people actually live here. The music is one part of that. But the fact that this is a living neighborhood, a neighborhood that’s passionate about its architecture, its quality of life, and that I think is something we very much need to protect.”

Reading through the comments on that Facebook group, I've noticed a common fallacious opinion that FQ residents issuing the noise complaints are recent arrivals to the area bent on changing or gentrifying it in some way. What these out-of-town Facebook users fail to understand is that the Quarter is home to the local residents first and a playground for visitors second.

But we've entered a stage in the history of this city where the needs of outsiders who visit to puke on our doorsteps or who think they know everything about us because they have HBO is more important than the needs of those of us who grew up, live and work here.


The sudden outrage at this is amusing to me. French Quarter quality of life ordinances have been a controversial issue for as long as I can remember and I'm starting to get sort of old myself. It's hilarious to me to see so many people getting so bent out of shape over them now as though we'd never had this discussion before.

I don't think most Quarter residents are asking for QUIET so much as they are looking for some relief from the intrusion of the NOLA-Disney infrastructure that has cropped up over the past 20 or 30 years in the form of loud bland frat-house music and puke factories on Bourbon, the insultingly stupid "Haunted History" tours that crowd the sidewalks and shout late into the night in the supposedly residential sections of the Quarter, the T-shirt and Zydeco cubes that seem to occupy the vast majority of the commercial space not already taken up by frozen Daiquiri outlets, and the overall impression that the Quarter and by extension the city exists primarily for the benefit of transient luxury.

It's unfortunate, and in my opinion, unreasonable and unfair that NOPD has chosen to pick on the most vulnerable street performers first in their attempt to meet the demand that some balance of dignity be restored in the Quarter. But, as we all know by now, the hotel operators and club owners aren't going to be held accountable by this or any other administration.


Don't tell me. Bobby McCray was selling movie tax credits in the locker room wasn't he?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saying it out loud

People misunderestimate the Tea Partiers' role in the political dynamic. It doesn't matter if they don't get their full slate of candidates elected. What they're there to do is keep the conversation firmly anchored on the crazy end by saying and repeating fringe ideas out loud often enough to pull the rest of the conversation their way. In the headlining story at TPM this morning we find Tea Party activists embracing Joe Barton's characterization of the $20 billion oil disaster victims' relief fund as a "shakedown" of BP.
Erin Ryan, a tea party activist in Redding, Calif., said Barton was correct to use the word "shakedown."

"Wow," Ryan said. "Somebody finally said it out loud?"

Conservative talk show host Mark Williams, chairman of the California-based Tea Party Express, said the White House went too far by pressuring BP to create the fund while the Justice Department is conducting criminal and civil probes of the spill.

"I'm accustomed to mobsters behaving that way, I'm just not accustomed to it from the president, especially when he's standing there with the attorney general threatening legal action," Williams said. "Where I come from, they call it extortion."

Because there is no equally strenuous counter on the left The White House continually refer to efforts at organizing such a movement as "fucking stupid") there's no effective means at pulling back against the vigorous crazy. And so it eventually becomes more and more accepted as the default position.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BP Glee

It's been a busy week and I've been in an especially foul mood as of late which results in thankfully slow going here in Yellow Blog land. So instead of afflicting you with the collection of links and rants about this week in Obama vs BP vs Louisiana I had been fouling around with I'll just share the two most grating items from this week in order to convey some sense of my personal state of mind. After which I can retreat to my corner for the rest of the day or until I shrug it off.

I'm pretty pissed at Joe Barton. Yeah, like a lot of people I'm offended at the perverted priorities revealed in his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he termed President Obama's "shakedown" of the company to establish a $20 billion escrow fund to benefit victims of the oil disaster. I'm particularly upset over it because I understand that Barton's comment and subsequent apology for it wasn't just some stupid gaffe and retraction. It was a well-developed reactionary talking point repeated by numerous commentators and politicians throughout the week and one that isn't going away any time soon. I have no doubt that Barton floated it that morning with the intent of getting it to lead the evening news. Barton subsequently apologized to us for our "misconstruing" his remarks. Not only is the non-apology wormy on its face but it's also more an affirmation than an apology. At the end of the day, Barton's message made the paper. In the long run, the clever way it was presented will give it legs. The stage direction conveys to us that Barton spoke his mind, it shocked sensitive people, and he was forced to retract it but all the decent hard working folk in the target audience will eventually agree he was kind of right. Americans love to hate victims and poor people who appear to be getting away with something. Watch what happens.

But all of that is pretty standard American politics. It's annoying but it isn't the aspect of the Barton comment that left me feeling as suicidal as I am at the end of this week. What's really gotten under my skin is that Barton's remark left this song in my head for three days.

Today is Father's Day. Mostly what this means is that I sacrificed a shockingly large chunk of my afternoon yesterday to the pursuit of one non-cheesy greeting card. At one point in my life, people made generic cards with perhaps a picture on them but no stupid canned sappy or "humorous" message. This is no longer the case. In fact it's getting more and more difficult to find one that doesn't present the cheesy stupid message in audio form. I don't know why we go to such great technological lengths to say to one another, "Smile, infant. Here is some insincere pablum I purchased." Anyway I was hoping to find something as far away from that as could be hoped for which took waay longer than I had hoped for. My mood went from mild annoyance to all-out panic when the opening strains of Styx's "Come Sail Away" wafted out over the Walgreens sound system. I grabbed a card with a random enough photo of a big fish on it and made for the check-out counter. Unfortunately the Walgreens exit procedure is nearly as complicated as figuring out a World Cup standings tie-break. I had to stand there and listen to the whole damn song in line.

And all of that is pretty bad but the part of this story that ruined my mood and makes me want to wade into the oil seas off of Grand Isle and drown myself, is that the moment I got out to the car and flipped on the radio, here's what was being discussed.

BP Chief Yachts While Gulf Oil Spill Burns

Once again, it's not the fact of the predictable arrogance of the empowered abusers that has me out of sorts. It's the freaking soundtrack.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


As always, the consensus middle-Left in American politics is pretty damn cocky when it comes to stuff like this.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking member of the House Energy committee, where BP's CEO is testifying today, just said: "It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown."

Barton's in an incredibly safe district. And it's not like more than a handful of House Republicans have anything to worry about this Fall. But I'm certain we're going to hear these quotes again and again on the campaign trail this fall in other more middle of the road districts. In addition to the above, Barton also apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he had been put through yesterday by the president.
Barton and people like him are just saying what a lot of hateful nihilistic Americans are thinking right now. Maybe BP did make a mess, but the "real offense" in the American mind is that we might presume to do something about it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

They can swim away

Not sure where to, though

Fish and other wildlife are fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast. But that is not the hopeful sign it might appear to be, researchers say.

The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily get devoured by predators..


Mother Jones: Is the Worst Already True, the BP Well Now Unstoppable?

They might as well have hired David Vitter

All BP is paying for is a lot of doing nothing plus the occasional hooker purchase, anyway.
I've seen some pathetic excuses for cleanup out here—were the workers on Elmer's at least making some progress? "They're not being effective out here," Elmer said. "Two days after your article, they bused in twice as many workers, so they're up to 120 guys on Elmer's now, but I can't see any considerable difference. They're only working five sites and it's eight miles of beach. No one seems concerned about cleaning it up. The contractors are getting their money; they don't care. They've got all these people out there, but they're not accomplishing anything."

Oh, wait. Not nothing: "They've brought in prostitutes." No one knows who the "they" that brought in the pack of hookers is, but the gals have definitely arrived, and you can buy time with one for $200. It only took someone a whole month even to figure out that it would be lucrative to sell sex to guys earning 44 hours of overtime a week and living in camps and converted 18-wheelers.

Obama's dud

What a failure. Go read Mark Moseley's column.

This will be fun

Some people in the Facebooks are saying that NOPD is running around town with a letter from Mitch and Serpas ordering street musicians to shut down. I'm thinking this will go badly for the Mayor and Chief for two reasons.

1) Everybody thinks they're on Treme these days and so folks will become very testy over a perceived threat to "the culture". I doubt that NOPD could even tell one "got your shoes" dude to quit harassing people without facing the wrath of a thousand wanna-be Creighton Bernettes on some holy crusade right now.

2) This is a stupid bullshit thing for NOPD to be worried about in the first place. Let the kids play. Seems every mayor feels the need to make an early splash by pushing one or another helpless group around for show. Nagin did something similar with cab drivers in his first few months in office. But going after brass bands playing to crowds on Bourbon and Frenchmen Streets? I thought these were supposed to be the "smart" grown-up types we just installed.

Anyway, bound to hit a news outlet near you in 3...2....

Update: Meanwhile, if you're in the Facey Tubes, you may want to go and "like" this page where you'll find more stuff like this video of the police shutting TBC down last night.

Upperdate: Gambit picking up the story now

Uppestdate: Courtesy of Lisa P., here's some great video of TBC playing in their usual spot on the first block of Bourbon Street. She's got plenty more where that came from on her YouTube channel

Meanwhile, Varg throws up a quick list of No Fun items we're still familiar with during the first days of Mitchville.

A week or so ago, Ronal Serpas called a frickin' press conference so he could announce to all of us that he has an email. Maybe this would be a good time to take advantage of that fact.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama getting ready to tell us a bedtime story

Reading through the NYT's preview of the President's remarks, I don't see anything that looks like Doug Brinkley's imaginary Gulf Restoration Marshall Plan or whatever attention-getting crap he was screaming about last week.

Act of God

Guess all claims from today are illegitimate.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP says a fire believed caused by lightning has shut down a system capturing oil from a gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Score one for the taint sniffers

The Coast Guard sniffed out one boatload of taint.
GRAND ISLE, La. -- The Coast Guard says it found a Florida-based shrimper working in an area closed because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, confiscated 19,000 pounds of white shrimp and dumped it all back in the water.
However, what this should tell us, those of us who need to be told anyway, is that people are fishing in the restricted areas. If there are people fishing in the restricted areas, we can assume that not all of them are being caught by the improvised enforcement infrastructure.

If we can assume that not all of the taint is being sniffed out, then certainly some of it is reaching the food supply. And if we can assume there is taint in the food supply, why are we devoting time and money toward propaganda which counters that logic?

Kill this talking point

According to PolitiFact's analysis of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the President is expressly empowered to "federalize" direction of the clean-up process.
BP ultimately is liable for the cost of cleaning up the spilled oil. The Oil Pollution Act caps additional economic damages at $75 million, but BP has said it will pay all legitimate claims, and some Democrats in Congress want to lift the cap and apply it retroactively. President Obama has said he wants to update the laws to "make sure that the people in the Gulf, the fishermen, the hotel owners, families who are dependent for their livelihoods in the Gulf, that they are all made whole and that we are in a much better position to respond to any such crisis in the future."

Still, under the law as it stands today, BP will be paying for the clean-up, and the federal government -- thanks to the OPA -- ultimately has authority over how the clean-up proceeds

Ever since the spill became news, I've been reading various Obama flacks (in the case cited here, New Orleans native Donna Brazile of all people) lying about the OPA and claiming that it actually prevents the President from stepping in and exercising authority. One of this administration's most frustrating weaknesses is its seemingly constant search for technicalities by which it can excuse inaction. It's like one endless pursuit of a comfortable hiding place.

Must have passed the exacting BP ineffectiveness standard

BP to use Kevin Costner's machines


Jarvis DeBerry commenting on this bizarre Daily Mail report on the oil disaster.
The sub-head of the Daily Mail story blames President Obama's anti-BP remarks on his alleged "anti-colonial" anger at Britain. Nothing in the story spells out what that's supposed to mean, but read other British publications and you'll find the repeated assertion that Obama hates Britain because of colonial atrocities in his father's native Kenya. Who knows if that's true? However, in my book, hating colonial atrocities is quite the good thing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"We're a diversion to stop them from really getting to the corporate office to the big people"

BP call center operator's assessment of her job description

BP is too big to fail

Robert Reich: Why the United States Still Can't Get BP to Do What's Necessary

The administration has not used legal authority to order BP to do a thing, because it hasn't asserted any legal authority.

Meanwhile, the White House backed off its suggestion earlier in the week that it could stop BP from paying a giant dividend to its shareholders. That suggestion had caused BP shares to plummet and pressure to build on Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron. 12 percent of dividends paid to pensioners in the UK come from BP. Cameron and Obama had a friendly chat Saturday, assuring one another BP is important to both countries.

You see where all this is heading. At some point there's likely to be a direct conflict. Like any big corporation, BP has legal duties to repay its creditors and to maximize the share prices of its stockholders. Its duties to the United States are still vague and unknown. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 can be interpreted in various ways. So far, the administration hasn't tried.

Yet BP is still in control of what's happening in Gulf to stop the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

BP still has lots of money. But the final cost of plugging the leak in the Gulf, containing the spill, cleaning up after it, and paying all damages -- including lost wages to millions of workers whose jobs have been lost or will be if the spill keeps tourists away -- could easily be tens of billions of dollars. And right now BP's first responsibility is to its creditors and shareholders, not to the American public.

So if it's UK pensioners versus American workers and property owners, who wins? More to the point, who's going to decide? Most likely, a judge -- or several judges, here and in the UK, through a mountain of litigation that will keep thousands of attorneys, solicitors, and barristers busy for decades.

Ultimately, the conflict that matters here isn't between "UK pensioners" and "American workers and property owners" It's between corporate interest holders and American workers. It's between BP's profitability and the health of the Gulf coast. And that, precisely is what Obama and Cameron's friendly phone conversation was about. They're working out the best way protect BP from the rabble.

It's amazing to me that so many so-called liberals are still expecting Obama to do anything in a crisis like this other than put a soft, friendly face on what essentially amounts to letting the bad guys get away again. It's the American political cycle at work. After eight years of gung-ho in-your-face neo-con Bushism, America needed someone to subtly channel excess anger at the money power into a more comfortable shoulder shrug about intractable "partisanship" We needed someone to tap that ineffectual middle-class guilt which suggests the crimes of the powerful are really everybody's and therefore nobody's fault.

Obama seems to understand his role pretty well. Hell, this is what the modern Democratic party for in the first place; Gently leading us toward acceptance of what was previously unthinkable while paving the way for the next unthinkable reaction.

Update: I've only recently begun reading Kos more than once a month again because of the diaries this Fishgrease character has been writing. Every word is right on.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The hole I dig is bottomless

Evidence is mounting that the Horizon well casing could be broached beneath the sea floor.
On June 7th, Senator Bill Nelson told MSNBC that he's investigating reports of oil seeping up from additional leak points on the seafloor:

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): Andrea we’re looking into something new right now, that there’s reports of oil that’s seeping up from the seabed… which would indicate, if that’s true, that the well casing itself is actually pierced… underneath the seabed. So, you know, the problems could be just enormous with what we’re facing.

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Now let me understand better what you’re saying. If that is true that it is coming up form that seabed, even the relief well won’t be the final solution to cap this thing. That means that we’ve got oil gushing up at disparate places along the ocean floor.

Sen. Nelson: That is possible, unless you get the plug down low enough, below where the pipe would be breached.

Indeed, loss of integrity in the well itself may explain why BP is drilling its relief wells more than ten thousand feet beneath the leaking pipes on the seafloor (and see this).

And while you're at it, you might as well also take a look at this graphic which compares the depth of the well to the height and depth of everything else in the world. I am told that the depth of the Horizon well is fairly common for these sorts of operations but, at the same time, Damn that's a deep hole.

Update: More from emptywheel

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wanted to hit him with a "football bat"

I've never been a huge fan of James Carville until recently.

(Video via Dambala)

I've always had a big problem with Fareed Zakaria, anyway.

Other places to get oysters

Yes that's where we are now.
The impact of the oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill now soiling the Louisiana shoreline was felt far inland on Thursday as P&J Oyster Company, the country's oldest oyster processor and distributor, ceased its shucking operations. "The bottom line is that the guys that we purchase from are not working," said Sal Sunseri, referring to the oyster harvesters who've been idled by the mass closure of harvesting areas and freshwater diversions. "Today's our last day of shucking."

Sunseri, who co-owns P&J with his brother Al, said the French Quarter-based company will not shut down entirely. "We may periodically have some oysters, but it's not a continuing production," he said.

The brothers are currently looking to bring oysters in from the West Coast, a jarring turn of events for a company that has dealt exclusively in Louisiana oysters for 134 years.

I love Gulf oysters. They grow bigger, more plump, and more rich here than anywhere else in the world. I don't think there is a single more satisfying food item imaginable anywhere than fried gulf oysters. They are rich, meaty, earthy, salty, peppery, buttery, a little fishy, delicate and crispy all at the same time. Ever since the spill started I've been trying to eat as many oysters as I can get my hands on before the clock runs out on them. A few weeks ago, Ros and I went down to Acme and gorged ourselves on fried oysters, raw oysters, charbroiled oysters, and oysters soaked in vodka like these here.

Oyster shooters

Before that, I put them in a big seafood gumbo.

I made this Rockefeller style sauce over pasta which I wrote about at the beginning of May but the Yellow Blog archives are acting funny right now so I can't link you to it. Here's the picture anyway.


Last weekend I went down to the Inaugural (and possibly final) New Orleans cognitive dissonance Oyster Festival where I watched an apparently inebriated Chef Andrea Apuzzo poach a bucket full of beautiful Gulf oysters to serve with a simple olive oil and garlic sauce.

Chef Andrea

I hate to see the Gulf oyster taken from us like this. Hate to see all of these oystermen and oyster shuckers lose their jobs. I can't imagine I'll get used to eating "West Coast" oysters. They'll always taste something like bitterness to me.

Twiddling thumbs for dreams that never come

I'm not saying that noted fabulist Doug Brinkley's most recent little fantasy isn't close to what should happen. I'm just saying it's sooo far outside the bounds of the Obama Administration's character that no reasonable person should give it more than a few seconds' worth of serious expectation.

It would be the equivalent of Obama immediately firing Timothy Geithner. And then seizing Lloyd Blankfein's fortune. And possibly his ass as well. And then pulling out of Afghanistan. And then using the windfall to buy every man woman and child in America a cold beer and arugula salad. Oh and then the US winning the World Cup. It's comfortably placed within the box of shit that ain't gonna happen.

As daydreams go, it isn't the worst thing I've ever seen. Sad that daydreams are what we've been reduced to, though.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Questions for Rouses

1) I'm always glad to see new grocery stores opening up but why can't we get one in badly underserved Central City, Gentilly, or Bywater/9th Ward neighborhoods before we move on ways to better convenience the hotel and condo dense CBD area? I know Reggie Bush and Jeremey Shockey live there for part of the year but if Twitter has any credibility as a source Shockey lives mostly off of Pita Pit while Bush prefers Taco Bell so he can update us on its progress through his digestive tract.

2) Why is the Mayor announcing your company's real estate acquisition at a big to-do press conference? Are there public funds involved in this proposed development? The NOLA.com article doesn't tell us. But, if there are, I think that further underscores the point of my first question. Why are public funds (if there are any) going to development in a tourist/condo neighborhood when there are areas of greater need being neglected?

3) What the hell is a "frozen lifestyle" anyway?

Frozen Lifestyles
Rouses on Tchoupitoulas 6/9/2010

Update: Rouses spokesperson (Tweetsperson?) answers via Twitter

He (the mayor) stopped by on his way to another meeting to welcome us to the neighborhood. Very nice of him. No city funds involved. Lots of press folks at the event, will surely be more in depth coverage tonight / tomorrow morning.

Upperdate: The Gambit blog report on the press conference also leaves us with a raised-eyebrow.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu was joined by three members of the New Orleans City Council this morning to announce that Rouse’s Market intends to open a new supermarket in downtown New Orleans the vicinity of the CBD/Warehouse District in December 2011.
Guess they all just "stopped by on the way to another meeting" Why not? Nice day, open mic.

Rouse told Gambit he is “not quite sure yet” how much the new store is going to cost. “We’re still doing the plans and the manipulations and such, but it’ll be huge,” he said. He also said the grocery store hasn’t done a market study to determine the viability of the new store—a common tactic undertaken by large out-of-state chains, before entering a new market. “We’ve been in business for 50 years,” said Rouse. “Sure I could bring someone in to do a market study, but at this point we don’t need a market study.”
Something still seems odd about this. I'm not sure what but I'd like to know a little more about "the manipulations".

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Again with the placards

Car placards to be used for re-entry in case of mandatory evacuation this hurricane season

As for businesses, (Dep Mayor Jerry) Sneed advised them to "get a placard, or else they're not going to be able to get back in."

Placards are designated for vehicles, not for individual employees, he said, adding that returning workers also should carry with them business and government identification cards. Placards fall into four classifications: Emergency Responders needed to clear streets; Tier 1 for critical government workers and businesses that store hazardous chemicals; Tier 2 for essential retailers such as large grocers; and Tier 3 for smaller retail firms.

City Hall also has a limited number of Tier 1-R placards for companies that have locations in multiple parishes, such as banks and gas stations.
Once again I am at a loss to understand how this sort of thing is tolerated in a free society. Here we have a situation whereby the Mayor, on the pretext of a perceived threat of a storm (a threat we can assume he will almost always exaggerate), can arbitrarily declare martial law, force citizens to pack up and leave their homes, and then make them wait an undetermined amount of time before they are allowed back in. That alone is unacceptable.

Yes, there needs to be a clear and effective system for warning the population of an impending storm and for assisting those who want to evacuate but can't do so on their own. But the freaking Mayor of New Orleans does not get to forcibly remove people and require even the privileged "essential" business owners and operators who are allowed back in to produce papers upon demand of law enforcement. What kind of police state do they think they are running here? Arizona?

Varg likens the tier system to the infamous red light cameras. I think that's pretty good. Neither scheme provides the public safety benefit it sells it self on. Each is a favorite toy of municipal officials looking to flex their muscles and/or impose unnecessary financial demands upon the citizenry. Both are likely to slow vehicular progress on major thoroughfares.

In 2008, our first experiment with tiered reentry was a disaster. Physically and financially exhausted families were made to sit in their vehicles on the side of the highway in the heat of early September
(for days in some cases) by placard-check roadblocks while local officials whined about the importance of the stupid system. A similarly frustrated T-P editor James O'Byrne wrote a widely circulated column about the debacle in which he argued that it would likely discourage people from heeding the next call to evacuate. And he's right. At least in my case he is. 20 plus hours on the road to nowhere and God knows how long on the way back is a far more harrowing and expensive ordeal than 3 to 5 days at home with no power. Unless I am absolutely certain that a BP-spawned Firecane or possibly Geauxjira is moving on New Orleans, I'm not going anywhere.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Unfortunately, Louisiana has already decided to "opt out" of health care

Local surgeons say they have plan that can patch oil leak

La la la Just another day in the Gulf

Another Gulf oil spill: Well near Deepwater Horizon has leaked since at least April 30
"We accidentally discovered this spill looking at the Deepwater Horizon images. The question is, what would we see if we were systematically looking at the offshore industry?" said John Amos with Skytruth.org. "Is this an aberration, or are things like this going on all the time?"

Um.. right?

What sort of Top Hat Con-dome Crunk Shot fits over this?

Senator: Deepwater Well Integrity May Be Shot, Meaning Oil Could Be Leaking Straight Up From The Seabed

Mid-Day happy links

Mother Jones: "The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!"

Timshel: Marsh Oil Cleanup Policy: Don't do anything

Hey I had a pretty good time at the Oyster Festival this weekend but um... maybe it's time to stop trusting the seafood.
William Mahan bends over a bowl of raw shrimp and inhales deeply, using his left hand to wave the scent up toward his nose. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat. He clears his palate with a bowl of freshly cut watermelon before moving on to raw oysters. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat.

He's one of about 40 inspectors trained recently at a federal fisheries lab in Pascagoula, Miss., to sniff out seafood tainted by oil in the Gulf of Mexico and make sure the product reaching consumers is safe to eat.

But with thousands of fishermen bringing in catch at countless docks across the four-state region, the task of inspectors, both sniffers and others, is daunting. It's certainly not fail-safe.

The first line of defense began with closing a third of federal waters to fishing and hundreds more square-miles of state waters. Now comes the nose.

Mahan is an agricultural extension director with the University of Florida based in Apalachicola, where some of the world's most famous oysters are culled.

"We're being trained to detect different levels of taint, which in this case is oil," Mahan said last week. "We started out sniffing different samples of oil to sort of train our noses and minds to recognize it."

So what does an oily fish smell like?

"Well, it has an oil odor to it," Mahan said. "Everyone has a nose they bring to it ... Everybody's nose works differently. For me, the oysters are a little more challenging."

The quality assurance method of choice is a newly trained staff of taint-sniffers, each of whose nose "works differently" and for whom the "oysters are challenging". Color me discouraged.

On May 1st, I made the following simple suggestion.
No one has even considered the possibility that Lombardi trophies act as magical oilsbane talismans.
Tomorrow, a group of Saints players and coaches will go down to Plaquemines to test this theory. Talk about your shitty response time.

Oyster refers to this presumed act of waving the Lombardi trophy at the offending oil as "the crunk shot" which is just about the funniest thing I've heard all day.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

252,000 gallons

It's always hazardous to take BP's numbers at face value but if they say they've captured 252,000 gallons in a 24 hour period and much oil is still leaking anyway, well I think we can put that 210,000 gallon per day estimate they stuck to for so long to bed.


More from NOLA.com here.
As BP's latest attempt to control a runaway undersea oil well in the Gulf of Mexico enters its second day, Adm. Thad Allen said this morning that the containment cap and suction pipe were able to bring an estimated 6,000 barrels of oil to the surface in the first 24 hours - meaning anywhere from a half to a quarter of the amount oil gushing into the sea.

Estimates of the flow rate from the U.S. Geological Survey show the well is gushing at a rate of between 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil per day - although another team of its scientists estimated 12,000 to 25,000 barrels per day.

For anyone who doesn't know 1 barrel = 42 gallons.

Our value of luxury

What Ricky said.

It is not "our fault" that the oil spill happened because we drive cars and use oil products.

It MAY be our fault that we've continued to support politicians who don't give a damn about safety regulations, gut worker protections, and support "watchdog" bureaucracies staffed by drug addled industry sycophants.

But in the end this spill is the fault of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton. Those are the people responsible for this well's explosion that killed eleven people and continues to gush into our Gulf. There is not "collective guilt" for this. We could consume all the oil we want at prices that wouldn't change and still protect American workers and the American coast.

There are specific individual actors in corporate and governmental institutions who have allowed this disaster to happen through their own malicious corrupt behavior. Those actors need to be held accountable. The failed institutions need to be fixed. Any stupid hippie who wants to tell you "we're really all to blame" because we drive cars is letting the criminals off the hook.

Yes, I believe we need to make changes in the way we produce and consume energy. But those changes will only happen if we identify specific institutions and policies that need to be pressured. Nothing happens if all we ever do is throw up our hands and say, "we're really all to blame".

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tony Hayward gets his life back

BP is to hive off its Gulf of Mexico oil spill operation to a separate in-house business to be run by an American in a bid to isolate the "toxic" side of the company and dilute some of the anti-British feeling aimed at chief executive Tony Hayward, the company said today.

The surprise announcement was made during a teleconference with City and Wall Street analysts in which Hayward attempted to shrug off the personal criticism saying words "could not break his bones".
Nevermind that last comment for now. Suffice to say there are sticks and stones in adequate supply in Louisiana should they have become necessary. What's amazing about this story is that BP is yet again moving to protect its "brand" first and the Gulf coast maybe never. Yesterday, the comic genius behind the fake BPGlobalPR Twitter account wrote about BP's insane marketing obsession in this Huffington Post article.
I've read a bunch of articles and blogs about this whole situation by publicists and marketing folk wondering what BP should do to save their brand from @BPGlobalPR. First of all, who cares? Second of all, what kind of business are you in? I'm trashing a company that is literally trashing the ocean, and these idiots are trying to figure out how to protect that company? One pickledick actually suggested that BP approach me and try to incorporate me into their actual PR outreach. That has got to be the dumbest, most head-up-the-ass solution anyone could possibly offer.

It's so sad. We live in a time when the criminal dishonesty of our institutions which leads directly to widespread death and destruction is viewed first and foremost as an opportunity to build a more effective lie. The problem here is not that BP is too British or that their corporate communications have been ineffective. The problem is that they have been criminally negligent and our coast is dying as a result. What kind of people are we who prioritize the maintenance of our bullshit above the preservation of our lives and the world we live them in?

But in consolation, it gives us cash receipts

Newsweek challenges readers to distinguish between news and satire.

BP is stonewalling the State of Louisiana regarding payment of affected residents and clean-up workers.
DSS and LWC have already made repeated requests, but BP still has failed to share its process for considering claims made by individuals and businesses. In the latest response to the repeated requests, BP Managing Attorney Mark Holstein again denied to provide the material stating in a June 2 letter that while the state's requests are "undoubtedly made in good faith, they risk distracting our team from the very important goal of handling claims."

"I'm concerned about reports from citizens and parish officials that many people have not been paid by BP, or have only received an initial payment of $5,000 or less," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "More than 40 days into this disaster, people's livelihoods are on indefinite hold, it is becoming harder to support their families and some even face eviction from their homes. Immediate assistance from BP is critical."

Meanwhile, Gulf oil spill: BP to go ahead with $10bn shareholder payout
Tony Hayward, BP's embattled chief executive, will risk incurring further wrath in the US over the Gulf oil spill tomorrow by defying calls from politicians to halt more than $10bn (£6.8bn) worth of payouts due to shareholders this year.
Think of this as a money "hot tap" crazy straw. BP is sucking all the cash out the back door first. Will pass out what's left to victims and workers later. The good news is those among them lucky enough to have been paid so far may be able to double down on some of this action.
Bookmaker Paddy Power is now offering even odds that Hayward will be forced to leave his post by the end of this year, meaning two successive chief executives would have left earlier than originally intended. Hayward's predecessor John Browne departed following the Texas City fire which claimed 15 lives.

Here's another way Hayward can help. Last week, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told us he would "like to take (Hayward) offshore, dunk him under the surface of the water, pull him up with that black gooey stuff on him and have him say, 'Our research shows no oil beneath the surface. It's all coming to the top,'" This weekend, in the French Quarter, New Orleanians can partake of the first (and possibly last) New Orleans Oyster Festival If Nungesser wants to bring Hayward into town and set up a Gulf oil dunking booth, I'm sure he'd raise a pretty penny off the attendees in a hurry.

Morning Spillcam check

Still looks like a LOT of oil spewing all over the place. I wonder if this isn't just another crazy straw.
Allen said he expects to say whether the containment cap is working later today, and have estimates of how much oil is being brought to the surface. As of midnight, Allen said there was a rough estimate that oil was being brought to the surface at a rate of about 1,000 barrels a day.
Is there any estimate available on the amount of oil BP has harvested through various means since the spill began?

A few days ago I was wondering why we don't require potential relief wells to be drilled at the same time as the exploration wells so that when something like this happens we aren't waiting months for a solution. As it turns out, this is exactly what the Canadians require. As it also turns out, BP was asking the Canadian government to rescind that rule just days before the Gulf explosion occurred.

They're getting oil on the beaches near Pensacola now.

Obama coming back for a visit today. CNN just told me he's going back to a place he called "Grand Island" last week. Guess I'll wait around to see if he wins the geography bee this time.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More Spillcam Sunday Ticket

Here are all the cams on one page where you can watch all of them simultaneously. It looks like they are trying to apply the cap right now. This is tremendously exciting.

Quote of the Day

Mitch Landrieu:
"The bigger question is: Why do we have limited resources?" he said. "Is this nation really capable of doing big things? We're seeing once again that there are some catastrophic events that we are not, as a nation, fully prepared (for), or as a private industry.

"This is not a surprise to us in Louisiana," the mayor said. "We told people after Katrina and Rita that we are the canary in the coal mine and that there are some things that you have to do better. And obviously now we have another catastrophic event that BP was not prepared for. We're very frustrated and angry about it."

I think maybe Mitch reads The Lens.

Tony Hayward talking

Link! Somebody tell me what he says. And also what color dress the wife wears as she stands behind him and tries to choke down her fury and embarrassment... oh wait that's a different kind of apology presser, isn't it?

Update: According to the general tweetings, he didn't say much beyond that we won't be able to judge the success or failure of the Cut n' Cap operation for another 12-24 hours. But we've heard that before. Jindal talking now. Probably begging for more drilling.

It's good to be in the club

The Lens: Alternative for dispersants to break up oil hampered by politics and bureaucracy Corexit may not be the safest or even the most effective oil dispersant available, but it IS made by the company who has the most connections to industry insiders and owns the most politicians so... well, it's the free market at work.

Spillcam Sunday Ticket

All the cams. All the action. One channel.

Please don't let them take my City of NO

President Barack Obama returning to Louisiana on Friday to view Gulf oil spill work

Actually I think it's entirely proper that the President spend as much time as possible on the Gulf coast until this thing gets fixed. After all, we already know his presence has a positive, if temporary, impact on clean-up efforts. Also I think he's afraid of being outdone by Rachel Maddow.

If you missed Maddow's broadcast from Algiers last night, it's worth a look. Maddow has outperformed anybody else in cable news as far as reporting facts about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is concerned. She's not the greatest talking head in the world but she does at least make an effort to get it right.

The T-P's Dave Walker highlights a segment of last night's show where Maddow picked up on a popular local joke about the city's website.
Noting how much she and her staff always enjoy New Orleans' history, music, food and cocktails, Maddow said the most they usually can offer in return is to "spend some money and say thank you." Wednesday, she offered some branding help -- upgrading the city's official URL: www.CityofNO.com -- as a gratuity. "That is not right," Maddow said of New Orleans' official Web welcome mat. "New Orleans isn't the city of 'no.' It's anything but." So the show took the liberty of acquiring two more appropriate addresses, which it is offering to the city as a gift.

One is www.CityofYes.us.

The other: www.CityofHellNo.com.

I think it's cute that Maddow took the time to share this idiosyncrasy with America. But the thing is, I've always liked "City of NO" The phrase carries a kind of defiant... I don't know... punk quality. It doesn't bend to the stifling convention that every service portal needs to wear a phony happy face in order to function properly. Yes, I know the website and the City government it accesses are not known for their functionality but my argument here is that these issues are not remedied by hollow sloganeering.

Besides, who is to say that the URL even represents the City's message to us? Is it not the citizens who are afforded the privilege of typing those words into their browsers upon beginning an interaction with this site? Who is telling who to fuck off here? Even in the time before municipal services were conducted via internet, I would personally delight in making out my check to "City of NO" when paying my (James Perry-esque number of) parking tickets. This act, like the URL was a small cathartic moment in an otherwise dismal interaction with the faceless monolith of city government. Why would we want to give that up?

That's all over the second you go up Troy's bucket

We have entered a period in history when every football season begins with a T-shirt. Today's T-P Editorial page celebrates the new slogan.

Some of the previous Saints slogans were clearly aimed to motivate a city that had never had the experience of winning: In 2005 we were told to have "Faith." Later we were told that we -- well, the team at least -- would have to "Earn It." Last season -- the best season in the history of football -- the team's slogan was "Finish Strong," and boy did they ever!

They finished with cornerback Tracy Porter intercepting a Peyton Manning pass and running it back 74 yards for a touchdown. They finished with the Saints raising the Vince Lombardi trophy and with quarterback Drew Brees being lauded as Super Bowl MVP.

It's important, therefore, that our new slogan represent the winners that we are. The 2010 slogan reflects our new confidence: "Our Time."

Below we have captured twenty seconds of Sean Payton's speech to his team just prior to distribution of this year's novelty.

Given the long odds of a Superbowl champion even making the playoffs the following season, chances are good the drama of the 2010 Saints season will involve figuring out how soon the team is mathematically eliminated from contention. Which we now know happens as soon as they go up Troy's bucket. Which is why we're thinking of having our own "Bucketwatch" T-Shirt printed. (To wear under our Morstead jersey, of course)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What happened to the "Lake Landrieu" tag?

Sorry. It's still Lake Landrieu. It always was. It always will be.

This is why they keep consulting with Hollywood people

Everything ends up being a kind of movie scene anyway.
James Carville walked into one of his favorite New Orleans eateries, Eleven 79, Tuesday night — and was stunned to find BP CEO Tony Hayward and Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the two men tasked with stopping the Gulf spill, eating dinner together.

Hayward, looking up from his Gulf shrimp and pasta, wasted no time defending his embattled and vilified company — to the rail-thin Democratic operative who has come to embody the growing popular disgust at BP and the federal government.

“You’ve said some harsh things,” Hayward said, according to Carville, who sat with the pair for about 30 minutes — the time it took the Louisiana-born Democratic consultant to polish off a Maker’s Mark.

So far Hayward has not exhibited any signs of "food poisoning" after ingesting the shrimp.

Are we the new Russians?

Guess we'll know when we start nuking all of our problems away.

Yes I know that, while the Soviets used nuclear bombs on oil and gas leaks they couldn't fix, the US is the only country to date that has used them on cities. Please don't ruin my joke while you could be spending your time reading Mark Mosely's Lens column behind the link up there.

Don't know why anybody pays attention

But Sarah Palin is still full of shit

Aaaand we're stuck again

Stuck blade stalls BP effort to cap well
Venice, Louisiana (CNN) -- Beleaguered BP hit another snag Wednesday morning in its attempt to cap the undersea gusher responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The blade of a diamond wire cutter being used to slice off the damaged riser pipe got stuck -- much like a saw on a tree limb -- and stalled the "cut and cap" operation, said U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's point man on the Gulf oil spill.
In a way, watching these repeated failures is starting to make me nostalgic for pre-Payton era Saints football.

Question: Why don't they drill potential relief wells at the same time that they dig the production well? If it's the only thing that works in this situation, perhaps it's best to not wait four months while watching the Spillcam follies 24 hours a day.

This is also more like it

Although not quite there yet
Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) on Wednesday called for the firing of BP CEO Tony Hayward in the wake of the massive Gulf oil spill.
Calling for Hayward to be fired is a good start but Billy Nungesser has a better idea.
Nungesser said he can't believe what Hayward is saying about the spill. Despite what scientists from several universities are saying, Hayward on Monday said there's no evidence of large masses of oil under the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, citing oil's natural tendency to rise to the top. "I'd like to (take) him offshore, dunk him under the surface of the water, pull him up with that black gooey stuff on him and have him say, 'Our research shows no oil beneath the surface. It's all coming to the top,'" Nungesser said.