June 15, 2010

Tonight's Oval Office speech

Listened to all 17 minutes today while driving. A couple of big howlers in there and it is obvious that Obama simply does not know how to lead (or to delegate effectively). The Czar of Muscovy, writing at The Gormogons sums it up:
BS on the BO�s BP Speech
Even ABC News is saying the facts won�t wash in the President�s address.

Hell, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann think the President was full of crap with this speech. Sorry to be crude.

The $20 Million escrow fund? Unenforceable, and like TARP money, will vanish to parts unknown. Very likely, Democratic pockets unknown.

This wouldn�t even have happened, we all know, if we had just passed Cap and Trade, he suggests. Puh-leez.

The facts are in, Mr. President.

You withheld federal help because the equipment sitting idle on the Gulf shores are owned and operated by non-union companies. You declared this travesty to be as bad as September 11th, deserving of the full power of the American military, to which your response has been to send only dozen Coast Guard cutters to help with logistics and transport.

Meantime, you have enjoyed regional food, developed a fondness for bushwhackers, and took not one but two vacations at the expense of the Gulf residents. No wonder a recent liberal poll has placed George Bush v. Katrina as a better fight than Barack Obama v. BP.

Once more, you have proven yourself incapable of dealing with this. Here is a thought. By executive order, engage the military and national guard to assist with the spill. Build Jindal�s sand reefs. Tell the unions to pound sand (perhaps literally) and employ the Dutch-owned equipment that can do the job. Cap the leak. Then tally up all the costs and sock BP with the bill, payable over the next 20 years.

Was that so hard?

Or are you actually mean-spirited enough to think that if you let this get out of control, this will make Americans scream out to pass Cap and Trade? We would prefer your actions to be explained by incompetence more than malevolence, but you do realize how the evidence is stacking, no?
What he said. It is also interesting to note that Minerals Management Service (the people who regulate resource extraction) were known to be corrupt -- taking bribes, etc. and one of Obama's big moves was to appoint Ken Salazar as head of the Interior Department (which oversees MMS) to clean house. This was eighteen months ago. Only now, after the disaster, has he moved on anything. From Kate Sheppard writing at Mother Jones:
Salazar "Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic" Says Babbit
Former Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt ripped on current Secretary Ken Salazar's plans to reform the beleaguered Minerals Management Service over the weekend. "I think Salazar is basically rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic," Babbitt, who served as secretary for eight years under Bill Clinton, told Platts Energy Week.

In the weeks since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, the Minerals Management Service has been blasted for years of lax oversight that likely contributed to the disaster. Salazar announced an overhaul of policies of the department last month, shortly after splitting MMS into separate divisions to oversee revenue collection and regulation. The head of MMS was pushed out as well as attention to the agency's failures grew.

But Babbitt says splitting the department doesn't go far enough. "You can walk down the hall and the environmental regulation will be a different office in the same agency," said Babbitt. "I think we need much more basic structural reform." Environmental oversight of offshore drilling should be handled by a separate agency altogether that can serve as an independent regulator, possibly the Environmental Protection Agency.

Babbitt also served on the presidential committee that Jimmy Carter created in 1979 to review the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Babbitt said he thinks the Gulf spill is "very comparable" in terms of serving as "a defining industrial accident," one that creates opportunity for meaningful reforms.
And of course, they announce today that the new head of MMS will be Michael Bromwich. Who he? An engineer? Someone in the oil business? A respected CEO? Someone with administrative experience? A business owner? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler? Bromwich is another fucking lawyer... From the Washington Post:
Michael Bromwich, a former Justice official, is tapped to head Minerals Management Service
President Obama has selected Michael Bromwich, a partner in the law firm Fried Frank's Washington D.C. and New York offices, to head the Minerals Management Service, the troubled agency that oversees offshore oil drilling, according to senior administration officials.

In announcing the selection Tuesday, the White House said Bromwich would be charged with reorganizing the agency to "ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight."

"For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked," Obama said in a statement. "That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore."
To restate simply, Bromwich is there to make sure the Federal Government's collective ass is covered -- nothing less, nothing more. The appointment is not about efficiency or administration, it's about covering someone's ass. Posted by DaveH at June 15, 2010 11:12 PM
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