Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Infuriating: Red tape keeps prized oil-fighting skimmers from Gulf, coastline | NOLA.com

Red tape keeps prized oil-fighting skimmers from Gulf, coastline

Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 10:29 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 7:28 AM

Just weeks after the oil spill crisis began to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, the French foreign minister volunteered a fleet of oil skimming boats from a French company, Ecoceane. A month later, in early June, Ecoceane Chief Executive Eric Vial met with BP and Coast Guard officials to present the idea.

Skimmers and prized because they are the primary means for attacking oil head-on and collecting it before it hits land.

But after that meeting, weeks went by with little contact as oil continued gushing into the Gulf. A frustrated Vial was able to get around the bureacracy last week only when his company sold nine of the oil collection boats to a private contractor in Florida, who could then put the boats to work.

Oil giant Shell was in negotiations to let BP use the Nanuq, a 300-foot oil recovery boat sitting idle in Seward, Alaska. But in recent weeks, BP declined to bring it to the Gulf.

"Nothing would prevent it from working right now in the Gulf of Mexico," said Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Shell Alaska. "It remains available in the event that BP reconsiders."

Everyone wants skimmers
As oil oozes inland, tainting marshes and fouling beaches, local response officials from Florida to Grand Isle for weeks have been begging for the oil-fighting tool that everyone wants but no one can get enough of: skimmers. They're the primary means for attacking oil head-on and collecting it before it hits land, yet local government agencies complain that the number of specialized skimming vessels out on the water is woefully lacking.

"We want all the skimming vessels in the world deployed," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. "This is an oil spill bigger than anything we've ever seen. It's a national disaster. We're at war. If you were at war and in charge, would you deploy everything you had to win the war?"

Some skimming systems can be outfitted onto fishing or offshore supply boats. The basic idea is to separate oil from water and collect it on board for disposal.

There are a wide variety of skimming systems: Some boats are specially designed to suck oil or lap it up from the surface using brushes or belts; other skimming systems can be outfitted onto fishing or offshore supply boats. The basic idea is to separate oil from water and collect it on board for disposal. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, acknowledged recently that "Skimmers are our critical mass right now. We need to put those wherever we can get them. And we want to get them from wherever they are available."

'Anemic' response criticized
But federal response officials have been pressed for more than a week to streamline U.S. maritime restrictions that would allow more foreign skimming vessels to be put to work on the spill. And the Coast Guard and BP have been taken to task for not bringing more available U.S. skimmers to the Gulf spill.

According to the latest numbers from BP, 433 vessels are collecting oil in the Gulf, but less than a third of those are specialized boats designed specifically for oil skimming.

On the Senate floor last week, Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., pointed to a Coast Guard map detailing more than 850 skimmers available in the southeastern United States -- and more than 1,600 available in the continental United States.

"We are literally talking about more than a thousand skimmers that are available, but we only have 400 - if this number is correct -- at work," LeMieux said. "It is hard to believe that the response is this anemic; it is hard to believe that there is this lack of urgency or sense of purpose in getting this done."


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quotes For The Day: On Free Speech

Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word; and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection.
– Colin Powell

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is afraid of its people.
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin

gordo on June 24, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Love Daniel Webster!! (Quotes)

I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. -- From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.

The contest, for ages, has been to rescue Liberty from the grasp of executive power.

We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people.

There is no happiness, there is no liberty, there is no enjoyment of life, unless a man can say, when he rises in the morning, I shall be subject to the decision of no unwise judge today.

Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

Do something to make this man proud today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rant Of The Day!! :: Dumb and Dumber, First Obama Compares BP Oil Spill to 911, Then Goes Golfing | Scared Monkeys

Reposting the whole thing because it's all a must read. The last lines are sweet perfection. Enjoy.

More profiles in Leadership … Obama compares the Gulf oil crisis to 911.

ARE YOU SERIOUS … and the LEFT called GWB stupid? Welcome to “Dumb and Dumber, the Obama edition”. This President just cannot differentiate between Gulf and Golf.

Yesterday, President Barack Hussein Obama told the POLITICO that the Gulf Coast BP oil spill disaster was like 911. You heard that correct, Obama compared a oil spill, ecological accident to a premeditated terrorist act like September 11, 2001. I wonder how the families who lost loved ones on 9-11 feel about the President’s ridiculous comparison? Is it any wonder why Obama’s ratings are falling in the polls, he can get nothing right.

Sounding reflective as he heads into a bruising electoral season, President Obama told POLITICO columnist Roger Simon that the Gulf disaster “echoes 9/11” because it will change the nation’s psyche for years to come.

“In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president said in an Oval Office interview on Friday, “I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”

What Gulf crisis, it’s a golf crisis

So in other words, Obama wants to take advantage of this oil spill accident to push his socialist, Marxist, liberal agenda. Far be it from this President to let a good crisis to go to waste when he can push his socialist agenda of “Cap & Trade”.


Barack Obama so thinks about the BP oil spill and the Gulf crisis all the time, he takes up every waking moment of his time, it is so important to President Obama that what important thing do he do yesterday … PLAYED GOLF!!!

Who advises this clown? Seriously, the LEFT for eight years made a cottage industry out of calling GWB a fool. As reported at The Hill, Obama played golf for 4 hours. Thank you Mr. President for being so engaged and on it. Do you think at some point you could show the American people you actually care, rather than just spewing words in a speech read off a teleprompter? Is it any wonder why Americans give Obama a failing grade in dealing with the BP oil crisis, first he compares it to 9-11 then goes golfing … President Obama, “Lost in Smallness”.

President Barack Obama spent four hours on the golf course Sunday in temperatures that peaked in the low 90s.

The White House pool reported that they left Andrews Air Force Base as it started to rain after 4 p.m.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was among the group golfing with Obama.

Americans really need to ask the question, not whether you were born in the United States, but what planet you are from as obviously you have no sense of reality.

Gee Barack Obama, except for the fact that September 11 was a preplanned and premeditated attack against the United States of America where 3000 innocent people lost their lives orchestrated by terrorists who wanted to destroy the American way of life … other than that sir, it is just like the BP oil spill. UNREAL.

No one expects this President to suck the oil up with a straw, they just don’t expect Obama to suck as a leader. Maybe if you spent less time on a golf course you would have a better result in the Gulf coast.

BTW, I still can't believe Bambi uttered that "suck it up with a straw" line. What a putz.

Dumb and Dumber, First Obama Compares BP Oil Spill to 911, Then Goes Golfing | Scared Monkeys

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Must-Read #2:: Dorothy Rabinowitz: The Alien in the White House - WSJ.com

This is just an excerpt of a well-worth-reading whole. Interesting vibe out there today.

The deepening notes of disenchantment with Barack Obama now issuing from commentators across the political spectrum were predictable. So, too, were the charges from some of the president's earliest enthusiasts about his failure to reflect a powerful sense of urgency about the oil spill.

There should have been nothing puzzling about his response to anyone who has paid even modest critical attention to Mr. Obama's pronouncements. For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans' leader, a man of them, for them, the nation's voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn't lacking in concern about the oil spill. What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.

Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.

A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.

One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street. A cloudlet of mystery has surrounded the subject ever since, but the central fact stands clear. The new administration had apparently found no place in our national house of many rooms for the British leader who lives on so vividly in the American mind. Churchill, face of our shared wartime struggle, dauntless rallier of his nation who continues, so remarkably, to speak to ours. For a president to whom such associations are alien, ridding the White House of Churchill would, of course, have raised no second thoughts.

Dorothy Rabinowitz: The Alien in the White House - WSJ.com

Must-Read #1:: Obama fails the test of leadership - Keith Koffler - POLITICO.com

This along with the Rabinowitz piece I'll post in a second both tell, in a sense, the very same tale.

If Todd Palin was the First Dude, Obama is the First Dud. Ugh.

Obama fails the test of leadership
By: Keith Koffler
June 3, 2010 01:56 PM EDT

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted to the world recently that President Barack Obama had on his night table “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” Edmund Morris’s rip-roaring, Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the formative years of America’s most colorful president.

Presumably, Gibbs was implying that the great man now occupying the White House was taking pointers from the great man who preceded him.

Politicians just love to see themselves as leaders like Teddy Roosevelt or Winston Churchill — giants who trampled over obstacles with unyielding doggedness and even a kind of childlike insouciance.

As Obama underachieves his way through the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis, Gibbs’s effort to link the president to Roosevelt makes the opposite point intended: Great leaders are a very rare thing, and the man in the White House today ain’t one of them — at least not yet.

Obama’s detached performance with respect to this massive and growing crisis — the ripple effects of which could still be with us on Election Day 2012 — is generally portrayed as a PR meltdown and a simple failure to step up by an understandably beleaguered Obama.

“It’s impossible not to feel sorry for President Obama,” writes Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, “pummeled by the cascading disasters, at home and abroad.”

Well, it’s possible.

Obama’s failure to convey any hint of genuine emotion, to rouse the American people to turn their hearts toward the Gulf and to assure them that their world — still built on the plentiful supply of fossil fuels — is not falling apart, is a profound failure of leadership.

Instead of offering reassurance, the president is using the crisis to promote his political agenda, hankering for alternative energy and climate change legislation in Congress — though there won’t be any significant replacement of carbon-based power sources for years to come.

Instead of an uplifting message of unity rallying the country to confront the horror and assuring all Americans that we will deal successfully, one way or another, with its disastrous effects, the nation is treated to petty lecturing of BP — even a refusal to let BP evildoers sully the stage the administration uses to discuss the latest failures.

The very company the administration needs to work with to stop the bleeding is vilified and threatened with criminal prosecution.

This separates Obama from the “bad guys.” But it also likely harms the stoppage effort by creating a climate of suspicion and forcing BP to focus on PR and legal CYA operations while trying to plug the well.

The spill is becoming one of the great catastrophes the country has faced. Think of how other presidents have risen to the occasion under similar circumstances.

Who can forget that moment when, touring the ruins of the World Trade Center, former President George W. Bush — with a spontaneity hard to imagine from Obama — grabbed a bullhorn and declared to the workers at ground zero that revenge was coming:

“I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon! The nation — the nation sends its love and compassion — to everybody who is here.”

Or remember President Bill Clinton’s emotional meeting in April 1995, a few days after the Oklahoma City tragedy, with the families of those killed in the truck-bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and his moving speech at the memorial service afterward.

That moment helped the country work through its grief and began Clinton’s political rebirth after the massive GOP sweep of November 1994.

And what do we get from Obama?

A bloodless news conference at which even his description of his daughter beseeching him as to whether the crisis was solved was given with all the emotion of, say, Michael Dukakis.

We get a trip to the Gulf — only his second since the crisis began — where he lands on a beach spiffed up in advance for his visit.

The White House dutifully puts out a longish press release each night, detailing the latest effort in the Gulf and which, I can guarantee you, the White House press corps dutifully ignores or deletes in spin avoidance mode.

Churchill is, of course, best known for becoming one with his country as he led it through World War II.

But there’s a photo of him much earlier in life, as home secretary, intently directing a massive police siege on the hideout of a gang of criminals. He’d heard about the activity while in his bath, rushed to the office and, finding nothing to do, went directly to the theater of action.

“I must ... admit that convictions of duty were supported by a strong sense of curiosity which perhaps it would have been well to keep in check," Churchill later modestly wrote.

But while he got some bad PR for his move, Churchill was a fountain of ideas on the scene and may have saved lives.

Roosevelt, of course, has a similarly long CV detailing his qualities as a man of action. As the de facto leader of the Navy Department, for example, he prepared the country for the Spanish-American War and then resigned his post to go fight it.

The point is that great men such as these are congenitally incapable of not taking a hands-on leadership role during a crisis.

Obama instead went to a sanitized beach.

As of last week, he hadn’t even spoken to BP CEO Tony Hayward. He’s due to make his third trip to the region Friday, more than six weeks after the crisis began.

If he’s actually reading that Roosevelt bio, he’d know that his predecessor would have been — when not himself knee-deep in mucky oil — immersed in the local population during strolls from his personal command post in New Orleans.

Obama would be lucky if he was just having a PR disaster.

Unfortunately for the country, he is failing the test of leadership.

Keith Koffler, who covered the White House as a reporter for CongressDaily and Roll Call, is editor of the blog White House Dossier.

Obama fails the test of leadership - Keith Koffler - POLITICO.com

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Maureen Dowd Admits Obama an "Invented" Man :- A Storyteller Loses the Story Line

Her whole article is worth the read (including the de rigueur jabs at Bush and Cheney), but this line killed me.

How does a man who invented himself as a force by writing one of the most eloquent memoirs in political history lose control of his own narrative?

Sometimes the non-fiction aspects of life take precedence out in the real, non-fiction world, Maureen. Yeesh.

She goes on...

In “Dreams From My Father,” Obama showed passion, lyricism, empathy and an exquisite understanding of character and psychological context — all the qualities that he has stubbornly resisted showing as president. It was a book that promised a president who could see into the hearts of other people. But there’s so much you don’t learn about candidates in campaigns, even when they seem completely exposed.
a) "Dreams..." was more than likely ghost-written (by William Ayers?).

b) Did Candidate Obama "seem completely exposed"? By his fawning lapdog media? Not in anyone's dreams.

Op-Ed Columnist - A Storyteller Loses the Story Line - NYTimes.com

Ouch. Michelle Obama Does It Again As She Gets Down With Harry Reid

That some of these photos were released is almost criminal.

The plastic Boob Belt returns.

Who let her leave the house?

Caption Michelle Obama and Harry Reid


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