Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 3, 2010

THURSDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* A modicum of preliminary progress at the source: "Delicately manipulating a 20-foot-long shear at depths of nearly a mile, technicians successfully snipped a key riser pipe on Thursday in their effort to contain the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a stricken undersea well. They prepared to cap the severed pipe later in the day with a dome that they hoped would allow them to funnel the oil to tankers on the surface."

* President Obama will return to the Gulf Coast for another visit tomorrow -- his third trip in a month. He also put all new oil drilling in the Gulf on hold, and sent BP a bill for $69 million.

* Louisiana's plan to dredge up walls of sand to protect coastal marshes has been approved by the White House. BP will have to fully fund that, too.

* There are new projections that show the enormous spill reaching Florida soon, and heading up the Atlantic Coast in the coming weeks and months.

* No, we're not going to nuke the spill.

* One of the fatalities aboard the flotilla headed for Gaza was a 19-year-old American, who was shot five times, including four shots to the head.

* Another slight improvement in the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits. It's still too high.

* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) stopped by the White House for a chat with the president.

* The Obama administration is crafting new protections for airline passengers.

* Even the Republican-led state Senate in Kentucky has no use for Rand Paul's extremism on the Civil Rights Act.

* Terrific move by the NYT: "The New York Times said Thursday that it would begin hosting the popular blog FiveThirtyEight and make its founder, Nate Silver, a regular contributor to the newspaper and the Sunday magazine."

* On a related note, Greg Sargent had an insightful item about the new model of ideological journalism.

* George W. Bush, still O.K. with torture.

* Great column on former Supreme Court Justice David Souter's approach to "originalism," and its "tenuous connection to reality."

* The three-year bachelor's degree may not be a great idea.

* The Blagojevich trial gets underway in Chicago.

* The right's rhetoric about the Community Reinvestment Act is so tiresome.

* Did Bill O'Reilly compare gay people to al Qaeda last night? Yep, pretty much.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

Four shots to the head? With friends like these...

Posted by: Cazart on June 3, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK


I’d have to agree with Turkey, sure sounds like murder to me.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 3, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Nate claims that the NYT is leaving him with full creative freedom, but somehow I doubt it. I can't help but worry that he will be told to avoid certain topics when it doesn't fit the narrative. I've enjoyed his site for the past 2 years, and I don't see this as a positive development.

Posted by: Kris on June 3, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama will return to the Gulf Coast for another visit tomorrow -- his third trip in a month. He also put all new oil drilling in the Gulf on hold, and sent BP a bill for $69 million.

That won't even buy the Jet Fuel for Obama's visits to the Oil Coast.

Posted by: cwolf on June 3, 2010 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

* One of the fatalities aboard the flotilla headed for Gaza was a 19-year-old American, who was shot five times, including four shots to the head.

Unbelievable.

Posted by: John Henry on June 3, 2010 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

'Unbelievable'

What's really beyond belief are the bulk of the comments in the comments section of that (and most other US) article.

Posted by: shroup on June 3, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Even the Republican-led state Senate in Kentucky has no use for Rand Paul's extremism on the Civil Rights Act."

I question the word "even" here. It's pretty clear that the group most threatened by the TPers is the Republican establishment.

So much for all the prognostication last August, 15 months before the mid-terms.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 3, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

* One of the fatalities aboard the flotilla headed for Gaza was a 19-year-old American, who was shot five times, including four shots to the head.

I wish these goddamn soldiers would just kill each other & leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by: cwolf on June 3, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nuke the Deepwater Horizon? Brilliant! And I know just the man for the job: Bruce Willis! Hey, he nuked that giant asteroid out of the sky, didn't he?

Yeesh. Republicans really do like to pretend the movies are reality, don't they? From their belief in Jack Bauer as the answer to terrorism, to W's play-acting on the USS Abraham Lincoln, to Reagan citing his on-screen roles as actual events. The movies are a lot less complicated than reality, aren't they? Brings to mind a great verse by T-Bone Burnett...

"Cowboy with no cattle,
Warrior with no war,
They don't make impostors
Like John Wayne anymore."

Posted by: jvwalt on June 3, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it pretty likely that all this talk about the Community Reinvestment Act is just another instance of dog-whistle politics?

I'd bet that when most hard core Republicans hear "CRA", they think of race before they think of lending that targets low-income people...

(Community Reinvestment Act = CRA = Civil Rights Act)

Posted by: M on June 3, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

...and Rand Paul is ruining the stealth effect by coming out openly against the "real" CRA.

Posted by: M on June 3, 2010 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that BP is preventing full media coverage of this spill, including keeping them away from evidence of the dead wildlife and stopping flights out of a private airport if media is aboard is incredible to me. When the hell did we lose our country to BP? When the hell was title to the coasts and marshes and open waters of the Gulf given to BP? This has to stop!!

Posted by: winddancer on June 3, 2010 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

"There are new projections that show the enormous spill reaching Florida soon, and heading up the Atlantic Coast in the coming weeks and months."

ABC news just reporting that the blob is now only 4 miles from the Florida coast.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 3, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

In a saner world this oil spill would be a wake-up call for renewable energy, the environment, corporate responsibility, blah blah blah.

The upper United States has been sending their shit, in various forms, down the Mississippi for a century, forming a vast Dead Zone in the Gulf, wiping out wetlands, polluting, destroying barrier islands, blah blah blah.

Pennsylvania farmers have been (or were) sending their pesticide/ chemical fertilizers down the Susquehanna and into the Chesapeake Bay since Dow invented 'Modern Farming'. Us older folks remember the oysters, the crabs, the fish, blah, blah, blah.

Isn't there a song that goes, "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was"?

Posted by: DAY on June 3, 2010 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil,” Matt Simmons, a Houston energy expert and investment banker, told Bloomberg News on Friday, attributing the nuclear idea to “all the best scientists.”

Why, yes, this man's favorite TV show is '24'. Why do you ask?

Trust an investment banker to think that sending in a nuclear weapon system to stop an environmental catastrophe is a good idea.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on June 3, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

wtf is up with the form pres and vp? i have never hear of such ridiculously horrible people. how do you take pride and doing something like that? and then say youd do it again? ridiculously horrible and just so disheartening. you dont expect to hear the former leader of the "free world" admit to something like that. so disheartening.

Posted by: allamr18 on June 3, 2010 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who's ever used a chain saw or a bow saw to prune knows that it's real easy for a saw to get bound up. Why didn't those smart guys at BP use their rough cut shear FIRST and then use their diamond band saw to cut away a thin ring and leave a PERFECT edge?

Posted by: anomaly on June 3, 2010 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

" ... with a dome that they hoped would allow them to funnel the oil to tankers on the surface."
Yes, I know the oil is compromised, but they're going to do something with that stuff and we should know what's going to happen with it. REM that even if they can't (not at all - really?) use it as oil, they may dissemble, not properly dispose etc.

That American shot in the head - Obama needs to know, his job includes defending and getting justice for people like that. No matter what Rham thinks.

And yes, really, to avoid confusion media etc. must clearly distinguish Community Reinvestment Act from Civil Rights Act when throwing "CRA" around.

Posted by: neil b on June 3, 2010 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

This Detroiter is copying and pasting this thread to send to his fellow Tiger fans, to reassure them that the world did not, in fact, come to an end last night.

Somebody should tell O'Reilly that the whole "______ = Al-Quaeda" shtick is a lot funnier when Craig Ferguson does it.

Posted by: Chet on June 3, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Mr. Bush was absolutely undeterred in playing relentlessly to the country's fears,
so I am not surprised he would stoop to mention his tone-deaf waterboarding approvals
as he seemingly now discovers the modern technology of a computer...
Machiavellian salivation that he still has, misguidely and disgracefully ignoring approved treaties...
justifying it years later, and still losing both wars.
He still never met with Cindy Sheehan, the saddened mother, as he vacationed at Crawford.
And we all know electronic voting machine software vulnerabilities resulted in his re-election during the second half of his presidency, with the Supreme Court *selecting* him as President in his first presidency, refusing to allow the election process recount to continue.

And the Bush white house failed to turn over any of the information requested by the ten members of the September 11th commission in their investigation into whether the Bush government was doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S., commission members said. Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, was surprised and disappointed that updated information on terrorism programs was not received, noting the administration's failure to cooperate with the group, with that lack of cooperation actually hindering a project that was nearly completed.
So, the 9/11 panel complained of delay into whether that administration was doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks...

Posted by: Obama is in charge now on June 3, 2010 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

(PS - I got gas from a BP station today. Yeah, I know ... but why should the poor schmucks who got into the franchise have to suffer? It's like those embargoes that hurt the poor of the target nation. And I suppose BP gets more money to pay for what happens v. the taxpayers - but really that depends more on the legal actions, whether Repumplicans will keep obstructing raising liability etc. So press BP by calling your Congressfolks, writing letters etc - not pinching poor schlubs who had no cognizant responsibility.)

Posted by: neil b on June 3, 2010 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, NOAA's chief said there weren't oil plumes in the Gulf.

Today we learn that the National Science Foundation (NFS) has given an immediate grant to study microbial changes in the Gulf oil plumes.

It was NFS that alerted us to the dangers of global warming 20 years ago. I like the NFS.

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117051

Posted by: anomaly on June 3, 2010 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Playing catch up with the Chutzpah...

I'm a little slow catching up on the Gaza Flotilla story...
I chopped out an article from my local paper on Monday, just got to it today:

The Israeli military spokesman's office denied that its forces attacked the boats but said they would enforce the decision to keep them away from Gaza.

So I guess they moved a bit on from that position. Eh?
Or is that Oy?

Posted by: koreyel on June 3, 2010 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yeaaa, my kid is about to finish his college program. He has no job and none in sight, might have a better chance if he moves to a bigger job market. Maybe not. Will he show up in the jobless stats? I suppose he will if he goes and registers with the state employment dept. Meanwhile, he's thinking of ways to use his new skills by freelancing and will also volunteer. I'm so glad the Affordable Care Act allows him to stay on our medical plan a few more years. When we were his age it was no problem finding a job.

Damn Wall Street, the oil companies, and mega corps that have no vested interest in our country and its people. Just make as many bucket loads of money as possible and screw everyone else.

(After seeing photos of oil drenched sea life and birds I just can't be civil about BP anymore.)

Posted by: I have a Jobless kid on June 3, 2010 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Shroup at 5:52PM that the comments section on the article about the Israeli blockade deaths are disturbing and a bit frightening.

On Bush's latest statements about waterboarding, I would note that during the last half of the Bush/Cheney junta, the effort was all about blurring lines of responsibility. Nobody would actually admit that Bush or Cheney personally signed off on waterboarding or some of the other most extreme tactics. The most they would talk about was stress positions, mild beatings and sleep deprivation (all of which are still well beyond accepted and acceptable standards of prisoner treatment and not shown to have any value in producing useful intelligence).

What I have noticed is that as the chances of prosecutions has appeared to recede, both Bush and Cheney have become much more open about taking personal responsibility for, and willing to defend, even the most extreme examples of torture. And they have never been given any formal and binding assurances of immunity. So while it still seems unlikely, it is at least possible that their own freely offered words may end up being used against them in court some day.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 4, 2010 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

It's ironic that our two wars are taking away needed resources to help fight/clean-up the oil geyser.

We basically went into Afghanistan to secure a natural gas pipeline, and into Iraq to secure the huge oil fields there.

Now we have a runaway beast spewing toxins throughout the water column in the Gulf of Mexico.

We need to kill this oil well, we do not need to kill humans.

Withdraw from the MidEast and devote our tax dollars spent on the military to helping clean-up the oil mess.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on June 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

There will be a lot off mothers and fathers how think the same about this. I'm gay, so i can't be a father, but i think the same about it.

Posted by: online marketing on December 28, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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