Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 10, 2010

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

* I'll believe it when the checks arrive: "Oil giant BP, under mounting pressure to meet its obligations in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has agreed to implement a more transparent and expedited claims process to pay individuals and businesses harmed by the disaster, U.S. officials said Thursday."

* Is BP doing enough to protect the health of workers fighting the oil spill in the Gulf? Probably not.

* President Obama spent about an hour today with the families of those killed if the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

* House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is still working out his argument when it comes to taxpayers being on the hook for the disaster in the Gulf.

* Afghanistan: "A suicide bomb ripped through a wedding party for a family with ties to police in the Taliban's heartland in Afghanistan, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, officials said Thursday."

* Things aren't going as well as we hoped in Kandahar, and Gen. McChrystal wants more time.

* New applications for unemployment benefits -- still too high.

* After recent events in Arkansas, at least the White House seems to realize it needs to mend some fences with labor.

* The conference committee on Wall Street reform got to work today.

* GOP lawmakers in Tennessee tried to pass measures to block the Affordable Care Act at the state level. They failed. (thanks to reader P.A. for the tip)

* Glenn Greenwald references this post of mine from December in a critical way, but re-reading what I wrote, I think the larger point stands up pretty well. Yglesias has some related thoughts.

* A college degree is hardly a guarantee when it comes to staying out of poverty.

* The press conference on the Hill today on mohair subsidies went surprisingly badly for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). Put it this way: it's a bad sign when members of Congress leave a press conference bleeding.

* If it's all right with Politico, I'd prefer we skip the discussion over what White House officials are wearing.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Comments

Where's the oil?

Posted by: Brett Fumes on June 10, 2010 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

If it's all right with Politico, I'd prefer we skip the discussion over what White House officials are wearing.

Just when I didn't think it was possible to get any dumber or more vapid, Politico continues to deliver the goods. Honestly, at this rate they're going to make Tiger Beat look like The Economist.

Posted by: electrolite on June 10, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

^^ Electrolite for the win!

Posted by: Trollop on June 10, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

New applications for unemployment benefits -- still too high.

Thank God we have a progessive congress that is working dilegently night a day to find ways to put Americans back to work.

And for my next joke ....

Posted by: thorin-1 on June 10, 2010 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Things aren't going as well as we hoped in Kandahar, and Gen. McChrystal wants more time."

Gosh -- I'm shocked.
Nobody could possibly have anticipated...

Posted by: smartalek on June 10, 2010 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Let's just have BP make their checks out to the Pentagon. That will get the Republicans on board. It would be UnAmerican to deny the troops funding, right?

Posted by: st john on June 10, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Getting criticized by Glenn Greenwald for being too pro-Obama is a badge of honor. Wear it proudly.

Posted by: CMB on June 10, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

The old shell game...

Oil giant BP, under mounting pressure to meet its obligations...

Would anybody be surprised if BP used an accounting trick to squirrel assets away and declare bankruptcy in their North American operations? Surely there must be way for them to isolate the cancerous part of their company from the whole. Much like the Catholic Church did to protect it's main assets from pederast law suits...

Which is all to say:
The failure to put them under receivership practically begged them to bugger the books...

Posted by: koreyel on June 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Obama and crew need to try harder, and didn't push BP hard enough and weren't suspicious enough in the early days. One "good" result, we can push the meme that whatever Obama and crew did wrong, it was wrong as framed in left-leaning perspective (IOW, too much like the Right's way of doing.) Of course now Brits are griping we're too mean to BP, whiny babies. I can't stand defensive loyalists, whether it's Israeli hawks, corporate apologists, teapartiers, whatever.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965?RS_show_page=0

Posted by: Neil B on June 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

The meeting with union folk was the regular meeting, not something special.

Posted by: sorry on June 10, 2010 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Koryel, they just paid out huge dividends to get lots of money sent to their own before their victims could get much. It will take hardball. Yet as I've said before, don't take it out on the gas station owners etc. It's not their fault, and I'd rather BP had a good income stream to work with.

Posted by: Neil B on June 10, 2010 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

BTW in that RS article, they note that Obama tried to get off to a good start:
By that evening, the White House was gearing up for an urgent response. The president convened an emergency meeting in the Oval Office with Adm. Thad Allen, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and top White House deputies Rahm Emanuel, Carol Browner and Larry Summers. Obama forcefully instructed his team that the response to the oil spill should be treated as a "number-one priority."

But then things got muddy as the BP fog machine, the still stinky MMS, a USCG and NOAA that were too compromised by trust in BP and in PR machinations, etc., low-balled leak estimates and didn't move quick enough to protect and maybe to ride herd on BP. But would, is, that really so easy anyway: a foreign company, operating in international waters, with our goverment hobbled by years of conservative meat trimming ...

Posted by: Neil B on June 10, 2010 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why I’m Shocked, SHOCKED !!!


BP OIL LEAK EIGHT TIMES WORSE THAN EARLIER ESTIMATE

(ABC) - Oil is flowing out of BP's leak in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate eight times faster than officials previously acknowledged, raising worries that BP's containment efforts can do little to fight a spill that already may be six times the size of the Exxon-Valdez disaster.

The initial estimate following the disaster pegged the rate at 1,000 barrels per day. Next, BP and the federal government maintained for weeks that the flow was 5,000 barrels per day.

Today a federal task force assigned to examine the rate came up with a far different number -- a likely flow of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day before the riser pipe was cut.

According to the highest estimate, some 87.3 million gallons of crude have leaked into the Gulf so far, far worse than BP and the government's previous worst-case scenarios.

ABC NEWS

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 10, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

... and the USCG have been major dupes for BP just as many of us suspected:
... Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara for a single press conference on April 29th. Though clearly meant to signal engagement, the all-star crew didn't have their message straight. When Brice-O'Hara praised "the professionalism of our partner, BP," Napolitano quickly barked, "They are not our partner! They are not our partner!" ...

Posted by: Neil B on June 10, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I can say that Fox News is really sickening.
I called into Sean Hannity's radio show this afternoon while driving home in slow traffic, and was 'greeted' by a woman who meanly stated --what do you want to argue about with Sean today??
She seemed off-setting, bored, abrupt-- and, well-- cold.
I said, well, I can 'argue 'about how he hates everything Obama.How he is so negative about our president. I.E., The Oil Spill.
She says--not specific, becomes impatient, and surprises me with a quick "goodbye."
I call back, I guess in a silly, poorly thought out adolescent reactive way, and --get hung up on.
Man, negativity. I was stunned. It was a mistake.

Posted by: Greenburg Girl Learns on June 10, 2010 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is still working out his argument when it comes to taxpayers being on the hook for the disaster in the Gulf"

Great. Boehner is a taxpayer, let him pay for the clean up.

Me, I think the companies and people who caused the spill need to pay for it all.

Posted by: madstork123 on June 10, 2010 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

You have a right to remain snaggle-toothed...

Health Care Reform? How about Dental Care Reform? Here is an absolutely brilliant post by Maryn McKenna on a NYT science blog:

Via ProMED Mail comes a news report that about 2,000 people in 5 states are being sought by health departments so they can be checked for hepatitis B infection. The potential source: the Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic.
McKenna, author of Superbug, uses this epidemic to launch into her theme:
It's important to unpick why such an extraordinarily large number of people may have been exposed at one time. Looked at through that lens, it becomes a story about what can happen when we don't fund basic health care in a timely way.
Of course what is not being funded is basic dental care. The numbers and Medicaid facts McKenna shares are staggering. All because dental care in America is market-based medicine. What a horror story. In other words: We've got the republican health care model without the saving grace of chickens! It is all must reading, and the concluding paragraphs will knock the teeth out of your head:
Net result: Untreated dental disease is now the most common disease of childhood, five times more common than asthma according to a 2000 Surgeon General's report, and emergency room visits for dental crises are rising steadily. ERs are not the right place to treat dental problems -- they don't fill cavities or do extractions, though they can drain abscesses and give antibiotics and pain meds -- but as with so much else in US medicine, ERs offer a mandated clinic of last resort when there's nowhere else to go.
All of that explains why thousands of people from a wide swath of the East Coast were so desperate for free dental care that they were willing to stand in line overnight in a high school parking lot. (The first free dental clinic in West Virginia had to close its doors early after it got 1,100 patients in the first 2 hours.) And also why hundreds of dental-care professionals and students and community volunteers were so eager to help. And why they're all now waiting by the mailbox, wondering whether they're in line for a letter that will tell them where to get tested for infection with a life-long chronic disease.

Powerful, powerful stuff...


Posted by: koreyel on June 10, 2010 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Let's say that there'd been multiple right-wing religious terrorist strikes in Gulf Coast states, causing deaths and extensive damage, with the Department of Homeland Security leaping into action, helping coordinate all levels of government (federal, state and local) to respond to this right-wing religious terrorist attack on our southern coastal states, and in the midst of this right-wing disaster a headline were to appear stating:

“Alabama Fire Chiefs: The Terrorists Are Preventing Our Trained Local Officials From Assisting In The Response To The Terrorist Attack” (a slightly altered headline from a Think Progress headline reporting on first responders being blocked from helping)

The BP oil disaster is a Weapon of Mass Destruction, set off in the Gulf of Mexico, a WMD that is spreading toxicity across a large swath of water, our nation's coastline and eventually further inland as storm fronts move northward off the Gulf waters to the interior.

So, I don't see much of a difference, if any, between a chemical attack on our country by BP (Transocean, Halliburton, etc.) or one by a right-wing religious terrorist organization. Do you???

Posted by: The Oracle on June 10, 2010 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Boner's now in full retreat, regarding taxpayers' bail-out of BP:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/boehner_spox_no_taxpayer_money.html

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

This BP oil disaster in the Gulf equals a toxic chemical WMD attack on America, and all this BP oil gushing into the Gulf waters and spilling onto America’s shores definitely qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

And the only ones probably amused? Al Qaeda. They are probably chortling at all the self-inflicted damage done to America since the 9/11 attacks, by the Bush/Cheney administration, by run amok corporations on Wall Street, and now by BP, Transocean, Halliburton and any other corporations responsible for this WMD attack on America from a device that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico almost two months ago, and still blowing.

Posted by: The Oracle on June 10, 2010 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

"* Glenn Greenwald references this post of mine from December in a critical way, but re-reading what I wrote, I think the larger point stands up pretty well. Yglesias has some related thoughts."

Greenwald's right and you;re living in a fantasy land where obama is who you wished he was. You're way past "fool me twice territory..."

Obama never had the slightest intention of doing anything progressive at all. His presidency has been one corporate give away after another. The obamabots are really no different than the authority cultists on the right who supported Bush no matter what.

Enjoy November.

Posted by: Tlaloc on June 10, 2010 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK
* If it's all right with Politico, I'd prefer we skip the discussion over what White House officials are wearing.

If it's alright with you, at least as far as WH candidates are concerned, I'll reserve the right to ridicule "Magic Underwear"
http://www.cafepress.com/landoverbaptist/328345

Posted by: cwolf on June 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

A college degree is hardly a guarantee when it comes to staying out of poverty.

Especially if you're a member of the Professional Organization of English Majors (POEM). :-)

Or have a degree in film.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 11, 2010 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

It would seem that the Afghanistan policy is collapsing. What a surprise. I'm beginning to doubt Obama's ability to learn that in the military mind, there is no room for failure, regardless of the extent of the loss in blood and treasure. Can do, Mr. President !

Posted by: rbe1 on June 11, 2010 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats and the progressive media (has "progressive" already become the new "liberal"?)can't make something of the Chamber of Commerce and House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) call for the taxpayer to pay for the oil cleanup, they deserve what they get.
I know that Boehner took it back - sort of grade school tactics when he was told that either he take it back or get beat up - but you know what is in his heart.

Posted by: marc on June 11, 2010 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

National security.

Right now, millions of people are being attacked by the oil geyser, their livelihoods wiped out.

I really don't think that folks realize the full extent of this nightmare.

In fact, it seems we have been misled all along as to how much goo is spewing into the ocean.

Do the numbers.

And the seas turned blood red......

Is this the end of days that the far right have embraced?

Sick.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on June 11, 2010 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

(bredesen) said afterward, in response to a reporter's question about the "goofiness" level: "It was very high this year, higher than normal."

must have been some kind of session in tennessee because there's nothing quite like a state legislature if you want to see goofiness in action.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 11, 2010 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

If the unions don't get their way every time and are pissed at the Dems, they could always try the friendly confines of the GOP.

Posted by: J on June 11, 2010 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

If it's all right with Politico, I'd prefer we skip the discussion over what White House officials are wearing.

Young folks dress casually while off the clock!! News at eleven!

Posted by: g on June 11, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK
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