Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 17, 2010

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

* A certain Texan's apology notwithstanding, BP CEO Tony Hayward did not have a pleasant experience on Capitol Hill today: "Hayward grew defensive as the accusatory tone of the hearing grew more heated and members of the House panel began asking detailed questions about the design of the company's oil well and the faulty decisions BP engineers and managers made about keeping it under control. As the hearing proceeded, he was unable -- and, occasionally, unwilling -- to answer detailed questions."

* In related news, Hayward should have made a little more of an effort to change his rhetoric from the words he used in his television ad campaign.

* It's almost hard to believe, but Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) top corporate donor is a partner on ... BP's Deepwater Horizon rig.

* The fallout from the raid: "Israel announced Thursday that it will loosen its blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow more goods to enter the territory. The decision came in response to international pressure on Israel to end its siege of the strip following an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship that left nine activists dead."

* The number of people filing for unemployment benefits was expected to drop last week. It didn't: "The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the highest level in a month."

* The Obama administration rolled out new sanctions on Iran yesterday.

* Another good piece from Dahlia Lithwick: "Ignoring Maher Arar won't make his torture claims go away."

* Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) seems to realize that health care costs would go up if the individual mandate -- an idea he used to support -- were scrapped. He doesn't care.

* Shameless: when Fox News aired footage from this morning's hearing with Hayward, the network edited out Barton's apology. Imagine that.

* College enrollment recently saw its largest increase in 40 years. Much of it is the result in a boost in minority enrollment.

* And finally, Bill Randall, a Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina, believes there's a "possibility" that federal officials and BP "colluded" to create the oil spill in the Gulf. He couldn't explain why anyone would want this, and added, "I'm not necessarily a conspiracy person." Randall nevertheless signaled his support for an "investigation," leading me to once again wonder where in the world the Republican Party finds these clowns.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Comments

Fox News is just demonstrating its commitment to family values by keeping an act of public fellatio off its airwaves.

Posted by: Chet on June 17, 2010 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I tried to watch Fox the other day and was appalled at the steady diet of varifiable lies that were presented as conventional wisdom. If this is what people watch then they have no choice but to be confused and ill-informed. There was simply no attempt to get it right. It didn't always used to be like that, even during the Clinton days. They have really jumped teh fact-free shark.

Posted by: Scott F. on June 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Does Bill Randall realize that if he is right, then it was the Bush/Cheney admin that hatched the plan to destroy the Gulf O' Mexico? I bet not.

Posted by: andyvillager on June 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

the network edited out Barton's apology

If a Republican corporate stooge makes a fool of himself in Congress, and the media decides not to report it, did it really happen?

Posted by: qwerty on June 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

leading me to once again wonder where in the world the Republican Party finds these clowns.

You and me both. Where do they grow these people? It seems like every new GOP candidate who shows up is even more craven, insane and detached from reality than the last.

Posted by: electrolite on June 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Unless folks haven't connected the dots.... some players in DC are joined at the hip with corporate cronies who could give a rat's ass about "little people."

If I was a Vietnamese fisherman out of work by the spill, I would not think BP has been treated too harshly.

The more democrats hammer home the BPGOP connection, the better.

The oily bird gets the worm.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on June 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

...where in the world the Republican Party finds these clowns.

Clown College Young Republicans?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on June 17, 2010 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Israel announced Thursday that it will loosen its blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow more goods to enter the territory.

Actually not.

According to Ha’aretz, only the English version of the press release makes those claims. There’s no mention of any of it in the Hebrew version.

PR stunt.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

It would be nice if President Obama invited Maher Arar to the White House for a beer (or a tea if he abstains).

Posted by: Bob M on June 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

While CEO Hayward may be deserving of a tongue lashing for his and his irresponsible corporation's disastrous Gulf rig collapse, the Congress is hardly the institution that should be delivering it. How many of them accepted huge amounts of lobby money and looked the other way when regulations were proposed? How many insisted on MMS being dismantled and restructured as soon as the corruption surfaced last year? How many called for more drilling in dangerous waters and fragile environments and insisted that they were safe and necessary for our oil addiction to be fed? Where were the calls for an aggressive alternative energy policy when it was obvious that the supply of oil was becoming more and more difficult to access? Since Nixon's time, there have been calls for less dependence on foreign oil, yet the percentage of our purchase of it has increased, not decreased.

So, flail away at BP, but hold a mirror up to yourself and ask how you, and I, have contributed to this disaster. The Gusher in the Gulf is only a symptom our our greed and gluttony.

We are all BP and deserve some of the blame/responsibility. Read this article:
Gulf News; From Bad to Worse

Posted by: st john on June 17, 2010 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Expect the evasion to continue. BP is in responsibility (and negligence) avoidance mode and will be for the foreseeable future. As it turns out, the $75 million damages cap is null and void if criminal or negligent activities were involved. This was explained to me today by a hotshot lawyer from Texas with experience in the oil field. This explains much concerning BP's ongoing lies and deceptions.

Posted by: numi on June 17, 2010 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans come across as wildly goofy; President Obama presents as successful/vindicated.
Rush Limbaugh, the head of the Republican Party, is essentially established as fully irrelevant,
and out of touch, claiming the poor can compete with the homeless for disgarded food in dumpsters. Hopelessly villified Republican Joe Barton feels poor British Patroleum is victimized, later adding a weak and meaningless apology.The oil keeps gushing. Message: Republicans don't give a damn.

Posted by: Blogging Left on June 17, 2010 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"While CEO Hayward may be deserving of a tongue lashing for his and his irresponsible corporation's disastrous Gulf rig collapse, the Congress is hardly the institution that should be delivering it."

Excellent point. Unfortunately, there are few bodies which have the clout to haul the CEO of a multi-national oil corporation in front of them for a tongue-lashing.

The commission Obama authorized would probably be better, although I don't doubt that a number of their members have ties to the industry.

I think the voters are going to have to give Congress a lashing. In what form, I'm not sure. Probably a wet noodle.

Posted by: bdop4 on June 17, 2010 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

The illustrious Nate Silver observed a bit about Joe Barton's political career, i.e., his extensive political contributions from Anadarko Petroleum -- BP's domestic partner, on this disgustingly prolonged leaking well. Barton, of course,is an apologist for big oil, and further, his contributors, and particularly the CEO of Anadarko is said to have a 25 % stake, and was named the "Executive of the Year"--no less, by an industry publication. Get real.
Summary: Republicans are corrupt. Obama is king.
Sean Hannity's depression was palpable. Rush Limbaugh, head of the Republican Party, should be censured for representing the Republicans and able to say that the poor of New Orleans can eat out of garbage cans.
President Obama won the day.
Barton, Shakedown Retractor, of course, must resign his miscontrued self from the important congressional committee


Posted by: Terra Firma on June 17, 2010 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Scott F. - Yes, Fox has gotten noticeably worse in recent years. It's gone beyond parody and into some other space-time continuum. Now they're accusing Obama of having ceded some US territory to Mexico.

Posted by: Speed on June 17, 2010 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

* Shameless: when Fox News aired footage from this morning's hearing with Hayward, the network edited out Barton's apology. Imagine that.
-------------

So we can all now say that Barton DID NOT apologize for supporting a foreign entity rather than America!

Posted by: Moxo on June 17, 2010 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

With any luck, an early-season hurricane will spray the oil slick in a fine, chocolate-colored mist all across west Texas.

Of course, given his track record in finding oil, George W. Bush will NOT be able to find it.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on June 17, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Totally random comment to lighten the evening...

When I was a boy growing up on our family farm in the summers, I learned how to hypnotize chickens. You hold the chicken down and then circle your finger around its head, making sure that its eyes trace your hand movement. After a sufficient number of circles, the chicken will become entranced and completely immobile. There's a lot you can do with a hypnotized chicken. You can use it as a paperweight, or you can use it as a doorstop, and either way, the chicken will sit there motionless, staring blankly. (What you can't do is use it as a football. Something about being thrown through the air seemed to wake that chicken right up.)

-- Al Gore's Assault on Reason

Posted by: beep52 on June 17, 2010 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

[...] the $75 million damages cap is null and void if criminal or negligent activities were involved. This was explained to me today by a hotshot lawyer from Texas with experience in the oil field. This explains much concerning BP's ongoing lies and deceptions.
Posted by: numi on June 17, 2010 at 7:37 PM

That (ie damages), and the fact that they're on the hook for basic clean-up, at some "per barrel spilled" rate (established also avter Valdez, IIRC). Explains nicely why, according to them, it was 5K, and according to the govt estimate closer to 60K per day. And why it is in their interest (as well as ours), to slurp off as much as possible onto those tankers. One would want to watch them though, that they don't slurp it in the Gulf but dump it back in a couple hundred miles away, while nobody's looking (since it's of no earthly use to them in its current state).

Posted by: exlibra on June 17, 2010 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Apologia

Republicans never apologize.
That's a core posture.
These post-turtles are pitbulls all the way down.
That is until today...
In which we witnessed a republican apologizing for apologizing.
Wha? and WTF? don't get at it.
Seriously: Something ain't right...
Is it raining frogs somewhere?
Better sleep under the bed tonight...
And wear your cycling helmet too...

[Insert reeling mind here.]

Posted by: koreyel on June 17, 2010 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

According to Ha’aretz, only the English version of the press release makes those [easing of the Gaza Strip blockade] claims. There’s no mention of any of it in the Hebrew version.

PR stunt.
Posted by: Joe Friday on June 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Know your audience, eh? One is reminded of Ms E-Bay's Spanish language ads, criticising the Arizona law (today's mid-day campaign roundup)

Posted by: exlibra on June 17, 2010 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

LOL - a friend just texted me from Australia asking if the GOP is now calling themselves the "GOBP"!

Posted by: Michael on June 17, 2010 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

You wonder where they find these clowns? They look to the left, the right, in front, behind, around, and they're everywhere, because Republicans are morons. I wouldn't call them clowns, since that is an insult to a profession that requires intelligence and talent, something one never finds among the wingnuts.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 18, 2010 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen,

The pop up ad I find to be annoying as hell. Especially since it's from wing nut assholes who I wouldn't consider patronizing.

Might I suggest watching a real ad to access the site. An ad from an organization that I'd consider doing business with. An organization that if I had a choice I'd use since they were a WM advertiser.

Either way I'll still visit. You do a super job.

Posted by: jharp on June 18, 2010 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

"* Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) seems to realize that health care costs would go up if the individual mandate -- an idea he used to support -- were scrapped. He doesn't care."

Orin Hatch was wrong if he thought the individual mandate would bring health care costs down. Whether he cares or not.

The individual mandate will force huge cost increases on millions of Americans: those least able to afford it. Costs will be significantly increased for everyone.

The individual mandate forces Americans to buy health insurance from companies that clearly care more about profit that health care.

Orin Hatch knows it. Democrats and Republicans know it. We all know it.

If Republicans want to lead on repealing the individual mandate, I'm with them. Better to gut Obama's crappy health care bill and start over again in a few years.

Posted by: NealB on June 18, 2010 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

The pop up ad I find to be annoying as hell. Especially since it's from wing nut assholes who I wouldn't consider patronizing.

yes the ad is extremely annoying. it has two virtues, however. clicking it puts money into the pockets of the monthly and takes it out of the pockets of the asshole (steve forbes) who runs it.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 18, 2010 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

If Republicans want to lead on repealing the individual mandate, I'm with them. Better to gut Obama's crappy health care bill and start over again in a few years.
Posted by: NealB

spoken like a true republican - or someone who believes in the easter rabbit, the tooth fairy and santa claus, which is probably the same thing given the gop's tendency to make things up.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 18, 2010 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

With all the ranting and raving about how government is too intrusive, those that shrilled the loudest were also extracting resources in a regulation-free environment.

Now, we have no choice but to have government cleaning up the oil mess.

BP can't do everything.

Why not hire all oil workers (in Gulf) to help skim the oil?

Who is going to invent a spray foam boom that can also be burned? Huge cannons, blasting the stuff 24/7, circling, corralling the oil into burn zones.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on June 18, 2010 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

How can anyone knock FAUX for degrading the journalistic profession? Why, just recently, I learned from one of their intrepid co-hosts that "China is a really big country and needs a whole bunch of stuff". Where else would I have been able to find this invaluable information?

Posted by: berttheclock on June 18, 2010 at 7:28 AM | PERMALINK

Readers may be interested in this link about a web post, that later disappeared, that was critical of BP regarding GIS data:
http://www.scientificblogging.com/chatter_box/bp_gis_and_mysterious_vanishing_open_letter

Posted by: Neil B on June 18, 2010 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

John Boehner has an extensive portfolio of stocks with the oil companies, so he really hopes tax payers help pay for the damage to the gulf.
The republicans do not want to help the un-employed because they want the economy to fail, they hope it will help them in the mid term elections.
When talking about shakedowns the real shakedown is when the republicans shake down the oil companies for contributions.

Posted by: Joan on June 18, 2010 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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