July 5, 2010

At the Weekly Standard: ‘Oil Messed Up’

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

Here’s another account of events at the Gulf that would lead any reasonable person to admit to the possibility that the government may have deliberately allowed the BP spill to spread.

Wait until you see who the author is.

There’s no substitute for reading the whole thing, but here are key paragraphs (bolds are mine):

It has been apparent from the outset that the Obama administration had no wish to be responsible for fixing this problem without having some sort of “plausible deniability.” They saw what happened to George W. Bush with New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina and wanted no part of that kind of trap. Instead, the White House embarked on a program of finger-pointing, bad-mouthing, scolding, and threats. Reckless, greedy, and incompetent as BP may be, this only made the company’s task considerably harder to perform—especially with the government’s much publicized “boot on their throat.”

… Between double and ten times the presently available personnel and equipment is needed, and they are needed now.

People here have become cynical. There have been suggestions that Obama wants to use the oil spill as a “teachable moment” in his effort to pass his cap and trade energy legislation. And there are even darker intimations, the suspicion that something else must be afoot. If the spill had occurred in Long Island Sound, say, or San Francisco Bay—or in Nantucket Sound with oil lapping at the beaches of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard—would there be this indolent a response from Washington?

… Each morning seems to bring a new fool’s errand. On June 18, for example, the U.S. Coast Guard apprehended a dozen oil-skimming barges in the midst of performing their duty, and shut down their operations for the rest of the day in order to determine if they were carrying the proper number of life preservers and fire extinguishers. If the Coast Guard was so worried about safety, why not simply take a big pile of life preservers and fire extinguishers out to these craft and hand them around, so that the skimmers could keep at their essential job?

But that is not the way government operates. At least not this government, which has created a perfect storm of bureaucratic and regulatory gridlock around the Deep-water Horizon disaster. Whatever is done to prevent the oil from coming ashore must be approved by the EPA, OSHA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and a host of lesser bureaucracies.

… It seems oil skimming or booming requires taking courses and passing tests given by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. -Otherwise you run the risk of being arrested.

Same goes for trying to save oiled birds or other wildlife. Federal permits—which can take up to three years to process—are required, and violators are subject to arrest, fines, and jail. So if an oiled mallard washes up on shore, best leave him be and call the proper authorities to scrub him down with Dawn soap, never mind if he dies before they get there.

Some brave souls are resisting this nonsense. A couple of fire chiefs from the Magnolia River and Fish River communities in Alabama got tangled up in five weeks’ worth of red tape just to bring in equipment to block the oil from getting into their rivers. “They can arrest me and Jamie if they want to,” one of them said, “This is the biggest damn mess I’ve ever seen.”

These people have known for two months there was a giant oil slick forming out there, bound to come onshore, and haven’t figured out how to connect the scout planes with the skimmer boats? Haven’t they ever heard of RadioShack?

… Boom comes in various forms—large ocean boom, smaller containment boom, absorbent boom—but not nearly enough of it has been available on the Gulf Coast. Alabama governor Bob Riley was infuriated when, after his office secured a dozen miles of hard-to-come-by ocean boom to protect Mobile Bay, he was summarily informed that the Coast Guard had confiscated it for use in Louisiana.

… A few weeks ago, at the height of tourist season, as oil began washing up on beaches in Alabama, the Coast Guard announced that the best way to deal with the problem was to let the oil wash ashore and then clean up the beaches once the tide went out. That tactic proved sadly wrong.

Can incompetence alone really explain a debacle this complete?

Latest Pajamas Media Post (‘Institutionalized Gangster Government’) Is Up

It’s here.

The sub-headline: “The rule of law is losing out to tyranny.”

For those who question the appropriateness of the word tyranny, its primary definition is “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.” There have been more than enough in-plain-sight examples of this to justify the use of the term.

The column will go up here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Positivity: Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds marriage protection amendment

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:21 am

From Madison, Wisconsin:

Jul 3, 2010 / 07:07 pm

A lawsuit challenging a Wisconsin constitutional amendment which protected the definition of marriage failed to persuade the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which unanimously rejected its arguments. Supporters of the amendment said the challenge was “baseless.”

The suit had challenged the amendment on the grounds it violated a Wisconsin requirement that amendments deal with only one issue. In a 7-0 opinion issued Wednesday, the court judged that the two propositions contained in the amendment’s text “plainly relate to the subject of marriage.”

More than 59 percent of Wisconsin voters approved the amendment in November 2006, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) reports in a June 30 press release. University of Wisconsin professor William McConkey filed suit in July 2007.

The ADF filed an amicus brief in the case. Its litigation counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement that voters adopted the measure “for one clear and simple reason: to protect the institution of marriage.”

“We should be strengthening–not undermining–marriage, which is one man and one woman. Once again, activists tried to use the courts to force something on the people that they have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected.”

Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine K. Appling said the claim that the amendment addresses multiple subjects was “just a sneaky attempt to tear down what the voters clearly wanted.”

“The court was right to reject this baseless lawsuit.

Go here for the rest of the story.