Offshore Oil Companies Still Shielded

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Marian Wang: When the Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 men at sea last April and set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the tragedy exposed a number of weaknesses—not least of which were decades-old laws that limited the liability of major players.

Safety on the Cheap

Fukushima-Daiichi

Robert Reich: G.E. marketed the Mark 1 boiling water reactors, used in TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, as cheaper to build than other reactors because they used a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure.

The BP Oil Spill Saga: Where Things Stand Now

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Marian Wang: Many questions remain unanswered about the long-term health and environmental effects of the crude oil and the unprecedented amount of dispersant, chemicals BP used to break down the thick crude. Both BP and the government have committed funding for continued study of these issues.

Voices from the Wetlands

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In “Voices from the Wetlands,” veteran reporter Georgianne Nienaber gives a first-hand account of the damage wrecked by the BP oil well disaster on the Louisiana Delta and on the people whose families have lived there for centuries.

Baby Steps in Plastic Bags

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Dick Price: But what if all hundred people at my workplace followed suit? That’s 50,000 plastic bags per year that wouldn’t be fouling the environment. Or the 800 members of my church? Another 400,000 bags not killing wildlife. All 10 million LA County residents? Five billion bags. All Californians? That’s 19 billion bags—and now e’re waist deep in the Big Plastic.

Toxic Oil Sludge Is Good as Gold for Republicans

black bath

Jerry Drucker: The gloomy, ghastly, glutted, gutted Gulf will not be able to supply many millions of Americans with food, or clean and healthy resort beach fronts, or Gulf businesses, perhaps for decades. What’s the solution to this mega problem?

BP’s Final Lesson

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Robert Reich: If BP emerges from this debacle fatter and happier than anyone imagined a few months ago, whatever happened to the idea of corporate accountability? Does this mean any giant corporation can wreak havoc and then get back to business as usual?

Gulf Oil Disaster: A Tragedy of the Commons

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Donald Price: The Tragedy of the Commons teaches us that private companies can’t regulate themselves because this eventually leads to the tragedies we see in the Gulf of Mexico and the financial tragedies in the global economy.

BP Oil Spill Poisoning Food

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Mary Pallant: Spill doesn’t sound too bad and yet we continue to call this mess in the Gulf a spill. This is not a spill; this is a catastrophe of unheard of proportions. This is so detrimental that the effects and impact are not going to be fully known for years to come. So detrimental that BP still does not know how much is “spilling” into our oceans.

Friday Feedback: Media Consolidation’s Long Tail

Friday Feedback: It’s hard for the public interest to compete with the special interests and their huge campaign contributions. Perhaps the way to go is to try to revive and enforce some of the regulations that the FCC used to have with regard to minority ownership, the Fairness Doctrine, the Equal Time Rule, a minimum number of hours of news and public affairs and children’s programming, etc.

How Big Oil Controlled the U.S. Photovoltaic Industry

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Tracy Emblem: Big Oil bought and controlled the alternative energy business because Big Oil’s main business is and has always been oil, gas, coal and petrochemical profits first. The “private sector” stimulated was the mergers and buy-outs of smaller photovoltaic research and development companies by Big Oil companies.

Ten Suggestions for Effective Activism

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Paul Loeb: When I was updating Soul of a Citizen, an activist rabbi who was teaching the book at Florida Gulf Coast University suggested I gather togetherthe Ten Commandments for effective citizen engagement.

LA Progressive Articles: June 13 to 19, 2010

Articles by Berry Craig. Tina Dupuy. Michele Waslin. Lawrence Wittner. Ron Wolff. Robert Reich. Anthony Samad. Kamala Lopez. Randy Shaw. Georgianne Nienaber. T. Christian Miller. Andrea Nill. Natasha Minsker. Steve Hockstadt. Mike Price. Tracy Emblem. David Love. Lydia Howell. Blair Fox, Tom Degan, David Love, Seth Hoy, Gary Corseri, Walter G. Moss, Ivan Eland, Joseph Palermo, Georgianne Nienaber, Jim Fuller, Andrea Nill, Michael Sigman

Immigrants Cleaning Up Oil Spill Nothing New

bp cleanup

Andrea Nill: As Tyler Falk of Grist points out, there’s something seriously wrong with the fact that “British Petroleum can legally come to the Gulf and devastate an entire ecosystem and the economy it supports, but when “illegal” immigrants come to clean up the mess, they are treated like criminals.”

LA Progressive Articles: June 6-12, 2010

Articles by Anthony Samad, Gil Troy, Paul Hogarth, Seth Hoy, Carl Matthes, Andrea Nill, Randy Shaw, Tom Degan, Marcy Winograd, Seth Hoy, Mark Bowen, Gary Coseri, Michael Sigman, Tom Hall, Sharon Kyle, Robert Reich, Tom Degan, Sikivu Hutchinson, Adam Eran, Carl Bloice, Shamus Cooke, and Tina Dupuy

Not Enough Drama from Obama?

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Tom Degan: It’s bad enough that the requirement of this media age is that all of our presidents be “telegenic.” It is now apparently mandated that they comport themselves like drama queens. Not only do they need to look like the model in an Esquire ad, they now have to behave like Greta Garbo: “I vant to be alone!”

Peak Oil 101

Source: World Resource Institute. The “ANWR” bump on the crude production curve is an indication of how projected production would be in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge.

Adam Eran: The acute problem of the Gulf oil spill makes the cost of corruption-afflicted government front page news. Lax Federal offshore drilling oversight under Bush 43 has cost us dearly. However, our society’s vulnerability to any trouble with this critical resource should also remind us of the chronic problem: peak oil.

Is Obama Powerless Against BP?

obama spill

Shamus Cooke: When the polls reported that Obama wasn’t taking the oil spill seriously enough, his next TV appearance depicted him as “outraged.” Yet his continuing lack of action doesn’t match his new, stronger emotions; nor does his inaction match the dire seriousness of the situation.

Does Protecting Our Children Mean Political Action For Them And For Us?

Marian Wright Edelman

Paul Loeb: Particularly in these difficult times, we often use our children as reasons to avoid getting involved in critical issues. We’ve got all we can handle holding on to our jobs and spending a little time with them. We fear political commitments will make their lives more insecure. Especially when they’re young, it may be all we can do just to go to work, come home, pay attention to their needs, and catch a few scarce hours of sleep. Yet when we do find ways to get engaged, our children can give us powerful reasons to act.

Obama Must Take Charge

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Robert Reich: Obama has no ass to kick until he’s in charge. Obama should take over BP’s rescue operation. That’s the only way the public can be sure all necessary resources are being put to the job, that public risks are being properly weighed, and it’s getting the truth.