California Legislators Call for Offshore Oil Fracking Investigation

ban fracking now

Dan Bacher: Californians should support the legislators’ call for a federal investigation of hydraulic fracturing beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast.

Billionaire Dispatches: A Good Time To Be A Billionaire

the rich

Clifford “Felonius Ax” Tasner: President Romney will usher in an America where only our tiny minority gets to thrive while the rest of you succumb to debt peonage. And being Billionaires will feel extra special once again!

Gulf Research Pilot Troubled by Oil Sighting in Macondo Prospect

bonny-wide

Georgianne Nienaber: Critical thinkers will ask the question. Why is BP sampling oil on August 30 while they maintain that there is no oil coming from MC252 (Macondo) in an August 26 press release? For those who have forgotten, there is an excellent time line of the disaster here.

Offshore Oil Companies Still Shielded

gulf-oil-wide

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

bp explosion

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.

Mary Landrieu Goes to Bat for Louisiana’s Wetlands

2010-09-28-atrisk

Georgianne Nienaber: Landrieu did not mince words, blaming the federal government for malfeasance and mismanagement of a delicate ecosystem that has placed the Mississippi River Delta at “extreme risk of complete and utter collapse.”

Obama “The Worst President Ever” — Are You Kidding Me?

Anthony Samad: Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, who has received little support from his own party for his bid for congress has decided he’s now a presidential historian offering a critique of President Obama’s performance.

Gulf’s Dolphins: “Man Needs To Make Right Their Waters”

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Georgianne Nienaber: Scientists suggest that it will be many years before we know the full extent of the disaster, and are wary of reporters since the media ends up misquoting them or distorting the facts. It is not so much media bias as it is lack of scientific training on the part of journalists and bloggers.

Where’s the Oil? Here, There, and Everywhere

Thick oil is revealed on the beach at Grand Isle's State Park after clean up crews use an auger to take 30 inch deep core samples that show oil from the deepwater horizon oil spill exists on several levels beneath the sand.

Georgianne Nienaber: The world faces the difficult challenge of understanding exactly what has happened to the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico in the uncertainty of the aftermath of the April 20 explosion of the BP Macondo wellhead.

Voices from the Wetlands

voices of the wetlands

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

plastic waste

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

bp earnings report

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.

Open Web Platform for Gulf Oil Spill Beats Media Boom Ban

Yobie Benjamin with Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu

Georgianne Nienaber: Shortly after the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, Benjamin assembled a volunteer group of technology and web design experts, journalists, legal and business professionals and ordinary individuals who wanted to help with the spill crisis.

With Elephants in the Room, Where’s the “Liberal Media?”

pacifists

Tom Hall: BP had a hand in the Exxon Valdez. BP also operates a pipeline across Alaska’s wilderness areas that ruptured. The investigators found that BP had refused to do routine inspections and maintenance.

Double Trouble, Oil and Bubble: Something Slick This Way Comes

mary pallant

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

solar power

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

student protest

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

An Exclusive (Somewhat Apocryphal) Interview with Stephen Hawking on the British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Event Horizon

stephen hawking

Gary Corseri: All this nambypambyism about the BP Oil Spill has got me down, so I figured I’d go to the smartest guy on the planet to get his what’s what. I met Stephen Hawking at his perch at the Mt. Palomar observatory.

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?

obama

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.

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