It is BP’s Fault: 97%?! (see below). But it’s ours, too.
Click the above photo of the Oil Spill Bird to get to my latest Huff Post column, then the NY Times’ slideshow.
Obama is gifted a Great Big Moment by the Fates.
Will he flub it?
Will America take the lessons of 9/11 (don’t send money for oil to friends of our enemies) and Katrina (more and more frequent and more powerful storms as the oceans warm) and now the BP Oil Spill (corporations shouldn’t be in charge—they’ll take every $hortcut available—and oil is getting harder and harder to get at safely without ruining our beautiful country)—and subsidize the rapid development of domestic, job-producing clean energy, in much the same was as President Ike built the Interstate Highway System, or FDR mobilized our nation against the Japanese and Nazis?
Or, will we continue on our rocky road toward an imperfect destiny?
Look…if you had one shot…one opportunity…one moment…would you capture it…or just let it slip? ~ Eminem
Suffice it to say that Frank Rich’s new column manages, coherently, to tie together several disparate areas of passionate American focus into one, emotionally inspiring story.
I only hope President Obama reads it. Excerpts:
…Other White House geniuses persuaded the president to make his fateful claim in early April that “oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills” — a particularly specious (indeed false) plank in the argument for his spectacularly ill-timed expansion of offshore oil drilling. The Times reported last week that at the administration meetings leading to this new drilling policy the subject of the vast dysfunction at the Minerals Management Service, the agency charged with regulating the drilling, never even came up…
…his failure to challenge BP’s version of events from the start. The company consistently understated the spill’s severity, overestimated the progress of the repair operation and low-balled the environmental damage…
…BP’s atrocious record prior to this catastrophe. In the last three years, according to the Center for Public Integrity, BP accounted for “97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors” — including 760 citations for “egregious, willful” violations (compared with only eight at the two oil companies that tied for second place). Hayward’s predecessor at BP, ousted in a sex-and-blackmail scandal in 2007, had placed cost-cutting (and ever more obscene profits) over safety, culminating in the BP Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 and injured 170 in 2005. Last October The Times uncovered documents revealing that BP had still failed to address hundreds of safety hazards at that refinery in the four years after the explosion, prompting the largest fine in the history of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (The fine, $87 million, was no doubt regarded as petty cash by a company whose profit reached nearly $17 billion last year.) No high-powered White House meetings or risk analyses were needed to discern how treacherous it was to trust BP this time. An intern could have figured it out