Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spills, drills and can openers

Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal opens one of those proverbial can of worms that give us insight on several levels into how things actually work.

In an interview about the price of oil, Governor Jindal claimed that Hurricane Katrina had caused no major oil spills, when it fact it had caused many.

More than 500 specialists are working to clean up 44 oil spills ranging from several hundred gallons to nearly 4 million gallons, the U.S. Coast Guard said in an assessment that goes far beyond initial reports of just two significant spills....

The Coast Guard estimates more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana. That is about two-thirds as much oil as spilled from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989.

And it was even worse.
"This is a major event," said Lieutenant Colonel Glynn Smith of the coastguard in New Orleans. "Things are going well, but three-quarters of the oil from the spills has not yet been recovered."

The figure does not include petrol and oil spilt from up to 250,000 cars which have been submerged, or that spilt from hundreds of petrol stations. The coastguard says it has received almost 400 reports of spills, the vast majority of which have not been assessed.

So how was it that a prominent Louisiana congressperson who would soon become governor did not know about this environmental catastrophe and is still unaware? That's always the conundrum with the Republicans, eh. Are they stupid or are they lying? Or both?

Well, poor chuckling is not a mind reader so I can't answer that question. However, I do note that I was unaware of or had forgotten about any news of catastrophic oil spills until reading about it in the Think Progress article linked above. I'm not lying, and at least when it comes to mentally covering up Republican crimes, I am not stupid. And I waste an inordinate amount of time keeping up with politics. So why was I unaware of such a major event?

I can't say for sure, but looking back I suspect it's because it was not front page news. My Google search turned up the two articles I linked to above and nothing else from the national media. Doing a search for "Katrina oil spill" on the New York Times site turned up no major stories. And it turned up no major news stories on the Washington Post site.

The search did, however, turn up a few interesting tidbits from the Post's Op-ed section which explain Governor Jindal's mistake. This is, you see, all about offshore drilling and apparently there were no spills from off-shore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Katrina. Not surpringly the Post's columnists uncritically parrot oil industry lobbyists.

This, from Robert J. Samuelson:
There were 4,000 platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. Despite extensive damage, there were no major spills, says Robbie Diamond of Securing America's Future Energy, an advocacy group.

You see, this is what you get when you open a can of worms. Louisiana governors, Washington Post columnists, and a lot of other worms when you dig a little deeper. Note that Samuelson is quoting someone from an organization called "Securing American's Future Energy," or SAFE. They are, surprise surprise, a lobbying group that fronts for oil companies.

Muckety provides an excellent interactive map that puts names to all those otherwise anonymous worms in this particular can.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Byrne-ing Building

I finally got around to stopping by David Byrne's "Playing the Building" installation.

...a sound installation in which the infrastructure, the physical plant of the building, is converted into a giant musical instrument. Devices are attached to the building structure — to the metal beams and pillars, the heating pipes, the water pipes — and are used to make these things produce sound.

This is chuckling's contribution to music, if only for today:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

His carefully phrased comments were seen as a sign of his shift towards the centre before November's election.

Need I say more? Ok, Obama's up what? 15 points? 18 points? What do you want to bet that the more he moves to the right, the more he widens the gap? Bet your farm, Bub. I'll take it.

The illusion of waterfall

As regular readers know, chuckling is a fan of waterfalls. But you, mythical regular reader, also know that chuckling is less than enamored with all that is fake.

So how will I react to “The New York City Waterfalls,” the new big time art installation in New York by the artist Olafur Eliasson. We'll see. I saw all four waterfalls today, but will withhold opinion until I've seen them at night and at least six or eight more times.

Regardless of what I ultimately think about them as art, I'm happy as hell to see them as public art. This is the kind of thing that puts cities like New York and Paris over the top. Sure, you can look at how much these things cost and say the money would be better spent going to battered or starving children, but realistically you can look at the budget and see so many things that should be cut to fund all the worthiest of goals before doing away with major public art projects. In the real world, these art projects are not costing other worthy programs anything. And hopefully a few battered children will marvel at the beautiful waterfalls, or gates, whatever, and dream a different dream.

On a completely different topic, New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg let out a particularly stinky fart at the opening ceremony:

I like Old Masters, I like big sculptures,” the mayor mused, adding, “To me great art is something that I couldn’t do myself. To me great art is something that tells a story.

Ummm, okay. Bloomy likes it old and big. It's your money, bub, you gets whats you pays for. Big art for big money. But remember the all important flip side my friends. Big art ain't necessarily great and small art necessarily can be and when you're feeling blue don't forget that big money can't stop great art. Not all the time.

Anyway, I'll post some photos eventually.

Out of sight, out of mind

I understand why we spend so much time on the idiocies in the mainstream and pseudo-mainstream media like the Washington post and all those rejects at the National Review site or the The Atlantic rather than plumbing the deeper depths of the cesspool known as conservatism such as Storm Front or Vanguard News Network where intrepid citizen journalists spare us the euphemisms when they explain all that is wrong with America because of the niggers and the jews.

Yes, I understand why we stay away from that shit. But still, I think it is helpful to catch up on it now and again. Just don't forget to shower when you're done. Maybe apply some alcohol to your guts to kill any germs you might have contracted from the inside.

Why the democrats always lose big summer leads

Every election cycle the Democratic candidate has a big lead in the polls going into summer. Dukakis is the most famous example. Why do they always end up losing those leads?

Simple. During the primaries they run as anti-war social democrats to appeal to their base. Then after they win the nomination, they say fuck all that liberal shit, we need a strong military, free trade, low wages, any you, loser, take responsibility for your own health and if you don't like it we'll raise your rates. Hell, we'll raise them anyway.

I fear that this is happening with Senator Obama right now. He ran against Bush's excesses, now he supports warrantless spying on Americans. He ran against Nafta, now he thinks it's the greatest thing since warrantless spying. He treats poor Muslim women who show up at his campaign events like dirt.

And I'm really afraid of what will happen when this sucking off the right causes his poll numbers to plummet. If now is like the past, the consensus will be that he is too liberal and in order to show that he is not a liberal, he will find that we need more troops in Iraq and that they will need bases built to last 1000 years. And if the consensus is still that he's too liberal, he may begin thinking that perhpas some tax cuts for the wealthy will get the economy moving again, or at least his poll numbers.

Of course it's too early to tell, but he's off to a bad start, seemingly following the move to right for the general election game plan that has fucked up so many other Democratic candidates.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We've established what you are... (cont.)

It seems Senator Barak Obama has cut a deal with Senator Hillary Clinton to help pay her debt in exchange for not continuing to run against him in a very obvious way. Word on the street has it that she is in hock for $22.5 million. That seems like a large sum, granted, but other reports put her net worth at something significantly (speaking for myself, $.9 million is significant) above $34 million. So theoretically, she could pay off her own fucking debt instead of taking badly needed funds from the presidential race. Her annual income is over $12 million, so she'd make it up in no time.

On the bright side, that news gives me all the excuse I need not to contribute to Senator Obama's campaign. If the fruit of my labor is going to be blown on a prostitute, I'll do it myself thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Man bites dog, Doormatocrats lay down on the porch, the world, it turns

Every four years or so, otherwise intelligent people begin to believe that if only they could elect Democrats, then everything would change. It's sad to watch them go through the inevitable stages of hope, belief, certitude, denial and dejection.

To get the party started for this election cycle, the Doormatocrats this week pulled down their pants and laid down on the porch with their asses in the air and politely asked the Republicans to fuck them in the butt and to please wipe up resulting mess with any remaining shreds of the constitution on the issue of the warrantless wiretapping of anyone any time for any reason or no reason at all.

I know, I know. That's already old news. They'll stand up next time. Sure they will. You bet. And yes, I know, chuckling is guilty of gross exaggeration. In reality there are plenty more shreds of the constitution for the Democrats to wipe up with after taking it up the ass from Republicans. The constitution is a big document.

So you see. Wouldn't you think that poor chuckling is cynical enough? Not fucking possible. Get this.

During all of these years that Bush administration officials have refused to testify before congress, I've always wondered why they didn't just have them arrested, thrown in jail and dragged into the hearings in chains if need be. But honestly, I thought that was just a rhetorical question, that the Democrats didn't do it because they couldn't do it.

Well, not so. From a congressional hearing on the subject we learn:

For example, the judge [U.S. District Judge John D. Bates] said, the House could order Miers's arrest and detention in a cell in the Capitol until she agreed to testify. Such actions were fairly common in the 19th century.

Can a major politcal party really be that weak? The answer is probably not what you think.

Buy me some peanuts

Monumental douchebag Richard Cohen informs us that he pays no attention to issues when deciding whom to vote for, that for him; it's all about likability and character. And if you are a pettily powerful old guy like Cohen, it's only natural that you would like someone with whom you can talk openly about pussy. Oh man, I'd like to fuck her. That kind of thing. Those are the kinds of characters you can appreciate. Just look at the tits on that bitch. She can bring me my coffee, any day. You know, the kind of guy who likes calling his wife a cunt.

But the big dog bites man story of the day is that Republicans are praying to Allah for a terrorist attack on the United States. The more spectacular the better. Taking out a building helps their chances immensely. If terrorists take out a city, they've the election in the bag. Whoopppeeeee!!!!! Meanwhile Senator Clinton is still hoping that Senator Obama gets caught burning the flag at a mosque during a gay orgy. Or that he is somehow otherwise eliminated.

Meanwhile, a reputable scientist testifies that the world will come to a horrible end if we don't take a few sensible steps to stop the impending catastrophe. The congresspeople smile and applaud warmly.

Longtime global warming skeptic Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., citing a recent poll, said in a statement, ''Hansen, (former Vice President) Gore and the media have been trumpeting man-made climate doom since the 1980s. But Americans are not buying it.''

What more can you say? Americans ain't buying it. Better start selling something else, science boy. Tax cuts are the ticket. And war. We got'em. Get'cher tax cuts right'chere. War, we got'cher war, real cheap.