The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports on creative ways people have found to clean up the oil. In addition to the 16 barges carrying vacuum trucks deployed by the Louisiana National Guard (discussed here yesterday), Louisianans have come up with other simple yet effective solutions:
“[Plaquemines Parish President Billy] Nungesser is ready to try just about anything. He recently gave the go ahead for parish workers to test shop vacuums to remove crude trapped between marshes and containment boom. He was pleased to learn that two of the devices sucked up almost 150 gallons in a matter of minutes.”
A Hollywood celebrity has joined in, too — Kevin Costner and his oil-separating centrifuges. As discussed in this article, Costner and his brother got interested in oil cleanup methods after the Exxon Valdez. Costner invested over $24M to buy and improve a centrifuge project that separated oil from water, but the centrifuges sat unused for almost 10 years until this spill.
JWF posts on East Columbus construction workers forced to take unpaid leave because of President Obama’s appearance for Ohio Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland.
Note to TV newscaster who wants Obama to hand out money to the workers who won’t be able to work:
Despite recent history, President Obama doesn’t get to hand out money to anyone he wants. I’m a bit hazy on this after the past 18 months, but my recollection is the Constitution vests Congress with the power to authorize spending and prohibits money being drawn from the Treasury “but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law.”
UPDATE: President Obama’s trip today kicked off his “Recovery Summer” tour so it is considered an official rather than a political trip. CBS News reports the President spoke for only 10 minutes but he nevertheless managed to slip a few “attaboys to some of the Democratic politicians here including the Governor, who is up for re-election.” The trip cost taxpayers between $500,000 and $1,000,000 — or $50K to $100K per minute of speech.
A few days ago, I posted on a special exemption to the DISCLOSE Act for the NRA. Friend and commenter AD – RtR/OS! sent me a link to the NRA’s response. Here is the main point of the response:
“There are those who say the NRA should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle. That’s easy to say—unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.
The NRA is a non-partisan, single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. That’s their responsibility. Our responsibility is to protect and defend the interests of our members. And that we do without apology.”
Ironically, the NRA says the fate of the bill is in doubt because of the NRA exemption:
“Today, the fate of the bill remains in doubt. The House floor debate has repeatedly been postponed. Lawmakers and outside groups who once supported the bill, or took no position—including the Brady Campaign—have now come out against it because of the announcement regarding NRA. The outcome in the Senate is even murkier, as anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has announced her strong opposition to the proposed change.”
The Denver Post reports what it describes as a “Make-My-Day” shooting. The article doesn’t provide many details, other than suggesting that the deceased was burglarizing the home. Google indicates the Colorado “Make-My-Day” law is the Castle Doctrine with a twist:
“The Colorado law differs from the traditional legal notion of self-defense in several ways. A person need not feel threatened to invoke force. In fact, the law provides that property crimes, not just violent crimes, are grounds for use of force.”
There’s a reason property crimes were death penalty offenses in the West. Taking someone’s horse or property was often the equivalent of a death penalty for that person or his family. But in this case, it was the middle of the night and the homeowner was outnumbered and apparently threatened with a weapon. That sounds like self-defense in almost every State.
This seems to be happening more, especially in higher education, although it could be that these stories are just getting more press. If it is more common, is resignation the solution or should something more be done?
“Administration officials initially would not confirm Clinton’s statement. But an official told Fox News on Friday that while the review is still underway, the decision has already been made that a Department of Justice suit will be filed. The administration at this point is just building its case.”
I’d wager the Obama Administration made the decision to sue on the day the Arizona immigration law was signed into law.
Although she practices medicine in Texas, Dr. Stella Fitzgibbons published an Op-Ed in the LA Times today in which she chronicles the hardships she faces each day as her patients demand top-notch care when something less would suffice:
“Consider the case of a man I’ll call Mr. A. At the age of 80, he is admitted to intensive care after a huge stroke. He also has pneumonia and kidney failure. He is too sick to tell us his views on aggressive care at the end of life, but his family is happy to fill the void. They insist we use every tool at our disposal to prolong his life, despite brain scans making it clear that he will never again be able to walk, talk or feed himself. The total bill for the last month of life? Many tens of thousands of dollars.”
Fitzgibbons provides other examples. She refers to this as patients wanting “four-star” medical care when “three-star” care would do. Her message? It sounds like Fitzgibbons want us to know that unless the government dramatically increases funding of ObamaCare, we should get used to a different quality of care.
I think most Americans already see that coming, although some of us have already experienced it with doctors who have plenty of money but a deficit of time and patience.
In his campaign and his Inauguration Address, President Obama promised to rebuild America’s alliances. How’s that working out? A UK Telegraph columnist thinks Barack Obama may be the most unpopular man in Britain. The author especially criticizes Obama for an approach that has damaged Anglo-American relations:
“The Anglo-American Special Relationship, the most successful partnership of modern times, will survive long after President Obama departs the White House. It is far bigger than any one president or prime minister. But there can be no doubt that it is being significantly damaged and weakened at this moment by the Obama administration’s sneering approach towards Great Britain, at a time when British and American soldiers are fighting and dying alongside each other in a major war in Afghanistan. President Obama needs to see the big picture and understand that his anti-British posturing is hugely counter-productive and highly offensive. He is already one of the least popular US presidents of modern times, not only in the eyes of the American people, but now the people of Britain as well.”
I don’t think President Obama cares if he hurts America’s relationship with Britain.
The right and left are abuzz today over Congressman Bart Stupak’s claim that it is legitimate for the government to use some of the $20B BP escrow funds to pay for victims’ health care needs. I don’t know what Stupak meant by this exactly but this is another example where the law could be helpful, if the Obama Administration would be transparent enough to use it.
“Money, property, a deed, or a bond put into the custody of a third party for delivery to a grantee only after the fulfillment of the conditions specified.”
The average person runs into the concept of an escrow account when they buy or sell a house. The buyer’s money and the seller’s deed are placed in escrow and transferred only after both are received and any further conditions of the sale are fulfilled. At that point, a title company or lawyer will release the seller’s home title to the buyer. Without this legal technique, a buyer could pay money and never receive title from the seller, or the seller could convey title and never get paid.
Here, we don’t know if the report is true that the Obama Administration wants the BP money to be put in escrow or what the conditions of the escrow are. This could be the Obama Administration’s way of suggesting BP’s money is safe — an Al Gore-like lock-box — and will be used for the purpose of helping people hurt by the BP oill spill even though there is not an actual escrow. Or it could be Attorney General Eric Holder was present at the White House meeting with BP because they plan to establish a legal escrow account, and thus lawyers needed to be present.
We don’t know because the White House hasn’t told us whether there is a legal escrow agreement or the details such an agreement. To my knowledge, no one asked BP CEO Tony Hayward any questions about this yesterday. Thus, this is another reason Patterico is right that the GOP should have asked questions and gathered facts yesterday … and leave the pontificating to bloggers and everyday Americans on the internet.