1200 Hours After Rig Explosion – UPDATED

It has been 1200 Hours since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.


Dead sea turtle lies on beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi(Source)

There have been dozens of dead sea turtles found washing up on the beaches.

And dolphins:

And young herons:


All manner of sea life are dying in the Gulf of Mexico.


So are jobs and livelihoods

Pondering these heartbreaking pictures, I tried to find out what serious steps the Obama administration has taken to bring every available resource to the Gulf of Mexico, in order to try to take as much oil as possible out of the equation, and to try to protect the sea life, the marshes, the coasts.

You would expect there to be tons of headlines, everyday, about what aid Obama has accepted from other nations, what serious, concrete steps he has taken to aggressively counter the ongoing threat to our coastlines, and to entire fishing and tourism industries. But there aren’t any.

Options are being discussed. There are headlines like this one, from June 1: Obama administration moves to distance itself from BP on oil spill response.

But there are no headlines, between that date and today that suggest that any all-hands-on-deck direction is going on, beyond the taking of meetings and preparing a criminal probe:

President Obama also plans to hold a full meeting of his Cabinet — not a common event during his first year and a half in office — to discuss what the administration is doing to stop the leak and to clean up the coastlines of several states.

It’s all kind of vague.

Once the leak is finally plugged, perhaps by the end of the summer, the economic effects of the oil spill, both locally and worldwide, will continue to be an issue for Obama.

That’s the big story out of the Washington Post. And then, just now, comes this:

The Gulf region will recover, but needs help, Obama said, as he again called on BP to be “quick and responsive” to damage claims from residents and business people. Obama said he does not want the oil company “nickel and diming” people whose livelihoods are threatened by environmental damage from the spill.

So, restitution and…

“This is a resilient ecosystem and these are resilient people down on the Gulf Coast,” Obama said.

Surrounded by members of his Cabinet, Obama said 15 agencies have been activated and he wants to make sure to get “every asset that we have” down to the Gulf to “make sure that we are minimizing the amount of oil that is actually coming to shore.”


Emphasis mine.
1200 hours after the explosion, we’re going to finally make sure that we are minimizing the amoung of oil coming to shore.

I’m sure Gov. Jindal will be glad to hear this. I bet he wishes that Dolphins and Sea Turtles could vote.

Let me show you what kind of real, concrete action
had been taken (with or without headlines) 100 Hours after the Katrina Stormfall:

Between 2,500 and 3,000 people have been rescued by the Coast Guard, National Guard and First Responders.

National Guard and Regular Army have deployed 50,000 troops…the biggest domestic relief effort in U.S. history after Monday’s onslaught by killer Hurricane Katrina.

The Navy is sending the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman to join an armada of vessels off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Air Force said it was adding a high-flying U-2 spy plane to the relief effort to take pictures to help relief efforts at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Army has put on alert roughly 3,000 active-duty ground troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to be prepared to deploy to New Orleans…The brigade-sized force, likely to be from the 82nd Airborne Division, would engage in crowd control and site-protection activities.

Pipelines are being restored and refineries are beginning to get back into operation.

Levee repairs are underway – reportedly one break has already been fully repaired as of this evening.

Now, obviously, capping a gusher 5,000 feet below the surface was not as easy as “plugging the damn hole,” nor as simple as ordering ships to an emergency situation (or was it?) but over the course of 1200 hours, the Obama administration should have made a more vigorous response to the effects of that gushing, which did not take experts to predict, or 50 days time to understand.

This disaster could have been a moment for Obama to have shown dynamic leadership. He could have been there with Bobby Jindal saying, “we’ll build the berms; we’ll do whatever it takes to save these coastlines.”

Instead, writes J.R. Dunn:

Well, we’ve seen Obama frowning. Obama sticking his fingers into the sand. Obama saying he’s frustrated. Obama telling us a heartwarming story about his daughter. He even, according to spokesman Robert Gibbs, said “damn” at one point. (Though this has not yet been independently verified by a third party.)

That’s it. That’s the sum total of accomplishment by Barack Obama, his administration, his party, and his bureaucracy, in facing his first major domestic crisis.

The hardware and ancillary equipment necessary to deal with a seabed blowout is well understood . . . Floating booms trap the oil and keep it from dispersing. Burn booms isolate floating oil and set it ablaze. Tankers can be equipped to sweep the oil off the ocean surface. Not a single one of these items was available to any of the parties responsible for responding to a potential disaster in the Gulf. Not BP, not the Interior Department, not the federal government as a whole. The feds tried to borrow a fire boom from a private party. To what purpose is difficult to surmise — a single boom would be about as useful as a plastic bucket in a disaster of this magnitude. Much of the past month and a half has been spent playing catchup on the equipment front, and we have not yet seen the end of it.

The president, this afternoon:

1200 Hours after the explosion, the president, who was described by some in the press as so monumental that accepting the presidency was “a step down” for him has finally sounded some right notes, but like a distracted percussionist, he has struck them too late, and without much force.

Interestingly, one notices that those members of the Democrat party and the press who were daring to express impatience with the process of responsive engaging have been muted, or they’ve fallen back into line.

UPDATE:
Now he is the ass-kicker in chief. Sigh. Can you imagine if Bush had said it? The criticism of Obama has been fairly mild compared to what we’ve seen other presidents experience. He can’t seem to handle any. Sir, the job is about more than kicking ass. It is about leadership, and communication and giving people a sense that one is competent.

Maybe he should kick his own ass for foregoing the public campaign funding he’d agreed to, in order to collect 600 million dollars in donations, a million of it from BP. Or maybe he should kick Rahm’s ass for also having close associations and taking favors from the BP-connected.

Related:
Obama and BP’s Heyward haven’t yet spoken?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • DeLynn

    It’s all kind of vague.

    The president doesn’t have a clue. He isn’t a leader. He has no real life experience from which to draw. He doesn’t know what to do and the people with whom he has surrounded himself don’t either. What a mess. God help us.

  • jill e

    God help us if another 9/11 occurs while this man is in office.

  • Christa

    DeLynn, we have two and a half more years of this. This was just an oil spill. What are we going to see if there is a huge terrorist attack, a move by China against our economy, or a huge natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake or volcanic eruption?

    I don’t sense he has learned anything. All of his talk has been about blaming BP, criminal charges, and money. He isn’t DOING anything at all.

  • Andy

    It’s really not up to him to ‘do’ anything; what he needs to do is lead and he’s shown that he is not a leader. His job as administrator is to assign various parties to take over or ‘do’ certain tasks, and he hasn’t even done that. Apparently there are some government operations that are nearly ‘automatic’ so some good has been done, but he just goes around threatening and chastizing and bullying as per usual, all with the teleprompter, of course.

  • DeLynn

    Jill–amen.

    Christa–you are right–he doesn’t seem to have learned anything, except, perhaps that being president is harder than he thought. I don’t think he really wants to be a president, he wants to be a king. I don’t know what we will do if something even worse than this happens. Truly, if I was not a person of faith, I would be despairing now.

    Andy–what he is supposed to do is lead–as you say–and he doesn’t know how.

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  • Jeff

    Delynn could not be more correct. Obama brought to the presidency the thinnest resume of all time. All he ever did was social agitation. He never worked in the private sector except, as I recall, for a few months in a cubicle somewhere before he fled for the warmer waters of the public trough, where we all pay his salary.

    It’s incredible that he apparently never got on the phone with the BP CEO. That is a left wing maniac in action. Don’t talk to the “enemy.”

    [His community organizing skills are formidable though -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: It’s all kind of vague.

    The complaint about Obama is all kind of vague. There is no significant U.S. federal infrastructure to handle a leak of such a magnitude, so there are limits to what the current President can do.

    The key is to find a way to avoid such catastrophes in the future. As the global oil supply is being tapped out, it will become increasingly difficult to extract. Environmental safety will have to be carefully balanced against the demand for oil.

    The U.S. has avoided regulation and relied upon voluntary compliance. A cozy relationship between industry and government regulators has been actively encouraged. There are even statutory limits to the liability of oil companies, socializing the risks, but not the profits. It’s not a good system. It’s a corporate and government failure.

    [In fact, I have made a point of saying, several times, that Obama is not superman and could not do more to "fix the leak" than has been done. But he has certainly, over the past 50 days, had ample time to communicate a sense of urgency (or at least to ACKNOWLEDGE same) and to have used every possible means at his disposal to keep the oil from doing the damage to our shores that it is now doing. This, he has not done. Saying he has does not make it so. He has not. May I assume that, were this President Bush rather than President Obama in exactly the same circumstances, you would be exactly as understanding and willing-to-defend as you currently are? -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: He could have been there with Bobby Jindal saying, “we’ll build the berms; we’ll do whatever it takes to save these coastlines.”

    If only there were a magic bullet. Building berms might be too little too late, further damage the environment, and divert resources from other efforts. Of course, everyone want to *do something*. A rational approach will minimize the damage, even though it may not be politically expedient in the short them.

    Deepwater Horizon Response: “Louisiana’s original proposal called for the dredging of more than 92 million cubic yards of material over a six to nine month period to build temporary barrier islands. The NIC Working Group found that implementation of the proposal in all areas approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, in the midst of an active spill, would not be prudent or provide effective protection—especially considering the complications of a major construction project occurring in the midst of a response encompassing more than 20,000 personnel and 1,300 vessels.”

    ["we'll do whatever it takes" were the operative words. -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: In fact, I have made a point of saying, several times, that Obama is not superman and could not do more to “fix the leak” than has been done. But he has certainly, over the past 50 days, had ample time to communicate a sense of urgency (or at least to ACKNOWLEDGE same) and to have used every possible means at his disposal to keep the oil from doing the damage to our shores that it is now doing.

    Obama 5/2/2010: “Now, I think the American people are now aware, certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware, that we’re dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster. The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home.

    “And that’s why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response to this crisis from day one. After the explosion on the drilling rig, it began with an aggressive search-and-rescue effort to evacuate 115 people, including three badly injured. And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the 11 workers who have not yet — who have not been found.

    “As Admiral Allen and Secretary Napolitano have made clear, we’ve made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worse-case scenario. We immediately set up command center operations here in the Gulf and coordinated with all state and local governments.

    “We already had by that time in position more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of boom. And I dispatched the Secretaries of ….

    “So I want to emphasize, from day one we have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best. And while we have prepared and reacted aggressively, I’m not going to rest — and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest — or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.

    “Currently, the most advanced technology available is being used to try and stop a leak that is more than 5,000 feet under the surface. Because this leak is unique and unprecedented, it could take many days to stop. That’s why we’re also using every resource available to stop the oil from coming ashore and mitigating the damage it could cause. And much of the discussion here at the center was focused on if we, and when we have to deal with these mitigation efforts.

    “But as President of the United States, I’m going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues.

    “This is one of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems on the planet, and for centuries its residents have enjoyed and made a living off the fish that swim in these waters and the wildlife that inhabit these shores. This is also the heartbeat of the region’s economic life. And we’re going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources, compensate those who have been harmed, rebuild what has been damaged, and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before.

    “That’s a commitment I’m making as President of the United States, and I know that everybody who works for the federal government feels the exact same way.”

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: May I assume that, were this President Bush rather than President Obama in exactly the same circumstances, you would be exactly as understanding and willing-to-defend as you currently are?

    Absolutely. When lives and livelihoods are at stake, and the environment is endangered, then what matters is results. But when Bush was in a similar situation, it turned out a political crony with no experience in emergency management was in charge of the disaster relief. In addition, the Bush Adminstration undermined environmental and safety regulatory protections.

    What is bizarre is watching the right-wing media and blogs turning into turtle-lovers, and expecting the government to do something about it.

    [I'm not going to go into a long exposition of the Katrina issue, but to say this: Bush BEGGED Nagin to evacuate the city. He BEGGED Blanco to get the national guard cued up. "Brownie" might not have been the best FEMA guy but he'd managed two crises before Katrina, which clearly overwhelmed him and everyone, and if you look at what was being DONE (not talked about, not theorized about but DONE) in terms of calling all hands on deck...oh, forget it. I'm tired of this. You do not want to hear it. You want the narrative you have. So fine, hang on to it. But realize that Obama had no concern for Kentucky when it was buried in ice for a month. He had no concern for Nashville when it was under water last month. He's yer man. You love him, that's fine. I find him rather less than competent. -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: we’ll do whatever it takes” were the operative words

    Yes, but some actions will divert resources with little or no advantage. Resources are limited—even in the U.S.A.

    [Okay, let me make it clearer to you: he has had 50 days to show the nation that he was intent on doing WHATEVER IT TOOK to minimize the damage to the ecosystem and try to contain the oil or gather it up as much as possible. -admin]

  • Jeff

    Zach, Obama does not connect with the American people. You know it, I know it, the American people know it. He got in on a fluke, one-time, anti-Bush agenda that will never ever repeat itself.

    Let’s face it. He doesn’t know that the hell he is doing. The sooner you admit this the more progress we can make. T minus 2 years and counting…

  • TCN

    Lots of folks have great ideas on how to get the oil out of the ocean, but nobody is really trying anything. Some guys in the south determined that blowing hay all over the slick will collect it and then it’s easy to scoop up and burn, but you can bet the government would never try anything so cost effective and simple.

    Meanwhile, the Gulf goes straight to hell. Obama wants this to happen, so we can never drill for oil again. The man is not just incompetent, he is of evil intent.

  • TCN

    Zach: Having lived in Southcentral AK during Exxon Valdez, I can tell you that this administration hasn’t a clue of what to do. Period.

    When you hit the bottom of the hole, it’s probably best to stop digging.

  • http://madamericanmom.blogspot.com Mad Mom

    What Zach does not want to understand is that his preconceived ideas of what a “right-winger” believes is as worn out as his admiration of Obama – no matter what Obama does. There are plenty of “turtle loving” right-wingers. Just because the leftist media makes conservatives out to be environmental idiots does not mean we are. Does Zach REALLY believe the majority of “right-wingers” don’t give a crap about our environment?
    And I expect Zach is not being quite honest about how he’d be reacting if Bush were handling this situation.
    No one thinks Obama should have been brilliant enough to have “plugged that damn hole” all by himself, but by God, he shoulda been “kicking ass” on this a LONG time ago.
    And he hasn’t been. No matter how badly Zach wants to pretend he has.

  • Joe

    He makes George Bush’s response to Katrina seem down right brilliant. Seriously, President Bush was slow to react, but did so in about a week.

    Obama, still not responding.

  • http://www.opaobie.com/promisekept.php Opaobie

    Zachriel, make any assumptions you wish and present the plan you would have offered if you were an advisor to President Obama.

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  • http://dailywoof.wordpress.com Kensington

    But…but…BUSH!!!1!!

  • Soozer

    Where’s General Honore when we need him?
    That is what is lacking in this whole fiasco-the cool clear head that let’s you know that the adults are now in charge.

  • Jeff

    I like the “maybe he should kick his own ass” line. funny.

    I guess seeking someone’s “ass to kick” is supposed to make him seem like a real tough guy. That’s how dumb they think the American people are. “Oh Rahm, I like that line, ass to kick, that will play really well in fly over country and Nascar stadiums, they’ll love me.”

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    “The US will bounce back from the oil crisis.”

    I agree, but will America recover from the Obama crisis. Two and a half years to go. We need a plan to recover from Obama’s incompetance, lack of leadership, and socialism. This man is a walking disaster. What a mistake.

  • http://SignoVinces.com Kerry

    The gushing oil and Pres. B+ are mirror images one to the other. Whenever he opens his mouth, vile, black, sticky liquid dribbles out. And the spill reflects the moral inversion of the world, where, for example, certain persons believe it’s only a baby if you don’t kill it.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    The Anchoress: But realize that Obama had no concern for Kentucky when it was buried in ice for a month.

    Kentucky Governor: “They really hit the ground running.” “They’re working very hard to get all the equipment and supplies here that we need.

    I can’t tell you how appreciative we were,” the governor said. “He not only expressed his concern, but he obviously had the Kentuckians in his thoughts and prayers, and he communicated that to us.

    The Anchoress: he has had 50 days to show the nation that he was intent on doing WHATEVER IT TOOK to minimize the damage to the ecosystem and try to contain the oil or gather it up as much as possible

    There is little doubt that mistakes will be made in such a complex undertaking, especially when the government doesn’t have the infrastructure, and previous governments have allowed the problem to fester. But it’s also clear that the government has taken the problem seriously and attempted to put resources to work.

    Jeff: Obama does not connect with the American people.

    Obama won a clear majority in the presidential election, and polls show substantial support among the American people. However, he certainly has his share of critics.

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  • dry valleys

    There were people long ago warning about where neoliberal economic “policies” would end us up, but they were howled down by those who believe expansion to be limitless provided that the evil state just stop existing.

  • J

    I think, by this time, with this crew in power, we realize it is time to turn to God for help. The only one with the power and will to help this situation. He, hopefully, is done with holding his breath, realizes we are without a clue as to how to remedy this situation, so many have died…..I’m praying.

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    “Building berms might be too little too late, further damage the environment, and divert resources from other efforts. Of course, everyone want to *do something*. A rational approach will minimize the damage, even though it may not be politically expedient in the short them.”

    Building Berms would not damage anything. In fact It would help the environement because it would have the side effect of helping in a small way to prevent some Costal erosion. Something that used to happened by the barrier Islands we used to have out there

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  • Sally June

    J: I agree; this should prompt an outpouring of prayer.

    As some guy said some time ago: Fear is useless; what is wanted is faith.

    Or something like that.

  • http://!!!! kelleybee

    I want to know how many miles of booms have been deployed? How many training classes manned to rescue oil soaked animals? How many fish vessels have been employed to help with doom deployment? How many centrifuges have been deployed to separate the oil? HOw many super tankers and barges have been engaged to suck up the contents of the plumbs? HOw many members of the Fourth Estate really give a flip about the impact this disaster has on real people in fly over country…Yawn..? How many parties has 0bama attended in those 1500 hrs?

  • CV

    Seems to me that letting this disaster story play out, complete with big oil bad guy and horrific photos of dying sea life covered with oil, might be useful to someone who has set his sights on passing an unpopular energy tax (didn’t he recently say he planned to “get the votes” on that one way or another? We all know how the health care bill went down.) Another recent energy-related crisis that probably won’t go to waste is the recent coal mine disaster in West Virginia. (That’s two big energy-related disasters, complete with corporate bad guys in oil and coal, within the past year.)

    If I were the tin-foil hat type, I’d also start wondering about the very recent natural gas explosions that have happened in southwestern PA and WV (related to Marcellus shale drilling) in the past couple of weeks.

    The reason our commander in chief can’t convincingly fake concern about the Gulf states (with their Republican governors), the dying small businesses along those polluted coastlines, the dying fish and mammals, is because he just. doesn’t. care.

    About anything or anyone who doesn’t serve his own domestic agenda.

  • http://!!!! kelleybee

    CV
    The reason our commander in chief can’t convincingly fake concern …
    I agree. Our President just does not care about anything save his agenda and the unions that support it.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    kelleybee: I want to know …

    Try the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, Zachriel, that link doesn’t give that much information, except about some fishing being restricted, and some boats being sent out on patrol.

  • http://www.opaobie.com/promisekept.php Opaobie

    Try this article for the answer.

    BREAKING: MILES OF OIL CONTAINMENT BOOM in Warehouse- Just Sitting- Waiting For BP or US to Collect (Video!)
    Posted by Jim Hoft on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, 4:25 PM

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Heh, yes, Opaobie, I did see that over at Gateway Pundit.

    I think Obama’s in over his head on this one.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    kelleybee: I want to know …

    Zachriel: Try the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

    Rhinestone Suderman: Actually, Zachriel, that link doesn’t give that much information, except about some fishing being restricted, and some boats being sent out on patrol.

    Boom deployed: more than 2.16 million feet

    Skimmers: more than 122

    Total active response vessels: more than 4,500

    Overall personnel responding: more than 24,000 personnel responding

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Again, sorry, Zachriel, I don’t see all that in the article you’re linking too. It says that they’ve sent out the first boat, to patrol Florida from St. John’s Pass, and that others are going to follow (hopefully), and there’s an advisory on fishing. . . that’s something, but it’s not a whole lot.

    Meanwhile, that doesn’t explain why there’s miles of containment boom sitting around in a warehouse, or why Obama refuses to speak with the head of the oil company. Or why the oil continues to gush, and no one effectively able to stop it, or protect the Florida coast, or the wildlife.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, about the oil-soaked animals, Kellybee—I haven’t seen, or heard, about any programs to help them, or send volunteers out. Usually there’s tons of them, in an oil spill such as this—and, of course, accompanying stories, and photographs.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Rhinestone Suderman I don’t see all that in the article you’re linking too.

    We typed in “boom” into the search field.

    Rhinestone Suderman Or why the oil continues to gush, …

    From what is known so far, it looks like negligence by BP, and lack of regulatory oversight by the government. Consider that there is actually a liability cap protecting multinational oil companies, socializing the risk.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    If an article needs a special word typed in, to get the info, you should mention that, when linking.

    And, if BP is being negligent, why doesn’t Obama go talk to them? Why doesn’t he take more a leadership position? He talks about how he’s going to “kick ass”, yadda-yadda-yadda—well, what’s stopping him?

  • http://www.opaobie.com/promisekept.php Opaobie

    For Oiled Wildlife, Dawn Cleans Best

    You might check the P&G website or the Dawn Detergent website for more details. They donate $1 to conservation projects for every bottle sold. According to the linked article, so far, 2,000 bottles of Dawn have been shipped to Gulf cleanup effort sites. Over the years, P&G has donated 50,000 bottles of Dawn to oil spill clean-up efforts.


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