Friday, June 04, 2010


Political cartoon: Obama vs. a teabagger(embiggen)

Cartoon by Jim Morin, Miami Herald.

(h/t: The Comics Curmudgeon | x-posted)


[Added] See Instaputz for more on this.


Anonymous said...

Heh. Yes, been thinking the same thing myself.

Maybe I haven't been following this story closely enough, but is there any doubt that BP has sufficient resources and expertise to plug the leak? It's hard to believe they don't, but I suppose the lack of progress so far would tend to indicate that. However, it's not obvious that adding any additional resources or expertise would in fact help the situation.

So, if BP are doing everything to solve the problem that can realistically be expected, I'm struggling to see what government involvement would be even useful.

Brendan said...

Heh. Yes, been thinking the same thing myself.

It's the new "keep your government hands off my Medicare," isn't it?

I dunno about BP's expertise. I am inclined to say from what has so far happened (or not happened, not to put too fine a point on it), no. I would guess that, just as with the old jokes about Toyota vs GM when the new clean air regulations come out, BP has spent a lot of money the past decade or two hiring lobbyists, not engineers. I think they probably started out with some sound designs, concluded "those are good, forever," and did not spend the money to keep improving their smarts about the technical aspects. And of course, in any poorly regulated big business, the first thing to cut, if you're a bright boy in a suit looking for a fast trip up the ladder, is maintenance. And a bunch of other creeping little scenarios like that.

I would not be surprised if, eventually, as time passed with nothing bad happening, there developed a willful ignorance, a mindset that would punish in-house Chicken Littles, a denial at the top that anything could go wrong that The Manual didn't already cover. And I would not even be surprised if there was covering up and other conscious lying about known dangers, due to greed, short-sightedness, or sincere belief that whatever regulations there were were excessively onerous.

But that doesn't really fix the problem now, does it? So I do agree with your closing sentiment. I think we're in a situation where no one really has the expertise, and it's going to be bad for a long time, and a real mess to clean up.

Will we learn from it?

Well, I think I've been cynical enough for one blog comment.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, there is absolutely no guarantee that even if BP does have the expertise, they can overcome the inevitable internal turf wars and other organisational bullshit that prevent the right people being deployed with the right resources to fix the problem. I speak from personal experience with large multinationals...

I've lost the link now but I read recently a decent article on TPM calling for the government to put BP into temporary administration until the leak is plugged. The arguments was mostly reasonable, such as ensuring that the company is primarily acting in the public interest, allocating appropriate resources, being accountable, and providing transparency. Which is all good, but I can't help but wonder whether it will actually help bring the appropriate technical expertise to bear.

There are perfectly legitimate questions that have been raised over BP's honesty and openness, control of information, accountability, and so forth. However they are all subservient to the largely question of how to actually fix the leak. Everything else can be dealt with later.

Brendan said...

As it happens, I just started listening to a diavlog on between Andrew Revkin (of DotEarth/NYT) and David Roberts of Grist, and they just mentioned the temporary receivership idea.

I have no idea what to say about it yet, except for the kneejerk instinct to say, "That sounds like a panic-response, driven by the need to Do Something. Or to be Seen To Be Doing Something." I might have more/different thoughts later, but as of now, I'm pretty much where you seem to be -- let's deal with the gushing problem at hand, first, and make big restructuring plans (and assigning blame) Priority 2.

By the way, they did mention an article by Robert Reich that I think might be the one you had in mind. It lives here on TPM, and was cross-posted to the HuffPo and Reich's personal blog.

A follow-up, Q and A format, lives here on TPM and is cross-posted here.

More later, hopefully. You might check out the diavlog, too -- there are links to particular segments if you don't want to listen to the whole thing, so the link labeled "Nationalize BP?" right below the video box might be a place to start. That segment is about six minutes long. You can also download the audio or video, if you'd like to listen or watch away from your computer.

PlseDont said...

Oh well. Their hypocrisy is blatant in the Repubs claim that govt is broke, but they give tax breaks to Big Corp in several states like new jersey, pensylvania etc. And it's not because they ideologically hate taxes cos they have no problem raising taxes on the middle class. Or taking subsidies, entitlements, away from them, which is the same as raising taxes, for all intents and purposes.
But the amazing thing is not that Repub politicians propose it, but that people STILL vote to be robbed blind by these socalled human beings that we identify as RepuKKKlicans

Brendan said...

Agree with you about the amazing thing. Let me ask you, though: how much do you think it's the fault of the Dems? And if a lot, why? And if not, what explains why so many people still vote GOP?

Brendan said...

@PlseDont: Sorry -- just now saw your comment in the spam folder.