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>Who Cares Whose Katrina The Oil Spill Is? Get It Cleaned Up

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Following is op Ed writer Anne Applebaum’s anemic effort at explaining the oil disaster in the Gulf. She is as incompetent as Obama when it comes to oil. Neither should venture to within 90 million miles of this problem. I commented below, suggesting that we need a new agreement with all prospective and current drillers in the Gulf – basically, that they agree to jointly and severally be responsible for stopping the leak and all cleanup. Why bankrupt just one party when you can spread the risk. I spent a lifetime at this insurance concept, spreading the risk, so I should know. One item I didn’t comment on. We need better inspections from the government and mandatory capped relief wells or pipes which we can use when disasters like these occur, because they will occur. Though this is the first in as long as anyone can recall and we have 35,000 such wells.

dusanotes wrote:
Applebaum isn’t qualified to even comment on this subject. Few are. That is because of the tight lid of secrecy Obama has clamped down on his people. Obama is the president. He has more power than any man on earth. If he can’t jump in on day one with the very things Mitt Romney said a president should do, then he is a sorry president. Someone else should be leading this country. It is not an unstoppable disaster. Here’s what should happen.
1. Continue to drill offshore.
2. But exact a promise to help pay for every such disaster, no matter if it’s your rig or pipe or not. In other words, we need a vast reinsurance network among all oil companies operating offshore – that they will jump in on any disaster to help clean it up and pay for everything. This shouldn’t all be on BP.
3. If there is a loss, all oil companies signing this agreement must help pay for all losses, just as we do with hurricane cat reinsurance. Obama doesn’t need to stop us from drilling. This agreement will self-regulate such drilling.Don White
6/15/2010 8:20:18 AM

The oil spill isn’t Obama’s Katrina


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In the Gulf of Mexico, plumes of black oil are gushing into the ocean, coating the wings of seabirds, poisoning shellfish, sending tar balls rolling onto white Florida beaches. It is an ecological disaster. It is a economic nightmare. And there is absolutely nothing that the American president can do about it. Nothing at all.

THIS STORY
Here is the hard truth: The U.S. government does not possess a secret method for capping oil leaks. Even the combined wisdom of the Obama inner circle — all of those Harvard economists, silver-tongued spin doctors and hardened politicos — cannot prevent tens of thousands of tons of oil from pouring out of hole a mile beneath the ocean surface. Other than proximity to the Louisiana coast, this catastrophe has nothing in common with Hurricane Katrina: That was an unstoppable natural disaster that turned into a human tragedy because of an inadequate government response. This is just an unstoppable disaster, period. It will be a human tragedy precisely because no government response is possible.
Which leads me to a mystery: Given that he cannot stop the oil from flowing, why has President Obama decided to act as if he can? And given that he is totally reliant on BP to save the fish and the birds of the Gulf of Mexico, why has he started pretending otherwise — why is he, in his own words, looking for someone’s “ass to kick”? I suspect that there are many reasons for this recent change of rhetorical tone and that some of them are ideological. This is, of course, a president who believes that government can and should be able to solve all problems. Obama has never sounded particularly enthusiastic about the private sector either, and some of his congressional colleagues — the ones talking of retroactively raising the cap on BP’s liability, for example, or forcing BP to pay for the lost wages of other oil companies’ workers — are downright hostile.

A large part of the explanation, however, is cultural: Obama has been forced to take a commanding role in a crisis he cannot control because we expect him to — both “we” the media and “we” the bipartisan public. Whatever their politics, most Americans in recent years have come to expect a strong response — an invasion, massive legislation — from their politicians in times of crisis, and this one is no exception. We want the president to lead — somewhere, anywhere. A few days ago, the New York Times declaredthat “he and his administration need to do a lot more to show they are on top of this mess” and should have started “putting the heat” on BP much earlier — as if that would have made the remotest bit of difference.
But Mitt Romney, who last I checked is right of center, sounded almost exactly the same note: Obama, he said, should be “leading this entire effort to bring together the experts, the various oil company executives, the engineers from various oil companies as well as from the various academic think tanks.” This comment reminds me of the time the European Union solemnly decided to form a committee to fight unemployment, as if that were an actual solution. I also love the idea that all of those offshore oil engineers twiddling their thumbs at think tanks — the Heritage Foundation? the Brookings Institution? — are only waiting for the president’s phone call to spring into action.
In truth, the organization most likely to have the phone numbers of the “experts” is BP. The organization that will get them to Louisiana fastest is BP. I am writing this not because I like, admire or even have an opinion about the company formerly known as British Petroleum but because BP’s shareholders have already lost billions of dollars and BP’s executives are motivated to find solutions faster than anyone in the White House ever could. Bashing BP or seeking to punish BP is pointless. This is not only because we will soon learn that many companies — American, Japanese, even Halliburton — were responsible for that rig but also because whatever the solution, BP has to be part of it.
Paradoxically, “talking tough” about this oil crisis also makes both Obama and America look weak internationally — just as “talking tough” about Iran made the Bush administration look weak. Harsh rhetoric is fine if it reflects a real will to do something, a real plan of action and the existence of a Plan B, for when the first one fails. But when angry words — anti-BP, anti-British, anti-oil company — reflect the absence of any alternative policy whatsoever, they sound pathetic. It’s right for Obama to be concerned about the consequences of this disaster, but wrong — and dangerous — for him to pretend he is capable of controlling it. We should stop calling on him to do so.
applebaumletters@washpost.com

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>Limited Government Is The Best Government

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America The Free – Or Nanny State?
Our country was founded on principles of selfreliance, states rights, and limited government. But in the last 220 years it has evolved from the “land of the free” into a nanny state no different than those in the European Union.
What happened? States were supposed to have had all the power not directly granted to the federal government. Such things as highways, aviation, welfare, and schools were under state purview. But in each case the feds have confiscated power from the people and the Constitution has been circumvented.
The problem begins where Democrats believe Federalism means strong central government while most Republicans say it is weak central government, almost confederation.

This article is part of the
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Federalism is a political philosophy in which a group of members are bound together (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term federalism is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system in which the power to govern is shared between national and state governments, creating what is often called a federation. Proponents are often called federalists.
In Europe, “federalist” is sometimes used to describe those who favor stronger federal government, at a national or supranational level, as is the case of the European Union. The term is also used to describe those who favor weaker provincial governments. In the federal nations of Europe (including Germany, Austria and Switzerland) or South America (including Argentina or Brazil), the term “strong federalism” labels situations where sub-national states may have more power than the national (federal) government; it does not imply a strong central government. Some nations with federal systems, such as Switzerland and Canada, are officially confederations, because membership in the federation is voluntary.
In Canada, federalism implies opposition sovereigntist movements (usually those of Quebec). The same is historically true in the United States. Advocates of a weaker federal government and stronger state governments are those that generally favor confederation, often related to early “anti-federalists” and later the Confederacy.
Australia, Brazil and India, among others, are also federal states.
Federalism may encompass as few as two or three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium.

As Federalists, we conservatives want to keep decision making close to the people. We don’t like it when government establishes programs so that one rule applies for all local circumstances. Always keep powers and control as close to the people as possible. Is it possible that there are some issues that just aren’t Washington’s business? Yes, such as local highways, airports, poor people, and schoolchildren. The truth is, locals know more than the feds.
For example, Attorney General Janet Reno had no business going down to Wacco, Texas killing people because of their local religious practices. Just as Barak Obama has no business telling us (and China) how green our towns and state must be. We liken that to dictatorship.
States and cities can become dangerous bureaucracies, too. Bureaucracies seek to achieve uniformity by compelling people to conform to someone’s idea of what’s best. But have you noticed, private and local enterprises flourish by encouraging innovators, creative people, and self-starters with mind of their own? Then you get inventions, creative people and self-starters with minds of their own. The cookie cutter approach to life and government has been proven to fail because as the hack said of Professor Harold Hill in the movie Music Man, “he doesn’t know the territory.”

Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was heard to say prior to January 20th, what an opportunity this (the collapse of the financial markets) presents us. He said: “You never want to let a crisis go to waste. . .This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” That was Rahm Emanuel addressing leaders at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. He ticked off areas where he thought new doors were opening: energy, health, education, tax policy, regulatory reforms, just the things an opportunistic activist Obama administration could feed on. All except for taxes are areas best left to states.

What he implied was that for Democrats and other “control freaks”, it meant they could grab some more power from the people, circumvent the Constitution some more. But me (sic) with my simple mind wonders, if those guys from Illinois are so smart, why is it that Illinois is experiencing so much corruption and disarray with scandals like Rezko, Ayres, Blogojevich, et al?
I believe federal involvement in our lives should be minimal. States and cities should take care of their own emergencies and not always look to Washington, which should be the last resort where other alternatives can be found. Democrats differ. They’re like bums on the street, always looking for a government hand out. They aren’t self-starters, innovative, and independent thinkers. This is why they were so vocal in their disgust with President George W. Bush when he didn’t immediately respond to Katrina. The then Democrat governor Kathlene Blanco and the New Orleans mayor were incompetent. Their inaction was reprehensible — they didn’t have a clue as to how to respond and protect lives of those in harms way. They had the resources – busses that should have transported people out of town were left parked in the city even after the storm ended. Contrast that with what a competent Republican governor did during Gustav, the last hurricane to hit New Orleans. Governor Bobby Jindal had it all planned out, ordered mandatory evacuation of the city and provided the busses and wherewithal to take his people to safe ground.
I believe that local solutions are the best solutions in all cases, but particularly in education, transportation, and welfare reform. Washington is no match for the speed, innovation, and creativity of private local people.

>"Bush Never Recovered From Katrina?" Don’t Put Much Stock in Liberal Opinions from Dowd and Bartlett

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Don White President George W. Bush walks along the West Wing Colonnade as he departs the
WASHINGTON – The Yahoo.com story about Bush is purely hogwash and every Republican knows it.

It is typical for presidential assistants to pan an unpopular president going out, but it is especially “good sport” for liberals who worked for the president, as if they were the experts on everything and now the truth can be told. Before long they’ll be penning best selling books that they hope will catapult them into the limelight, larger Washington jobs, and big money.

Yes, most Americans saw how the liberal press slaughtered George Bush after Hurricane Katrina. The word Yahoo uses is “pulverized. ”I worked for many years in the insurance business and know better. It is not the Federal Government’s responsibility to take away the sins of the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans. They, plain and simple, were not prepared, didn’t want to do anything about evacuating the people until it was too late, and didn’t intend to use those school busses that were lined up to get the people out of the city before Katrina struck. If you want to blame anyone, blame those who should be blamed, the Democratic officers of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.

If I were Matthew Dowd, Bush’s pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 Bush election, I would be looking elsewhere to attach blame. A president does not govern a state or a city. After Katrina, the Feds moved in and straightened things out. Look at the last New Orleans hurricane, for example, under Republican Governor Bobby Jindal where the state and city were on top of it and no one was killed. This is how the local Democrats should have anticipated and reacted in Katrina.

Under Jindal, the state moved people out of the Gulf Coast — on a mandatory order — and all was and is well. Oh, what a difference it makes to have a smart Republican in office instead of some syndicate, low-ball, do-nothing Democrats. That’s not a cheap political shot, it’s the truth. Many Democrat Mayors and Governors have never run anything, so they are not going to be successful the first time around in one of these catastrophes.

Dan Bartlett isn’t any better. He’s the former White House communications director and counselor to the president. His comments about his boss Bush are despicable. No, Bush wasn’t the most prepared president to ever enter the White House, but neither was Bill Play-boy Clinton or peanut farmer Jimmy Do-Nothing Carter.

I just believe it shows a lack of class for Bartlett and Dowd to now be critical of Bush while he’s “down” in liberal press popularity. The liberal press didn’t like Bush because he succeeded in Iraq, No Child Left Behind, financial aid for HIV in Africa, and of course homeland security. On balance, Bush will be judged in retrospect fairly and well, and he will emerge with better grades than the liberal press and Bartlett and Dowd give him. Only history will tell. I don’t believe Colin Powell did much to help his boss and my feeling is that he will become a huge burden and failure in the Obama White House because when the chips are really down, he is a dim-wit, unable to make sensible tactical and strategic decisions.

>Anger in The Aftermath

>GRIEF IN JUYUAN
Facts of this article were gathered from Yahoo and AP accounts

Juyuan, China, May 15, 2008—Like most national disasters, feelings of the Chinese are razor taut. Friends and family of the victims have begun pointing fingers because there is a feeling of hopelessness and grief all around them. It happened in Hurricane Katrina and it’s happening in China, as recovery of the dead drags on.

Parents say they were only allowed to begin identifying their children on Wednesday. The disaster occurred on Monday. The bodies had remained inside the gated grounds of Xinjian Primary School for two days until officials began transporting them to the morgue on Wednesday.

The earthquake struck at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, and many parents rushed to the school. Xinjian had about 600 pupils, ages from roughly 7 to 12. When parents arrived most of the building had collapsed. They frantically pulled away bricks and chunks of concrete with their bare hands.

“We pleaded with the administrators to help us,” said one mother, Chen Li, 39, who came to the morgue on Wednesday to identify her son, a sixth grader. “We yelled, ‘Where are the soldiers? Send them to help us!’ ”

Ms. Chen said her son, Zhang Yuanxin, was discovered the same day as the earthquake but then left uncovered in the rain with other bodies on the playground. She said two trucks arrived Wednesday and carried away bodies shortly before Mr. Wen arrived for his inspection.

“I think there were 50 bodies in two trucks that were carried away,” Ms. Chen said. “I asked those people, ‘Are you taking the bodies away?’ ”
But she said local officials lied to her and said they were only taking away tents.

Parents say they became so angry over the situation at the school by Tuesday that they formed a committee and complained to local officials. Officials in Dujiangyan could not be reached by reporters for comment, but parents say the officials relented on Wednesday by moving the children’s bodies to the morgue and providing shuttle buses for people waiting outside the school.

At the morgue on Wednesday, parents walked through rooms lined with bodies on the floor, lifting sheets in the unwanted search to identify a lost child. Cai Changrong, 37, held an urn containing the ashes of his cremated 9-year-old daughter. His wife, Hu Xiu, could not stop wailing.

“We didn’t find any bruises or injuries on her body,” said Ms. Hu, the mother. “But she lost all her nails. She was trying to scratch her way out. I think my daughter suffocated to death.”

Several parents have called for an investigation into the construction quality of school buildings in Dujiangyan. They say six schoolhouses collapsed in the city, even as other government buildings remain standing. One man said officials built two additional stories on the Xinjian school even though it had failed a safety inspection two years ago — allegations that could not be verified.

Mr. Li, the father dressing his dead daughter, also said he believed that the school was poorly built. He arrived at the school minutes after the quake and spent the next four hours searching for his daughter. His forearms were bruised and his fingernails were split and bloodied from digging.

He proudly handed over his cellphone and showed a picture of his daughter, Ke, taken last week. But Thursday morning, he and his wife were preparing for her cremation. They struggled to slip her into the pink pajamas and then dressed her in a gray sweatshirt and pants. Her mother placed a white silk mourning cloth under her clotted black hair.

Mr. Li said he lost his job in 1997 and had been living on a meager welfare payment. He said the school was filled with children from poor families. “My daughter was a very good student,” he said. “She was a quiet girl, and she liked to paint. We’re putting her in these clothes because she loved them.”

He said he was angry and sad. He said his daughter’s body was still warm when he found her at the morgue on Wednesday. He wondered how long she lived beneath the rubble. And then he turned away, leaning down slightly, and whispered in her ear.

“My little daughter,” he said quietly. “You used to dress yourself. Now I have to do it for you.”