Government isn’t our enemy

May 30, 2010


“There has never been a challenge that the American people, with as little interference as possible by the federal government, cannot handle.” — Bobby Jindal, March 24, 2009

That was then.

This is now: 11 people dead in an oil rig explosion, fragile marshlands damaged, perhaps irreparably, uncalculated millions (billions?) in lost revenue for the tourism and fishing industries, and a nation with a short attention span transfixed by a compelling image from a deep sea camera, brown gunk billowing out from a hole in the ocean floor, Things Getting Worse in real time.

And Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, off whose coast this tragedy is centered, is singing a new song, starkly at odds with what he said last year in a speech before the Republican faithful. Now he’s BEGGING for federal “interference.” He wants federal money, federal supplies, wants the feds to help create barrier islands to protect Louisiana wetlands from oil.

Not to pick on Jindal. He is but one prominent voice in a chorus of Gulf state officials who once preached the virtues of tiny government but have discovered, in the wake of this spreading disaster, the virtues of government that is robust enough, at a minimum, to help them out of a jam.

One hears pointed questions about President Obama’s engagement or lack thereof in the unfolding crisis. One hears accusations that the government was lax in its oversight duties and too cozy with the oil industry it was supposed to be regulating. One hears NOTHING about deregulation, about leaving the free market alone to do its magic.

You know what they say: it’s all fun and games till somebody gets hurt. Well, the Gulf Coast is hurt, hurt in ways that may take years to fully assess, much less repair. And the sudden silence from the apostles of small government and free markets is telling.

The thing is, their argument is not fundamentally wrong. Who among us does not believe government is frequently bloated, inefficient and bound by preposterous rules? Who among us does not think it is often wasteful, hideously complex and redundantly redundant?

Yes, government is not perfect. Nor is it perfectable. As adults, we should understand that. Any bureaucracy serving 309 million people and representing their interests in a world of 6.8 BILLION people, is likely always to have flaws. Thus, fixing government, making it more streamlined and responsive, is and will always be an ongoing project.

But instead of undertaking that project, people like Jindal rail against the very concept of government itself, selling the delusional notion that taxation and regulation represent the evisceration of some essential American principle. They wax eloquent about what great things the free market and the free Americans could do if government would just get off their backs.

One thinks of one’s meat oozing with salmonella, one’s paint filled with lead, one’s car getting 12 miles to the gallon, one’s self being breezily denied a job for reasons of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation and, yes, one’s ocean covered from horizon to horizon with a sheen of oil. And one shudders.

You see, government is not our enemy. Government is the imperfect embodiment of our common will. That is a not-so-fine distinction Jindal and others like him have lost in the rush to stoke the sense of grievance that burns in some conservative souls. It is a distinction they recalled with great clarity as oil began spilling upon their waters.

As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-government disciples in massive oil spills. No, with BP oil soaking the sands of his coastline, Bobby Jindal turned righteously to that big, sometimes bloated, often intrusive federal government, and asked for help. He said, Send money, send resources.

You will notice he never once said, Send less.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com. lpitts@miamiherald.com


Tom Shewmon 7 years, 6 months ago

'Government isn’t our enemy'

Where was your objectivity during Katrina, Pitts?

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

Incompetence by bush's government led to human misery after Katrina. A hurricane, of course, can be stopped by neither man nor government. What fair minded media remains in our increasingly fascist country recognizes that Obama is not blamed for an inability to prevent the unfolding of the disaster (BP and crew are to blame for that) but rather for his reaction to it. The concept of government is not our enemy, but rather who is in control of the government. It should be clear to all middle class individuals paying attention when the government is their enemy and when it is not. It tends to correspond to whether the right wingers are in control or not, in my opinion.

Jacq 7 years, 6 months ago

The comparisons between this & Katrina are mostly based on the fact that they are both large-scale disasters that occurred in the same state. In fact, this is not the sam situation as Katrina, which left an entire population without homes or access to food or clean water, and highlighted the poverty of New Orleans and the need for government aid and compassion that was both possible and largely absent. Read up on the current state of New Orleans, or better yet go visit the impoverished areas and you will see that the effects very seriously remain in the less affluent areas. I know this very well, as a good part of my family is from New Orleans. Currently, there is not much that Obama can do about the oil spill. He is not an engineer and the government does not have the technology or equipment to stop the flow. The most they can do now is provide oversight of the situation and begin looking at the cleanup effort. But even that they cannot fully undertake until the leak is at least mostly stopped, which might not happen anytime soon. That does not mean that we will not need the government: we will need them to hold BP accountable, to plan, organize, and fund the massive cleanup effort, to provide information to the public, to restructure and fully investigate the MMS, to make informed decisions on regulation of the oil industry, and to give Louisiana what help it needs in response to loss of jobs/livelihoods/tourism revenue/environmentally sensitive habitats. Louisiana isn't exactly the richest or most educated state in the nation. If you try to actually write out, point by point, the similarities and differences between Katrina and the oil spill, with actual information, you will find that the similarities pretty much stop with "large-scale disaster" and "Louisiana" and "wanting to blame someone."

mr_right_wing 7 years, 6 months ago

'Government isn’t our enemy'

...and here's the other side of that:

"Government (and obama) isn't our nursing MOMMY!"

Would you like me to quote Democratic Presidnet John F. Kennedy AGAIN!? (You know I'll do it libs!!)

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 6 months ago

Katrina was a natural disaster that we all saw coming at least a week in advance.The incompetence of th Bush administration still has me in awe. Why is it that Anderson Cooper was able to get in there before the National Guard? Let me guess, it was the libs' fault right?!?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 6 months ago

I'll throw in this, even though it isn't a direct answer to your question. I'd seen documentary after documentary (before Katrina) that pointed out that because New Orleans is below sea level, a disaster was bound to happen sooner or later. I've also seen crisises predicted for Las Vegas; a town that requires infinite quantities of water built in the middle of a barren desert! Information is a very valuable thing.

Jefferson_County 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice racist rant, Barry. But I guess we all knew that.

Stephanie Anderson 7 years, 6 months ago

Well Pitts Jr, when the people own govt again, maybe it won't be the enemy. We are "governed" by Big Papa and they have shown that to us time and time again. Bailout anyone? I think Federal aid during a disaster (tax funded fed aid, mind you--our money) is different than wanting govt to have control over everything. And it's in situations such as these that those in power jump at the chance to spread your mindset Pitts Jr.-- Disaster + Fear = MORE POWER

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

I think Pitts has gone over the edge. I think he's lost it.
He claims that small government people are silent now that a crisis of an oil leak is upon us. "....in the wake of this spreading disaster, the virtues of government that is robust enough, at a minimum, to help them out of a jam"

He claims that government "is often wasteful, hideously complex and redundantly redundant".

Typical of people who know nothing about engineering, Mr. Pitts engages in a discussion of a technical problem by offering political arguments. Neither government, nor private industry will solve the problem of the Gulf oil leak so long as marketers, PR, bureaucrats, governors, and other "suits" are running things.

Engineers will. No, Mr. Pitts, it's the need to get government off the backs of engineers. It is also getting corporate managers who serve shareholders off their backs also.

Here's what will happen. Eventually the well will be stopped from leaking. The shores of the Gulf will recover. BP will be required to pay and pay and pay for many decades. Businessmen in oil companies all over the world will reevaluate the risk of deep sea drilling. Engineers will come up with alternatives and redundancies.

Gulf states will ultimately benefit from employment funded by BP. The fisheries will return. Leonard Pitts will find another reason to hate conservatives.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

At times I prefer "TeaFool," but enjoy the bagger label too.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

Liberalism is a good reason to loathe liberals and their marxist/progressive partners.

Jay Keffer 7 years, 6 months ago

Beo loves that sexual slur. At ease sailor!

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

The key word above being "eventually."

The shores of the Gulf may recover to pre-BP Crime levels, but it will not be during the lifetime of anyone alive today.

BP will hire legions of lawyers to contest all efforts to avoid responsibility for as long as the potential profit opportunity outweighs the costs. Whenever it becomes clear that costs outweigh opportunity, the corporate entity will vanish and those responsible will scurry off to their next opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of others. This calculation also constitutes the "reevaluation" our beloved businessmen will undertake. The Gulf's citizens will benefit from BP employment in the same manner Native Americans benefited from the blankets they received from the generous looking to exploit the natural resources they controlled in prior eras. The fisheries will not return to in our lifetimes and untold legions of species that are not a commodity currently sold by man for a profit will/are lost forever.

I agree Pitts will find another reason to hate conservatives. They are quite prolific in producing reasons to do so.

tomatogrower 7 years, 6 months ago

Personally, I think the government should have seized all BP assets immediately, then put all other oil companies on notice that they will receive major inspections, and if they don't have safeguards against other accidents like this, seize their companies. They are in it for profit, not for the well being of anyone.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

Personally, I think the government should have seized all BP assets immediately

Taking another wee wee on the constitution, eh? It doesn't surprise me coming from one of your kind. It's just a stupid piece of paper written by goofy old racist white men, right? Maybe your new dictator-wannabe can have it burned and mama government can steal everyone's property.

Nope, you and your dictator-wannabe fail. Every soldier in the regular military takes an oath to defend these words. Read it and weep. "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

Jacq 7 years, 6 months ago

So maybe engineers should run our country, is that what you are saying? Otherwise I'm not sure what engineers have to do with this argument. From what I can see, not even engineers have a good idea of how to stop this leak, and they certainly won't be the ones funding and participating in the massive cleanup effort that will be required when the spill has stopped or at least slowed. And given BP's press release today, this spill might not be stopping anytime soon. It's this blind faith in the magical power of engineers and corporations to solve our problems that is so flawed. If we had the magical engineering answer, we would have already stopped the flow. Why are we still waking up to this nightmare? Turns out even the engineers don't know how. Why don't you talk to a chemical engineer working in the oil industry and see what they have to say? I did. They seemed to suggest that BP's system of not hiring their own long term engineers for projects was part of the problem. But she also said that there's really no known way to stop the leak. Engineers are not gods, like the President is not God.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Jacq, did I say that we should "run our country" with engineers? No. Engineers should deal with engineering problems and the Gulf oil blowout was and still is an engineering problem.

You said: "Otherwise I'm not sure what engineers have to do with this argument".

Jacq, they have everything to do with this problem. Nothing else will solve the problem. What are you thinking?

Now in the future, executives in government and business should impress upon the engineers that blowout is not an option. Multiply redundant systems must be in place, with blowout mitigation completely tested.

All the techniques being tried now should have been fully tested in an underwater situation. high volume pumps pushing sea water could be used to test various mitigation techniques. Heck, I could launch right now regarding all the things that the oil industry and government should have been doing to anticipate this problem.

Why didn't they? Because the engineers who rose through the ranks of corporations and the university wind up working for the government. The distinction is small between industry and government. This is true in all endeavors today. Government, research, and industry are all the same people.

And those people are not the engineers who have experience on the platform. Nope, the top industry, university, and government engineers are the dandies who ran the computers and produced the papers and gave the talks and otherwise made their way up the ladder to cushy jobs with the government. They made big buck in business, then they went government or university and got easy jobs with great benefits.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

As soon as I saw the title, I knew who had written this.......

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

I think your reading comprehension could use some improvement.

The article actually agrees with some of the criticisms of government made by conservatives.

Jacq 7 years, 6 months ago

Um... what would be the point of codifying "white, black, indian, asian, or whatever race" in this article? He is talking about a political ideology spouted by the Republican party (though interestingly enough not always practiced by the Republican party). Why would it make a difference what "race" - a very contentious designation - you are?

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

And what was incorrect in the article? Did Jindal not say those things last year, and is he not seeking massive federal funds now? Sorry to see the truth pains you so.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Repubs are bogus.

They love big government so long as they have big government doing what they believe big government should be doing like starting wars and occupying countries at a cost of unknown trillions and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of human lives.

Never in my lifetime have repubs ever reduced the size of government or the cost of government. Quite the opposite!

AND repubs have long long history of taking down financial institutions and committing high crimes.

Notice how we cannot get Sam Brownback off tax dollar payrolls and FREE medical insurance paid for by taxpayers. Perfect example. Repubs adore big government!

High Crimes: Watergate Ragan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist Reagan/Bush Iran Contra Illegal sales of weapons using Iran as the go between Bush/Cheney Home Loan Debacle Bush Lying to the world about WMD's in Iraq Bush Lying to the nation about Social Security Bush Lying to the nation as to how many banks were truly in jeopardy ( maybe only 3)

David Albertson 7 years, 6 months ago

They talk the talk but they can't walk the walk. That's for sure. That's why the Tea Party is gaining so much traction. I love it when the other side splinters.

Alabamastreet 7 years, 6 months ago

The government should seize control of all BP's operations and assets in the US. Then it should put the military of coast guard at the top of BPs operations and require their senior management structure to report directly to the military leader who is put in charge.

That is the un-conservative move possible, and it is entirely needed.

There are hypocrites on both sides of this issue -- conservatives hate the government unless its arresting illegal aliens, conducting wars and getting involved in the abortion issue -- suddenly government is worshiped. Liberals said Bush was responsible for Katrina, hard for them to defend Obama at this point.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

bush was not blamed for preventing a hurricane, rather for the incompetence of his government in addressing human need after the hurricane wrought the damage. Obama has not failed to take action in response to BP's crime.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 6 months ago

"The shores of the Gulf will recover. BP will be required to pay and pay and pay for many decades." +++ The shores will recover and the ecosystem will rebuild more sooner than later, most likely somewhere else. Jobs lost, food stamps dispersed,families displaced. BP W I L L pay and pay and pass the savings on to you! For as long as you are addicted to gasoline. Why are repubs so willing to send troops to war and praise their sacrifice yet are grossly unwilling to make the slightest sacrifice of their own?

Dan Eyler 7 years, 6 months ago

The governor of Louisiana wasn't asking for the federal government to solve his problem. He was asking that the federal government and their layer after layer of regulations get out of the way so that his state can deal with their own problems. No organization can threaten my freedom more than my own government.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

Unrestrained multinational corporate entities are sure making a run at doing so.

Jacq 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know where you get your information, but actually he is asking for federal assistance, and so are the gulf residents. if you think that Louisiana can deal with this on their own you are seriously underestimating the scope of the problem or overestimating the wealth of Louisiana.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

You're absolutely right. When the right takes money, it's their right. For others, it's socialism and they get upset. What they don't see is that the government is, with or without their consent, a vital necessity in this and other matters. This government, like all governments, are incapable of perfection. BP is completely in over its head, that is if 50 days isn't enough time to figure out how to stop the flood of oil.

I don't blame BP necessarily because after all, we need oil. BP was only doing what the government of the people and by the people allowed them to do, and that is to cut corners. We know what leaders support these shortcuts. It's a matter of public record.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Meanwhile seize BP assets before they file bankruptcy and STICK US with the bill!!!

An old old corporate trick. Even Farmland got away with it.

cfdxprt 7 years, 6 months ago

Seize the assets of a foreign corporation? Stick with the copy and paste, it makes s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y more sense. That BP stock isn't trading at pennies right now, means they have protection within "this" government.

Enough wasting time on the troll.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

Sure, but there are many in this world I do not want having complete freedom to do whatever they like.

overthemoon 7 years, 6 months ago

Monopoly of legalized force....oh come now. I'm still waiting to find out what freedoms you guys have lost. What about the responsibilities you are willing to shoulder to maintain OUR collective freedom? You know, 'freedom isn't free', right?

This is as childish as it is similar to the outcries of children who rail against their parents who require them to take out the trash, clean their rooms, use good manners at the dinner table, make a good effort to do their best in school etc. The parents make the rules to help heir kids learn to be responsible adults and make living together tolerable. The kids, spend more energy fighting the simple tasks expected of them than they would expend in simply taking the 15 or twenty minutes it takes to do their part to help the family as a whole.

So called adults who think government is taking away their 'freedom' think like children who do not see that collective society of any political structure requires some effort, sacrifice and intelligent participation to work. In the absence of an organized government, disorganized power or profit driven structures will fill the void. You'd rather have those whose only motivation is power and profit have a free rein? You think you'd have more freedom in the great State of Exxon or the Republic of Blackwater? Ha. You'd be doing what they tell you to do 24/7 and paying top dollar for your 'needs' at the company store.

overthemoon 7 years, 6 months ago

Rockefeller ordered the massacre of an entire mining camp that wanted fair wages. His 'give a dime' to everyone he met was an orchestrated PR campaign to help people forget that little 'incident'.

You want to hand the reins to corporate greed? might be careful what you ask for. Read Richard Morgan's Market Forces.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

Monopoly of legalized force....oh come now. I'm still waiting to find out what freedoms you guys have lost.

Freedom to decide for myself when I need to wear a seatbelt. I am covered by health three insurance policies while driving my cars, so don't even think about that lousy "what if you get a head injury and it costs us millions" routine.

There it is, in black and white.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

And smoking in the production portion of a business business, when I'm the only person that ever comes into the production portion of the business. Insurance forbids anyone else to enter that part of the building.

overthemoon 7 years, 6 months ago

OMFG. What a maroon. You'd like to die in an accident rather than buckle up? And you STILL haven't gotten over not smoking at work? I am a smoker and I'm fine with a smoke/ash/nicotine stain free workplace. And these are state enacted laws. State's rights are supposed to be a good thing, right?

There is no federal seat belt law; such laws are left to the individual states. The U. S. Department of Transportation, through NHTSA, offers grant programs to states; in 2002, 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico shared a $44.4 million grant (Maine and Wyoming declined to take any grant money).

The United States Congress has not attempted to enact any nationwide federal smoking ban. Therefore, smoking bans in the United States are entirely a product of state and local criminal and occupational safety and health laws.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

You'd like to die in an accident rather than buckle up?

I know when to wear a seatbelt and when I don't need one. I also know when to wear my helmet while driving. Some of us aren't so stupid that we need idiot politicians micromanaging our lives.

Besides all that, everyone dies sometime.

And you STILL haven't gotten over not smoking at work?

I don't smoke. The law is a stinking pile of crap though.

You wanted examples, those were two concrete examples of freedoms we have lost. You can make up excuses for the nanny state until you are blue in the face, but you are just making excuses for handing over your freedoms.

You should be ashamed unless you are a democrat, in which case you are just being a hypocrite as usual. Nobody expects anything more from you.

There is no federal seat belt law

I know. It's called blackmail.

occupational safety and health laws.

LOL. Given the chemicals and situations I work with on a daily basis, smoking is about the last thing I'd die from (if I smoked).

Douglas Garst 7 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Pitts, the reason Governor Bobby Jindal is calling on the "Big Federal Government" is because the actions that Governor Jindal wants to take "requires big federal government bureaucracy" to approve or Governor Jindal faces criminal charges for breaking the "big federal government laws". Governor Jindal asked to construct 11 "sand barriers" to help prevent the oil from coming ashore...did the federal government give permission? No, the "big federal government" said they had to do an "environment impact study". Duh!!!

So the crude oil hit the beaches, and President Obama saw that and said he would have the federal government work on that!!! A day late, dollar short, and Obama Stupid!!!

So Mr. Pitts, the "big federal government" is still stupid and not listening to common sense people because there is an idiot as President!!!

Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Now wait just one darn minute there Scott.. Didn't W cause Katrina and 911 and the banking industry collapse and.................

bartstop....you move to another country. The constitution is about state control, not federal control.

weeslicket 7 years, 6 months ago

The articles of confederation are about state control, not federal control. (fixed)

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

No on the former and he helped on the latter.

Larry 7 years, 6 months ago

Whoops. Not thinking this am. Thanks weeslicket.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 6 months ago

I thought it was one of Pitts best articles.

It is interesting to read comments by the same people who worship Limbaugh, Krauthammer, Hannity, O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and constantly parrot their ridiculous rhetoric (although not getting paid the same millions) criticize Pitts when all he did was point out weaknesses in the Conservative argument that most Americans were thinking anyway.

Pitts just does it in a way that nobody else can because he is a brilliant writer.

The only explanation I can come up with for the current state of politics is that they believe you and I, the average American, is just about as dumb as a cow.

And if you go along with these overpaid conservative hacks, then maybe you are.

I think the point is that we need to be constantly vigilant about who is in the government, what they are doing, and cognizant of the games these people play to mislead the American people, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or the occasional party of lunatics.

I guess the reason I feel like trashing the Republicans so much is because they just seem to be the most rotten in a barrel full of rotten apples.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 6 months ago

I think it is a problem in our system or the way our political parties have become so powerful that we are offered a very limited choice when it comes time to vote. We either have to vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate even though both sides have positions that are repulsive.

People attach themselves to one or two issues that they strongly believe in and then put blinders on.

The pressure that party leaders put on their members makes it impossible to have good government. This is the biggest problem in politics today. It is the dictatorial power of party leaders and the weakness of the people we actually elect to govern.

Someday we may find that even the President of the United States is hostage to these party leaders. You have to wonder whether George Bush, Jr. was even in charge of his administration or had much say in the party leadership.

Anyone, who just believes what these party leaders are saying and doesn't seriously question the status quo is not being a responsible citizen because it appears that the people we elect don't have much say in what is going on anymore.

Will somebody prove me wrong?

ConcernedCynic 7 years, 6 months ago

That is why when the president is pissing off both the conservatives and the liberals he is doing something right! I'm not an Obama kool-aid drinker, but this has happened on many occasion over the past year.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

I've read Leonard Pitts' column for a long time. Some he used to write were beautiful, heartfelt and eloquent. Lately he has become quite angry.

I think it is because of Obama. I think Pitts is not really any madder at right-wingers than he used to be. I think that he is disgusted with the performance of the Obama administration and is transferring his anger to the tea party.

No, Leonard, it was Obama who gave away hundreds of billions to wall street. No, Leonard, it was Obama who helped drive health care reform through congress and is now law....only to find out that the actual piece of legislation is an abomination that will not save money, but will reduce health coverage to the old and indigent and probably just won't work. No, Leonard, Big Pharm, Big Oil, Big Banking, and all the other institutions of our country didn't just turn over assets to Obama. They're still there. No Leonard President Obama is not King Obama and he doesn't have the power to change nearly as much as you thought.

You mean that some of the problems that we have today are a result not of Bush? You mean that there is a massive amount of the American culture that is not controlled one way or the other by the POTUS?

Yes, Leonard. Obama can't engineer a new set of blowout protectors for undersea oil drilling. The blowout protectors didn't function because of bad engineering. It was either bad design of equipment, or bad design of testing, or bad design of procedures........It was a bad design. And design is what engineers do.

Blame should go to the engineering managers, university professors, government regulators and everybody in the industry who didn't run each and every platform like it was a space program. They didn't. It isn't Obama's fault, or Bush's fault, or democrats or tea partiers.

Sorry folks, this is just a good ole fashioned engineering screw up. A wake up call for the oil and gas folks that their bops don't work well enough.

So Leonard, relax. This problem isn't political. Stay out of it. Take on the tea party on terms that are political and you will have plenty to write about.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

It appears that the government didn't do much in the way of overseeing these engineering factors, and simply believed what the oil companies told them.

So it's partly a political problem.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 6 months ago

It is telling that a column like this needs to be written.

The fact is many in the american right do in fact see the United States as an enemy.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 6 months ago

"You will notice he never once said, Send less."

Poignant and truthful ending to a great piece.

Danimal 7 years, 6 months ago

This whole disaster could have been averted had the administration, using the EPA, simply ordered BP to blow the well causing it to collapse in on itself and stopping the leak. Of course, BP wanted to salvage their investment in the well, so they cashed in on another investment they made in the form of campaign contributions to Obama during his political career.


The government letting BP fool around and experiment for over a month while dumping tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf everyday when they could have used 1960's techniques and technology to stop it within a few days is incredibly irresponsible. I'm afraid the sad and simple truth is that Obama, and probably all the rest of our politicians, have been in BPs pocket for years. I generally think that government should stay out of business, but when business threatens the health and industry of the nation we have government agencies that are supposed to protect us. Of course, that simply hasn't happened here.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 6 months ago

Maybe I've missed this, has the Journal World talked to our local BP gas station? With the backlash against BP, are they feeling it locally?

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

I buy gas for my vette from them because they have 92 octane. I'll continue buying in hopes that some of the money reaches the gulf cleanup effort.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

I will never spend a cent at a BP location for anything.

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

That's OK. I make up for what you don't spend there.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 6 months ago

I know I'm about to get shredded for this but.. Now that BP has made such a mess of this disaster, I say it's time to ban ALL off-shore drilling. Evidently the technology is NOT available to deal with such a crisis. We need to end our addiction to fossil fuels anyway, for the sake of our planet and the security of our nation. Lets start rehab NOW!!! Before it happens again. Shut down all off-shore rigs. And, yes, I'm boycotting BP!!

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

Since when did the ocean become someone's (or some corporation's) is property?

Liberty275 7 years, 6 months ago

Since when did the gulf become an 0cean?

Anyway, I would assume BP leased the spot where the well is drilled. Leases are subject to law which can in effect make a part of the gulf a corporation's property.

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

I suspect that the spill has exceeded the boundaries of its lease.

Also, the waterway of the gulf is clearly connected to the Atlantic. We aren't talking about a lake here. However, good catch.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

OK, grammaddy, you first. No airplane trips. No auto, bus, or train trips. Walk to everyplace and insist that all goods are produced and delivered without the use of oil. I don't from what you get money, but your lifestyle will generate many new jobs. Flint knappers will be in short supply.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 6 months ago

Everything powered by oil can be powered by something else. That, in and of itself will create jobs. It's not going to be easy but the longer we wait, the more painful it will be.

Scott Tichenor 7 years, 6 months ago

Interesting, was just having this same conversation with someone today. Republicans crying out for government to stay out of the way--until they need the help and find there's a finger to point. Hypocritical. Stay out, stay out, stay out... oops, we screwed up. Now rescue us.

Same baloney over and over.

Bush was handing out money fast as he could before he left office and no Republican had the balls to say a word.

love2fish_ks 7 years, 6 months ago

LJWorld simply amazes me. Pitts has a long track record of being nuts (9/11 truther, etc) and LJWorld continues to print his dribble. The paper should be ashamed.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Danimal, what are your demolition credentials? Last I read from NYT, the injection methods aren't working, so they are considering cutting off the bent stack atop the bop. This will allow an attached valve to stem the leak. Downside is that the bent pipe will flow more oil until the valve is placed and, if the valve cannot be placed, allow more oil to leak than if they left it alone.

The use of explosives would destroy the bop and all piping surrounding the well. If it didn't work, the well would flow more rapidly with no hope of limiting the flow until the side drilling reaches the well. Even then, the well casing might be damaged and the mitigation wouldn't work.

In short, blowing the well is the most risky thing to do.

Failure of the explosive method would wreak havoc and the oil could flow for years.

Do you know something about the well that I don't?

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Nugget, you are correct. I really don't know much about tea partiers, but isn't that one of their complaints? That Republicans and democrats aren't really any different? Isn't that the problem with Bush and now Obama? Spend money like crazy, promise wonderful things, deliver nothing? I think Leonard Pitts is unusually grumpy these days because his guy isn't hammering big business and free market and the rest into utter submission.

I think Pitts would like all conservatives and businesses to simply turn over all their money to Obama right now. Shut 'em all down.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

9-headed monster: Maybe the reason the blame is being put on federal government is that they are supposed to regulate off-shore activities.

Ah, maybe we shouldn't dog any government as much as we should dog the individual humans and the societies they create for being inept.

Let's see:

Petroleum companies and petroleum societies that include university and government research agencies that should have anticipated an inoperable bop. Not local governments. Not state governments. BP should pay so heavy a fine that the oil industry reevaluates their methods and imperatives.

Regarding Lowes, I would love it if Lowes came into the northwest part of town. They are far better than Home depot. However, I do go to Topeka and if the savings between Lowes Topeka and Lowes Larryville is worth the trip to the golden city......off I go.

I make choices, Hydra. You should too.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Fining BP is a good idea.

However, unfortunately, they'll either simply pay it as a "cost of doing business", or declare bankruptcy.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

Each of us has a choice on whether to support BP's Gulf crimes by deciding whether to give them our business.

With the wide choices of gas stations in every town in this country, I can not understand why anyone ever decides to support the terroristic destruction they have wrought on our country.

How many here still supply this corporation the funds they will use to inflict the next harm?

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Hydra, Bushco? What a joke. And what of Obamaco?

It is all the same, Hydra. Doncha see? government bureaucracies staffed by university and industry old guys. The back and forth of "experts" regardless of who is the president.
So long as people like you blame Bush, there are people who blame Obama.

Neither side is going to win. The malfeasance will continue regardless of which party is in power.

Jeezy peezy, you are jerked around regularly and you blame the other political party. What a rube.

Brent Mowery 7 years, 6 months ago

Overplayedhistory, your responses are very long, but somehow still manage to avoid a coherent thought or point. I suggest you take L1's advice and read first.

independant1 7 years, 6 months ago

A couple retorts - The diatribe here sounds like it was BPs official mission to spew oil into the gulf and kill people in the process. BP is in the business to make money. They are risk averse, they want to sell not spill oil. But then that is what extreme environmentalists preach "human commercial activity kills." Actuarial folks may tend to agree as a matter fact. How many people regularly die for say a 25 story building? Or how many per floor? The accident cause will most likely come down to human error and failed deadman safety controls. One can argue Fed Regs increase the risk by pushing drilling out to deep water instead of the shallow/closer lower risk production areas. There are costs associated with exploiting natural resources both human and monetary.

Get real.

Our governement and BP (along with the rest of the oil industry) must martial all available resources to cap this problem. Clean up the damage and take what they've learned from this tragic accident for prevention.

I'm an optimist, I think they will despite partisan arm chair quarterbacking herein.

By the way, the governments Katrina disaster response was the historically largest releif effort ever in terms of movement of material support.

Again, always the infernal optimist, the effort did rescue over 20K people. Some are still being provided for from that effort.

Bottom line, when accidents or natural disasters happen and private/commercial interests are obviously overwhelmed government must step in not as adversary but as aid. That does not translate to "we need bigger gubmunt."

Statistics have proven that the surest way to get anything out of the public mind and never hear of it again is to have a Senate Committee appointed to look into it. (Will Rogers cherokee 8/32nds)

We've already got a committee. Won't be long before the next news event marginalizes this one.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

Who is Ace talking about? "Paranoia? Check. Paramilitary? Check. Religious? Check. Not paying taxes? Check.

It think the press found Napolitano's extremists."


yourworstnightmare 7 years, 6 months ago

Mistakes in engineering and human error are one thing.

Quite another is not being prepared for a worst case scenario.

The first thing they teach you in engineering school is to plan for worst case scenario failures in what you are designing and where it will be used.

BP and their engineers utterly failed to plan for this worst-case scenario, which is the cardinal rule of engineering.

Whether not done for the sake of saving money or through just sheer negligence, this man-made and preventable disaster is clearly BP's responsibility.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

You think BP will have to give back the safety award Dear Leader's regime presented to them last year?

jonas_opines 7 years, 6 months ago

"What gives you the right to tell others what they can and can't do with their property?"

Sufficient force to back it up and enforce it, same as every other right throughout history.

jonas_opines 7 years, 6 months ago

But without sufficient might to back them up, your supposed rights are worth less than the time you took to write them down, and significantly less than the time it took to think them up.

Brent Mowery 7 years, 6 months ago

There will always be robbers, plunderers and those who want nothing more than their own personal gain at the expense of others. I agree with you, jonas, that compulsion needs to be utilized to keep those intent on harming others in check.

However, your comment seems to posit the notion that hegemonic enslavement is a right for those who are able use violent force (or the threat of violence) against others. You claim you have the right to tell others what to do if you have "sufficient force to back it up and enforce it." If a gang of men successfully forcefully create a serf out of someone who has tilled his own land for years, is this somehow a right of theirs? Certainly you see the error here in propounding a political ethic that sees the successful use of limitless force as a right.

But again, those wise enough to see the virtues of a society whose members respect the rights (life, liberty and property) of others had better be prepared to protect themselves against those willing to murder, enslave or rob others.

deec 7 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Cheney's old company provide the cement work that didn't work that led to the explosion?

Katara 7 years, 6 months ago

Surely you mean Obownow or the Obomination?

What about Obamunist? Obamaitler?

Such a lack of creativity. Tsk. Tsk.

deec 7 years, 6 months ago

This oil disaster can be attributed directly to typical shoddy work done by Haliburton and the evisceration of the regulatory agencies by shrubco. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/04/gulf-oil-spill-the-halliburton-connection.html

BigPrune 7 years, 6 months ago

...and on the road to dictatorship, Obama backers swear he had nothing to do with the explosion of the BP oil rig. British Petroleum - not a US company, perfect. Privately, hate off shore oil drilling but at the same time publicly favor offshore oil drilling, then put a moratorium on off shore drilling after the explosion. Keep Soros at bay so he doesn't drive up the price of gasoline with his hedge fund like he did right before the election. The Exxon Valdez drove up the price of gasoline, but the spill in the gulf does not.

....it's all about passing cap and trade, and the sheep will fall into line.

The libs said Bush blew up the levies in New Orleans after Katrina to punish poor blacks. Making up conspiracies is fun - even though mine sounds more believable.

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