Showing posts with label Gulf Coast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gulf Coast. Show all posts

Friday, February 01, 2019

'We haven't stopped.' (Lying, that is.)

Well, this is rich. It was laughable on Monday, Oct. 18, 1971, and it's a regular riot today, more than 47 years later.

Thanks to protectors of Louisiana's natural resources, like oil-and-gas stalwart Louisiana Land and Exploration Co., there's a lot less of Louisiana's natural resources to protect -- save for the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico that's replaced the land and marsh where those oil derricks and oil-company canals once were.

Who knew that tearing up the marsh and digging expressways for saltwater intrusion weren't ecological best practices? More importantly, who cared? 

THE OBVIOUS answer to that one is "Not enough people."

It's a sad thing to live long enough to see your homeland commit suicide. But there we are.

At least we can appreciate the irony of this ad from way back when. (Insert bitter, knowing chuckle here.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eyeless shrimp, mutant crabs, oozing fish

If you live on the Gulf Coast -- and if you care to know how screwed you are -- you might want to listen more to Al Jazeera and less to local ostriches who can't see the blind shrimp for the sandy tar balls in their eyes.

Short version of the Arab TV network's report from Louisiana: BP did a real number on the Gulf, the marshes and every form of sea life out there. Longer version: The feds say Gulf seafood is safe to eat -- that is, while there still
is Gulf seafood . . . and if you don't mind eyeless shrimp, mutant crabs that rot from the inside before they're dead and seafood with sores and lesions all over it.

That's not what people want to hear, however, which is making life really easy (not) for the researchers bearing the bad news, being that facts are a bitch.

Here's an excerpt from the print version of the story:

"The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants.

Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.

"At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these," Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP's oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: "Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets."

"Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico]," she added, "They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don't have their usual spikes … they look like they've been burned off by chemicals."


Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.

Whitehead's work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP's oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf's food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.

"What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil," Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.

According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.

"That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish," he explained. "So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can't think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish."

But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.

Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a "keystone" species in the food web of the marsh, "Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences."

Back on shore, troubled by what he had been seeing, Keath Ladner met with officials from the US Food and Drug Administration and asked them to promise that the government would protect him from litigation if someone was made sick from eating his seafood.

"They wouldn't do it," he said.

"I'm worried about the entire seafood industry of the Gulf being on the way out," he added grimly.
WE NOW return you to our previously scheduled BP propaganda spots and "Remain calm. All is well!" platitudes from state and federal officials.

HAT TIP: Rod Dreher.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

To shrimp, or not to shrimp

You don't need to pick up Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet to partake of a good Shakespearean tragedy.

All you have to do is head down to Louisiana.

The New York Times' Amy Harmon, I am sure, knew she had herself a good story when she started trekking down to Delacroix to chronicle the struggles of a shrimping family in the wake of the BPocalypse. What I wonder, though, is whether she knew she was committing Shakespeare -- albeit a Shakespearean tragedy that trails off before everybody's dead or bereft.

IF YOU'RE NOT from the state of my birth, you'll start to get what I mean pretty quickly:

While Americans were debating their reliance on fossil fuel in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in United States history, Aaron Greco was trying to decide what to do with his life. His story illuminates the singular appeal and hardships of a livelihood in jeopardy.

And as the Obama administration paves the way for deepwater drilling to resume in the gulf, it is young men like Aaron who will shoulder the direct impact of the nation’s decisions about what energy to consume and what seafood to eat in the years to come.

Few of his friends born into the Gulf Coast’s fishing communities were following their own fathers and grandfathers in the pursuit of wild seafood. Long before the oil rig exploded, rising fuel prices and competition from Asia’s cheap farmed shrimp had made a risky and physically punishing profession far less profitable: only a few thousand Louisianans now make their living fishing, down from more than 20,000 in the late 1980s.

Yet Aaron was among those of his generation still drawn to an elemental way of life. He wanted to be his own boss, to spend his days on the teeming marshes outside his door, 30 miles south of New Orleans and a world away. He wanted to pace himself to the rhythm of the oysters, crabs, and his favorite quarry since childhood, the shrimp.

“I want to chase the shrimp more than anything,” he told his girlfriend. “But I’m stuck.”

When the spill closed the waters around St. Bernard Parish, Aaron bounced between doubt and determination. His sisters pushed him to go on to college; his uncles warned of the lingering effects of dispersants used to clean up the oil. Even after the well was capped, Aaron questioned his own abilities.
IF YOU ARE from Louisiana, and if "it was good enough for my daddy" is your motteaux, you probably think the damn Yankees are making fun of you. Read on anyway.

Better yet, go to the
Times website and read the whole thing. Not that it'll do any damned good.

For Buddy, who had dropped out of school in 10th grade without ever learning to read, there had been no choice: like almost everyone else in Delacroix, descendants of Spanish-speaking Canary Islanders, he never considered anything other than fishing.

The time he did spend in school he used to advantage, singing “Sweet Caroline” to the pretty blonde in front of him on the bus, whom he soon prevailed on to marry him. But like many who grew up on the banks of the Bayou Terre aux Boeufs, he felt looked down on at the high school “up the road” — a designation that denoted social class as much as geography.

Others may have regarded them as poor, but the truth was teenagers could make good money in those days on the brackish waters that flowed into the gulf. In 1986, the year Buddy and Carolyn’s first child, Brittany, arrived, wild-caught gulf shrimp still accounted for nearly a quarter of the shrimp Americans ate, commanding the equivalent of nearly $2 per pound dockside.

And when Aaron was born, in 1990, Buddy covered the hospital bill with a few hundred sacks of oysters at $27 each.

“I paid for your stinky behind in that bayou,” he liked to remind his son, and it didn’t take long for the lesson to stick. Aaron spent his childhood catching minnows with a scoop net in the ditch near their home, his shrimper boots reaching up to his shorts. On fishing trips with his father, he lined up the little fish that dropped from the netting and stuffed them in his pockets.

“You take those out of there,” his mother commanded when she caught him. “They get in my washer and dryer, I’m going to have a smell out of this world.”

By the time Aaron was 13, he was lobbying to leave school himself. “Let me come on the boat,” he pleaded.

But Buddy wanted his middle child, and only boy, to have other options. The money in fishing was unpredictable, the work was dangerous, and there was no retirement plan. Carolyn’s father, a shrimper all his life, had had his hand ripped off in an accident with his rigging. Buddy’s father, stricken with lung cancer, hauled his oxygen tank with him onto the boat until a few days before he died in 2001.

“You finish school, Aaron,” he told his son. “You take after your mother — you smart enough to go to college.”

LARGE SWATHS of my home state -- millions of its citizens -- are the last of the Mohicans . . . or the Sioux in an eternal Wounded Knee. The world has fundamentally changed around them; they stay the same.

The economy upon which they have staked -- continue to stake -- their all is sinking as fast as what's left of the marshland under their feet. The only question is what will slip beneath the Gulf swells first, the land or the people who have populated it for generations.

Tradition is a fine thing. But it can turn deadly when it leads to ossification -- to turning one's back on education and new ideas. Holding fast to a way of life is a noble thing, except when it is untenable.

Louisiana is fast becoming untenable. All the things crucial to its survival are all the things in which it so desperately lags.

Ay, there's the rub . . . to adapt and forswear a way of life, doomed though it may be, or to follow in thy father's footsteps, yea, though they lead to, and over, a precipice.
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. . . .
TO BE, or not to be -- that is the question. I dread the forthcoming answer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The chains 'businessmen' forge in life. . . .

Halliburton and BP knew weeks before the fatal explosion of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the bottom of the well was unstable but still went ahead with the job, the presidential commission investigating the accident said on Thursday.

In the first official finding of responsibility for the blowout, which killed 11 workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in American history, the commission staff determined that Halliburton had conducted three laboratory tests that indicated that the cement mixture did not meet industry standards.

The result of at least one of those tests was given on March 8 to BP, which failed to act upon it, the panel’s lead investigator, Fred H. Bartlit Jr., said in a letter delivered to the commissioners on Thursday.

Another Halliburton cement test, carried out about a week before the blowout of the well on April 20, also found the mixture to be unstable, yet those findings were never sent to BP, Mr. Bartlit found.

Although Mr. Bartlit does not specifically identify the cement failure as the sole or even primary cause of the blowout, he makes clear in his letter that if the cement had done its job and kept the highly pressured oil and gas out of the well bore, there would not have been an accident.

“We have known for some time that the cement used to secure the production casing and isolate the hydrocarbon zone at the bottom of the Macondo well must have failed in some manner,” he said in his letter to the seven members of the presidential commission. “The cement should have prevented hydrocarbons from entering the well.”

The failure of the cement set off a complex and ultimately deadly cascade of events as oil and gas exploded upward from the 18,000-foot-deep well. The blowout preventer, which sits on the ocean floor atop the well and is supposed to contain a well bore blowout, also failed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

. . . and if the Gulf don't rise

This is a storm surge.

This was what Katrina was like in St. Bernard Parish, La. -- Aug. 29, 2005.

This is why, when the authorities tell you to get your ass out of Dodge, you get your ass out of Dodge. And as we allow the Louisiana coastal wetlands to disappear, this is the fate awaiting some people who never took an inch of water from Katrina.

will be another Katrina. Just like there was another Betsy, and another Camille.

And the next one just might blow through the wetlands that are no more and take out the port that delivers a third of the oil and gas to which you are currently addicted.

Happy motoring, America.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Répétez après moi: The oil is gone

Move along. Nothing to see here on the Gulf Coast.

Everything's fine. The oil is gone.

Pay no attention to all the dead birds in Louisiana, or to the men in black fatigues spraying Corexit -- the most toxic variant of Corexit the feds and BP say hasn't been used in months -- all along the Alabama shoreline.

Really, remain calm.
All is well.

THE FOLKS at the Louisiana Environmental Action Network are just troublemakers. Yeah, that's the ticket:
We continued our sampling efforts last week in Terrebonne Bay with Chief Chuckie Verdin of the Pointe Au Chien indian community.

LEAN's relationship with Pointe Au Chien began after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when we delivered relief supplies there at the request of Chief Chuckie. LEAN was again contacted by the Pointe Au Chien community in recent days with concerns about impacts from the BP oil spill disaster on the bays and estuaries that they depend on. On Thursday, August 19, 2010 LEAN/LMRK sampling team (Technical Advisor Wilma Subra, Michael Orr, Jeffrey Dubinsky and myself) went on a sampling trip into Terrebonne Bay led by Chief Chuckie and Kurt Dardar.

We were also accompanied by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau and environmentalist and filmmaker in her own right, and her crew. Last year Alexandra and the crew traveled to Louisiana to learn about the impacts of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone on locals from Wilma. This year they returned to document Wilma's work on the BP oil spill disaster so we took them out with us on a sampling mission.

In "Julia," the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Boston Whaler and a local fishing vessel we made our way south from Pointe Au Chien across Lake Chien and Lake Felicity to Modoto Island. What we encountered there stunned us all. The ground was littered with dead birds. So many dead birds that we aren't sure how many were out there, many dozens of dead birds just in the small area which we surveyed on the island. The dead appeared to included mostly seagulls and terns though some were badly decayed and identification was difficult. It was clear to me by the various states of decay, from scattered bones to a tern that couldn't have been dead for more than a day and everything in between, that this is an ongoing situation.

OH . . . pay no attention to this video, either. It's the "lamestream media," and those troublemakers at WKRG in Mobile are just trying to get folks agitated.

They're almost as bad at the extremists over at Washington's Blog. We pass this scurrilous tidbit of alarmist bloggage along just so you'll know what kind of stuff to ignore:
A few days ago, Naman was sent a sample of water from Cotton Bayou, Alabama.

Naman found 13.3 parts per million of the dispersant Corexit in the sample:More imporantly, Naman told me that he found 2-butoxyethanol in the sample.

BP and Nalco - the manufacturer of Corexit - have said that dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol is no longer being sprayed in the Gulf. As the New York Times noted in June:
Corexit 9527, used in lesser quantities during the earlier days of the spill response, is designated a chronic and acute health hazard by EPA. The 9527 formula contains 2-butoxyethanol, pinpointed as the cause of lingering health problems experienced by cleanup workers after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and propylene glycol, a commonly used solvent.

Corexit 9500, described by [Nalco's spokesman] as the "sole product" Nalco has manufactured for the Gulf since late April, contains propylene glycol and light petroleum distillates, a type of chemical refined from crude oil.
Moreover, Naman said that he searched for the main ingredient in the less toxic 9500 version - propylene glycol - but there was none present. In other words, Naman found the most toxic ingredient in 9527 and did not find the chemical marker for 9500.

Since BP and Nalco say that no dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol has been sprayed in the Gulf for many months, that either means:

(1) BP has been lying, and it is still using 2-butoxyethanol. In other words, BP is still Corexit 9527 in the Gulf


(2) The dispersant isn't breaking down nearly as quickly as hoped, and the more toxic form of Corexit used long ago is still present in the Gulf.

Naman told me he used EPA-approved methods for testing the sample, but that a toxicologist working for BP is questioning everything he is doing, and trying to intimidate Naman by saying that he's been asked to look into who Naman is working with.

I asked Naman if he could rule out the second possibility: that the 2-butoxyethanol he found was from a months-old applications of the more toxic version of Corexit. I assumed that he would say that, as a chemist, he could not rule out that possibility.

However, Naman told me that he went to Dauphin Island, Alabama, last night. He said that he personally saw huge 250-500 gallon barrels all over the place with labels which said:

Corexit 9527


Naman further said he saw mercenaries dressed in all black fatigues, using gps coordinates, applying Corexit 9527 at Dauphin Island and at Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The mercenaries were "Blackwater"-type mercenaries, and Naman assumed they must have been hired either by BP or the government.

Naman also confirmed - as previously reported - that the Corexit 9527 is being sprayed at night, and that it is being applied in such a haphazard manner that undiluted 9527 is running onto beach sand.
PLEASE. Pay no attention to the irresponsible elements challenging the New Corporate Order.

Or else.

And remember, boys and girls, greed is good!

Monday, August 09, 2010

What we don't know won't hurt BP

We don't know what we don't know about what BP has done to the Gulf of Mexico . . . and all the fish in the sea.

And the Angel of Oily Death is happy to keep it that way.

When you're suspected of criminal acts, and surely liable for God knows how much civilly, you'd just as soon the Almighty be the only one Who knows the full extent of what you've done.

I suspect that's why BP . . . British Petroleum . . . the Angel of Oily Death . . . Those Lousy Rotten Capitalist-Pig Bastards -- whatever the hell you wish to call that destroyer of worlds -- is balking at paying for long-term testing of Gulf seafood.

THIS LITTLE THING is merely crucial in determining whether or not your oyster po-boy is going to send you to an early grave, or whether you're getting a heapin' helpin' of petroleum and Corexit with that shrimp etoufée or crab au gratin. New Orleans' WWL television reports:
State Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham says so far, BP is refusing to commit the dollars.

"BP has been slower and slower in responding to us and seems to be dragging their feet in making a commitment to fund the studies that we're going to need to ensure that this multi-billion dollar industry is viable in Louisiana," said Barham.

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles says the company is still considering the seafood testing plan.

"Some of those requests went quite far out in time," said Suttles. "They were looking at up to 20 years. At this point in the response, it just isn't appropriate to actually look that far out."

Suttles suggests that the state look at paying for the program with money BP has already pledged to the oil spill recovery effort.

"The gulf research initiative, the $500 million we have made available to do long term impact assessments here in the gulf," said Suttles.

Secretary Barham says if BP doesn't voluntarily agree to the long term seafood testing plan, there are both criminal and civil remedies the state can use in an attempt to force BP to pay up.

It may be more and more difficult to talk to BP," said Barham. "It may be their attorneys that we're talking to."
IT'S ALL ABOUT confidence. It's about whether people are confident that Gulf seafood won't hurt them. It's about whether the Gulf fishing industry will survive or not.

But, hey! The well's no longer gushing! BP figures it's not their problem -- at least not until the law tells them it is.

And the "small people," fishermen and consumers alike, get drilled again.

Monday, August 02, 2010

They died for your sins

Never has there been a more appropriately named place than Delacroix, La.

Delacroix. De la croix.

Of the cross.

Two millennia ago, civilized society hung the Son of God on a cross and killed him due to practical concerns, as recounted in John 11:
So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation."
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You
know nothing,

nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish."
He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.
TWO MILLENNIA LATER, modern, industrial society hung Delacroix, its people and their way of life on a modern, industrial cross and killed it due to practical concerns, as recounted in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune:
On a blustery spring day, Delacroix native Lloyd Serigne stands on the banks of Bayou Terre aux Boeufs, 30 miles south of New Orleans, talking about the village that raised him in the 1950s. Reaching into a deep well of memories, he paints an idyllic picture: A community of several hundred fishers, farmers and trappers whose homes were surrounded by a wetlands paradise of high ridges, marshes and swamps. The outside world -- unwanted, unneeded -- seemed a thousand miles away.

But the scene surrounding him only mocks that vision.

Naked slabs and raw pilings that once supported homes stand like tombstones in open, soggy ground. Bare tree trunks rise from a salt marsh that used to be a vegetable field. Battered home appliances, ice chests and derelict boats litter the bank while a high tide moves through the remains of a hardwood forest. And a steady stream of heavy equipment heads down the road to fight the invasion of BP's oil.

None of it matches memories that seem as sharp as yesterday's news.

"Really, what we had here was a paradise -- a natural paradise," Serigne, 70, says with a smile of fond remembrance. He pauses to shake his head, a gesture half of wonder, half of despair.

"But when I try to tell the young people about this, they just stare at me like I'm crazy. They just can't imagine what was here such a short time ago.

"And now it's gone. Just gone."
DELACROIX. It died for your sins -- or, more specifically, for your SUV and all your stuff. A people, a culture and a now-gone landscape have born a cross of our society's making.

And the blood of people, cultures and whole places that are no more is upon us and our children . . . and our avarice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not safe for work . . . or most places

This is what social activism has come to in a country with the manners of Attila and the mind of Forrest Gump.

Where every single person is on the make.

And, no, this online ad
(as you no doubt can tell from the title) is not safe for work. Or for in front of the kids. Or for most places where people might be offended by a 5-year-old dropping the F-bomb.

I MEAN, that is just so fu . . . well, you know.

But, hey! A whopping five bucks out of the $13 price of every T-shirt goes to a charity devoted to "unf***ing the Gulf." And people get to go online and vote on what charities to fund.

They'll probably end up funding free prostitutes for oil-spill cleanup workers. Somehow, that would be fitting . . . or at least in character for this fine example of Social Activism for Loutish Dummies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A foundation of . . . sand

Oh, what a tangled web he weaves when Bobby Jindal first practices to deceive.

Here's a good one, from an op-ed piece the Louisiana governor had today
in The (Shreveport) Times:
When booms did begin to arrive, it was too little and too late in many areas, so we proposed a 24-segment sand berm plan to protect our shoreline by using the natural framework of our barrier islands to help block and trap oil for collection before it gets into our marshes. Even after we demonstrated the effectiveness of sand berms, it took us weeks to convince the Coast Guard to approve even six segments from this plan, and then longer for us to force BP to fund the work.

In what has now become a pattern, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife shut down our dredging operations on the northern Chandeleurs
[sic] Islands recently where we had already created 4,000 feet of land to protect our interior wetlands from oil impact, and indeed it has already worked to stop oil. A U.S. Department of Interior official said they were worried that our dredging operations would hurt a bird habitat nearby. The only problem with that is we were dredging in a permitted area in open water and there isn't a place for a bird to land for a mile.
IN THE PHOTO above, you can see all the earth-moving equipment several feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, atop one of the governor's "effective" sand berms.

The trouble with building sand berms in the middle of the ocean, however, is that the waves wash them away absent something to hold them together -- riprap, or grasses and other vegetation, for example. Obviously, nothing's holding these berms together.

ABOVE is one of the berms off the Chandeleur Islands on June 25. Next is that same berm July 2, photographed from a higher altitude.

AND THEN . . . last week. Even accounting for the possibility of a really high tide, that doesn't look like engineering success -- or an effective oil-spill barrier.

YOU UNDERSTAND the need to try even iffy propositions, given the urgency here and the consequences of doing absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, the chance of doing anything useful on the Louisiana coast is diminished by the Mexican standoff between the dithering, incompetent Obama Administration and the hyperventilating, mau-mauing (and clueless) tag team of Jindal and the perpetually apoplectic president of Plaquemines Parish, Billy Nungesser.

I had wanted to think the best of folks like Nungesser and Jindal in this, even though I see Jindal as, alas, an even bigger disaster as governor than Kathleen Blanco. In short, I've been away from Louisiana long enough that my Spidey senses have atrophied some.

In other words, I f***ed up. I trusted that a collection of Louisiana politicians couldn't be that stupid or --
alternatively -- cynical.

READ for yourself what had to say Monday about what a boondoggle this is, a news item based on a retired professor's blog post. And reflect now that this crew is all about building giant rock jetties across an inlet by Grand Isle.
A dramatic series of of aerial images show that plans to build artificial islands to block oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from reaching Louisiana's sensitive marshland appear to be crumbling. Literally.

Two months ago, against the advice of many coastal scientists, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal began furiously campaigning for the construction of six artificial islands to hold back the advancing oil. The federal government quickly granted Jindal his wish, and construction on the islands has been continuing apace.

But images taken of one construction site near the northern edge of the Chandeleur islands appear to show the sea washing away a giant sand berm over the course of about two weeks.

The first image . . . was taken on June 25. The second and third . . . were taken from roughly the same vantage point on July 2 and 7. All three images were first published yesterday by coastal scientist Leonard Bahr on his blog, LACoastPost.

Bahr, a former researcher at Louisiana State University, spent 18 years in the governor's office, advising five administrations on their coastal policy.

"There have been a number of plans over 20 years to save the coast," he said. "But after Katrina, it morphed into 'coastal protection,' which gives me pause."

The crucial difference is that within the Jindal administration, coastal policy has been cast as a war between man and the sea. Plans have been devised to build massive levees and other earthworks to defend the Mississippi River delta and its marshes from the Gulf of Mexico.


"Building what they call 'the Louisiana wall' makes sense at first, but the science doesn't support it," Bahr said. "The science should be leading this issue, but it isn't. It never has."

Unfortunately, the berms project has charged ahead in this vein, seeking to build (and spend hundreds of millions of dollars) first, and ask questions later.

LET ME say again: I was wrong. And CNN and Anderson Cooper are just as wrong -- probably more so -- for giving mau-mauers like Jindal and Nungesser a nightly pass to swamp unsuspecting viewers with pure propaganda when they no more know their ass from a hole in the ground than do Obama's nincompoop bureaucrats.

Then again, these Yankees can be forgiven, I suppose, for not knowing the score. I should have known better, that Louisianians -- particularly their elected officials -- have an almost limitless capacity for losing their s*** in a crisis. This almost always results in people running around, wild-eyed, saying crazy things and doing things even crazier.

Remember Ray Nagin's and police chief Eddie Compass' blood-curdling-yet-utterly-false reports about all the rapes and murders in the Superdome after Katrina? And the FBI is still cleaning up the aftermath of New Orleans cops killing innocent civilians in Algiers and on the Danziger Bridge.

God knows what fresh hell will come out of this one-two punch of federal deadheads and Louisiana pieces o' work.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Ve haff veys uff makink you see no evil

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. . . .

And now the Obama Administration is out-Bushing the Bushies with an outright ban on the public -- or the press -- seeing what's going on with . . . anything. No one will be able, under penalty of federal law, to get close enough to clean-up boats or oil booms to see our government at work.

Or not.

FROM A story in Thursday's Times-Picayune in New Orleans:
The Coast Guard has put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public - including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil spill - from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.

According to a news release from the Unified Command, violation of the "safety zone" rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony. Because booms are often placed more than 40 feet on the outside of islands or marsh grasses, the 65-foot rule could make it difficult to photograph and document the impacts of oil on land and wildlife, media representatives said.

But federal officials said the buffer zone is essential to the clean-up effort.

"The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom," the news release said.

The Coast Guard on Tuesday had initially established an even stricter "safety zone" of more than 300 feet, but reduced the distance to 20 meters - 65 feet - on Wednesday. In order to get within the 65-foot limit, media must call the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans, Edwin Stanton, to get permission.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, said in a press briefing Thursday that it is "not unusual at all" for the Coast Guard to establish such a safety zone, likening it to a safety measure that would be enacted for "marine events" or "fireworks demonstrations" or for "cruise ships going in and out of port."

Allen said BP had not brought up the issue, but that he had received some complaints from county commissioners in Florida and other local elected officials who "thought that there was a chance that somebody would get hurt or they would have a problem with the boom itself."

Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert, who has been documenting the oil spill, raised concerns about the restrictions within his news organization on Wednesday. He has asked for a sit-down with Coast Guard officials to discuss the new policy - and the penalties - but has not received a response.
SOMEONE NEEDS to explain to President Obama and his enforcers that bad PR starts at the point where you begin to make tea-party paranoiacs' looniest pronouncements begin to look . . . prescient.

Acting like a bunch of thugs while performing official duties like the mayor's incompetent brother-in-law appointee is no way to inspire confidence in the federal government's response to a national environmental catastrophe. As I've said and said, the final crisis coming out of the BPocalypse will be one of governmental legitimacy.

And, ultimately, Obama won't be able to blame that one on George Bush.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blithering Pinheads

Dear oiled wildlife: You're screwed.

Here's what happened Saturday when someone called BP's Oiled Wildlife Hotline:
"She kept putting us on hold constantly, and then she came back and asked me what restaurant I was close to. And obviously we're not near any restaurants, we're in the bay, out near an island -- Cat Island -- and she didn't understand what Cat Island was. She kept asking me what state I was in."
THING IS, you'd think these morons would know where Cat Island was by now. Saturday's wasn't the first call to the hotline from there:

(866) 557-1401. It's where IQ tests go to die.

Gulf wildlife, too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Calling Sally Struthers. . . .

All Obama's horses and all BP's men can't put a good shrimp po-boy back together again.

This nursery rhyme from the oily bowels of hell represents yet another face of the BPocalypse, another glimpse into a culture and a people being murdered as surely as greed corrupts . . . and corporate greed corrupts absolutely.

When Tony Hayward and the feds are done with south Louisiana, I wonder whether Sally Struthers will trek down there to make Cajun Children's Fund ads with starving bayou babies?

HERE'S A little thing from The Associated Press, whose reporter is surveying the wreckage down near the End of the World, cher:
Vicki Guillot has served her last seafood po-boy.

The local bounty of fresh shrimp and oysters that once kept the only restaurant in this rural Louisiana town bustling can no longer be culled from the Gulf of Mexico because of the massive oil spill that has fouled the water.

All her distributors can offer her now is imported shrimp at twice the price she was paying 10 weeks ago before an oil rig explosion triggered the disaster that has dumped millions of gallons of crude off the Gulf Coast.

"The last price I got from him was for imported shrimp, and I said, 'No thank you,'" Guillot said Thursday. "Our waters are all around here, our boys fished all the time. To buy imported?"

Then, she shook her head from side to side as she broke down in tears in the kitchen of Debbie's Cafe.

Guillot, 49, had to close the restaurant for good Tuesday after just six months in business.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sign of the times

No, the oil spill never was funny. But whoever was behind the "BP cleanup crew" Twitter feed helped to keep us sane as we were hit with daily deluges of tragedy.

And now the BPocalypse claims another victim --
our sense of humor.

I concur with the above sentiments concerning BP. Rat-bastard genocide mongers.