Gas prices expected to drop below $3 — Republicans suddenly silent on Obama’s role

Think Progress reports, “Experts predict average gas prices may fall below $3 this fall after dropping 14 cents in two weeks. When prices hit a record high, Republicans attributed sole responsibility to President Obama, even though there is no evidence that factors like drilling impact what consumers pay. Just two months ago, Republicans said Obama shouldered the blame for rising gas costs, and that only he had the “key” to lower gas prices…

“Are Republicans now reversing their rhetoric and giving Obama credit for falling gas prices? Of course not. [...] Obama’s policies haven’t changed since April: the Keystone XL pipeline has not been built, drilling hasn’t drastically changed, and the same regulations are in place. Yet gas prices have fallen. Economics says he isn’t responsible, either way.”


image: think4yourself

Of course, if prices do go back up it won’t be because of Obama’s policies either — though we can be sure that Republicans will sell it that way even if Mother Nature is to blame:

As of Sunday, 23 percent of oil and gas production in the region had been suspended, according to a government hurricane response team. Employees have been evacuated from 13 drilling rigs and 61 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was not expected to result in higher oil and gas prices. “It’s largely a non-event for oil,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

Wednesday morning in the bunker

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Suining public baths in China's Sichuan province.

Misc

From Is Google Making Us Stupid?: “The Internet is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.” (Nicholas Carr “The Shallows” ~ NPR)
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More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one — not industry, not government — is checking to see if they are leaking. (AP)
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BP’s embattled CEO, Tony Hayward, flew to the wealthy emirate of Abu Dhabi to meet officials amid speculation the oil giant is looking to raise cash to cover clean up costs from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. (ThinkProgress)

Lake Pontchartrain, which has until now been free of oil from the BP spill, is now home to tar balls and an oil sheen. (CSMonitor)
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U.S. corporations are sitting on a lot of cash, but not spending it. If the U.S. government were to borrow some of the cash corporations aren’t spending, and spend it on, say, public works, wouldn’t this also create jobs? (Paul Krugman)

News / Politics

Het Laaste Niews is reporting that when authorities searched the home of the former archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, they discovered a hidden cache of documents and photographs on notorious child sex killer Marc Dutroux — documents that Danneels was not supposed to have. (LGF)
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Charles Manson family acolyte Leslie Van Houten has been denied parole for the 19th time because she “still poses a risk to society,” California authorities said. (CNN)
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President Obama will use the congressional recess to bypass the Senate and appoint Harvard Professor Donald Berwick to[day] to oversee Medicare and Medicaid. (Boston.com)
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The Justice Department has decided to file suit against Arizona on grounds that the state’s new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives. (WaPo)
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A 4-year-old girl taken from her Louisiana, Missouri front yard has been found alive 80 miles away near St. Louis. (MSNBC)
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Morning reading

Politics:

DNC TV Ad: ‘Stop Apologizing’
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According to John Cole, Keith Olbermann quit DKos because someone criticized him and accused him of planned fauxtrage.

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Bob Cesca notes the U.S. Senate, including 21 Democrats, voted to continue paying Big Oil’s $35 billion annual welfare check — in the midst of the biggest environmental disaster in American history but voted down the extension of unemployment benefits for jobless Americans.

BP:

Best comment on BP Chairman Tony Hayward will step down from managing daily operations in Gulf:

If his appearance yesterday is any indication, he has no clue what the daily operations are. ~Soup

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via Desdemona Despair (it’s definitely worth a few minutes to page down and see the images of the Gulf on this blog):

Burning  oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, 17 June 2010. James Duncan  Davidson via flickr

James Duncan Davidson, TED’s conference photographer, is among a crew of five photographers and videographers reporting on the Gulf of Mexico for the TEDxOilSpill Expedition. His photos, taken aboard a plane above the Deepwater Horizon accident site, reveal the staggering extent of the oil slick.

Aerial photos of the oil slick

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via Wonkette:

[T]he Washington Post just posted this story with the view from BP’s partner on the Gulf well. Guess what? The partner company says BP was “reckless” and the whole disaster was “preventable.” Good to know!

It was the first time since the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that Anadarko Petroleum had given its view of the accident, and its chief executive, Jim Hackett, did not mince words. In a statement, Hackett said he was “shocked” by information that has emerged from investigations of the accident. He said it “indicates BP operated unsafely and failed to monitor and react to several critical warning signs during the drilling of the Macondo well.”

Misc:

Who knew? via TYWKIWDBI:

“Unlike the dog or the horse… the cat walks by moving the front and back legs on one side of its body and then the front and back legs on the other. The only other animals to move that way are the camel and the giraffe.”

– from Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats, by Michael Bishop, in Nebula Awards 28 (1994).

I don’t see it though

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The founder of Wikileaks fears the U.S. will detain him and is currently in hiding. But in an email to supporters, he says he has new video of alleged U.S. ‘massacre’ in Afghanistan that’s more shocking than the first.

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“Hardly pristine” is putting it mildly

David Kurtz | TPM:

I mentioned last night that the Gulf of Mexico is hardly pristine. Here’s a map of U.S. natural gas pipelines. Pay particular attention to the Louisiana coast:

(click to embiggen)
pipeline map

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Obama: I don’t want to hear that BP is ‘nickel-and-diming’ people in the Gulf. “I am furious”

President Obama: June 4, 2010:

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“But I want BP to be very clear, they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don’t want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time.”

Speaking from Grand Isle, Louisiana this morning

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The President discusses the hardships local residents and small business owners are facing as a result of the BP oil spill. He pledges to make sure those responsible do not shortchange them. [Whitehouse]

********** UPDATE: Obama on Larry King: “I am furious”

KING: Some — I know you — you appear so calm.

Are you angry at BP?

OBAMA: You know, I am furious at this entire situation, because this is an example of where somebody didn’t think through the consequences of their actions. And it is imperiling not just a handful of people, this is — this is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for, potentially, years. So…

KING: Has the company felt your anger?

OBAMA: Well, they have felt the anger. But what I haven’t seen as much as I’d like is the kind of rapid response.

Now, they want to solve the problem, too, because this is cost — costing them a lot of money. And the one thing that I think is important to underscore is that I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people. But that’s not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem. And, ultimately, this isn’t about me and how angry I am. Ultimately, this is about the people down in the Gulf who are being impacted and what am I doing to make sure that they’re able to salvage their way of life?
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Video animation: How far the oil may spread

[UCAR]: BOULDER—This animation shows one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean. This is not a forecast, but rather, it illustrates a likely dispersal pathway of the oil for roughly four months following the spill. It assumes oil spilling continuously from April 20 to June 20.
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I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Will the oil reach Florida?’” says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, who worked on the study. “Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood.”

[UCAR]

Maddow: That Was Then, This Is Then

“The more spills change, the more they stay the same.”

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Rachel Maddow reports on an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 1979 — 31 years ago — in the exact same spot. Every technique that is being employed today to attempt to contain the blow out from the Deepwater Horizon was done in 1979 when the Ixtoc rig erupted. Everything. There’s been NO ADVANCEMENT in technology in 31 years.

And Maddow reports that, coincidentally, the company which owned the Ixtoc rig was called Sedco… Sedco later became known as Transocean.

[MSNBC]
[Daily Wh.at]
[Ixtoc Wiki]
[Sedco--Transocean Wiki]