Interview With Environmental Artist Franke James (part the 2nd) - Here's the second part of my freewheeling interview with environmental artist and activist Franke James. We discuss the pro-active philosophy that guides...
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It's hard not to like Rachel's version better.
Still, there were some good things in the speech. Not in specifics but the long term goals and the over-arching theme that it is time to get off oil dependence is a good start. Other than that though, the speech offered little reassurance to progressives who have been waiting action on AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). But Obama doesn't directly address climate change or global warming in his speech because no one wants to hear about it. There are allusions, but that is all. No sticking his chin out and laying it on the line. Vague assurances that BP will pay and they'll never give up on the people of the Gulf coast. Is that the voice of a politician who believes he can sell his vision to his constituents?
Has a year-and-a-half of non-stop demagoguery by the right neutered the President to the point that he only speaks in vague platitudes for fear of the next day's backlash? Or is this the first step towards a clean energy bill and future? Maybe he's not trying to reach the choir with this speech. Maybe he just wants the average person who doesn't get embroiled in the day to day madness of partisan politics to understand something very serious is going on here and it will take time and effort and a change of direction to fix it.
I'm the first guy to cut Obama slack. I know it. I read the complaints of other liberals and progressives and worry that they're forgetting what the alternative is - and it was eight long years of murderous god-awful. The sad thing is that there has been a carryover. Not just of the debts and two unfinished wars, but some of the policies as well. He has not undone rendition or put an end to torture or Gitmo or a lot of the other things he said he's do - he has even defended the Bush administration's handling of the Mahar Arar case though it was clearly demonstrated Arar was guilty of no crimes. He was arrested and renditioned to Syria where he was tortured. No apology, no prosecutions for wrongful imprisonment, nothing! The NYT's calls it disgraceful, and they're right.
As for BP though, he seems to be making good on his promise to make them pay as today they agreed to the $20 billion dollar escrow account to meet the mounting claims that will be administered by a third party. So that's a victory, but it's not clear if it's the pressure Obama is bringing to bear, or if BP has finally come to their senses and are going to try and salvage what they can of their reputation so that next year they can still remain in business. Their credit rating was downgraded by six notches today to just above junk status.
News on the spill itself has the well gushing as much as 60,000 barrels per day into the ocean but there's hope that a second containment system may help to mitigate 90% of that by as early as next week. That's pretty much where the good news ends. There's talk over at The Oil Drum, a sounding board for petroleum geologists, that the gusher may be unstoppable and get far worse before the relief wells are dug. I've seen hints at this elsewhere, let's hope they're wrong.
As for wankery on the subject, well that continues at the regular rate. Palin lies about what Obama's said on the subject - this should come under the heading of water is wet. BP, in yet another winning move, hired mercenaries to keep people away from the despoiled beaches. And just yesterday, big oil executives were lobbying for tax breaks and subsidies. These are the most profitable corporations in the history of the world and they want welfare.
To close on a perfect note, the Sierra Club reports that clean beaches in New Jersey make more money than off-shore drilling will. The only god is the god of irony - do not trifle with him!