The Campaign Spot

Don’t Worry, the Commission Is on the Case!

In today’s Jolt:

The Obama Oil Spill Commission, Every Bit as Effective as Expected

We might be at a turning point in the Gulf, but it feels like we’ve heard that before: “suddenly last Friday, [Thad] Allen announced that BP would install a tight-fitting containment cap that the administration thinks can stop within days all oil from leaking into the Gulf until the well is killed. Disaster response and environmental experts are divided over how harshly to critique the administration’s initial response. More than 540 miles of coastline are oiled. About one-third of federal waters in the Gulf — 81,181 square miles — are closed to fishing. As much as 80 percent of the oil that has spilled might still be in the water or along the coast, if the government’s high-range estimate of 60,000 barrels per day is accurate.”

Well, how’s that . . .(groan) special commission working? Surely now that they’ve finally gotten around to their first meeting, they’re kicking you-know-what and taking names? The Wall Street Journal: “The presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill spent the day hearing from representatives of the fishing and tourism industries, and generally steering away from questions about why the accident occurred. The seven-member panel, holding a hearing in New Orleans, also heard from BP North America senior vice president Kent Wells, who discussed what BP was doing to stop the leak. But the panelists steered clear of asking Wells about the causes of the spill.”

Well, I’m glad they’ve finally established that the fishing and tourism industries are being hurt. Clearly, we needed a seven-member special commission to figure that out.

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper is doing yeoman’s’ work on this story that so many outlets would prefer to forget: “While national reporters are fighting the Obama administration’s lack of transparency, they’re not reporting the Obama administration’s lack of competence. Every minute a correspondent scuba dives into the Gulf to reveal that oil is, well, murky, or an anchor shows you another tarball, we miss out on real journalistic oversight… Yes, the story that the White House is engaging in a cover-up mentality is important. As the Louisville Courier-Journal reported yesterday: “The National Press Photographers Association has sent a letter to President Obama expressing outrage at the new rules and requesting that he rescind them. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a union that includes broadcast journalists, is monitoring reports of denial of access and censorship.”

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Ohio Bans ‘Nature Rights’

Finally! After voters in Toledo granted "rights" to Lake Erie -- in a special election, it should be noted, with minuscule turnout -- Ohio has outlawed the enforcement of "nature rights" in a budget bill signed by the governor. From the legislation: Sec. 2305.011...[Definitions omitted] (B) Nature or any ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More