Monday, May 31, 2010

A modest proposal

Lies, lies, lies. According to a report on MSNBC Sunday, BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana's coastal marshes.

During a tour of a company staging area for cleanup workers, Hayward said BP's sampling showed "no evidence" that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn't elaborate on how the testing was done.

"The oil is on the surface," Hayward said. "Oil has a specific gravity that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because of the difference in specific gravity."

Scientists from several universities have reported plumes of what appears to be oil suspended in clouds stretching for miles and reaching hundreds of feet beneath the Gulf's surface.

Those findings — from the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Southern Mississippi University and other institutions — were based on initial observations of water samples taken in the Gulf over the last several weeks. They continue to be analyzed.

One researcher said Sunday that their findings are bolstered by the fact that scientists from different institutions have come to similar conclusions after doing separate testing.

"There's been enough evidence from enough different sources," said Marine scientist James Cowan of Louisiana State University, who reported finding a plume last week of oil about 50 miles from the spill site that reached to depths of at least 400 feet.

Hayward is the same guy that made such outrageous claims as "Nobody wants this spill to be contained more than I do"; "I want my life back"; and my personal favorite "Why did this happen to me?"

Well, the oil rig workers who died in the explosion created by Hayward's shoddy practices want their lives back too. The thousands of fishermen and their families whose lives are now ruined by Hayward's folly want their lives back too. Countless, dolphins, turtles, redfish pelicans, migratory birds and other creatures would ask for their lives back if they could.

When a serial killer murders dozens of people does he ask "Why did this happen to me?" When a drug gang murders rivals in cold blood on the streets of New Orleans do we hear the gang members say "I want my life back?" Society is supposed to have a way of dealing with those who kill fellow citizens. Those who kill for profit are held in particular contempt. Hayward should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. Dick Cheney, whose secret meetings with oil executives in the first year of the most recent Bush administration established the energy policy that has led us to ruin, should be arrested and tried for treason. If the CEOs were held accountable the same way serious killers and gang leaders are we'd see a lot less of the irresponsible corporate behavior we have to deal with now.

There has also been a lot of talk about what Obama should and shouldn't have done since the spill. There's not much the government could have done to stop the spill once it happened. Where Obama went wrong, and he went very, very wrong, was when he gave a green light to deepwater drilling three weeks before the spill happened, claiming that the technology was so advanced that spills did not occur. He had a year in office to clean up the mess Cheney singlehandedly created. Not only didn't he do anything about the lack of oversight of drilling methods, he encouraged the insane rhetoric of "drill, baby, drill." This is what he really should be apologizing for. If stricter regulations had been in place demanding the fail safe mechanisms that other countries require of deepwater drillers the Deepwater Horizon disaster would never have happened.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Murder In the Gulf

Time for action! Join the protest at 1 pm, Sunday May 30, by Jackson Square. BP's greed & negligence murdered eleven human beings-- real working people, with real families, spouses and children -- and now BP is destroying the entire Gulf Coast while the Federal Government does nothing.

BP is killing us all, killing our wildlife, our oysters and fish, our birds, and our way of life.

Even if the capping procedure works the damage has already been done. The oil discharge is worse than the Exxon Valdez. This is more like Chernobyl in the Gulf. This is destroying the Gulf of Mexico for generations.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Beach

Officials have done nothing to save the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana and Mississippi. Big oil, which has run the country at least as far back as the Reagan administration, has pushed back fiercely against any attempt to educate the public about this growing disaster. Oil greed is the real underlying reason for the New Depression as well. The only reason we wasted the countless billions to oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq was to further our geopolitical interests in the oil business. Oil makes us dependent on dictators and religious zealots in the middle east and enriches them, giving them the resources to fund terrorists who have attacked our country repeatedly.
The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars has done a great job of trying to bring attention to this giant threat to our future. Cyril Neville has been forthright in speaking truth to power on this and many other issues, yet his messageis repeatedly derided or occluded. Dr. John has been blunt in his condemnations of the evil corporations behind this mess. One of them, Shell, funds the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, blood money that's supposed to get them off the hook for helping to destroy all of South Louisiana in the present and New Orleans in the near future. When Dr. John assailed Shell last year and admonished them to do something about the situation he was inundated with Shell-sponsored pushback and ultimately forced to make a public apology for his remarks in the Times Picayune.
Shell was a major part of the oil cartel that bought off congress in order to gut federal oversight of the offshore drilling industry. They bought relaxed standards that allowed deepwater drilling without safeguards that would have prevented the Deepwater Horizon disaster from unleasing a volcano of oil into the gulf.
Now it's too late. The worst has happened. Oil is inexorably fouling all of the South Louisiana coastline and is infiltrating the delta. It will take a generation to wash it away, unless the land simply disappears in the meantime. The entire fishing industry of Louisiana has been taken out by the oil industry, just like that. Corporate war. The national Republican politicians keep saying things like "accidents will happen" and clinging to the nursery school logic of "Drill, baby drill." Too bad, says Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and BP officials. Even the Obama administration was ready to allow more offshore drilling before all this happened. We've been repeatedly lied to about the amount of oil being released into the Gulf, where it's going and what it's long range effects will be. But now it's on the beach. The lies won't work anymore. Nevertheless the damage has been done. I think it's interesting that the Republican governor of Louisiana now says that if another country came and took this land from us we'd go to war. We've already lost the war, Bobby, to the very people who financed your campaign. So shut up or switch parties and do something about it.
Today's Washington Post has an article that spells out just how bad things are.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jazz Fest 2010 final thoughts

There was a triumphant air to the 41st renewal of the New Orleans
Jazz and Heritage Festival as it began. The afterglow of the Saints winning the
Super Bowl and the decisive endorsement the city gave new mayor
Mitch Landrieu with his landslide victory has given many New
Orleanians the sense that the trials of Katrina's aftermath were
over and a new era of hope and optimism was at hand. The spectacular
success of the French Quarter Festival augured a potentially
record-breaking Jazz Fest. Flights into New Orleans were overbooked;
hotel rooms were impossible to come by.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Joey Ramone birthday bash May 19

The annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash is scheduled for May 19 at Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza. Hank III, Morningwood, Sick F*cks, The Independnts, Spanking Charlene and Heap are on the bill.

Mickey Leigh, organizer of the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash and brother of the late Joey Ramone, has announced an after party to immediately follow this year’s Bash.

Held to commemorate Ramone’s birthday every year since his passing in 2001 after a seven-year battle with Lymphoma, the Bash has become a highly anticipated event, bringing together some of music’s hottest acts to perform for a one night only celebration.

Ramone had a history of encouraging up-and-coming bands in New York’s downtown music scene by showcasing them at his special “Joey Ramone Presents…” events. Since Ramone’s passing, his brother and their mother Charlotte Lesher carried on the tradition “by featuring bands that make great music and getting together some of Joey’s friends to celebrate him on what would otherwise be a sad, somber day,” Leigh explained.

This is the first year for the after party, which is being organized by NYC based fashion coordinator Erin O’Brien and will be held at The Belmont Lounge, 117 East 15th Street between Park Avenue & Irving Plaza, from 10PM – 4AM. There is no cover charge and no tickets being sold so everyone is invited – providing they can show ID that they are over 21 years of age. Performing tributes to Ramones songs “their way” will be Killcode (, Panzie (, Patti Rothberg ( and Karen Curious ( DJ Oki will be spinning punk music all night long. Additional surprise guests are anticipated.

Among the items included in the silent auction are a Cyndi Lauper signed Barbie Doll; New York Dolls book and poster signed by photographer Bob Gruen; signed Rock Junket book and 2 tickets for the rock and roll walking tour; Michael H Rock Punk Coutoure Handmade Jeans (3 pair); Billy The Artist signed painting; signed Blank Generation DVD donated by filmmaker Amos Poe; “I Love Dick” t-shirt and book signed by The Dictators’ Dick Manitoba; and gift certificates from Houndstooth Pub ($50), Stitch Bar ($50), CBGB’s, St. Marks Bookstore, and Trash & Vaudeville. Additional items are expected from the B52s and Dropkick Murphys. Net proceeds from the auction go to benefit Lymphoma research.