New Orleans Stinks

You know it’s bad when the Drill Baby herself feels compelled to extend condolences.

But it’s even worse than you think:

The state departments of Health and Hospitals and Environmental Quality said the strong odor blanketing much of coastal Louisiana and the metro New Orleans area is “possibly” the result of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Then again, Mary Landrieu isn’t letting the stench stop her:

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., took to the Senate floor this afternoon to warn that the response to the deadly oil rig accident and spill shouldn’t be to limit future off-shore drilling – as some environmental groups advocate.

While Landrieu said the spill is a major disaster and substantial threat to her state’s coastlines and wildlife, at least the oil isn’t the thick kind that caused substantial damage to the Santa Barbara, Calif., coastline in 1969, leading to an four-decade moratorium on drilling off the California and Florida coasts.

But Obama’s backing off, at least for now:

“All he has said is that he’s not going to continue the moratorium on drilling but… no additional drilling has been authorized and none will until we find out what happened here and whether there was something unique and preventable here,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on “Good Morning America” today, defending the administration’s policy.

So: We’re now debating whether it’s comparable to the two iconic oil spills of the twentieth century. Might as well throw in the towel. They could use it on the beach.

Health officials order air quality testing after fuel smell blankets metro area [Times-Picayune, via Sully]

Sen. Mary Landrieu says spill should not limit future offshore drilling [Times-Picayune]

White House Says No New Offshore Drilling Until Investigation is Complete [ABC]


I feel sick. The state’s already losing a football field’s worth of coastal wetlands every fifteen minutes; I really fear this could just do the ecosystem in for good. Which of course will not only mean the loss of a lot of wildlife and the already-tenuous livelihoods of shrimpers, crawfishers, oystermen, and tour operators, but also an increased impact of hurricanes on inhabited areas.

Stinque Book Club recommendation: Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast and the “sequel” (which I haven’t read yet) The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities.

I worked on two oil spill cases, one being the Exxon Valdez. My take on this: the people and industries of south Louisiana are fucked. Booming the oil, skimming it, burning it off have only a tiny chance of doing any good. Where that slick goes is entirely up to the wind and waves. And hey, BP, how did that “failsafe” valve work out for you? Called your carrier yet?

So much for any Gulf Seafood. Bubbha Gump Shrimp Company, no more.

GOPer solution? Tort reform.

@ManchuCandidate: You’re right — because this is exactly why we need the tort system, to deter conduct like BP’s.

Awfully convenient of Talibunny to omit the efforts of the Coast Guard and other federal agencies. Guess that doesn’t play into the whole “government is the problem” ideology.

I’d love to see the re-authorization of coastal drilling include a requirement that companies be bonded for the costs of a cleanup of this scale (after all, it’s a “free market”).

No, that’s socialism and Talibunny don’t play that game.

I might not be a lawyer (my father thanks me) but I do know tort law. You’re right. No tort then it is open season on consumers and everything else.

Coming – just watch: “Obama’s misguided plan to increase offshore drilling is just wrong. Any further increase in tapping our domestic energy resources must be done inland, where we have a better chance to contain these unfortunate but rare incidents. We have to unlock millions of acres of federal lands – the people’s lands – from extremist restrictions on energy development that are the direct cause of the terrible tragedy in Louisiana.”

@redmanlaw: Yeah! Let’s drill in the wetlands and on the Arctic tundra! What could go wrong?

BTW, HuffPo is now reporting that Halliburton was involved in the drilling rig that blew up.

@Dodgerblue: Halliburton’s roots are in oil field services. They have tons of white trucks wheeling around the “oil patch” as it is fondly referred to around here.

@Dodgerblue: I read somewhere that they didn’t have the fail-safe valve installed because of the cost.

Funny how red state governors Jindal and Barbour are begging for the feds to come save them.

Paul Krugman, 9:23 a.m.:

“The Oil Spill Is Obama’s Fault”: Will it be claims that liberals and/or scientific conspirators sabotaged the rig, to undermine good Americans who want to drillheredrillnow?

Media Matters, 2:55 p.m.:

Rush’s conspiracy theory: “Environmentalist whackos” may have blown up oil rig to “head off more oil drilling”

Sodomites, you’re next.

@SanFranLefty: Yeah, I heard on NPR that BP was aggressive in lobbying against additional offshore safety measures because of the cost.

@redmanlaw: Right, so it would make sense that they would have provided engineering or construction services to BP out on that platform. I wonder who the Halliburton or BP exec was who made the call that they had enough safety gear out there. Aren’t engineers supposed to build in redundant safety systems? Manchu?

@Dodgerblue: Lemme guess: Engineer recommendations were overrided.

Let’s go with Towering Inferno on this: “Any decisions that were made for the use of alternate building materials were made because I as a builder have a right to make those decisions.”

@nojo: Halliburton will blame it on one of the dead guys.

@Dodgerblue: Like I say: “stuff, more stuff, extra stuff, spare extra stuff.” Going outdoors with me is like going on a fucking safari.

@redmanlaw: That’s why I like car camping. Just throw the crap in the back of the Subie, behind the cooler.

@nojo: BP’s letter to the federal MMS objecting to additional safety measures is here.

Best comment from MediaMatters article:

Rush would fail miserably as a terrorist. They would tell him to blow up a bus, and he would burn his mouth on the exhaust pipe.

I LOLd. On a related note, is anyone else annoyed that the RW talkers have become *so* predictable that anyone familiar with the schtick can finish their sentences? I mean, at least the whole “the Rockefeller center proves there’s a vast communist conspiracy” bit was *original*.

Yeah, but we get overridden by the accountants who only look at $ and not “Kaboom.”

This is a boring work related story I tell any juniors that I’m stuck with.
Many moon ago, I was working field application on a mutli million dollar client of my then employer. I got a call at 5:30pm on a Friday, an urgent call. I hate those calls, but being the dutiful worker I picked it up instead of running out the door. After calming a distraught program manager down, I find out there is problem with our brand new CPU board, the thing craps out after 30 hours of use, supposed to be rated for 1000 hours so you can see there is a tiny problem. I get one of them shipped back to me and I look over it. Turns out a $5 micro switch failed (actually melted.)

I find out that this was a new change. Turns out that our production manager bought parts that were 50 cents cheaper instead of the approved part at the insistence of the accounting team. “We” saved 500 bucks and cost us $20K to ship/reship and rebuild all those boards (plus overtime for my techs) and it took some uncharacteristic diplomacy from yours truly to save that account from bailing on us.

The lesson? Don’t let accounting dictate engineering design.

Oops. Gonna cost’em a mint unless they have “good” lawyers.

@ManchuCandidate: I give clients my best effort on the first draft. And then I do exactly what they tell me. Their money is more important than my pride.

@SanFranLefty: Lefty, FYI I left you a totally-non-prostate-related TJ in the pron piracy thread.

The place I worked at was an insane place. They were all about “savings” and not pleasing the customer. I once got in shit for spending too much time helping a customer.

How crazy? I lost my temper and nearly punched out a coworker right on the production floor and no one noticed. Only time I saw red at work.


It’s not an unconscionable ecological disaster–our Real AmeriKKKans’ Heavenly Father is just makin’ it easier to get at the Jeezus Juice.

I can’t believe none of you mentioned the emergency shrimping aspect of this catastrophe. (Credit to my coworker who just recently discovered urbandictionary.)

In New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf coast, an emergency shrimping season was opened to allow shrimpers to scoop up their catch before it is fouled by oil.

But I don’t care what the cause was, if this gives pause to more offshore drilling. Though I don’t think it will, for long.

@White House Says No New Offshore Drilling Until Investigation is Complete

Just as there will be no new coal mines or too-big-to-fail “investment” banks until those investigations are complete. I expect those investigations will be complete post-haste, with results as dubious as the post-mortem conviction of Bruce Ivins for the anthrax letters. Looking forward requires a certain amount of averting your eyes from the shitpile behind.

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