Salisbury, MD: Your Attention is Needed

To all kilbirnie residents:

 

A very important issue was brought to those attending our Spring General Meeting, Tuesday, march 16, 2016.

 

Large industrial chicken houses in Wicomico County, Maryland Neighborhoods.

 

A process is currently in motion to put a massive industrial-sized house operation at the northwest corner of Walston switch and Shavox Roads.

 

At least four to eight 60-foot by 600-foot chicken houses are planned, which if approved would result in millions of chickens processed each year and thousands of trucks transporting chickens on Walston Switch and Shavox roads.

 

there is a “Protect the Paleo Channel” Public Forum, which will be held March 22, 2016 at 6 p.m. at the Wicomico youth and Civic Center to address this issue.

 

Rejecting Keystone is ‘insanity’

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson has some choice words for President Obama’s rejection of the Keytsone pipeline:

President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and – beyond the symbolism – won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his reelection that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.

[…]

Now consider how Obama’s decision hurts the United States. For starters, it insults and antagonizes a strong ally; getting future Canadian cooperation on other issues will be harder. Next, it threatens a large source of relatively secure oil that, combined with new discoveries in the United States, could reduce (though not eliminate) our dependence on insecure foreign oil.

Finally, Obama’s decision forgoes all the project’s jobs. There’s some dispute over the magnitude. Project sponsor TransCanada claims 20,000, split between construction (13,000) and manufacturing (7,000) of everything from pumps to control equipment. Apparently, this refers to “job years,” meaning one job for one year. If so, the actual number of jobs would be about half that spread over two years. Whatever the figure, it’s in the thousands and thus important in a country hungering for work. And Keystone XL is precisely the sort of infrastructure project that Obama claims to favor.

The big winners are the Chinese. They must be celebrating their good fortune and wondering how the crazy Americans could repudiate such a huge supply of nearby energy. There’s no guarantee that tar-sands oil will go to China; pipelines to the Pacific would have to be built. But it creates the possibility when the oil’s natural market is the United States.

This is the Obama we have come to know and love; piously proclaiming his priority being job creation while taking actions that directly contradict that priority. He says he wants business to thrive — and then throws up roadblock regulations to prevent it. He says he wants the economy to grow — and then advocates policies that stifle growth.

And then he blames his failures on others.

Energy independence, jobs, growth in the economy — all of these would have been affected positively by building the pipeline. Instead, the president decided to pander to his far left base of Luddites.

The Big Oil Dog and Pony Show

Did you happen to catch the big oil bash-fest that occurred yesterday in Washington? It was really quite a day for the progs with all those evil oil executives summoned to the liberal throne room to testify about their “obscene profits” – must be as close to Christmas morning as it gets in Washington. Right now the Democrats are in a push to pass the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act,” which would raise their taxes by $2 billion a year by eliminating tax subsidies for the five major oil companies. So before we go any further, let me catalogue some of the quotes from our Democrat Senators just slobbering … I mean dripping! … in wealth envy rhetoric.

* Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.: “I think you’re out of touch, deeply profoundly out of touch and deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing,” Rockefeller said. “You never lose. You’ve never lost. You always prevail

* Sen. Bob Menendez, D- N.J .: “I find it hard to understand how you can come here before this committee and the American people and say, when you are projected to make $125 billion in profits this year … That somehow the loss of $2 billion a year, which means you only make $123 billion in profits, is somehow so punishing, somehow not part of shared sacrifice, somehow you need to go back at them at the pump to make up for it.”

* Sen. Bob Menendez, D- N.J .: “If the big five oil companies could just live with $123 billion in profits in 2011, they could pay their fair share in taxes, help lower the deficit and not raise the price of gasoline, and all of the savings here go directly to deficit reduction. This is not an argument about there’s other spending we’d like to do; this is about going directly to deficit reduction.

* Sen. Chuck Schumer, D- N.Y.: “Do you think that your subsidy is more important than the financial aid we give to students to go to college?”

* Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- M.O.: “There is more hot air around this building about deficit reduction than any other topic right now, and if we cannot end subsidies to the five biggest most profitable corporations in the history of the planet that come from the federal taxpayer, then I don’t think anyone should take us seriously about deficit reduction. The bottom line is this: If we can’t do this, if we can’t remove subsides from these profitable big oil companies, then I don’t know if we can ever get to the really difficult work that lies ahead.”

Now, I’m trying to noodle this one out. While I am not one for corporate welfare, I also do not believe that our government should be singling out specific industries, and particularly specific companies. By the way, let me take this moment to point out that if we had the FairTax, none of this tax subsides nonsense would even be an issue. But moving right along …. so exactly what subsidies are we talking about? Can you answer that question? What subsidies are the Democrats demanding that we get rid of? This excellent article in the American Thinker has the breakdown:

* Domestic manufacturing tax deduction — $1.7 B. This is a tax deduction given to every manufacturer in the US. Per CNN, it was “designed to keep factories in the United States.” If that deduction were eliminated for oil companies only, it would mean singling out oil companies from all other manufacturers.

* Percentage depletion allowance — $1 B. Any industry can write down a portion of the cost of its capital equipment as part of the cost of doing business. Right now, oil in the ground is treated as capital equipment. Again, this “subsidy” amounts to how the cost of doing business is defined. All companies get it, not just oil companies.

* Foreign tax credit — $850 million. Companies get credit for taxes they pay to other countries. All companies get this “subsidy,” not just oil companies. Should a company pay tax on tax? Should only oil companies pay tax on tax?

* Intangible drilling costs — $780 million. According to CNN, “[a]ll industries get to write off the costs of doing business, but they must take it over the life of an investment. The oil industry gets to take the drilling credit in the first year.” Among these four tax “breaks,” this smallest one was the only one that treated oil companies differently.

As Randall Hoven, the author of the American Thinker article, points out … the only subsidy that is specific for the oil industry is the last one for intangible drilling costs. So $3.55 billion that the Democrats want to claim are tax credits that are offered to all industries and manufacturers in the United States. But what if the Democrats get their way and raise taxes? Hoven has the figures …

* The amount of earnings not collected in taxes is about $4.3 billion per year — about 0.2% of this year’s deficit and enough to fund about 10 hours of current US government spending.

* The only tax in which the oil industry seems to get special treatment compared to other industries is intangible drilling costs. The amount of that subsidy? That would be $0.78 billion per year — enough to fund less than two hours of federal spending in 2011, and not even half the amount we are lending a foreign-owned and state-owned oil company for drilling offshore Brazil.

So what is really going on here? The Democrats know that people are screaming about the cost of gas. Now the fact of the matter here is that while the people are screaming, they’re also doing something about it. They’re consuming less. As they consume less – as the demand decreases – the supply increases. What happens with reduced demand and increased supply? Prices come down, that’s what, and that’s exactly what happened with the wholesale price of gas this week. Give the dealers the chance to replace the more expensive gas in their storage tanks with less expensive fuel and the price comes down at the pump. But before that happens the Democrats want to make sure that this price crisis doesn’t go to waste. So they haul the oil company executives to Capitol Hill and hammer them with their moronic class warfare rhetoric and lies about wanting that money to reduce our deficit.

The problem again is education. The American people are not well enough educated to see through this political rhetoric for a glimpse of the truth. But then that’s the very purpose of government control of the education process.

Is $5 a Gallon Gas Right Around the Corner?

Five dollar a gallon gas will shatter the Federal Reserve’s tightly constrained lid on inflation and accelerate the other half our long anticipated “double dip” recession. Gas and diesel powers America’s 141 million cars, 100 million pickups and SUV’s, 8.8 million heavy trucks and 6.7 million motorcycles. Oil runs our harvesters, delivers our groceries, cooks our food, heats our houses, propels our jets, fuels our M-1A1 Abrams tanks, and lubricates our bicycles. American business can only absorb a few percentage points increase in oil prices before passing on their additional distribution costs to the consumer. Already the increases in food and clothing prices have been felt at the cash register. Disposable income will inevitably drop along with consumer demand for domestic cars and trucks, imported goods from China, and destination vacations to resorts in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Don’t even ask what this means to our already sluggish unemployment numbers.

In June of 2008, Congressman Roy Blunt released the following information about how the House members voted on energy issues. During this time Democrats were the majority party in both the House and Senate.

ANWR Exploration:

House Republicans: 91% Supported

House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Coal-to-Liquid:

House Republicans 97% Supported


House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration:


House Republicans: 90% Supported


House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration:

House Republicans: 81% Supported


House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery-Increased Capacity:


House Republicans: 97% Supported


House Democrats: 96% Opposed

Summary:

91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas, while 86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

In 2009, the United States still imported 51% of all its petroleum requirements, both crude and refined. This continues to be an unacceptably high number in our quest for energy independence. Gas prices remain hostage to the increasing hostile regimes that sell us oil. Our own Department of Energy has proudly halted off shore drilling. With the political unrest in so many oil producing nations, and the long-term obstruction of Democrats to domestic oil exploration and production, American families have begun to pay the steep price for our failed national energy policies. This current Administration has wasted tens of billions of stimulus dollars on solar panel factories and windmills rather than building new oil refineries and using new technologies to recover the oil buried in our own back yard.

Manmade famine in America

It seems inconceivable, but people in America are going hungry en masse due to a famine caused by political authorities. Fresno, California is not yet a sister city of Kiev, Ukraine, but the two cities, capitals of rich agricultural regions, share a history of mass hunger caused by central governments indifferent to the suffering of their people, in the pursuit of ideological goals. Investor’s Business Daily explains:

Fresno is the agricultural capital of America. More food per acre in more variety can be grown in the fertile Central Valley surrounding this community than on any other land in America – perhaps in the world.

Yet far from being a paradise, Fresno is starting to resemble Zimbabwe or 1930s Ukraine, a victim of a famine machine that is entirely man-made, not by red communists this time, but by greens.

State and federal officials, driven by the agenda of environmental extremists, have made it extremely difficult for the valley’s farms, introducing costly environmental regulations and cutting off critical water supplies to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish. It’s all driving the economy to collapse.

In the southwest part of the Central Valley, water allotments as low as 10% of normal have created a visible dust bowl. The knock-on effect can be seen in cities like Fresno, where November’s unemployment among the packers, cannery workers and professional fields that make agriculture productive stands at 16.9%.

So bad is the economy, due to federal water restrictions, that almost a quarter of local families are going hungry in Fresno.

Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering

By SETH BORENSTEIN

WASHINGTON – The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about “America’s addiction to oil.” One member has blogged about it regularly.

Only one of the seven commissioners, the dean of Harvard’s engineering and applied sciences school, has a prominent engineering background — but it’s in optics and physics. Another is an environmental scientist with expertise in coastal areas and the after-effects of oil spills. Both are praised by other scientists.

The five other commissioners are experts in policy and management.

The White House said the commission will focus on the government’s “too cozy” relationship with the oil industry. A presidential spokesman said panel members will “consult the best minds and subject matter experts” as they do their work.

The commission has yet to meet, yet some panel members had made their views known.

Environmental activist Frances Beinecke on May 27 blogged: “We can blame BP for the disaster and we should. We can blame lack of adequate government oversight for the disaster and we should. But in the end, we also must place the blame where it originated: America’s addiction to oil.” And on June 3, May 27, May 22, May 18, May 4, she called for bans on drilling offshore and the Arctic.

“Even as questions persist, there is one thing I know for certain: the Gulf oil spill isn’t just an accident. It’s the result of a failed energy policy,” Beinecke wrote on May 20.

Two other commissioners also have gone public to urge bans on drilling.

Co-chairman Bob Graham, a Democrat who was Florida governor and later a senator, led efforts to prevent drilling off his state’s coast. Commissioner Donald Boesch of the University of Maryland wrote in a Washington Post blog that the federal government had planned to allow oil drilling off the Virginia coast and “that probably will and should be delayed.”

Boesch, who has made scientific assessments of oil spills’ effects on the ecosystem, said usually oil spills are small. But he added, “The impacts of the oil and gas extraction industry (both coastal and offshore) on Gulf Coast wetlands represent an environmental catastrophe of massive and underappreciated proportions.”

An expert not on the commission, Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University and an Obama campaign contributor, said the panel should have included more technical expertise and “folks who aren’t sort of already staked out” on oil issues.

Jerry Taylor of the libertarian Cato Institute described the investigation as “an exercise in political theater where the findings are preordained by the people put on the commission.”

When the White House announced the commission, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and others made compared it with the one that investigated the 1986 Challenger accident. This one, however, doesn’t have as many technical experts.

The 13-member board that looked into the first shuttle accident had seven engineering and aviation experts and three other scientists. The 2003 board that looked into the Columbia shuttle disaster also had more than half of the panel with expertise in engineering and aviation.

Iraj Ersahaghi, who heads the petroleum engineering program the University of Southern California, reviewed the names of oil spill commissioners and asked, “What do they know about petroleum?”

Ersahaghi said the panel needed to include someone like Bob Bea, a prominent petroleum engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who’s an expert in offshore drilling and the management causes of manmade disasters.

Bea, who’s conducting his own investigation into the spill, told The Associated Press that his 66-member expert group will serve as a consultant to the commission, at the request of the panel’s co-chairman, William K. Reilly, Environmental Protection Agency chief under President George H.W. Bush.

Adm. Hal Gehman, who oversaw the Columbia accident panel, said his advice to future commissions is to include subject matter experts. His own expertise was management and policy but said his engineering-oriented colleagues were critical to sorting through official testimony.

“Don’t believe the first story; it’s always more complicated than they (the people testifying) would like you to believe,” Gehman said. “Complex accidents have complex causes.”

The oil spill commission will not be at a loss for technical help, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

For one, he said the panel will draw on a technical analysis that the National Association of Engineering is performing. Also, members will “consult the best minds and subject matter experts in the Gulf, in the private sector, in think tanks and in the federal government as they conduct their research.”

That makes sense, said John Marburger, who was science adviser to President George W. Bush.

“It’s not really a technical commission,” Marburger said. “It’s a commission that’s more oriented to understanding the regulatory and organizational framework, which clearly has a major bearing on the incident.”

Obama’s Latest Shakedown

By: David Limbaugh

President Obama’s oil spill speech revealed, once again, how stunningly shameless he is. This relentless ideologue is not even marginally competent at masking his ongoing crusade to apply a wrecking ball to every sector of our economy and remake it in his own image.

And I do mean “his” own image. Once again, his speech was loaded with first-person references, from “I refuse to let (Gulf Coast residents lose their way of life)” to “I expect (the new commission tasked with determining the cause of the explosion) to do that work thoroughly and impartially” to “I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party.” More on that last howler in a moment.

Obama’s MO is so predictable that sophisticated practitioners of Marxist transformation should be embarrassed. Then again, Obama doesn’t need to be subtle; he is the president — a president who rejects the constitutional limitations that applied to his mortal predecessors.

After sitting on his hands for months, he comes out rhetorically swinging with both barrels of his teleprompter blazing. First, declare a crisis — meticulously distorting the facts, especially those relative to what caused the crisis. Second, isolate a scapegoat (along with the awful, resource-exploiting, oil-inhaling, pre-Obama America) to be demonized and bullied into conspiring with him to launch his transformational solution — a solution that has nothing to do with solving the “crisis.” In the meantime, shield the true culprits from any blame. Third, unveil his grandiose plan for salvation by the federal government, provided it first acquires structurally new powers. All the while, he not only downplays the government’s culpability in all of this but also overstates its (and his) response to date.

A returning space traveler watching his speech would have assumed Obama actually had been “kicking tail” throughout this “crisis” instead of partying and playing golf. Upon watching the speech, the traveler would not have experienced the megadoses of d?j? vu felt by the rest of us, who had watched this movie — starring this very president — many times before.

To be sure, the oil spill has been terrible, and BP doubtlessly bears much blame. But do any of us know all the facts? Should the president be unilaterally declaring BP’s strict liability as if he were the final judge, jury and executioner — without even affording the company any opportunity to defend itself?

Alinsky-starved radicals might find it gratifying for a dictatorial president to beat up on such an evil agent of capitalism, but some of us find his approach unseemly and disturbing. Besides denying the company any semblance of due process and fairness, how about his habitual expenditure of negative energy — pointing fingers — instead of employing a constructive approach?

No matter how culpable BP is ultimately determined to be, Obama’s bullying should not deflect our attention from another culprit here: environmental extremists.

Just as Obama blamed Wall Street and exempted government (liberal policies) and quasi government entities (Freddie and Fannie) for their complicity in the financial meltdown and just as he blamed doctors, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies for soaring health care costs caused mostly by socialistic governmental policies, he is summarily blaming BP and exempting unreasonable liberal environmental policies for shutting down more conventional and safer drilling methods — and venues. As usual, he and his ilk greatly contribute to problems and then use those problems as catalysts to justify even greater doses of their destructive socialistic prescriptions. It’s maddening.

Just as Obama browbeat and bought off the American Medical Association and big pharma to go along with Obamacare, he summoned BP executives to his office. Flanked by Attorney General Eric Holder, who has threatened criminal action against BP, he shook down BP into forking over a $20 billion installment to defer the government’s further wrath. BP is but another prop Obama has chosen to advance another plank of his statist agenda — this time his plan to shut down our conventional energy industry in favor of new, quixotic alternative energy methods that will succeed only in propelling this nation even faster toward Third World status.

I’m surprised Obama didn’t give another “shout-out” to “Joe Medicine Crow” as he began his speech designed to pretend he cares about the victims of the oil spill (even his lib media enablers aren’t buying it this time) — for the sole purpose of passing cap and trade on their backs. Cap and trade has already failed, but so had health care before he finally crammed it through.

Just as Obama fraudulently promised to listen to Republican ideas at his bogus health care summit after he’d shut them out of the process from the beginning, he promised to “look at other ideas and approaches from either party” on his cap-and-trade fiasco. Oh, yes, he’s all about considering the ideas of others and the will of the American people. And I’m all about advancing liberalism. LOL.

The politics of disaster

By: Susan Estrich

When BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward went to Capitol Hill this week, he got beat up on by all sides.

When the president declared “war” from the Oval Office in response to the continuing spill, he, too, got beat up on by all sides.

Welcome to the politics of disaster.

What everyone wants, of course, is the one thing neither man can deliver anytime soon: a stop to the spill.

If they could do it, they would. If they could make it happen, they would. But for all the talk of war and funds and escrow, the reality is very simple: The oil is still spilling out, even more (big surprise) than they said before. The damage will be enormous, even with the secretary of the Navy in charge. The losses will be greater than what anyone forecasts, escrow fund or not.

Whatever they’ve done so far has been too little and too late.

The politics of disaster are difficult. That’s why it’s called a disaster. Not a good thing. Not easily addressed.

And yet, politically speaking, some people emerge from disasters looking better than others. George W. Bush came out of 9/11 a stronger and more popular president than he ever was, before or later. Johnson & Johnson came out of its first Tylenol disaster with a better reputation for quality and integrity than it had before someone tampered with its medicine. Public relations types, not to mention lawyers and politicos, get paid millions of dollars to manage disasters. And every once in a while they get it right.

The secret, as in all such things, is easier said than done. Managing disaster is all about taking responsibility and taking charge — sooner not later. It’s about being perceived as facing it, not downplaying it.

In the first days after the spill, BP did not take responsibility. They ran TV ads, which is altogether different. They downplayed the severity of the spill and became instantly unreliable. They sought to protect shareholder profits and were seen as being slow to put money on the table and as nickel and diming people who were suffering. All bad.

Imagine if they had immediately called up Kenneth Feinberg, who has justifiably earned the reputation as disaster’s go-to guy when it comes to fairly arranging compensation. Say they had put $10 billion in escrow and had given him the authority to start, right then, handing it out. It would have seemed like an amazing gesture. They could have said (to calm their screaming lawyers) that they were very hopeful that costs wouldn’t reach nearly that much, but they wanted people to know they were putting their money where their mouths were.

Instead, they’ve now put twice that on the table, and nobody gives them an ounce of credit. As in relationships, timing is everything.

Imagine if the president, in the first days after the spill, had established a command center in the Gulf, complete with Rahm Emanuel in charge. Like him or hate him, if he’s good enough to run the White House, why not put your top guy in charge of your biggest disaster? Pull out all the big shots. Set up the Gulf White House. Daily briefings by Rahm. The president wouldn’t need to talk about “kicking ass” on television if Rahm were doing it every day.

Would the oil have stopped because Rahm told it to? Of course not. But would people feel like the president really did care, like they were the No. 1 priority, like heads would roll? Yes. You wouldn’t need to talk about a war if you were seen putting everything you had into the fight.

No one wants to face disaster. In only that way, 9/11 was, if not easier, clearer. There was no denying what we were up against, no downplaying the tragedy.

The biggest obstacle to handling disasters is the desire of those facing them to believe it won’t be so bad. When — as usually happens — it is even worse, they are blamed for not facing it sooner.

Had the president and BP stepped up and the oil been stopped, they would have been credited for stopping it. And when the disaster turned out to be a disaster (as disasters usually do), they would have been credited for stepping up and facing it, instead of being blamed for things they could never control.

Leaks and lies

By: Oliver North

WASHINGTON — For two months, the Obama administration has been skirting the truth about its inept response to the April 20 BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and the resulting fire and oil spill. The O-Team claims it has been “on top” of this problem since “day one.” Reality shows that both the leaks and the lies continue.

On June 15, President Barack Obama, master and commander of the teleprompter, tried using his first address from the Oval Office to convince the American people that his team was doing all that could be done in handling “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” It was, even his supporters agree, a failure.

It’s not that the president and his speechwriters didn’t try. He attempted to emote. He tried to express his anger at BP’s “recklessness.” Having previously likened the Gulf catastrophe to the terror attack of 9/11, he referred to “our brave men and women in uniform.” He even described his plan for dealing with millions of gallons of petroleum spewing into the Gulf of Mexico as a “battle we’re waging” and said the oil is “assaulting our shores and our citizens.” He then went on to lay out his “battle plan.”

By the end of Obama’s blessedly brief remarks, it was apparent the only new resources he’s committing to “fight” this “epidemic” — his words, not mine — are lawyers and about 17,000 National Guard members. He went on to “urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.” The contrast between the number of uniformed personnel being sent to the Gulf Coast and the paltry 1,200 dispatched to help protect our southern border from a tidal wave of violence was inescapable.

So, too, is the evidence of political opportunism, egregious error and outright fabrication in what the O-Team claims to have done — and what it plans to do — in responding to the catastrophe. The very fact that Obama devoted nearly a third of his Oval Office remarks to advancing his cap-and-trade energy plan is proof that the administration still lives by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s maxim: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Though Obama and his spokesmen steadfastly maintain they have been doing “everything possible since day one” to mitigate the consequences of the ongoing spill, it simply is not true. Fox News is not alone in reporting on the administration’s unwillingness to waive provisions of U.S. maritime law known as the Jones Act that bar foreign-flagged ships from transporting cargo or passengers between U.S. ports.

According to O-Team press briefings, Jones Act waivers will be granted when needed. This begs a question: Why isn’t there a veritable fleet of oil-recovery, -skimming and -containment vessels from the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, China and Russia already at work off U.S. shores? And it’s not just the issue of foreign ships; it’s also a matter of American companies’ being rebuffed after offering to help.

According to O-Team press briefings, Jones Act waivers will be granted when needed. This begs a question: Why isn’t there a veritable fleet of oil-recovery, -skimming and -containment vessels from the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, China and Russia already at work off U.S. shores? And it’s not just the issue of foreign ships; it’s also a matter of American companies’ being rebuffed after offering to help.

According to Obama, “mitigating the consequences” of this disaster for the “people of the Gulf” really matters. For decades, we have known that one of the most effective pieces of equipment in reducing shoreline damage from chemical and oil spills is floating containment boom.

On May 21, both of Maine’s U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident manager and the head of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, alerting them that miles of certified containment boom, manufactured by a company in Maine, was immediately available for overnight shipment to the Gulf Coast. Yet as of this writing, none of this critically needed boom has been shipped.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s June 1 announcement that the Department of Justice will pursue criminal sanctions against BP may sound good to those who want to launch punitive expeditions, but it does nothing to stop oil from gushing from the seabed. And his promise that “every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid” from a $20 billion “escrow account” is completely without foundation because BP could be driven out of business.

Obama also used his Oval Office remarks to announce the appointment of a new head of the Minerals Management Service, the government agency responsible for regulating oil drilling and mining. One might expect the person appointed to this post to be someone possessing at least minimal technical competence. Instead, the president chose a career government attorney — a lawyer who made his “bones” as an assistant special prosecutor in the effort to bring down President Ronald Reagan over the so-called Iran-Contra affair. Obama should be glad there are no special prosecutors looking into his actions in the “Offshore Drilling affair.” Yet.

BREAKING UP WITH BARACK OBAMA/A LETTER FROM MAGGIE

This one needs no introduction …

Dear Prez Obama,

It was really cool to get to vote for u and all, but I really dont think this is gonna work. I dont like politics but I thought u were cool so I went to one of ur rallies on campus and all my friends and I had ur bumper stickers on our notebooks. But Im like really really mad about this oil spill. I mean its like our environment! Ya know? I love to going beach to get tanned and now I wont be able to if there is oil there. OMG. And there are other things like my dad still doesnt have a job. That sucks because my parents stopped sending me money every month, so when my friends wanna go out and drink and whatever, I cant go. Major bummer. Ya know? So I was like really really bummed because whenever I go to the student union, they are always have the TVs on MSNBC and even THEY say they dont like you anymore. And since I dont really like politics, I gotta believe that the TV people are right. So yeah .. I dont know if I am going to vote again. When is the next time you are running for Prez??

Luv Alwayz,

Maggie