Shep Smith Cuts Loose On The BP Fanclub At Fox

Judge Andrew Napolitano joined hands with Rep. Joe Barton in a heartfelt defense of the oil industry. Specifically BP by trying to place all blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the government.

HuffingtonPost.com:

Appearing on Smith’s “Studio B,” Napolitano argued that because BP relied on inaccurate government models to draw up its contingency plans, the government is at fault, and not the oil company.

“The oil companies have no choice, Shep, but to rely on what the government tells them,” Napolitano — a libertarian who recently launched a tea party show on Fox Business Network — said.

“So on the basis of this erroneous information, the government says: ‘Don’t dig at 500 feet, where Gov. Jindal says you can dig, where you want to dig, where we know you can easily control a spill, dig at 5,000 feet where our environmentalist folks think you should dig.”

“I’m getting kinda grossed out, Judge,” Smith shot back. “You’re blaming the government for this?’

“I’m blaming the government for this,” Napolitano affirmed.

I think this was kiddy-gloves language from Shep for such a vile misrepresentation of the facts surrounding the greatest environmental disaster in American History. But then again he is workin’ at The Fix… Kudos to Shep, I say! Good man!

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SB1070 For Dummies & Hayward Hung By The Toes

This YouTube video from 4409 “Wake Up America” Productions is what people really need to understand about ‘that law’ that everyone is talking about when not picturing BP exec Tony Hayward in some contraption from one of the Saw movies.
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“Please don’t kill me, America! I promise another ad campaign and more toxic dispersant!”
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This is not about immigration. This is about encroaching on civil liberties first with racial profiling and then moving forward from there to effect all groups.
At least five lawsuits have been filed thus far to fight against the Arizona law coming on behalf of the ACLU and others.
AZCentral.com:

A group of 14 civil and immigrant-rights organizations and 10 individuals on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s new immigration law. It is the fifth legal challenge of the law, which goes into effect July 29 and makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

All the lawsuits seek to prevent the law from going into effect. However, this latest case names Arizona’s county officials as defendants, while previous suits were filed against state officials.

Participants in this case include the American Civil Liberties Union, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Since I put “for dummies” in my headline I’ll move forward slowly about the why on this show-me-your-papers law signed by Jan Brewer is unconstitutional. Instead slamming a bunch of legalese at you it’s much better to simply look closely at the Section B paragraph of AZ SB 1070:
“For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official …”
This just means anything at all that might be contact with the police. If they flag you down on the street when you are walking, that is a “lawful stop.” It has very little to do with vehicles and everything to do with the security of your person from harassment from the police. Even when a police officer who has mistaken your identity, let’s say, it is still a committing a “lawful stop” to detain you and discover your true identity. In short, this opening clause of the law is both sweeping and overreaching in terms of the authority it grants. In this language alone that law has isolated undocumented workers from seeking police services should they be attacked or threatened in their safety for even requesting police services: a 911 call is nothing more an invitation to legal harassment and then deportation.
“… where reasonable suspicion exists that a person is alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made … to determine immigration status of the person”
Many advocates for this draconian law claim it mirrors the existing federal immigration law, but this is completely false. No standing U.S. law fails to define what exactly “reasonable suspicion” is to be recognized as in regards to infraction in question. You may have heard the phrase: “What does an illegal look like?” This is what these people are referring to. There is no standard set within any part of this law as to what exactly is the definition of “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented (“alien”) status. This failure to define what the terms of “reasonable suspicion” entail creates a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable search and seizure” which requires “probable cause” be clearly established prior to such “reasonable attempt”s of the Arizona law to toss you in a cell or search your person in any manner. Furthermore, the Fifth Amendment also protects any person, be they citizen or not, from incriminating themselves so this very act of having state authorities asking a person to identify their status with the federal immigration bureau is a “reasonable attempt” to force the affected party to admit to a minor misdemeanor. Which still ultimately amounts to a form of self incrimination. Another way to understand this is know that if a undocumented worker knew their rights at the time of a “lawful stop” taking place they would be within their rights to claim the Fifth Amendment protections while being asked by a state official their federal immigration status.
“… may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of the subsection …”
This clause was added after the initial drafting of the law and fails to clarify just exactly how an officer is to determine immigration status without the use of “race, color and national origin” as the primary factor is raising the question. Had the misguided authors of this law inserted their media commentary that “clothing” was a factor to be decided upon it would have held more weight than this rather self defeating clause. As I stated above, without the method of attaining “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented status outlined in the this law it remains the only standard in which to enforce such a law would be racial profiling. This clause turned a simply unconstitutional law into a literally unenforceable law.
The greatest layer of the unconstitutionality of AZ SB 1070 is the very top layer:
It is not the business of state authority to tread upon the direct charge of federal agencies. Even when they have a false charge of “inaction” on behalf of the federal government, the state laws never supersede federal authority on existing issues. Before any of the other elements of unconstitutionality would be considered this first brazen disregard for the Constitution will get this anti-civil liberties and pro-racial profiling law thrown out of court.
My point from the beginning is it is disgusting and un-American of all involved with this law to even have to drag this veiled racism mixed with an unconstitutional power-grab into our courts in the first place. Striking down this law effectively and immediately is the only course of action that will save both money and freedom in one swift movement.
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Colbert knows what to do with those Tony Hayward types…
What I myself find especially funny lately is this strange group of people out there, I guess we’ll call them the “Blame No One Party” because that seems to be their game here. They are trying to convince us that blaming someone for the catastrophe that they oversaw and helped create is some act of mad lunacy. That we all should be looking forward. To what exactly I’m not too clear. The next environmental disaster that Big Oil will bless us with? I’ll be over here with my burning Tony Hayward effigy and “Boycott BP” signs, thank you very much.
Don’t forget this is the “worst oil spill in U.S. history” and has turned the Gulf of Mexico “into a dead zone.”
I’m for cutting all our government contracts with BP, and cutting their jet fuel arrangement with the Pentagon as well. A company like BP has no place working under federal auspices of any sort. They have effectively destroyed America. Were this deliberate and not rampant greed and arrogance it could easily be classified as some form of terrorist or economic attack on all of America.
It seems when extremists blow people up: it’s a crime and everybody is mobilized to catch the criminals. But when careless suits at BP blow people up: it’s something to be ignored and just accepted as part of modern life.
UPDATE:
IPC has backed my statements here in their Q&A Guide.

WSJ: Drilling Process Attracts Scrutiny in Rig Explosion

Gerald Herbert / The Associated Press

Russel Gold & Ben Casselman of The Wall Street Journal:

An oil-drilling procedure called cementing is coming under scrutiny as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that has led to one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history, drilling experts said Thursday.

The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. Cement, pumped down the well from the drilling rig, is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned or when drilling has finished but production hasn’t begun.

In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; it isn’t known whether they had completed the plugging process before the blast.

Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn’t set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.

Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.

Federal officials declined to comment on their investigation, and Halliburton didn’t respond to questions from The Wall Street Journal.

There are serious questions to be asked of Halliburton Co. and their unwillingness to talk to a source as reputable as the Wall Street Journal begs the question if indeed they do hold some serious level of responsibility in this recent oil drilling disaster.

Texas Joins In On The Science-Denial Trend

The state of Texas has jumped on the science-denial bandwagon currently gripping the right-wing. Texas has challenged the EPA findings that greenhouse gas emissions are classified as “dangerous,” claiming that the findings are based on flawed science. This is of course a false and absurd claim coming from the leading greenhouse gas emitter of the U.S.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional director over Texas, said the agency is confident the finding will withstand any legal action. He also said the move isn’t surprising considering Texas’ pattern of opposition to the EPA.

“Texas, which contributes up to 35 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by industrial sources in the United States, should be leading the way in this effort,” he said. “Instead, Texas officials are attempting to slow progress with unnecessary litigation.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said it’s the first legal challenge by a state, though industry groups have also challenged it.

Texas says the EPA’s research should be discounted because it was conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for its work on climate change but has since been embarrassed by errors and irregularities in its reports.

(Nobody ever successfully connected the so-called “Climategate” hacking incident, which I assume are the “errors & irregularities” mentioned, and the matter of the Greenhouse Gas Effect or the Climate Science findings as a whole in any way except political partisans with obvious Big Energy funding and absolutely no facts to back up the case they make.)

The guys and gals of The Great State of Denial, good ol’ Texas, seem to hold different standards of The Scientific Method and Comparative Analysis. Maybe those words are just too big for Texas.

I see this as just a symptom of a much larger problem breeding under the surface: the praise of ignorance over knowledge; the willful destruction of critical thinking.

The “debate” over climate change can be settled in moments by the most simple process of comparing the credibility of the sources and the amount of raw data on both ends. There is not a debate going on in the scientific community, there is a consensus with a few skeptic holdouts that have almost all published debunked papers at some point or another, but within the political community and the business community they would like very much for this issue to be up for debate. But it’s not, an overwhelming body of evidence exists in favor of Climate Science and skeptics fail to bring any new data (“Climategate” was the biggest joke on conservatives and their complete inability to rationally review data ever) so it’s simply “denial” and nothing more from these Big Money influenced talking heads. The Deniers and the Consensus; Texas just put itself on the side of the Deniers.

What lies under the surface here is the desire to squelch all rational discussion and replace it with bumper-sticker sound bytes. If anyone dares speak out against these ridiculous claims circulating and tries to use facts instead of rhetoric, then you can bet they will start up the personal attacks and just making even more broad claims about more unproven garbage. If you are even perceived as “smart” then you must be a “elitist liberal” who will only “lie to confuse you.” They are teaching people to hate intelligence and love stupidity in the once great state of Texas, all in the name of keeping their rich friends happy and scoring cheap political points while they are at it too.

“Snow Crash” and “Reefer Madness”

I have two reading suggestions for you today:


Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

I have but scratched the surface of this science fiction novel that has been recommended to me many times over. I am fast seeing this book as one that sits in the all-time-favorite pile for me, as well as just being a lot of fun.

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market” by Eric Schlosser

I have also only just begun to read this book but it is obviously a highly informative, if somewhat outdated (2003), observation of the American Black Market. This is the “unspoken” piece of the economy as a whole.

There are strange parallels between these two books that I am only just being to piece together.

The Port-au-Prince Earthquake

(ReliefWeb)

The capital of Haiti has been struck with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that the Haitian government is estimating has taken the lives of 200,000 people. This tragic loss of life in the wake of horrific devastation has gripped my heart, and the hearts of many others, as the horrible images and stories pour out of Haiti.

International humanitarian aid efforts have been working around the clock since the beginning of the disaster and there always remains a need for private donations to help get aid out faster to suffering Haitians.

Google has donated $1 million to relief efforts and have a donation page where you easily donate to a charity of your choosing with a Google account.

Save The Children and World Vision are both accepting donations that will directly effect the people of Haiti.

Mobile customers can text from their mobile device the word “HAITI” to the number “90999” to make a $10 donation the Red Cross, as described in this press release:

According to AT&T officials, wireless customers of the company can send $10 donations to the Red Cross International Relief Fund by sending a text message from their mobile device. Standard text messaging rates may apply. The company officials said that a customer has to simply type the word HAITI and send it to 90999. A confirmation message will arrive within a few minutes, to which the customer replies “yes” to finalize the donation. 100 percent of all money donated will be passed on to the Red Cross, the company officials said.

(I am not certain if this works on all mobile networks, but apparently it does.)

Hacked “Climategate” Emails Did Prove One Thing

(NCTimes.com Blogs)

I keep my eye on politics, and since the uploading of some illegally obtained data from Britain’s CRU the political right wing has lost it’s mind. Science-denial has gripped them and they intend to brow-beat on anyone who questions their faulty logic. This hacking incident being called “Climategate” by the anti-environmentalist right wingers has brought to light to discerning observers that these people are divorced from all logic and rational thought. That they would defend any notion that fit into their preconceived world view regardless of an insurmountable body of research that clearly amounts to scientific fact.

The fact that almost every person the right supports this flawed and debunked theory that these emails prove anything beyond a level of professional bias being enacted against skeptics of the CRU is absurd.

Britain and the U.S. have a high number of global warming deniers and in the aftermath of this hacking it is found that the hackers are likely members of such a group in Britain so it is much like the other propaganda crusades of the right.

There is clear evidence of a willful ignorance on behalf of these people locked in outright denial.

Sara Palin wrote on her Facebook page recently:

this is doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood that makes the public feel like owning an SUV is a sin against the planet.”

I find it laughable that a woman who pushed scare tactics like “he [Obama] associates with terrorists” during the campaign suddenly thinks alarmism is so awful.

Her “environmental priesthood” is scientists around the world and not just environmentalists like myself. She is suggesting the that scientific community is invested in some larger scheme and it is completely manufactured on her part.

And this climate science is not designed to make “the public feel” anything. Science stands on it’s own, apart from this hyperbolic standard she has set up.

Al Gore responded to Palin’s comments:

GORE: Well, the scientific community has worked very intensively for 20 years within this international process, and they now say the evidence is unequivocal. A hundred and fifty years ago this year was the discovery that CO-2 traps heat. That is a — a principle in physics. It’s not a question of debate. It’s like gravity; it exists.

What many environmentalists are loathe to point out is that like all recent science there is “wiggle room” around different aspects of the science in regards to causality, though most studies confirm the notion that man-made greenhouse gasses are the primary factor contributing to global climate change. The elements here that are simply not up for debate are exactly the elements the conservatives have grabbed on to and frankly at a certain point I have to just laugh.

Michael Oppenheimer, Director of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Department of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School:

There is a mountain of scientific evidence pointing to human-caused climate change; all available to any skeptic. Colder than normal October in the US is not a climate trend, no matter how often it is repeated on uneducated blogs and by unintelligent cable news pundits. It remains true that Earth has warmed more than 1 degree (F) over the last century largely due to buildup of human-made greenhouse gasses. It remains the case that the projections of future climate change are every bit as discouraging as they were before the recent flap began.

Joseph Romn, physicist of the Center for American Progress:

Evidence of global warming is getting clearer, while opponents are redoubling their efforts at misinformation-disinformation campaigns.