As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.
The oil leak triggered by a deadly rig blast off the coast of Louisiana has the potential to cause more environmental damage than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, one of the largest ecological disasters ever recorded, some observers say.
“As it is now, it’s already looking like this could be the worst oil spill since the Valdez,” John Hocevar, oceans campaign director for Greenpeace USA, told msnbc.com on Thursday.
“It’s quite possible this will end up being worse than the Valdez in terms of environmental impact since it seems like BP will be unable to cap the spill for months. In terms of total quantity of oil released, it seems this will probably fall short of Exxon Valdez. But because of the habitat, the environmental impact will be worse.”
“Probably the only thing comparable to this is the Kuwait fires [following the Gulf War in 1991],” Mike Miller, head of Canadian oil well fire-fighting company Safety Boss, told the BBC World Service.
“The Exxon Valdez is going to pale in comparison to this as it goes on.”
The spill was triggered by an explosion last week off the Louisiana coast that sank an oil rig operated by BP. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.
So far the leak from a blown-out well 5,000 feet under the sea is not nearly as big as the Exxon Valdez disaster, which spilled about 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound 21 years ago. BP’s well is spewing about 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the ocean, the Coast Guard estimates.
But if the leak is not capped, millions of gallons of oil could spill into the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental impact could be disastrous if the oil reaches the ecologically fragile U.S. coastline.
Also see: “Gulf oil spill could reach shore Thursday night.”
Drill baby drill.
The Republicans have finally recognized the futility of putting the interests of their billionaire buddies on Wall Street ahead of Main Street America…
Republicans abandoned their blockade against legislation to clamp tough new controls on Wall Street Wednesday, clearing a road to likely passage for the most sweeping rewrite of financial rules since the Great Depression.
Democrats and Republicans agree the Senate will ultimately pass landmark changes aimed at preventing a recurrence of the crisis that knocked the nation’s financial system to its knees in 2008, but the battle now begins over crucial details. The House has already passed its version.
Democrats said the Republicans had given in after three days of votes to block debate, realizing they were on the losing end of a battle for public opinion. GOP lawmakers said they would now switch to trying to change the bill on the Senate floor.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said, “There’s been immense pressure bottled up inside the Republican caucus through these last three votes. A lot of their members have been very deeply unhappy with the direction their leadership has been taking them. Better heads prevailed.”
Democrats had threatened to hold the Senate in session all night making their case that the Republicans were stalling legislation of importance to virtually every American. The Democrats also have been laying plans to make the legislation a major issue in midterm elections this summer and fall. The Republican retreat came one day after senior executives of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs were denounced by lawmakers from both parties at a marathon Senate hearing.
It seems that all you have to do to pound some sense into their thick heads is threaten to keep them up all night.
Rachel Maddow explains the origin of Arizona’s new anti-immigration law:
Just when you think our Republicans cannot possibly sink any lower, they do.
There are 100 senators in the United States Senate, two representing each of the 50 states that make up our union. Forty-one of those senators voted this evening to block financial reform. As we all know, in a democracy such as ours, the will of the majority prevails. As we are all also aware, forty-one of one hundred is a majority. The United States Senate is a very strange institution.
It doesn’t really matter, because financial reform will pass and President Obama will sign it into law. The Republicans are throwing another of their tantrums. The following image is courtesy of The Huffington Post. Click on it to make it bigger. If you see one or both of your senators pictured, it would behoove you to seek another senator at the earliest opportunity.
These are the people who believe the interests of the Wall Street billionaires trump yours.
“I eat granola. I eat a lot of organic food. I have to shoot and catch a lot of my organic food before I eat it.” — Sarah Palin, former Republican vice presidential nominee and current Tea Party heroine.
From the White House weblog:
As the auto industry and financial markets begin to stabilize, the President says the government’s emergency interventions are now winding down. He pledges that real reform, particularly on Wall Street, must now begin.
Click below to listen to the audio only:
The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.
Remarks by the President on Wall Street Reform
Now, since I last spoke here two years ago, our country has been through a terrible trial. More than 8 million people have lost their jobs. Countless small businesses have had to shut their doors. Trillions of dollars in savings have been lost — forcing seniors to put off retirement, young people to postpone college, entrepreneurs to give up on the dream of starting a company. And as a nation we were forced to take unprecedented steps to rescue the financial system and the broader economy.
And as a result of the decisions we made — some of which, let’s face it, were very unpopular — we are seeing hopeful signs. A little more than one year ago we were losing an average of 750,000 jobs each month. Today, America is adding jobs again. One year ago the economy was shrinking rapidly. Today the economy is growing. In fact, we’ve seen the fastest turnaround in growth in nearly three decades.
But you’re here and I’m here because we’ve got more work to do. Until this progress is felt not just on Wall Street but on Main Street we cannot be satisfied. Until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find a job, and wages are growing at a meaningful pace, we may be able to claim a technical recovery — but we will not have truly recovered. And even as we seek to revive this economy, it’s also incumbent on us to rebuild it stronger than before. We don’t want an economy that has the same weaknesses that led to this crisis. And that means addressing some of the underlying problems that led to this turmoil and devastation in the first place.
Complete transcript following the break.