After two years of practicing unrepentant contempt for science, jobs, law and truth, why should Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's words mean anything anymore? While President Obama promotes offshore drilling overseas thousands of miles away in Brazil, Salazar now promises to revitalize America's oil and gas industry. It's like Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian promoting himself as a lifesaving CPR specialist.
This week, Salazar announced that the administration has just approved the first deepwater oil and gas exploration plan since last spring's BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mind you: This is not a granting of permits, but a green light for Shell Offshore to seek drilling permits for three new exploratory wells off the Louisiana coast. Shell first submitted and received approval for its original exploration plan in 1985 — 26 red tape-wrapped years ago.
Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout?
Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses — and an estimated 5,000 jobs — overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up.
It’s not every day that a front-page Washington Post report has copy that can be mocked as “Auditioning to Be the Next Obama Girl.” (That is, unless you count Eli “Obama's Chiseled Pectorals” Saslow.) James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal designated this florid passage for that title, from a sprawling 5,355-word Wednesday front-page article by reporters Michael Leahy and Juliet Eilperin.
The moment was vintage Obama -- emphasizing his zest for inquiry, his personal involvement, his willingness to make the tough call, his search for middle ground. If an Obama brand exists, it is his image as a probing, cerebral president conducting an exhaustive analysis of the issues so that the best ideas can emerge, and triumph.
Slogging through the entire article (eating up all of two inside pages) demonstrates that the Post reporters were praising Obama’s “zest” and thoughtfulness even as they summarized how Obama, in their view, struck too “centrist” a path by supporting offshore drilling and stiff-arming the Left – which Leahy and Eilperin never identify as liberals, merely as “environmental activists.” The Post reporters say Team Obama was trying to find a “grand bargain” to pass a “climate-change bill.”
With a 9.6 percent unemployment rate overall in the United States and unemployment rates showing an uptick in states on the Gulf of Mexico that allow offshore oil drilling, one has to wonder what the Obama administration is thinking its Draconian wide-sweeping moratorium halting deepwater drilling in the Gulf after the BP oil spill.
While environmentalists are using today's explosion on a oil production platform in the Gulf to support a drilling moratorium, critics like CNBC's "Fast Money" panelist Jon Najarian have questioned the wisdom of the Obama administration's decision to put up to 75,000 in limbo.
"As far as what was going on in the Gulf, it shows a tone-deafness from this administration," Najarian said on the Sept. 2 broadcast of "Fast Money." "I mean, I'll pound the table for that because I'm not running for office. But I mean, this guy is tone deaf that 75,000 jobs in the Gulf of Mexico that have been idled for no good reason. It's costing all of us and it costs all the places where they would normally spend money as well."
As Interior Secretary Ken Salazar prepares a new moratorium on offshore oil drilling after the last one was shot down by a federal judge Wednesday, lost on the media seems to be Salazar's dishonesty in promoting the policy thus far. Very few have reported that he misrepresented the position of a team of experts designed to look into the costs and benefits of the moratorium.
In reality, the seven-member panel, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, said Salazar's proposed moratorium would be "punishing the innocent." The policy "will not measurably reduce risk further," the panel explained, "and it will have a lasting impact on the nation's economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill."
Despite the panel's clear opposition to the policy, Salazar implied that they supported the moratorium. Salazar was forced to apologize after the panel publicly rebuked the Secretary's implications. "The Secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct," said one member of the panel, "but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions."
A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House says President Barack Obama's administration will appeal.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.
This later paragraph from AP's breaking news report explains why I believe Ken Salazar's dissenting experts from the National Academy of Engineering may have influenced the judge's outlook on the case:
Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Feldman's take seems to mirror the language of the dissenting experts.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles on the Gulf oil spill: "Can you can understand why a Congressman told us that BP has lost all credibility?" However, on Thursday, fellow co-host Harry Smith went easy on Energy Secretary Ken Salazar, allowing the Obama administration official to shift blame to the oil company.
Rodriguez pressed Suttles repeatedly: "But it seems like every day we hear new allegations that BP had been cutting corners beforehand....So many of these keep mounting. How can you keep responding to this?...are you confident that BP will survive this?"
In contrast, Smith never asked Salazar if the Obama administration could "survive" its failures in responding to the crisis. Instead, he gave the cabinet secretary every opportunity to go after BP: "...The CEO of BP says the environmental impact in the Gulf is going to be minimal. Is this guy in touch with reality?" As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted on Thursday, hosts on both the ABC and NBC morning shows actually had some tough questions for Salazar.
On its Web site, GQ Magazine asks the burning question, "Has the Capital Gotten Cooler Under Obama?" The magazine says yes and no. But when it comes to Barack Obama and Co., you'll be relieved to know that the answer is a resounding YES!! In a slide show, we learn that Obama is "our best-dressed prez since JFK. When he goes tieless, Ahmadinejad should take notice." On Obama in jeans, "the loose fit seems presidential."
Also lookin' good to GQ is Joe Biden: "The veep has terrific style. He deftly mixes colors and patterns with his shirts and ties, and his superb Hickey Freeman suits fit impeccably." Senator John Kerry (D-MA) "looks best when dressing like the patrician he is. Super 180s suits and Hermès ties—senators ought to look senatorial." Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is "groovier than his usual banker attire would suggest. . . He goes for cool detail, like green ties on Saint Paddy's. And he has a thing for Panama hats." Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) has "a sharp eye for detail and a suave color sense."
Representative John Conyers (D-MI) is a "clotheshorse" who is "a lifetime sartorial achiever." Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) "can match sartorial splendor with Sean Combs and purples with Prince. . . " We're told of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY): "The dapper former roommate of Jon Stewart could almost pass for European." And who wouldn't want to pass for European? When it comes to speechwriter Jon Favreau, "Obama's golden boy of letters epitomizes style's new wave in D.C."