Feed on

There’s something in the water

And we (the official “we”) are all pretending it’s not there:

The fear is palpable on the docks from Galveston to Panama City. Commercial fishermen working the waters hardest hit by the BP oil spill are worried sick about their future. It keeps them up at night. Many are convinced the 200 million gallons of crude that spewed into the Gulf last year have done irreparable damage to the fragile fisheries that provide their livelihood. According to a new CBS News segment, Gulf fishermen “have started catching fish with sores, fin rot, and infections at a greater frequency than ever before.”

It would seem BP’s oil is coming home to roost in an epidemic of sick fish and devastated lives. An Aug. 15 CBS News video – that’s going viral as we speak – captures the uncertainty of tens of thousands of commercial Gulf fishermen: “I don’t think we’ll be fishing in five years,” says Lucky Russell. “My opinion. …Everybody is worried.”

Everybody includes LSU oceanography Professor Jim Cowan, who has been studying the Gulf ecosystem for years:

“When one of these things comes on deck, it’s sort of horrifying,” Cowan said. “I mean, there these large dark lesions and eroded fins and areas on the body where scales have been removed. I’d imagine I’ve seen 30 or 40,000 red snapper in my career, and I’ve never seen anything like this. At all. Ever.”


I’m always pleased when judges actually uphold our constitutional values. After all, it happens so rarely these days!

Last week, Rep. Steven Chabot (R-OH) banned ordinary citizens from bringing cameras into a town hall meeting — even having police confiscate cameras from citizens who dared to violate this rule. Bizarrely, Chabot still allowed reporters to bring in cameras and record the event.

Coincidentally, just four days after Chabot took this extraordinary measure to prevent embarrassing clips of him from appearing on YouTube, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down an opinion saying citizens have a right to film police engaged in their official duties. The court’s reasoning, however, has very clear implications for Chabot’s camera ban:

Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Moreover, as the Court has noted, “[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because ‘[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.’” […]

The First Amendment right to gather news is, as the Court has often noted, not one that inures solely to the benefit of the news media; rather, the public’s right of access to information is coextensive with that of the press. […] The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

Chabot might take some small comfort in the fact that he does not reside in the First Circuit — Ohio is part of the much more conservative Sixth Circuit — but Chabot should not expect the right-leaning judges on his home circuit court to bail him out. As the First Circuit notes, at least three other appeals courts and numerous trial courts agree with their holding that government officials cannot simply ban cameras.


So a Republican senator and an asskissing Blue Dog Democratic senator are worried about whether FEMA will have the funds it needs to finish recovery from the Joplin tornado?

Maybe they should just stop supporting the people who are choking off the FUCKING MONEY???

Piece of work

As someone pointed out to me yesterday, if Iran fired a lone missile at Israel, Eric Cantor would immediately sign off on funding yet another war. Solution: Let’s tell him all these flood-ravaged regions are actually in Israel!

The Washington Post reported this morning that FEMA will need more money than it currently has to deal with the storm’s aftermath and is already diverting funds from other recent disasters to deal with the hurricane, but Cantor’s comments suggest Republicans won’t authorize more funds without a fight.

Cantor took the position following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the spring and summer, and after last week’s earthquake, the epicenter for which was in his district, but the hurricane’s level of destruction is far beyond that of those disasters. Still, Cantor told Fox News that while “we’re going to find the money,” “we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to do so.”

Cantor referred a bill the Republican-controlled House passed that approves $1 billion in disaster relief, which was financed by a $1.5 billion cut from loan program to encourage the production of fuel-efficient vehicles. But the need in the wake of the hurricane will likelygreatly surpass $1 billion, and that spending package was supposed to be used for tornado recovery efforts, for which several hundred million dollars has already been outlayed.

Oh dear

I don’t think energy companies are used to anyone saying no to them:

NARROWBURG — A Supreme Court judge nullified a gas-drilling lease signed by a Narrowsburg property owner, ruling that the lease violated a ban on commercial uses in the homeowners association’s covenants.

Judge James Gilpatric allowed owner Jeff Klansky to keep a signing bonus paid by Houston, Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas in his Aug. 18 ruling.

Gilpatric accepted the Weiden Lake Property Owner’s Association argument that Klansky’s lease with the company violated “clear and unambiguous” covenants prohibiting commercial activities like gas exploration and drilling.

“It’s a very pristine environment, and we’re working diligently to try and keep it pristine,” Richard Marcel, the association’s president, said Friday.

The association filed suit after Klansky agreed to give Cabot a five-year right to “explore for, drill for, produce and market oil, gas and other hydrocarbons” on his 66-acre property.

The agreement was dated July 3, 2008, about one month after the board approved and distributed to property owners a resolution reaffirming the ban on commercial activities.

The board cites covenant language limiting property uses to single-family homes or agricultural or recreational use. The covenants also ban any “commercial fishing enterprises or fee-based boat launching facilities or any other commercial uses.”

“If you have to rank fracking, I think that represents a significant threat to the environment,” said Marcel.

Gilpatric also rejected Cabot’s effort to reclaim the $99,255 signing bonus it paid to Klansky. The judged concluded that Cabot “made a calculated and knowing decision” to sign the lease “with full knowledge” of the covenants and the association’s position.

Uh oh

I kind of figured they were hiding something here. I hope some reporters investigate this. From warisacrime.org:

This was forwarded to me by a trusted friend from another trusted friend who spoke with someone whose neighbor’s daughter works at North Anna, the nuclear plant in Virginia, not far from last week’s earthquake.

No, that’s not three confirmed sources, but I am writing a book, working jobs, and organizing a conference. Take the following for what it’s worth, and please do the reporting.

“During the quake the administration building buckled. White steam began pouring our of the stacks. There is chaos at the power station. __________ said that two NY Times reporters are investigating – ________ and ____________. He wants to get a Geiger counter and take readings near the plant. He also said that when they were first building the plant some W & M professors told them it was not safe to build it on the fault. I will let you know what else I hear.”

What do you mean? Nuclear power is perfectly safe! Look how well it held up through the storm!

Yesterday’s tar sands protest arrests

I don’t know what’s the big deal with the climate change thingie. Massive blizzards, record-breaking heat and drought, powerful hurricanes — it’s just weather. Why are these tar sands people so upset?

If you received fundraising emails from Barack Obama or campaign manager David Plouffe in 2008, it probably comes as no surprise that Obama and Plouffe didn’t write all of them. They began with “Friend –” and included links to credit-card donation forms. The campaign regularly blasted them out to millions of people.

Elijah Zarlin, the author of many of these emails as part of Obama’s new-media campaign team, was arrested today outside the White House during a protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil conduit from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. Zarlin was one of Obama’s primary fundraising-email-writers, according to Zarlin and Stephen Geer, a new-media staffer on Obama’s campaign payroll.

Obama must personally approve the Keystone plan, first offered in 2008. The State Department recently concluded its final assessment, recommending approval of the plan.

Zarlin now works on environmental campaigns for CREDO Action, a progressive group that helped recruit attendees at today’s event.

“The Keystone pipeline, if he approves it, is going to cast a huge shadow over our future,” Zarlin told me over the phone during the protest, shortly before his arrest. “It’s his decision, and this is the type of thing that when he was on the campaign trail and telling staff at headquarters that we literally had to work nonstop over the next four months, that this was a must-win election, this was one of the issues we wanted to make an impact on — climate change.”

Darryl Hannah was arrested, too.

Well yes, they really are making an impact. He just didn’t specify it would be a positive impact.

I’m in love with a girl

Big Star:

“Little Women.”

Yes. Louisa May Alcott.

Is there any reason on this green earth why I should waste any more minutes of the few decades I have remaining (assuming all kinds of good fortune) on this drivel? Jo is almost interesting, but I doubt she moves out west and starts up a major snuff habit to go with her wrangling calves and stomping rattlesnakes. I have no desire to do anything but to stamp out the short, flat lives of the rest of the characters. “Ooh, the crabby old guy lost a granddaughter with blue eyes.”


Make your case.

She’s no lady

If I ever get married again, this song will be the first dance. Lyle Lovett with John Hiatt and Joe Ely:

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