Friday Reads

newstand Good Morning!

There appear to be a few interesting headlines up this morning for a good change.  Some of them actually involve stories that we’ve followed here for some time.  I have a few things involving the Gulf Coast, Oil Spills, and Coastal Restoration.  The breaking news is that Halliburton is going to plead guilty in the Gulf Gusher case.

Oilfield services giant Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced Thursday evening.Halliburton was the cement contractor on BP’s ill-fated Macondo well that blew out in April of 2010. The blowout and explosion of Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and ultimately dumped several million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.Halliburton has agreed to pay the “maximum-available statutory fine,” will be subject to three years of probation and continue cooperating with the federal government’s ongoing criminal probe, DOJ said in a summary of the case.

 I’m not sure if you have heard this news but there is an additional leaking oil rig in the Gulf right now.  It’s spewing natural gas and has been on fire.  Forty-Seven folks were rescued from the rig about two days ago.

A fire has broken out on a rig drilling for gas in the Gulf of Mexico, 55 miles (85km) off the Louisiana coast, US officials say.

A blowout at the well on Tuesday morning forced the evacuation of 44 workers from the platform.

US Coast Guard and federal safety officials are still trying to assess the potential hazards.

The area was hit by the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in 2010, leaking millions of gallons of oil.

Eleven oil rig workers were killed in what was the worst US offshore disaster.

The latest blowout was not of that magnitude, officials told the Associated Press news agency.

On Wednesday morning the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said the fire was damaging the rig structure.

“As the rig fire continues, the beams supporting the derrick and rig floor have folded and have collapsed over the rig structure,” the agency said in a statement.

But after an aerial tour of the rig, no gas sheen was visible on the water surface.

One Coast Guard cutter, Pompano, is near the scene and another, Cypress, is travelling to the area.

In addition, “a third vessel equipped with fire-fighting capability and improved monitoring system is enroute,” the BSEE added.

The portable drilling rig – which operates in shallow waters of 154ft (47m) – is owned by Hercules, a contractor for the exploration and production company Walter Oil & Gas Corporation.

The BSEE said the fire broke out while workers were completing construction of a “sidetrack well”. The purpose of the sidetrack well was not immediately clear, but industry analysts say they are sometimes used if there is a problem with the main well.

The most disgusting of the headlines explains the actions of my idiot Governor Bobby Jindal who is trying to protect the oil and gas industry from local governments trying to get coastal restoration and clean up funds.  He is trying to interfere with them and trying to get the taxpayers to foot the bills.

The board that oversees the levees in the New Orleans region filed suit in state court Wednesday against about 100 leading oil and gas companies, asking that they repair damage done by the industry’s network of access roads and pipeline canals, which has contributed to the loss of thousands of acres of wetlands a year since the 1930s.

But by the end of the day, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority had overstepped its purview, and he demanded that it cancel contracts with the four law firms that had agreed to handle the case on a contingency basis.

In the suit, the flood authority asks the oil and gas companies to restore the wetlands, which once acted as essential buffers against storms. Without them, the authority said, too much pressure is placed on its levees, which were designed as protection against Mississippi River floods, not as bulwarks against the Gulf of Mexico.

Jindal, however, said the best strategy is to persuade the federal government to share more of its royalties with states to finance restoration projects.

The flood authority’s lawsuit — and Jindal’s response — mark another chapter in a state where politics and oil have been closely entwined for decades. Onshore oil production in Louisiana began in the early 20th century and peaked at 1.35 million barrels a day in 1970, according to the Energy Information Administration, providing the industry with influence.

“For nearly a century, the oil and gas industry has continuously and relentlessly traversed, dredged, drilled and extracted in coastal Louisiana,” the flood protection authority said in its lawsuit. “It reaps enormous financial gain. . . . Yet it also ravages Louisiana’s coastal landscape.”

The agency added that “an extensive network of oil and gas access and pipeline canals slashes the coastline at every angle, functioning as a mercilessly efficient, continuously expanding system of ecological destruction.” It said that the canal network allowed “corrosive saltwater” to flow into interior coastal lands, “killing vegetation and carrying away mountains of soil.”

“What remains of these coastal lands is so seriously diseased that if nothing is done, it will slip into the Gulf of Mexico by the end of this century, if not sooner,” the lawsuit asserts.

I am wishing and hoping and praying that our next Fed Chair will be a woman.  Specifically, I am pulling for Janet Yellen.  You may recall that I lived blogged a speech she gave about 1 1/2 years ago for the FMA Conference in Denver where I was presenting a paper. She has a lot of fans and her reported competition is Larry Summers.

A letter circulating among U.S. Senate Democrats in support of Janet Yellen’s candidacy to succeed Ben Bernanke as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports.

It was drafted by Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, and it is said to have signatures of other Democrats.

Bernanke’s term ends this year, and many expect him to retire.

Yellen, who is currently the Vice Chair of the Fed, has been long considered the favorite for the position.

But in more recent periods, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has emerged as someone who could also take the vacated spot.

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein wrote a piece titled “Right now, Larry Summers is the front-runner for Fed Chair.

“President Obama really likes Summers,” said Klein. “And he’s surrounded by Summers’s longtime colleagues and friends.”

Earlier today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Yellen during an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.

“I think it would be great to have a woman — first woman chairman of the Fed, no question about it,” she said. “She’s extremely talented. It’s not just that she’s a woman.”

 Robert Reich put the choice a bit more succinctly on his facebook page yesterday.

Word in Washington is President Obama will nominate either Janet Yellen or Larry Summers to be the next Fed chief. It’s not quite as important a decision as a Supreme Court nomination but it’s a very big one: The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is the single most important economic player in the United States. So who would be best — Yellen or Summers? I know both fairly well. Janet Yellen has impeccable credentials. She’s now vice-chairman of the Fed, after having been head of the San Francisco branch of the Fed, and before that, an economics professor at Berkeley. In 2007 she was one of the very few voices sounding the alarm about the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Not incidentally, she’s also a delightful person. Those who have worked with her tell me she listens carefully to all views, and is respectful of her employees. If selected, she’d be the first woman to head the Fed.

I worked with Larry Summers in the Clinton administration, where he eventually became Treasury Secretary. Under Obama, he ran the National Economic Council. Personally, I like Larry. He’s very bright, and able to see the nub of most policy problems very quickly. But he has the tact and personality of a bull in a China shop, and he’s been notoriously wrong about a few big things. In the late 1990s, he urged Clinton to sign off on legislation killing off Glass-Steagall, and was also part of the Rubin-Greenspan cabal that rejected the arguments of Brooksley Born, then chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, for why the CFTC should regulate financial derivatives. Summers’ subsequent tenure as president of Harvard came to an end after he suggested one reason women were not well-represented in the sciences is they don’t have the mind for it. As chair of the National Economic Council under Obama, he and Tim Geithner, then Treasury Secretary, bailed out Wall Street while refusing to impose tough conditions on the banks.

Yet another person speaks out on the lack of critical and rational thought in our national conversation.  This is from Henry A. Giroux at Truthout. It’s an essay that is worth reading.

America has become amnesiac – a country in which forms of historical, political, and moral forgetting are not only willfully practiced but celebrated. The United States has degenerated into a social order that is awash in public stupidity and views critical thought as both a liability and a threat. Not only is this obvious in the presence of a celebrity culture that embraces the banal and idiotic, but also in the prevailing discourses and policies of a range of politicians and anti-public intellectuals who believe that the legacy of the Enlightenment needs to be reversed.  Politicians such as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich along with talking heads such as Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Anne Coulter are not the problem, they are symptomatic of a much more disturbing assault on critical thought, if not rational thinking itself.  Under a neoliberal regime, the language of authority, power and command is divorced from ethics, social responsibility, critical analysis and social costs.

These anti-public intellectuals are part of a disimagination machine that solidifies the power of the rich and the structures of the military-industrial-surveillance-academic complex by presenting the ideologies, institutions and relations of the powerful as commonsense. [1] For instance, the historical legacies of resistance to racism, militarism, privatization and panoptical surveillance have long been forgotten and made invisible in the current assumption that Americans now live in a democratic, post-racial society. The cheerleaders for neoliberalism work hard to  normalize dominant institutions and relations of power through a vocabulary and public pedagogy that create market-driven subjects, modes of consciousness, and ways of understanding the world that promote accommodation, quietism and passivity.  Social solidarities are torn apart, furthering the retreat into orbits of the private that undermine those spaces that nurture non-commodified knowledge, values, critical exchange and civic literacy. The pedagogy of authoritarianism is alive and well in the United States, and its repression of public memory takes place not only through the screen culture and institutional apparatuses of conformity, but is also reproduced through a culture of fear and a carceral state that imprisons more people than any other country in the world.

One last interesting item that’s worth looking at.  More than 3.700 photos of Marilyn Monroe are going on the auction block in LA.

The photos — plus negatives, slides and copyrights — are part of a collection of more than 75,000 images taken by fashion photographer Milton Greene in the 1950s and 1960s.

They will go on the block both at the auction house and online on Saturday.

By pairing the images with their copyrights, buyers will be allowed to print, sell and earn royalties off the photos.

The photographer’s son Joshua Greene said earlier this month in online journal The Huffington Post that it was “a bad business deal.”

The archive also includes photos by Greene of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Farrah Fawcett, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Some of the Monroe photos depict a racy starlet against a black background, covered in a black sweater that highlights her bare skin.

Other more innocent shots show Monroe in a white coat against a white background.

Greene and Monroe met in 1953 at a photo shoot for Look magazine, when the photographer was 26.

When Greene sent her a copy of the images, Monroe responded with two dozen roses and phoned to say they were the most beautiful photos she had ever seen, according to the Profiles in History auction house.

During the next four years, until Monroe married Arthur Miller, Greene took more than 5,000 pictures of her, the auction house said on its website.

Greene worked for magazines such as Vogue, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar during his long career.

Be sure to check out the photos.  Some of them are truly amazing.

So, that’s enough to get us started this morning.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

30 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    No surprise that we have not heard much of the scandal plaguing LA and more oil spills.

    The public has been consumed for weeks with the Royal Baby, Kim Kardashian’s spawn, the whereabouts of Edward Snowden, and panel after panel regarding the Trayvon Martin trial. Prior to that all day coverage was giving over to the Jodi Arias trial where anyone available weighed in with an opinion from dawn to dusk.

    Meanwhile Texas voted to ban women’s rights along with GOP dominated states, led by GOP legislators, followed suit while the Gulf was once again set on fire to little notice or outcry.

    All the while congress has been in limited session – if at all – and nothing of any importance is getting down. Meanwhlle August is fast approaching which means it is “vacation time” once again allowing the lawmakers one month to flee DC for a much needed respite from the exhausting effects they suffer from having to “lead”.

    My guess is the last place you will find these frauds will be along the Gulf Coast roasting marshmallows from the dock in the bay where the water is “warm” for being on fire.

  2. RalphB says:

    Funny but good suggestions for Anthony Weiner and San Diego mayor Bob Filner.

    TBogg: Dix Pix Nix Clix

    • bostonboomer says:

      New Yorker cover–Anthony Weiner as King Kong atop the Empire State Building.

    • newdealdem1 says:

      Oh, snap!

      • newdealdem1 says:

        That comment was for Ralph’s wonderful link. As for that NY’er cover, perfect! Also, my vote goes to the fictional King Kong any day for mayor over that skinny ass buffoon. The American version of Berlusconi of Italy. I love my city way too much to have this fool lead it and Weiner is a phony. He has no actual cred as a legislator. Just because he yelled and screamed over at Faux News at the crazies over there about health care and just because he did the same on the floor of the House against the crazies on the far right there, means poo because he accomplished nothing in all his years in Congress. He doesn’t deserve to be mayor of my great city (which btw has been his sole goal since he ran for city council twenty years ago and played the scurvy racist card).

        Here are several links that “expose” this creep for who he truly is. What you need to know about Weiner (if you aren’t familiar with this political history in NYC) that is the heart and sole of why he’s not fit to be mayor of NYC (his own public tomfoolery re/his nether region just seals the deal of his unfitness):

        I remember the racial schism that these reports annotate. There was lots of tension in the city for years in the last ’80’s continuing into the ’90’s. And, Weiner took full advantage of that schism for his own insane ambition to be mayor.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Trayvon Martin And Why The Right-Wing Media Spent 16 Months Smearing A Dead Teenager

    Warning: Anyone who posts an inane comment on this without actually reading the article and addressing relevant issues will be deemed a troll and the comment will be deleted. This applies to you, Boogieman.

    • Fannie says:

      Good article, the right wing did jump on Trayvon. It was like “let’s get ’em boys” reverting back to the days of Byron De La Beckwith, and Rev. Edgar Ray Killen, in the famous “Mississippi Burning”. If you lived through those days, you’d know it in a New York minute that they were defending their clan. Defending those old values, and bringing back the old boys way of institutional functioning. They carried with them the old racist strain that you see all around us (while they keep beat the drum that racism doesn’t exist in the here and now). They know that children don’t have a voice (how many times has Dak explained the lack of laws to rightfully protect them), time and time again she has brought forth cases of abuse, and mistreatment of children and women. In my mind, it’s because children, and women were seen for centuries as property, and the current republican party is afflicted with a disease to gather and take away that. Power which we have fought for, laws which we have instituted, and they are out to gut our power, and that includes gutting power from blacks and Hispanics, and Asians, and Gays. They are all out to attack liberalism, and the democratic party, so they must defend their Klan. That system gives no one individual or human rights or values, and they demand that you OBEY God, they don’t want to hear the message of love, and community care and conduct. They need to control the institutions and corporation, that is their ultimate goal. Don’t think for a minute that they aren’t out to grab up the laws to meet their needs, they’ll stab their mother’s in their backs to get the power. The rules and regulations (are lack thereof) is their right, not yours.

      These wingnuts are bitter and hateful, they not only include the media, but those like the Police of Chief in Gilberton, who did a video, and tried to ram it up the asses of libatards, and the Mayor supports his rights. And the police officers laugh about this, it’s funny. This is part of that affliction that is spreading like an out of control wildfire.

      Geraldo makes me sick, he sent a message out that black kids look like thugs. How dare he, he must have forgot what it was like when he had “long hair, and wore hippie clothes”……… he was branded a dope smoking, stinky, dropout. And then Ted, shitting in his pants so he can avoid the draft…………..Their tactics are just like Hilter’s………and they don’t want to hear the screams, not from you, and not from those 22 kids shot dead in school.

      They hand picked Trayvon Martin, because he was kid. George Zimmerman was NOT innocent, he has a long list of shit on his record, but that didn’t matter to the afflicted. No they were out to assassinate a child. They approve of gun violence.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Check this out: Unarmed Black Man Shot By St. Louis Cop Is Charged With Resisting Arrest

        • Fannie says:

          Something is lacking with this story………….there are a few facts, but a lot seem to be missing. First question in my mind…………why did he run? Was he on parole? The officer knew them, and something had happened in the pass at Walgreens, because it was reported that they weren’t allowed there.

          St. Louis is a damn ghetto…………….the swat teams are beyond the norm, Jasus incredible how they roll down the streets. And sadly more blacks are targets……There is more to this case. Back in 1968, one case that comes to mind was John Terry………..the case went before the courts in Ohio. John Terry thought his due process & 4th amendment rights were violated, but the courts said that officers could stop, frisk and detain citizens on reasonable suspicion/probably cause. In other words that they were a threat to society………….and it seems to have gotten totally out of control now. It is time to hear Lamont Dukes story, and see what happened to the other guy? It’s the ok corral when it comes to law enforcement and black people. I’d like to see community policing, like they did back in Oakland, think they still do it. Like the psychologist said “only in America”.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Former Anthony Weiner intern recalls Weiner’s technique of calling his female interns “Monica.”

  5. cygnus says:

    Officer Pepper Spray needs financial help dealing with the psychological impact of his dickery:

  6. cygnus says:

    And thank the gods, no one (especially those poor women) will have to endure a trial for Ariel Castro. He has pled guilty and will go to jail for over a millennium:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    George Zimmerman’s heroic car crash rescue appears to be a fraud

    What did occur was that an accident occurred where a car slid on it’s side into a median. People at the scene called 911, which went to the Sanford office of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. BEFORE responding to the 911 call, News reports that Seminole Sheriff’s Dept. Officer Patrick Rehder, a self-styled friend and supporter of Zimmerman, contacted Zimmerman by cell phone directing him to go to the accident so as to appear to be a hero. News also provides a social media screen capture of a curious statement about Rehder taking pleasure when “someone gets credit for something they did not do”.

    Rehder’s name appears on the accident report.

    There were plenty of people driving by who witnessed the accident, and stopped to help the family out of the vehicle, BEFORE Zimmerman showed up, according to the 911 calls, but no ‘thank you’ press conference mentioning anyone else by name specifically was scheduled by the family.

    Zimmerman showed up AFTER he was called by a SCSO member according to a report at News, Zimmerman then got out of his car with a fire extinguisher, and apparently left without doing anything especially heroic.

    Listen to 911 calls at the link. Plans to honor Zimmerman as hero have been cancelled.

    Troll warning: If you have objections to this story, provide proof or comment will be deleted.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Wall Street wants Yellen, not Summers, as next Fed chief

    • dakinikat says:

      Yellen got much higher grades from the Street on monetary policy expertise and concern about unemployment, which is a major issue for President Obama. Summers is seen having more respect from international leaders, greater concern about inflation and a higher level of financial market expertise.

      • NW Luna says:

        Summers may not get that much respect from female international leaders. Not that there are many of them, unfortunately. Yet.

        I really hope Yellen gets the nomination.

      • newdealdem1 says:

        Dak, I’m with you. I am hoping Obama chooses Janet Yellen for Fed Chair as well. Larry Summers: please, no! God help us.