Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday's trackings

The Tigers had the day off. Elsewhere, it was Mariners 4, Rangers 2: a very blah game. Maybe Mariner starter Cliff Lee had the most to do with that; he shut the Rangers down on only 7 hits over 9 innings. 84 of his 107 pitches were strikes.

President Obama desperately tries to sound and look angry concerning the oil spill:
"Is President Obama bowing to criticism that he hasn't shown enough emotion and outrage about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill? In an interview with the "Today" show's Matt Lauer on Tuesday morning, the president offered his bluntest response yet about the disaster, telling Lauer he's been talking to experts about "whose ass to kick" when it comes to responsibility for the mess. "I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be," Obama said, defending his administration's handling of the spill. "And I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar; we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."

My opinion? Obama sounds reactive, he sounds contrived, he sounds like someone who's been reading administration polls that say he should show more emotion and anger, so he's going to throw some angry words around and hope it boosts his poll numbers. I don't think the American people will find it very real, or convincing.

Meanwhile it's another 2010 elections primary day.
My big prediction: incumbent Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas to be upset today by challenger Bill Halter in the senatorial runoff there...

So how can one hold President Obama, and the Obama administration, at fault for the oil spill in the Gulf? Ah, excellent question--and today Byron York provides an answer:
"The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is gushing out of control. The Obama administration is at first slow to see the seriousness of the accident. Then, as the crisis becomes clear, the federal bureaucracy becomes entangled in itself trying to deal with the problem. "At least a dozen federal agencies have taken part in the spill response," the New York Times reports, "making decision-making slow, conflicted and confused, as they sought to apply numerous federal statutes."
For example, it took the Department of Homeland Security more than a week to classify the spill as an event calling for the highest level of federal action. And when state officials in Louisiana tried over and over to win federal permission to build sand barriers to protect fragile coastal wetlands from the oil, they got nowhere. "For three weeks, as the giant slick crept closer to shore," the Times reports, "officials from the White House, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency debated the best approach." The bureaucracy wasn't bending to anyone's will. The direction from the top was not clear. And accountability? So far, the only head that has rolled during the Gulf crisis has been that of Minerals Management Service chief Elizabeth Birnbaum. But during a May 27 news conference, Obama admitted he didn't even know whether she had resigned or been fired. "I found out about it this morning, so I don't yet know the circumstances," the president said. "And [Interior Secretary] Ken Salazar's been in testimony on the Hill." Obama's answer revealed that he hadn't fired Birnbaum, and he couldn't reach a member of his Cabinet who was a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue."