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WaPo:

Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists

For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change.

Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and a burning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law.

But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy.

File this for use the next time somebody tells you that the key to getting people fired up in this country is letting things go to hell so they can see for themselves how bad things have gotten.

It doesn't matter whether it's an otherworldly oilcano-style catastrophe, a gigantic explosion that kills dozens of workers that somehow prompts calls for even less regulation, the open acceptance of torture as an official practice, or wholesale electronic eavesdropping on domestic communications. As long as there are 31 flavors on the shelves and another season of American Idol coming, there's never going to be anything automatic about political passion. You're going to have to create it yourself, if that's what it takes to get you and your neighbors to hit the streets, vote, and generally do stuff.

Just a reminder.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Okay, now tell me how this is all Obama's fault. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuffie, GN1927, Cenobyte, Donkey Hotey
  •  This is a great illustration (13+ / 0-)

    Of why sites like the Daily Kos are so critical to the liberal movement, they help supply the passion and fervor to people who care about different issues.  But on this issue, I think everyone on the left really dropped the ball.  We were too concerned about who to blame instead of using this spill to protest for a common-sense energy policy.  In the end, we all could have cared a little bit more and been a bit more organized about protesting.

    Go visit my blog at www.gregthecollegestudent.wordpress.com

    by Greg Young on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:13:55 AM PDT

    •  Maybe (9+ / 0-)

      The internet is an important tool. But to the extent that sites like dKos simply encourage like-minded people to pat each other on the back (or split hairs with only-slightly-un-like-minded people) they're not getting the job done.

      The internet is a tool.  And it is not a substitute but a supplement to more old-fashioned kinds of political organizing.

      Obama's belief in the rule of law apparently takes the back seat to Obama's belief in his own ability to make the right call as executive. - Scott Horton

      by GreenSooner on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:16:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HOWEVER ... (5+ / 0-)

      this is a very bad article (the post article) and it is a shame that David is highlighting in this way -- quite uncritically.

      Great critiques/examinations of this include:

      Jonathan Hiskes, Grist, Historian: It’s too soon to expect large-scale responses to the Gulf

      The Santa Barbara oil spill happened in January 1969. Right away, people were appalled. In Santa Barbara itself, the spill brought together people who had never been allied before -- countercultural students and very wealthy Republicans alike were shocked. But still, it took a long time for it to lead to something more than just "we might need more regulation on offshore oil," and more than just preventing that one specific thing from occurring again.

      Mike Casey, Scaling Green, Looking for the public outrage

      So far, the BP oil disaster has brought tar balls and Tony Hayward into the public arena, but it has not brought about the dramatic sea change needed to move America to a clean energy future.

      The piece is marred by its gratuitous repetition of the word "scandal" to describe the manufactured controversy around the content of emails that were illegally stolen by who-knows-which fossil fuel interest. The emails aren’t scandalous, and three separate commissions have said so. As other bloggers have noted, there was no scandal but a theft of intellectual property. The outrage is that the media pays so little attention to getting to the bottom of who stole the emails in the first place.

      Reporters David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin missed an important reason why the BP Gulf Disaster hasn’t move public opinion: because the oil industry, the most powerful in human history, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on propaganda and influence peddling to smother public opinion and policy.

      Josh Nelson, Enviroknow, WaPo Uses Misleading Arguments to Push Flawed Oil Spill Narrative

      The Washington Post published an article on Monday entitled, ‘Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists.’ It was immediately picked up by several  liberal  bloggers  whose opinion I respect, each of whom seemed to take the article’s conclusion at face value. But while the article gets some things right, it also includes several misleading lines of argument in order to bolster its attention-grabbing headline.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:57:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah good ol' MSM and meme making. (14+ / 0-)

    See, here they are setting the national media agenda that people are disillusioned and are not ready for environmental change, even though across the nation people have been affected by this.

    Probably the last great psychic kick in the crouch since 9-11.

    So the MSM will say people don't care, which will be inserted into the echo chamber so people don't care is repeated a million times.

    So everyone does because disillusioned because they keep hearing everyone else doesn't care.

    And WaPo carries out the missions of the corporate masters, and you just did your part for the echo chamber.

    Slow golf clap.

    •  Good points, but... (4+ / 0-)

      .. unnecessarily harsh on the diarist.

      Lisa

      All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

      by Boston to Salem on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:23:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Car Culture is threatened or to blame (6+ / 0-)

      You can bet the MSM will go to bat to make sure nobody ever considers their own car addiction and how it relates to the environmental disaster in the Gulf. TV runs of car ads.

      Hell, connecting car ownership and the gulf spill has been a verboten topic even here at Kos.

      Nobody wants to talk about life in America after cars, or why we should be planning for it.

      Consider this: Millions of baby boomers will lose their ability to drive in the next few decades (eye tests.) Will they become shut-in or will we finally build transit and walkable cities in this country? What's the plan?

      "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

      by greendem on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:25:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Speaking of MSM, (10+ / 0-)

      I watched a PBS show on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge between  Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, and the confrontation with the local police.  Reporters were there, getting spit on, thrown around, and struck.  John Seigenthaler, a real journalist who worked for the Tennessean newspaper, got his lights knocked out with a billy club on that bridge.

      Where is the corporate journalist today who is simply getting arrested for "illegally" filming BP's crimes?

      American journalism is in an abyss.

      •  American journalism is pretty much dead (6+ / 0-)

        TV news is basically subsumed to the interests of the entertainment divisions, as well as the overall business and political goals of the parent corporation.  Newspapers are sufficiently battered from the internet taking over their sales (and unrealistic profit expectations by their owners) that they're never going to do anything controversial again, for fear of reducing ad revenue further.

      •  Most journalists pray at the altar of "access". (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deben, i like bbq, divineorder, jfromga, Anima

        They are afraid if they do break the law to get the story, or test the limits of Free Press, they will lose their precious "access" to corporate information that is passed off as news these days.

        The best news about BP is from citizen journalists documenting the carnage on YouTube. These homegrown videos will never be shown on MSM least they be exposed as being the plutonomy mouthpiece that they are.

    •  The oil spill--somewhere in the Gulf, right? (4+ / 0-)

      "Isn't BP doing something about stopping that?"  [direct quote from a neighbor.]

      Did you hear what Palin said?  Lebron James is teh awesome.  What did you watch last night?

      My hungry brain needs more "facts" to process quickly and then move on.  What were we talking about again?  Oh, yeah the oil spill.

      I notice that the media spends a disproportionate amount of time making wild stabs at what is going to happen next--sports, world events, politics, the topic doesn't matter.  Here's another example.

      A clear example that the media is the message.

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by geomoo on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:10:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo. (0+ / 0-)

      What I take from this disaster and our reaction to it is that it is demonstrably possible for our leadership to crush any public outcry to a crisis.

      Had this administration any inkling to actually do something about our addiction to oil they would have jumped all over this to drive the change. They would have used the bully pulpit to show us nightly images of dead birds and messed up coastline. Instead we got what we got, and we'll continue to burn oil until it's gone.

      I'm done worrying about it really. I've developed an attitude not unlike a end-times believer: we're on a path that is set now in stone, and it will not be pretty where we're going.

  •  With Fox News to dilute things... (3+ / 0-)

    ...it makes the job of informing people of how bad it is even HARDER.

    The Obama/Biden Inaugural -- the exact moment when the world went from gray to colorful.

    by alkatt on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:15:06 AM PDT

  •  Reality Itself is No Substitute for Organizing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, mightymouse, divineorder

    And reality is happy to teach progressives that lesson over and over and over again until we get off our duffs and return to organizing.

    Obama's belief in the rule of law apparently takes the back seat to Obama's belief in his own ability to make the right call as executive. - Scott Horton

    by GreenSooner on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:15:34 AM PDT

  •  The main reason there is no change (11+ / 0-)

    is because there is abysmal coverage. Before the corporations took over the press, there would have been wall-to-wall coverage of this from day one.

    But instead, BP has squelched scientific information and deterred reporting with impunity - given cover by corporate media and the administration.  The former I understand, the latter, I haven't got a clue as to why.

    We need to change the broadcast media ownership laws if we ever expect to get real stories in their entirety.

    Until then, more of the same.

    Until we have an unfettered media, every battle we fight will be in the dark, uphill and against a head wind.

    by moosely2006 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:15:40 AM PDT

    •  There has been plenty of media coverage. (5+ / 0-)

      But the leaders of the Democratic party haven't capitalized on the outrage over the spill.  Instead they've let Republicans like Bobby Jindal turn this environmental cataclysm into a referendum on jobs.

      It was terrible when buggy-whip makers went out of business, and it's terrible that Gulf oil workers will lose their jobs if drilling stops or slows down in the Gulf.  Jindal and the other Republican Gulf states' governors should be preparing their residents for changes coming in the job market and actively looking for other industries to provide employment for their residents.  

      Granted, these governors have a big problem turning their job markets around in the middle of an economic recession, but that's their goddam job.  They're just lazy by continuing to insist on the continuation of practices that have devastated their current state economies.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:49:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plenty of coverage, plenty of misinformation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moosely2006

        Jindal has been allowed to assert that deepwater drilling is the same as operating a production wellhead for the purposes of opposing the Moratorium. There are 30 some odd deepwater exploratory wells in Gulf waters. There are thousands of so-called shallow water wells at some stage of actual production, and are totally unaffected by the Moratorium. I wish we could have said that only a small fraction of oil workers would be idled by the 6-month ban and insist their lost compensation easily covered by the $20 billion fund. That's important because both seafood and tourism are seasonal work and oil production is how many Delta families earn incomes the rest of the year.

        But some of us would decry that as coddling Big Oil.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

        by Egalitare on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:18:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I repeat (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moosely2006, wabird

          the Democratic party haven't capitalized on the outrage.  When Bobby Jindal can get by with saying 133,000 oil rig workers will be out of a job because of the moratorium, someone - anyone - in the Democratic party should step up and call him a liar to his face by making the point that only 33 rigs will be affected and there is no way that 33 rigs employs 133,000 workers.  But I didn't hear any Democrat with a megaphone do that.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:39:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good point, but what about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, divineorder

    activism along the redneck Riviera?  Ok, maybe not there, but among the displaced shrimpers etc.?

    The point being, if people really suffer from something, do they really ignore it, as long as there's 31 flavors on the shelf?

    Maybe they do. Maybe it's the wrong question.

    You can have my girl, but don't call him Barry.

    by itswhatson on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:15:51 AM PDT

  •  Well, it used to be true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, moosely2006, wabird

    But, obviously, isn't anymore.  Why caused the change?  Possibly, the increase in corporate control over messages and legislators.

    Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. - James Russell Lowell

    by Deep Harm on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:16:07 AM PDT

  •  The Overton Window on what's acceptable... (12+ / 0-)

    ...in civilized society has been shifted so much, so far, and so quickly that the glass is broken.

    This is how we've lost our humanity as a nation.

    It's sad.

    This high-volume sig line is available for rent at reasonable rates. Inquire within.

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:16:22 AM PDT

  •  A little help from the party and President you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wabird, laker

    support would be helpful.

    Read my sig, and then tell me why anyone who trusts the President would be passionate about environmental issues as opposed to seeing them as box to check because you have a D behind your name.

    You are absolutely right. Passion about the environment will not start with the Democratic party or President because they are too dependent on industry dollars.

    However, as big as this catastrophe was, there was no defining image.  A isolated leak underwater does not move people.  The only people that felt anything were in southern LA and maybe some tourism impacted in AL and FL.

    I guarantee you if shrimp prices went up 5 fold and you saw Destin beach covered in oil, this crisis would have invoked anger and change.

    Additionally, if this was under a Republican administration, the environmentalist movement outcry would be louder.  The passion was muted either intentionally or subconsciously out of deference to this administration.

    "Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists" - President Obama, March 31

    by justmy2 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:17:11 AM PDT

  •  Drill, Baby, Drill! Drill, Baby, Drill! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, bythesea

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:17:28 AM PDT

  •  Probably due to current job situation (5+ / 0-)

    I think if the economy was in better shape you would see a more positive perception for environmentalists.  The fact that the country is apparently "center right" politically, indicates more of us are in the "what's in it for me" rather than "what's in it for us" mindset. Environmentalists are probably viewed (in the curent economic climate) as a threat to one's job if you happen to work in the those affedted industries.

    "Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical criminal" -- Logical Song -- Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson

    by Over50Lib on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:18:23 AM PDT

    •  I completely agree with this perception (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boston to Salem, lgmcp

      and many of us are occupied with our own day to day economic survival (myself included) due to long term unemployment.

      It is not that I don't care I simply have more immediately pressing stuff to worry about. It's certainly not a "what's in it for me" situation, I am just focused on other issues that are important to me personally. Yes I know this is a narrow selfish life view but it is all I got at the moment.

  •  Spin can turn a wake up call (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, wabird, Hoghead99, laker

    into elevator music....  

    because so many Americans turn to news personalities  for interpretation of events.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:19:11 AM PDT

  •  This is about the Republican Party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, lgmcp, stormserge

    Driven by ‘Fox News’

    The party has lurched so much farther to the right then where it was in the 70s.  Total obstructionism all the time.    

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. The Grapes of Wrath

    by deepsouthdoug on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:19:19 AM PDT

    •  Democrats, Too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, B Amer, i like bbq, Hoghead99

      Yes, a Republican Party that can command 100% (or even 99%) of its members to vote every time against every action by the government to intervene in any crisis is indeed the main problem.

      But without some Democrats (and an independent), like Lieberman, Nelson, Lincoln, and Landrieu, Republicans wouldn't have the votes to obstruct. That's 7% of the Democratic majority right there. Add the second tier of Democrats like Baucus who concede to Republican demands while the legislation is being written, and the Republicans have all the help they need from willing Democrats.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:24:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The corporatist DLC put a 20-year damper on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greendem, i like bbq, The Dead Man, wabird

    liberal and progressive activism.  When progressives were making significant accomplishments in prior generations we had Kennedy and Johnson and Democrats in Congress... even some northeastern liberal Republicans.  Not that this is any excuse to give up hope, but it's tough to gain traction for your cause when you have to fight both major political parties.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:20:16 AM PDT

  •  What Matters Is Organizing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, The Dead Man, RLMiller

    The disaster does create a "political capital inflation". But like any increase in the money supply, that has to be spent in an organized fashion. In America, that takes a charismatic public leader to focus the effort and turn it into an investment. Otherwise, it just inflates the overall political currency, devaluing everything already invested, but without a particular direction or project for the new coin of the realm.

    If only America had a charismatic leader, pledged to lead us out of the old, broken ways that have so recently brought us to so many simultaneous crises. If only America had someone in stark contrast to the previous charismatic leaders, who were oil men. And if only we had some kind of organization connecting that leader to most of the people in the country.

    We could call that an executive democratic republic.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

  •  A contrary view: things take time. (13+ / 0-)

    The Gulf disaster and Massey mine explosion both happened in April, three months ago.  

    The Santa Barbara oil spill happened in Sept. 1969; 1st Earth Day was April 1970; legislation after that.  

    Sometimes things take time.  I want a bill passeed this session, because we're not going to get a better bill through a worse Congress, but at the same time I recognize that we'll need to continue to work on the big picture, because whatever bill is passed will be inadequate.

    Signs of the apocalypse: DailyKos will put anyone on the front page!/twittering @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:21:04 AM PDT

    •  There's merit to this argument... (4+ / 0-)

      ...because the oil is not going to just GO AWAY.  There will still be residue and people will get sick of seeing poisoned beaches and a dying seafood industry.  This is going to linger on and on.  Immediately, the reaction may be "oh it's done, whew, back to Dancing With the Stars" but over time, I think there'll be repercussions and a shift from an oil-based energy policy to alternatives.

      The Obama/Biden Inaugural -- the exact moment when the world went from gray to colorful.

      by alkatt on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:22:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Santa Barbara versus Louisiana too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM, ferg, divineorder, RLMiller

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but location matters.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:23:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes but this is the world of instant reaction... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, boofdah, RLMiller

      TV, video games, 24 hour news...People can't be patient, including the WaPo. I would say its far too early to know what the impact of this will be on policy. This need to have quick decisive action has infected DK and other bloggers as well as the mainstream media. In fact, internet media is probably part of what fueled it. Its nice to have immediate information at one's fingertips.

    •  Thank you so much for pointing this out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, RLMiller

      climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

      by GN1927 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:38:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed - It is just a tad soon for postmortems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RLMiller

      considering the leak was literally just plugged and the relief wells are still being drilled. The disaster just isn't over yet.

      I view any forthcoming legislation as part of the "clean-up" operation: not just scrubbing the Gulf, but repairing our wrecked regulatory structure. And you can't start cleaning up - effectively, at least - until the disaster itself is over. The WaPo is definitely jumping the gun here. I get it - reform hasn't happened yet, so it's never going to happen. We might as well just give up and hand power back to the people who caused this, and every other mess we've had.

    •  How much time would that be, I wonder? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq, RLMiller

      The article that the diarist mentions cites the burning river story that Time did about the Cuyahoga in 1969, along with the old argument that such a horrible thing was one of the primary drivers for passage of CWA and NEPA.

      Of course, that ignores that fact that the Cuyahoga River had caught fire at least a dozen times previously, dating back to when Rockefeller was tipping the oil barrels into the river himself from his little business venture in the Flats (aka Standard Oil).  Time even used a picture of the previous 1952 river fire in their article, since the fire in 1969 wasn't particularly serious and they didn't have a good photo of it.

      And WV has had how many mine disasters in the last couple of years?  Let's see, there's Aracoma and Sago just in dkos memory, along with UBB. Wasn't the Sago investigation the one that was going to make all the difference in preventing deaths from future mine explosions?

      Time doesn't make the difference in creating change in public policy- organization and political will does.  But without the first, the second will never happen.

      "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

      by histopresto on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:06:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Local reactions (3+ / 0-)

      Saturday we made a visit to a canyon that we came very close to losing in the most conservative county in Utah. It was slated to have a dam installed that would have flooded a popular hot spring and turn a small jewel into nothing but a big puddle.

      The water project that it was part of is popular, but locals couldn't stand the thought of losing something that they cared for and compromise was found. The state found a way to pipe-line the water with the least amount of damage to the canyon.

      Don't under-estimate the power of localities to protest losses that they feel personally. Organizing at the local level can make a huge difference.

      "Take it back, take it back. Oh no you can't say that. All of my friends are not dead or in jail." John Prine

      by high uintas on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:08:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Things that take time... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, RLMiller

      are perhaps accurately described as things that have no on/off switch. That's how I think of it.

  •  The same Washington Post (15+ / 0-)

    hyped a snowy few weeks as evidence against global warming, ignored record warmth in DC and Atlantic seaboard since April as an anomaly, and has given shitwit Palin multiple opportunities to share her "expertise" on climate change and energy policy. A fourth rate fourth estate help maintain the status quo, no matter how stupid.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:21:10 AM PDT

    •  normally, (0+ / 0-)

      I try to avoid obscenities in language here. There's already too much of it happening in the world.

      But I have to give credit for this

      shitwit Palin

      brilliantly descriptive adjective.

      If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.--A Boston cabbie, to Gloria Steinem, in the 1970s

      by Mnemosyne on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 07:41:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  an excellent reminder. The main debate at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    present appears to be whether continuing offshore drilling which will inevitably result in more oil gushers or suspend drilling until drastic safety guarantees (impossible) can be put into effect and will result in losing jobs int he Gulf economy.

    This is where the immovable object meets the irresistible force!!!!   mankind either lessens its overuse of the planet and reduces its consumption and protects the environmental or we start looking fro somewhere else to live!!!! in the universe!!!

    Its Decision Time!!!!

  •  OPA followed pretty quickly after Exxon Valdez (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    and there is talk about lifting the liability limits, but if bp waives those limits it may not matter?  I still hold out hope for something good from this.  For example, checkout:  

    Poets for Living Waters

    "Our 'neoconservatives' are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell" - Edward Abbey

    by stormserge on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:22:19 AM PDT

  •  The jury is still out, I think, on this one. (8+ / 0-)

    For those of us who have been paying attention, the spill has seems endless. But in 'real time', it's been 3 months. That's really not enough time to judge whether it's helping to increase environmental awareness. It takes time for shifts in thinking to percolate into actual behavioral changes.

    On a personal note: I've seen a marked uptick (on media websites and blogs)in posts about reducing use of oil, gas and plastic products since the spill.

    I think the wheels are turning in people's minds, but I'd wait a good year before deciding there's been no real impact.

    Just MHO,

    Lisa

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:22:26 AM PDT

  •  Beg to differ with you (14+ / 0-)

    Here in Florida, the majority has gone from "drill baby drill" to favoring a ban on all offshore drilling forever.  The reversal in the polls has been dramatic.

  •  Which begs the question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donkey Hotey

    How bad does it have to get before real change happens?

    Irony: Apparently, the teabaggers would have apologized to the East India Trading Company for dumping their tea into the Boston Harbor.

    by RichM on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:25:12 AM PDT

    •  I'm beginning to wonder (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM, i like bbq, angry marmot

      After all, how many more continent-killing incidents do we need to have to make ppl angry and determined to change?

      I reckon the only time that ppl will be rioting in the streets is when MickyD's and other 'sandwich' vendors are closed down as heath hazards, and all TVs suddenly stop working....;-)

      America has become so complacent and indolent that that's the only scenario I can see where 'real' change is possible.

      "Why would that kind of work be 'ridiculous'? Who are THEY fighting for?"-------------- BHO on the GOP's mockery of community organizers.

      by speedingpullet on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:46:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When it's too late. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM, i like bbq

      "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." - Obama, Protector of Wall Street

      by The Dead Man on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:59:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Frontierism, apathy, ignorance (10+ / 0-)

    While browsing a recent textbook on environmental science (D. Chiras, Environmental Science, 8th ed., 2010, p 37), I was introduced to a term I hadn't heard before in this context but which seems to describe the apathy and ignorance about environmental issues among much of the American public very well: "frontierism."

    Frontierism is a way of life that is based on an assumption of plenty. To most frontierspeople--and particularly to early farmers--many of the natural resources we now fight to protect were originally perceived as obstacles rather than assets. [...]
    Part of the reason for this obstacle mentality was a false perception of the inexhaustibility of the vast resources of the new nation, a frontier ethic. [...] Frontier thinking continues today as a major factor in the ever-worsening environmental crisis.
    In the frontier society, the relationship of humans to nature was indifferent at best, and often antagonistic. Antagonism and indifference prevailed in large part because of a lack of knowledge on the part of settlers about the long-term implications of the type of changes being made to the environment. Lacking an understanding of ecology and the consequences of abusing the life-support systems of the planet, frontier societies plundered one ecosystem after another. Ignorance, another dynamic in the web of causation, is alive and well today.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:25:22 AM PDT

    •  We never should have killed off all those (0+ / 0-)

      Native Americans who revered the land; they could have taught the pioneers a few things.  Of course that wasn't the last group with good ideas that we silenced.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:57:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Frontierism, indeed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, i like bbq, angry marmot

      Our history is full of boom and bust cycles based on frontierism. The gold rush is a good example, the rail system, steamboats on the Mississippi and the Erie canal. Little thought to long term consequences, just go for it.

      "Take it back, take it back. Oh no you can't say that. All of my friends are not dead or in jail." John Prine

      by high uintas on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:25:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Psychological component... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, Simplify, i like bbq

        There is a strong emotional/psychological component to frontierism as well, the romanticized notion of the frontier, the "Wild West," the immediacy of confrontation and survival. Mulloy has an interesting chapter on the significance of the mythic "frontier" in the ideology of American militia movements in his American Extremism: History, Politics and the Militia Movement (Routledge, 2004, Chapter 6).

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:48:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well said, sir. (0+ / 0-)

    An excellent reminder.

    Fox "News" = Republican PRAVDA.

    by chumley on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:29:27 AM PDT

  •  missing meals (and OT multi party theory) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    seems to be traditionally what gets people out of their letting-media-do-the-thinking stupor. Or a draft and lots of body bags.

    One thing, I believe, that the group-think-punditocracy is getting right is this Nov will be about jobs-jobs-jobs. Can the Dems get the electorate to (correctly) cast most of the blame at the Republicans?
    The pundits say no, I say maybe. Would a much larger stimulus have helped and been the right idea? Krugman says yes and I agree? Could it have gotten past Congress?

    Anyone notice we're almost more than a two party system now? (spare me the they're all the same thread. Been there, Supreme Court, case closed). There's the cloud coocoo teabaggers, the standard GWB / Reagan Republicans (yes they're the same, the baggers are a split with some cartoon Libertarians on board), the corporatist DLC / Clinton Dems (Obama, sadly for me, in this camp) and some progressives (Dr Dean, Kuchinich). The lines blur to be sure, but does this make sense?

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:29:32 AM PDT

  •  The article... (6+ / 0-)
    ..is wrong.

    Because of this oil spill, Gulf state citizens (who are generally conservative & don't give a crap about the environment) are now very environmentally aware.

    How do I know?  Because I have seen dozens of Gulf coast residents interviewed on CNN & MSNBC.  Almost to the person, they now sound like apprentices for Greenpeace.

    Just because worthless fools like Haley Barbour & Bobby Jindal still don't give a shit about the environment does not mean the citizens of their states have adapted the same mindset.

    The WaPo article is merely trying to do a little hippie kicking.

    It's a shame a DK front pager took that hippie kicking at face value instead of calling out the article for framing the oil spill with "the-hippies-lose-again"  bullshit.

    Mr. president, I request unanimous consent that the panther not be teased.

    by wyvern on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:30:41 AM PDT

  •  Don't count on the MSM for help, unless of course (5+ / 0-)

    by chance Lindsay Lohan is sentenced to 90 days of  oil spill clean up instead of jail.

    " It's shocking what Republicans will do to avoid being the 2012 presidential nominee."

    by jwinIL14 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:31:18 AM PDT

  •  System failure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, The Dead Man

    crushes the spirit of public participation.  Just as one example:

    the open acceptance of torture as an official practice, or wholesale electronic eavesdropping on domestic communications

    is now a bipartisan consensus.  Any opposition to these policies that even tries to give itself voice is met with a bipartisan hailstorm of contemptuous dismissal and marginalization.  The alleged rightist party dismisses any criticism of those policies as "unpatriotic", the "liberal" party dismisses anyone who challenges those practices as "naive, selfish purists".  

    There are no means, no avenues, within the existing system to end or change these policies and practices.  This unified, bipartisan hegemonic orthodoxy serves to render useless any participation by an already weak and disempowered citizenry utterly irrelevant.  Why waste time trying to fix something all elements of the establishment agree are working properly, when all it can possibly bring is defeat, marginalization, waste of time and energy?  If you don't support the US of torture and widespread electronic surveillance, there are no means within the system to achieve your goals; again, both parties argue vociferously, even viciously, against anyone who challenges those practices.

     Even right here on DailyKos those voices which defend torture and mass spying on citizens as "pragmatic" have gained the overwhelmingly upper hand.  Where within the system are their any avenues to alter this?  I see none, and it is my view that a system which precludes change of its most morbid elements is one that is in an advanced state of failure.

    We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:31:47 AM PDT

  •  We are organizing in New Orleans... (5+ / 0-)

    and I know of plenty folks who are much more concerned with environmental issues and willing to do something...if its only writing letters, meeting with neighbors and calling radio stations. This Gulf disaster has awakened many to the fact that our gov't is much more willing to cede control to a major corporation, than protect its own citizens. Our web site:

    www.stopgulfoildisaster.org

    And my diary on the subject from yesterday:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Bradbury predicted aspects of this. So did (4+ / 0-)

    Andy Warhol. Torture and no-warrant spying on Americans are things we essentially demanded after the black eye of the 9/11 attacks. We wanted more security and traded some measure of our collective freedoms and decency to, supposedly, get it.

    Benjamin Franklin said it: "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."

    Bradbury foresaw this in "Fahrenheit 451" - the intentional, willful dumbing down of the self, the demand for supposedly greater security in exchange for an ever-more Big Brother-esque form of government.

    Andy Warhol foresaw the birth of "American Idol" with his prediction that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. I think of Idol as the pro-wrestling of televised entertainment - something so overtly and intentionally bad, so full of cliches like the bad-guy announcer, that it is difficult to grasp why any intelligent person would watch it.

    I look out at America and see open calls for racism from the right, from John Stossel and the Tea Parties; I see the psychotic calls for less regulation and more deep-water drilling from them in response to the BP oilpacalypse; I see groups organizing into tyrannies of the majority to keep the LGBT community from having full civil rights protections; and I wonder: What has become of the America I was raised and taught to be proud of?

    The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

    by Cenobyte on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:34:47 AM PDT

  •  Re: Coal mine explosion......... (5+ / 0-)

       Nothing here so far about the coal mine explosion.....

      NPR had a piece on the other day about this explosion. A miner who remained anonymous by request, stated that the wiring around of the methane monitors on the mining machines was commonplace.

      An explanation:
            The continuous miner, which cuts and loads the coal at the working face, is equipped with a methane monitor which, when properly installed and maintained, will shut down the miner when the methane concentration goes above 2%, I think it is. Methane in the atmosphere doesn't become explosive until around 5%, so there is an acceptable margin for error built in.

      When something happens to the methane monitor, instead of repairing it on the spot, as required by the mining laws, the easiest thing to do is to "jumper it out," i.e. wire around it, making it useless. The allegations are that this Massey Energy coal mine was pretty gassy, and that the jumpering out of the methane monitor was standard operating practice.

      Interesting........

    Compost for a greener planet....got piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:35:00 AM PDT

  •  Another win by Waldman! On a roll. Clip (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, Mr. President, www.yesweSTILLcan.org David Waldman says: Filibuster Reform Now

    by divineorder on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:35:13 AM PDT

  •  Failure of political leaders to use oil crisis. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B Amer

    Obama down played the environmental impact from the beginning with NOAA issuing low numbers (5,000 bbl/day) vs. the actual 60,000 bbl/day the scientists claimed from the beginning.  Which segues into Obama admin preventing scientists from gaining access to leak data which segues into Obama admin preventing media from covering oil spill damage.

    So US political leaders from Obama down, did not use the destruction of Gulf of Mexico by BP oil disaster to push environmental policy, quite the opposite.

    Friedman likened Obamas failure to use the Gulf oil disaster to focus public policy akin to Bush's failure to use 911 (another oil based disaster) to focus public policy on oil use.

    It’s his [Obama's]  9/11 — and it is disappointing to see him making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11. Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those rare seismic events that create the possibility to energize the country to do something really important and lasting that is too hard to do in normal times.

  •  Its the economy, losing dirty coal jobs is still (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    losing jobs and that is why people won't take this chance to make real changes.

  •  Of course during past disasters it helped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trial Lawyer Richard

    that they didn't have a partisan GOP media filtering the information about the disaster and manipulating how people should react to it with Luntz/Orwell talking points.  

    The only place where Republicans are anywhere close to responsible is in the dictionary.

    by DemDachshund on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:39:48 AM PDT

  •  The lack of change in public opinion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, speedingpullet
    isn't because this wasn't a significant or watershed event, it's because BP, the US Gov't, and the media combined to limit dissemination of information that would have changed public opinion.  I'm not asserting a conspiracy (except on BP's part), but instead it was just plain negligence on the part of the TM.  Almost all of the reporting was about how the damage to the ecosystem affected people:  their jobs or food supply.  Nobody gave much of a shit about the massive poisoning of the Gulf beyond the price of shrimp at the supermarket.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:42:14 AM PDT

    •  Look the Media Cannot Perform Journalism For the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq

      mainstream population, it's not economically and physically possible under our system. They're giant corporations, they're Constitutionally freed of content requirements and restrictions, so the only way they can function is to promote the corporate agenda.

      There isn't a fix for this, the system is working exactly as it's designed and built to work.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BP and the Administration (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq

      did a great job in public relations these past three months.

      I wonder if they give out awards to companies or people who did the best job of PR during the year.

      A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

      by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:49:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm saving all my strength... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, lgmcp, jfromga, angry marmot

    ...for when cannibalism sets in. :-)

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:42:46 AM PDT

  •  There IS No Debate Over Climate Change (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, angry marmot

    Saying a bunch of things is NOT debate. Climate change is NOT an issue for the political system or the common people to "debate" any more than Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is.

    They don't have the data, they don't have the skills, and they don't know the methods to work with such phenomena.

    And if a debate over alternative energy were to be held, where exactly do you propose that that might happen with any factual integrity? There isn't any venue accessible to the mainstream electorate where such a thing can be done.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:44:49 AM PDT

  •  I Think This Maxim Still Stands (0+ / 0-)

    File this for use the next time somebody tells you that the key to getting people fired up in this country is letting things go to hell so they can see for themselves how bad things have gotten.

    This oilcano style disaster or whatever you want to call it has had zero impact on a super mega-jumbo majority of Americans... It had no practical impact on me and I've been following it closely.  I think gas prices may be lower in my area than they were before...

    There's no substitute for work on the ground in any event...but the scope of people affected (so far) has been disproportional to the magnitude of this actual shitstorm.

  •  The Dems are like a football team... (0+ / 0-)

    ...who's Quarterback keeps throwing interceptions and is whining to the refs.

    No matter how much tehy may want to win -- they get disheartened everytime they make a big play on defense or special teams -- only to see the QB waste the opportunitries they are given on offense.

  •  I second RLMiller (5+ / 0-)

    This is going to take some time to penetrate.  Some years ago, it looked really hopeless re: climate change as well.  Perceptions can change, if enough people continue to take affirmative steps, both large and small: educate neighbors, friends, and family.  Try to make an interest in political issues infectious.  Ask bars and restaurants to turn on MSNBC if Fox"News" is playing.  Engage strangers and ask them to give Dems a chance, or discuss the issues of your choosing.

    I wouldn't declare game over re: public perception of environmental issues, just yet.

    climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

    by GN1927 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:47:23 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, but what about my antenna problems on (6+ / 0-)

    my Iphone 4?  Thank goodness Senator Schumer

    sent Apple CEO Steve Jobs a letter this week imploring Mr. Jobs to fix the iPhone 4′s "antenna issue."

    One would think, wouldn't one, that with the advent of the Internet and popularity and abundance of smart phones, that millions more people would have access to better information than their "nightly news" gives them, and would take a more active interest in, you know, the planet they live on.

    A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

    by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:47:33 AM PDT

    •  They do have more interest-----in Lindsay & Mel (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice, MrJersey, commonmass

      and other such crap!!

      The Planet?  Who cares????

      •  I couldn't believe, or maybe I could, (3+ / 0-)

        how I couldn't tune into any network or cable channel or radio show without having to hear about the Iphone antenna.

        One would have thought, at least I would have, that everyone who touched the lower left hand corner of the IPhone died or was seriously injured.

        And if I only went by certain media outlets, I would know more about Gibson, Lohan, and now Hilton and her weed than I would know about the consequences of the oil gusher and what's being done about it.

        A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

        by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:53:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And Arlen Specter wanted to know in 2008 why the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice

      Boston Patriots destroyed the secret tapes they made of other NFL teams.  We can never be too safe from the spying of Bob Belichick, can we?

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:14:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what I have noticed is the utter lack of urgency (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, MrJersey, commonmass
    in any media!  
    If it's not roman polanski, or mel gibson...
    who gives a crap!

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:48:31 AM PDT

  •  Holy shit; the Bachelorette dumped her fiance! (4+ / 0-)
    Wait, what were we talking about again?  Oh yeah, the fact that the American public have turned into pithed frogs.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:48:54 AM PDT

  •  what I have noticed is the utter lack of urgency (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, commonmass
    in the media, all media!
    if it's not roman polanski, mel gibson or lindsey lohan...
    who gives a crap!

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:50:01 AM PDT

  •  People fed lies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, commonmass

    about all the bad things about environmental regulation for the last 40 years, and none of the good things make it into the press.   No retrospectives of remember when the lakes and streams were so polluted they were funny colors and you couldn't get near them for the smell let alone thinking of getting in them, remember how you could start out the day in a white shirt and it came home yellowed or blackened in many major industrial urban areas?  Remember when x, y or z major yuk was visible over all the horizons.   Do you want to go back to that?   Its not spoken of in the media.

    People now still don't see the real cost of the BP disaster, after all, BP is going to pay for it right?     BP can't pay for a generation or more of lost fishing, illness caused by toxins that doesn't show up for years, the current lost revenues making a bad economy worse, etc.  

    Politicians, even those who want to do better than a republican, have a way of wanting to soothe the public's fears.   They assure us its under control, it will get better, and deflate the very public ire they need to get things done.

    Every once in a while someone needs to carry the message, we're fucked, front and center.

  •  The American people are beat down, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, i like bbq, commonmass

    resigned to their powerlessness, and apathetic. Very sad.

    •  Sort of like what's the use of complaining (0+ / 0-)

      cause it ain't gonna get them anywhere.  Hey, you could always go to the beach on the East Coast... for now.

      A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

      by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:00:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Activism, environment (4+ / 0-)
    "The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law."

    Earth Day, 1990. My college buddy and I drove all the way from Michigan to spend it on Walden Pond in Concord, MA.

    I find it interesting that even in this economic downturn, except for during the 08 elections, any kind of sustained mass activism has failed to materialize. Even many progressives remain pessimistic and even idle.

    Baba (Grandmother) Commonmass recently said to me "You always loved to hear the stories about the Depression, and your grandfather's labor activism and how everyone seemed to get active, if they could. Well, now you have your Depression. Get busy!"

    This time around, we seem to be more interested in the modern bread-and-circus mentality than in "getting busy" to get things done and hold our people in congress accountable. It's too bad.

    Thank goodness some of us realize that, and are "getting busy". We could be a little more militant, a little more angry and do less fingerpointing and navel-gazing, though. If every American spent a couple of hours a week doing even something as small as writing their congresscritter instead of watching "Dancing With the Stars", we'd all be better off.

    "BP: pls recrudiate!" See, Sarah, I can do it too. --Commonmass

    by commonmass on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:54:03 AM PDT

    •  I guess you're right about "every." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJersey, i like bbq, commonmass

      If every American spent a couple of hours a week doing even something as small as writing their congresscritter instead of watching "Dancing With the Stars", we'd all be better off.

      I don't write, but I call.   I called so many times, so many times this year and last to my Rep and Senators, numerous times on each issues, but to no avail.

      My friend's son finished his first year at Syracuse, is back home for the summer, and I talked to him about voting.  He was too young for '08, and didn't vote for governor last year, but plans to vote absentee this year.

      The problem is:  He couldn't name his two senators.  He couldn't tell me the terms for either.  And he guessed at who his Rep. was.

      A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

      by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a big part of the problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, MrJersey, i like bbq

        and it's not just kids, either. I know a number of well-educated (on paper, anyway, that does NOT mean sophisticated) professionals who could not name their congressperson if they tried. One, in a discussion about the nomination of Sotomayor could not name the number let alone the names of all the supreme court justices.

        I grew up in a family that voted, was politically active, generally enrolled members of the Democratic Party (my father has always been "unenrolled" as we say here in New England but votes nearly exclusively Democratic) and discussed politics at the dinner table, read good newspapers, listened to NPR and got their television news from places like The NewsHour on PBS.

        Interestingly: we read together in the sitting room instead of watching TV all the time.

        When I think about it, I lead a very sheltered life as a kid. I thought everyone was that informed. Boy, did I get disabused of THAT notion fast, especially in college, as a member of student government and activist groups, I was appalled about what my fellow undergraduates didn't know about the most basic things. Are you surprised that I became not only our student congress parliamentarian but also often advised the parliamentarian of the faculty senate?

        This was twenty years ago. I can only imagine what it's like today. And this, with all this information at our fingertips over the internet!

        "BP: pls recrudiate!" See, Sarah, I can do it too. --Commonmass

        by commonmass on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:20:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know scientists who are dependent on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gooderservice, commonmass

          government funding for their research who act like it is always going to be there.  They see the political game as a process that is beneath them that will never affect the good work that they are doing.  Ask the general public about who is funding most cancer research and they would probably answer that the drug companies were responsible, not the NCI.  Scientists generally do not see the publicity of government funding to be something that is their responsibility, something that I think is short sighted.  If they don't speak out on the importance of government funding for what they do, they leave it up to the likes of Sarah Palin to do their speaking for them.

          And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

          by MrJersey on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:08:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to see evidence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, i like bbq

        that contacting representatives effects change when the numbers are large.  The only time I've noticed rep's or senators "cave in" to public outrage has been during the healthcare debate.  And that "caving in" was caving to the astroturfed tea party which is really just an extension of the health insurance lobby.

        I would love to see some examples of public outcry leading to mandates that do not benefit the relevant corporate entity.

        "All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour." -Julia, 1984

        by pullbackthecurtain on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:38:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be great to have some type of verifiable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i like bbq

          system in place that would log the legitimate phone calls of people in favor of or opposed to a particular piece of legislation.  Right now we only have the elected officials' "word" on this.  

          A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

          by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:59:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  well, with a Dem WH promoting "clean coal" (3+ / 0-)

    myths and insisting that off shore drilling is still necessary...

    I'm jus' sayin'

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:56:28 AM PDT

  •  I see two big problems here... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, i like bbq

    The first is that this hasn't been a shock event.  It's been a slow trickle, with the amounts changing over time, and the horrible images from the Gulf taking days and weeks to come in after the beginning of the disaster.  There's a reason that Americans were so enamored with Shock and Awe.  It was as much for our consumption as for anyone else.

    Second, I see a failure to explain as the reason that people continue to support off-shore drilling or drilling in ANWR.  They believe that the oil drilled for in these locations will reduce the price of gas because they believe that this oil will be bound for solely for American markets.  They're wrong about that.  It'll be added to the world oil supply, and like all oil will simply go to the highest bidder.  If I remember correctly from 2008, this would have at most a 1 cent or 2 cent impact upon the price of a barrel of oil.

    •  Very few in Congress or the White House, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      B Amer, i like bbq, Mets102

      if any, dispel this myth.  When they're on talk shows facing a republican and the republican talks about we need to drill so the U.S. won't be reliant on other countries, the democrat never corrects them.

      They believe that the oil drilled for in these locations will reduce the price of gas because they believe that this oil will be bound for solely for American markets.  They're wrong about that.

      A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

      by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:07:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting recent piece (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga

    On the "winners" of the oil spill. One such "winner" predicted is environmental groups.

    The biggest long-term gains, he says, come when groups can turn a disaster into a "focusing event," harnessing the public's short-term horror to shift the paradigm of public policy. The Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear plant meltdowns, for instance, precipitated a quarter-century rejection of nuclear power by all but a handful of countries, such as France and Japan.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...

    Of course, a similar "win" now supposes sufficient activism to direct public concern for events into meaningful results. And it's way to soon to measure if that is happening.

    "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:00:02 AM PDT

  •  But Marco Rubio said this morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trial Lawyer Richard, jfromga

    it was okay to keep drilling because we've been doing it for decades.  He blamed BP for doing shoddy work and plans to "fix" that in the future.  (That would be a neat trick, since he's not in favor of more regulation.  Ummm.)  Oh, and he didn't mention how many decades "we've" been drilling so deep into the ocean.

    Oh, and isn't in favor of extending Unemployment benefits unless they're paid for but is in favor of extending the tax cuts for the rich without paying for them now because, as you know, they will be paid for all by themselves because they'll create jobs.  (I guess he's using Karl Rove's math to tally up all the jobs Bush created through tax cuts for the wealthy)

    Of course he wouldn't say how he would pay for the Unemployment benefits.

    A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

    by gooderservice on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:00:07 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't generalize too much from today's world (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq

    We are extraordinarily divorced from connection with reality.  The last administration stated their fantasy that they create reality.  We are exposed to fake realities through movies and television and are temporarily buffered from the rapid degradation of our environmental support system.  We spend hours on the internet, we drive through Springfield with no thought for the "field," through Hartford with zero awareness of the mighty Connecticut River which loomed so large in the minds of our ancestors.

    The suffering of the Great Depression was very real to politicians of the time.  They could hardly have imagined not doing something.  Today, it is easy for a politician to remain so distracted by myriad other stimuli that the real world problems remain only abstract considerations.

    This is a specific example of the glaring fact that our systems of decision-making are hopelessly narcissistic, terrifyingly unresponsive to real-world conditions.

    Don't believe everything you think.

    by geomoo on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:01:07 AM PDT

  •  Maybe people aren't motivated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist, The Dead Man

    over this oil spill because the Obama administration is conspiring with BP to keep reporters and cameras away from scenes of oiled beaches and dead wildlife?  If people can't see the damage, they won't get as fired up to prevent it from happening again.

    "There's no one dumber than a dumb guy who thinks he's smart." - Oliver Hardy

    by flyingwedge on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:01:59 AM PDT

  •  Our only hope is GOTV... (2+ / 0-)

    because when 18-29 year olds show up - and it's their world we are borrowing - it's no contest.

    They have student loans. They have credit card debt. They are the ones on the firing line for new jobs and careers. It's their lives on the line!  Anybody think McCain/Palin would have changed Student Loan financing, or done Wall Street reform or Health Care?

    Decisions are made by those who show up & vote. We have to absolutely rock the vote! Free concerts, college and grad school events...college libraries are ideal to find active students. And door-to-door is the ticket.

    And the DNC has to advertise. Our nation is absolutely sunk if Republicans regain majority control of the House or Senate - NEVER AGAIN!

    TAX THE RICH! They have money! I'm a Democrat. That's why!

    by ezdidit on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:06:24 AM PDT

  •  Sanitized coverage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, Fixed Point Theorem

    It's not that the disaster has had no impact, it just didn't have as much impact as it should have had. Pollingreport has a poll, commissioned by Faux Gnus no less, that has support for increased offshore drilling drop from 70% to 44% between early April and early June and opposition more than double in the same time frame. That the effect hasn't been more dramatic has a lot to do with the disaster having remained incredibly abstract to most news consumers so far. They used to see all those horrible images of oil-drenched animals, but that's been different this time, partly because it took a long time for the oil to start reaching the shores in significant quantities and partly because BP managed to censor and sanitize the coverage of this disaster not unlike the DoD managed to censor and sanitize the coverage of the desert wars of our age.    

    If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

    by brainwave on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:23:27 AM PDT

  •  Tell it to the many Naderites here (0+ / 0-)
    The ones who post 'Ralph was right' comments in the multitude of 'Obama sucks' diaries.

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 09:31:57 AM PDT

  •  Simple answer: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pullbackthecurtain
    people don't see the connection between the spill and global warming, which incidentally doesn't affect their daily lives anyway.
  •  WaPo should explain that (0+ / 0-)
    no positive change is possible (regardless of the dismal circumstances) when all of our federal politicians are on the take.
  •  This isn't very surprising (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq

    Previous environmental disasters faced an America in which the concentration of power by the nation's elite, and their resistance to democratic change and reform was nothing compared to what it is now.

    This is a farce, not a democracy, and no one should be surprised that Our Serious and Responsible Leaders are going to effectively change anything unless they are forced to - and our electoral system is not forcing them.

    More change we better get used to believing.

  •  The point is that our infotainment system has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, pullbackthecurtain

    taught most Americans to be apathetic about their political options with the result that they feel powerless to provide any meaningful influence to make change happen.  For example, they thought they were voting for substantial change with the Obama presidency but that has turned out to be change-lite.  The entire exercise of writing letters to you legislators is BS because a letter unaccompanied by a substantial donation does little to make change happen.  People are apathetic because they have been taught to be spectators in a drama of the Gods be it the Superbowl, American Idol, or Congressional and Presidential elections.  While this does not bode well for our participative system of government, it does seem to be the future.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:01:19 AM PDT

  •  Disagree with the meme (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i like bbq, Fixed Point Theorem

    As long as there are 31 flavors on the shelves and another season of American Idol coming, there's never going to be anything automatic about political passion.

    I disagree with this meme.  Political passion does not lead to real change.  Neither does protest.  The Iraq War protests and the torture outrage were huge yet the change was null.  The problems we face and the roadblocks to good legislation is due to the two-party system and the influence of lobbyists on laws.

    There is no pressure of one political party to follow through on promises made during election season after they are elected.  The next time an election rolls around the former supporters are forced to continue supporting the candidate which broke promises out of fear of the 'greater evil' alternative.  The only outlet for real change is the primary system which, due to lobbyist influence on lawmakers, quite often just brings in fresh ideologues who are soon to be the next corporate lapdogs.

    Call me cynical if you want, but this is the truth.  Until corporations are unable to 'make or break' political candidates we will lose progressives to the lobbyists.  Or perhaps on a different side of that same coin, we will continue to get candidates who pretend to be progressive in order to win votes yet will govern for those who gave them the most money.  This is a tremendous problem though because the people who benefit from the laws allowing corporate donations are the only ones who can shut it down.  It's a self-sustaining beast now.

    "All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour." -Julia, 1984

    by pullbackthecurtain on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:29:02 AM PDT

  •  Very true (0+ / 0-)

    Our long-running health care crisis is a good example, too.  People become immune to the suffering of others after a while. They're often not motivated to press for change until it affects them personally.

    There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.

    by Betty Pinson on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 10:31:22 AM PDT

  •  absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

    the best way to make progress is to make progress

  •  BP, Oil Spill Political action (0+ / 0-)

    I think that there are many people who are taking action and getting involved, but of course it is not being covered by the MSM.  For example 200 people showed up to a meeting in NYC, and action groups were formed out of that.  Move-on is working on this issue.  Another example, which I read about in a local paper on the North Fork of L.I., is a group that is gathering weekly on the beach to discuss what they can do.  Again, it's under the media radar, but I do believe that some thing is bubbling up (not crude) from below the surface

  •  I have to say that I join with the (0+ / 0-)

    majority in mustering a big yawn. I just can't be bothered. Jeopardy is on. Wake me when something REALLY big happens. In my District. Nah. Never mind. If it ain't across the street I ain't getting off the couch.

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