*** Actor Kevin Costner Pitches Solution to BP Headache, Intelligence Head Resigns, Why Kagan Elitist Good, Demanding Ethical Business Practices and Reforming Wall Street - News Headlines 20 May 2010
From Denny: Well, the Gulf Coast was glad for two things today. One, the government got serious about rejecting toxic dispersant for the oil spill BP was spreading out there. The dispersants are more damaging to the environment than the natural light crude oil. Not to mention gallons and gallons of non-toxic dispersant are sitting on the Houston docks, ordered by BP, but never used. Talk about strange.
Everyone on the Louisiana coast was thrilled to hear what actor Kevin Costner and his scientist brother had to say about their technology to clean up the oil easily. All the fishermen were wondering why BP had not taken Costner up on his offer. Sounds too much like BP is both inept and too cheap to do what needs to be done in a timely manner.
President Obama needs to quit tip-toeing around BP. He needs to start pressuring these guys with what they understand: loss of money and business in America. At any time, Obama can shut down their other oil rigs in the Gulf. He can shut down their BP gas stations from doing business until BP pays up. He can freeze BP assests in American banks. I guarantee if you start hammering these guys they will do a 180 degree turn around and suddenly solve the problem lightning fast. This should have been a two-prong effort: cleaning up the oil while figuring out how to shut off the leaks. The true figure of how much oil is leaking out every day is actually 210,000 gallons a day - not the tepid 5,000 gallons a day BP tried to sell the public as their first lie to us.
It's no surprise that NDI Blair was sacked. The guy had a king complex and overstepped his boundaries of his job description. Coordinating intelligence gathering and analysis among 16 agencies is enough to handle in a day. Trying to micro-manage over the shoulders of the agency heads was folly and an inefficient use of his time. Nor did it foster goodwill or trust - the first two necessities in order to get the agencies to coordinate in the first place.
Blair never took the course on People Skills 101. You have to be willing to allow leaders to lead and trust your people. What you look for are excesses or deviations from the administration's policies, common sense or ethics. Clearly, Blair was not ready for prime time.
And another curious technology development... Homeland Security wants to turn your cell phone into a smell phone to check for airborne toxic chemicals. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that if you live in a pollution area like Los Angeles it does make you wonder if those tricked out new cell phones will be ringing the alarm like crazy. :)
Check out the two commentary articles. One is about how to reform Wall Street from the foundation of ethics up the food chain. Good luck on that one but a good argument and illuminating facts here. The second commentary is about Elena Kagan, the current Supreme Court nominee, and how the Republicans are complaining she is a supposed elitist. What a joke. What is funny is how this commentary piece talks about previous 200 year old arguments from our American politics that argue against what they are arguing today. Did you get all that? Yep, that's the shell game of the Republicans and typical of their liar politics. It's a good read.
EPA scolds BP in Gulf oil spill: dispersant is too toxic, change it (CSMonitor)
After saying last week that it had no authority to tell BP which disperant to use for the Gulf oil spill, the EPA on Thursday told BP to switch dispersants to one that is less toxic.
The US Environmental Protection Agency reversed course in the Gulf oil spill cleanup effort Thursday, telling BP that had three days to stop using a chemical dispersant that the EPA’s own data suggests is unnecessarily toxic.
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Kevin Costner oil spill cleanup idea interests BP (CSMonitor)
Film star Kevin Costner and his scientist brother are promoting a new technology they say could separate oil from water as part of the effort to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf. BP officials agree to test the system.
Mr. Costner appeared in New Orleans last week to demonstrate a $24 million oil extraction device he is pitching to BP and Coast Guard officials. Costner says the device will clean oil from the water at a rate of 97 percent. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Wednesday that his team will test the device next week.
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Gulf oil spill: 'top kill' could be last best chance to stop leak (CSMonitor)
BP and government officials said Wednesday that their next attempt to stop the Gulf oil spill – the so-called 'top kill' – is scheduled to start Sunday. If it doesn't work, there are few promising short-term alternatives.
Intelligence director Dennis Blair takes fall for Christmas bomber (CSMonitor)
Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, will resign effective May 28. The Senate Intelligence Committee this week heavily criticized his agency's handling of recent terror incidents, including the Christmas bomber.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is resigning under fire.
Mr. Blair, a retired US Navy admiral, had been involved in turf battles with the Central Intelligence Agency, and he had come under recent criticism – including a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report this week – for his agency’s handling of recent terrorist incidents, including the Christmas Day bombing attempt........
Homeland Security wants to turn your cell phone into a smell phone (CSMonitor)
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a porous silicon chip that can sniff out airborne chemicals. The US Department of Homeland Security says this could revolutionize protection against chemical weapon terror attacks.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hoping that soon your cell phone will sniff out poisonous gases. It’s funding three companies to create a small chip – about the size of a dime – that would sit inside of cell phones and alert users to potentially deadly smells.........
America's new 'dual track' approach to Iran nuclear program (CSMonitor)
At first, the US said, the new push for sanctions on Iran was a rebuff of a fuel swap deal. But now, it says, both the sanctions and the deal should try to address the Iran nuclear program.........
Commentary: Bringing morality to Wall Street (CSMonitor)
Groups push not only for stronger regulation of Wall Street banks, but a greater emphasis on ethical business practices.
At the heart of the financial crisis lay a moral failing. Too many financial-industry officials, and often their customers, lacked the ethical training and guts to refuse to sell or buy "liar's loans" and other toxic mortgages. Too many were willing to operate a massive casino that traded financial derivatives of little constructive value.
Further, the ethical weakness on Wall Street led to "ripping the heart" out of the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans, says Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, created to review the Troubled Asset Relief Program. With the financial crisis, the great recession, and the fall in house values, millions of homeowners have lost their houses, usually their largest asset and their "No. 1 retirement plan" when combined with Social Security pensions, she adds. "I am stunned there has been so little discussion [in the media] of Wall Street's moral failing." -----
Opinion: Elena Kagan and the case for an elitist Supreme Court (CSMonitor)
The Supreme Court was designed by the Founders to be elitist.
The announcement of Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s nomination to fill the US Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens has prompted a familiar complaint.
Ms. Kagan, so the argument goes, is a member of a small, well-educated elite; and as a product of the best schools, she is unrepresentative of the vast majority of the American people.
Arguments such as this one surface with some regularity in American politics, and it’s most often heard as a cry from the right.
However, today’s conservatives would do well to refresh their memories and take a few cues from such luminaries of American conservative thought as Alexander Hamilton or John Adams. Indeed, criticism of Kagan’s elitism sounds more like the complaints of the Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution than they do its Federalist defenders.
Among the fears raised by the Anti-Federalists more than 200 years ago, two recently revived during the debate over the Kagan nomination stand out-----
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