Robert Gibbs: When Conspiracy Theories Are Easier to Take Than the Truth

That’s one way to deflect the sorry reality of the situation:

“I would not be surprised if the White House said, you know, we might be able to, guess what, do what? Use this crisis to our advantage. Let this crisis get really bad, and then we will step in,” Brown told Neil Cavuto. “We will be able to shut down offshore drilling. We will be able to turn to all these alternate fuels.”

Gibbs, responding to an oil leak query from (Wendell) Goler, called the network out for failing to challenge Brown, now a conservative Colorado radio host.

“I watched Fox yesterday — you open both the double doors — and waaah! — here I am,” Gibbs said.

As Goler tried to calm Gibbs down, the press secretary began talking about “the special and unique interview with Michael Brown, who for those who weren’t let in on the big secret … intimated on Fox and it wasn’t – didn’t appear — to be pushed back on real hard — that this spill was leaked on purpose in order for us to undo decisions.”

The reality is that our government is completely at sea (pun intended) in this situation, as is the case with many things in the oilfield.  They do not have the capability to deal with a disaster such as this.

Gibbs could have dispatched Foxnews and Goler by admitting this.  But that would have been worse than looking like a ninny, which he did.

If the Cricket Team Wears Green, It Must Be an Islamic State

As the Qur’an would say, it’s a clear sign:

Pakistan was carved out of the Muslim-majority areas of British India in 1947, the world’s first modern nation based solely on Islam. The country’s name means “Land of the Pure.” The capital city is Islamabad. The national flag carries the Islamic crescent and star. The cricket team wears green.

Humour (or the lack of it) aside, Mr. Dhume is correct: Pakistan was a “first” as an Islamic state in modern times when it was created in 1947.  The separation of Pakistan and India was one of the largest–and bloodiest–mass migrations known in history.

Although the focus of Christians, Arabs and the Obama Administration is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the India-Pakistan divide (which took place at about the same time) is the largest flash point between the “region of peace” and the “region of war,” to use Islamic terminology.  And both participants have had nuclear weapons for a long time.

Note: Sadanand Dhume is also the author of My Friend the Fanatic, about another predominantly Muslim country facing stress with its own hard-line Islamicists, Indonesia.  An interesting profile of the Times Square “almost-bomber” is given here by Syed Saleem Shahzad, who is up to his usual excellent game.

The Rich and Famous Move to Cut Government Spending

Well, at least the rich:

A fledging private effort to rein in the amount of taxes residents pay for county programs is taking shape.

About a dozen residents met Thursday at the North End (of Palm Beach) home of Town Council President David Rosow to discuss how to achieve that objective, according to resident Stuart Shulman.

The group is set to meet again May 27, when it will try to decide whether to form a political action committee or work in another way to convince members of the Palm Beach County Commission and other taxing entities such as the school district to spend town residents’ tax dollars wisely, Shulman said.

“We pay so much taxes to the county and we get so little in return,” Shulman said. “We want to talk to people, go over their budgets and see where we can cut their budgets.”

Part of the plan is to support candidates for elected offices in the county who pledge fiscal responsibility, Shulman said.

“That’s pretty much it. If we can help the cut their budget, it will cut our taxes. It affects every single resident of Palm Beach who pays taxes,” Shulman said.

If we could figure out how to put these people together with those of lesser means, we just might beat this “drunken sailor” spending by our government.  But in our current political climate, don’t hold your breath.

Millions of Dead Fish

I’ve documented on this blog and related ones some of the “interesting” business trips I have taken, especially outside the US.  One of those took place in 1980, when my brother and I, fresh from an offshore technology exhibit at Earl’s Court, took a plane to Hamburg to meet with a prospective German representative for our company.

It was our first trip to Germany, and it was an experience.  We discovered that German plumbing required the same “ticketed engineers” that worked on construction equipment to take a bath or shower.  We found that the one place you didn’t want to be was in front of a workplace exit at quitting time (you get trampled in the rush.)  We experienced going down the autobahn in a stick-shift Mercedes (my brother had his “official corporate photo” taken in his Mercedes tie, if that tells you anything.)  And we found the food, although not France, was good.

In the middle of all of this our prospective rep and we discussed a topic of mutual interest: a hydraulic pile driving hammer suitable for driving underwater piles for offshore oil platforms.  We saw it as competition to our steam hammers.  But our host was confident that this new technology wouldn’t be a problem.  He observed that, should there be a hydraulic hose breakage, the oil would spew out, and there would be “millions of dead fish.”

That’s pretty much what BP is facing these days with the blowout off of the Mississippi River delta, only now shellfish are thrown into the mix as the oil spill creeps towards land.  Everyone knows that BP will end up footing the bill to clean the mess up, and providing the technology to make that fix happen.  (I’m still wondering what gives with the blowout preventer, but I digress…)  Our federal government, mindful of being criticised over the last major disaster to hit this region (Katrina,) is taking a measured response compared to past years.   It’s hard to know whether this is a product of Obama’s “cool” response to just about anything or the realisation that fixing the problem is way over their heads.

Others, such as Paul Krugman at the New York Times, would like to revive the emotional hysteria that we had in the 1960’s and 1970’s at the dawn of the environmental movement.  But that hysteria–which produced, among other things, a stop-and-go regime re offshore drilling–is a large part of how we got where we are in the first place, both with this disaster and with our lack of energy policy in general.

We live in a technological society, and have for a long time.  Adventures such as offshore oil have assumed risks associated with them.  When incidents such as this happen, it is necessary to clean them up, learn from the mistakes, and move forward.  It doesn’t hurt that crude oil is a naturally occuring substance that is more amenable to biodegradation than, say, a refined product such as the hydraulic oil that our German friend referred to.

Today’s liberal thinks that he or she is “scientific” because they “believe in evolution” or whatever other litmus test they would like to apply.  But the environmental movement arose as a reaction to the advancement of science and technology.  It is, in reality, a religion.  Now liberals dislike religions such as Christianity because of their moral strictures.  But requiring people to zip their pants only affects them; turning a whole economy upside down affects everyone.  The environmentalism that Mr. Krugman wants to bring back worked on the assumption that all technology was evil and had to be stopped or at least slowed to a crawl.

That’s why the environmentalists of the day would not conscion either offshore oil drilling or nuclear power.  This lead to the continuation of the former on a reduced scale, the cesassion of the latter in terms of development, and the export of both the environmental impact of oil exploration and our money to other parts of the world, as if both would be better off outside of the country.

If we do bring back the environmentalism that Krugman longs for, what Wall Street wrought in 2008 with the financial collapse will look like child’s play.   Before that happens, I suspect that the rest of the world will have their way at last on these shores, and then millions of dead fish will be the least of our problems.

John Chrysostom on the Sacrifice of the Mass

As a follow-up to this, from his Homilies on Hebrews:

What then? do not we offer every day? We offer indeed, but making a remembrance of His death, and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one, and not many? Inasmuch as that Sacrifice was once for all offered, and carried into the Holy of Holies. This is a figure of that sacrifice and this remembrance of that.  For we always offer the same,  not one sheep now and to-morrow another, but always the same thing:  so that the sacrifice is one. And yet by this reasoning, since the offering is made in many places, are there many Christs? but Christ is one everywhere, being complete here and complete there also, one Body. As then while offered in many places, He is one body and not many bodies; so also He is one sacrifice. He is our High Priest, who offered the sacrifice that cleanses us. That we offer now also, which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done in remembrance of what was then done. For (saith He) “do this in remembrance of Me.” ( Luke xxii. 19 .) It is not another sacrifice, as the High Priest, but we offer always the same, or rather we perform a remembrance of a Sacrifice. (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, 17.6)