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Crucial offers to help clean up BP’s oil spill “have come from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that… possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships.” But the Obama administration wouldn’t accept the help, because doing so would require it to do something past presidents have routinely done: waive rules imposed by the Jones Act, a law backed by unions.
“The BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed. So… the U.S. Coast Guard… can’t accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand.”
The law itself permits the president to waive these requirements, and such waivers were “granted, promptly, by the Bush administration,” in the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies. But Obama has refused to do so, notes David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen.
“After the Obama administration refused help from the Netherlands, Geert Visser, the consul general for the Netherlands in Houston, told Loren Steffy: ‘Let’s forget about politics; let’s get it done.'” But for Obama, politics always comes first: “The explanation of Obama’s reluctance to seek this remedy is his cozy relationship with labor unions… ‘The unions see it [not waiving the act] as… protecting jobs. They hate when the Jones Act gets waived.'”
Ironically, even the staunchest supporters of the Jones Act are now distancing themselves from refusals to accept foreign help, saying they have “not and will not stand in the way of the use of these well-established waiver procedures to address this crisis.” Obama is being more intransigently pro-union than the unions themselves. Never mind that “each day our European allies are prevented from helping us speed up the clean up is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.”
In April 2009, the Obama administration granted BP, a big supporter of Obama, a waiver of environmental regulations. But after the oil spill, it blocked Louisiana from protecting its coastline against the oil spill by delaying rather than expediting regulatory approval of essential protective measures. It has also chosen not to use what has been described as “the most effective method” of fighting the spill, a method successfully used in other oil spills. Democratic strategist James Carville called Obama’s handling of the oil spill “lackadaisical” and “unbelievable” in its “stupidity.”
Obama is now using BP’s oil spill to push the global-warming legislation that BP had lobbied for. Obama’s global warming legislation expands ethanol subsidies, which cause famine, starvation, and food riots in poor countries by shrinking the food supply. Ethanol makes gasoline costlier and dirtier, increases ozone pollution, and increases the death toll from smog and air pollution. Ethanol production also results in deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Subsidies for biofuels like ethanol are a big source of corporate welfare: “BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels… that cannot break even without government support.”
The $800 billion stimulus package is also using taxpayer subsidies to replace U.S. jobs with foreign green jobs. And its regulations destroy jobs in America’s export sector.
Gen. David Petraeus slumped over Tuesday morning during a Senate hearing, but revived after a few seconds and left the room under his own power. After about 20 minutes he returned to the hearing room.
Petraeus had finished telling Sen. McCain that he believes the planned drawdown of U.S. troops remains on track, and McCain was responding when the room fell silent and aides began crowding around the general.
Powerful landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 49 people in southeastern Bangladesh on Tuesday, striking a coastal area as people slept and burying many alive inside their homes.
Rescuers pulled bodies from under chunks of mud covering mostly thatched huts before rescue work was suspended because of darkness, officials said. As the rain continued, officials feared the toll could rise.
Two crazed, anti-American teachers held up anti-war signs during a high school assembly honoring six brave students who have signed up to join the U.S. military.
Teacher Marybeth Verani said, “I’m showing students in a democracy how to exercise dissent.” These teachers should have been fired on the spot. They should never be allowed to work around children.
Eight weeks into the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of the Mexico, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has told the National Guard that there’s no time left to wait for BP.
So they’re taking matters into their own hands. Jindal has ordered the Guard to start building barrier walls right in the middle of the ocean. The barriers are intended to keep the oil from reaching the coast.
A UC Irvine disciplinary committee ruled that a Muslim student group should be suspended for a year because of a protest that disrupted a talk by Israel’s ambassador and led to the arrest of 11 students.
The letter from a student affairs disciplinary committee to Muslim Student Union leaders said the group was guilty of disorderly conduct, obstructing university activities and furnishing false information.
Democracy could ‘collapse’ in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the debt crisis, the head of the European Commission has warned.
In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso set out an ‘apocalyptic’ vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups.
In 1970, nine percent of California’s population was comprised of immigrants; by 2008 it was 27 percent.
A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) finds that as a result of immigration, California now has the least-educated labor force of any state. Historically, California was not a state with a disproportionately large unskilled population, like Appalachia or parts of the South.
Unemployed Ngurah Alit, 18, was seen in a Bali paddy field standing naked behind the animal. He claimed he believed the cow was a young and beautiful woman, and it had seduced him with flattering compliments.
He was then forced to marry the cow to cleanse the coastal village of Yeh Embang of the bestiality. But during the ritual Alit passed out.
Terrified Christian Hernandez dropped his red cape and ran from the charging bull during an event in Mexico City on Sunday. The 22-year-old vaulted over the wall at the side of the ring as the crowd hooted and whistled in derision.
He was briefly persuaded back into the ring but gave up before coming face to face with half-ton beast and skulked from the ring a second time.
An Austrian artist has created the world’s slowest supercar from plastic pipes, foil and tape. The Ferdinand GT3 RSX is the brainchild of Hannes Langeder who wanted to create the ultimate eco-friendly supercar.
It took 1,000 hours to construct Mr Langeder said: “I wanted to have a positive vision of the future of transport related to the ecological situation.”
Police in Hampshire were called in to guard an unlocked high street bank. Officers were called to the HSBC branch in Tadley on Saturday after a member of the public arrived to find the door open, but no staff inside.
Police said everything inside the branch appeared to be in order and nothing had been taken. They guarded the bank until the keyholder arrived.