Monday, May 24, 2010

Oyster moves to The Lens 

I'm going to become the next opinion blogger for The Lens. So, heartiest self-congratulations to me!

You may say: Good for you. But why?!

Because they're paying me a very part time salary to continue my blog addiction, and because their vision plan is outstanding... ("lens"-- get it?).

Well, there's more to it than that. At The Lens I'll have the opportunity to work with Karen Gadbois, who is one of my heroes. Also, I'll have access to more insider details on news stories, and more investigative resources. Further, The Lens has an editor who can challenge me to justify my arguments so that I'm relying less on clever locutions, scathing snarkasm, and dark humor to carry the day.

You may say: but we like clever locutions, scathing sarcasm and dark humor!

Oh, don't worry. I'll keep delivering. But instead of one good sentence per substantive post like at YRHT, I might be able to manage TWO or even THREE good sentences per post at The Lens. With improved grammar and spelling! Shoot your arrows at the sun, I always say.

So, it's definitely an experiment. However, I think this blog move will force me to discipline my writing and may perhaps broaden my audience. The Lens has imposed no restrictions on what I write, but in the rare case that they decline to publish a post, I'll do it here. One of my goals at YRHT was to relate the personal stuff in my life to events in New Orleans, and to relate those events in New Orleans to larger national issues. Circumstances over the past six years have made that goal much easier to achieve than I originally envisioned. Throughout YRHT, I've always tried to be as entertaining and as funny as possible, while ranting about serious topics like coastal restoration and semi-serious topics like political intrigue. But I feel like I can still crank it up another notch, and I believe writing as Mark Moseley at The Lens will help me do that.

You may say: I don't like change. For example, I'm going to miss that "OMI Melting" blogskin.

Don't be so sentimental. Print out the dark icy frame and tape it around your monitor if ya like it so much.

You may say: What about all that personal ephemera you indulge in at YRHT and those quick, witty posts that offer little more than a clever title and link? Those were my favorite parts.

You can follow me on Twitter: @erster

As for YRHT guest posters like The Flaming Liberal, I will honor my commitments to them and keep this blog open for their judicious use. Occasionally I'll drop by to briefly pimp my stuff at The Lens. (Which I know is annoying, so I won't blame you if you switch me out of your reader.)[Update: Thanks, of course, to all the fellow nolabloggers, readers, fans, lurkers, tipsters, searchers and trolls who visited YRHT throughout the years. I truly enjoyed it.]

In a bit of cheesy symmetry, I'll close by repeating some inspirational words (taken from an oddly topical Fugazi song) from my first YRHT post.

We have a responsibility
To use our abilities to keep this place alive
Right here right now

Do it. Now. Do it.

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Macondo Kids 

In the traditon of Katrina Kids and the Fema rap, are we going to have any federal sing-alongs to help soothingly explain this oil gusher disaster to impressionable youngsters?

...

Close enough.

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Commentary by David C. Bellinger 

“We Get the Government we Deserve, or the Oil ‘catastrophe’ was Waiting to Happen so Don’t Blame BP!” by David C. Bellinger

Re: “Oil disaster brought to you by deregulation,” by Bob Marshall-- Outdoors Editor, New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 2010 -- http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/oil_disaster_brought_to_you_by.html

Dear Blogger:

Congratulations to Bob Marshall for an outstanding Times Picayune column placing blame for the BP/Gulf of Mexico oil disaster where it belongs -– in the hands of the supporters and lovers of deregulation.

Remember Ronald Reagan often saying, while smirking, that government is not the solution, but the problem and Reagan stated at the Republican National Convention, accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for president in Detroit in July 1980, that the way you solve the energy crisis is to let the oil companies handle the problem. Yeah right Ronnie!!!!!! And, as President, Reagan went on to dismantle every alternative energy program I know that President Jimmy Carter either proposed or put into practice -– like President Carter proposing to give Lockheed Aircraft a grant to develop commercial jet aircraft fueled by clean burning, environmentally friendly, liquid hydrogen. And the nation -– with our security at risk should the Strait of Hormuz be closed in a Middle East crisis –- possibly making gasoline unavailable at any price -- is now more dependent on imported oil than at any time in the nation’s history. Care to guess what puppet master was pulling the strings of Reagan like a marionette?

And one could “never” accuse Reagan of passing up a paycheck -- ” The AMA opposed Medicare again in the 1960s, going as far as to hire an actor named Ronald Reagan to read a script to the AMA Auxiliary declaring Medicare as the first step toward socialism, and concluding with the statement that if Medicare were to become law, "One day, we will awake to find that we have socialism . . . " -– (Source: “Dear AMA: I Quit” written by Chris McCoy, MD Huffington Post, 2009.)

Moreover, there was a trip to the bank for the Gipper that the Japanese made possible after Reagan left office -– exiting stage “right” -- for God knows what!

As well, don’t think that George Herbert Walker Bush, and his cronies, beating a path to Kuwait, didn’t have their greedy-grubby hands available for a payday at the expense of the American forces who shed their blood and died while under his command:

{“friends visited Kuwait in the aftermath of the Gulf War and quasi-extorted favorable business deals” – is told in the September 6, 1993 issue of the NEW YORKER: "George Bush's friends and the booty of Kuwait" by Seymour M. Hersh - pp 70-81.

"Bush was accompanied by his wife Barbara, his sons Neil and Marvin and a few of those closest to him during his presidency, among them former Secretary of State James Baker III, former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, and retired Army Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly who was director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War.

"I felt sleazy'," one American banking official recalled. "It embarrassed me as an American. Kuwaitis were snickering after dinner. We take such a self-righteous view in international business: 'We don't do family deals, and we don't take tips.' And then, during a period of celebration and congratulation, to have the President's children and the Secretary of State to come to Kuwait to get handouts"”}

So now, and How God awful, the conservative Republican lovers are blaming BP and not the deregulate crowd after electing the Reagans, the Vitters, and so so many other like thinking laissez-faire advocates such as Bush and Cheney.

And Mr. Republican Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish -– who is non-stop bellyaching on every media source imaginable for sand levees constructed as of last week to protect the seafood producing marshes of his parish, whose father was the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, and others of their ilk, -– as Bob Marshall so correctly argued – are the actual culprits responsible for the oil leak and environmental nightmare.

Too bad, and what a damn shame, with the livelihood of untold thousands in Gulf coast seafood producing states reduced to a role of the dice, that conservatives did not shout as loud as a scowling bull alligator during mating season for a more prudent and responsible oversight of oil developers such as BP, but greed and power all too often trumps principle and ethics.

Now Billy Jr., and other irresponsible parties, with hands as “clean” as the tainted blood stained hands of Macbeth, is calling for a “finger – while pointing same at Washington -- in the dyke” solution to stem the oil catastrophe after the BP horse is out of the barn and off and running down a track of converting Plaquemines Parish, exacerbating coastal erosion, into a sandbar of what once was one of the world’s richest marine and waterfowl estuaries.

Where were the politicians Mr. Bob Marshall said should look into a mirror to find the persons responsible when Vice-President Dick Cheney was operating under an iron curtain shroud of secrecy developing the nation’s energy policy?

Example: From a Paul Krugman New York Times column -– “A Vision of Power,” April 27, 2004 -- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/27/opinion/27KRUG.html

“Here's a deep mystery surrounding Dick Cheney's energy task force, but it's not about what happened back in 2001. Clearly, energy industry executives dictated the content of a report that served their interests. The real mystery is why the Bush administration has engaged in a three-year fight — which reaches the Supreme Court today — to hide the details of a story whose broad outline we already know.

One possibility is that there is some kind of incriminating evidence in the task force's records. Another is that the administration fears that full disclosure will highlight its chummy relationship with the energy industry.”

And some Democrats as well, like Sen. Mary Landrieu -– a sheep in “Givenchy” designer clothing, who has been at the beckoned call of the oil industry in an exchange to sell her vote and influence, as Landrieu sold her office to the “thieving” confessed “26 count” confessed federal felons -– Nick and Keith Baroni –- for campaign donations.

An example of the extent, and how far, Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Sen. Vitter, will put their Senatorial offices up for sale, excuse me, serve campaign donors -– to the extreme detriment of their constituents -- from a Times-Picayune Drew Broach column on February 18, 2008 -– “Landing Those Contracts the Baroni Way” -- http://www.nola.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news-0/1203315644106280.xml&coll=1

“And, as laid bare during Baroni's sentencing last week, the form of legal bribery that we call campaign financing. Baroni knows quite a bit about how it works. He spent 19 years on the Kenner council, serving in the 1980s and '90s as an occasional brake on the more outlandish ideas of then-Mayor Aaron Broussard.”

Additionally from the February 18, 2008, Drew Broach column which will cause you to turn as red as a creole tomato and your arteries to stand out in your neck in ire:

“Baroni contributed generously to local politicians, and lo and behold he ended up with tens of thousands of dollars in government contracts. Soon he began trying to break into the federal market, and over a six-year period beginning in 2000, he and his son, Keith, shoveled more than $20,000 into the campaign accounts of congressional candidates. They didn't have to wait long for results. A former executive for the prime contractor on the Navy job that ultimately led to Baroni's legal problems testified last week that Urban Planning came on board in 2001 as a result of a "congressional plus up," extra money added to an appropriations bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and then-Rep. David Vitter, R-Metairie. A Landrieu spokesperson confirmed that she plused up the pork "on behalf of a Louisiana company that sought the project."

And more Baroni hair -raising outrage from the Drew Broach column:

“Wouldn't you know it: The Baronis in 2000 and 2001 gave Vitter $4,500 and sent $1,846 (later corrected to $3,846) to Landrieu.””

A kinfolk often e-mails to say that we get the government we deserve, and how so right he is.

And kudos to Drew Broach for exposing the dirty and corrupt underbelly of Louisiana illicit politics.

So, to use a worn and tattered, but still most appropriate political adage, ”the nation has the best politicians money can buy,” still rings as true as ever.

However, with oil already saturating the beaches of a Louisiana jewel -- Grand Isle and pushing into a breadbasket of one of the world’s greatest sources of delectable seafood -- Barataria Bay, expecting politicians to clean up the gooey polluted environment and no longer betraying decency -–selling their office and influence as fast as a SEC worker could find porn on the internet (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/04/22/us/politics/AP-US-SEC-Porn.html?_r=1), Or as quickly as a MMS (Minerals Management Service) employee can pocket a bribe, accept drugs, and participate in the horizontal “Lum Bod A” with oil execs while on the clock (http://www.truthout.org/joe-conason-oil-rules59678) -- would be like expecting Sen. David Vitter to come clean and confess his relationship with former French Quarter prostitute Wendy Cortez. A topic I expect to have more to say in an upcoming column.

David C. Bellinger
(404) 762-8779
E-mail: davidc53@juno.com
Atlanta, GA

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Timshel! 

One of my all-time favorite Louisiana bloggers returns from hiatus to vividly express his frustration with the oilcano polluting our seas and wetlands.

Six years ago, Timshel, Library Chronicles and 2 Millionth Web Log helped inspire me to create Your Right Hand Thief. I want to thank them for that.

We'll have an announcement soon about some coming changes to YRHT.

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