Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
No wonder the New York Times comes across as a place; a desperate, cheerless, gloomy, dismal, hopeless place. This reflects no hope. No hope, no vision.
When Katrina hit, Bush was in his second term and his bumbling was not a shock to a country that had witnessed two-plus years of his grievous mismanagement of the Iraq war. His laissez-faire response to the hurricane was also consistent with his political DNA as a small-government conservative in thrall to big business. His administration’s posture toward the gulf region had been telegraphed at its inception, when Dick Cheney convened oil and gas cronies, including Enron’s Ken Lay, to set environmental and energy policy. The Interior Department devolved into a cesspool of corruption, even by its historically low standards, turning the Bush-Cheney antigovernment animus into a self-fulfilling prophecy and bequeathing Obama a Minerals Management Service as broken as the Bush-Cheney FEMA exposed by Katrina.
Obama was elected as a progressive antidote to this discredited brand of governance. Of all the president’s stated goals, none may be more sweeping than his desire to prove that government is not always a hapless and intrusive bureaucratic assault on taxpayers’ patience and pocketbooks, but a potential force for good.
We expect him to deliver on this core conviction. But the impact on “the people” of his signature governmental project so far, health care reform, remains provisional and abstract. Like it or not, a pipe gushing poison into an ocean is a visceral crisis demanding visible, immediate action.
Obama’s news conference on Thursday — explaining in detail the government’s response, its mistakes and its precise relationship to BP — was at least three weeks overdue. It was also his first full news conference in 10 months. Obama’s recurrent tardiness in defining exactly what he wants done on a given issue — a lapse also evident in the protracted rollout of the White House’s specific health care priorities — remains baffling, as does his recent avoidance of news conferences. Such diffidence does not convey a J.F.K.-redux in charge of a neo-New Frontier activist government.
Here’s my question: Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?
Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama’s tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
So we go deep, ultra deep – to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic, where there are practically no people? All spills seriously damage wildlife. That’s a given. But why have we pushed the drilling from the barren to the populated, from the remote wilderness to a center of fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation?
Not that the environmentalists are the only ones to blame. Not by far. But it is odd that they’ve escaped any mention at all.
But waitaminnit Freeberg!, I hear you saying. You cannot find hope and vision in the Krauthammer piece, he’s breaking all the rules isn’t he? He’s criticizing. He’s looking backward and not forward.
Yeah, I say, but Krauthammer’s vision is more realistic. For many reasons, starting with the plain and simple fact that he at least has one. Mr. Rich, on the other hand, is in a blind and frantic search for a national savior, some wonderful God-King-Man to put at the tippy top of our government which he seems to think should be properly festooned at the top of everything.
Another problem with the Frank Rich “vision,” if there is one, is the big elephant in the room: Sixteen months ago he got exactly the leadership he wanted, and here he is bitching. Frank Rich is finding out the hard way, just like Peggy Noonan, that the verticality does not work. We aren’t going to produce wonderful results, as a nation, just by putting our Most Wonderful People up at the top and letting everything work out from there.
Because when you do that, all you get back is stuff like this (hat tip to blogger friend Rick). Listen to the congressman describe what’s going on:
You don’t like what Krauthammer had to say because some of your best friends are tree huggers? Well fine, come up with your own idea. But first step back a few paces and take a look at the big picture. This nation needs oil. It cannot import all of the oil…and our own turf is filled with all these spots where the enviro-weenies say “can’t drill here, can’t drill there.” We put this charismatic speech-maker in charge of everything, and the only superlative we’ve gotten out of Him is a more soothing, dulcet tone as He proceeds to tell us that this-or-that cannot happen because the rules say you can’t.
But as Frank Rich points out, at least He’s been doing that “from the start.” Or, I believe the proper cliche is “took charge From Day One.” Well, here’s a news flash: That doesn’t help too much when taking charge consists of telling people they can’t do things. Especially because of ++snort++ environmental impact.
I do think overall the Obama administration is getting a bum rap in all this. If we really want to fix this thing and (more realistically) take steps to ensure it never happens again, or happens as rarely as is possible, we need to do some learning fast. Not quite come up with some new visions, as harshly evaluate the visions we already have.
A nation is not a cult. We do not select our leaders by figuring out who’s got the most charisma. Presidents of the United States do not stop oil leaks, nor do they halt Category 5 hurricanes. In fact, the President has no authority to guarantee a perfect outcome, or even an adequate one, for anything, anywhere. Read your Constitution; it is not an outcome-based position of authority.
Yes, let us accuse Obama of mediocre leadership, when & where He deserves it. But let’s form some realistic and plausible ideas about where exactly it is that He deserves it. Why are we blaming Him? Is it because he didn’t say “Plug The Damn Hole!” with suitable authority, weight, majesty and flourish?
Count me outta that one.
The lesson here is pretty simple. You put people in charge who are fun-to-watch, and what you get isn’t leadership. Anybody who’s ever had trouble fitting a resume onto a single page already knows this to be true: Some of the worst bosses to have, are the ones who are most skilled at manipulating emotional tenor in others to get things sold. You only have to work underneath them a little while before you figure out their skill is in taking credit and avoiding blame. And if you know how to do that, why bother to learn how to do anything else?
So when you put the people in charge who are fun-to-watch, what you get is just another bureaucrat. Just another voice, more sonorous and soothing than most perhaps, but the syllables it strings together are the same as they were before so it might as well be Charlie Brown’s teacher. Nope. Sorry. Can’t do it. Make one exception and I’ll hafta make a thousand. Rules, rules, rules.
The most bitter disappointment is the one experienced by people like Frank Rich, who thought this would have some impact on what decisions would be made. You almost feel sorry for ‘em.
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