Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama press conference: And if you’re living on the coast and you see this sludge coming at you, you are going to be continually upset


Today Obama held a rare press conference.

He talked about BP trying to stop the oil leak in the Gulf with “top kill,” which only sounds like a lurid sex crime. “This involves plugging the well with densely packed mud to prevent any more oil from escaping. And given the complexity of this procedure and the depth of the leak, this procedure offers no guarantee of success.” I’m not, like, an engineer or something, but sticking mud in something doesn’t sound all that “complex” to me.


By the way, BP officials are claiming that the well is now gushing only mud. But then, BP officials have been gushing mud for a month, for all the good that’s done us.

WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW: “The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort.” But it’s all BP’s fault and “we will hold them fully accountable” and “we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.” I’m sure there’s a contradiction in there somewhere.

OBAMA DOESN’T WANT YOU TO MAKE A MISTAKE: “But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction.”

WHAT WE’RE ALSO RELYING ON: “As we devise strategies to try and stop this leak, we’re also relying on the brightest minds and most advanced technology in the world.”


“We’re relying on a team of scientists and engineers from our own national laboratories and from many other nations -– a team led by our Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Stephen Chu.” I didn’t watch the presser, but I’m betting he waggled his eyebrows or something when he mentioned the Nobel Prize.

SERIOUSLY, THE ALLITERATION AGAIN? “But so far we have about 20,000 people in the region who are working around the clock to contain and clean up this oil.”

WHAT WE’VE DEPLOYED: “We’ve deployed over 3 million feet of total boom to stop the oil from coming on shore”. That’s a lot of total boom. Boom. Totally.

Okay, I don’t know what “3 million feet of total boom” actually means, but I’m guessing it’s not nearly as cool as it sounds.


THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: “I’ve said before that producing oil here in America is an essential part of our overall energy strategy. But all drilling must be safe.”

COZY AND CORRUPT: “But in this instance, the oil industry’s cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship with government regulators meant little or no regulation at all.” They traced in pen over reports supplied to them by the oil companies in pencil. Literally traced!

YOU WOULDN’T LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S ANGRY: “Every day I see this leak continue I am angry and frustrated as well.”


CONTINUALLY UPSET: “And if you’re living on the coast and you see this sludge coming at you, you are going to be continually upset, and from your perspective, the response is going to be continually inadequate until it actually stops. And that’s entirely appropriate and understandable.”

THE UNDER-UNDER-UNDER SECRETARY OF NOAA IS TOTALLY THRILLED BY THE SHOUT-OUT: “But from Thad Allen, our National Incident Coordinator, through the most junior member of the Coast Guard, or the under-under-under secretary of NOAA, or any of the agencies under my charge, they understand this is the single most important thing that we have to get right.”

WHAT NOTION IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE: “So this notion that somehow the federal government is sitting on the sidelines and for the three or four or five weeks we’ve just been letting BP make a whole bunch of decisions is simply not true.”


A CONSTANT SENSE OF URGENCY: “But the point that I was addressing from Jennifer was, does this administration maintain a constant sense of urgency about this, and are we examining every recommendation, every idea that’s out there, and making our best judgment as to whether these are the right steps to take, based on the best experts that we know of. And on that answer, the answer is yes -- or on that question, the answer is yes.”

WHAT HE’S SPENDING HIS TIME THINKING ABOUT: Asked whether this was like Katrina: “I’ll leave it to you guys to make those comparisons, and make judgments on it, because what I’m spending my time thinking about is how do we solve the problem.”

WAIT, HOW DID SOUP AND NUTS CAUSE THE OIL SPILL? “And that’s why it’s so important that this commission moves forward and examines, from soup to nuts, why did this happen”.

WHERE HE WAS WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG: “Where I was wrong was in my belief that the oil companies had their act together when it came to worst-case scenarios.”


Elizabeth Birnbaum, head of the spectacularly mismanaged Minerals Management Service, resigned today. Obama claimed he didn’t know why, didn’t even know if she actually resigned (“she would have submitted a letter to Mr. Salazar this morning, at a time when I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on”) or was fired by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has been busy today testifying to Congress so Obama hasn’t talked to him, but evidently he might have fired her without talking to Obama first, and might have done so on the very day he knew Obama would be holding a press conference. Yes, that is totally believable.

HE’S BOYCOTTING BOYCOTT ENDORSEMENTS: Asked whether he supported the boycott of Arizona for its Papers Please law: “I’m President of the United States; I don’t endorse boycotts or not endorse boycotts.”

But his plan to send 1,200 “National Guardspersons” to the border isn’t a response to that at all, he’d been planning to do it for a year, really he was. But we need to create “an orderly, fair, humane immigration framework in which people are able to immigrate to this country in a legal fashion”. So what he’s saying is that he’s sending the National Guard to enforce an immigration policy that is not orderly, fair or humane.

Moron Fox reporter Major Garrett took him to task for Salazar’s comment that the government’s boot is on the neck of BP; “Is your boot on the neck of BP?” Well, is it? “And can you understand, sir, why some in the Gulf who feel besieged by this oil spill consider that a meaningless, possibly ludicrous, metaphor?” Because if there’s one thing Fox News cannot stand, it’s meaningless, possibly ludicrous metaphors. Obama meekly admitted that “we don’t need to use language like that.”


Garrett also asked whether the White House had offered Joe Sestak a job in exchange for not running against Arlen Specter. Obama said only that there would be an “official response” on “the Sestak issue.” But nothing improper took place.

WHAT HIS JOB RIGHT NOW IS: “And so my job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about.” That is how Bush used to answer every question about Iraq and/or terrorism.

THIS ANECDOTE IS EITHER ADORABLE OR VAGUELY CREEPY: “And it’s not just me, by the way. When I woke this morning and I’m shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?’”

ALSO, SPAM: “I grew up in Hawaii where the ocean is sacred.”

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