Remember the Oil Rigs That Obama Insists Really Don’t Cause Spills? Another One Just Exploded

Remember those oil rigs that President Obama assured us really do not cause spills? Well another one just exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion of the rig 80 miles off the Louisiana coast further undermines Obama’s insistence on lifting the long moratorium on drilling off our East Coast.

The platform is owner by Mariner Energy of Houston. The rig was not producing oil or gas at the time but it is unclear if there was a spill with this explosion. However, there are reports of a spreading oil spill around the rig. Other reports state that there were four or five active wells on the rig. Update: There are conflicting reports on the sighting of a spill from the explosion.

The Administration is committed to opening up the coast to drilling — even arguing for weeks that the oil from the BP spill had mysteriously disappeared until outside groups pointing to a huge 22-mile-long oil plume under the water.

Despite the President’s assurances, there have been other leaks at rigs — an inconvenient fact for the Administration.

Source: Miami Herald

123 thoughts on “Remember the Oil Rigs That Obama Insists Really Don’t Cause Spills? Another One Just Exploded”

  1. Karl Friedrich,

    The way I look at it, cooperation is a survival trait for societies. I think that our evolution recently (since sometime after the appearance of Homo Sapiens Sapiens) has been societal rather than physical. We’ve got pretty much the same physical equipment as we did 100,000 years ago, but our society today is unimaginably more powerful. I think your statements make more sense if you broaden the concept of evolution to act on groups of organisms rather than just individual organisms. Think of it this way: sacrificing yourself for anyone other than blood kin can never be a survival trait in individual evolution while members sacrificing for the good of the group is definitely a survival trait for societies.

  2. Karl Friedrich

    “There’s also evidence that these societies were matriarchal, and that private property corresponded with the development of patriarchy, but that debate exceeds this discussion.”


    More please … that debate interests me very much and I’d like to know your opinion … when you have the time.

  3. Gyges: OK, then let’s call it “convergence theory” rather than evolution that favors cooperation over selfishness.

    Convergence theory explains why birds, insects and airplanes not coincidentally all developed wing structures in order to fly through the air.

    Humans survived & thrived while some other species didn’t primarily through the power of cooperation. The majority of humans evolved making a living by the sea shore, rather than in caves as popular culture depicts it, although there are many nice caves along sea shores that were certainly utilized.

    When a hurricane or typhoon threatened their encampment they survived not by the credo of “everyone for themselves” but by banding together as a team to overcome whatever challenges faced them. The same principles of cooperation & teamwork assisted such communities if & when another belligerent tribe may have attempted to maraud them.

    There was a distinctly socialist aspect to most early societies. This is among just one of the reasons it’s argued that capitalism, a peculiarly iniquitous social arrangement, is alienating. Along the Latin American coastlines for example it’s beem established that folks in fishing villages would bring the day’s catch in to be distributed equally, by weight, although the the tribal leader would tend to claim the biggest fish. So if the leader’s fish was one big one at say 10 lbs., at least all the others got 2 or 3 fish weighing 10 lbs.

    There’s also evidence that these societies were matriarchal, and that private property corresponded with the development of patriarchy, but that debate exceeds this discussion.

    of course a selfish gene contributed to human evolution but by and large it was the communal aspect of homo sapiens, not to mention their relatively large brains, that gave them the edge over nature and their non-hominid rivals.

    The point is there’s nothing alien about socialism, contrary to tea party & other absurd right wing rhetoric. In fact, I would argue that humans, if their planet is not thoroughly despoiled in the persuit of private profits, will come to face a life or death choice — either socialism or barbarism.

  4. Gyges is correct that evolution doesn’t favor a thing but rather the environment will “select” adaptations by the process of elimination, i.e. the adaptation that works best creates a creature more favored to survive to breed.

    I also agree with his statement about flawed philosophies. Absolutism has come up several time recently, in topics ranging from how engineers think to economics to forms of governance. Moral, ethical and philosophical absolutism is really just another form of extremism in most instances. Extremism that usually rejects context and relies upon a theoretical construct or assumption that may look good on paper but fails in real world application. It’s an idealized version of reality and “perfect paradigms” don’t exist in a universe where relativity is so key to both operation and understanding.

    This is an inherent limitation on modeling the universe. As Watts said, “Nature is wiggly. Everything wiggles and all this wiggliness is too complicated.” As Slarti and I have discussed on several occasions, perfect modeling is not possible. Very good modeling, yes, even models with segments of perfect knowledge, but what Kurt Gödel said in 1931 still applies. In any given system there is something assumed to be true although it cannot be proven by the system itself.

    This is also part in parcel why absolutist thinking is impaired thinking.

  5. Karl,

    Evolution doesn’t favor a thing. You basically just said “Evolution doesn’t favor walking on the land, because whales, fish, and other things all swim.”

    Certain conditions might favor that as a survival mechanism for the species, but that doesn’t mean it works in all cases and that no other solution exists.

    Just like any philosophy that pretends man isn’t giving is flawed, so is any that pretends man isn’t selfish.

  6. I should add that Warren Harding eventually pardoned Debs after 3 years as “time served.”

    What happenned as Debs was being lead away from the Atlanta Federal Penn will bring tears to the eyes of any reader of “Walls & Bars”. I won’t spoil the scene for those interested.

    Only 2 books have managed to actually make me cry. The first was “Walls & Bars” and the second was “Skylark Sing Your Lonely Song” by Bobby Sands, the IRA Hunger Striker who died in Long Kesh prison in 1981. His poetry is incredible, moving, brilliant. One of his famous activist quotes, akin to Joe Hill’s, was: “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”

  7. Actually humans are not selfish by nature or else evolution wouldn’t have favored their socially organized structure akin to the self-sacrificing success of ants & bee colonies.

    The singular evolutionary advantage of a social structure is cooperation, not individualism.

    It’s only in the last 500 years of human evolution that individualism and its parasitic corollary “private property” became a credo, a mantra that served a useful function in fighting feudalism but that function has clearly outlived its usefulness.

    Like Eugene V. Debs said in his famous book: “Wall & Bars” — “If one person can produce bread for a thousand why should anybody go hungry?”

    Debs wrote that in the Atlanta Federal Pennitentary where he was incarcerated for 10 years during WWI for a single sentence he uttered in a speech to workers gathered in Canton, OH wherein he pointed out that (I’m paraphrasing from memory here) “historically wars are fought by poor people for the benefit of rich people.”

    He ran for President while he was locked up on the Socialist Party USA ticket and got about a million votes in an age not that long ago in this alleged mecca of democracy when only white males could vote. His campaign literature, buttons & posters read: “Vote for President – Convict #9653”–co.html

    Debs also pointed out the fact that (agsin I’m paraphrasing from memory) “Prisons are built for the poor. The rich person found in prison is the rare exception that proves the rule that prisons are built for the poor. When a poor man steals a loaf of bread to feed his family he’s incarcerated. When a rich man steals a loaf of bread he’s considered a kleptomaniac and released for a psychiatric evaluation.”

    The fact that such a kind & gentle man from America’s heartland, Terre Haute, Indiana, a railroad worker, a union man, got almost million votes in prison whilst women & Blacks couldn’t vote — yet that historical fact isn’t mentioned in a single grade or high school textbook in this entire nation just goes to show what a pathetic fraud of a democracy this country really is.

    Such censorship is the product of a 2 party kleptocracy. The sooner we all realize this the sooner we can properly orient ourselves for action, and that action won’t be to give a vote of confidence to ANY of the candidates bandied about on this thread.

    Like Joe Hill famously said: “Don’t mourn. Organize!”

  8. Slart, Buddha, Byron,

    Byron can correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember him stating something along the lines of, the most perfect expression of freedom a man has is controlling his property. By this philosophy ANY taxation is a limit on freedom; the upper limit of taxation is “the smallest amount that will let the government protect my property.”

    I think we can all agree that that theory is inherently selfish. Surprisingly that’s not really the problem. What is is the assumption that it assumes humanity is selfish by nature. People are selfish, but they’re also giving. One of the few constants throughout human history is that we are social animals. We’re hardwired to look out for the tribe as well as ourselves. Trying to ignore this so that your philosophy stays pure works as well as trying to ignore the human sex drive so your religion stays pure.

  9. Slartibartfast
    1, September 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    As you said we are a democratic republic – so shouldn’t your first loyalty be to the republic rather than to an amoral economic system? Capitalism is a tool to be used, not a religion to be venerated… (emphasis by Blouise)


    Bingo … Wow, Slarti … that was damn profound!

  10. Byron,

    As you said we are a democratic republic – so shouldn’t your first loyalty be to the republic rather than to an amoral economic system? Capitalism is a tool to be used, not a religion to be venerated…

  11. Buddha:

    then they will have it, and my protestations are moot. we are after all a democratic republic.

    I hope it works out like you and they think it will. I have my doubts and so do many others. But apparently we are in the minority.

    By the way your buddy Watts is rather interesting, I read some of his essays and watched a couple of his videos this weekend.

  12. “A Pew poll last year found that 77% of Americans say that “there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies.” A clear majority — 62% — says businesses make too much profit, while fewer than four-in-ten (37%) say businesses “generally strike a fair balance between profits and the public interest.”

    The obvious question confronting America is what role, if any, government should play in setting standards and rules for those corporations and their stockholders, taming their abuses; stimulating the economy to boost and sustain private economic growth; and providing or helping people afford education (both K-12 and college), health care, child care, and retirement savings.

    If this debate sounds like Republicans vs. Democrats, it’s not that simple. Almost all Republicans in Congress subscribe to the free market fundamentalist view of “no rules” capitalism. And most Democrats in Congress, as well as President Obama, favor “responsible” capitalism. But there are enough Democrats who aren’t sure which brand of capitalism they prefer to make it difficult for Obama to advance his agenda. We saw that in the debate over health care (many Democrats in Congress opposed a single payer system and a handful opposed a public option), Wall Street reform, climate change, and even the extensions of jobless benefits. This may have more to do with campaign contributions than beliefs, but it is a division with serious political consequences. Obama prevailed in each case, but not without making compromises that some of his key supporters found frustrating.

    The public, however, is not as divided over these matters as the politicians. Even some Tea Party activists scream “Get your government’s hands off my Medicare.” In fact, according to polls, the majority of those who sympathize with the Tea Party want the federal government to help create jobs, rein in Wall Street and even do something about excessive executive bonuses. Yes, they want “responsible” capitalism, too.

    Most Americans are frustrated with the government but not angry with it, according to polls. While a majority lack confidence in government’s ability to get things done, they also recognize that effective government is needed to help address serious problems, like creating jobs, protecting consumers, limiting pollution, fostering affordable health care, developing new energy sources, making college education affordable, improving public schools, and even reducing poverty. A Pew survey last year found that 63% of Americans think that it is government’s responsibility to “take care of people who can’t take care of themselves”. They want, according to pollsters Guy Molyneux and Ruy Teixeira, ‘better, not smaller’ government.”

    What Kind of Capitalism? by Peter Dreier (E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College)

    Sounds a lot like people want democratic socialism instead of laissez-faire “steal all you can and screw everyone else” free market capitalism.

  13. I’ve read Marx. I’ve also read Milton Freidman, Thomas Malthus, and Adam Smith.

    But there you go trying to make a false equivalence again albeit by implication rather than overtly. Marxism is not socialism nor is communism socialism.

    Democratic socialism allows free markets but not at the expense of social stability. The laissez-faire model of economics has and is proving to be as unstable and damaging to social stability as communism.

    Drip, splat, drip, splat.

    Really, the degree to which you try to distort terms to suit your needs – either directly or by implication – is starting to just sound like sad rationalization to cover your zealous free market fetishism.

  14. BUDDHA:

    have you read the book?

    and here is another book you might find interesting:

    you can down load it from the web. I have read Marx so maybe you can read this. You probably wont like it but then I found Marx interesting but thought there were some flaws, logical and otherwise.


    I think people can do most anything, we went to the moon after all and we drill for oil in 5000 feet of water, but I still think a market is to complex to model and be controlled by humans. we may be able to model the market, heck I even try, but does that mean those models are adequate to allow for efficient human control?

    as far as being a socialist? maybe if God told me to be one directly. but I am and will continue to be a moral and ethical capitalist and decry the fascists who give us a bad name.

  15. mmmmmmmmmmmm, the experiment in waking up feeling like a nano-bot bee has gone sorely awry….. !!!!!!! abort abort abort!!!!!!!!

    Monsanto is no friend to butterflies …..

    dead Birds, Bees and Butterflys….what is the corporate machine REALLY trading for their profits???

    I suppose in the future the stories that parents tell their children to explain ‘the birds and the bees’ will be much easier and quicker to tell……..albeit a lot less colorful…:(

  16. Byron,

    I know that you’ve read my dissertation (and you have no idea how cool a thing I think that is ;-)) which is why I chose that way to make my point. The fact that a system is complicated is what (to me, at least) makes it interesting to study. Additionally, we’ve made enormous strides in the last several decades in understanding the mathematics behind chaos and complexity. I believe that I have the ability to make useful models of the market or the effects of public policy (harder, but still possible, in my opinion) if I chose to – hell, give me enough time and resources and I’ll invent psychohistory for you… 😉 You’re taking a very defeatist attitude towards understanding complex systems that just doesn’t have any basis in modern mathematics (quite the opposite, actually). While there are still things beyond our grasp, they are getting closer and closer every day and our reach is already very impressive…

    As far as the issue of the effects of fluid output on the body being complex, I would just remind you that that complex doesn’t mean incomprehensible. Getting back to your analogy – ask yourself why we would want to control water output. Presumably, one reason would be to control hydration level (say to normalize it in a person who’s system had become disregulated). In that case you would be trying to achieve a system-wide effect and if you were doing that then modeling would certainly be of assistance in predicting what other effects your intervention might have – for instance on electrolyte levels in your body (VERY important). I guess my point is that none of these problems are intrinsically beyond our ken and denying the efficacy of analysis a priori is foolish and incorrect.


    Thanks. And I agree with you about Byron providing a good pedagogical example – although I have faith that the water of our logic will eventually erode the rock of his erroneous notions. We can turn him into a tree hugging, bleeding-heart liberal socialist if we try hard enough… Okay, maybe not, but you never know = the horse may learn how to sing. 😉

  17. Good, Byron.

    Then you and Sowell can enjoy being wrong about the damaging nature of free market capitalism together.

  18. Buddha:

    it is working out really well, I have been reading Thomas Sowell’s book “Applied Economics, Thinking Beyond Stage One”, he and I aeem to have similar logical thinking. So I would say my logic is in pretty good shape.

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