UPDATE: Frank Rich has some serious advice for The President, "Don’t Get Mad, Mr. President. Get Even":
It turns out there is something harder to find than a fix for BP’s leak: Barack Obama’s boiling point. The frantic and fruitless nationwide search for the president’s temper is now our sole dependable comic relief from the tragedy in the gulf. Only The Onion could have imagined the White House briefing last week where a CBS News correspondent asked the press secretary, Robert Gibbs, if he had “really seen rage from the president” and to “describe it.” Gibbs came up with Obama’s “clenched jaw” and his order to “plug the damn hole.” (Thank God he hadn’t settled for “darn.”) This evidence did not persuade anyone, least of all Spike Lee, who could be found on CNN the next night begging the president, “One time, go off!”MORE...Barack Obama eating shrimp in Grand Isle, Lousiana, on his third visit in a week to the Gulf region affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP
President attempts to rebuild confidence in his leadership with visits to disaster area.---Unlike George W. Bush, whose mishandled response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 damaged his administration and public image, BP remains the main target of public and political frustration. Its share price has been hit hard and it faces calls for a public boycott. Obama, too, has been increasingly willing to attack BP and has threatened a criminal investigation. "If laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice," he said yesterday. "We will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf coast."Howie P.S.: Hold the champagne..."New crises engulf Obama White House" (Agence France-Press):
BP CEO Tony Hayward reiterated yesterday on the company Twitter account that BP would pay all "legitimate" claims. The company estimated it would spend $84m through June to compensate for lost wages and profits.
In his radio address, Obama warned against premature optimism that the spill will be contained in its entirety. MORE...
It was left to Paul McCartney to tap into zeitgeist at a private White House concert last week.Bob Herbert is less concerned about the President's feelings:
"I just want you to know you have billions of us who are rooting for you and we know you are going to come through," he told Obama.
Though he played a medley of Beatles classics, McCartney spared the president "Yesterday" and its doom-laden lyrics, "... all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay."
President Obama has suspended Shell’s Arctic drilling permits and has temporarily halted the so-called Arctic oil rush. What we’ve learned from the BP debacle in the gulf, and from the rainforest, and so many other places, is just how reckless and inept the oil companies can be when it comes to safeguarding life, limb and the environment.
They’re dangerous. They need the most stringent kind of oversight, and swift and severe sanctions for serious wrongdoing. At the same time, we need to be searching with a much, much greater sense of urgency for viable energy alternatives. Treating the Amazon and the gulf and the Arctic as if they were nothing more than toxic waste sites is an affront to the planet and all life-forms that inhabit it.