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Archive for August 1st, 2010

Rep. Waters Faces Ethics Charges

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Rep. Waters Faces Ethics Charges
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will face charges of misusing her office and is expected to contest the claims in a House hearing, Congressional officials said Friday. The 10-term congresswoman is accused of improper communications with the top executive of a bank that her husband owned stock in while it was applying for a federal bailout in 2008.



Sunday Talking Heads: August 1, 2010

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Sunday Talking Heads: August 1, 2010
Christiane Amanpour starts work today as a Sunday Talking Head, may she shake things up.

Christiane Amanpour starts work today as a Sunday Talking Head, may she shake things up.

Washington Journal: 7:45am – Kathleen Hunter, Roll Call & Patricia Murphy, Politics Daily.  8:30am – Lisa Curtis, Heritage Foundation.  9:15am – Alexander Kolker, Tulane University.

ABC’s This Week: Christiane Amanpour debuts!  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  may this be a breath of fresh talking head air.

CBS’ Face The Nation: Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff.   Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  Richard Haass, President, Council On Foreign Relations.  Thomas Saenz, President, Mexican American Legal Defense And Education Fund.

Chris Matthews: Kimberly Dozier Associated Press; Dan Rather HDNet; Rick Stengel TIME; Helene Cooper The New York Times.  Topics: The War in Afghanistan: How Long Will the President’s Popular Support Last?  Can Democrats Limit the Damage By Tying Republicans to the Tea Party?

CNN’s State of the Union: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.,  Roundtable: Peter Baker, Dan Balz.

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Wikileaks, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. John Kerry (D- MA).  Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani.  Venezuela.  Roundtable: New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, Reuters’ global editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland, New York Times’ Ross Douthat.

Fox News Sunday: Sarah Palin.  Then, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner.  Fox News AllStars:  Ceci Connolly, Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams.

NBC’s Meet The Press: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen.  The economy with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I), Alan Greenspan, Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA). Roundtable: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mark Halperin.Newsmakers:

Q & A: W. Joseph Campbell, professor of journalism at American University and author of the new book “Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism.” Professor Campbell looks at examples of where news from events has been altered, exaggerated, or fabricated.

Religion & Ethics: Faith and the Brain.  Father Leo.  Jewish Children’s Museum.  Abraham Verghese.

60 Minutes: Out Of The Shadows – Henry Crumpton, the ex-CIA operative who secretly ran the war against terror in Afghanistan after 9/11, describes using local might to oust al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts, a strategy he says is needed in Pakistan now, where terrorist leaders are hiding.  Discovery – The fossilized skull and bones found by a 9-year-old boy on a fossil hunt with his scientist father are the discovery of a lifetime and may prove to be a new link in the human evolutionary chain.  Derek – Lesley Stahl profiles British musical savant Derek Paravicini, whose computer-like memory for music is matched by his creative abilities to play it in any style.

To The Contrary: Topics: Population Growth and Natural Resources: A look at the impact the country’s growing population is having on clean water and farmland.

Univision’s Al Punto: Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff.  Ben Miranda, State Representative (D-AZ).  Ezequiel Hernandez, Legal Analyst.  Maria Elena Salinas, Univision Network News Co-anchor and Jaime Garcia, Univision Network News Correspondent.

Virtually Speaking: Eve Gittelson (nyceve) is a DailyKos diarist who frequently writes about health care and feminist issues. Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel at firedoglake) is the preeminent investigative journalist working on line today. We will discuss events of the week, especially the ones Dancin’ Dave ignores.

C-SPAN’s Book TV.

FDL’s Book Salon: 538 Ways to Live, Work, and Play Like a Liberal.  “Justin Krebs explains that being liberal, or progressive, isn’t only a political act—it’s a lifestyle that’s suited to our changing America.”  Chat with Justin Krebs about his new book and Drinking Liberally. Hosted by David Swanson, 5pm ET.

FDL’s Movie Night Monday: The disturbing tale of Centrailia, PA, The Town That Was.  Watch the movie online at Hulu, then join in the discussion, 8pm ET.


Late Late Night FDL: When Magoo Flew
When Magoo Flew starring Mr. Magoo. This Columbia Pictures UPA cartoon was released in 1954 and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1955. Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and no spitballs aimed at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

When Magoo Flew starring Mr. Magoo.  This Columbia Pictures UPA cartoon was released in 1954 and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1955.

Directed by Pete Burness.  Produced by Stephen Bosustow.  Story by Barbara Avedon (as Barbara Hammer) and Tedd Pierce.  Production Management by Herbert Klynn.  Art Department design by Sterling Sturtevant.  Animation by Rudy Larriva, Tom McDonald, and Cecil Surry.  Animation Color by Bob McIntosh.  Voices by Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo).  Original Music by Hoyt Curtin.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and no spitballs aimed at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


Israeli Attack Kills a Hamas Commander

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Israeli Attack Kills a Hamas Commander
A Hamas military commander, Issa Batran, was killed and 11 other people were wounded in Israel airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the first such strikes since the massive Israeli offensive against Gaza in January 2009. —JCL The Guardian: Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip have killed a Hamas commander and wounded 11 other people. Warplanes fired missiles at five targets across Gaza, including Gaza City, last night for the first time since Israel’s three-week offensive in the territory ended 18 months ago. Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the territory, said the man killed was Issa Batran, 42, a commander of its military wing in central Gaza and a rocket maker. Eight of its supporters and three civilians were also injured. The air raids came after a Palestinian rocket attack struck the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon on Friday, causing no casualties but damaging buildings and cars in the city. Read more

A Hamas military commander, Issa Batran, was killed and 11 other people were wounded in Israel airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the first such strikes since the massive Israeli offensive against Gaza in January 2009. —JCL

The Guardian:

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip have killed a Hamas commander and wounded 11 other people.

Warplanes fired missiles at five targets across Gaza, including Gaza City, last night for the first time since Israel’s three-week offensive in the territory ended 18 months ago.

Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the territory, said the man killed was Issa Batran, 42, a commander of its military wing in central Gaza and a rocket maker. Eight of its supporters and three civilians were also injured.

The air raids came after a Palestinian rocket attack struck the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon on Friday, causing no casualties but damaging buildings and cars in the city.

Read more

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Troop Deaths in Afghanistan Hit High Mark
With 66 deaths so far in July, the month will go down as the deadliest yet for U.S. troops in the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan. The July toll brings the 2010 total so far to at least 265 American military personnel killed. —JCL The New York Times: The growing toll follows a sharp increase in the American troop commitment that now stands at 95,000, along with a concerted effort by Taliban militants to slow major NATO offensives in the Taliban heartlands of southern Afghanistan. At least 265 American troops have died this year. The Web site icasualties.org reported 63 American deaths for July; a NATO official confirmed three additional American deaths on Friday. Afghan casualties are rising as well, undercutting the support of Afghan society and complicating the military mission. In Kabul on Friday, a crowd of hundreds of Afghans rioted after a sport-utility vehicle carrying American Embassy contractors rammed into a car of Afghans, killing at least three, the Afghan police said. Read more

With 66 deaths so far in July, the month will go down as the deadliest yet for U.S. troops in the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan. The July toll brings the 2010 total so far to at least 265 American military personnel killed. —JCL

The New York Times:

The growing toll follows a sharp increase in the American troop commitment that now stands at 95,000, along with a concerted effort by Taliban militants to slow major NATO offensives in the Taliban heartlands of southern Afghanistan. At least 265 American troops have died this year. The Web site icasualties.org reported 63 American deaths for July; a NATO official confirmed three additional American deaths on Friday.

Afghan casualties are rising as well, undercutting the support of Afghan society and complicating the military mission. In Kabul on Friday, a crowd of hundreds of Afghans rioted after a sport-utility vehicle carrying American Embassy contractors rammed into a car of Afghans, killing at least three, the Afghan police said.

Read more

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Dave Johnson: The Strengthen Social Security Campaign

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Dave Johnson: The Strengthen Social Security Campaign
Social Security is once again under attack. Time after time Social Security has come under attack. Do you remember the Bush “privatization” campaign a few…

New Credit Card Tricks: Banks Have Already Dreamed Up New Ways To Trip Up Consumers
Just months after historic legislation banned certain billing practices, card issuers have dreamed up new ones designed to trip up consumers….

Will Durst: Spa Spangled Bog
To say the release of 91,000 classified documents has revealed a disconnect between our public position on Afghanistan and the actual situation on the ground…

Saul Friedman: The Most Tech Savvy President–Who Ignores Older People
It may be said that Barack Obama, among his other firsts, has become the first president of the Internet age. The Internet, specifically the…


WSJ lets AZ state senator rewrite history in attack on birthright citizenship

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:46 am by HL

WSJ lets AZ state senator rewrite history in attack on birthright citizenship

The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported Arizona state senator Russell Pearce’s (R) claims that the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment “had nothing to do with aliens.” In fact, the Congressional debate from the time shows that both proponents and opponents of the Citizenship Clause recognized that it would apply to the children of foreigners. 

WSJ uncritically reports claim that Citizenship Clause “had nothing to do with aliens”

From a July 30 Wall Street Journal article:

In Arizona, Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the immigration law that drew a legal challenge from the Obama administration, said he wanted to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in his state to illegal immigrants.

[…]

Mr. Pearce, like some other proponents of the change, argued that the amendment as written doesn’t apply to illegal immigrants. Because illegal immigrants aren’t “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S., as the amendment requires, they fall outside its protection, these people argue. A group of House lawmakers made a similar argument when they tried to pass legislation changing the birthright principle in 2005.

“When it was ratified in 1868, the amendment had to do with African-Americans; it had nothing to do with aliens,” said Mr. Pearce. “It’s got to be fixed.”

Given the controversial nature of this proposal, successfully amending the Constitution would be considered a long shot. It requires a vote of two-thirds of the House and of the Senate, and must be ratified by three-fourths of state legislators.

In fact, Senate debate shows Congress explicitly recognized impact of amendment on “aliens”

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

CRS: Congress “intended to extend U.S. citizenship” to everyone born in the U.S. regardless of “alienage of the parents.” The Congressional Research Service stated in a September 2005 report:

Although the primary aim was to secure citizenship for African-Americans, the debates on the citizenship provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment indicate that they were intended to extend U.S. citizenship to all persons born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction regardless of race, ethnicity or alienage of the parents.

Opponent of 14th Amendment objected to Citizenship Clause because of concerns about immigration and the “character” of foreign peoples.  The Senate debate over the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment indicates that both proponents and opponents of the clause believed that it would apply to the children of foreigners. During the debate, Senator Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania, who voted against the 14th amendment, expressed concerns that Chinese immigrants would overrun California. He stated:

[I]s it proposed that the people of California are to remain quiescent while they are overrun by a flood of immigration of the Mongol race? Are they to be immigrated out of house and home by Chinese? I should think not. It is not supposed that the people of California, in a broad and general sense, have any higher rights than the people of China; but they are in possession of the country of California, and if another people of a different race, of different religion, of different manners, of different traditions, different tastes and sympathies are to come there and have the free right to locate there and settle among them, and if they have an opportunity of pouring in such an immigration as in a short time will double or treble the population of California, I ask, are the people of California powerless to protect themselves? I do not know that the contingency will ever happen, but it may be well to consider it while we are on this point.

As I understand the rights of the States under the Constitution at present, California has the right, if she deems it proper, to forbid the entrance into her territory of any person she chooses who is not a citizen of some one of the United States. She cannot forbid his entrance; but unquestionably, if she was likely to be invaded by a flood of Australians or people from Borneo, man-eaters or cannibals if you please, she would have the right to say that those people should not come there. It depends upon the inherent character of the men. Why, sir, there are nations of people with whom theft is a virtue and falsehood a merit. There are people to whom polygamy is as natural as monogamy is with us. It is utterly impossible that these people can meet together and enjoy their several rights and privileges which they suppose to be natural in the same society; and it is necessary, a part of the nature of things, that society shall be more or less exclusive. It is utterly and totally impossible to mingle all the various families of men, from the lowest form of the Hottentot up to the highest Caucasian, in the same society.

[…]

They may pour in their million upon our Pacific coast in a very short time. Are the States to lose control over this immigration? Is the United States to determine that they are to be citizens?

Cowan further said of California:

Therefore I think, before we assert broadly that everybody who shall be born in the United States shall be taken to be a citizen of the United States, we ought to exclude others besides Indians not taxed, because I look upon Indians not taxed as being much less dangerous and much less pestiferous to society than I look upon Gypsies. I do not know how my honorable friend from California looks upon Chinese, but I do know how some of his fellow-citizens regard them. I have no doubt that now they are useful, and I have no doubt that within proper restraints, allowing that State and the other Pacific States to manage them as they may see fit, they may be useful; but I would not tie their hands by the Constitution of the United States so as to prevent them hereafter from dealing with them as in their wisdom they see fit.

Supporter of Citizenship Clause: “[I]t is proposed to declare” that “the children begotten of Chinese parents” “shall be citizens.” Senator John Conness of California responded to Cowan’s remarks, stating:

The proposition before us, I will say, Mr. President, relates simply in that respect to the children begotten of Chinese parents in California, and it is proposed to declare that they shall be citizens. We have declared that by law; not it is proposed to incorporate the same provision in the fundamental instrument of the nation. I am in favor of doing so. I voted for the proposition to declare that the children of all parentage whatever,  born in California, should be regarded and treated as citizens of the United States, entitled to equal civil rights with other citizens of the United States.

Conness later added:

We are entirely ready to accept the provision proposed in this constitutional amendment, that the children born here of Mongolian parents shall be declared by the Constitution of the United Sates to be entitled to civil rights and to equal protection before the law with others.

Referring to Cowan’s remarks, Conness also stated that “it may be very good capital in an electioneering campaign to declaim against the Chinese.”

WSJ reports claim that illegal immigrants “aren’t ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the U.S.”

From a July 30 Wall Street Journal article:

Mr. Pearce, like some other proponents of the change, argued that the amendment as written doesn’t apply to illegal immigrants. Because illegal immigrants aren’t “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S., as the amendment requires, they fall outside its protection, these people argue. A group of House lawmakers made a similar argument when they tried to pass legislation changing the birthright principle in 2005.

Former Clerk to Justice Thomas: Everyone “required to obey U.S. laws” is “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S.

 Former Thomas Clerk: “Subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. covers those “who are required to obey U.S. laws.” James C. Ho, the Solicitor General of Texas who previously clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, worked in the Bush Administration and served as Chief Counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), wrote in 2006:

To be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. is simply to be subject to the authority of the U.S. government. The phrase thus covers the vast majority of persons within our borders who are required to obey U.S. laws. And obedience, of course, does not turn on immigration status, national alle­giance, or past compliance. All must obey.

[…]

Of course, the jurisdictional requirement of the Citizenship Clause must do something – and it does. It excludes those persons who, for some reason, are immune from, and thus not required to obey, U.S. law. Most nota­bly, foreign diplomats and enemy soldiers – as agents of a foreign sovereign – are not subject to U.S. law, notwithstanding their presence within U.S. territory. Foreign dip­lomats enjoy diplomatic immunity, while lawful enemy combatants enjoy combatant immunity. Accordingly, children born to them are not entitled to birthright citizen­ship under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Supreme Court ruled that Citizenship Clause applies to “all children here born of resident aliens.” Ho further noted that “In United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that a child born in the U.S., but to alien parents, is nevertheless entitled to birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Court stated:

The fourteenth amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the terri­tory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupa­tion of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of chil­dren of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes.

[…]

To hold that the fourteenth amendment of the constitution ex­cludes from citizenship the children born in the United States of citizens or subjects of other countries, would be to deny citizenship to thousands of per­sons of English, Scotch, Irish, German, or other European parentage, who have always been considered and treated as citizens of the United States.

Supreme Court rejected claim that unauthorized immigrants are not “within the jurisdiction” of a State. Ho further wrote that “the question of illegal aliens was not explicitly presented in Wong Kim Ark. But any doubt was put to rest in Plyler v. Doe (1982)” — which struck down a Texas law denying education funding for illegal immigrants — and that “although the Court splintered over the specific question of public education, all nine justices agreed that the Equal Protec­tion Clause protects legal and illegal aliens alike. And all nine reached that conclusion precisely because illegal aliens are ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the U.S., no less than legal aliens and U.S. citizens.” Ho wrote:

Writing for the majority, Justice Bren­nan explicitly rejected the contention that “persons who have entered the United States illegally are not ‘within the jurisdiction’ of a State even if they are present within a State’s boundaries and subject to its laws. Neither our cases nor the logic of the Fourteenth Amendment supports that constricting con­struction of the phrase ‘within its jurisdic­tion.'”

[…]

The four dissenting justices – Chief Justice Burger, joined by Justices White, Rehnquist, and O’Connor – rejected Bren­nan’s application of equal protection to the case at hand. But they pointedly expressed “no quarrel” with his threshold determina­tion that “the Fourteenth Amendment ap­plies to aliens who, after their illegal entry into this country, are indeed physically ‘within the jurisdiction’ of a state.”

Princeton provost Eisgruber: “Children of illegal aliens are certainly ‘subject to the jurisdiction of the United Sates’ in the sense that they have no immunity from American law.” In a 1997 New York University Law Review article, Christopher L. Eisgruber, provost of Princeton University and a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, wrote:

The United States Constitution guarantees citizenship to almost every child born in the United States. Apart from an exception for children born to foreign diplomats, n2 the Constitution’s birthplace principle applies without regard to the ethnicity or legal status of a child’s parents – so, for example, children born in the United States to illegal aliens are American citizens.

[…]

Wong Kim Ark suggested that the jurisdictional proviso should be read narrowly. The majority was of the view that the real object of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, in qualifying the words, “All persons born in the United States,” by the addition, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” would appear to have been to exclude, by the fewest and fittest words, (besides children of members of the Indian tribes, standing in a peculiar relation to the National Government, unknown to the common law,) the two classes of cases – children born of alien enemies in hostile occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign State – both of which … had been recognized exceptions to the fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the country.

As one might infer from this passage, it is generally accepted that the jurisdictional proviso excludes from citizenship children born to foreign diplomats in the United States. That result seems reasonable since diplomats enjoy special immunity from domestic law and reside in the United States only to serve a foreign sovereign.

[…]

Professors Schuck and Smith recognize that their interpretation departs markedly from existing law. Much of the argument in their book is historical in character. As they point out, however, the historical evidence yields no clear conclusions about the implications of the Fourteenth Amendment for the children of illegal aliens; indeed, Congress did not begin restricting immigration into the United States until after the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted. Moreover, the reading proposed by Schuck and Smith is hardly the most textually obvious one – the children of illegal aliens are certainly “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” in the sense that they have no immunity from American law.


Charlie Rangel’s Ethics Trial: How Did He Get Here?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Charlie Rangel’s Ethics Trial: How Did He Get Here?
Unless Rangel cuts a deal in which he admits wrongdoing — something his lawyers are reportedly still trying to do, although Rangel has been adamant about professing his innocence — he will face a very public trial on the 13 alleged violations, just weeks before the midterm elections. The trial could end with a recommendation to expel Rangel from the House. So how did we get here?


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Right-Wingers Stand By Their Fabricated Mexican Drug Cartel Raid Story
According to anonymously-sourced reports pushed by right-wing blogs last week, members of Mexico’s notorious Zetas drug gang crossed the border into Texas and, “in what could be deemed an act of war,” seized two ranches near the border town of Laredo. The situation was dire, wingers warned, but a government enforced media blackout kept knowledge of the raid from the general public. Really? No, not really. Here’s the thing: the “raid” never happened.



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Gates And Mullen: Wikileaks Might Already Have Blood On Their Hands
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen held a press conference today to address the leak of 92,000 documents about the Afghanistan War by the website Wikileaks. Gates condemned the leaks, warning “the battlefield consequences” are “potentially severe and dangerous for our troops.”



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Sharron Angle’s Bush Rules

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Sharron Angle’s Bush Rules


Even Jeff Goldberg Condemns The Bigots Of The ADL

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Even Jeff Goldberg Condemns The Bigots Of The ADL
The ADL has joined some of the worst bigots in America and is opposing construction of the Islamic community center at the site of the World Trade Center. I have nothing to add to this story from The Tablet. (The…



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Pakistan’s Generals Really, Really “Heart” The Afghan Taliban
One of the zingers from the WikiLeaks War Diaries — some 92,000 classified reports on secret military hunting squads, on military encounters with the Taliban, unreported accidental killings of innocent civilians, and more — is that there may be detailed…


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Michigan Oil Spill Damages Wildlife, Forces Residents To Evacuate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Michigan Oil Spill Damages Wildlife, Forces Residents To Evacuate
On Monday, a disastrous leak in one of the world’s largest pipeline systems gushed over 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, located in southwest Michigan. Already, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared the area a disaster zone, quickly activating State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to ensure all state resources are devoted to […]

On Monday, a disastrous leak in one of the world’s largest pipeline systems gushed over 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, located in southwest Michigan. Already, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared the area a disaster zone, quickly activating State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to ensure all state resources are devoted to oil spill response. “From my perspective, the response has been anemic,” Granholm said. Spill workers and volunteers have been hard at work, cleaning the horrifyingly oily water:

This is not the first failure of Enbridge Inc., the Canadian energy company responsible for the spill. Michigan Messenger’s Todd Heywood reports that, “documents from the agency show that Enbridge Energy pipelines have leaked oil on 12 different occasions in Michigan since 2002.” Furthermore, documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press and other news outlets indicate Enbridge Inc. was “notified twice this year of potential problems involving old pipe prone to rupturing and an inadequate system for monitoring internal corrosion.” While this is one of the biggest threats to a pipeline, it is currently unclear whether Enbridge addressed the notices or if “the concerns played any role in the leak.”

Although Michigan’s spill represents only 32 percent of the amount of oil spilled per day in the ongoing BP oil disaster, the environmental implications of the leak are already clear. Not only has wildlife — including geese and muskrats — been coated in oil, but fears also remain high that the oil will contaminate local water supplies. The Calhoun County Health Department has advised residents around the area of the Kalamazoo River oil spill to evacuate, due to “‘higher than acceptable levels of benzene’ in air quality studies.” Benzene, notes the press release from the health department, is a “highly flammable” organic chemical that can lead to a series of symptoms from dizziness to tremors. The long-term effects of benzene exposure, however, are more dire and are linked to excessive bleeding and even cancer in human beings. Enbridge has agreed to reimburse affected families for the cost of hotel stays.

Yesterday, Enbridge spokeswoman Terri Larson said “no fresh oil is leaking from the leak site itself.” Moreover, as the Michigan Messenger reports, “Despite claims by Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel that the company would reopen the leaking oil pipeline ‘in a matter of days,’ the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a Corrective Action Order directing the company not to reopen the pipeline until a comprehensive safety assessment can be completed.”

Nina Bhattacharya

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.


TALK SHOWS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2010 4:39 am by HL

TALK SHOWS
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:



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Lawmakers stoke the public’s disgust
It’s hard to imagine what could drive public approval of Congress even lower than it has been this year. But a pending public ethics trial of one of the House’s most senior Democrats (and possibly a second) and an angry, prolonged tirade on the House floor that has gone round the cable networks and…


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