We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for February 10th, 2011

Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Early Morning Swim

Hey, leave him alone he already caved
The Middle-East, tail still wagging dog.

Saudi King Abdullah via Ammar Abd Rabbo at flickr.com

And I’m not talking about Mubarak:

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah told U.S. President Barack Obama that his country would prop up Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak if the United States withdrew its aid programme, The Times said on Thursday.

The Times also added:

America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity.

Because who knows more about how to properly foster “democracy” and “dignity” than the House of Saud? A family that named a country after themselves and treats democracy like it treats pornography.

Hand-holding photo sure to follow.

Late Late Night FDL: Hackensack
John Coltrane and Stan GetzHackensack, backed by Oscar Peterson on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, recorded in Germany, 1960.

John Coltrane and Stan GetzHackensack, backed by Oscar Peterson on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, recorded in Germany, 1960.

What’s on your mind?

Judging Obama’s Relaunch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Judging Obama’s Relaunch
Is President Obama a friend of business or a critic of business? The answer: Yes. By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Is President Obama a friend of business or a critic of business? The answer: Yes.

Related Entries

Paula Gordon: Make a Joyful Noise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Paula Gordon: Make a Joyful Noise
What’s Egypt got that America has apparently lost? An authentic yearning to be free. How else to account for obscene genuflecting to Ronald Reagan, boytoy…

Jonathan Richards: School of Journalism

Chris Weigant: Can Boehner Count Votes?
John Boehner is having a rough week, but the real fight within the Republican Party has only just begun.

Scott Lilly: Just Plain Nuts: House Republican Budget Proposals Put Forth in the Most Haphazard Manner Imaginable
House Republican are going down a dangerous road by forgoing the standard tools of the legislative process.

HUFFPOST HILL – Rep. Chris Lee Steps Down
Rep. Chris Lee has resigned, squashing our theory that he was just on Craigslist to sell the painting in his shirtless torso pic (maybe he…

Fox Falsely Suggests Off-Shore Drilling Will Prevent High Gas Prices

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Fox Falsely Suggests Off-Shore Drilling Will Prevent High Gas Prices

The co-hosts of Fox & Friends and their guest, Fox Business host Stuart Varney, falsely suggested that domestic oil drilling could prevent gas prices from rising. In fact, economists and experts, including some in the Bush administration Energy Department, have admitted that offshore drilling would not substantially affect oil prices in the near future.

Fox & Friends Co-Hosts, Varney Suggest Offshore Drilling Could Prevent Gas From “Hit[ting] Five Bucks” 

Carlson And Varney Agree: U.S. Should Be “Drilling Like Crazy” To Prevent $5 Per Gallon Gas. On the February 9 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, the co-hosts invited Varney on the show to discuss a leaked Wikileaks cable revealing that in 2007, one Saudi official estimated that his country had 40 percent less oil than was previously thought. Co-host Steve Doocy said that the information meant “there’s a possibility that…the cost of a gallon of gas in these United States could hit 5 bucks in no time.” Later, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that the revelation meant the U.S. should be “drilling like crazy for the oil which we have within our borders.” Varney agreed. From the February 9 broadcast:

VARNEY: Wikileaks has revealed cables, diplomatic cables, between Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Washington,  and in it, American diplomats say they believe a Saudi oil official who said Saudi Arabia has 40% less oil than was thought. 300 billion barrels less. So there’s two points to be made here. How much oil does Saudi Arabia have? The American diplomats think they’ve got less than they say. And secondly, can Saudi Arabia ramp up production quickly in the event of a supply crisis? The answer, according to the American diplomats, is no, they can’t. But there is another side to the story. The Americans were taking a side here, and there’s two sides to the argument. Inside Saudi Arabia, there are other officials who are saying, we have no problem, we’ve got 900 billion barrels of oil in reserve, and we can ramp up production whenever we want to.

DOOCY: Prove it.

VARNEY: Yes. Well, that might come to pass in the event of an oil crisis.

DOOCY: The problem, though, Stuart, is with this information out there right now, then, there’s a possibility that if they can’t ramp up production, the cost of a gallon of gas in these United States could hit 5 bucks in no time.

VARNEY: Yes, if the Egyptian situation had blown up in some way, it hasn’t so far but if it had, it would be a supply interruption. Could the Saudis ramp up their production, according to Wikileaks and some of these revelations? No, they could not.


CARLSON: We’re missing the political part of this discussion, which is, if the United States knows that, why don’t we drill here?

VARNEY: Ah, taking the words right out of my mouth, Gretchen. Absolutely right. If America thinks that the Saudis have less oil, and they found this out between 2007 and 2009, why aren’t we drilling like crazy for the oil which we have within our borders?

DOOCY: And if that information would have been out, it would have been easier for George Bush to get some oil wells up there in ANWAR.

VARNEY: Yes, and why doesn’t President Obama turn around and start drilling in the Gulf? Which he refuses to do. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/9/11]

But Experts, DOE Agree Off-Shore Drilling Won’t Substantially Affect Gas Prices

AEI Scholar: “We Probably Couldn’t Produce Enough To Affect The World Price Of Oil.”  The New York Times blog Greenwire quoted scholar Ken Green as saying that because crude oil is a global commodity, the U.S. “probably couldn’t produce enough to affect the world price of oil.” From the blog post:

If gas prices keep increasing, Republicans probably will make a push on increased fossil fuel production, said Ken Green, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute think tank.


But experts disagreed about how much impact additional drilling could have. Crude oil is a global commodity, Green said.

“The world price is the world price,” Green said. “Even if we were producing 100 percent of our oil,” he said, if prices increase because of a shortage in China or India, “our price would go up to the same thing.

“We probably couldn’t produce enough to affect the world price of oil,” Green added. “People don’t understand that.”

U.S. production could be negated by decisions that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries makes, said Philip Verleger Jr., energy economist, and David Mitchell EnCana, professor of management, at the University of Calgary’s business school.

“Suppose the U.S. were to boost production 1 million barrels a day,” Verleger said. “OPEC has the capacity to cut 1 million barrels.”

The oil industry has been able to convince people there is a connection between U.S. drilling and prices, Verleger said. [Greenwire via NYTimes.com, 1/4/11]

Politifact: Experts Agree That Expanding Offshore Drilling “Would Have Little Effect At The Pump Any Time Soon.” On December 1, 2010, Politifact evaluated Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) statement that a “5 percent increase in domestic production would increase the world supply by less than 1 percent and do almost nothing to our dependence on foreign oil. This would also have virtually no effect on the price of gas at the pump.” Politifact began by referencing its June 2008 research, which fact-checked Sen. McCain’s claims about offshore drilling during the 2008 campaign, and went on to rate Wasserman Schultz’s claim “true”:

The political momentum for offshore drilling has always risen and fallen along with gas prices. But while there are strong arguments that can be made in favor of offshore drilling, reducing the cost of gas “here and now” isn’t one of them, according to oil experts and economists — many of whom support the plan.

For starters, the lead time for oil exploration takes years. Even if offshore drilling areas opened up tomorrow, experts say it would take at least 10 years to realize any significant production. And even then, they say, the U.S. contribution to the overall global oil market would not be enough to make a significant dent in the price of gas.

“Drilling offshore to lower oil prices is like walking an extra 20 feet per day to lose weight,” said David Sandalow, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of Freedom from Oil. “It’s just not going to make much difference.”


We ran Wasserman Schultz’s claim by Jamie Webster, a senior consultant with PFC Energy, which tracks oil production and demand globally and whose clients are governments, including the United States., [sic] and oil and gas companies. We also heard from Daniel J. Weiss, who has written extensively about oil prices and policy and is a senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, which describes itself as a progressive think tank. Both Webster and Weiss agreed with Wasserman Schultz.


Let’s review: Wasserman Schultz’s math adds up — Gulf drilling does indeed represent about 5 percent of current domestic production, and a 5 percent increase would barely register in terms of the world supply. And the experts we found for this Truth-O-Meter as well as ones cited in the past about McCain’s claim agree that expanding drilling now would have little effect at the pump any time soon. We rate this claim True. [Politifact.com, 6/17/08, 12/1/10]

DOE In 2009: Reinstating Offshore Drilling Ban Would Increase Prices By Merely 3 Cents Per Gallon. A 2009 report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that lifting drilling moratoria in the Atlantic and Pacific lower 48 OCS regions would increase “total domestic crude oil production” by “7.4 percent,” which would prevent an estimated “3 cents per gallon” increase in gas prices at the pump. From the 2009 Annual Energy Outlook:

The U.S. offshore is estimated to contain substantial resources of both crude oil and natural gas, but until recently some of the areas of the lower 48 OCS have been under leasing moratoria [56]. The Presidential ban on offshore drilling in portions of the lower 48 OCS was lifted in July 2008, and the Congressional ban was allowed to expire in September 2008, removing regulatory obstacles to development of the Atlantic and Pacific OCS [5758].


To examine the potential impacts of reinstating the moratoria, an OCS limited case was developed for AEO2009. It is based on the AEO2009 reference case but assumes that access to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Eastern/Central Gulf of Mexico OCS will be limited again by reinstatement of the moratoria as they existed before July 2008. In the OCS limited case, technically recoverable resources in the OCS total 75 billion barrels of oil and 380 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The projections in the OCS limited case indicate that reinstatement of the moratoria would decrease domestic production of both oil and natural gas and increase their prices (Table 9). The impact on domestic crude oil production starts just before 2020 and increases through 2030. Cumulatively, domestic crude oil production from 2010 to 2030 is 4.2 percent lower in the OCS limited case than in the reference case. In 2030, lower 48 offshore crude oil production in the OCS limited case (2.2 million barrels per day) is 20.6 percent lower than in the reference case (2.7 million barrels per day), and total domestic crude oil production, at 6.8 million barrels per day, is 7.4 percent lower than in the reference case (Figure 13). In 2007, domestic crude oil production totaled 5.1 million barrels per day.

With limited access to the lower 48 OCS, U.S. dependence on imports increases, and there is a small increase in world oil prices. Oil import dependence in 2030 is 43.4 percent in the OCS limited case, as compared with 40.9 percent in the reference case, and the total annual cost of imported liquid fuels in 2030 is $403.4 billion, 7.1 percent higher than the projection of $376.6 billion in the reference case. The average price of imported low-sulfur crude oil in 2030 (in 2007 dollars) is $1.34 per barrel higher, and the average U.S. price of motor gasoline price is 3 cents per gallon higher, than in the reference case. [U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, accessed 2/9/11, emphasis added]

Bush Administration Energy Department: Additional Offshore Drilling “Would Not Have A Significant Impact” On Crude Oil Prices Before 2030. In 2007, a report from the Bush administration’s EIA found that increased offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.” The report also concluded that “[b]ecause oil prices are determined on the international market…any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.” From the report:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher–2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant. [U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, accessed 2/9/11]

WSJ Suggests Saudi Official Cited In Cable Was Misunderstood

WSJ‘s The Source: Saudi Official “Has No Dispute With Aramco’s Official Reserves Data.” A February 9 post on the Wall Street Journal blog The Source reported that Sadad al-Husseini, the apparent source of the Wikileaks revelation that Fox & Friends referenced, is now saying he has “no dispute with Aramco’s official reserves data.” According to the post, al-Hussein only said that he disagreed with the characterization of Saudi Arabia’s “existing 716 billion barrels as ‘reserves.'” From the blog post:

[A] conversation this morning with the man whose comments set off the furore, revealed a Chinese-whispers chain that ended up giving the apparent imprimatur of the U.S. diplomatic service to a misunderstanding over oil figures.

The story starts back in 2007 when U.S. diplomats had a chat with Abdullah al-Saif, head of exploration at Saudi Arabian Oil Company, commonly known as Saudi Aramco.

He told them that the kingdom had 716 billion barrels of oil — a figure that would rise to 900 billion in about 20 years.

Enter Sadad al-Husseini, a predecessor of Mr. al-Saif as Saudi Aramco’s exploration head, and pretty much the only company insider ever to speak in public. In the past he has been skeptical of some Saudi forecasts on how much oil it can pump and is regarded within the industry as a careful, knowledgeable man.

Asked by the American diplomats what he thought of Mr. al-Saif’s statements, he made what appeared an extraordinary statement: that the reserves figure was inflated by 300 billion barrels.

Deducting that figure from the 716 billion barrels created the idea that Saudi reserves were 40% less than it officially said.

As it turns out, however, Mr. al-Husseini’s memory of that conversation is rather different.

He says he has no dispute with Aramco’s official reserves data, but disagrees with Mr. al-Saif’s projection for the future and with the diplomats’ characterization of its existing 716 billion barrels as “reserves”.

In fact, he says, that figure refers to “oil in place” which includes both recoverable and non-recoverable oil.

The kingdom’s “proven reserves”, the oil Saudi Aramco believes it can extract, are officially given as 260 billion barrels (Mr. al-Saif said the actual figure was probably more like 51% of the “oil in place” — around 358 billion barrels).

Mr. al-Husseini says he has no problem with either Saudi Aramco’s official figures on current proven reserves or Mr. al-Saif’s estimate, but was simply making the point that to describe “oil in place” as reserves was to inflate the kingdom’s figures by several hundred billion barrels.

By that reckoning, the world of energy looks pretty much how it looked yesterday, with Saudi Arabia set to remain the world’s biggest producer for some time yet. [The Wall Street Journal, The Source, 2/9/11]

Fox News Has A History Of Hyping False Claims About Drilling

Fox Correspondent Falsely Suggested Off-Shore Drilling Would Prevent High Gas Prices. In January, Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway falsely suggested that increased offshore drilling could lead to lower gas prices. [Media Matters, 1/20/11]

Fox News Repeatedly Misinformed Viewers About the BP Oil Spill. In the weeks and months following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Fox News contributors, guests, and anchors repeatedly spread false information about the spill, the Obama administration’s response, and offshore drilling in general. [Media Matters, 6/24/10]

Fox Responded To BP Oil Spill By Calling For More Drilling. In the months following the oil spill, one of the worst environmental catastrophes in recent years, Fox News anchors and contributors also repeatedly called increased offshore drilling. [Media Matters, 5/4/10]

Fox Has A History Of Cheerleading For Offshore Drilling. As Media Matters has documented, Fox News anchors and contributors have a history of calling for offshore drilling and incorrectly suggesting that drilling would quickly lower gas prices. [Media Matters, 4/30/10]

Tea Partiers Help ACLU, House Dems Stop Patriot Act Renewal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Tea Partiers Help ACLU, House Dems Stop Patriot Act Renewal
The big mystery was how the Tea Party-backed members would break on the first national security vote in the new Congress — and whether the libertarian leanings of members from the right could align with concerns about government overreach on the left.

Mysterious Shooting In Pakistan Becomes International Incident
The controversy surrounding the alleged shooting of two Pakistani men by an American man in Lahore, Pakistan quickly begot a diplomatic war of words. Now, with officials from both countries holding fast to their version of events and to their positions, the fallout is threatening to push an already uneasy alliance towards a full scale crisis.

No, Arianna, 1+1 Actually Equals ‘Number Two’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

No, Arianna, 1+1 Actually Equals ‘Number Two’

Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I’ll let his wife call him that instead.”

— Sarah Palin, quoted by Politico, making clear she took offense at Rick Santorum’s suggestion she’s not attending CPAC because she’s out making money and taking care of her kids.

Trump Will Speak at CPAC
Donald Trump “is telling friends and advisers that he is seriously considering jumping into the Republican presidential race in 2012. To make his point, he has accepted an invitation to appear with other potential candidates at a gathering of conservative activists in Washington,” the New York Times reports.

“Trump is a last-minute addition to the roster of speakers at the Conservative Action Political Conference, organizers said, and is scheduled to address the 10,000 attendees on Thursday afternoon. His appearance would mark the first campaign-style event that Mr. Trump has participated in as he explores whether to begin a political career by running for president.”

Obama’s Deal with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Obama’s Deal with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“We can, and we must, work together,” the President told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today. “Whatever differences we may have, I know that all of us share a deep, abiding belief in this country, a belief in our people,…

Good & Bad News on Jane Harman: Why Her Voice in Congress Matters
Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) is resigning her House seat in favor of succeeding Democratic foreign policy icon Lee Hamilton as the next president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. For Harman personally, this may be great news. The…

Allen West Unwittingly Endorses Stimulus-Funded Government Industries To ?Turn Around? The Economy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Allen West Unwittingly Endorses Stimulus-Funded Government Industries To ?Turn Around? The Economy

One of the central themes of Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) campaign this past fall was opposition to the public sector, promotion of “free market, free enterprise solutions,” and criticism of government efforts to stimulate the economy through direct spending. In a TV spot during the campaign, West said that it was “time for incumbent Ron Klein to admit his ideas just don’t work. The stimulus failed to produce jobs.” Watch it:

Yet in an interview with Ed Pozzuoli, President of Tripp Scott Attorneys at Law, this week, West unwittingly credits government-run industries that were major stimulus recipients with helping to “turn around” his district’s economy. When asked about the best way to fix the economy, West explains that he just talked to the director of the Ft. Lauderdale Airport, which he praises for all the jobs it is going to create by building a new runway and bringing in new revenues. He also went on to laud the “world’s largest cruise port.”

Referencing these two local projects, he said, “Now we’re talkin’ about how we’re going to turn around South Florida!”:

WEST: Just had a great opportunity sitting over and talking to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport director. They’re going to bring in that new southern runway. You think about the jobs that will create. You think about the increased revenues. I mean, $2.7 billion a year. That’s what that airport brings in. And when you bring it in together with the world’s largest cruise port? Now we’re talkin’ about how we’re going to turn around South Florida!

Watch it:

The interesting thing about West’s praise for the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and the neighboring Port Everglades seaport is that both of them actually are run by the government. The airport “is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners” — which also happens to run the Port Everglades seaport.

Additionally, both government-run institutions are also major recipients of federal stimulus dollars. The airport received $5.6 million dollars through the Recovery Act, which helped renovate the area around several concourses. “This was needed and I don’t know how soon it would have gotten done because of the runway and other necessary work,” said Aviation Director Kent George. And Port Everglades received $190,000 as part of a Department of Homeland Security grant included in the Recovery Act.

There is certainly nothing wrong with West endorsing these stimulus-funded government projects and praising their ability to turn around South Florida and the country’s economy. He should just recognize that these projects owe a great deal of their success to the public sector and that not all problems are solved by the invisible hand of the free market.

Common Cause suddenly uncommonly forceful in fighting Koch Industries

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 10th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Common Cause suddenly uncommonly forceful in fighting Koch Industries
Common Cause has long been something of a nerd among the jocks. While other activists staged loud demonstrations and nervy stunts, the 40-year-old good-government group was more likely to hold a forum on filibuster reform or the vagaries of redistricting.

Patriot Act extension vote fails to pass House; Tea Party caucas members vote “no”
A vote to extend provisions of the Patriot Act did not pass in the House on Tuesday. As Paul Kane and Felicia Somnez reported:

Sen. Jim Webb won’t run for reelection in 2012
Updated 11:55 a.m. Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) has announced that he will not run for reelection in 2012. Webb’s decision, long anticipated by many in Virginia politics, will make his seat more difficult to hold for his party. Ex-Sen. George Allen (R), who lost the seat in 2006 to Webb, is running to…

Between Bachmann and Pawlenty, too many Minnesotans for 2012 presidential race?
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann spent the past decade mostly staying out of each other’s way, two Minnesotans taking very different paths on the rise to national Republican Party prominence from a state better known for its Democratic icons.