Posts Tagged ‘Deepwater Horizon’
* Big fair use decision: specific commentary on the original work is not required for a fair use defense.
* Finding common ground with Senator Coburn: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude major professional sports leagues from qualifying as tax-exempt organizations.
* Gasp! Many students stay away from online courses in subjects they deem especially difficult or interesting, according to a study released this month by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The finding comes just as many highly selective colleges are embracing online learning and as massive open online courses are gaining popularity and standing.
* “What we’re saying is that bargain-basement (clothing) is automatically leading towards these types of disasters,” John Hilary, executive director at British charity War on Want, told Reuters.
* Canada gets it right: “The legal test for a true volunteer arrangement looks at several factors, but merely agreeing to work without pay does not in itself make you a volunteer,” Ministry of Labour spokesperson Jonathon Rose wrote in an email. See also Natalia Cecire:
Like the hypothetical minimum-wage high schooler whose income serves as pocket money, non-essential and destined for “fun,” the youthful volunteer, who may very well intrinsically enjoy the work, authorizes a category of labor exploitation that is not only okay but also okay to take as the norm for the labor of cultural preservation. “I can get you a twenty-year-old!” is, in that sense, not a labor solution but its opposite: a commitment to the norm that this work will be unpaid.
* Related: BP Ready To Resume Oil Spilling.
LONDON—A year after the tragic explosion and oil spill that caused petroleum giant BP to cease operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday that it was once again ready to begin oil spilling. “People said this company might never rebound from last year, but we’re here and ready to do what we do best,” said BP chief executive Robert Dudley, who confirmed that the company had already successfully conducted small test spills and that full-scale spilling operations could resume as early as July. “We’ve reorganized and regrouped, and now we’re ready to put the faulty blowout preventers on the wellheads and watch them pump raw crude petroleum right into the environment.” BP stock jumped $14 a share following the announcement.
* Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 336.
* Aside from the question of whether the crisis would have been so acute in the first place, a labor-oriented Democratic Party almost certainly would have demanded a bigger stimulus in 2009. It would have fought hard for “cramdown” legislation to help distressed homeowners, instead of caving in to the banks that wanted it killed. It would have resisted the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. These and other choices would have helped the economic recovery and produced a surge of electoral energy far beyond Obama’s first few months. And since elections are won and lost on economic performance, voter turnout, and legislative accomplishments, Democrats probably would have lost something like 10 or 20 seats last November, not 63. Instead of petering out after 18 months, the Obama era might still have several years to run.
* Duke is number 9 of the 10 Greenest Colleges in America.
* Syllogism watch: “If Dick Lugar,” Danforth said, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
* Have I done this one before? Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator. I clicked on it enough times to get a few he’s actually said.
* Headline of the day (category: airy whimsy): What happens when you stick your head in a particle accelerator.
* Headline of the day (category: existential horror): Dead Baby Dolphins Washing Up Along Gulf Coast at 10 Times Normal Rates.
The Obama administration will reverse its March 2009 decision to allow drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Less happily: Drilling will continue in other parts of the Gulf of Mexico under new safeguards.
Millions Of Barrels Of Oil Safely Reach Port In Major Environmental Catastrophe. Via Stephanie LeMenager at ASA 2010.
* 15 classic science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers rejected. Really surprising list.
* In a series of recent findings, researchers describe bacteria that communicate in sophisticated ways, take concerted action, influence human physiology, alter human thinking and work together to bioengineer the environment.
When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, BP was presented with a stark choice: Let the oil float to the surface, reach the shore, and allow the world to see the full scope of the damage; or hit as much of the oil as possible with toxic substances called dispersants to break it up into trillions of tiny droplets, keeping some of it from reaching the surface and making landfall—but also potentially killing more sea life than the oil might have destroyed by itself. The company chose the latter.
Mother Jones has a huge report this month focusing on both the long-term effects of the BP spill (including the overuse of dispersant primarily for PR reasons) as well as the company’s attempts to cover these unhappy facts up.
* For anyone who still has a heart, Don Pease’s Dr. Seuss biography could be a necessary read.
* Sharon Astyk has your definitive powerdown blog rant.
* The financial reform bill has passed; this means capitalism is finally perfected.
* Is nothing sacred? New episodes of Beavis and Butthead.
* Is nothing sacred? Douglas Coupland is designing clothes now.
* The Darjeeling Limited is finally getting its Criterion Collection release.
* And Argentina now has marriage equality. ¡Hurra!
* While my cousin was visiting last weekend we saw both Toy Story 3 and Exit Through the Gift Shop, both of which I endorse for entirely different reasons. What I find most interesting about Exit is the possibility that large swaths of the documentary, perhaps even the whole thing, are a high-concept Banksy prank; what I like best about Toy Story 3 is how bravely it faces down the themes of mortality and obsolescence that have always been the subtext of the series. That the toys (spoiler alert) receive their inevitable reprieve is ultimately a small consolation; in the end, we must admit Lotso had it right.
* This short but intriguing post from Crooked Timber compares the Toy Story franchise to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, concluding (as we must) that Stinky Pete is the existential hero of the series, the only character who is genuinely free.
* World Cup supervillain Koman Coulibaly apparently fired.
* If I’m reading this correctly, Matt Yglesias wants to turn Detroit into District 9. More on Detroit and this week’s U.S. Social Forum here and here.
* There’s something about this piece on spiked anti-rape protection in South Africa that gets people talking. I can’t count how many times it’s shown up in my Facebook feed.
* One day late for Father’s Day: “Daddy, could we have our planet back now?”
* Pandagon highlights a study linking sexual aggression and heavy porn use.
It’s easy to see why conservatives would be salivating at the thought of a Hillary primary challenge. Presidents who face serious primary challenges—Ford, Carter, Bush I—almost always lose. The last president who lost re-election without a serious primary challenge, by contrast, was Herbert Hoover. But in truth, the chances that Obama will face a primary challenge are vanishingly slim, and the chances that he will lose re-election only slightly higher. No wonder conservatives are fantasizing about Hillary Clinton taking down Barack Obama. If she doesn’t, it’s unlikely they will.