Sen. David Vitter is a New Orleans Saints fan — and his fandom reached its apotheosis in this completely spontaneous image from the Vitter family's 2009 Christmas card, which was good enough to squirrel away for safekeeping:
(Did the Vitters ever upgrade from that 20-inch portable TV? Turn over the stacks of cups? Apologize to the mortified-looking girls in the back for making them do this?)
Anyway, Vitter is such a Black and Gold supporter that he sent out an email this morning to announce he would be skipping President Barack Obama's jobs speech in favor of watching the Saints-Packers season opener tomorrow night at his house in Metairie:
Some of my left-wing critics call me a fanatic. Well, they're certainly right that I'm a fan. And I set my priorities that way. I sent out the following comment on social media today:
"Will listen to President's speech carefully . . . from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat nation. Family and friends coming over for big game. On to recovery—and super bowl!"
See you at the Super Bowl, Mr. President!
Of course, a lot of folks will be skipping out on Obama's speech — but most of 'em don't send out email blasts to draw attention to the fact. Nor do they appear on Fox News to announce their game day party plans:
Think Progress cast doubt on the rationale:
The Saints open the National Football League season at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. Obama’s speech is at 7 p.m., presumably leaving Vitter enough time to attend the speech and get to his office, a sports bar, or anywhere else with a TV without missing any of the game.
See you at the Super Bowl, Sen. Vitter!
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1230 ("Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now" Act), which from the name you can assume wants to do exactly that. It's gunning for a few things: reopen 3 million acres off the coast of Virginia for drilling previously closed during the moratorium following the Gulf oil disaster, and speed up leasing in the Gulf of Mexico — under the mission to "expand American energy production, create jobs and generate revenue for taxpayers."
A reminder, here: there's been no Congressional action to secure environmental and safety considerations following the disaster. Instead, the House here wants a "do-over": expand oil lease areas and get Gulf drilling back on track. The resolution will enter the senate as increasing fears about summer's high gas prices spike nationally. Remember summer 2008? A months-long fear of paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump? (Sound familiar yet?) The then-democratically controlled congress let a moratorium on drilling in the outer continental shelf expire. Once again the gas gloves are off.
So there was no mention of the Gulf oil disaster in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address — or, for that matter, in Rep. Paul Ryan's GOP response, or Rep. Michele Bachmann's TelePrompter-challenged Tea Party Express response.
The omission was a long slow pitch across the plate for any ambitious Gulf Coast Republican politician who cared to take a swing at it, and newly minted Rep. Jeff Landry issued this statement less than an hour after Obama finished speaking:
“The President made a great speech, as he always does; but the American people understand the difference between words and actions. We are in desperate need for results. Since the $800 billion taxpayer-funded stimulus program began, we have lost 2.1. million jobs. Our debt is increasing by $54,373 per second. And our average price of gasoline is rising above $3 per gallon. Now is the time for the President to match his rhetoric with action on creating jobs, reducing spending, and shrinking the size of the government.
Tonight, the President missed a tremendous opportunity to address the on-going situation in the Gulf of Mexico. I would have preferred empty words to absolute neglect. Of 6,802 words in the President’s speech, not one addressed the Administration’s de facto moratorium, the resulting job losses, or the degradation of Coastal Louisiana’s economy. Mr. President, ducking the issue will not lessen our dependence upon foreign oil, wishing will not lower the price at the pump, and no amount of space race metaphors can put Louisianans back to work. It’s one thing to dream; it’s another to fantasize. We need leadership; we need action.
As the Congressman for Coastal Louisiana, I am personally offended that the President refused to recognize the 11 lives lost in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. I am absolutely disappointed that the President refused to mention the thousands of hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs because of his politically-driven moratorium on the oil and gas industry.
The President may be willing to ignore them and may be willing to prohibit drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but tomorrow he will not be able to stop me from drilling his Presidential Oil Spill Commission’s report and demanding answers to why BOEMRE is still not issuing permits on the shelf or deepwater — even though he supposedly lifted the moratorium. The great people on the Gulf Coast demand answers; and if the President is unwilling to address them in his State of the Union, I will address them in tomorrow’s oversight hearing.”
Though the leaked draft of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address made no mention of the Gulf oil disaster (which Obama himself had called "the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced" last June), neither Sen. Mary Landrieu and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu were impolite enough to point out that rather glaring omission.
Sen. Landrieu's statement began with a complaint about the foot-dragging on Gulf drilling, while Mayor Landrieu focused on education and social issues. Below the jump: both their statements in toto.
The White House Press Office released a statement by President Barack Obama expressing optimism Congress could work for the greater good of America rather than political parties after a meeting Tuesday (Nov. 30) with bipartisan leaders.
The statement is a bit chatty and reads like a script, starting with:
"THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. By the way, for those of you who are curious, we're using this room because we've got about a hundred volunteers decorating the White House. So we're spending a little more time in the EEOB." (The EEOB being the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, relevant only to Washington insiders or, perhaps, stalkers.)
He goes on to say:
" It’s no secret that we have had differences that have led us to part ways on many issues in the past. But we are Americans first, and we share a responsibility for the stewardship of our nation. The American people did not vote for gridlock. They didn’t vote for unyielding partisanship. They’re demanding cooperation and they’re demanding progress. And they’ll hold all of us — and I mean all of us — accountable for it. And I was very encouraged by the fact that there was broad recognition of that fact in the room. ... I think everybody understands that the American people want us to focus on their jobs, not ours. They want us to come together around strategies to accelerate the recovery and get Americans back to work. They want us to confront the long-term deficits that cloud our future. They want us to focus on their safety and security, and not allow matters of urgent importance to become locked up in the politics of Washington."
The title wasn’t the only change. The original cover (which may or may not have been finalized) featured a large American flag with a small inset photo of the guv, along with the co-byline of Peter Schweizer, who has written books about the Reagan and Bush presidential families. Schweizer’s name (and the flag) are absent from the cover of Leadership and Crisis, which features a photo of Jindal striding purposefully in a sport jacket and khakis, surrounded by a Louisiana state policeman and a member of the National Guard. It also features a front-cover blurb by Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour (“Anyone who thinks that the Republican Party doesn’t have new and innovative ideas has never met Bobby Jindal”). And, for those unfamiliar with the author, he is identified on the new cover as “Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.”
According to Lowman, the book includes the expected swipes at President Barack Obama and his administration for their handling of the BP oil disaster, as well as a chapter titled “Do We Really Want to Be Like Europe?”. (Answer: no.) Of particular interest to Louisiana political watchers will be a section called “Men Behaving Badly,” which limns wayward politicos of both parties, including John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, John Edwards and Bill Clinton — though one obvious addition to the list, Sen. David Vitter, seems to have slipped Jindal’s mind. Another omission from that list: former Speaker of the House and Republican resurgent Newt Gingrich, who provided a nice back-cover blurb for Jindal, calling him “one of the most talented, reform-minded governors in the nation.”
Other back-cover backscratchers include Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic strategist James Carville (“I don’t agree with the guy on everything, but Governor Jindal has provided competent, honest, and personable leadership throughout some of Louisiana’s toughest times"). But one blurber comes out of left field (or perhaps the backfield): New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who says, “If you are looking for a take-charge guy, a leader who understands the need for quick, strong, and decisive action, look no further than Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.”
Leadership and Crisis hits bookstores next Tuesday.
Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos appeared on WWL-TV's Eyewitness News last night to discuss the 2nd District congressional race between incumbent Anh "Joseph" Cao and challenger Cedric Richmond in the wake of President Barack Obama recording a TV commercial supporting Richmond.
During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Husseins ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by Chalabi and his alliesalmost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.
The Washington Post: Scientists report undersea oil plume stretching 21 miles from BP spill site
Academic scientists are challenging the Obama administration's assertion that most of BP's oil is either gone or rapidly disappearing -- citing, among other evidence, the discovery of an undersea "plume" of oil stretching more than 21 miles from the well site.
The New York Times: Gulf Oil Plume Is Not Breaking Down Fast, Research Says
I expect the hydrocarbon imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable in the marine environment for the rest of my life, Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, told Congress in prepared testimony on Thursday. The oil is not gone and is not going away anytime soon.
The Wall Street Journal: Study Says Gulf Oil Spill Caused Manhattan-Size Plume
At the height of the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil escaping from the damaged well was trapped underwater in a drifting plume of hydrocarbons the size of Manhattan and helped turn the Gulf of Mexico into a test-tube of experimental petroleum chemistry, scientists who probed the submerged spill region said Thursday. ...
By confirming the existence of this submerged plume, the new data also challenge government estimates that the vast majority of the 4.9 million barrels of spilled oil is already gone from the Gulf or being rapidly broken down by bacteria, several marine experts said.
Instead, some of that oil may persist deep underwater and in seafloor sedimentsat levels thousands of times higher than those caused by the natural oil seeps that dot the Gulf sea floorwhere it can elude conventional detection and clean-up efforts, scientists said.
Meanwhile, here's ABC News' front page at this moment. It contains news about Jennifer Aniston, the "Mystery of Beer Goggles Revealed," the new girlfriend of cable star Jesse James, and something about blind waiters serving people in the dark ... but not word one about the reappearing oil, much less the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico:
I stopped in yesterday at the Southern Sting tattoo parlor in Larose, Louisiana, and spent some time talking with the owner, Bobby Pitre. As well as tattoos he does paintings and sculpture, and has decorated the outside of his shop with political statements about the BP oil disaster.
The Southern Sting tattoo shop in Larose, Louisiana.
Much of Pitre's business since the disaster has been from Coast Guard workers. "One of them got a Spongebob [Squarepants] standing knee deep in oil, screaming, with an oil well blowing up in the background, on his calf," he said. Read more and see pictures after the jump.
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