Friday, July 09, 2010

BP Nightmare Continues For Gulf Residents In So Many Ways

BP has been in a glaring public spotlight for weeks and months now, yet they continue to abuse and lie to the millions whose lives they have affected. The Gulf itself is a disaster, countless wildlife are sick and dying, industries are ruined and the oil continues to gush out from deep underneath the water. This is what you get when the region you live in relies on the production and refinement of oil.

Beyond the basics, BP is not trying hard to throw off the stereotype of being an evil and uncaring corporate giant. These two stories show how:

From RawStory:

After BP crews scoop up the oil off Gulf beaches, the waste is transported to Mississippi's Pecan Grove landfill. Even workers' protective suits, gloves, shovels, rakes and anything else that touches oil is buried there.

The Board of Supervisors in Harrison, Mississippi passed a resolution saying they don't want any BP waste in their community but there is little they can do. BP has cut deals with Waste Management, the owners of the landfill. They answer to the state instead of local county government.

BP ignored the press on this issue, but the landfill that contracted with them says it's safe because they installed a liner underneath. Whether or not that liner holds....tons of oil and tons of kitchen garbage are a bit different from each debatable. Of course BP does have to do something with the oil, so perhaps they have some wiggle room, but when it comes to making things right with fishermen whose income has been decimated, there is no excuse for this:

From Perilous Nation:

Hundreds of fishermen from Lake Charles to Moss Point, Miss., were supposed to get checks from BP on Wednesday but didn’t.

Wednesday night, their lawyer wanted answers. Jeffrey Briet represents more than 500 fishermen, and he said the payment system he set up with BP required his clients to be paid every 30 days. Now that process has suddenly changed without warning, Briet said.

“Not only did they spring it on us that the process has changed, but the people I’ve been dealing with for six weeks who’ve done a good job said, ‘We don’t know what the process is going to be. We’re not authorized to talk to you about it. Someone from BP will contact you,’” he said.

Unsurprisingly, no one from BP contacted them and continue to stone wall. One would think it's a no brainer to compensate these poor fisherman....but then again, we are dealing with big oil, a tragedy in of itself.

D.O.M.A. Is Done!

Every once in a while the judicial branch comes through and slaps down a Congress that legislates contrary to the principles set forth in the Constitution. Striking down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act yesterday is one of those times I smile at this particular aspect of the balance of powers.

More from the Rachel Maddow Show:

Jeremiah Frei-Pearson Fundraiser Tonight (July 9th)!

The most talked about item this morning is that LeBron James will be leaving his Cleveland fans in the dust in the pursuit a championship run down in Miami. While this Laker fan shrugs his shoulders and wishes him all the best (LeBron actually being able to play Kobe in the finals so we can put the comparisons to rest finally would be nice) but that is not why I am typing sentences on the keyboard this morning.

My motivation is Jeremiah Frei-Pearson, a good friend and dedicated progressive activist that is running for State Assembly in Western Queens. The campaign finance reporting deadline is fast approaching and tonight is a great opportunity to make sure Jeremiah has a strong showing and a great chance to compete in the upcoming election.

Here are the details:

RSVP to Marti Cummings by July 8th to

Suggested Contribution of
$25, $50, $75, $150, $500, $1,000 or $3,800

Frei-Pearson lives in Astoria with his wife, Karal Mosley Frei-Pearson, and their two cats: Scooby and Scrappy. Jeremiah has lived in Astoria since graduating from law school–drawn to a community he loved from child- hood visits with his father, who has lived in Queens for more than a decade. Jeremiah’s commitment to serving Western Queens grows from his roots and his experiences as an active participant in the life and politics of our community.
Queens is the most diverse county in the US, and our strength as a
community is based on respect for everyone who lives here. How-
ever, the state legislature has failed to lead on the most basic
issue of civil rights and equality for all. In its failure to pass mar-
riage equality, New York’s leadership has betrayed the progres-
sive values that out state has represented for so long.

For more information
on Jeremiah Frei-Pearson:
And of course, here's the facebook link.

Oh and I almost forgot, the event is on the rooftop at 4 Lexington Avenue just across from Gramercy Park. So come out not only to support a great candidate, but for the amazing views as well!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Bruno's Prosecutors Go Soft While Appeal Is On Hold

They fought hard. They proved their case. At the end of a long trial, Joseph Bruno was found guilty of being a corrupt politician and everyone knew it.

However there was a small problem.

Former Senator Bruno was convicted under the federal "Honest Services" law. That means he was found guilty of not disclosing what he did and not for the actual corrupt practices. The intricacy of it all led the judge to allow Bruno to go free while the law itself is being reviewed by the Supreme Court. And now even the attorneys that helped convict the elderly pol are easing off on ensuring he does the time he deserves.

From The Daily Politics:

Federal prosecutors say ex-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno can stay out of jail while he presses his appeal.

Prosecutors, in a one-sentence letter to Judge Gary Sharpe yesterday, said they would not oppose Bruno's request to remain free while he argues his appeal.[...]

Prosecutors Elizabeth Coombe and William Pericak did not mention the Supreme Court decision in their letter to Sharpe yesterday.
With the mindset of the current Supreme Court leaning towards moneyed interests and against average (see: not wealthy) citizens, the Court will most likely rule in favor of Joe Bruno and swipe the law from the books.

Prosecutors might just be showing signs that their case could ultimately be lost and are giving up on their job to make Bruno pay for his crimes. Unfortunately, at Bruno's advanced age and his image in certain circles of doing great good as an elected official, the man will probably never see the inside of a jail cell.

Monday, July 05, 2010

"Please Remove Your Shoes" Uncovers T.S.A. Theater

Anyone with the ability to fire a few neurons in their head can see the farce of the T.S.A. Taking off shoes, wanding old ladies and as of recent looking at people through their clothes are all tactics utilized by glorified security agents. Now we finally have a film to expose what is going on at the agency and where the lapses are. Check this out and remember it when you fly and are forced to foolishly take your shoes off under the guise of safety.

Dems Say "Good Riddance" To Pedro Espada

Pedro Espada may still have a few months until election day, but his departure from the New York Democratic Party is just around the corner. Sources have let on that the corrupted Senator has made enough enemies within the party to be officially ousted and left to his own devices. Mr. Espada has had a mottled political career from the get go and he hasn't done much to change that image.

Needless to say, the heave-ho couldn't have come soon enough:

A top state party official, in an unprecedented move, has prepared a letter to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Bronx Democratic chairman, calling on him to formally begin the ouster effort.

The letter, expected to be delivered tomorrow, was written with the approval of Charlie King, the state party's executive director and a top political aide to Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo, who has accused Espada in a civil suit of "looting" $14 million from his Soundview health-care clinic.[...]

"Through his repeated public statements and bad conduct, Sen. Espada has shown he is not 'in sympathy' with our party's fundamental principles," says the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

Espada is certainly the top offender within the party that is worthy of such a letter. A few others could use it as well, but I'm impressed that the state Dems are cutting the cord with at least one bad apple. The man is clearly anything but a Democrat and only a self-interested politician that cares nothing about the people that he is charged to represent.

The election effort that ousts him from power will be far more rewarding come election day (this presumably pushes his d-day back to the General Election and not the Primary). If you want to help ensure this important political change, check out my personally endorsed candidate, Desiree Hunter.