Gulf Coast

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the disastrous BP oil spill. Triggered by the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, the tragedy took the lives of 11 people and continues to threaten the animals and ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. Two years later, TNR takes a look at some of the animals that continue to be affected by the spill, which spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the water.  DolphinsIn the two years since the BP spill, over 600 dolphins have been found washed up on Louisiana beaches: 95 percent are already deceased.

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Hurricane Katrina is the costliest disaster in U.S. history and among the three costliest in the world ever. As such, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast stand as a lesson about what it takes to rebuild after a major catastrophe. Unfortunately, the demand for such learning seems to only grow.

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It's the first Earth Day since the BP oil spill. People the world over are still angry, Gulf Coast fishing has not quite recovered, and yet BP might actually have banner profits this year. Of course, as any Earth Day activist would tell you, the Gulf Coast will be coping with the BP oil spill for many Earth Days to come. But how long will those effects last? The closest precedent is the Exxon Valdez spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989.

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Spike Lee's wonderful 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, wasn’t just about Hurricane Katrina. Rather, it explored the social inequities that the hurricane laid bare, and the incompetence, confusion, greed, and stupidity that made a terrible situation worse. His latest effort, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise, which premieres on August 23and 24, casts a cold eye on the opportunism that followed in the wake of Katrina, finishing with a devastating hour about the BP oil spill and the political and economic forces that allowed it to happen.

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After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was New Orleans's soul that needed saving. Over three fourths of the city flooded, and the damage was catastrophic. All in all, the Gulf Coast as a whole suffered about:    $150 billion in damage   That estimate comes from Professors Mark Burton and Michael Hicks. They don't break it down by exact location, but the figure gives a rough guide to the magnitude of the disaster. Residential damage alone comes to about $75 billion. By comparison, Hurricane Andrew did a much smaller (though still astonishing) $45 billion in damage, residential or otherwise.

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Congress is fighting over whether to lift the cap on oil liability, making oil companies completely responsible for damages caused by their spill, or whether to continue having the government subsidize oil companies by covering damages above $75 million. The Heritage Foundation thinks the free market is too unfair to oil companies, and thinks the people are with them: Last night after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled his oil spill response bill, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) told reporters: “The key question is, whose side are you on?

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Recession 101

[Guest Post by John B. Judis] Want to make me happy? Read carefully James Galbraith’s essay, “Scare the Hell out of Bankers,”  on our web site.  And read it all the way through because the argument isn’t clear until the end.  It’s one of the best things I’ve read on the role of finance in the recession and the recovery. It goes beyond the debates liberals had 18 months ago about finance.  First, on the question of nationalization of the banks. At the time, some of us held out for nationalization of the big banks as the only way to forestall a depression.

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Tacked on to a New York Times this-and-that article about the ongoing legal detritus of the ongoing gusher in the Gulf of Mexico are two paragraphs on the oil spill cataclysm itself. Well, not exactly. Actually, the two paragraphs are about public confidence in BP’s ability to still the leak and the region’s ability to recover from it: A new CBS/New York Times poll found that public confidence in BP’s ability to stop the leak within the next month is fairly low, while confidence is higher that the region’s industry and wildlife will eventually recover from the spill.

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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, now deemed the worst in American history, may inflict more damage to the future of New Orleans than Hurricane Katrina. In a matter of days, Katrina and the levee failure wiped out the physical and social fabric of many communities. Across the Gulf Coast, more than 1 million people were displaced from their homes and another estimated 1,400 persons lost their lives to the disaster. In New Orleans, the severe flooding destroyed more than 134,000 homes, wreaked havoc to public and private infrastructure, disrupted businesses, and severed generations of family and

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Home News

My new TRB column is out, subscription-only, about the cult of the presidency and the Deepwater Horizon spill. The intro: Two years ago, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy wrote an insightful essay in Reason titled, “The Cult of the Presidency.” Healy argued that the office of the president had assumed an almost supernatural place in American life.

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