Talking Points

An Amazing Screw-up in the Gulf Cleanup

An amazing screw-up in the Gulf cleanup, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." You're not going to believe this. With the world watching how the Obama administration is handling the Gulf oil crisis, now we find out that 16 barges were grounded by the Coast Guard.

According to ABC News, these barges were sucking up thousands of gallons of oil from the water in the marshes. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says they are extremely effective. So why, why would the Coast Guard shut them down? Ready? Because the Guard wanted to confirm there are life vests and fire extinguishers on board the vessels. And the Guard couldn't find the people who built the barges to get that confirmation. Insane? You bet. You halt the cleanup over life jackets?

This is why many Americans are furious about the oil debacle. This morning, the Coast Guard told us the barges are back in action, but they never should have been out of action. The first poll taken after President Obama's speech on Tuesday shows that most Americans ignored it. 68 percent say they didn't watch. Those who did watch are almost split down the middle on whether it was a good or bad speech. But the big finding in the poll is that President Obama's leadership number has dropped seven points since January. Now 53 percent believe Obama is a decisive leader. With stuff like that crazy Coast Guard dopiness, that number will continue to fall.

On the other side, some conservatives are angry with Republican conservative Congressman Joe Barton of Texas. In the House hearing yesterday, Barton said this to BP CEO Tony Hayward.


BARTON: I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.


Well, as you may know, Mr. Barton apologized for his apology. But the damage was done. Here's Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer.


KRAUTHAMMER: You don't express sympathy for a corporation that's sort of soiled and destroyed -- practically is destroying the Gulf Coast. What you can do is say that, you know, we don't like the precedent of the federal government using its leverage and threats, prosecution to force companies into acting against what might be their own interest.


"Talking Points" believes President Obama should be applauded for getting BP to pony up $20 billion. In fact, that's the best thing the president has done in the whole mess. A voluntary action on that scale by BP only helps the suffering people on the Gulf Coast. And that's the bottom line.

Now this week then will mark two months that oil has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. The estimates are 60,000 barrels a day continue to pollute the waters. And there's no end in sight. And that's "The Memo."


Pinheads & Patriots


Apparently, Bigfoot is back and he has taken up residence in North Carolina.


TIM PEELER, WITNESS: I tried to call him.

REPORTER (Voice-over): Tim Peeler thought he was calling coyotes.

TIM PEELER, WITNESS: Instead of them, him.

REPORTER: He got something that frightened even this self-proclaimed mountain man.

PEELER: This thing was 10 foot tall. He had beautiful hair.


REPORTER: Sergeant Mark Self is a Cleveland county deputy. Didn't see the creature this time.

SELF: There was a 8 to 10 foot hairy man-looking person.

REPORTER: But remembered the stories of a Sasquatch when he was a kid.

SELF: Was killing some animals, breaking into chicken houses, killing chickens.

REPORTER: It's the same M.O. that Tim says he saw for himself. The Sasquatch going after his dogs.

PEELER: I come out here and rough talked him and run him off.

REPORTER: Got him to leave. Called 911. Then the creature came back.

PEELER: I said, get away from here, get, get! And he went right back out there path again.


That would scare me. Where are the "Dukes of Hazard" when you need them? Where are they? OK is Tim Peeler, that's the guy, is he a pinhead or patriot? Could go either way. If he did save his dog, he has to be a patriot. But if he's making it up, he's a pinhead.

You make the call. As for Bigfoot he is always a pinhead, there's no question.