Incredible. Anchor on Fox News has been talking to experts all day.

First, the daily spill is far higher than BP or the Coastguard reported: 25,000 barrels a day. This could be twice as large or larger than the Exxon Valdez spill, and will affect the entire Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida.

Obama still to go ahead with drilling after increased safety precautions on future drilling. Can you believe this guy?

Bush Administration Led Fight Against Whaling 4 Years Ago. Now Obama Backs Commercial Whaling?

U.S. Joins Anti-Whaling Effort
Nations Respond To Panel's Vote
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 26, 2006

The United States and some of its closest allies are launching a concerted campaign to block a possible return to large-scale whaling and to reverse the gains made by pro-whaling forces in the international commission that regulates hunting of the massive creatures.

The political shift in the International Whaling Commission, which was on full display last week when the body narrowly backed a nonbinding resolution in favor of commercial whaling, has alarmed environmentalists and senior officials in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Britain. In interviews last week, several said they feel a duty to mount an organized effort to ensure that the 20-year-old whaling moratorium remains intact.

Anti-whaling countries won a few key votes during the commission's five-day annual meeting on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts that ended Tuesday. They defeated a proposal that would have required secret ballots on whaling issues.

But Bush administration officials said they were alarmed by the 33 to 32 vote in favor of the nonbinding declaration, which says the commission is "about managing whaling to ensure whale stocks are not over-harvested, rather than protecting all whales irrespective of their abundance." It would take a three-quarters vote to repeal the current ban on whaling.


About 4 weeks ago Obama reversed a long standing administration policy prohibiting new offshore drilling in a remarkable cave in to Republicans and to the oil companies who gave him and other Democrats millions in campaign donations through employees' individual donations.

Now, it is discovered that the current oil spill off the Louisiana Coast may be as much as 20 times greater than reported by the companies involved, 20,000 barrels a day according to satellite photographs, versus the 1.000 BP stated, versus 5,000 by the Coastguard.

The oil plume is currently twice the size of the state of Delaware and is expanding rapidly, and could impact the Mississippi wild lands coast within 36 hours. Homeland Security just raised the spill to status of a national concern.

(I have just seen the news. Heavy onshore winds have moved the plume much faster than expected, and part of the oil slick is expected to come ashore within 3 hours. Efforts to cap the well with a 100 ton dome have failed. It may take three months to dig a separate well to siphon the pool feeding the leaking well. However, it is projected now that that this spill will surpass the Alaska spill in 50 days. Therefore, by the time the relief well gets operational, the spill will be twice as large as that of the Exxon Valdez, which was 250,000 barrels, which is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur in history according to Wikipedia. It looks like the administration is about to reverse itself on offshore drilling.)

Add to that his new stand on renewing commercial whaling, and I ask the question, "Is Obama a Republican Big Business Trojan Horse?"


LA officials: Planned cuts at animal shelters will lead to more deaths

Updated: 04/28/2010 08:03:53 PM PDT

A pooch awaits what fate has in store at the City of Los Angeles East Valley Animal Shelter located at 14409 Vanowen St., Van Nuys, Calif. | See photo gallery. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)
Los Angeles may have to euthanize an additional 11,000 animals in city shelters next year if Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council go through with cuts that critics say will gut the city's animal services.
The city killed more than 19,000 unwanted dogs and cats and 4,000 other animals last year. But some city officials and rescue advocates say a proposed $1.8 million reduction to Los Angeles' Animal Services department will not only mean more euthanasia, but more animals roaming around uncontrolled on the streets.

"How can can you be talking public safety as a priority and gutting animal services?" Councilman Richard Alarc n said Wednesday.

"This will have a severe effect and it's obvious we're moving in the wrong direction to the no-kill policy."

The proposed cuts will also likely mean the closure of the Northeast Animal Care Shelter in Mission Hills, as well as personnel losses equal to the entire staff of another animal care center, according to city documents.
Those cuts will require a 58 percent increase in the number of dogs and cats euthanized over the next fiscal year, according to Kathy Davis, interim general manager of the Animal Services department.

"The department believes this will obligate the mayor and council to choose closure of an operating animal care center and to sanction a likely resulting increase in pet euthanasia," Davis told the council's Budget and Finance Committee in a recent 14-page memorandum.

"If our Northeast facility as well as one other large animal care center close, we expect that number to rise to about 30,000 pets (annually) that we have to euthanize," Davis elaborated in an interview.

"The only thing that could keep this from happening, unfortunately, is money. We've tried to live through this - through the early retirements, through the work furloughs - but we're at a point where we've cut to the bone and now anything more than this means an amputation."

The City Council's Budget and Finance committee is holding hearings this week on the budget of most city agencies, including Animal Services.
When he released his budget last week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned that fixing the city's massive deficit will require sacrifice from every agency and employee.

"The mayor was the first to say that this was a very difficult budget, it is not perfect, and he looks forward to working with council to make it better," mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said.
Daniel Gus, a Sherman Oaks rescue advocate, decried the proposed closure of the Northeast shelter.
"What a crime this will be," Gus said.

He also said certain cuts, such as the license canvassing program, would be counter-productive because they are revenue-generating.

Clearly though, both rescue advocates and officials agree, the most moving aspect of the cuts is the impact they will have on animals' lives.

The city is required to hold the animals for five days before euthanasia, but officials said the city has extended that to eight days for cats and nine days for dogs.

Last fiscal year, the city euthanized 11,938 cats, 7,623 dogs, 292 rabbits and 3,802 other animals.
Davis said that three years ago, city animal shelters were euthanizing fewer than 16,000 animals. More than 30,000 are returned to their owners or adopted out.

Those figures are down from a decade ago when, according to department records, the city euthanized 53,000 animals and placed only 13,000 for adoption.

The budgetary impact to her department, Davis said, is the proposed 26 working days reduction of city workforce that will mean an effective cut of eight animal control officers, 14 animal care technicians, three registered veterinary technicians, four clerical staff and two supervisors.

Davis said those reductions were the equivalent of the staff of one of the six fully operational animal care centers.
The Northeast Animal Shelter to be shut under the proposed budget cuts has never been open to the public but is used to hold about 200 animals at a time, officials said. It has the capacity for 900 animals and has been used as an evacuation center during fires and floods.

"We use the facility to keep animals that are under quarantine (and) evidence animals for crimes that you have to keep separate or those with special medical needs," said Linda Barth, assistant general manager of animal services.

Officials said all shelters are often already overcrowded by the increase in animals taken in every day, either as strays picked up on the streets or pets turned in by owners who can no longer afford to take care of them.
At the East Valley shelter in Van Nuys, center manager Helen Brakemeier said that on any given day the number of animals remains at about 200 dogs and 100 cats because adoptions fail to outnumber the animals taken in.

"We just try to keep up and encourage adoptions, but the numbers don't really drop," said Brakemeier.
On Wednesday, for instance, an owner had dropped off three pug-mix puppies at the shelter, but it likely was going to take three separate adoptions to move them from the center.

"I would like to have all three but I'm only looking to adopt one," said Julie Ward of Shadow Hills, whose pug died recently.

Another visitor Wednesday was Renee Merrill of Ventura, an adoption placement specialist, who said she has been working diligently to find homes for pets in shelters, fearing what will happen if she does not.
"For every pet I find a home for, I'm actually saving two," said Merrill. "A home for the pet that's being adopted and it opens a spot for an animal in a shelter that otherwise might not be there."

A Sea of Deceit and Capitulation

Poet Laureate of California, Professor, University of Southern California

What's Your Reaction:

I'm taking a moment to bring you a statement of urgent import from an environmental activist, protector of international ocean wildlife - who is making a profound plea to the Obama administration to reverse its cynical and cruel support of the lifting of the ban on commercial whaling -- a "bow" to Japan. 

Former Senator Barack Obama stated that "As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on international whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable." Yet at the March intersessional IWC meeting, the Obama administration was the chief proponent in encouraging the plan to resume commercial whaling and is encouraging other nations to follow.

Come on. Political compromise (the kind derived from international debt pressure and lobbyists) has become the "theme" of this administration - selling out on the unethical and indefensible butchering and barbaric torture of whaling, the murder of sentient beings-- is a kind of metaphor for what is happening to liberal ideals.
Here is a statement from Edward Dorson, Director of Conservation Strategies for the Shark Research Institute. Thank you for reading this and following up with a click on the link to the Shark Research Institute's Campaign to Prevent the Resumption of Commercial Whaling.
-- Carol Muske-Dukes
A Sea of Deceit and Capitulation
by Edward Dorson
April 25, 2010

The long letter can be found at:

President Obama's Earth Day Assault on Whales-Huffington Post

Philip Radford

Philip Radford

Posted: April 23, 2010 02:15 PM


"Look, I love whales," said the President with a smile as he shook my hand.
Yesterday, on Earth Day, I thought I would be calling on the President to push legislation that would actually solve the climate crisis. No such luck. Instead, I found myself on the national mall leading a march on the White House to stop the President from his back room attempts to undo the 35 year moratorium on whaling.
Later that afternoon, I was invited to the White House to meet with the President. I asked my team what I should ask the President. The funniest suggestion was to give him a fist bump and say "drill, baby drill." As much as I wanted that on film, I decided to ask him about the reversal of his written campaign promise to Greenpeace to end commercial whaling.
He walked person to person, saying hello, as advocate after advocate threw him softball questions. I shook the President's hand, and said:
"Mr. President, I am Phil Radford from Greenpeace. We are concerned that your administration is overturning the ban on whaling."
"I know" he replied. "I've seen your ads in the papers."
"Great," I replied. "What is your plan to change your administration's position?
"Look," said the president, sounding like his Saturday Night Live doppelganger, "I love whales. I will do what I can to protect them."
"Will you reverse your administration's position?" I asked.
The President responded "Oh come on, don't lobby me here right now..."
I'd made our point. There was no point in lobbying the President more. After all, Earth Day should remind us that lobbying played a minor role in securing the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and ban on commercial whaling. People taking action made the difference. The 200 million people in the streets on the first Earth Day are who brought about the change. We'll be in the streets again until President Obama lives up to his written promise to end commercial whaling.

Obama Backs Return to Whaling--LA Times Article

Something seems increasingly rotten to me about the Obama administration. Its efforts at reform are half-assed measures to say the least, and certainly not the change we had hoped for. For example, health care. One of the principal beneficiaries is the health care and drug industries. Those sectors stocks are way up. Wall St. knows the bill will increase their profitability and hold off real reform for another 20 years. Ditto the new proposed regulations on Wall Street.

Obama's proposed changes start at the middle and then the conservatives pick it apart in Congress, so the reform is right of center in its final form. Health care reform is weaker than that proposed by president Nixon 37 years ago, and Bob Dole 10 years ago.

It is obvious that big banks, big business, and the mega rich are just as much in charge of the Obama administration are they were the Bush administration.

But now to resume whaling because Japan has been cheating on the moratorium for 25 years? Unthinkable. From the LA Times today:

It's no way to save the whales

The Obama administration and the International Whaling Commission want to allow legal hunting again. It's misguided policy.

No one was surprised when conservation organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the anti-environmental policies of President George W. Bush. But it's a shock to many when we part company with the Obama administration.

It happens. And it's happening right now on the question of what to do about commercial whaling and, more specifically, whether to maintain the 25-year-old moratorium against the killing of whales for profit. Last week, the International Whaling Commission announced a proposed 10-year deal, spearheaded by the Obama administration, that would suspend the moratorium and allow whaling countries to kill whales legally for commercial purposes for the first time in a generation.

There's no disagreement between the council and the administration about the fact that the moratorium is one of the singular environmental achievements of the 20th century. Before it was adopted, on average an estimated 38,000 whales were being killed each year. Since the moratorium, that number has dropped to about 1,240, and whale populations have begun, little by little, to rebound.

There's no disagreement that whales are among the most extraordinary creatures ever to inhabit the Earth. And there's no disagreement that we need to protect them, or that many of the large whale species covered by the proposed agreement -- humpback, fin, sperm, sei and Bryde's whales -- are depleted or near extinction.

The problem is how best to protect them.

The Obama administration argues that the whaling moratorium should be suspended because it has loopholes that are being illegally exploited by Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic whalers. They believe that after 25 years of conflict within the International Whaling Commission, commercial whaling should be legalized in the hope that, by bringing the killing out into the open through agreed-upon quotas, a consensus eventually will emerge in support of a phase-out of whaling altogether.

Its intentions are good. But the strategy is dead wrong.

First, the proposed deal nowhere requires a phase-out of whaling. Not in 10 years. Not ever.

Second, legalizing whaling in order to eliminate it makes as little sense as allowing criminal activity in order to eliminate crime. By adopting the moratorium on commercial whaling, the world agreed that whaling, except for purposes of scientific research and subsistence, should not be allowed. Period. By suspending that global norm, the U.S. and the whaling commission will be ceding the legal and even the moral high ground to the very countries that, for decades, have been doing their best to circumvent it. Rather than a step forward in the fight against commercial whaling, this is a monumental step backward.

Third, the hope that reaching an agreement with the whalers will, in some undefined way, appeal to their better nature, eventually strengthen their interest in conservation and lead them at some future point to abandon whaling is, at best, wishful thinking. It is belied by the history of the whaling commission, where the whaling countries, even in the wake of the international agreement not to kill whales for commercial purposes a generation ago, have sought relentlessly to evade or end it. Japan exploits the exception for scientific research; Iceland and Norway assert their right to take exception to -- and therefore ignore -- the moratorium.

The Obama administration's fundamental premise -- that the proposed agreement will save thousands of whales over the next decade -- doesn't withstand scrutiny. The agreement suggests quota numbers, but no actual numbers have been agreed to among the nations of the whaling commission -- or even among the smaller group of nations that have, for the last three years, been negotiating the proposed agreement behind closed doors. The actual number of whales allowed to be killed if the agreement is adopted is, at this point, anybody's guess.

But even were that not the case, the situation that led the Obama administration to pursue this agreement in the first place would be unaffected by it. The exception for scientific whaling exploited by Japan will not be rescinded, nor will the exceptions claimed by Norway and Iceland be nullified. The agreement is fundamentally premised on an expectation that the countries signing the agreement will abide by it, notwithstanding their continuing right under the broader whaling convention to kill whales for research or pursuant to their existing exception. Thus, the fundamental problem of loopholes remains.

Finally, even if some might consider limited "sustainable whaling," it should adhere to science-based management principles. However, the quotas under negotiation now are not a product of the whaling commission's scientific committee. The negotiating process has been political, based on what the whaling countries are willing to accept rather than being governed by a scientific process to develop catch quotas consistent with the recovery of whale stocks.

Reasonable minds often can and do differ, even among friends. But the whaling commission's proposal for the next decade is a terrible idea. It would do more to protect the whaling industry than to protect whales, and it would be a tragic step backward to an era when the most magnificent animals on Earth could legally be slaughtered for profit.

President Obama, we strongly urge you to reject the deal on commercial whaling. Your administration is making great strides in developing a sound national policy for the protection of our oceans. Don't let the return of legalized whaling become your legacy.

Joel R. Reynolds is a senior attorney and director of, among other programs, marine mammal protection at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles.


The Mayor's budget apparently seeks a 10% budget cut of $1.800,000 meaning the present budget of $18 million would drop to $16,200,000, approximately to the pre-Boks level and before all the new shelters were built.

She states that this may entail closing an additional shelter beyond the NE shelter. already closed to the public, but which may now be boarded up and animals sent elsewhere.

She states such a drastic cut could result in an extra 11,000 killings a year, putting total euthanasia at 30,000 for 2010-2011. I would remind everyone that killing is now at 19,000, and total killing was under 16,000 three years ago.

Her statement sent to the Budget Committee:

Closure of Animal Care Centers/26-Working Day Reduction
Consolidating pet intake into fewer facilities is regression to the conditions that the voters of Los Angeles chose to change in approving the Prop F Bond. Consolidation of the animals leads to more disease, over-crowding, incidences of aggression, and inevitably, increased euthanasia.
We acknowledge the financial imperatives behind the proposed temporary shuttering of the Northeast Animal Care Center in 2010-2001 to achieve short-term financial savings. While this facility is not used for the public now, it is generally filled to about 1/3 capacity with evidence and quarantined animals and for nursing mothers with puppies and kittens. It has proven an invaluable resource for temporary holding of animals evacuated in disasters.
Closing Northeast will require evidence and quarantined animals to be housed in kennels and cages at the other six animal care centers which are currently used to promote the adoption of healthy, available animals. This action will trigger the negative domino effect of: reducing City­wide kennel/cage holding capacity, reducing adoption revenue, reducing our live release rates, and increasing our euthanasia rates. The Department's overall holding capacity will drop by about 10%, and euthanasia will increase by about 2,500 to 4,000 animals, depending on intake trends. The reaction of the humane community to this downgrading of progress is unknown.
The $1.8 million (10%) additional cut of 26-working days is an effective cut of 8 Animal Control Officers, 14 Animal Care Technicians, 3 Registered Veterinary Technicians, 4 Clerical Staff, and 2 Supervisors, the equivalent of the staff of one of the six fully operational Animal Care Centers.' The only remaining option that allows for enough staffing to safely provide the necessary levels of animal care and service to the public is to close one Center. The Department will need direction from the Mayor and Council as to which additional Animal Care Center should be closed during the period of time this 26-working day reduction is in effect.
Closing an operating Animal Care Center in addition to Northeast creates an unfortunate situation for the communities we serve. Net holding capacity will drop by at least another 15% and pet euthanasia will rise by 4,000 to 11,000 more pets, depending on intake and the number of animals held as evidence and quarantine, using kennels that would otherwise be available for adoptable animals. Again, we will also lose adoption revenue, and spend more on euthanasia, aggravating rather than alleviating our revenue situation.
The Department cannot reduce its workload by telling residents that services will be cut or by closing our doors. The pursuit of strays and biting animals, the impoundment and care of animals, and the adoption or euthanasia of impounded animals is not discretionary; it is not
' In planning for the possibility of furloughs in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Department engaged in a series of studies of workload, intake and adoption trends, hourly and daily activity, and staffing patterns to determine appropriate staffing levels and impacts of work reductions. A key selection of the results is attached. We also conducted a zero-based budgeting exercise for our 2010-2011 budget preparation to determine the staffing and cost of each Animal Care Center and Law Enforcement operational element. More information on these studies can be provided on request. They demonstrate that there are no ways to compensate for losing working days on the part of Animal Control Officers, Animal Care Technicians, and Registered Veterinary Technicians. Any reduction of veterinarian hours merely reduces the number of extra spay/neuter procedures they perform at lower cost than contract veterinarians.

The entire report:

Dennis Zine on the GM Search Process

The below supposedly (from ADL) are quotes from Zine made some months ago on the search process. He has it 100% on the money.

"The search for this particular  general manager is of critical importance to the city of Los Angeles. I am the chair of the city's personnel committee and dealing with personnel issues, also a member of the executive "employee relations" committee where we establish contracts for all the city employees and I can say candidly that the previous general managers have been a disaster, not only for the city of Los Angeles but for the tax payers, because we've had lawsuits, we've paid out money, and we've had very poor leadership in this particular department."  
"If it was the police department or the fire department, we'd  probably have anarchy in the city of Los Angeles if we had that type of poor leadership. I know you're not going to make the selection. 
Zine continues: "The concern is not to recycle and what we see happening, often times, is that you'll recycle a general manager from another city. We need to break out of the box, the tradition box of recycling from other part of the country, where someone allegedly did a great job and then you start doing some research. I come from a law enforcement background where you do research to make sure what the credentials are."
"So, the ability to oversee a large department with multiple responsibilities, strategic planning is a major issue and a major concern. Shelter operations and maintenance, we have additional shelters that have been established because of the bond measure by the tax payers and we've had disasters at some of those shelters with the construction because there wasn't proper oversight. The veterinary care and employee relations. I can remember the previous general manager, and I'm not going to give names, but I had employees, including supervisors from the department, come to me screaming that there was absolutely no leadership.  Now when your supervisors start coming complaining about lack of leadership, you have a very serious problem. So employee relations is a critical concern."
"The ability to create a comprehensive policy manual, the department does not have a policy manual. The previous general manager did away with the policy manual  How do you have a policy that changes day to day? You've got to have established rules, regulations, procedures so the employees know what's expected of them and how to deliver that service. I understand currently they don't have a policy manual which, in this day and age, I don't know any department that exists without that."
"We needs stats of the manager's real work history and resume, is there a pattern, reasons for departure from their previous jobs as managers of other city or county shelters? If you get someone from another city, do a thorough background, you can go google dot com and get all kinds of information about an individual. Relationship with established national organizations, humane society, aspca, peta, relationship with local adoption and rescue groups, experience in oversight and monitoring, experience in complaint investigations. We need somebody who's a proven general manager, whether they have five dogs or ten cats, the issue is to lead that department, serve the people of Los Angeles, serve the animals of Los Angeles, and the tax dollars that go into running that department. Make sure it's appropriately done."
"We are city of the angels that should be able to treat our animals in a respectable fashion, a humane fashion and a general manager that can deliver that. Less than that is not acceptable to me, the people of Los Angeles.  Thank you very much."