Covered in oil

May 27, 2010 2:46:08 PM PDT
The worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

That's how experts are now judging the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Those 5,000 barrels a day that were leaking from the exploded BP well? Could have been as many as 19,000 barrels a day.

Just slightly off in the initial estimates.

Today Pres. Obama, on the eve of his second visit to the Gulf spill, said again that he was peeved and upset; but insisted that those who are criticizing him and his administration for not doing enough - are wrong. "Those who think we were either slow in our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts," said the President. "This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred."

Mr. Obama can insist all he wants, but the public perception is that the feds gave BP far too much control over all this - and didn't demand a fail-safe plan in the event of a problem.

If there's a silver lining in this expanding cloud of black muck, it's that it will be years before any new drilling is allowed off the coast. Despite Sarah Palin's cheerleading to "drill, baby, drill," few if any would permit new drilling without a guaranteed crisis plan - and the kind of redundant, double-walled safety measures that BP chose not to incorporate in its supposedly high-tech, $650 million platform.

And there's now a moratorium on all off-shore oil and gas drilling from floating drilling rigs - at least until the President's newly appointed commission looking into the BP crisis has finished its review.

Jim Dolan is following the latest developments for us in the Gulf, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, on the heels of the Bernie Madoff scandal comes the latest financial fraud. I mean, alleged fraud. Kenneth Starr, a financial adviser to celebrities such as Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Martin Scorcese, Uma Thurman, Caroline Kennedy and Annie Leibowitz.

It's not the Kenneth Starr that many people thought of when they first heard the news - not the man who went after Pres. Bill Clinton. This guy is now charged with money laundering and fraud, and using some of his client's funds for his own lifestyle - including buying a $7.6 million apartment in Manhattan with - for those who care about these things - 5 bedrooms, 6½ baths, recreation room with a wet bar, a 32-foot granite lap pool, and a 1,500 square foot garden.

Also arrested with Starr was former New York City Council President Andrew Stein; he's charged with making false statements to the IRS. He allegedly didn't pay more then $2 million in taxes acting as a financial consultant.

And we're following the case of a mother of three from New Jersey - arrested for driving drunk, with her kids in the car. There have been several of these stories in the news in recent months, but this one caught our attention because the woman from Mahwah blew a .39 blood alcohol level - or nearly 5 times the legal limit.

The cop who pulled her over became suspicious because she was driving her grey Jeep with two flat tires.

He got on the bullhorn and ordered her to stop.

And finally, we take a closer look at sunscreens, as we mark the unofficial start of summer. Consumer Reports has ranked and dissected the goop for you, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

PS: This column will resume next Tuesday. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

BILL RITTER


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