In recent weeks the administration has been fanfaring the tremendous success of discovering far less spilled oil in the GoM than one would expect. The fallacious conclusion dervied from this "fact" by Obama's henchmen is that the oil just went poof and disappeared, with even the president going spelunking in the GoM to prove just how safe it was. Well, we hope he didn't step on the ocean floor, because a new report by ABC discloses that "miles of oil is sitting on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico." It gets worse: 'Professor Samantha Joye of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, who is conducting a study on a research vessel just two miles from the spill zone [ZH: and must have been one of the +/- 2 US marine scientists who were not put on BP's payroll in the last two months], said the oil has not disappeared, but is on the sea floor in a layer of scum. "We're finding it everywhere that we've looked. The oil is not gone," Joye said. "It's in places where nobody has looked for it." So yes, if one was wondering why the administration is not finding oil... perhaps looking for it where it actually is may help.
More from ABC News (no, not some doomsayer fringe blog):
All 13 of the core samples Joye and her UGA team have collected from the bottom of the gulf are showing oil from the spill, she said.
In an interview with ABC News from her vessel, Joye said the oil cannot be natural seepage into the gulf, because the cores they've tested are showing oil only at the top. With natural seepage, the oil would spread from the top to the bottom of the core, she said.
"It looks like you just took a strip of very sticky material and just passed it through the water column and all the stuff from the water column got stuck to it, and got transported to the bottom," Joye said. "I know what a natural seep looks like -- this is not natural seepage."
In some areas the oily material that Joye describes is more than two inches thick. Her team found the material as far as 70 miles away from BP's well.
"If we're seeing two and half inches of oil 16 miles away, God knows what we'll see close in -- I really can't even guess other than to say it's going to be a whole lot more than two and a half inches," Joye said.
This oil remaining underwater has large implications for the state of sea life at the bottom of the gulf.
Joye said she spent hours studying the core samples and was unable to find anything other than bacteria and microorganisms living within.
"There is nothing living in these cores other than bacteria," she said. "I've yet to see a living shrimp, a living worm, nothing."
The poor president: walking on 2 inches of oil, eating 93 octane shrimp, all just to prove to his gullible voters that all is well. We are starting to fear for his health.
WASHINGTON – The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenly sensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W. Bush's much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina.
The government also spent $10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore rig inspection for news organizations but couldn't say whether any ran the footage. And it awarded a $216,625 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds to an environmental group that has criticized what it calls the "extreme anti-conservation record" of Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 rival to President Barack Obama.
The contracts were among hundreds reviewed by The Associated Press as the government begins to provide an early glimpse at federal spending since the Gulf disaster in April. While most of the contracts don't raise alarms, some could provide ammunition for critics of government waste.
The administration has released details of about $134 million in contracts, a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars it has spent so far. BP has reimbursed the U.S. $390 million, company spokesman Tom Mueller said. The government sent BP a new invoice for $128.5 million last week.
The White House is still deciding whether it will bill BP for spill-related trips by Obama and his wife, Michelle, to the Gulf, including the president's flights aboard Air Force One, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.
The contracts the government has disclosed so far include at least $5.8 million for helicopter services, $3.2 million for hotel rooms, $1.4 million for boat charters, $33,000 for oil-measuring devices aboard ships, $441,621 for cellular and satellite phone services, $25,087 for toilets, $23,217 for laundry services and $109,735 for refrigerators and freezers.
Yet the government's new contracting data includes errors and vague entries that make it difficult to identify wasteful spending. It spent $52,000 on a boat charter described merely as "marine charter for things," with no further explanation. A separate $90,000 contract for a single 70-pound anchor is listed incorrectly; the contractor told the AP it actually supplied hundreds of anchors.
A White House spokesman, Ben LaBolt, declined to comment on the contracts.
Among all the contracts, perhaps none is more striking than the Coast Guard's decision to pay $9,000 per month for two months to John Brooks Rice of New Orleans, an on-call worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under a no-bid contract to monitor media coverage from late May through July.
Rice told the AP that he compiled print and video news stories and offered his subjective appraisal of the tone of the coverage.
"From reading and watching the media I would create reports," he said. "I reported either positive coverage, negative coverage, misinformation coverage."
The Coast Guard provided the AP with a copy of two of Rice's printouts of news stories but didn't respond to a request for copies of his reports rating the tone of news stories. Rice said he had already deleted them. The AP requested copies of all Rice's reports under the Freedom of Information Act but hasn't received them.
The Coast Guard expects BP to reimburse the $18,000, Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Ron LaBrec said.
The Coast Guard said it didn't ask for competitive bids because it urgently needed the work done. In the newly released federal data, the government didn't disclose Rice's name, instead misidentifying him as "miscellaneous foreign contractors."
Such contracts have caused problems for the government in the past. The Obama administration abandoned a $1.5 million contract in August 2009 with a public relations firm, Washington-based Rendon Group, that assessed work by journalists for the Defense Department before embedding them with troops in Afghanistan. And the Clinton administration in 1995 ordered Energy Department officials to cancel a $46,500 contract with a consulting company, Carma International, that ranked reporters who covered the agency, a practice that the White House concluded was "unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Rice said he wasn't on duty for FEMA or drawing a government salary when he worked for the Coast Guard. He monitored news coverage for FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and a former FEMA co-worker recommended him for the Coast Guard contract, he said.
The head of a public relations firm in Baton Rouge, La., John T. Rice of Common Sense Communications, questioned the wisdom of the government spending $18,000 to track coverage of the spill, particularly in the Internet age when stories can be monitored easily online.