Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 4: On Finding Obama

          This morning I woke up hot and sandy in my tent. I took a shower, changed clothes, and packed up my gear. It was too early in the morning to see the guard at the ranger station who had been so helpful, but I headed over to Mojo's Coffee Shop, which of course was open. Today was the day Obama was coming to town to talk to Thad Allen, and the governors of Mississippi and Alabama. He was to land at 11:30 in Gulfport two states over. He also planned on stopping in Theodore, Alabama, which is about thirty minutes south of Mobile, so that's where I headed. I passed Mobile and headed down to Theodore. At the staging site, a volunteer-turned-security-guard turned me around and sent me to another facility where the press was being sent to wait for secret service. There I met a man who kept insisting I was wasting my time by waiting to see if I could get in. Each time I didn't turn tail and run at his say so, he got a little bit madder. I could see him getting furious that I wouldn't just go away. But he at least said good luck and talked plainly with me about how press credentials work, and how to obtain them. Without those press credentials, and more or less unaffiliated with a news agency, I was turned around by the secret service at the press check in.        
         I began today hoping to get some answers from the President, but after I left the staging site in Theodore, I realized that although he is paying near total attention to the crisis as a whole, he couldn't answer my questions about laid off workers whose income is undocumented, or the questionable relationship between the Deepwater Horizon and its Marshall Islands registration. For those answers, and more, the next day I stopped in with Tulane Environmental Law Professor Adam Babich, who is also the director of Tulane's Environmental Law Clinic.  He helped me understand the way the tangle of interests might play out, who might profit, and who might simply lose out.  Check back tomorrow for details on our conversation.

Adam Babich teaches environmental law and directs the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.  Before joining the Tulane faculty, Adam was a Chicago-based litigator whose practice emphasized environmental and insurance-related disputes.  He has also served as an environmental enforcement lawyer for the Colorado Attorney General, as adjunct attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, as editor-in-chief of the Environmental Law Reporter, and as a judicial law clerk for the Colorado Supreme Court.  He has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, American University, and the University of Denver and has an extensive publications record.


(Pictured at Right) President Obama flying with Thad Allen over I-10 West in Eastern Mississippi, headed to survey the facility in Theodore and deliver a short address.





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