How long will our luck hold out? 

"We are very lucky,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Saturday night after a bomb didn’t detonate in midtown Manhattan.

The residents, businesses and ecosystem of the Gulf Coast aren’t so lucky.

In both cases, the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in charge.

Secretary Napolitano’s departmental forces are supposed to keep car bombs from getting into the heart of Times Square.

They are also charged with the containment and treatment of any major oil spill.

A Coast Guard veteran e-mailed me after my radio show in which I played Secretary Napolitano’s declaration that two C-130s with oil dispersant would be arriving in the Gulf shortly to fly three missions each day with each mission covering 250 acres:

“You are correct about the BP spill. The response has been grossly inadequate. This is inexplicable. The National Contingency Plan (40 CFR 300) and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) put the federal government in charge of an oil spill. Yes, BP is the responsible party (RP) but the RP pays for the spill response. The NCP requires the use of unified command with the RP, the affected state and the federal On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) as the Incident Commanders. In this case the Coast Guard is the OSC. You don’t waste time pinning everything on the RP. The NCP requires one response organization and the RP is a part of that. You can’t separate the RP from the OSC. For the DHS Secretary to blame them shows her ignorance of the policies her own department is supposed to follow.

“The type of things we’re seeing go wrong with this spill are the types of things that used to happen prior to OPA 90. This is simply inexcusable.

“The C-130s will arrive shortly? Where are the USCG C-130s that USCG Air Station Clearwater has? They practice using dispersants and every big oil spill exercise has this as part of the scenario.

“The Coast Guard has consistently underestimated the size of the spill. This is perplexing. The USCG oil spill training program emphatically says not to do this. In the Cosco Busan spill they did that and the Commanding Officer got fired. Why they are doing this now is impossible to explain. Everyone knows not to do this.”

So is the mainstream media raging against the president and his team as they did against Bush and his appointees in the aftermath of Katrina?

Sunday morning brought word of a shake-up in the command structure overseeing the Gulf crisis. When will that shake-up reach the top of DHS?

Another key question: If the driver of the Times Square bomb is found, will he quickly be given Miranda rights as the underpants bomber was on Christmas Day regardless of his citizenship?

The hard-left, hyper-partisan nature of the administration has drawn the most criticism and has turned the electorate decidedly away from the president.

But so too should the general incompetence on the big stuff — terrorist threats, oil spills, Israel and Iran — be alarming the public.

The president should spend less time blasting Arizona’s governor and much more time focusing on the crucial aspects of his job.

Examiner columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Staff Report

Latest in Guest Columns

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation