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Chat With The Eye: 'don't ask, don't tell'; BP oil spill; Sheetz and BBQ Fritos

By Ed O'Keefe

Highlights of Tuesday's Post Politics Hour, which focused primarily on President Obama's endorsement of a "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, the BP oil spill and other political issues:

Silver Spring: I avoided refueling at BP on a trip to the OBX this past weekend. I avoid Exxon because of the Valdez. Chevron because of the discrimination tapes. Amaco because of their Superfund liabilities and Standard Oil history.

The only place I can refuel is at Citgo, because I support the socialist vision of their democracy. Take that free market libertarians!

Ed O'Keefe: Woah boy. That's why I like Sheetz!

--

Los Angeles, Ca.: This is not a repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in any way shape or form. It's a scam designed to create the appearance of a repeal while leaving the final judgment in the hands of a military unalterably opposed to it. I strongly suspect the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which affects infinitely more people than DADT) will be similarly scammed into nothingness. Are you people aware of what's going on, or do you just copy press releases?

Ed O'Keefe: Actually Los Angeles, both Sec. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, President Obama and several top generals have expressed personal opposition to "Don't ask, don't tell." Go back and search news clips from February, yours truly reported on those statements.

Yes -- this puts the onus on the Pentagon to decide when and how to implement the changes, but with a president and lawmakers and activists eager to reverse the ban, there will be plenty of pressure to act quickly.

--

Where is the outrage?: Back in 2007 the Post carried some small, hidden stories about the cocaine and prostitute fueled orgies that the extraction industries were plying the leadership of MMS and the Interior Department with. Today, we have a catastrophic disaster in the Gulf. Why are we not reading and seeing how the takeover of the Department by industry stooges led directly to the conditions that made this disaster inevitable?

Ed O'Keefe: Um, "Outrage," I'm something short of outraged that you haven't been carefully reading the stellar coverage of my colleagues tracking the oil spill closely. Go read it, then get back to me.

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Washington, DC: Aren't there already openly gay people serving in Afghanistan and Iraq? Technically, they're from other countries that allow openly gay servicemembers, but isn't our military serving adequately alongside them? What new information will this study supposedly come up with?

Ed O'Keefe: The new Pentagon study is due to Congress and President Obama on Dec. 1.

It's only exploring what it will take to fully integrate openly gay service members into the armed forces -- when it comes to housing, benefits, frontline concerns, etc.

Yes -- openly gay service members from other countries are serving with American forces in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. There's been no discernible impact, according to Congressional testimony and academic reports.

--

st paul: With respect to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," can someone please explain what's left to review? It seems to me that this issue has been studied to death already. Has Gates ever really gone on the record about what he hopes more study will accomplish, other than to cost ridiculous and wasteful amounts of $ and delay the inevitable even more?

Ed O'Keefe: Well St. Paul, there are several issues to consider that the Pentagon hasn't really explored thoroughly:

1.) How and where would you house the same-sex partner of a gay service member? On base next door to hetero couples? On base next door to families with small children?

2.) What will the military do about extending benefits to same-sex partners?

3.) What if any other economic, social, health concerns are there about integrating members?

4.) Will it have any sort of impact on frontline operations? Surveys, Congressional testimony and anecdotal conversations with service members suggest no, but the older brass and skeptical lawmakers want to see that on paper.

--

Omaha, NE: Thanks for taking my question. Assuming it's passed, what would the proposed law do? Also, the legislation is repeatedly described as a "compromise," suggesting both sides get something while giving something up. What would the military/Republicans "get" out of the new law?

Ed O'Keefe: Omaha, the repeal would be included in the annual defense spending bill and would not take effect until after the Pentagon completes a study about its impact on troops. That study is due to Congress by Dec. 1.

President Obama, Sec. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen would have to sign off the report and agree that the integration of openly gay service members would not impact troop readiness, retention and recruitment.

--

State College, PA: Ed O'Keefe sez: "Woah boy. That's why I like Sheetz!"

Plus Sheetz has excellent sandwiches.

Ed O'Keefe: Yes -- and a healthy supply of BBQ Fritos, my favorite road trip snack.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 25, 2010; 12:11 PM ET
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Comments

Thank you for perpetuating ignorance about the economics of gas stations.

Posted by: seraphina21 | May 25, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

As is typical of your chats, you were too much of a coward to take questions with a conservative viewpoint.

You also lied about the federal government doing everything it can to help with the BP oil spill. The government is not proving new booms, is not allowing the construction of new barrier islands and is preventing BP from using the full spectrum of cleanup chemicals.

Posted by: alvint | May 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmm BBQ Fritos . . . . . . . . . .

alvint - I know this is a very bad situation and there is a lot of anger, but try to think of all angles and understand the problems.


I'm no marshland or delta expert, but I don't see how barrier islands could have been dredged up in time to stop the oil from getting past the point where the barrier can be built.


If the oil does get past a barrier island as it's being put in place, now you have a bunch of oil that IS TRAPPED.


That's just twq thoughts off the top of my head - I'm sure the experts who are thinking about the crisis have many more scenarios in which the barrier island could make the problem worse.

Posted by: lquarton | May 26, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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