Dave Gilson

Dave Gilson

Senior editor

Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Read more of his stories, follow him on Twitter, or contact him.

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Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Read more of his stories, follow him on Twitter, or contact him.

"God Help Us All!": Photos From the Gulf Coast

| Wed Jun. 2, 2010 1:03 AM EDT

MoJo reporter MacMcClelland is back on the Gulf Coast reporting on the oil disaster. She's tweeting and sending back photos from the road. Here are some visual highlights, read her full post here.

Another seafood shack shut down from the spill.

On the way back to Grand Isle, Louisiana. Residents painted this mural for Obama's visit.

This roadside sculpture pretty well encapsulates local feelings.

Grand Isle graveyard: "In memory of all that is lost, courtesy of BP and our federal government."

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Hollywood to the Rescue?

| Tue Jun. 1, 2010 6:48 PM EDT

As hopes of a Hollywood ending to the BP oil disaster have all but faded, AP reports that Avatar director James Cameron has met with federal officials to offer his help in terminating the leak. No, he's not proposing a junk shot of useless Avatar merchandise. Rather, according to the UK Telegraph, Cameron has already offered BP use of some of his private submersibles, big toys inspired by his big-budget bathtub epics The Abyss and Titantic. Meanwhile, Waterworld survivor Kevin Costner has gotten a surge of positive buzz for his Ocean Therapy device, a centrifuge that cleanses oil-contaminated water; BP is reportedly testing the invention. Who's next, Sting?

Certainly, BP could use all the help it can get. Beyond the failed top kill and flimsy containment barriers, there have to be more ideas out there for a last-ditch effforts to stop, contain, or clean up the spill. BP says it's already received more than 7,800 ideas via its suggestions hotline and a special page on its disaster response website. InnoCentive, a crowdsourcing project linked with NASA and the Rockefeller Foundation, has issued a challenge to innovators to come up with bright ideas ASAP. Even if the vast majority are worthless or wacky (like the notion of nuking the leak into oblivion), there ought to be a couple solid ideas in there. Let's see what happens—and then figure out why these plans weren't on oil-industry and regulators' drawing boards years ago. 

If you appreciate our BP coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

Timeline: The Gulf Oil Disaster

| Fri May 28, 2010 12:23 PM EDT

A lot has happened in the month since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, sunk, and caused the worst oil spill in US history. To help keep track of the events, we've put together a handy timeline of the disaster and some of the history behind it, from BP's green rebranding effort to the Mineral and Management Service's record of lax oversight. It's a work in progress, so check back for the latest developments and more background info in the days ahead. Slide along the timeline using the scroll bar on the bottom; zoom in and out using the slider on the left side. Or view a full-screen version of the timeline here.

If you appreciate our BP coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

What Should BP's New Logo Look Like?

| Wed May 26, 2010 2:38 PM EDT

Needless to say, BP has been having a spot of image trouble lately. Taking notice of this, Greenpeace has asked for ideas to redesign BP's "slick green logo" and is posting the submissions on Flickr. They're getting some good ones. Some notable entries:

Predators vs. Aliens: Arizona Wants More Drones

| Wed May 26, 2010 12:56 PM EDT

As TPM reports, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has asked President Obama to help step up border security by dispatching unmanned aerial vehicles to her state. "I would also ask you," she writes, "as overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan permit, to consider wider deployment of UAVs along our nation's southern border. I am aware of how effective these assets have become in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, and it seems UAVs operations would be ideal for border security and counter-drug missions." For those who support Arizona's new anti-immgrant law and want to seal the border, her request may make it sound like the feds have been saving their best surveillance toys for the battlefield. And for opponents of beefing up the border, it may sound like Brewer has a creepy vision of turning the US-Mexico border into something like the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, with death-dealing drones circling overhead.  

Yet the reality is that the drones are already there. Customs and Border Protection has a small but growing fleet of UAVs that it's been flying along the borders since the mid-2000s. It currently has six Predators (unarmed)—five of which operate from Arizona. One even crashed there in 2006. CBP credits its drones with helping bust 15,000 lbs of pot and 4,000 illegal immigrants. (And the agency hasn't been the only one watching the line from above—in 2003, the American Border Patrol, an Arizona Minutemen-type group, tested its own small surveillance UAV, the Border Hawk.)

Whether the federal UAVs are doing a good job or whether more are needed is subject to debate. But if you want to get on the government's case for not flying Predators in domestic airspace or for considering the idea in the first place, too late—that drone has flown.

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