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Wanted: Experienced Plumber, Gulf Coast Region

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In this day and age of enormous technological advancements, it is ironic that Mankind cannot find a simple solution to stop a very common problem that has plagued us since the early days of plumbing: a leak.

All day long on television, the radio, and the Internet, I see and hear Fortune 500 companies tout their products and services as the next big “breakthrough” in technology. We are creating new plastics, rubbers, glues, adhesives, foams, cements, poly-carbons, and other materials we can’t pronounce, all the time that instantly form a sealant to stop water and air flow. And the stock prices of many of the publicly-traded businesses that create these new components are soaring as the general public puts them to everyday use.

But, as thousands of gallons of crude oil continue to spew out into the waters of the Gulf, none of them apparently are good enough to do the one thing we want them to do: seal the leak.

And so, as top scientists and tech-savvy business geniuses around the world continue to debate over the best way to stop the dirty flow, thousands upon thousands of gallons continue to pour into the sea. Most reports indicate the amount at 210,000 gallons a day (some extrapolate this rate to be five times higher).

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was in total 10.8 million gallons. Since the British Petroleum explosion, which started the spewage, occurred on April 19th, we are rapidly approaching the day in which this spill will surpass what most call “the most devastating human-caused environmental disaster ever.”

All because there is a hole in a pipe. Frasier Crane’s line from Cheers comes to mind: “Can someone tell me why we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t put metal in a microwave?” While that is laughable, the situation in the Gulf is anything but.

What makes the matter worst is that I hear the mainstream media talk more about the impact on BP than I do what the impact will be on the environment. As the federal government expands the no-fishing zone up to 46,000 miles and as black-slimed bodies of dead dolphins wash up on shore, most folks seem to be more worried about the oil company bouncing back than they do the ecosystems of this massively affected region.

And the leak isn’t even plugged up yet. Dangerous, toxic crude oil continues to flow out into the water as the greatest minds of our time try to think of ways to simply seal the leak. We can only hope the technology advancements in environmental clean-up are more of a reality than the ones needed to stop a simple primitive plumbing problem.

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About BizarroGuy

  • STM

    Mark: “Who gives a shyte who we blame. Will a nuke seal the fucker?”

    Not sure if it’ll seal the hole, but it’ll seal something. Our doom, possibly.

  • Mark

    Who gives a shyte who we blame. Will a nuke seal the fucker?

  • Desiree

    Why not blame BP instead of the president? Presidents come and go, but I believe BP has been, and will be, here for a good long while.

  • zingzing

    blather on, ruvy… your “news” wouldn’t seem so silly if you could resist the “fascist” junk. but you’re an addict. everyone’s a fascist… yadda yadda yadda.

    silas: “zing, our political system is designed to be driven by droves of cash.”

    certainly not. it evolved into what it is, but it was never really all that designed. i don’t think you particularly made a bad point overall, you just couched it incorrectly. you acted as if people spent a shitload of money to make very little of it back, and that was suspect. but that’s not what they did at all. they spent other people’s money. so it makes your point rather meaningless, because it doesn’t come from reality.

    i agree that it’s usually the person who spends the most money that wins. and that’s wrong. i actually don’t see how that happens. i can’t imagine mccain being able to spend enough money to get me to change my vote. i can’t imagine that obama changed all that many republicans into liberals overnight by showing up in commercials on their tv. and yet, it does seem apparent that spending your way into office is a tried and true method. shrug.

    putting spending limits on campaign funds is a grand idea. too bad it’s people who spent a shitload of other people’s money to get where they are today are the ones that vote on such stuff. isn’t it?

  • ….our political system is designed to be driven by droves of cash. We must change our political system.

    And now we have this from the Telegraph, across the Pond. US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus

    The US government, in an attempt to stifle political dissent, no longer issues the M3 number – but the underlying components are still published and the M3 can be figured out from there. That little oil boat at BP ain’t all that’s leaking badly. The phoney baloney “recovery” is as well.

    The cash junkie is about to be deprived of his junk. Eventually, the cash junkie is gonna get mad…. Eventually, the fascists running America into the ground will be ground out of office and find their own faces run into the ground.

    Looks like fun for everyone in the offing.

  • zing, our political system is designed to be driven by droves of cash. We must change our political system. I had an interesting conversation with a Canadian journalist tonight on my BlogTalkRadio Show and was quite interested in the Canadian political system as opposed to ours. I was also amazed at how Canadians view our current political dilemmas. We need more of that. Communication between simple folk around the globe talking about perceptions. As we have learned right here at Blogcritics, most foreigners don’t have a deep seated hatred for Americans — it’s our government and how it conducts its business that is the problem.

    You may not think I have a valid point about the cash, zing, but imagine if we did change our elections process….

  • zingzing

    wait, wait. money–MONEY–M-O-N-E-Y–runs politics? who knew? you serious?

    are these people using their own money? or are they gathering it up from supporters, like politicians usually do?

    if they’re using their own money, rather than scrounging for cash, good for them. they obviously really want to make a difference, be it good or bad.

    if they’re using others’ money, well, that’s the way it’s done.

    i don’t think you’re putting forth a very good argument here… unfortunately, that’s the way of politics. money runs it. money gets you in office. money sways your opinions. money makes the world go round. money pays for your mom’s stay on your birthday, money pays for your marriage, money pays your kids’ college tuition, money pays for your funeral. money, money, money.

    why the surprise?

  • Indeed, Ruvy. What people fail to realize is political “leaders” are perpetuating the racial divide. They use all the right buzz words, try to be politically correct and quietly allow the bullshit to continue.

    Between Whitman and McMahon alone, we are looking at $118,000,000 spent for political office. If we want real reform. If we want people just like us to represent us in OUR government, all we have to do is change the system. No candidate should be allowed to raise or spend more than the total salary they would earn for a full term in office, period. All paid lobbyists who meet with members of Congress should do so only in the public forum or only in situation where the conversations are recorded in their entirety for public scrutiny. I want to know everything I can about the snake oil lobbyists sell.

    No member of Congress, upon defeat or retirement should be allowed to sit on a corporate board for a minimum of one full term of the office after he/she leaves. No member of Congress upon defeat or retirement should be allowed to lobby another member of Congress until one full term of political office has passed.

    Racial and religious divides can only be bridged when comprehensive election reform is undertaken which assure us all that no citizen is denied the opportunity to serve. It’s simple. It’s clear. It’s fair. Wake up, America, our country is in steep decline.

  • Yer cuttin’ too close to the bone, Silas. That is why nobody is responding. It’s more fun to blab about racism (or neo-racism) than to be cold-bloodedly practical, like you are. The minute you start talking about real money, people tend to shut up real fast.

  • OK, since that didn’t get you, let’s try this. California GOP Candidate and eBay Mogul Meg Whitman has given her campaign $68 million. Say she serves two terms which is the maximum – that’s 8 years. That’s 70,128 hours or $969.66 per hour. CA pays $206K.

    I wonder how many eBayers had a piece of their fees go to her campaign.

  • Ruvy, with the deepest humility, thank you. I’m completely convinced “the world’s leading experts” lack one common denominator – COMMON SENSE. I want to go back, for a second, to my tirade on Linda McMahon and what she plans to spend for her US Senate race in Connecticut.

    Say Linda McMahon prevails and spends that $50 million. She will be a Senator for 6 years and be entitled to a salary of $176,000 per year. Now, they say that she has pledged NOT to take a salary. First mistake. There’s no free lunch in American society. So, let’s take it to the next level. She wins. Just what was the cost per hour for her position?


    Total days in a 6 year Senate Term (including leap years): 2,192

    Total hours in a 6 year term: 52,560

    Cost per hour to be a US Senator for 6 years: $951.29

    OK, folks. Once again I am not a rocket scientist but it would cost Ms. McMahon $951.29 per hour for every hour she serves as a US Senator. There are people in this country who don’t make $950 per month much less per hour!

    Conservatives love to slam Progressives with the mantle of “people who want to redistribute the wealth”. Well, you know what? You’re damn right I want a redistribution of wealth. Not from business. I want a wholesale redistribution of the political wealth. I want a decentralization of business wealth from the boardrooms to the locally owned businesses. I want equal access to my government officials – from the local alderman on the corner to my President. I want to know that my voice in the process has equal bearing to that of Bernie Madoff. And further, I want a Federal death penalty for every economic Ponzi scheming corrupt corporatist. That’s right. To me what Mr. Madoff did is tantamount to treason and a punishment less than death is inappropriate.

    So, folks, when you’re buying your groceries at the supermarket this weekend for your Memorial Day family bash remember this. The total of your grocery bill is probably equal to a half hour of a prospective Senator McMahon’s time.

  • I read your comments and feel inspired, Silas. Can we rent you over here? We need a guy like you to inspire the fools who realize the system here is busted – but whose only solution is to put themselves (plug in the name, it ain’t important) in charge. We’re not getting anywhere because of the competing super-egos of “the world’s leading experts” – who know nothing!.

    We need an outsider, someone who isn’t one of us, with our own poisoned attitudes, to speak clearly. I’ll provide the translators – guys who can translate into both Hebrew and Russian.

  • John Wilson

    At the same time that corporations are becoming more powerful in our politics, they are becoming more multi-national in ownership.

    The net result is that the USA is becoming more of a slave to international financial interests. What loyal American could be in favor of that?

  • You’re right, Roger. The bottom line is that the system has already fallen. If we are to allow corporations to govern, then let’s do it in the open with complete transparency. If WE are to govern, then let’s do it in the open with complete transparency. But this lofty goal shall not be achieved. We’re too big, we’re too fat and we’re too lazy. As long as we have our iPads, our iPods, our toys, our birth control, our fast food and our gasoline — we’re happy and docile.

    On the thread about Ms. USA, Cindy talks about the culture of dominance, especially from men. That’s really what this is about. The corporations dominate using lobbyists and politicians as their surrogates. I used to believe in the notion that one person can make a difference. I’m beginning to rethink it.

  • Silas, too many of us are in the pockets of Big Business; and those who are not are kept ignorant by our media. Meanwhile, we keep on extending unemployment benefits to the rest to keep them reasonably content. It’s a safety valve.

    You’re not going to change the dynamics until the system falls flat on its face.

  • Roger, the entire thing makes me ill. What’s it going to take to wake people up? Linda McMahon (R-CT US Senate Candidate) is spending $50 million for a job that pays $176,000 a year! Now, I’m no accountant but $50M for a total of $1,056,000 paid over 6 years doesn’t seem like quite a return on an investment does it?

    Now, let’s see here. Murdoch, Redstone, GE and Disney control news media, television programming and movie theaters. GE also operates several divisions with major defense contracts. GE also operates one of the most influential finance organizations on the globe. Most of the financial officials in our Government are from Goldman-Sachs. Oh, OK, I forgot. We’re supposed to leave them all alone under our Libertarian free market non-government interfering system.

    And, as usual, nobody gives a rat’s behind.

  • Come to think of it, you had better see the rest.

  • a set of photos for your viewing pleasure.

    More available from the same site (see link) if it doesn’t offend you.

  • Exactly, Silas. What follows is just one link.

    The entire US government and all its agencies are a disgrace – only demonstrating the extent of the unholy alliance between Big Business and the Government. And our president has been campaigning under “Hope and Change” slogan.

    What a farce!

  • There’s plenty of time for finger pointing. Right now we have a major crisis and though our government claims it is responsive, the bottom line is that there are a host of administrations, bureaucrats and corporate executives who are at fault because they’ve been in bed with each other for years. The MMS is a disaster. Cronyism and payoffs are the order of the day in Washington.

    I am outraged. I am frustrated. And I cannot believe that the rank and file American public has been completely docile in this entire matter. Pundits are spinning their own respective webs from their own points of view. Democrats are bellowing. Republicans are pontificating. In the meantime the people who live in that area are slowly being slaughtered. This is an economic genocide of the Gulf region perpetrated by BP, our government and stock holders. It’s what they want, folks. In their minds weeding out the herd is the answer. This world is overpopulated and is having a hard time sustaining life. That is the stark reality which no one wants to discuss. So, let’s just kill folks. Let’s drill, baby, drill. If people get sick, let them die. There’s no health care. If eco-systems are destroyed, well they’ll rebuild once we get rid of a couple of billion people. James Carville is foaming at the mouth and I am with him on this one. America, our heroin-like addiction to all things petroleum led us down this path. Jimmy Carter warned us — and we threw him out of office. And I am an unwitting participant in the defeat of the Carter Administration.

  • John Wilson

    Seems to me that what we have to do is create a collar with an orifice secured to the sea floor where the crude is gushing. Secure it in place while oil gushes thru the orifice to reduce those forces, then introduce a pipe or valve flanged to the collar to draw the oil to the surface. Some depth of the drilled hole will probably have to be sleeved.

    This will take some time as the collar/sleeve is established, but we’ve wasted 5 weeks with failed quickee plans.

    It will be expensive. But this is a capability that someone ought to have, either our government or the oil companies. They should be appropriately charged in the oil lease contracts for this capability, either in the form of required insurance, or as a surcharge.

  • John Wilson

    The Corps Of Engineers was always hamstrung by budget cuts that reduced their effectiveness. It is political appointed managers who determine budgets, not engineers. Additionally, under Bush, funds were diverted from levees to the Iraq War, which was unfunded.

  • John Wilson

    It’s amazing that our USA negotiators let such poor oil leases as they do. No insurance for disaster, no bond for performance. And in the Bush administration they even omitted the lease escalator clause for oil withdrawal. Even a relatively inexperienced construction contractor knows better. What’s wrong with our negotiators? Or are they corrupt?

  • Clavos

    Legislation to provide funding for new levees and other needed repairs and upgrades like pumps and so forth were introduced in Congress almost every year for something like 20 years prior to Katrina.

    Also trtue, but the levees were crap they day they were finished, thanks to the ineptitude of the Corps of Engineers.

  • Clavos

    First Clav – Katrina reached category 5 in the Gulf, and it was huge in size. It was only reduced to a category 3 when it started mixing it up with the coast.

    True, but irrelevant, NOLA’s not out in the Gulf. By the time the storm (which did not hit NOLA directly, it’s center came ashore in Mississippi) was ashore, it was, as you say, a Cat3, which is just an average storm in hurricane alley. I have personally been through a number of Cat3s, including Wilma, which I rode out on my boat (at the dock) with no problems, but then, I didn’t have breached levees all over the place or a moron for a mayor who wouldn’t use idle school buses to evacuate residents.

    Katrina was a disaster because of the ineptitude of government (both Fed and municipal, past and present), not because it was such a bad storm.

  • Have they tried duct tape?

  • Clavos is right. The administration can and should be faulted for not taking a pro-active stance. There are arguments to the effect that the Coast Guard is in charge. But if that’s the case, it hasn’t been communicated clearly enough.

    Again, it’s beyond belief that for all our scientific and technical know-how, we don’t have reliable experts when it comes to dealing with such disasters and have to rely on the expertise of the personnel who is responsible for their occurrence.

    At the very least, it shows lack of foresight and planning.

  • #55,

    All I’m saying, Stan baby, try to maintain the same journalistic standard that are part and parcel of your profession when posting here on BC. Just because many of us here are idiots it doesn’t mean you should lower yourself to our level. Try to raise above it.

    So yes, I do not read all you are posting here with the same kind of attention that I would if you were trying to post in a more responsible way. Guilty as charged.

    So if I respond incorrectly, it’s your fault. I respond to “the drift,” and it’s exactly the kind of response you deserve when, IMHO, you present nothing but a drift.

    No hard feelings, mate, just thought you might consider my POV.

  • First Clav – Katrina reached category 5 in the Gulf, and it was huge in size. It was only reduced to a category 3 when it started mixing it up with the coast.

    You are correct about the levees. Legislation to provide funding for new levees and other needed repairs and upgrades like pumps and so forth were introduced in Congress almost every year for something like 20 years prior to Katrina. Every effort was killed being labeled as “pork.”

    My contention is that most of us know well the devastating effects hurricanes can have. Systems and procedures should have been in place long before Katrina, but it became obvious that pretty much every level of government was caught flat footed.

    While we also know very well the catastrophic effects of crude oil spills, the nature and scope of this blow out was at first unclear. It wasn’t even determined that the blow out had occured until 2 or 3 days after the rig explosion. The government had been assured by BP and others that they could handle the problem. Of course, it’s clear now that they couldn’t.

    Again, the problem regarding the leak is that apparently no one outside the oil industry has even a clue as to what to do.

    I do agree with you about the government’s handling – or NOT handling – the clean up operation. BP is still calling the shots. Either the Feds should completely wrest control of the clean up operation from BP or they should at least get out of the way and let the state and locals do what they can to minimize the damage.

    The “tanker” clean up sounds like the best idea yet profered. I understand that one problem with that is actually getting the tankers. Most are currently either at sea or sitting with full loads of crude. Apparently, it’s not a quick or simple affair to off load an oil tanker. It could, I heard someone say, take up to 2 or 3 weeks or more to assemble enough of those big tankers to do the job. It seems that they should be pushing toward that end, but I’m not sure who has control over the tankers, and what other obstacles could get in the way of pulling it off.


  • Clavos

    My point was that if the levees had been built properly in the first place, they wouldn’t have breached, NOLA would not have flooded to the degree it did, and Katrina, never a storm for the record books, would only have been a footnote in history.

    “Heckuva job” Brown was less than worthless, true — kinda like the tepid response to this crisis by the current administration (has there even been a response yet?).

  • STM

    On the money Jeff.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Odd I presumed it was because Mr. Bush put a mate who was an inexperienced and incompetent berk in charge of their catastrophe relief programs.
    Mr. Forsythe

  • Clavos

    Bush and his gang had days of forewarning about Katrina – about how strong a storm it was

    Actually, it wasn’t a particularly strong storm at all — not even as strong as Andrew, much less the famous storms of the Twenties in Galveston and Florida.

    What made Katrina such a disaster wasn’t the storm itself, it was fuckups by the pathetic, inept US government — fuckups that occurred, for the most part, long before Bush took office. Chief among these was the incredibly inept and inadequate construction of the levees by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

    The post storm response was mismanaged and unduly delayed…

    Much like the current administration’s reaction to this crisis, which is now 36 days old and we have yet to see the Obamians take charge of the situation and start kicking some BP butt.

    The real problem as regards plugging the damn hole is that no one knows how.

    True, but no one in the government has come up with any ideas (however wild or farfetched), either. They aren’t doing anything, just wringing their hands and exculpating themselves to the press and obstructing others who are coming up with ideas.

    When Bobby Jindal wanted to throw up a sand berm to at least put up a barrier to protect the wetlands, the fuckin’ EPA stepped in and demanded an environmental impact study first, for crying out loud!

  • Jeff Forsythe

    That is why the yanks refer to it as “Fossil Fuel”

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Quite accurate Mr. Clavos, petroleum is dense bits of dead dragons, dinos, a thousand million cavemen and leaf matter compressed over the eons.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Jeff Forsythe

    I was gob-smacked to grasp that I agreed with Mr. Baritone, and then I realized that he and Mr. Baronius are not the same lads. You lot need a versatile index for novices.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Clavos

    Oil does not break down because it is not organic.

    Actually, it is organic, Heloise. From Wikipedia:

    All oils can be traced back to organic sources.

    The correct term for the mess in the Gulf is petroleum, not oil. Also according to Wikipedia:

    Petroleum (L. petroleum, from Greek ??????????, literally “rock oil”) or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, and other organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth’s surface. (emphasis added)

  • How is this Obama’s failure? Should he personally be out in the Gulf in a row boat filling up buckets of crude? I understand that this will get hung on his doorknob, but really, what the government has done is pretty much all it could do.

    And this is NOT analgous to Katrina. This country has been through hundreds of hurricanes, floods, etc. for over 2 centuries. Bush and his gang had days of forewarning about Katrina – about how strong a storm it was, about how New Orleans and much of the Gulf coast were in peril. The post storm response was mismanaged and unduly delayed while people were suffering and dying.

    This catastrophe came without warning, and in this particular, wholly unprecedented – at least to those not on board the drilling rig. BP gave assurances that they knew what to do and how to do it in even worst case scenarios. They lied.

    I certainly don’t believe that the government is without blame in all this, but I don’t think foot dragging has been the problem. The real problem as regards plugging the damn hole is that no one knows how. Perhaps after all this, someone WILL know.


  • Heloise

    Here’s the latest from a Standard oil exec and as a scientist this is also what I know: If the oil volcano is not plugged it could gush for decades! Yup. He also cited a case in Saudi wherein tankers were brought in to surround the spill to suck up the oil and water and then separate it.

    I thought about this idea of recycling the oil because guess what? Oil does not break down because it is not organic. It has to BE CLEANED UP Or BURNED! Dispersants by definition disperse…hear that Obama?

    We might have to do the tanker convoy thing. BP = Bay of Pigs and Obama has failed his first major test. It will stick to him just like the oil.

  • STM

    Roger: “And have a nice cup of tea to calm your nerves”.

    Fair dinkum, Roger, you’re a drongo.

    And a nong.

    Ask Doc what it means; I can’t be bothered.

    You just don’t read posts Rog; the only person you’re interested in here is yourself, it always seems.

  • Cute! For a while I thought it was a real word.

  • B-tone, he won’t hear you until you tell him to go to his crenro.

  • Sorry Roger, no can do. Go to your corner!


  • Excuse horrendous misspellings in #59.

  • Also, B-tone, the fact that there’s a finite amount of oil means that oil companies are going to be looking for it in ever more inaccessible and extreme environments, and the balls-up potential grows ever larger and gunkier.

  • I think we could indeed be in for a rude awakening when it comes to both nuclear (or nuculer, if you prefer) and cyberspace issues,just as we have been brought up short, as it were, regarding deep sea oil drilling. We are just as likely to be unprepared should something serious go awry in either sphere. We were wholly unprepared for Katrina, we haven’t a clue about how to stem the oil tide in the Gulf, and should we have a nuclear melt down, some kind of nuclear attack or a serious failure/attack on our internet systems, we could really be sucking on the hind teat, as it were.

    Also, I agree with Roger. BP (and probably all other “big oil”) should never have been allowed to “drill baby drill” without tested and proven technology that could handle this kind of blowout at such depths. Again, they claimed to have such knowhow, but they obviously lied.


  • It is interesting, however, that by government’s own admission, they have neither the werewithal nor the technical expertise in the matter of this clean-up.

    It’s certainly a telling point about allocation of resources, whereby only the oil companies have the required expertise (or lack thereof) to deal with potential disasters. It’s ludicrous, too, to be depending on their know-how with respect to dealing with such, because that’s not where the money is – certainly not in the business of safety or prevention, but in the business of production.

    It’s beyond belief that for all our research facilities, we don’t have scientists and technicians who would match the expertise of companies such as BC.

    And what does it say for our EPA? Are all the stuffers just bureaucrats and pencil pushers – not one scientist among them?

  • Here again you go on a rant, Stan. I wasn’t saying that BP was any better or any worst than Shell Oil, was I? And where is the conspiracy theory I was supposedly alleging?

    The point still applies: don’t use a shithole if you don’t know how to plug it up.

    It’s not the royal “us” that fail to understand this simple point; rather, it is you who seem to have a mental block here.

    And have a nice cup of tea to calm your nerves.

  • STM

    Roger, what the fuck are you talking about???

    Please, let me know, let us all know, then we’ll all be the wiser. And just for your info, just about every oil company – possibly EVERY oil company – on this planet is drilling offshore and entirely susceptible to a similar screw up, so no, I don’t think doing a Hugo Chavez on BP would be a great idea.

    Besides which, two American based companies did the contract work for BP, not BP itself, as the buck passing has indicated in the Congressional inqiry. Maybe the shit in your own backyard actually comes from your own backyard.

    As for the conspiracy theorists: bollocks, it’s an accidental oil spill.

    Do you think BP wants to be losing that much oil a day and is happy being forced to spend that much money trying to a) stop it and b) clean it up?

  • Mark

    So, I use tweezers — over my entire body. What’s it to you, Irene?

    I wonder if people have more of a handle on what to do about the risks associated with off-shore drilling than they have on those associated with nuclear power.

    Risks? feh.

  • “I don’t think the Yanks would be too happy about it, either way.”

    I don’t give a crap what the Yanks should be happy about, and neither should you. And all that talk about not being able “to plug the hole” is off topic, really. The moral of the story is – if you can’t plug up your own shithole, don’t shit, baby.

    So yes, while Stan is not being flippant in this particular case, he is given to rambling.

    Sorry, Stan baby, but perhaps you ought to try to vent once in a while and speak from your bloody heart. I promise you, it’s good for the soul.

  • Irene Wagner

    I didn’t think your remark about off-shore drilling was flippant, STM. I wonder if people have more of a handle on what to do about the risks associated with off-shore drilling than they have on those associated with nuclear power.

  • Irene Wagner

    45 – Oil-loving nanoplanktonbots don’t like chaetophobes…it’s complicated…Smack him for me, Cindy.

  • STM

    And Doc’s right …. BP is a multinational. But it’s still called British Petroleum, and a lot of the major stakeholders would be large, British-based investors and corporations. It’d be like the Poms nationalising Caltex (that’s what we call it in Oz; it might be Texaco in the US … not sure. But you get my drift).

    I don’t think the Yanks would be too happy about it, either way.

    The fact is, offshore drillinghas always just been a recip[e for disaster waiting to happen. This is just one more instance. Unfortunately, a very bad one.

    Our experience in this country with such things is that eventually, wetlands, bird populations, beaches, etc, DO recover. It’s sad how it goes in the meantime, but oil, after all, is an organic substance formed naturally as part of this planet.

    The La Brea tar pits are one example. Although, at least that’s not spewing oil across the length and breadth of LA.

    My tip is that even if the US government did nationailse BP and take over the plug work, they wouldn’t be able to do a better job because no bastard really knows what to do to stop it. This is the problem when you drill dirty great holes into the seabed.

  • STM

    You have to think seriously about this: they’re throwing bucketloads of money at trying to stop it. If they could, don’t you think they would??

    These days, the oil companies lover their green spin.

    I duspect the fact the hole hasn’t been plugged isn’t for want of trying.

    If we don’t want oil eco-disasters on our coastlines, there’s only one solution: stop drilling for the stuff in the first place.

    And we all know that’s a HUUUGE chance of happening, right.

    Sorry if I might seem flippant in regard to what is really a dreadfully serious issue, but it’s the truth.

    If they could bung up the bloody hole, they would. BP aren’t short of a quid, just quietly. It’s not because they don’t want to throw more coin at it.

    Obviously, right now, they can’t stop it and I suspect they are just making up new ideas as they go along in the hope that something – any bloody thing – works.

  • Somebody mentioned the “H” word. Hurricane season starts in about a week. A couple of those ripping through the Gulf would really make a mess of, well, a mess.

    My query regarding the possible “nationalization” of BP was at least partially rhetorical. The fact is that no one outside the industry has any idea about what to do to stop this leak.
    Even calling it a “leak” seems idiotic. A row boat “leaks.” The oil pan on my car “leaks.” This is a huge fissure spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. There has never been anything like it – ever. This is worse than the largest oil “spill.” It’s ill effects will last for decades. It may well destroy thousands of jobs for as long. The damage it may do to all of the affected wetlands is anybody’s guess.

    The muckymucks at BP, Transocean and of course our good friends at Halliburton should, if justified, should be held criminally responsible. Somebody needs to go to jail. BP drilled this well on the cheap, cut corners and misrepresented their level of technical ability to handle any contingency, which they so obviously can’t.
    They lied. The consequences are devastating.


  • @ #43: Roger’s right. BP used to be owned by the British government, but it was privatised decades ago under Thatcher.

    Nowadays it doesn’t have much more of a connection to Britain than a Liberian-registered oil tanker has to the country whose flag it flies.

  • Clavos

    Mark #42:

    If the Loop Current does indeed carry the oil down to the Florida Current (the west-to-east current running through the Straits of Florida between the Keys and Cuba, which becomes the nascent Gulfstream after it rounds the Keys and heads north up Florida’s east coast), and that’s by no means a certainty yet, then the north coast of Cuba will be affected more or less to the same degree the Keys will be.

  • John Wilson

    #43-Roger is right. All the oil companies are multinationals that are about 60% foreign-owned. And many oil companies have been nationalized by other countries in the past, but it’s not a very good idea: where’s the payoff?

    Since oil is fungible it doesn’t matter where it comes from, and the USA uses about 25% of the world oil supply, so this well will have little effect on oil supplies or gas prices, which is why gas prices haven’t reacted, indeed, they fell a little.

    All oil companies drilling with US oil leases should be required to carry spill insurance commensurate with projected yield and damage, and should be bonded to assure payoffs.

    US Coast Guard should be trained in arresting spills and empowered to takeover quickly from recalcitrant oil companies.

  • Mark

    Irene #34, you realize that this entire oil spill is a conspiracy to get hair samples from all ‘mericans, right?

  • Remind you of The China Syndrome, doesn’t, when we grow too big for our breeches.

    Add to it the North Korea fiasco, the Middle East and Afghanistan, upheavals in Europe and stagnated economy, and the picture becomes near complete.

    All we need is a good hurricane or two and a couple of good earthquakes – just for good measure.

  • Zozobra

    I hear they’ve called in the best and brightest from Sandia, Livermore and Los Alamos…

    We’re doomed.

  • BP is no more a British company than IBM an American one. They’re all multinationals, and freed from national allegiances and therefore a fair game.

    It’s not even part of the eurozone.

  • Mark

    Well, our economy could use a good war about now.


    ‘Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.’

    Clavos, what’s the word on the impact on Cuba’s coast?

  • Clavos

    The US could nationalize all BP assets in its territories…

    And thereby create serious discord with our oldest, most loyal, and best ally — literally, our mother country.

  • Mark

    …oil loving nanoplanktonbots. There’s the ticket.

  • Mark

    The US could nationalize all BP assets in its territories; that wouldn’t bring back the wetlands, fish, birds…

  • Clavos

    And, isn’t BP a British company? Can the US “nationalize” a foreign owned company?

    Yes it is (BP = British Petroleum) and no it can’t…

  • As to what can be done to stop the leak, it appears that no one knows. They are making it up as they go along. This big shot or whatever they are calling it that is now scheduled to take place on Tuesday, some have said has as much chance of making the leak much worse as it does plugging it up.

    I certanly haven’t a clue. That the leak is a mile down at the bottom of the Gulf completely changes the rules of the game. Things that have worked on land, or even in some shallow water wells just don’t work under the pressures at such depth. Keep in mind Heloise, it is quite cold at that depth – the water is only a few degrees above freezing.

    I must say that I am not all that happy with Obama’s handling of this catastrophe. It will likely go down as “Obama’s Disaster.” Perhaps rightly so.

    But, what should Obama have done? Had he taken the work away from BP from the getgo, it’s hardly clear that the results would have been any better. While it is obvious BP lied when making assurances that all contingencies were adequately covered by existing technology, it remains that the big oil companies probably have more technology and more people versed in handling crude oil than any other entity, including the US government. I DO think that the government should have officially stepped in as overseers early on, but that didn’t happen.

    Someone on the tube stated that Obama should have “nationalized” BP. Not sure that would have had any positive effect. And, isn’t BP a British company? Can the US “nationalize” a foreign owned company?

    Doubtless, had Obama taken such a step (if in fact he could have,) he would have been chastized by the right for further expanding government.

    I don’t agree that the media has focused that much on BP’s welfare. Hell, they just announced huge quarterly profits and paid out large dividends and large bonuses. So, too, have the other companies involved in this mess. Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about BP or any of the companies connected to this debacle. Screw the bastards.

    The real tragedy of all this is only beginning to be realized. The damage that this massive amount of oil will cause, how far reaching and how long it will last is at this juncture, unknown. One can only speculate. But, most of the speculation I’ve heard, does not bode well for the future. This mess may literally take decades to clean up.


  • Where are the scientists in the BP disaster? I just wrote the following: I can think of many ways to clean up the mess and to cap the well. I am not a PhD or a gov nerd but I know there has to be an answer.

    Here’s my two cents: To clean up there is a solution that involves catching the polarity of the oil. It’s sticky so put something in the water that has lots of furrows, troughs and crevices that can catch the oil and then rake it up like leaves! It came to me as I watched the oil and how it sticks to everything. I mean you can make giant plastic leaves to catch the oil.

    Or make an island out of the mess or create new barrier islands as La gov hinted. I believe in islands.

    As for capping the no end in sight well it’s a volcano so you have to treat it like lava. Lava is hot and when it cools it hardens. Put some super zero cold on the cap. Cold will cap it.

  • (hiya Irene 🙂 xxoo

  • Irene Wagner

    Realtor, we were being asked to send hair clippings, which at first seemed as unlikely as oilcloth to do any good…but I was just thinking wishfully in 31. It really is a nightmare.

  • Irene Wagner

    *blinks twice, mouth agape*

  • I don’t think the oil cloth will help ya…

  • Irene Wagner

    If Oil:Oilcloth::Dust:Dustcloth then godspeed.

  • Ruvy

    Anybody for a swim in the Caribbean? I got my oilcloth ready!

  • Bush relied on FEMA to deal with Katrina. They screwed up he gets blamed.

    Obama relied on BP to stop and clean up the spill. BP hasn’t done that, and Obama gets blamed.

    Being President sucks no matter how you cut it.

    But a huge shout out to the one branch of government that has done exemplary work in both Katrina and the current oil spill – the U.S. Coast Guard. They are truly unsung heroes.

  • Simply said, it’s human fuckup. We’re good at developing new technologies, but there is no financial incentive to install the necessary stop-gaps.

    Welcome to the real world.

  • Realtor

    In regards to Political Moron comments. Not to get personal but I haven’t found anything coming from you as to how to stop the leak.
    Political or not political this issue goes beyond pointing fingers. And isn’t it time we stop using old cliche as “conspiracy theory” in an effort to ridicule plausible assumptions, shall we?

  • Political Moron

    Why does everything have to become a political debate? This article is talking about a growing economic disaster and yet you are debating conservatism vs liberalism…. and conspiracy theory’s Come on people… I might not be a genious but Im smart enough to know what the focus should be THE LEAK not politics or other garbage. THATS WHY THE LEAK IS STILL LEAKING everyone exhausting their brain function trying to point fingers INSTEAD OF STOPPING THE LEAK!

  • Realtor

    I share your sentiments about the apparent inadequacies of hyped up modern science. But on the other hand all science is financed by the interested parties. All of it. You know, people who like to sell things.

    I doubt that anyone ever had allocated substantial amounts to containment of oil bursts of that magnitude. People who build these rigs should, but they didn’t. Why? No one was interested in financing the development of an expensive scientific solution to a potential problem.

    As far it is being conspiracy, I wouldn’t discard it given the names of the players involved.

  • If the Gulf oil spill is a conspiracy, it’s probably the most inefficient one since chemtrails.

  • zingzing

    oh, archie. yes, you’re the one with the hyperbole problem. and the hypocrisy problem, apparently. you seriously need to grapple with those two things. figure out why you do it.

    and ruvy, burning the oil off the surface of the water was an idea they actually tried. it was a possible solution, not an “interesting little problem.” [Edited]

  • Mark

    ……but Ruvy’s quite right, of course. We should get serious and discuss possible conspiracies.

  • Mark

    Oil spill?

    Ruvy, I’m mildly miffed that you didn’t warn us all of this event some time ago based on your knowledge of prophecy.

  • [Edited]

    If we’re going to do that, then maybe we want to look at speculation that this little “spill” was not an accident. War can be waged in all sorts of ways. With all the oil floating around in the Gulf, a tossed match could be an interesting little problem to deal with, no?

  • Mark

    (ps — Obama is Hitler.)

  • Mark

    But Con, imitation is such high praise.

  • Arch Conservative

    Claiming both the 2000 and 2004 elections were “stolen”, blaming Bush for 911 and Katrina, comparing him to Hitler, Rhandi Rhodes doing skit’s about Bush’s assassination, Keith Olbermann calling Bush a fascist on national TV,…..all of that…and I’m the one with a hyperbole problem?

    That’s the problem with hypocrites…..they never fess up to what the world knows they are.

  • zingzing

    i can’t tell if you’re just making shit up or telling the truth anymore, doc. i’m trusting both. it’s in my nature, according to archie.

  • Several theories, including that it was coined by Heinlein, that it refers to a 19th century journalistic prank involving alleged batlike creatures living on the moon, or that it’s a play on the name of environmentalist George Monbiot.

  • zingzing

    what’s the etymology of the word “moonbat?”

  • Touche!

  • Archie, by strict logical progression you seem to be calling yourself a moonbat here…

  • zingzing

    seriously. it’s a rhetorical device, i know, but just try to explain what you’re trying to say without using absolutes and cliches. bet you can’t.

  • zingzing

    more hyperbole. try to express yourself without it, archie.

  • Arch Conservative

    No hyperbole, just fact. When Bush was in office every moonbat and his mom blamed Bush for everything bad that happened. I just want to know if the moonbats are going to be OK if we apply their (make that your, zing) logic to Obama.

  • Just the opposite of Archie – always so sure of himself.

  • zingzing

    oddly enough.

  • zingzing

    i’m always ambivalent, except at the times when i’m not, and even then, i think twice. but that doesn’t stop me from being nearly-constantly confused, if not resolutely unsure.

  • You’re missing the point, Arch. It takes sophistication to develop double standards. Only a moral simpleton can manipulate one set of standards at a time.

  • zingzing

    and if it wasn’t for ridiculous hyperbole, conservatives would never have opinions.

  • Arch Conservative

    That’s right Doug. If it wasn’t for double standards liberals would have no standards.

  • Doug Hunter

    “does that mean we get to blame the shoddy response to this oil spill on Obama?”

    No. You still get to blame this on Bush/Cheney and the private oil companies. Since liberals ‘hearts are in the right place’ they are generally held faultless. We all know Katrina wasn’t about the scale of the disaster or that the response was outside the mission of FEMA (which was designed to manage and coordinate responses not do the heavy lifting), it was because Bush hated black people… therefore he is to blame. Obama on the other hand, loves fish and the environment and no matter how feeble or mismanaged the government response is (like Katrina, we just aren’t prepared for this specific sort of disaster), he will be given a pass.

    You’re looking at the world the old way. Today it’s effort over results, relativism over objectivism, emotion over logic.

  • Arch Conservative

    Since the left liked to blame everything under the sun that went wrong during the previous administration on Bush, including the response to Katrina, does that mean we get to blame the shoddy response to this oil spill on Obama?