30 May 2010

The Widening Gulf

So, yeah, that's approximately my state of mind at the moment.

From the USA Today:

BP hopes to saw through a pipe leading out from the well and cap it with a funnel-like device using the same remotely guided undersea robots that have failed in other tries to stop the gusher. Even that effort won't end the disaster — BP officials have only pledged it will capture a majority of the oil. None of the remaining options would stop the flow entirely or capture all the crude before it reaches the Gulf's waters.

Engineers will use remotely guided undersea robots to try to lower a cap onto the leak after cutting off part of a busted pipe leading out from the well. The funnel-like device is similar to a huge containment box that failed before when it became clogged with icelike slush. Dudley said officials learned a lot from that failure and will pump warm water through the pipes to prevent the ice problems.

The spill is the worst in U.S. history — exceeding even the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off the Alaska coast — and has dumped between 18 million gallons and 40 million gallons into the Gulf, according to government estimates. The leak began after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on Apri 20, killing 11 people.

"This scares everybody, the fact that we can't make this well stop flowing, the fact that we haven't succeeded so far," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Saturday.

He said cutting off the damaged riser isn't expected to cause the flow rate of leaking oil to increase significantly.

However, Browner said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that cutting the pipe could send more oil flowing into the Gulf — up to 20% more than is currently spewing. That's because engineers will cut off a kink in the pipe that currently seems to be holding back some of the gusher, Browner said.

BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana's coastal marshes.

Hayward said BP's sampling showed "no evidence" that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn't elaborate on how the testing was done.

"The oil is on the surface," Hayward said. "Oil has a specific gravity that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because of the difference in specific gravity."

Scientists from several universities have reported plumes of what appears to be oil suspended in clouds stretching for miles and reaching hundreds of feet beneath the Gulf's surface.

FACT: BP is lying to us while they destroy our coastlines and our livelihoods. Their oil is killing animals and plants on a scale that is something approaching unprecedented.

FACT: We know this. I'm on the other side of the country, now, and I know this.

FACT: We're doing nothing, expecting outsiders to take care of the problems they've caused. When has that ever worked? Why should we expect a foreign corporation and a government elected over our objections to save us?

A question, one that has been posed many times before:

What does it mean for America's (by which I mean the Federal government, aka the northeastern United States) conception of itself as a 'government by the people' that the country is so utterly fragmented by region? Or that a candidate needs, quite literally, no votes from the South to be elected? That the popular vote is completely inconsequential to the outcome of a presidential race?

Note that I'm by no means saying that the Obama administration is deliberately neglecting the crisis in the gulf. Every indication that's come my way so far indicates that there's no proof they're anything worse than horribly inadequate for the task at hand. What I am saying is this:

There is no reason to, without significant evidence to the contrary, believe in the good intentions of a government that does not require our participation, or our existence, to remain in power.

So... yeah. Long and rambling (verging on incoherent) rant, fueled by my anger at the government, and, in some ways, at governments in general. I'm tired of dealing with unresponsive systems - and every system I come across these days seems to be unresponsive.

DAJ - Seriously, dude, give me a call.
RTF - Hope I didn't freak you out too much Wednesday. There are some things I care a lot about, and touching on them can provoke a strong reaction.
SCH & HEH - Looking forward to seeing y'all. Have a great Memorial Day!

And all y'all have a good one, too. Peace.

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