Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fill, Baby, Fill!

The Gulf of Mexico is slowly becoming the Gulf of Texaco*.

The above are recent satellite images from NASA [via HuffPo, here.]  The slick -- continually being fed by 42,000 gallons of oil per day -- now measures something like 48 miles wide by 80 miles long.  It is slowly moving to the north and expanding both east and west.  And, like the spill itself, the list of what is now and will be threatened continues to grow.

Of immediate concern are the bird nesting areas in the Chandeleur and Breton barrier islands off of Louisiana.  Up next would be the tourism-generating beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  Then there is the impact on marine life, not least of which -- in terms of the local economy -- includes the oyster beds in Breton Sound.  Most devastating -- to at least eleven families out there -- has been the cost paid in human life.

I trust no one is surprised by this -- least of all the idiotic and/or cynical boosters of "Drill, Baby, Drill!"  Certainly Sarah Palin should be counted upon to know a thing or two about what oil spills can do.  The drilling cheerleaders know perfectly well that extracting whatever deposits of oil remaining on our shores is neither a long-term solution nor a nearer-term necessity.  No, it's about the money to be made in the short run, sprinkled with a jingoistic, go-it-alone attitude and a nose-thumbing at the tree-huggers that is so popular among the less-monied, love-it-or-leave-it set.

The short-sightedness is breathtaking.  How many times have we seen it recently?  Just since the 2008 election alone, we've seen Gov. Bobby Jindal mock the notion of volcano monitoring (only to have Iceland shut down European air travel); we've seen the robber barons on Wall Street throw Main Street and the whole global economy under the bus (only to give marching orders to their Washington proxies to block financial reform); we've seen John McCain campaign under the slogan "Country First" (only to choose a running mate who was colossally unprepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency); we've seen Virgina's new Governor, Bob McDonnell, declare a Confederacy History Month (only without any mention of slavery, the lack of which Mississippi Governor, Haley Barbour, said meant "diddly"); we've seen the Recovery funds lamented by nationally-known and nationally-ambitious politicians (only to be embraced when they aid their constituents at home), etc.  The list goes on, and it's a litany of cynicism and hypocrisy.

So, of course, you know what's coming next.  These Gulf Governors -- every last one of them a Republican, the party of "Drill, Baby, Drill!", lower taxes, weaker environmental regulations and smaller government -- will want to be bailed out by the federal government.  And they'll get the help they need, because that's what the federal government does.  And then the Gulf Governors and their similarly-minded brethren across the country will go right back to biting the hand that feeds them, because that's what they do.

And so it continues....
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* I use "Texaco" for literary convenience; the destroyed rig was owned by Transocean Ltd. and operated by BP PLC.