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BP: Bloody Pear-Shaped

Monday, May. 31, 2010 3:41 AM

I suppose that BP's 'top kill' strategy can be described as the drilling equivalent of locking the barn doors after the horses have gotten out, as it involved pumping drilling mud - the same substance they should have been using throughout, but chose not to - into the pipe.

It will be several days before BP is ready for their next attempt, apparently using submersibles to saw off the pipe and fit a new valve on it.

It seems to me that this is crazy - you're going to increase the flow and try and fit/weld a valve on top of it?

No less crazy is the suggestion that we drop some kind of tactical nuke or even conventional explosives on the site to make it collapse. That's comic book physics, people - explosions are generally spherical in effect, radiating outward in all directions, not in some kind of comic-book pinpoint application.

So you'd be impacting not only the damaged well head, but neighboring sites. (And, apparently, there's an old munitions dump site nearby, too.)

Oh, yeah ... hurricane season begins tomorrow, with NOAA predicting 14-23 tropical storms this year.

Anything in the Gulf will slow down both cleanup efforts and the drilling of a relief well, which BP says it should have completed by August. (So, in the absence of any other abatement efforts, take the 19 million gallons of oil spilled so far and triple it.)

And it's not known how the storm will interact with the oil in the water, whether it will help break things up (though 19 million gallons is still 19 million gallons, folks), or if it will further complicate matters by creating a lovely rain of BP's finest and Corexit dispersant.

I'm still waiting for President Obama to make some kind of 'challenge' speech as to where this country needs to go with its energy policy - a Kennedy-style Apollo Project vision.

Reassuring us that the government is in control and the spill is all being handled by 'top men' is well and good, but it's not the only thing we need to hear or do.

If we're to continue offshore drilling, then there must be tough, enforceable regulations and procedures. There must be serious consequences for violations - not a slap on the wrist and million-dollar bonuses for executives. There must be response plans and capability so that we're not watching a well piss oil for months on end.

But the smart move, the sensible move, is to launch an initiative to develop a competitive, effective alternative energy solution, whether domestic or international. (I mean, seriously, we can co-opt other nations into helping with our invasions and military adventurism, let's get everyone working on something we'll benefit from a little more directly.)

No less tragic is the news that, as we observe Memorial Day in the United States, that we've suffered our 1,000th casualty in Afghanistan.

The point of Memorial Day is to remember the sacrifices of our soldiers past and present, not so we can look forward to the next opportunity to flex our muscles.

Yes, we'll doubtless always have enemies who resent America for what it represents and/or the freedoms it has to offer. So we owe it to the men and women in our military to pick our battles wisely, and fight them intelligently.

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