Diary

Obama's Oil Spill Sleights of Hand

After weeks of ignoring the gulf spill, Obama said today that the buck stops somewhere near him.

‘With me’ I think he said.

Careful with his words, like the constitutional professor that he never was.

He meant, of course, that he has taken personal responsibility for finding someone to blame – someone that the MSM will eventually co-sign.

Erick writes earlier today of essential  equipment refused early in the crisis, and of the investigation that certainly will cause BP engineers to clam up without their attorneys in the room with them.    Vladimir’s posts give us crucial technical insight into some of the measures BP has tried so far.

But what is Obama’s administration actually doing to stop the leak??  Well…

Obama has gone to look and talk several times now.

HS Napolitano has gone to look and talk.

EPA Jackson has gone to look and talk.

Labor Solis went to look and talk.  And to make sure the workers are safe, of course.  Of course, they were, after some corrective federal help.

Energy Chu went to look and talk.

Interior Salazar keeps showing up to look and talk.

They sent in a CG admiral to manage the crisis and create a Unified Command.  And a nifty (useless) web site.  Well good.  1 point.  Poor admiral.

But not much is happening to stop the leak.  Top kill didn’t work, several other measures didn’t work.   LMRP apparently didn’t work and the leak is pretty much ‘back to normal’ (video above is from Thursday after LMRP failed).   So if we want to learn what’s being done to actually STOP THE LEAK, it would make sense to visit the Unified Command (reassuring title, huh?) web site at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.  You can poke around on this site all day and hardly discover any information on what’s being done to stop the leak.   Here’s what you can learn:

Celebrity Biologist Jeff Corwin is visiting to thank responders
(Really! I didn’t even know he was a celebrity, but the Unified Command assures us that he is.  That makes this very special, dontcha know.  Unified Command has game and can snag a Celeb.)

Three Open Houses have been scheduled for next week

Advisories against swimming have been expanded

You can attend a Bird Washing Demonstration

You can learn what is expected if a hurricane arrives

You can attend a CG bouy tender skimming demonstration

What about stopping the leak?

You can attend a turtle veterinary care demonstration

You can visit the Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Airboat tours are available from the Unified Command

There was a briefing on June 4th about the successful installation of the LMRP cap, but nothing about its failure 5 days later.

You can hitch a ride for an overflight on a Coast Guard Airplane

All in all, it sounds like a wonderful amusement park of distractions for those highly focused MSM types.  And the eco-whackos are quiet too, except for taking out an ad thanking Obama for not drilling in Alaska.  This is all very satisfactory to them, apparently.

They are skimming, booming, burning, doming, containing, dispersing, etc. with the limited equipment they have so far (while ignoring/declining many and manifest offers of substantial help).

They have at least 8 different ‘Hot Lines’, six of which appear to be at the top of every press release

My personal favorite is this title which appears in the press release list every day with a different date: The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill – well, I guess that’s the problem isn’t it?  It’s only a response, meaning that there is no initiative?

But what are they doing to STOP or PLUG the leak?

Search the site on ‘plug’ or leak’ and you get some hopeful looking links to documents with names like “Transcript, Press Brief’ – so click on the latest one for June 9, and it’s actually from May 17.  Old news wearing a new hat?  Sheesh.  They are really organized.

Continue to dig and finally you notice that attractive looking (to an ops kinda guy) ‘Current Ops’ link over near the right of the top menu.  Eureka, right?  Yesterday’s ‘Operations and Ongoing Response’ document reveals that there are 5,511 vessels (some of them are Vessels of Opportunity!  Yes, that is a Proper Noun in Unified Command Parlance) and 66 aircraft involved in the response.  2.24 million feet of boom deployed or ready to go.  18.5 million gallons of oily water recovered (note that is not oil, it’s ‘oily water’ and it is conveniently measured in gallons, not barrels, as the leak itself is measured – a barrel is 42 gallons, so do the conversion, and they have to report less than half a million barrels of ‘oily water’ recovered).  1,171,000 gallons of toxic dispersants dispensed.  More than 24,000 people responding.

Nothing about what is being done to stop the leak.

Finally, at the top of the current ops report list there is a tiny link that says ‘Ongoing Response Timeline’ – a document (finally!) with some nuggets in it.  I was going to suggest below that they should send 6 or 8 of their very best engineers from Lawrence Livermore and some of the other national labs.  They did do that at least – they sent 200 of them.  I won’t say it.   -1 point.

Navy Salvage?  There.  For containment and cleanup ops, not to help stop the leak. 1/2 point

Navy submersibles?  Not that they are talking about.  -1/2 point.

If you’ve had the thought by now that everyone involved in the effort has taken their context from Obama that this is all about ‘response’ and ‘containment’ and ‘damage control’ and not at all about ‘stopping the leak’ then you are thinking like I am thinking.  The only leaks that will get hammered and really raise Obama’s ire will be leaks to the press.

To underscore Erick’s earlier report about the investigation shutting down cooperation among government and BP engineers (the only groups that can actually stop the leak) the news/info menu choice presents a link to the investigation web site http://www.deepwaterinvestigation.com/go/site/3043/ There, when you click on the (finally found it!!!!) link ‘Stopping the Leak’ you are taken to a page that asks for suggestions, so one can guess how much progress has actually been made with plans to stop the leak.

Currently the major op at the wellhead is a dome where some of the oil is being captured and pumped to vessels at the surface (the rest is overflowing the containment vessel).  This is a stopgap measure and while it continues it’s unlikely that any plugging or ‘stop the leak’ operation can proceed very far because the dome blocks access to the wellhead for most other ops.  Plus even if all the oil is pumped to the surface, do they have the shipping capacity to shuttle it all to shore?  Unlikely.   Which is why they are already talking about oil burns right at the ship.  After that it will be ‘controlled releases’ which means…. more oil spill.  Vladimir?

Sabur had an idea that may have come pretty close but if there’s one thing that 200 government engineers can do in a heartbeat, it’s reject an idea from an outsider.  Six BP engineers giving serious consideration to how her idea could be improved could have the leak plugged by the end of next week.  But their attorneys won’t let them say anything.

So after that little online adventure to the Deep Water Horizon Unified Command, I have complete faith and confidence in Obama’s promise today.

He will find someone to blame.  You betcha.   Someone that the MSM will also certify is to blame.

After all, he has taken personal responsibility.  And he has taken measurable action.  He has sent battalions of lawyers from Justice, EPA, Labor, Interior, and more, armed with reams of subpoenas and writs.  The investigation has its own web site.  Their witness lists includes only 4 MMS employees and a host of hapless crane operators, motor operators, electricians, tool pushers, drillers and roustabouts – all presumably unemployed now and now paying attorneys $275 an hour for representation?  The MMS employees, of course, probably have union lawyers (not that that would be any real reassurance to them).

He has put an entire regional economy out of business with his drilling moratorium, so presumably, those attorneys need some new source of income.

Oh yes, the tally.  Total points for effective action from above:  0

Yep.  They’ve given up.  It’s the relief wells.  But they’re not telling you that.

And one final encouraging fact:  you can discover right on the Unified Command’s opening page that their Facebook group has 34, 414 friends.  Sweet.