Mr. President, you are my man. As my mother used to say, you are my “Ace Boon Coon” among active politicians, a phrase it took me years to understand meant “number one negro”. Which means, if we are boys and all, at least metaphorically speaking, then I am obligated, under the rules of the “Ace Boon Coon Handbook”, to jump in your ass whenever you start fucking up.
Cause right now, brotherman, you are starting to fuck this whole British Petroleum Oil Spill thing up. I know, if you or one of your flacks, or one of the many millions of your fans happen upon this blog, the first thing you would do, naturally, is recoil at such a direct attack on your response to the most fucked up situation of the year, bar none, that you are going to have to deal with between now and Christmas.
I did that on purpose, Mr. President.
Because the one thing I’ve learned from living around too many lawyers is the way an attorney almost instinctually moves to downplay whatever the situation is, as if by diminishing a negative event’s stature said attorney gains a benefit from the perception that he or she is in control of the situation, or are equipped to minimize its effects. By holding the British Petroleum Oil Spill at arm’s length, it may give you a better view of the legal and political ramifications, Mr. President, but this abstract arm’s length business practically erases the stench of the whole mess, the foul stench and the fetid, oily water that this catastrophe is even as I write this leaving behind all along the Gulf coastline, soon to be joined by the Atlantic coastline.
Believe it or not, Counselor in Chief, there are facts in this case. Some are known, but most are unknown. But we aren’t playing semantic games here, the kind of gentlemanly combat that allows to legal adversaries to shake hands afterwards, or even get a beer together.
We are talking about a problem that could make Agent Orange look like a bad dream. We are talking about a disaster that could make you wish this was only as bad as the Katrina public relations hell George Bush went through.
Fuck British Petroluem. As a matter of fact, double fuck British Petroleum and the ships they rode in on.
It’s when I see stuff like this excerpt below, Mr. President, that I begin to get sick to my stomach – you know, the way your boys do when they find out that you don’t really have their back the way you said you did.
On Saturday, the New York Times brought the world’s attention to the discovery by a team of researchers on the the vessel Pelican that there are large underwater plumes of oil emanating from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Remarkably, the response of the government to the attention focused on this discovery has been to tell the researchers to stop granting interviews with the press. At the same time, the blog on which the researchers had been providing updates has also fallen silent since Saturday.
Pensacola television station WEAR filed a report (video at the link) on the oil plume and broke the news about the scientists being muzzled by the government:
Over the weekend, a research crew from the University of Southern Mississippi found evidence that there are 3 to 5 plumes… About 5 miles wide, 10 miles long and 3 hundred feet in depth.
But after giving that information to the press, the lead researcher now says he has been asked by the federal government… Which funds his research… To quit giving interviews until further testing is done.
Is this true?
That was a rhetorical question, in case you didn’t notice the sarcasm. Given the first class handholding British Petroleum has gotten from your people, there is no other way I or anyone else could possibly interpret this. Has it come to this? Have petty political considerations for whorish congressman and senators who can barely stuff the campaign contributions into their pockets become so important that us Joe Blow citizens are nothing more than the muck that collects around deep sea drill bits?
I know, Mr. President, that you hate people who howl at you about your actions but neglect to proffer any alternative solutions. I didn't have time to whip up one of those voluminous research reports chock full of statistics and formulas, a report that references noted experts in the field, but today I am in luck - there is no way to get the kind of information Your Geekiness requires in order to change your game plan on this thing unless you send somebody or something down to the bottom of the Gulf to gather the facts.
So find the American version of Jacques Cousteau. It shouldn’t take more than three to five days to assemble a team, a deep sea submersible like the Alvin, and the equipment for him. Drop them all into the depths, with cameras, and lights, and measuring tools, and have at it. You need to "executive order" or "national security" this thing yesterday, Mr. President, and get us some fucking hard facts about this thing before it kills us.
Before it kills us and poisons your presidency.
Because when British Petroleum leaves the scene of the crime against humanity, its tail temporarily between its legs, leaving in its wake 50 or 60 law firms who will grow rich on their billings, a bankruptcy or two, and a convenient name change to something less conspicuous, less slimy, it will just be you and the American public, a public that will be waiting to lay the blame and their anxieties and their frustrations all on you…
…because you let British Petroleum waltz away with their corporate dignity intact.
Double fuck British Petroleum and the ships they sailed in on.
Despite the death threats, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says he's sleeping well these days. He looks it: fresh, almost relaxed in his makeshift corner office at BP's emergency response center in Houston. He insists the company has been "extraordinarily successful" in its response to the spill, which so far has dumped more than 100,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico since Apr. 20, threatening tourism and fishing from Florida to Texas. By mid-May 13,000 workers and 500 vessels were trying to contain the giant leak. Leaning back in his chair, Hayward compares the operation to D-day. He quotes Winston Churchill: "When in hell, keep going."
Not that he has a choice. Before the first failed effort to cap the petro geyser BP ( BP - news - people ) faced an ocean of problems. A group of 200 plaintiffs' attorneys met in New Orleans on May 6 to join forces in suing the company. Senator Barbara Boxer (D--Calif.) called for a permanent drilling ban off the West Coast. BP's shares took a deep dive, dropping $25 billion, despite $6 billion in first-quarter earnings, double the results of a year ago.
Hayward gropes for an upside. "Deepwater drilling will be transformed by this event," he says. "If we can win the hearts and minds of the communities that are impacted, then we have the potential to enhance our reputation rather than have it damaged."
After The Spill: Big Oil Plots Its Comeback
Can you believe this guy Tony Hayward? "If we can win the hearts and minds of the communities that are impacted?" Although, to his credit, the public does have a short memory – as soon as the next allegation about Michael Jackson or Heath Ledger or Tiger Woods arises, that’s all she wrote for the oil spill, especially since its been hogging all the TV time for the last month.
What are you going to do, Mr. President? As an added bonus, get this - demonizing a foreign oil company right about now might be worth a 5 percentage point jump in your approval ratings, measurements that don't really mean diddly to anyone but a press corps too lazy to wander around the hinterlands to see what people are really thinking...
...and your Democratic allies in Congress and the Senate who are trying to get re-elected in the fall. Show British Petroleum who's the boss and man handle them into giving up the bulk of the high resolution videos they collect around the clock of the spill and your approval numbers are likely to top 60 percent.
And if you were to send an independent team with their own measuring devices down to the leak itself to see exactly what the rate of flow is at the leak and sample exactly what is coming out of the leak...
...I guarantee some of the more skeptical Americans across the country will finally begin to forget that you are black.