Stage Managing a Catastrophe in the Gulf: From “Top Hat” to “Top Kill”

May 24, 2010

(Counterpunch) From the very first, the Gulf Oil Spill has been about “managing expectations”. Coast Guard Admiral Mary Landry used exactly that term in an early televised press conference about “Top Hat”, the first failed intervention to stop tens of millions of gallons of oil from leaking into the Gulf. “Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry cautioned about high expections for the containment system. ‘So, please, I have to manage your expectations and just understand that our job is not done until this well is sealed, until this well is cemented, our job is not done ’til then.'” (Crews prepare to take contraption to Gulf oil leak, AP, May 5, 2010) Read the rest of this entry »


The Tragedy of Managed Expectations in the Gulf: When There’s No Good News, Make Some Up

May 19, 2010

(Counterpunch) Where is the Gulf oil? This morning googling the question produces 16,676 related articles. It is the spatter of zeitgeist, of Youtube clips, talk shows, nightly news, CSPAN and press conferences from sea to sea shining with petroleum. The hidden clouds of oil spilled by BP into the Gulf of Mexico may or may not be light, may or may not be dispersed into droplets or globs, may or may not coat beaches, wetlands and mangroves along the Gulf coast for decades to come: toxic as the day is long. According to AP, “At first we had a lot of concern about surface animals like turtles, whales and dolphins,” said Paul Montagna, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi who studies Gulf reefs. “Now we’re concerned about everything.” (Deep sea oil plumes, chemical dispersants pose risks for the Gulf’s coral reefs, food chain”, May 17 2010)

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Risk and Consequences: Wrecking the Gulf

May 11, 2010

Deepwater Horizon represents the first instant, large-scale defeat in the era of climate change hopelessness. Capitulations to come will bring far deeper misery and chaos; a real-time slaughter of the lambs. I’m not sure what to do with this despondent news, but I am not inclined to rousing speeches about national character and sacrifice. Not with so many thieves running loose. Read the rest of this entry »


Killing the Gulf of Mexico: Unacceptable Risks

May 3, 2010

Did we have to kill the Gulf of Mexico to stop, “Drill, baby, drill”? Before the spill from Deepwater Horizon is contained, Florida will see exactly the environmental catastrophe that kept offshore oil away from Florida’s coasts until the November 2008 elections. “Drill, baby, drill!”. The question arises: why must the American public “see” an environmental disaster before believing it represented an unacceptable risk all along?

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