Butt Parasites

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Memo to BP and Big Oil's enablers: YOU ARE DUMB.

Time for this week's roundup of earth-rapey hilarity. The oil's still gushing almost as fast as the lies and stupidity. So let's wipe some off a pelican and take a look, shall we?

The cap's in place, and capturing 20,000 barrels a day! Woo! Which might be half of what's leaking out! Which would be, um, another 20,000 barrels a day. Now, to be fair, they did say cutting the pipe would increase the oil flow by 20%. And 20% of 5,000 barrels a day is 1,000 barrels a day. So as long as 5,000 + 1,000 = 40,000, everything makes perfect sense.

And since BP bought all its calculators from the gift shop at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, it looks like everything's going to be A-0K. Or at least somewhere between A-0K and A-50K. We can't get a precise estimate at this point.

On BP's public relations front, the company has hired a new spokeswoman. Her name is Anne Womack-Kolton, and you have never heard of her, because she used to be Dick Cheney's press secretary. I know. I thought the same thing. Dick Cheney had a press secretary? Apparently he did.

Now, I admit, on the surface, this looks awful. Dick Cheney had the secret energy task force, is tied deeply to both Big Oil and Halliburton, and associating your company with one of his staff members sends a very awkward message about the ties between the Bush administration and the oil industry. But hear me out.

Less than 100% of the American people believe that Dick Cheney is one of the most amoral motherfuckers ever to walk the Earth, suitable only for handcuffing, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and then being shot into the sun. And not just a little less than 100%. Probably 35-45% less than 100% think this. Which means that Anne Womack-Kolton may be the single most underrated public relations genius this planet has to offer. And what's she gonna do, make it worse?

And I would be remiss if I didn't point out some of BP's friends in high places, without whom they might actually have to clean up the spill, stop taking shortcuts at their other deep water drilling sites, and stop making billions of dollars a month.

Like our old pal James Inhofe, who's been providing the oil industry with plenty of blowouts and gushers in his years fighting the "hoax" of oil- and coal-fueled global warming. Remember the $75 million liability cap imposed in 1990? Remember how Congress has said that cap was obviously outdated and woefully inadequate and vowed to raise it? Well, guess what they haven't done yet, and guess whose filibuster threat is why.

His excuse, by the way? The higher liability would prevent small Mom-and-Pop oil companies from drilling. I shit you not. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Big Oil would love to have these caps there so they can shut out all the independents." - Fuck. That. Noise. If they're big enough to cause a spill that costs more than $75 million to clean up, then they're big enough to pay for the cleanup. If not, then they shouldn't be drilling. And BP? They made $75 million while you read that sentence, from the oil they sucked out of the gusher they caused.

And then there's Bobby Jindal. Ostensibly in charge of Louisiana, really in charge of trying to restore his national political cred after that disastrous State of the Union response a couple of years ago. Anyway, with oil and tar-balls coating his state's shoreline, Jindal has taken the bold move of criticizing Obama's TEMPORARY moratorium on deep-water drilling. Why? Because it could cost thousands of Louisiana jobs.

There are, of course solutions to this that don't involve saying to the oil industry, "Hey, we know that a series of short-sighted cost-cutting moves, paying off regulators, and lax safety considerations caused one of the greatest environmental messes in history, so keep up the good work, guys!" For example, you could make the oil companies keep their workers on payroll during the moratorium. They've got the money. If they object to paying people to do nothing, well, that's extra incentive to prove that BP was an aberration and they have the proper safeguards in place to keep this from happening again. There. Problem solved, and nobody looks like a complete oil industry whore.

Well, except the entire GOP. It's their thing. It's what they do.