May 27 2010

It’s time to take action! Part TWO

Category: government,humorharmonicminer @ 8:26 am

In “It’s time to take action!  Part ONE” I discussed the need for the government to be appearing to take action to solve problems, even when the solution is outside the government’s sphere of competence.

The oil is still leaking in the Gulf, about a mile under water.  BP doesn’t seem to be able to, uh, put a lid on it.  So, in the spirit of taking federal action whenever possible, whenever there is the slightest chance that it might work, I offer some ways Obama and his armies of federal experts could solve this new “oil crisis.”

1)  Fill lots and lots of ships with lots and lots of big rocks, and lob them over the side above the leak.  There’s a reasonable chance that one or more of them will land on the leak, and plug it.  (Note the parallel to lobbing federal money out of the federal financial cannon at whatever problem comes along.)

2)  Along the way, in the spirit of federal inter-agency cooperation (the kind the CIA doesn’t give the FBI), why not haul the rocks out there in decommissioned naval ships that are just taking up space in a harbor somewhere (space that Obama’s rich, New England liberal yacht-owning friends could be using for their floating palaces).  Then, after lobbing the rocks over the side, Obama could have the ships sunk on the spot.  The ships might land on the rock that plugged the leak, and hold it down, plus there is the environmental plus of providing the structure for the growth of a new coral reef.

3)  Just to build on the idea, Obama could send along the conservative Republican caucus of the House, ostensibly on a fact-finding tour, to observe the rocks being hurled over the side…  then sink the ships with the right-wing bigots still on board, in a regrettable accident that could probably be blamed on BP.  The New York Times would probably find out, eventually, that it wasn’t an accident, but no worries.  They’d never publish the story, since its publication would do no harm to national security.  Now that I think of it, the New York Times knows a great deal about leaks….  maybe someone should ask them what to do.

4)  In a parallel idea, Obama could order the scuttling of nuclear subs he thinks the US shouldn’t own anyway.  One of them might hit the leak and plug it.

5)  Obama could consider tossing Michael Moore over the side, followed by Rosie O’Donnell  and Sheila Jackson Lee.  When the water pressure flattens them to an inch thickness, they’ll have the density of a neutron star, surely enough to plug the leak.  I’m guessing, though, that Michael Moore will be more than sufficient to do the job.

6)  Obama could offer the oil to China, if they can figure out a way to get it and stop the leak.  They’re very industrious people.  After all, they built the Great Wall.  China is eager to drill in the Caribbean.  Maybe then China would help us keep North Korea out of trouble.  There’s an added bonus here:  when China burns the oil, adding to global warming, Obama has even more talking points to point the finger at China in front of the UN.  Not that he’d use them.  He’d probably send somebody to apologize to the Chinese for not delivering the oil to them directly.

7)  Since Obama is canceling and mothballing the Space Shuttle fleet, why spend the money on storage where moth and rust doth corrupt?  Instead, get the Space Shuttle up into orbit one last time, then crash it into the Caribbean, right above the oil leak, at about Mach 25 or something (remotely piloted, naturally, unless Obama could get John McCain to fly it).  It wouldn’t do much good, of course (how many federal programs do?), but it would be spectacular, and it would be clear evidence of serious federal commitment to solving the problem, and, who knows, a piece of the main engine might survive intact and plug the leak.

8)  Even better:  why not simply set off a couple of large nukes on the sea floor above the leak?  The melted slag, underwater, would be sure to plug whatever leak there was, and the mile-deep water would prevent any serious above-water effects.  Might make one good surfable wave in Galveston.  But no tsunamis.  Just not enough energy.  (Mother Nature and her undersea quakes continue to dwarf any puny nuke.)  In fact, maybe we could do this in concert with the Russians.  This could be part of the nuclear disarmament process, and the peaceful use of nuclear power.  Of course, it would take a ten year study by the UN and the EPA to decide if it was “safe”….  as if ten years of oil leaking would be safer.

9)  Offer a ten billion dollar prize to the company that figures out how to solve this, and similar subsequent problems that may develop.  Oops… that sounds just a bit too much like a market based, competitive solution.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

10)  Stop the stupid drilling in mile deep water tens of miles off the cost, and drill closer in where it’s easier to manage, and, paradoxically, safer.  Better yet, drill on land where we know there is plenty of oil (so what if there’s an oil leak?).  And build about two hundred nuclear plants, streamline the permit process, and have congress remove the legal footing for the endless lawsuits that plague any nuclear startup in the US.

While the previous two options will take some time, and may have nothing much to do with solving the immediate problem, you could try this, Mr. President.  How about having the next White House BBQ in the Caribbean, on the White House yacht?   If there isn’t one, there certainly should be, in the Imperial Presidency.  You’ll have plenty of fuel to cook the meat.  You can BBQ a couple of BP execs while you’re at it.  Maybe Chavez will drop by and you can apologize to him for cooking with Caribbean oil.

11)  One more idea:  just set the whole oil slick on fire.  It gets hot in the Caribbean, and I’m sure they could use the shade from the inevitable smoke.  It might even slow global warming to put so much smoke in the air, blocking the sun.

12)  One more option, for NASA.  If NASA wants to make the case for more funding, why doesn’t it go get a smallish asteroid, say, 50 feet wide or so, and drop in the Caribbean at Mach 25 (call this Plan B of the Space Shuttle suggestion earlier)?  There would be a small wave, but nothing on the order of a hurricane surge, and it might penetrate the mile of water and plug the hole.  And if not, the heat of the impact might burn off a lot of the oil slick.  Better warn small boats to stay away.  Invite the Cuban and Venezuelan navies, though.  NASA would be sure to get a budget increase out of this.

BTW:  whatever happened to all the talk about oil-eating engineered bacteria?  Maybe they’re still in the testing phase.  This seems like a good opportunity for a real-world trial, if so.

Come to think of it, I haven’t heard much about Michael Moore lately.  I’ll bet those oil consuming bacteria are smiling.  And looking well fed.