Leslie's Omnibus

Interpreting the Signs Along the Way

Having a hard time keeping up with fast-moving developments in the Gulf? Confused by the cacophonous nonsense coming from oil industry hacks and government spokesmouths?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Below is a handy timeline that cuts through the absurdity and tells you everything you need to know.

April 20 – An explosion on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon – owned by TransOcean and leased to British Petroleum (BP) – kills 11 workers and injures dozens in the Gulf of Mexico. Within days, the rig sinks in 5,000 feet of water. Industry and government officials insist there is no oil leaking from the site. Few people believe them.

April 24 – BP and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency admit that well, actually, yes, oil is leaking, but only at a rate of 1,000 barrels a day. This number is determined by combining data from an Ouija board, several antique backgammon dice, and a family of capuchin monkeys who throw darts at numbers taped to a wall. (This method is also used to calculate the unemployment rate and other massively understated government statistics.)

April 28 – The Obama administration and BP now say that oil is spilling at a rate “more than originally estimated,” perhaps as much as 5,000 barrels a day. BP insists that “it’s too early to speculate” on the flow rate and flatly refuses to make its capuchin monkeys available for comment.

May 7 – As the scale of the disaster becomes clear, outraged Americans react in typical American fashion: By complaining loudly about oil company greed – and by continuing to consume 20 million barrels of oil a day.

May 11 – In testimony before Congress, BP blames TransOcean. TransOcean blames Halliburton. Halliburton blames TransOcean and BP. Rinse. Repeat.

May 12 – Some Americans begin to ask why a private corporation continues to call the shots on containing the spreading environmental disaster it created. These Americans are quickly labeled socialists, tree-huggers, terrorists, dead-enders, criminal elements, petty thieves, and even “former Ba’athists.” Meanwhile, heavy oil reaches Louisiana’s coastal marshes.

May 13 – Independent scientists studying new video of the massive gusher suggest the flow rate may be as high as 95,000 barrels per day. Viewing the footage for the first time, a spokesperson for BP accidentally says, “Whoa! Look at that sucker go! Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop that thing!” (He is quickly fired.)

May 14 – BP CEO Tony Hayward suggests that the amount of oil released is “tiny” compared to “the total volume of water” in the Gulf of Mexico. A BP spokesman says “it’s too early to speculate” on whether Hayward’s brain is “tiny” when compared to the size of his entire skull – or to the brain of a capuchin monkey.

May 15 – BP again refuses to deploy equipment that could accurately measure the flow rate. A company spokesman actually says, “It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.” This earns him a Botox Award, given to PR flacks who say ridiculous things with a completely straight face.

May 19 – With options dwindling, the world turns once again to the one man who can save the day. He is contacted by a talking holographic image of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, beamed from a small, beeping robot: “Help us, Kevin Costner. You’re our only hope!” Costner responds by (a) providing technology that filters oil from seawater, and (b) apologizing, yet again, for “Message in a Bottle.”

May 20 – BP tests a new machine (also developed by Kevin Costner!) that takes weeks’ worth of preposterous public relations statements and transforms them into a massive, impenetrable ball of solid waste that can be used to plug leaking oil wells. The company says “it’s too early to speculate” on the machine’s effectiveness, but ramps up its production of “preposterous public relations statements” anyway.

May 21 – Reports surface that a newspaper columnist Bill Shein recently trademarked the phrase, “it’s too early to speculate” and has made millions in royalties from BP and the Obama administration for its use. BP says it’s too early to speculate on how much the columnist will ultimately earn, but that a team of capuchin monkeys are working on an estimate.

(Thanks, Elizabeth!)


Via Calvin's Mom, an explanation of just what "Mr. I'm Responsible" has been up to since the day the well blew. Pryoritteez -- he haz Dem.

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