“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Please Blow Up the Well

June 28, 2010 5:39 PM
Bill Clinton: We May Have to Blow Up Oil Well

Former President Bill Clinton said during a panel discussion in South Africa that it may become necessary to blow up the Deepwater Horizon well that continues to spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Watch the video at left. His comments on the leak start about 2:30 in.

"Unless we send the Navy down deep to blow up the well and cover the leak with piles and piles and piles of rock and debris, which may become necessary - you don't have to use a nuclear weapon by the way, I've seen all that stuff, just blow it up - unless we're going to do that, we are dependent on the technical expertise of these people from BP," Clinton said.

There has been some pressure for BP to simply blow up the well, with critics suggesting the company is forgoing that option out of a desire to get as much oil as possible from the rig.

"If we demolish the well using explosives, the investment's gone," former nuclear submarine officer and a visiting scholar on nuclear policy at Columbia University Christopher Brownfield said in a Fox News interview in May. "They lose hundreds of millions of dollars from the drilling of the well, plus no lawmaker in his right mind would allow BP to drill again in that same spot. So basically, it's an all-or-nothing thing with BP: They either keep the well alive, or they lose their whole investment and all the oil that they could potentially get from that well." (He penned an opinion piece in the New York Times making the argument.)

Some lawmakers have also pushed for blowing up the well.

"For the life of me, I can't understand why BP couldn't go into the ocean floor, maybe 10 feet lateral to the -- around the periphery -- drill a few holes and put a little ammonium nitrate, some dynamite, in those holes and detonate that dynamite and seal that leak. And seal it permanently," Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) said earlier this month.


  1. No we may have to's. Blow the damn thing up.

  2. Current Situation:
    • Florida beaches are open.
    • Estimated release rate of oil from Deepwater Horizon at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day. Optimization of the dual recovery system (LMRP Cap and Q4000) continues; total oil recovered approximately 24,450 barrels on 6/27/10.
    • This event has been designated a Spill of National Significance.
    • Unified Area Command continues with a comprehensive oil well intervention and spill response planning following the April 22 sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 130 miles southeast of New Orleans.
    • More than 38,000 personnel are working the on and offshore response.
    • Oil-water mix recovered: nearly 28 million gallons
    • Response vessels available: more than 7,230
    • Response aircraft available: 111
    • Dispersant (in gallons): more than 1,552,000 deployed
    • There is no planned use of dispersants in Florida waters.
    Florida Specific:
    • There are no health advisories in Florida in regards to the oil spill impact.
    • Tar balls, tar patties and sheen have been reported in Northwest Florida, with the heaviest impacts reported in Escambia County.
    • Perdido Pass and Pensacola Pass are closed with the tide to reduce the amount of oil from entering inland waters. Boom is deployed across each Pass at flood tide (incoming) and removed at ebb tide (outgoing).
    • Oil Containment Boom (in feet) total: 618,261 deployed in Florida.
    o Tier 1: 248,800 / Tier 2: 133,600 / Tier 3: 235,861
    • In accordance with established plans, protective booming, staging, and boom maintenance is being conducted along the coast from Escambia to Franklin.
    • 396 vessels are deployed in Florida for the Vessels of Opportunity program.
    • 1,012 Qualified Community Responders are actively working in the Florida Panhandle.
    • According to the NOAA oil plume model, the oil plume is 32 miles from Mexico Beach and 233 miles from St. Petersburg. Southerly ocean swells will be able to push existing oil closer to shore and NOAA trajectory forecasts indicate continued impacts to the Florida Panhandle west of Bay County. No significant amounts of oil are within or moving towards the loop current ring and there is no clear path for oil to enter the Florida Straits within the next 5 days.
    • In addition to $100,000 for Volunteer Florida to maintain a volunteer registration database, BP has issued over $75 million in grants to Florida for booming, a national tourism advertising campaign, and the state’s preparedness and response efforts. An additional $500,000 has been issued by BP to fund two innovative technology solutions for Okaloosa County.
    • BP claims in Florida total 21,522 with approximately $18,239,920.61 paid.

    Florida's Deep Water Horizon Spill Response website

  3. Yesterday, Fox News reported a thirty mile long slick approximately 40 hours south of Grand Isle, La. They had video, but I didn't one ship skimming and can't find any news reports touting our success against the slick.

  4. No skimmers in sight as oil floods into Mississippi waters

    U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor got off the flight angry.

    "It’s criminal what’s going on out there," Taylor said minutes later. "This doesn’t have to happen.”

    A scientist onboard, Mike Carron with the Northern Gulf Institute, said with this scenario, there will be oil on the beaches of the mainland.

    “There’s oil in the Sound and there was no skimming,” Carron said. “No coordinated effort.”

  5. We can certainly forget about "American Exceptionalism."

    This is a sorry moment in our nation's history. The next time some jerk says something to me about George Bush's response to Katrina, I'll....I'll...

    I'll moider 'em.

  6. Maybe a hurricane is what need it makes landfall in cuba or some other shithole, rains the rest in a slime slim of the eceaon

  7. Andrew Sullivan:

    "The blogosphere is too new to have truly established conventions. But I really want to resist any creeping tide of civility and politeness. Raspberries matter in Anglo-Saxon political life; and if the gap between how we debate in public and how we talk in private gets too large, something else will give. I think the informality of the blogosphere is a perfect place for such venting..."

    Venting, you say? How quaint.

    We've reenacted the Battle of Stalingrad at least twenty times, for fuck's sake.

    Live fire.

    But who can get their angry on in this heat?


    The Tea Party Nation unity convention was all set for July 15th-17th in Las Vegas with Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle as keynote speaker. But it's been cancelled. Because the organizers have decided it will be too hot.

    I sympathize.

  8. Peter Ward from the U of Washinton was on last night and though that the Caribbean might be filling will a huge pool of propane/methane which touched off by lightning from hurricanes would result in a sitautions like that of the black seas centenaries ago--a wipeout. Peter has been writing a look of books lately, looking, to retire, and since he missed the whole global warming thing by so much, and doesn't have a mee'mi to rely on in extremist, he's making hay while the sun still shines. He doesn't have mee'mie's skills at all.

  9. The Tennessee Dept. of Transportation, and Genera Energy partner to grow Switchgrass on Interstate Right of Ways.


  10. FT:

    Kissinger warns on Afghan exit strategy

    By Daniel Dombey in Washington

    Published: June 28 2010 23:21 | Last updated: June 28 2010 23:21

    Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, has warned that Washington’s plan to begin handing over responsibility to national forces in Afghanistan in July next year “provides a mechanism for failure”.

    The people “must be prepared for a long struggle” in what is already the US’s longest war, Mr Kissinger said in the wake of Barack Obama’s decision to remove General Stanley McChrystal as commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

    The president should rethink the deadline and the way the strategy had been designed, since in his view its goals were too ambitious and too focused on a Kabul government with limited influence in the rest of the country. “[The strategy] needs adaptation to realities,” he said, suggesting the task of adapting it would best fall to Gen David Petraeus, nominated as Gen McChrystal’s successor.

    The Republican’s comments come as Gen Petraeus, architect of the US surge in Iraq, is due to appear before the Senate to be confirmed in his new post. Republicans say they will push him on the realism of the July 2011 date, while Democrats will call for Afghan forces to take a larger share of the fighting.

    Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said it was “unacceptable” that only 5,300 of 119,000 Afghan army troops were to take part in a push on Kandahar this year. Mr Levin and other Democrats say the July 2011 date is vital to maintain US support for the war and give Afghans the incentive to take responsibility for their security.

    While the administration says the rate of the handover will be determined by conditions on the ground, figures such as Joe Biden, vice-president, and Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, have said US troops will start leaving next July. Mr Obama himself has been more cautious in his recent statements.


    They probably will shift focus from Kabul to the provincial governments and I believe had already begun doing so awhile back. The problem there being the same basic elements of corruption, just on a smaller scale.

  11. Talk about your "Sunshine Patriots?"

    What are those folks?

    "Nice, balmy Spring afternoon Patriots?"

  12. Look at it this way, when she goes, now more cuban problem, no more forida, no more excess texas coast, no more poeple for miles around.

    God has chosen his people.

    And you folks though it was all goinng be about Yellowston. Hah!




    Current Track

    Looks like we get a pass this time.

  14. To be fair, potential attendees also had scheduling conflicts between the convention and planned family vacations.

    Between "Taking Back Our Country" and "Taking the Kids To Yellowstone", well, there simply is no question.

    Let's face it, the kids would never forgive you.

  15. <What I do about a livelihood, bobikins?"

    "Don't worry your sweet duffy, I've got it covered'.

  16. What America really needs in times like these is the definitive summer blockbuster:

    Spielberg, you genius.

    We were living right up against the seawall at Ft. Monroe at the time. Jellyfish the size of salad plates terrified me.

    Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making sure I never saw it until Betamax.

  17. The Rhetorician of the Senate who was able to make you look past the sipptle on his gi, and gone not a decade to soon, we was the Conscienceless, I meant conscience, of of Senate, aand he had suck excellent security he was never caught up in a really majore sex scandal. The main town in his state is Hunttington, W. V., the fattest town in America and the whole countyside is filled with monuments to his largegess.

    Truly, he was what was everything wrong with out county. RIP, a very deep one.

  18. I have to agree with the premise of the following article. How can you justify shutting a city down and spending a billion dollars for what ended up being a glorified sleepover?

    May Toronto's G20 be the last

    It's not just the $1bn policing; the failure to tackle the financial crisis or climate change exposes a forum without credibility

    "The security operation on the streets of Toronto has provided Canadians with the greatest single talking point of the G20 gathering this weekend. Many locals are furious at the $1bn price tag for policing a summit which they never wanted to host in the first place. As John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty pointed out, that same money could have paid for five years of the provincial food supplement programme that has just been scrapped in the latest round of austerity cuts..."

    Toronto's G-20 Charade

    I saw a reporter from the Globe and Mail on Fox tonight. He made O'Reilly look silly. He suggested that if these guys want to have their summits, have them on military bases or an aircraft carrier. That way your not shutting down an entire city so these guys can share drinks and watch soccer games together.


  19. We're right at the beginning of a major storm, always the same this time of year, warning goes our over the radio fellows head for the taverns, hoping heir fields get ruined, what with the high insurance, then it's time for the lake or the streams. The boomers go away high, then the hinder and lightning start, sometime you see from far away, it is quite the sight. It's but over by 3am, going beddy by to listen to it. It's the dormitory for me. Mee'mi alone stays up to watch and listen. Eveys wide, ears open, senses as alert as of those of a saint or dog.

  20. Most Asian stock markets fell Tuesday, also undermining overall investor confidence.

    In other Nymex trading in July contracts, heating oil fell 0.63 cent to $2.0870 a gallon, gasoline dropped 0.91 cent to $2.1285 a gallon and natural gas was steady at $4.735 per 1,000 cubic feet.

    Brent crude was down 39 cents to $77.20 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.

    Fears Ease

  21. The problem there being the same basic elements of corruption, just on a smaller scale.

    Good, our money may go farther that way. Forget about trying to make a country of that rockpile, just buy them off tribe by tribe.

  22. Aging sniffer dogs blamed for Guyana drug lapses

    "Sniffer dogs are being blamed for airport security lapses in Guyana, where police said Monday that their canines are too old or not skilled enough to detect drugs stuffed inside suitcases..."

    Sure. Blame the Poor Sniffer Dogs.

    The article points out that part of the problem is that the government will not provide drugs for use in training the dogs. One wonders how they get them to sniff anything out. Perhaps they use methodone for training.

    The dogs need a union.

    Friggin Guyanans.


  23. " them off..."

    Not precisely what I meant, whit.

    But it's late and haggling over precious nuances sounds like no fun.

  24. "Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, has warned that Washington’s plan to begin handing over responsibility to national forces in Afghanistan in July next year “provides a mechanism for failure”..."

    Kissinger, the guy who orchestrated the sellout of South Vietnam in 1973 is now advising that we "stay the course" in Afghanistan.



  25. In 1809 British official Mountstuart Elphinstone led a mission to Afghanistan and recorded his perspective of the country’s tribal culture and society in journal entries that resonate to this day. From an excerpt in Stephen Tanner’s book, “Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban”, Elphinstone describes the strength he sees that can be derived from decentralization:

    "The internal government of the tribes answers its ends so well that the utmost disorders of the royal government never derange its operations, nor disturb the lives of the people. A number of organized and high-spirited republics are ready to defend their rugged country against a tyrant; and are able to defy the feeble efforts of a party in a civil war.”


    A local tribesman explained to Elphinstone what Afghans thought about so-called stability under a strong central government:

    "We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood. But, we will never be content with a master.”

    Elphinstone then summarized what Tanner refers to in his book as Afghanistan’s “enduring problem”:

    "There is reason to fear that the societies into which the nation is divided, possess within themselves a principle of revulsion and disunion, too strong to be overcome, except by such a force as, while it united the whole into one solid body, would crush and obliterate the features of every one of the parts."

    Tribal Balance

  26. It's probably not necessary to mention that the problems with the current US strategy in Afghanistan as outlined in the following article have all been discussed at length here before.

    Beyond the McChrystal, Petraeus drama: a counterinsurgency reality check

    "To be sure, General Petraeus’s successful imposition of relative stability in Iraq over the course of 2007-08 offers a powerful testament to his skills. But a proven military leader is not necessarily the decisive factor in the outcome of this war. The American strategy in Afghanistan remains racked by troubling paradoxes that are difficult for any commander to surmount:

    • The counterinsurgency approach is known to be “messy and slow,” but now has only one year left to succeed before a prescheduled troop withdrawal begins.

    • The strategy puts a premium on collaboration between military and political efforts, but the relationship between the top military commanders and the top diplomats has apparently been dysfunctional for quite some time.

    • It calls for a “surge” of civilian governance and development experts that probably exceeds what the US government can realistically provide.

    • It requires allies to help share the heavy burden, but NATO contributions are shrinking (Canada and the Netherlands, two of the most stalwart allied contributors, are preparing to withdraw their troops in a matter of months).

    And if that wasn’t enough, there’s an even deeper set of problems to consider:

    • The United States is supporting a centralized state solution to a country with a tradition of decentralized governance.

    • It is trying to foster the legitimacy and authority of a host government mainly known for its corruption and fecklessness.

    • It is expending significant efforts attempting to build up a professional national Afghan army and police force, while also cultivating independent local militias to combat the Taliban.

    • It relies on Pakistan to take strong complementary actions against the Taliban and other militant groups, but the Pakistani security establishment still regards some of these groups as strategic partners."

    Now What Was the Plan Again?


  27. A billion dollars for security for the G8/G20 during these times. It boggles the mind.

    The G20 for heavens sake.

    (I mean it's not like it's the Bilderbergers we're talking about.)