Surely, he jests

Thomas Friedman, in his June 11 column, shares a letter to the editor written by a friend of his, Mark Mykleby.  Mykleby writes,

…the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico […] isn’t BP’s or Transocean’s fault.  It’s not the government’s fault. It’s my fault. […] For those on the left, government regulation will not solve this problem.

Whereupon Mykleby embarks on a bourgeois guilt trip because he (and, by implication, the rest of us) doesn’t yet “…bike to work, plant a garden, do something.  So again, the oil spill is my fault.”  The only action he then mentions is to ask his wife to give up her car.  It’d be hard to come up with a finer example of middle class “slacktivism.”

Friedman joins in, though he can’t quite decide what the government’s share in all this is.  He writes toward the end: “So let’s pass an energy-climate bill […]  Let’s pass a financial regulatory reform bill […]  And let’s pass an immigration bill.”  That sure sounds like government to me.

Whatta pile of sh!t

BP has, for decades, put profits ahead of safety.  A report from the Center for Public Integrity published on May 16 is being widely cited in the media.  It starts off, “Two refineries owned by oil giant BP account for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors over the past three years…”

Here are some key points I took away from this 60 Minutes interview.  The hole they were drilling (the one that’s now spewing) was already BP’s second attempt to tap into that particular oil deposit.  That first one had to be abandoned because the drill broke part of the way through, before they hit the oil they were so hot to reach.  Ever used a power drill and pushed too hard into whatever you’re drilling?  Broke the drill, didn’t you?

But wait, there’s more.  Now they need to start over, so they’re in an even bigger rush to get to this oil.  No time to worry about chunks of rubber from the seal showing up topside.  No time to insert the usual three plugs into the hole; gotta get by with just two and then cross their fingers.  But, according to Friedman & his buddy Mykleby, if I had a vegetable garden none of that would have happened.

Oh, all those poor oil-soaked birds, if only I’d raised my thermostat in the summer and lowered it in the winter!

BP’s already dumped as much half a dozen Exxon Valdez’s, and — like that battery bunny — keeps going and going and going…  But Friedman & friend want to say it’s because not enough of us recycle.  They’re wallowing in middle class angst.

Note to Friedman & friend: get over yourselves.