I never believed that Barack Obama would eventually walk on water. I don’t believe now that he can dive a thousand feet and plug a hole in a gushing oil well, aquatic Superman-like. There is not much he can do about the environmental problem caused in some small part by the ineptness of an obscure federal bureaucracy hidden inside the Bureau of Land Management, besides firing its head. (He did.) I hope he resists the temptation to try something. Any federal intervention is liable to make things worse. The guilty party, BP is doing what it can. It’s in its interest to do so because there is not question it will pay for all the damage. That’s unless the President, abetted by the unspeakable Congress, decides BP is too big to fail. I hope the President will let the market and Nature take their course.
Speaking of damage, the plight of Gulf fishermen tears at my heart. Yet, any allegation that BP is not facing up to its responsibilities is malicious. Its hapless CEO has declared on national television that his company will do whatever needs to be done with respect to those injured private parties. I don’t see what else he could have done. If BP tried to eschew its responsibility in this area, if would fail. There are thousands of lawyers armed to the teeth with specialized laptops and carts full of dossiers ready to pounce on BP with civil suits. They are salivating at the thought of digging into one of the deepest pockets ever. The lawyers are probably more numerous than all the Gulf fishermen and all their dependents put together. Our tort system works well to the benefit of plaintiffs. The only prospect of the fishermen going poorly compensated arises again if the federal government becomes involved. If compensations of victims and repairs to damage must bankrupt BP, let it be! There are plenty of other oil companies to take up the slack. That’s the way capitalism works if you will let it.
By the way, I know I sound heartless and insensitive but television is still recycling the same dozen oil-soiled pelicans. There are more celebrities involved in the washing, I think, than pelicans. I hope they don’t come to blow, the celebrities, I mean. I mind less and less being called insensitive because it often means that I am being offensively rational. I like rationality more than I like being considered sensitive. Choices, choices!
Now a few words about the brouhaha, the President caused by talking about “kicking ass” in public. First, it was almost certainly scripted. He was accused for so long of being unseemly impassive that his handlers must have decided to do something decisive, like say “ass.” Second, the phony indignation distracted us from the moral inanity of the substance of his utterance: He was asking the fishermen, the victims, about whom to punish?
Here is what I think about the distraction any public discussion of the President’s unusually vigorous speech inflicts upon us:
Don’t fucking waste my time!
Incidentally, don’t you think that the reliably profane Chris Rock would make a better black president than Barack Obama? Now that I have raised the question, you won’t be able to get it out of your mind.