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General Interest, Politics

SO MUCH FOR OFF-SHORE DRILLING. THE END OF THE AGE OF BURNING STUFF.

President Obama has all the luck, both good and bad. His good luck showed early on by becoming the first black man elected President of The United States and getting a big Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress to boot. That usually signals a golden opportunity for a President to implement his vision for America. Unfortunately for him, that legislative majority was the result of the electorate throwing out the Republicans after 8 years of screwing up the nation in almost every way a government can screw up a nation. So that’s his bad luck, inheriting an America with a broken economy, a plague of thieving billionaires, two wars and an empty treasury.

It’s pretty hard to implement any “visions” when you’re broke, but the guy’s been trying hard, with mixed results. While he did get a Health Care Reform Bill passed, it was lacking a Public Option, which was sort of the whole point of health care reform in the first place, but at least it’s a start upon which future presidents (or Obama himself if he gets a second term) can build. He’s done a lot of other positive things too, but those two nagging, dragging wars still haven’t been brought to anything near a satisfactory conclusion, unless you count handing Iraq over to the Iraqi Keystone Kops or capturing a series of #2 Al Qaeda guys in an increasingly chaotic Afghanistan any sort of satisfactory conclusion, which no one on either the left or right does.

And now his initiative to explore the coasts of America for oil got shot down big time by the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It seems that a British Petroleum (BP) oil rig blew up and now the oil well it was attached to is pumping 5,000 gallons of crude petroleum into the Gulf Mexico every day and the resulting oil slick looks like it will cause a huge ecological disaster if they can’t turn off the giant spigot at the bottom of the sea real soon.

So far, no luck, and the oil poisons the water and rapidly approaches the coast. The only answers BP seems to have to clean up this mess is soaking it up with (!) human hair, or stuffing the well with (!!) golf balls and old tires. Not exactly a high tech approach and one that has fishermen and coastline residents a tad apprehensive. This is the same stretch of coastline battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2004 and thrown a cinderblock by FEMA when it was drowning. Looks like another Hell of a Job for America’s Gulf Coast.

Just what America needs right now, another disaster costing billions of dollars to fix, that is, if it is even in our power to fix it, and the golf balls, the old tires and the barber-shop sweepings tell us that off-shore oil well repair has a long way to go. So much for anyone else obtaining an offshore drilling permit anytime soon, and America’s energy deficit grows by millions of dollars every day, to a lot of unsavory regimes like Saudi Arabia and that Scourge of the Western World, Canada. More bad luck for Obama, and us too. What to do, what to do?

Well, there’s always research into alternative energy sources, or at the very¬† least, vastly improved gas mileage for our cars. While this is hardly the quick fix that politicians like to pull out of their hats like a rabbit, it is a necessary investment for the nation’s, and the entire world’s future. There’s only so much oil left in the world, and now there’s 5,000 gallons less every day thanks to BP. As the nation that led the entire world into The Age of Burning Stuff to run our cars, factories and power plants, it is only fitting that we be the ones to figure something else out that doesn’t foul our air, land and water.

Mr. Obama could still prove to be a great president if he is willing to wait for that judgement. By starting a massive national campaign on the order of the Apollo Program, one commissioned specifically with coming up with a source of clean energy, he can help America, and the entire world, immeasurably. Take every penny he had set aside for off-shore oil exploration and create a think-tank and research facility for energy solutions, and just maybe ten or twenty years down the line we can put The Age Of Burning Stuff where it belongs, in out rear-view mirror. Research, anyone?

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