As someone relatively new to blogging, one indisputable trend seems to be emerging each week I draft my commentary - events trump intentions. With over two dozen established topics now in my topic queue, the continuing saga fifty miles out to sea and one mile down in the Gulf of Mexico makes all of the other issues seem trite and sophomoric by comparison.
Before beginning, though, two admissions. First, even though I have absolutely no knowledge or understanding of the art and science of drilling for oil, particularly of the deep water variety, I do have an immense appreciation for the extremely complicated technology and hard work it must take to send a drill bit down over 5,000 feet to penetrate the sea bed, drill several more thousand feet to the oil pool and then extract it back up to the surface for refining. Some have even compared it to the work of NASA's space program. And, second, given our unquenchable thirst for this "black gold" to provide fuel for vehicles of all descriptions, not to mention the vast number of petroleum-based products we consume, it is imperative that we tap oil everywhere we can to reduce our foreign dependency on the stuff, including offshore and deep water drilling both of which account for approximately a third of our national oil production, until such time as alternative fuels have been developed to replace oil.
Regardless of the catastrophe that has occurred in the Gulf, I firmly believe that technologies do exist to safely drill offshore for oil in a responsible manner, but those technologies have to be backed up with iron-clad safety precautions and contingency plans at all corporate and governmental levels that immediately kick in to avert prolonged disasters like we are witnessing right now. From what I gather this is an example of "drill, baby, drill" at its worst driven by greed and speed, with a complete failure of proper inspection and oversight. Compound this with ever changing estimates of the volume of oil spewing into the ocean and the various unsuccessful attempts to stop or contain it and you've got a real environmental disaster, as well as crisis of public confidence. Hear one man's frustration with the situation at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127057393. Furthermore, according to Ian McDonald at Florida State University, the flow ranges from 40,000 to 100,000 barrels per day compared to the industry estimate of 5,000 barrels per day, so there is a real disconnect on a vital piece of information that is critical to coming up with the right solution to the problem. He also feels that it is time for science to take over from spin in the matter.
As we wait for all of this to play out, I just hope the inclination to stop all offshore drilling in much the same way we stopped constructing nuclear power plants in the early 70's after the Three Mile Island accident does not prevail. The recent announcement of a new bipartisan commission to investigate this spill and develop a plan to overhaul our federal laws to better control the process of offshore drilling is an excellent start, in my view.
As an added plug for local artistic endeavors, I would like to mention the Little Rock Film Festival coming up June 2nd through June 6th. All the relevant info is at http://littlerockfilmfestival.com. In addition my daughter, Phoebe, tells me that one of the films to be shown was done by a Brooklyn friend of hers, Academy Award Nominated documentary filmmaker, Marshall Curry, entitled Racing Dreams, a trailer of which you can see at http://racingdreamsfilm.com.
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://email@example.com
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Barry Thomas exclusively at Ellen Golden French Antiques in the Heights
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com