Alan Gillis in The Science of Conundrums reports: The shock of Japan's mega earthquake and tsunami has paralyzed not only Japan but the rest of the world. It has been so fantastic and overwhelming, our response has been the Japanese response, a mesmerising flood of emotions staring from the blank faces of the survivors. A wonder far beyond the moment, as though time itself had stopped and entombed them and us.

Unstoppable forces suddenly come, suddenly go while unleashing a cascade of events as bewildering as all the destruction. Inevitable consequences wash over those of us still left standing like a tangible fate that won't stop until there's nothing left. What can we do anyway, especially behind a TV or laptop? Yet there are some who can act and have the power to save Japan from a second wave of disaster. But as part of the usual status quo that rarely acts in time, are politicians and scientists going to ignore the obvious or help us this time?

The big event still to come is not obscure, not buried in disaster upon disaster. It explodes literally at Fukushima near Tokyo, from a 6 reactor complex, that while we watch, explodes and explodes three times in a row sending out great clouds of dust and smoke and nuclear particle radiation. A 30 km radius evacuation of 180,000 people but radiation now detectable beyond Japan in the adjoining Russian Islands. Many Japanese stay put without other clear and better options. Go where, do what?

What do we do? We watch. We talk. Foreigners scramble to fly home. Many remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Low levels of radiation still, but for how long? The best guess of an ultimate disaster brewing is that one of the three most damaged nuclear reactors, Number 2 is breached and Number 2 is likely at risk for an actual full meltdown of its core.

American Physicist Michio Kaku Warns Japan

"Sandbag the reactors" or do what the Soviets did to stop Chernobyl. (Alternate video link)

The worst case now is not like Chernobyl, not a sudden and catastrophic steam explosion of the containment building and its reactor, releasing a enormous cloud of deadly radiation that drifted across Europe into the British Isles. Something more like Three Mile Island so far except there's no safe way to cool down Number 2. Injecting seawater to cool the overheating reactors caused the hydrogen explosions at Fukushima. Physicists knew it could happen and warnings were given, but there was also no choice they said. Something had to be done to prevent the meltdowns.

At Fukushima the worst case could be an even greater disaster.

With failures evident and failures spreading, it seems we are waiting for a worst case scenario before we act. Then it could be too big and too late. Not one nuclear meltdown but six. Telling the Japanese who haven't left the Fukushima disaster zone to stay inside their homes and wash and dry their laundry indoors won't work for long. Watching some experts say it's too early to tell and it can't happen here is no help either.

Perhaps the other 10,000 nuclear physicists watching the resumption of experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider today, were too busy to notice what's been happening in Japan.

Seriously, why the wall of silence around CERN? The foremost nuclear lab in the world always chatting up its nuclear safety at the LHC every chance it gets, and the great discoveries always over the horizon? CERN has nothing to say to Japan? No CERN plan to save Japan? Not CERN's job? Fiddle while Rome burns?

There are pictures and video and commentators telling us what they see, but no real discussion of the events at Fukushima. Details are sketchy they say. Why? Is it the Charlie Sheen effect? No time for the real world? So we should wait? It's an International Emergency that can wait? One more day, one more explosion can change everything. If the Japanese aren't prepared to act now and entomb Fukushima Number 2, they may never be able to contain the meltdown that would also threaten the other 5 already damaged reactors nearby.

Besides 3 explosions another had a fire around its heavy water swimming pool spent fuel storage pond. A lot of extremely hot rods close to the reactors, way more fuel waiting for a fire. The 2 of the 6 reactors not in the news, not hit with explosions or fire, also suffered some coolant loss. All this damage in one space that could fit on a big shopping mall parking lot.

According to Dr Kaku there is only one solution and that is to bury the reactors now including the most dangerous Number 2 in sand and concrete like Chernobyl. If not Number 2 at least we could see a more dangerous Nuclear Fire and Meltdown. At Chernobyl it seems the reactor was destroyed and its fuel rods were smashed and scattered into something of a deadly hot heap of nuclear material and rubble.

At Fukushima Number 2 it would be hotter still. You have concentrated fuel rods still aligned and close to each other, though separated by graphite rods inserted during automatic shutdown to slow down the fission reaction. The extremely hot and probably partially melted rods are all in a tight fitting mass within the jacket of a 6" thick stainless steel vessel that has partially
ruptured. When the steel melts away opening a nuclear fire pit how would you get close enough then to use the Chernobyl sarcophagus option? How close can you get to an open nuclear fire? Then if you're still alive try dumping sand on a fire that melts stainless steel.

Many first responders died horribly after extreme radiation exposure at Chernobyl and many others in the disaster zone later of slower cancers. That could be avoided now in Japan. Wait and see from physicists and government could mean six nuclear fires on Tokyo's doorstep. The scientific community which is often in its own catatonic state of theoretical R&D and pension plans needs to wake up to this emergency. After all didn't the physics and engineering branch give us Chernobyl in the first place?

Remember the 1950's PR that started the nuclear industry? "Harnessing the Atom" as they called it. And this soon after Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What next? "It can't happen in America" commercials and "tell your Congressman about today's safe nuclear option"?

Are you watching too Mr President? How about last year's Obama on video? No nukes but go nuclear? Loan guarantees to the nuclear industry for new nuclear plants. What about all the unsecured nuclear waste and the old nuclear plants in the US like the General Electric design used at Fukushima? What guarantees do we have? What guarantees in Japan? And who will pay? Us too?

This Story Starts To Break

Reuters Video: IAEA: Japan nuclear plant damage "worrying"

Reuters: Chernobyl clean-up expert slams Japan, IAEA

Reuters: Timeline: Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis

--Alan Gillis

It's not Nancy Kadaffy. It's Mo Kadaffy. Gimme that. What's 7 gram rocks?

NewsHammer Exclusive This you haven't heard yet from the Invincible Charlie Sheen: It's so hot even a dinosaur couldn't take it with 10 love goddesses kickin' his ass.

Sources close to FedEx Tripoli not authorized to speak to the media claim to have made weekly deliveries of Season 7 boxed sets of Two and a Half Men to the same video store in downtown Tripoli before there was a Season 7.

In Cairo, in Tunis, in bleds like Mers el Kebir it's the same old wanking story. Same guy in a keffiyeh always picks up the package. Charlie won't talk about it, but says:

It's the CIA and so what? You can't blame Two and a Half Men for crazy Arab parties in big ass presidential palaces for fsakes that just happen to bring down the entire Arab thing on CNN. They might giggle if they get it, but any lamebrain can hardly get corrupted by me, if that's what you think happens at my orgies. I work with professionals. I don't need amateurs who don't get it. Why bother a pro with foreplay when you don't need it? A guy's a guy and that's horseshit when you're ready to blow up the fort. For another thing the show is totally boring except for the love god played by me. Did you ever see a nipple on the show that wasn't mine? Mine are beauts fortunately. You won't even see a trickle on the bed. We're clean. Those are American values. We don't corrupt anybody. We just make money. If they're losing it over there and I'm not buying the crack story, it's because they got too much oil and not everybody's being lubed, that's the problem. Right Mo?

وقال إنه "إذا أراد الأميركيون أو الغرب غزو ليبيا يجب عليهم أن يعلموا أنها ستكون جهنم وحمام دم أكثر من العراق"

Cut and pasted from Twenty Minutes with Gaddafi, maybe or maybe not an actual Charlie Sheen rant. The site was hacked and now there's only Twenty Minutes with the President. This one's a copy with Arabic subtitles, so maybe it's genuine, because every other Charlie Sheen in Arabic has been taken down or punched out on Youtube, except this German one which is about as close as you can get to Arabic in the free world where Charlie appears to be a German clone.

Though you have to admit that Twenty Minutes with Gaddafi could be a conspiracy as in 9/11 revisited in Twenty Minutes with the President, or in Germany anyway Charlie Sheen has been replaced by a clone. If he's a clone then you can understand the lip syncing problem and if there isn't a German connection, there should be one as his German is pretty good. It gets complicated because there seems to be another clone and this one rants just like Charlie.

The Undetected American Charlie Clone

Note the poor lip syncing again (Alternate Video Link) but all the other Charlie stuff feels right. Whatever the truth, the rant is genuine and anyone can see Charlie's influence in the Muammar Gaddafi video rant below, maybe thanks to some 7 gram rocks from Charlie's beach house, though the set doesn't even have a beach or any sand and nobody from the show has ever appeared on the beach, not even the babes who you think could play beach volleyball once in a while, but maybe that's too booby Baywatch for Charlie when there's no humping on the beach anyway, not even on TV. Charlie can get that tame stuff on video without the hot sun and sand in his Mai Tai. Holding back for Season 14? We'll never know why Charlie didn't score on the beach, now the show's been cancelled.

Though wait. Jon Cryer will no doubt tell us about all we don't want to know about Charlie once he gets on Late Night as the default Charlie Sheen. He's already doing Reception on daytime Ellen. Though Charlie might be back like I scared you all with this BS like Joachim Phoenix, remember, that long running long hair gag about Joachim the Rapper you didn't get for ages? See me and Chaim set this up. We're pals though he's still a no-talent brainless idiot. He goes to my AA meetings for me. Isn't that love? Believe me now?

Gaddafi Rant

If that's not Gaddafi, who is it? (Alternate Video Link) The lip sync is also flawed, but 2 international celebrity clones in one day is a bit much. It's easy though for big budget bad ass governments to overdo a good thing, but maybe they're right. More than Two and a Half Men have crashed worldwide and if you do the math the final score is America Wins. Whether or not Charlie or his clone is winning or gets the credit, is debatable, but what Gaddafi says above is exactly what Charlie would say if he were Gaddafi. Nobody could miss that.

In the best of all possible conspiracy theories, Two and a Half Men laid the groundwork for Western corruption of top heavy Arab States (check the Arab ratings and 7 days a week of reruns in Dubai) and planted the seed for deep seated erotic capitalism first in the mind and then the body of nation upon nation, as expressed by the love god Charlie himself. Though any hormonally imbalanced adolescent if you asked could tell you, that Charlie didn't discover El Dorado by himself. Even the rest of us know there must be something more to life than Starbucks with your laptop or unfiltered muddy Turkish at rickety cafe tables throughout the Arab world. Sex and capitalism must triumph or why else a world in the first place? Then there are personal relationships and Charlie has had plenty, very hot, very close, plus he's Hollywood Shooting Star Matter and so has kryptonite influence. Even guys get the buddy magic. When Charlie's with Muammar, he's 100% the best 100% the personal BFF. He nails it and nobody gets upset except CBS.

Ask Muammar. Did Muammar even think of shooting him? No! Here in another candid buddy to buddy moment is what Charlie apparently also said in Twenty Minutes with Gaddafi:

If we misplaced democracy somewhere, who the fcares. Do they know what it is even over here? Some boys tangoing in stuffed paper shirts like mine's better than yours and wait for my soundbite on the news, so fwhat? Is that what the Arabs want, what we got? They can have it. I'll take what they got, the houris in Paradise except I want it now bro, why not now, what are we waiting for? The end of the world? It can't happen too soon, but we're still waiting. But I'm not waiting and I won't be pissing in your cup to prove it, not anymore. I did 4 in a row. A perfect score. What's that Mo?

هل هذا ما والأمريكيون؟

I don't know what Americans think. But I know what they'll do to you. Like I was telling Hosni, get respectable. Open a lap dancing bar say in Hamburg, double D girls is about right and go Brrrr Boing Wow BLBLBLBL all night. If you don't then sooner or later the paparazzi will get you like they got my love pussy Kacey Jordan. But they won't get me. I'll lie if I have to.

If You Haven't ODd Duh The Best Charlie Rant Recap

(Alternate Video Link)

--Alan Gillis

NewsHammer Exclusive: It wasn't (Jimmy) Stewart Goes to Washington, but the 2010 retread with Jon and his alter-ego, the Caped Crusader For Fear, pal Stephen Colbert. Thanks for trying you guys, but the Capitol boys and girls back of the stage have been in a time warp since way before Capra, about when Mark Twain discovered Planet Washington in 1868:

I believe the Prince of Darkness could start a branch hell in the District of Columbia (if he has not already done it), and carry it on unimpeached by the Congress of the United States, even though the Constitution were bristling with articles forbidding hells in this country.
Anyway the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear 10.30.10 was a big success. "10 Million People," said Jon to a packed Washington Mall, to make sure it wasn't under-reported by Media told not to go by Media unless in an official reporting capacity, which was stranger than fiction but true. Like don't go to Disney World unless you should be suspected of hitting on Snow White or maybe the Seven Dwarfs. Or being one of those millions of Daily Show/Colbert Report sympathisers where you can be outed by Fox and slammed all week for the stinkin' left wing liberal media mafia everyone knows you are.

Was it fun and/or serious? Better than small late box TV and live from sunny (a lucky break) Washington for 3 great hours without commercials. Meaningful? Sure as a bit of Theater of the Absurd, an Anti-Rally for the ghosts of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin who had haunted these same precincts this summer under the Washington Monument on their mission for Restoring Honor. (Alterate video link)

Preshow With Beck And More Beck

Happily Stewart and Colbert did not turn the Mall into an AA Meeting and didn't swear off or condemn anything, at least not with high sobriety. More subtly than you might think, these guys did manage something of a funeral for the 9/11 Age of Paranoia. Thing is on a low budget you can't dig a hole in Washington deep enough to bury Terror. With more cash, not a chance when there are bomb-proof bunkers everywhere. We saw Colbert climbing out of one under the stage, hiding snce Thursday, afraid yes afraid no one would come.

Parachuting in Father Guido Sarducci of the Church of Saturday Night Live was a nice try to blur all religious distinctions as not up to scratch anyway with God, so we can presumably get back to partying like when St. Belushi was alive. Not the big enough moment though. Maybe a million little gold-plated shovels engraved with Bury Fear Alive tossed into the crowd by Sarducci himself might have been more chilling and effective. Other big moments for the Rally were also edited out for the same reason, think small for lack of cash, the No Bailouts For Main Street from Planet Washington conspicuously looming behind the bare bones stage, a thin LCD Jumbotron threatening to blow away.

Still Stewart and Colbert got it right, mano a mano in a nicely scripted pillow fight between age old protagonist and antagonist, Sanity Vs Fear. More trashing of historic rallies and inaugurations in general. From the Benediction to The Poem and from Poet Laureate Colbert it did sound authentically bombastic enough to be the real deal, a kind of Shopping List Anthem. Sorry I can't be sure as you don't tend to listen to mere words in bouts of high oratory. Careful Steve, you could send a country, a continent to war.

First Washington Then Maybe Maryland After I Get A Coffee

Lots of fill-in mini events like Sheryl Crow and the bands and guest stars to add some punch and sparkle. Sam Waterston who should be President. R2D2 and a 7 year old girl who gets a medal from Jon for Sanity while Stephen awards his Medal of Fear to Anderson Cooper's Black Tshirt. When Anderson the Grim Reaper and CNN invade your neck of the woods, you know you've got trouble. Soundbites for quick crowd participation. Mythbusters to open on Can Two Guys Generate Crowd Waves that actually worked over and over again rolling through the Mall. Nice job from Adam and Jaime who didn't have to blow anything up this time in the name of National Security. Tony Bennett to close with a lighter clear-eyed patriotic Say Can You See...

Jon Stewart has the last word after slaying Steve's Giant Dummy of Fear, with his Un-named Holland Tunnel Speech like we're all a lot of goofy weird cars with nothing else in common, peacefully driving together down Life's Highway trying to squeeze down to one lane. And it works in the USA! Ipso facto (like ants for instance) we must be doing something right and why doesn't it work for the rest of the world?

Which plays back to the Rally's Biggest Moment. Yusuf Cat Stevens in person after disappearing into Islam for ages gets to sing Peace Train again. Maybe a serious thoughtful moment for bridge building, but no, Colbert on his own Terror Express won't have any piece of that train. Enter Ozzy Osbourne on a collision course burned out from Hell still, but respectable enough for an afternoon Crazy Train. The Battle of the Trains is a comic gamble that shocks the crowd and sort of works by not being funny. When it can't of course resolve into a feel-good theme park ride like Jon's Cars Into The Tunnel, there's only one way to save the day, the O'Jays and Love Train.

In this bedtime storybook from Jon and Stephen we'll take the Love Train. A bit sticky and sweet like Caramilk but tomorrow it's Halloween and Trick or Treat.

--Alan Gillis

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

*****UPDATE Gaddafi Hijacks Jon Stewart Video Link

March 11, 2011 Tripoli

Forces of Darkness reported (inadvertently) through MSNBC which uses so much video code you never know what's next. See the original Jon Stewart/Glenn Beck Match Of The Century in the sidebar video on your right.

It only confirms what Stephen Colbert, The Caped Crusader For Fear, was trying to tell us: Stay home and watch TV. It's safer.

If you need a recap of the Autumn of Our Discontent, well everybody in Washington went home. A lot of people are now taking NetFlix seriously and are watching for Tsunamis from Japan.

--Alan Gillis

NewsHammer Exclusive The big showdown yesterday June 15 between Big Oil's Top 5 and Chairman Ed Markey's House Subcommittee had about as much impact as a quart of oil spilled on the floor. Exciting at first, embarrassing and then slippery to talk about, but nobody bothered to clean it up. In the end there wasn't much anyone could do on the spot except blame BP and look forward to nuclear energy, what? Just 2-word bombshells going off now and then carelessly dropped into every Green energy future, oddly by the same people who were going mission critical on dirty dangerous BP oil destroying our way of life.

Riveting at first with BP America's Chairman looking stone-cold sober and ready to be lead to the gallows for about the first hour of opening remarks. Markey as Chairman sliced and diced first, kicking some BP walruses clean out of the Gulf as well as walruses found in 3 other Spill Response Plans just like BP's, all 4 with the same 500 page format and 90% identical even Shell's, all 5 with about the same cover art, but at least Shell with some background in fossils and maybe fossil fuels knew that there haven't been walruses in the Gulf for 3 million years, as Markey lectured the other Chairmen of Big Oil.

The other tipping points scored could have been boiled down to 5 minutes from the 5 hour hearing and have been of course even down to less than 2 minutes by AP video (alternate link) and by other media where just about everybody looks good. Not in the video above, some other essential answers wrung out later from 4 of the 5 Chairmen with Yes or No like admissions that they wouldn't have been ready either for a BP Size Spill. BUT they all said they wouldn't have had a BP Spill anyway if they had been drilling and filling BP's Well according to their own Better Industry Practices. Even so they didn't want to say that much, and Markey had to hit them again with Yes or No to get some answers. Even on the 14-page letter from Subcommittee members Waxman and Stupak to BP CEO Tony Hayward that rips out the bleeding heart of BP incompetence before the Deepwater Horizon "nightmare well" explosion and fire, the Big 5 were going to demure. Yes or No? Well, only if the facts were true, so Yes like 5 bad boys down the line.

For the first major confrontation between Capitol Hill and the Big 5, covering the BP backend disaster, the current BP hopeless mess and America's safe and maybe Green energy future and maybe without BP, only BP's Lamar McKay looked like he passed the audition for the Movie. Better at emotional depth as the scared shitless corporate martyr, saying nothing while waiting for a miserable end that might go on forever. One after another 30 committee members sharpened their opening remarks on his stony face and frozen dead body. An amazing study, but cut from the news videos.

It could have worn him down, but surprisingly he got used to it and thawed with only a few other House Members up to Markey's sharp facts and pointed go for the jugular style. Once the give and take of Q for A started an hour later you had to love the game change flip from Exxon Mobil. With that effortless industry leadership you might expect, the whole deal was cookie-cuttered into a Forbes Magazine spread. Exxon Mobil out in front, McKay had some cover and soon he was able to step out of his catatonic disaster suit into just another one of the guys from Big 5 eyeballing shareholders from another planet, the gentlemen and gentleladies from a House Subcommittee on Planet Washington.

It wasn't long before McKay got his clichés in a row. Still waiting for the investigations [elsewhere of course] and the final reports [years away]; and it hasn't been decided yet, escrow funds [BBBejesus]; BP will pay for the spill cleanup [good] and will mitigate its effects [not so good] and ducking and sliding by the storm of leading questions.

But McKay had one ace up his sleeve. Though it fell on the floor instead of on the table. Unified Command was responsible for Spill cleanup, so Unified Command was the shield for BP's slow and ineffective post-spill actions. Everybody's working together, BP hasn't held anything back. McKay didn't hammer it home, but he could have. There was still a backup ace, that could have piqued MMS and drawn blood from the Government that so far has approved everything BP wanted. It must have been a tough call with the long knives out. But it seems McKay remembered it was a hearing after all, a public relations exercise, and not a fight to the death in a dangerous fire and brimstone court of law. Why push his luck when the other Big 4 were circling the wagons around him? If they'd been out to burn British Petroleum in the interests of Industry Safety or business as usual, as rumor had it, well then nothing could have saved BP. They weren't, so relax. Oil was still in bed with Gas.

To be fair it is a good take on what happened and the shared responsibility for the Spill and cleanup that McKay left instead for the armies of lawyers to come and courts to settle maybe 20 years later. McKay's unspoken inference that everybody's to blame for all the failures and setbacks through Unified Command, notably the US Government including President Obama who took charge of operations through the USCG and his National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen way back as of May 1, and the dozen other agencies involved, was lost in the shuffle and spark of brittle questions and watered down answers.

Lowballing Estimates, Who's On First?

McKay did underline NOAA's 5,000 barrels per day estimate, as though BP did not lowball the estimates. Markey shot back but McKay noted that BP's, if in-house and confidential, original estimate was 1,000 per day up to 14,000, everybody in Government knew that.

Nobody told us though or Congress either until Markey went fishing.

Though everybody knows BP did say 1,000 barrels a day in public and then disputed NOAA's 5,000 estimate. Then BP tolerated NOAA's estimate while not bothering to analyze its own data, and not releasing video of the leaks until Markey jumped all over BP. Not wanting live feeds either of Top Kill until kicked by Capitol Hill. And still doing nothing on its own. Finally the Government got some hi-res video from BP for analysis of flow after Cut and Cap started, and still nothing more from BP until the Government recently figured out they needed some actual sensors in the Cap to monitor flow that BP was ordered to install finally. Now the Government's Flow Assessment Team is saying up to 60,000 barrels a day. But the same team had earlier also reported numbers that were oddly taken to be the full range of the leak at least in the media, that was in fact its low range of 12-25,000, with no upper range then possible according to Dr Ira Leifer in NewsHammer, "BP's Big Fix".

So who has been lowballing the numbers? Why everybody. But why? Easy for BP as huge and deadly eventual fines would be based per gallon of oil spilled. Why everyone else? Confusion, incompetence, stupidity or maybe just bureaucracy and its many insulting brain-numbing states? It has to be on form 1006.

Markey hit BP hard anyway on BP lowballing its numbers which had the disastrous effect of a minimal spill response. Everybody should have been prepared for a much bigger spill and they weren't because of BP. And BP wasn't either. Since it was their Spill and they were responsible they should have acted right away to contain a big spill underway with their 500 page plan. That was useless anyway, but anyway it was their Spill.

McKay on auto-pilot carelessly repeated BP's misleading smoking-gun soundbite hammered into the media, that the numbers had nothing to do with stopping the Spill as BP was always considering the kill of the Deepwater well as a worst case scenario. And anyway the Government had BP's data and BP's estimate. Which brings us to:

The Obama BP Inaction Plan

Is that why Obama has been playing Mr Nice President Guy? First saying it was BP's Spill and BP would clean it up. Then taking over after finding out he had to under law and BP was dragging its heels? Then still playing partners with BP on it until the media screamed and the people too that he wasn't taking the disaster seriously enough, wasn't even angry when everybody else was. So he got angry for awhile, for Larry King Live, and that wore off too by the time he figured he had to do something from the Oval Office. A talk with the American people. No, it wasn't exactly Obama in action, it was Obama politics.

These guys at BP who he even avoided talking to, if they weren't going to act decisively had to be given enough time to do it or enough rope to hang themselves. As much as possible he had to get some action from BP, not through confrontation and the courts, but playing along. Playing along because the ass he wanted to kick was technically out of reach, his own ass especially. The Buck Stops With Me came out so late because well he and the US government were co-responsible with BP since May 1st when he formally took over through Admiral Allen to run the Unified Command show. So BP messed up but Obama managed to get BP to pay for the cleanup, disregarding the $75 Million corrorate lifesaver cap law, that limited BP's liability in the Spill. Managed to get BP to start paying some claims from those suffering in financial hell.

The other and only straight option was go in guns blazing and sink BP's Corporate Ship. Charge them, lock'em up for the Deepwater Spill in light of their reckless record and hundreds of safety violations. Put BP in receivership where it belongs. Send in the Army and clean up the horrendous mess. That would have been the Change We Need, but as a political cat with 9 lives behind a podium, Obama didn't want to risk his Presidency on a gamble with American Oil or these 5 guys who might cut and run further Offshore to any of the many regulation-free Tax Havens abroad or to Dubai like Haliburton did, or try to anyway. So reform the whole rotten industry that's destroying the planet? Extreme, well not if you read up on it.

Even during the Oval Office Address that night, when everybody thought there would finally be some action from the White House, it was more the winter fireside chat, fire out, without the Christmas Tree.

June 16 Update: Obama Inaction Plan Wins Big: $20 Billion From BP

If Obama is smart as a politico, is he smart enough to lead the nation? Or did he outsmart America's gut instincts and instead doom the Gulf to save some BP Corporate Paper and billions of lousy bucks? Stop and contain the Spill or get the money? Two long months later too late for anything else, there's only one smart choice left, play along and get the money.

Shaking down the BP Empire, the BP Corporate heads marshalled at the White House today to play ball, Obama scored an escrow account as promised at a tidy $20 Billion yet for those hurt by the BP Spill. To be run independently from BP and from the Government, the new setup is another chance for Gulf residents denied their money or nickel and dimed by BP. Plus another $100 Million for lost wages for rig crews idled by Obama's expanded 6 month moratorium on deep sea drilling until it's safe. Though BP gets a beak. Not $20 Billion now, but the damage fund topped up from time to time from BP's deep pockets, hopefully deep enough.

The new claims procedure is better and doesn't limit anyone or any State's rights to sue BP and the $20 Billion doesn't cap the damages either for BP. It's a win-win for everybody except BP and its shareholders who won't see a dime in dividends for at least a year.

Hopefully it will be easier to get claims processed and paid than understanding the White House video (CNN alternate link).

The White House Tries To Explain How To Get Money

Obama's other promise last night to capture Up To 90% of the Spill with built-in loads of room for error, is still weeks away. At least some sort of murky future is coming into focus. It could take years to bring back the Gulf and the Gulf way of life, but Obama also said he's getting a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan in motion that he's asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, to develop. And on top of that big plans for a new Greener energy economy.

Wow. Good enough for starters. Better than we hoped from yesterday's homily, as long as BP keeps paying the bills. But how long do we have? Dr Leifer who's in charge of the Government's flow assessment said that if the Deepwater well can't be capped, it could spew oil for another 20 or 30 years.

Getting it right when it's too late?

--Alan Gillis