Bureaucracy At Its Finest

I, like the pelicans, enjoyed the Gulf Coast while it was not so oily. You know, back in the day. Like, March. But I have the feeling that those days are completely gone. It's become clear to me that it is no longer a matter of when the oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster will be cleaned up, but it's a matter of IF it will EVER be cleaned up. Actually, I'll take that a step further. It's now a matter of anyone will be ALLOWED to ATTEMPT to clean it up. And if the federal government is going to have much more to do with it, the answer will be a resounding no.

Let me tell you what happened yesterday. Tell me if this does not make you just want to pound your head upside a wall and not stop until you lose consciousness and/or at least a pint of cranial fluids. According to something called the
Associated Content and the more familiar ABC News, there really doesn't seem to be anyone in charge of anything. That's why Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana (who seems to act like a distant relative of Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock on occasion) has spent the last ten days trying to get a bunch of barges out into the gulf so that they can begin sucking up some of the bazillion-gazillion gallons of oil that is ruining the ocean. He finally got his barges. He got sixteen barges. And they got right to work sucking up that oil. That is, until the US Coast Guard shut them down.

So here we have something finally being done and being effective in the way that that oil that shouldn't be in the ocean was being removed from the ocean by these barges. OK? That's a good thing, right? Naturally, with some progress (albeit a small amount of progress) being made, there had to be a pretty good reason for the Coast Guard to halt the work of these barges and send them back to shore, right? Well, that's what you'd think. But in this ridiculous, utopian world that people are trying to create, that's not exactly what happened here. No, the barges were ordered to stop sucking up the oil and to return to shore so that the Coast Guard could make sure that the barges all had fire extinguishers and life jackets aboard. Um, wait. What the what?!

You have got to be dry shaving me! Fire extinguishers?! Oh, right. Because if there had been fire extinguishers aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded, a fire extinguisher would have been key! And life jackets?! Really? They're BARGES. THOSE are the reasons why you're having those sixteen barges return to shore? Where they would then SIT for another 24 hours?! What in the world is wrong with you people?!

Tell me this: Could the Coast Guard have not sent someone out to those barges to poke their nose around while the barge was at sea and was actively vacuuming up oil to do their little fire extinguisher count? Why did it take over 24 hours to inspect 16 barges? Couldn't they have just checked with whoever made the barges or whatever and asked them how many fire extinguishers and life jackets were provided for each vessel? Oh, well, sure. They could have done that. But apparently, they had trouble finding the barge making folks. So instead of having a barge out at sea without enough fire extinguishers, they decided to have all of the barges stop what they were doing, return to shore and sit there while the oil continues to wreak havoc on the once beautiful and once wonderful ocean.

This could possibly be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. And it's a perfect example of how the perceived necessity of over-regulation is going to be the downfall of this country. It's already proving itself to be the downfall of the Gulf Coast environment. Give it time. It will make its way to the rest of the land. I guarantee it.