The news of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is depressing in that "oh crap we're going to be feeling this for a while" sort of way. Everyone deserves to take a chunk of blame for this one. BP, for obvious reasons--drilling in waters that deep without an adequate contingency plan for something going wrong with the equipment. The federal government, for being so lax with its regulations and so sluggish in its response. And the rest of us, for our insatiable desire for sweet, sweet oil.
When it's all said and done, this will probably end on its own, with all the oil from that particular oil mine (or whatever you call that reserve of oil that they were drilling) running out because no one will have figured out how to plug the leak. BP and the feds--essentially the Beavis and Butthead of this ordeal--will both try and take credit for stopping the oil flow, which is sort of like a farmer taking credit for a rainstorm ending. The escaped oil will take a decade to clean up, while the ecosystem in the Gulf will be wrecked for much longer than that. Tourism and fisheries will be destroyed there, harming an already weak economy. And the oil slicks will warm up the waters in that area enough to make for some punishing hurricanes. At least the federal government has been good at responding to major hurricanes in that area!
The problem is, at this stage there's not much that can be done. Perhaps sinking some large vessels over the leak could stem the flow, or building sand berms along the coast (at the beginning of the crisis) might have done something. But now, trying to clean up the mess is sort of like drying off patio furniture in middle of a rainstorm. Everyone's frustration over this isn't going to do any good--the cow is out of the barn.
With that unhappy thought, let me divert you with this amusing spoof of the BP spill.