Weather Forecast


Column: I'll give you an oil spill

In compiling this week's Time Capsule, I ran into a story about Lund Boats being used to aid the clean up of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, at that time, in 1989, the worst oil catastrophe in the country's history.

It was also in this week, 21 years ago, that Exxon pulled clean up crews from the Alaskan area due to potential danger, mainly rough seas and weather.

What a mess.

Exxon's president told Congressional leaders, an oxymoron, of the company's plan to suspend activity and maybe return in the spring of 1990 to "inspect the area."

That's like me saying I'm going to go on a bender for a few months, then come back and see how my job is going.

I work in the sports department because it allows me to work in this industry without having to pay a lot of attention to televised news. I just can't watch it most of the time. It's embarrassing, annoying or downright insulting to my intelligence.

For the most part, I believe it is mostly concocted lies and propaganda, aside from the typical end of broadcast human-interest story to make the viewer feel good after sitting through 20-some minutes of spew from some over-made up talking head.

So a few months ago, when the heads started every broadcast with an eerie-voiced "catastrophe in the gulf," and Katie Couric was spotted in a helicopter getting total coverage, I scoffed at the hyperbole while mortified at the subject matter.

Not so much for how it was going to be cleaned up or who was going to be held responsible, or even how it happened. I was bracing more for the weeks ahead of sidebar stories of incompetence on all fronts.

That's what I hear on those rare days I catch the news.

From the top down, overpaid suits yipping, yapping, him hawing, heehawing, blathering and replacing action with blind rhetoric.

See why I don't work in news. Imagine having to read my coverage of anything political. There's no left or right. There's a wagging, raised fist in the face of ineptitude.

I just wouldn't be able to keep my trap shut about the ridiculous nature of our world, specifically, how it is governed and maintained. It's a corporate cesspool.

It's like I need thousands of gallons of mud and cement poured into my mouth to keep quiet some days. Hurry! Get me off to a baseball game!

The cement cap poured on top of the BP nightmare of oil allegedly hardened enough to create a solid seal.

Let's ask the corporation and government responsible for this flub fixing what they think about it.

"No one at BP or with the government is willing to declare victory over the spill."

But Thad Allen, the government's oil spill watchdog said he is confident that day isn't far away.

What is this? A War on Oil Spills? Like the War on Drugs and the War on Terror?

It's a War on Competence and the people fighting have waterboarded responsibility to unconsciousness.

There's no profit in doing things right in an expedient fashion. The public gives no reason for anyone to step up and actually provide an answer to a simple question.

There's no prophet in either industry or any of the three branches of government willing to head a War on Incompetence.

It's far too easy to just make it all up as you go along, like news anchors, government officials and corporate executives do so often under bright lights in front of cameras, putting on a show to entertain the gaping public.

If only there was a cap to seal their mouths.

A factor that could complicate drilling and clean up work this week is a cluster of weather moving from Florida into the northern Gulf.

Maybe they can just take off a few months and think about checking up on it next spring.

What a mess.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442