I was listening to the NPR 7am newscast Wednesday morning, as we honkies occasionally do, and waiting for some information on The Spill, an event that is beyond historic and beyond disaster. But there's a lot of news today. A passenger jet crashes in Tripoli with only one survivor, a child (who is whisked off to a secret holding facility in Greenland for potential messiahs). Obama meets with Karzai in DC. Elena Kagan for Supreme Court Justice. A bomb in Iraq that had been placed in a corpse, killing three people and injuring many. (NPR's story called it a "dramatic attack," but that's dismally normal stuff for Iraq. It probably didn't make the news in Iraq.) There are many interesting things going on, and the Spill is hardly breaking news any more, it's understandable that one might have to wade three or four stories deep into the report before hearing anything about it. But the next story wasn't about the Spill either, it was about the Oklahoma governor touring "literally hundreds" of storm-damaged homes in his state after a recent squall. Eh? Note, not a story about a bad storm, but about a politician's pre-packaged speechifying in the wake of it. Not much of a story there. The next story was an in-depth look at ... a recent change in the federal government's hiring practices. Whoa. And the last story was about the new coalition government in England. NPR's 7am newscast ended, not a single word about the Spill.

Did I wake up in ... 1984?

[5/13/10 -- Thursday morning. Another 7 am NPR broadcast without a word on the Spill. Instead, a lengthy report on a meaningless Obama photo-op in Buffalo. Later in the day they did a story, so I hear.]

It's not just NPR. There's been a creepy slow-down in all news coverage of the Spill in the past several days, ever since the much ballyhooed 'containment dome' drama played out, sucking the lifeblood out of a credulous corporate news media which thrives on happy feelings and chokes on reality. This deafening silence comes just as the slick is making its very fashionably-late entrance on beaches and in the delicate marshes along the coast, enveloping the Mississippi River delta with finality, smothering it on both sides. There's very little hope or light in the story, and nothing new to report if you're just sitting there in Louisiana waiting for BP and the government to spoonfeed you misinformation. Just as the slick starts to hit the coastlines the nation wants to turn away from the huge mess it made and pretend it's not there.

Anybody interested in knowing what's actually going on should cast a very cynical eye not only at the substantially uninformed ramblings of people like myself but at official statements issued from the companies involved, at the sly day-by-day manipulations by company spokesmen, at statements from government agencies and appointees, as well as the compromised news reports which are produced almost exclusively from these tainted sources. Instead, seek information from expert sources that are on the more independent side of the scale.

Here are just a few relatively independent and interesting sources of info I've been looking at:

Forecast/Hindcast of oil spill trajectory based on West Florida Shelf ROMS. College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. This projection only looks forward a few days into the future, but that's plenty freaky enough.


THE GREAT BEYOND Blog on the site of the journal Nature. Reports from scientists on the water studying the spill.


Articles by 'Heading Out' on The Oil Drum. Speculation, but informed speculation.

An article about toxic chemical dispersant from Bellona, a Norwegian environmental NGO.

Toxicological Effects of Disperants and Dispersed Oil Killing the ocean to save the beach, while failing to save the beach. Killing the ocean is preferred by BP and the feds, because people won't be able to see very well what's going on in there.

Suzanne Goldenberg, "Marine scientists study ocean-floor film of Deepwater oil leak," Guardian, May 13, 2010. 70,000 barrels/day.

Ian Urbina, "US Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits," NYT, May 13, 2010. And not only that, granted at least five new permits since Secretary Salazar proclaimed that no new permits would be granted until further review. Pissed off scientists get to say I Told You So. This article includes a link to a letter from NOAA to MMS that I can't download.

I guess we can comfort ourselves in a way with the knowledge that much of the ocean around the Mississippi River Canyon, as it's known, is already dead as a doornail, due to the flood of pesticides and other toxic crud that has been washing down the river from the nation's heartland for the past hundred years.