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George Kenney on the BP Oil Catastrophe May 16, 2010

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in BP/Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe, disasters, fossil fuel, oil, oil spill.
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George Kenney, a former career U.S. foreign service officer who resigned in 1991 over U.S. policy toward the Yugoslav conflict, is a writer and consultant based in Washington, D.C.  He produces and hosts a podcast at Electric Politics and is on the Board of Editors of the magazine In These Times. The following comment is from his blog where, in addition to the kind words about my post, he states that he will not use the word “spill” to describe the catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf:

Word Power

Deepwater Horizon rig burningEvery now and then — well, probably more often than that — public discourse settles upon the wrong word to describe something important. Using the wrong word makes it much more difficult, if not impossible, to have an intelligent and productive exchange of ideas. Such is the case with the Gulf catastrophe. At some subliminal level I had hesitated a fraction of a second before using the word “spill,” but mentally shrugged and went ahead and used it anyway. Like everybody else. That was a mistake. As Jill Schneiderman points out, in an absolutely brilliant, perfectly simple observation, it’s not a spill: It’s a gusher, or a blowout, or something along those lines. The earth’s crust is cracked, a mind-boggling volume of oil has started to leak out. It might even leak a billion barrels. We just don’t know. And we really don’t know how to fix it… Thanks, Jill, and Kudos to you! The word “spill” shall now be retired, at least on this blog.

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