Obama ripped into oil company executives this morning in a speech, accusing them of making a "ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings in this matter" on Wednesday, with "executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else." Harsh words, but not unexpected. After all, these three companies are attempting to dodge blame at the same time that the public demands accountability from them.
More surprising were Obama's words for the Minerals Management Service, a federal agency that the President lambasted for having a cozy relationship with the oil companies. "It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. "That cannot and will not happen anymore," he said. Yes, that is the President of the United States admitting that a federal agency screwed up in a big way. We're impressed.
Obama didn't offer any new solutions to the spill in his speech, however. He simply reiterated what we've already heard about threading a tube into riser pipe and using a small containment dome (or a "top hat") to contain the leak. We recently learned that a group of five scientists (a physicist, a researcher, a mining engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a hydrogen bomb expert) have been assembled by the government to come up with innovative approaches to stopping the spill. But next time, how about a countrywide call for innovation?