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  (Source: Mother Jones)

Dead sea creatures are washing ashore, including endangered sea turtles and dolphins. This is one of the dolphin corpses that washed ashore.  (Source: Mother Jones)

Meanwhile, offshore, live dolphins are getting dangerous close to beaching themselves in an effort to escape the toxic spill.  (Source: AP)

BP is trying to clean up the spill by dumping "paper towels" -- special oil absorbant paper-based pads -- on the beach. BP and government officials are reportedly banning the media from unauthorized visits to coastal parks.  (Source: Mother Jones)
Dolphins, sea turtles, and sea birds are dying from the spill; as are local businesses

Marine scientists following wildlife in The Gulf of Mexico say they are witnessing a bizarre and perhaps unprecedented exodus of wildlife.  The creatures are fleeing the thick layers of oil and dispersants that are washing ashore from the wreck of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig that in late April exploded and began spilling oil into the Gulf.

Dolphins and whales, who can suffer organ damage, brain damage, fertility issues, and even death from exposure to the toxic vapors, are swimming into shallow waters, putting themselves in danger of being beached.  Meanwhile, mullets, crabs, rays, small fish, and oil-drenched sea birds are fleeing into the swamps surrounding the Gulf Coast.

Unfortunately the overcrowding may result in the creatures dying anyways from lack of oxygen or being picked off by hungry predators.  But the animals have little choice.  States Larry Crowder, a Duke University marine biologist, "A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable."

So far 783 birds, 353 turtles and 41 mammals (dolphins and whales) have died as a result of the spill.  There have been conflicting reports on the death tolls; some estimates from wildlife officials this week (such as a Monday morning interview aired on National Public Radio) claim much higher totals of dead sea birds -- as many as 2,000.

The deaths are tragic, but still have yet to approach the loss of life that resulted when the Exxon Valdez spilled its cargo of oil off the coast of Alaska in 1989.  That spill killed an estimated 250,000 birds and 2,800 otters.

Wildlife aren't the only thing dying in the region.  Scores of local businesses that rely on tourism, seafood, or boating are also also collapsing or close to collapse.  Under pressure from President Obama, BP has set up a compensation fund to pay off those who lost business, but it is not clear yet how fully or quickly claims are being filled.

Meanwhile an interesting twist has come in the cleanup attempts.  As BP waits for the completion of a lengthy relief well drilling operation, it has reportedly resorted to dropping oil absorbant paper-based pads on the shore that its workers refer to as "paper towels".  Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland was the first to get pictures of the unusual approach.

Some (such as the anchors on NPR's Friday "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me") have criticized the fact that BP is cutting down trees to clean up the marine disaster.  Perhaps the use of "paper towels" shouldn't come as a surprise, though -- in the past BP has compared plugging the leaking well to plugging up a toilet.

Another point raised by McClelland is that BP contractors and government officials with state Department(s) of Wildlife and Fisheries have cordoned off the sea shore at wildlife shores and manned it with security guards to try to prevent reporters from unauthorized exploration the scene.  According to NPR radio, when contacted the officials claimed that they were indeed allowing reporters to check out the shore, but you merely had to apply for permits.  They say that unauthorized access could endanger the cleanup.  McClelland obviously gained access by other means, though -- his kayak.

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RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By theplaidfad on 6/21/2010 3:51:06 PM , Rating: 0
Wow, just wow. A huge disaster that is changing things for the worse now, and will have a huge negative impact for years to come, and people rate up a comment making a joke of it.

You people are scum, think about it...

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By MozeeToby on 6/21/2010 4:28:51 PM , Rating: 3
It's called gallows humor. It is a very common, very normal reaction to stressful or uncomfortable situations. For Christ's sake, the Jews had jokes about the holocaust that they told while still locked concentration camps . Relax, get off the soap box, and reflect on the meaning of the word 'sarcasm' for a moment.

By Acanthus on 6/21/2010 7:43:45 PM , Rating: 1

By FaceMaster on 6/22/2010 6:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, it's the American way to laugh at everybody apart from themselves!

By CyborgTMT on 6/21/2010 4:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
sar·casm n.
1.A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2.A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By Mojo the Monkey on 6/21/2010 4:33:56 PM , Rating: 3
Get off your high horse and take it easy. You'll rupture an aneurysm in your brain.

Not even a really spiffy Top Hat could fix that problem.

But seriously, you're right, everyone should be solemn and angry all the time like you. What were we thinking, trying not to be sourpusses.

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By theplaidfad on 6/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By knutjb on 6/21/2010 5:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
Please get off the political correctness diatribe. Yes it was tasteless, but so are many jokes on TV. It's that 1st amendment thing.

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By theplaidfad on 6/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By amanojaku on 6/21/2010 9:19:28 PM , Rating: 5
The people, if any exist, who can fix this problem are already working on it. There's no point in getting angry at people for making jokes about a topic they have no control over. Other than making donations the best we can do is shrug and move on. Humor helps. Crying about it and assuming the rest of the world doesn't care only shows how out of touch you are.

By psaus42 on 6/22/2010 7:07:40 AM , Rating: 2
Here here
People need to lighten up. I don't like what is going on, and I think several people throughout the chain have f'd up. But humor and sarcasm tend to be needed most in a bad time.

Very tasteless joke, but I still laughed... following it with a frown for the bad situation.

"can't we all just get along?"

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By theplaidfad on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By neogrin on 6/22/10, Rating: 0
By amanojaku on 6/22/2010 4:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
that everyone downrates your post, not because the posts are actually "Not Worth Reading", but because we hate you personally.
Not EVERYONE, but definitely some people. In fact, someone did it to me today. I've suspected it for a while, but today I KNOW it happened, because I lost points on several posts in less than an HOUR. If these were posts that I put up today or yesterday I would just chalk it up to people not liking what I said. Thing is, several posts that are two weeks old or older lost points, too! And posts contradictory to mine were rated up, but no one's posted a comment to those articles in weeks.

There are clearly people on DT who read one comment they don't like, then rape you on every other comment they can. It's not like the scores mean anything (I value you guys' opinions, but it doesn't pay the rent :-), but it's pretty silly.

If it's not that then DT has a seriously broken scoring database.

By AstroGuardian on 6/23/2010 7:48:34 AM , Rating: 2
+1 Definitely!

By ClownPuncher on 6/21/2010 6:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
Is this a bad time for dead baby jokes, my pious and indignant friend?

By afkrotch on 6/21/2010 7:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever, go back to using your computer that has gold inside from strip mining, powered by the electricity from coal mining, inside your house created from deforestation.

The rest of us will go back to our light humour.

RE: I don't see what the big deal is
By bupkus on 6/22/2010 12:01:17 AM , Rating: 1
this ass-backwards society

yes, and I understand all too well your frustration with the ideologues
who post here. I don't know whether to feel anger, sadness or pity for the intellectual shallowness of these "educated" posters.
Should the sea level rise to the point that refugees fleeing the coasts come tramping through these deniers' towns they'll probably just blame liberalism or conservatism or anyone other than themselves.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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