Sorry if that seems impolite, but what better way to describe the fouling of so many beaches and marshes, to say nothing of the lives of those who rely on their precious section of Mother Earth?

Yes, I know. You don't just take over an oil company. For starters, they're all more powerful than any government ... at any level, federal, state or local.

It would take uncharacteristically bold action by the president. This would have to be far beyond the photo-ops of his determined expression and clenched jaw. The leaks (pardon the expression) from aides informing us he's in his No-More-Mr.-Nice-Guy-I-Really-Mean-It-This-Time mode just aren't enough, not even when he's quoted as snapping, "Plug the damned hole.” He'll have to BE a decisive leader, not just play one on TV.

He needs to demand whatever takeover authority he requires from Congress. Big problem: Many members have been bought off by the energy companies.

Assuming he leaps over that impossible hurdle and gets the legislation passed in this election fundraising year, the biggest dilemma would be the choice of an agency to run the operation.

Let's see: Would it be the Minerals Management Service? Don't think so. It would be really hard to control an oil company when you're in the pockets of all of them, like the fun-loving people at MMS.

How about others in Washington's alphabet soup? SEC? We can eliminate those guys with two words: "Bernie Madoff.” And it's the same wherever you turn.

The oligarchs have cut whatever corners they want to. In this case they have shown they will keep the oil and revenue flowing in gushers. Even with inept regulators, the profiteers have been allowed to run amok — or in this situation, amuck.

So why bother? Effective action may well be a fantasy. "Them that got" ain't about to give up their ill-gotten, and our government is too puny to make them pay to clean up their messes.

About the best we can expect is the appointment of still another commission, like a panel to Study Limitations in Mitigating Emergencies (SLIME).

What we have sadly discovered is that when it comes to "too big to fail," nothing is ... certainly not our institutions, public or private. Unfortunately, they are all failing us.

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