Monday, June 28, 2010

RIP, Senator Byrd

Senator Robert Byrd Dies at 92

For more than a third of its 144-year existence, the state of West Virginia was represented in the U.S. Senate by one man: Robert C. Byrd. So encompassing was Byrd's 50 years of service in the Senate and so encyclopedic his institutional knowledge that by the time he died early Monday morning, he had become not just the political personification of West Virginia in the nation's capital, but the embodiment and ambassador of the Senate itself to the rest of the country. Byrd was admitted to hospital last week for dehydration, and his condition worsened over the weekend as he became critically ill. Twice its majority leader, a master of its all-powerful rules and a fierce defender of its prerogatives, Byrd was as much a part of the place as the wooden desks, steep-sloped galleries and soaring speeches that filled it. Byrd was 92.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Gulf of Mexico got in BP's way?

John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune

"How Republicans Would Govern"

Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star-News

How about apologizing for the BP gusher of lies?
Not long ago, BP joined the other oil companies in greenwashing their image by making it appear that they were developing clean energy, when all they were really doing was going for broke in pursuing the last drops of oil in places that it was so dangerous to drill in, we are still left with the possibility that the floor of the Gulf of Mexico may blow up and it will become literally a sea of oil.

All you need to know about Tony Hayward is that he believes PR can save BP from prosecution for criminal malfeasance.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oil Slick Dickitude

BP tries to create its own reality.

video: Olbermann: BP Starting To Sound Like Baghdad Bob
The protestations of foreign oil giant BP about their efforts to contain their cataclysmic oil disaster have become increasingly divorced from reality. [...]

Featured in the montage are BP CEO Tony Hayward, COO Doug Suttles, and managing director Bob Dudley, the men running the disastrous response to their company’s catastrophe.

And they're not very good at it.

BP’s failures made worse by PR mistakes
BP is already fighting an oil gusher it can't contain and watching its mighty market value wither away. Its own bumbling public-relations efforts are making a big mess worse.

Not only has it made a series of gaffes — none greater than the CEO's complaint that "I'd like my life back" — the company hasn't even followed its own internal guidelines for damage control after a spill.

Executives have quibbled about the existence of undersea plumes of oil, downplayed the potential damage early in the crisis and made far-too-optimistic predictions for when the spill could be stopped. BP's steadiest public presence has been the ever-present live TV shot of the untamed gusher.

As you can see.

WKRG News (Mobile/Pensacola) Live Stream

Will the BP Fiasco Change U.S. Politics? Don't Bet on It
This is a constant drumbeat, but think about it: Isn't it remarkable how transcendentally awful BP's approach to the Gulf disaster has been? At each and every turn, with the stakes impossibly high, BP has always chosen to do the wrong thing. There's the substance -- having no emergency worst-case contingency plans for a blowout, disingenuously refusing to estimate the amount of oil flowing. There's the politics and image stuff, including CEO Tony Hayward's lies and self-pity and the platoons of lawyers and PR people trying to keep cleanup workers silent and choke off media attention. It's been an awesome display of every kind of 21st century corporate dick-itude. [...]

Meanwhile, the cult of the free market, which too often means letting big business do what it wants, retained a powerful hold on U.S. politics. We're still learning all the ways in which the Bush administration pulled out all the political and regulatory stops for big oil and other energy industries, which led to a culture of lax oversight and technological corner-cutting in a high-risk activity.

Now: When disaster struck, it quickly became obvious that all the green stuff was just for show. Where it counted, BP had not been green at all, but murky brown. Today, with the Gulf of Mexico getting more fouled by the hour and the eyes of the world riveted on its every move (the one time you really, really want to get corporate PR right) BP has demonstrated it cares more about covering its own arse than doing the right thing.


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Saturday, June 05, 2010

How big is the BP oil disaster?

How big is BP's disaster? Pretty darned big. For some size perspective, check out: If it was my home.

How far might the oil slick spread?
The National Center for Atmospheric Research, which does a lot of computer modeling of the air and oceans, has put together a simulation of where the oil from the Deepwater Horizon might go over the next hundred days. In a word: far.

Here is a live feed, courtesy of PBS:

Photos: Gulf Oil Spill: Animals In Peril

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