Posts Tagged ‘BP’

Letter From New York, July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

Another week, another celebrity meltdown… This past week, we’ve been privileged to learn more about Mel Gibson’s private life than we ever wanted to know as his now ex-girlfriend released alleged tapes of his mad phone calls to her – so full of invective and threats and just plain craziness that most of America threw up their arms in disbelief. Sounding more like a love crazed teenager than a fifty something year old man, Gibson’s ranting so alienated people that his talent agency, William Morris Endeavor, dropped him from their list of clients. It is so bad that pundits have declared his career dead even as he finishes a film directed by Jodi Foster. I’ve never been a fan of Mr. Gibson’s; I do find this public descent painful to watch, embarrassing and sad though many feel he is only getting his just disserts.

There are thankfully signs of hope down in the Gulf of Mexico. The most recent cap on the leaking well seems to be holding though everyone is cautious. BP’s comments are very careful, in consideration of the number of gaffes it has produced in the months since the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank. Doug Suttles, BP COO, who when describing the apparent success of this cap, was so careful with his words that it was a bit hard to decipher the good news contained in them. If all continues to go well, the flow may stay contained all the way through the completion of the additional wells that are being drilled to seal the leak.

Against the good news, there was a scary story I found on Google News that sounded a bit like the conspiracy theory of the week – apparently the reason that both the government and BP are keeping the press so far away from everything to do with the oil spill is that they are concerned we will all find out that the real problem isn’t the leaking oil but all the methane that is building up. 55,000,000 years ago the planet Earth went through an extinction level event because of methane going boom! in the Gulf of Mexico area. Pretty much wiped out life on the planet as it was known then and this article was worried about a repeat. This is something I need to consult with my friend Howard Bloom on – he knows more than anyone else I know. More later, after I talk with him.

While the drilling continues into the earth to stop the Gulf Oil Spill from continuing, and while some are worried about the methane being disturbed by the drilling, the technology pundits keep turning attention on the elegant new iPhone 4 which has reception problems. There is an antenna fault and attempts to dismiss it as a software glitch haven’t gone down so well. Owners of iPhone 4 [I’m not, yet] are being given covers that mask the problem. Consumer Reports informs us that duct tape works as well – thank god for duct tape. Though this all seems “much ado about nothing.”

Last week we had Russian spies going back to Moscow; this week we have an Iranian defector un-defecting and going back to Tehran. He says the U.S. kidnapped him, but we deny that. Apparently he leaves behind $5 million we gave him for information. Certainly he is going to be facing lots of questions now that he is back at home and I suspect not all of them will be pleasant.

Elena Kagan will be coming up for confirmation this week. Argentina has become the 9th country to legalize gay marriage. George Steinbrenner, “The Boss” of the Yankees passed away after a colorful career as a team owner. More suicide attacks in Baghdad. Nelson Mandela celebrated his 92nd birthday. Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open. Busy week this past week, lots of news, good and bad.

Me? I enjoyed the fawn that crossed my path in Claverack this morning and the family of geese that waddled across the yard on their way down to the creek. I celebrate those moments while pondering the methane down in the Gulf…

Letter From New York June 9, 2010

June 10, 2010

Or, as it seems to me

It’s been an enormously busy week with lots of pressures from the things I am working on – the mobile channel, the website rebuild, other client demands. My mind has been cluttered and I found myself at 5:15 this morning staring at my coffee maker having an intense conversation with myself about all the things needing to be done – and I doubt that is an unusual situation for many, if not most, Americans – that early, early morning internal conversation about what was ahead during the day.

However, when things grow quieter in my brain, I think about the variety of things that are happening outside of my particular universe.

I don’t follow baseball. I don’t follow any sport at all. But I was struck this past week by the story of the umpire who made the horrifically bad call that cost a player named Gallaraga a perfect game. Jim Joyce was the umpire who made the call, astoundingly bad, he admitted when he saw the replay. Joyce stood up, like a man, and apologized to Gallaraga. And what was even more astounding was that Gallaraga accepted the apology and the two of them stood together on the field and were cheered by the crowds for having acted like – good men. Instead of disintegrating into invective, which would have been easy in this fraught situation, two men accepted the flaws of the human condition and celebrated it in the best possible way. Bravo!

Down in the gulf, the oil kept spilling, if somewhat tempered by a containment dome placed on the wellhead. Better but still not good. I have been watching this story as carefully as I can. I have been astounded by the number of people on the street who have been talking about it and part of the reason there has been so much talk is because people have been riveted by the photographs of AP shooter Charlie Reidel. His photos of sludge-covered pelicans captured the horror of the oil spill in a way that nothing else quite has – it made this event palpably real. Spread across television networks and newspapers around the world the photos of Charlie Reidel proved a picture is worth a thousand words. BP is staging a $50 million advertising and public relations campaign but the money and the effort may be no match for these pictures. [See:

Long ago I became a subscriber to the Maritime Executive Newsletter. I did it because they were following the pirate situation off the Horn of Africa and I thought there was a really good story there. Now they are providing some excellent analysis of the oil spill and I find their maritime perspective interesting.

Almost a century ago, the great shipping lines that plied the North Atlantic route between the US and Britain began to build really big ships. However, the laws that governed them did not keep up with the technology and the ravenous need of the companies to serve the demand for berths on the North Atlantic. Hence, when the White Star Line began building a trio of ships, the largest in the world, they were able to legally outfit them without enough lifeboats for everyone on board and that didn’t change until Titanic, the second of that trio of ships, struck an iceberg and went down with a horrific loss of life – then the laws were changed. The Maritime Executive Newsletter made a parallel to those events with this oil spill. No one was prepared for the worst possible case of Titanic hitting that iceberg and sinking and no one was prepared for the worst possible case of this oil spill. We will be playing technological and legal catch up for oilrigs just as the British Parliament and Congress did for lifeboats after the sinking of Titanic.