Archive for March 2011
An old fashioned clock, a family heirloom holding its place on a worn fireplace mantle, chimes the ten o’clock hour. The silence the strikes disrupt is loud, louder than the churning waves of the gulf, of the boat motor that once went out into the waters, of the wall-phone ringing…
Probably just another creditor.
The couple sitting at the table don’t even look up. Answering it is out of the question.
The man’s baseball hat is pulled low. She can’t see his eyes as he reads from the letter and she isn’t sure she even wants too. Between them, sunlight comes in through dusty windows, stabs of light that once seemed warm, heating up the surface of their kitchen tables in the long Alabama mornings are now just a reminder of everything happening outside the walls of their home, of their closed restaurant. The prices of oysters got so high, and in time it didn’t even matter if they could afford them. Nobody wanted to eat the seafood anymore.
She watches as he reaches across the table for his cigarettes and lights one up. Their eyes meet briefly, but both look away fast, singed.
The chiming of the clock stops.
The kids will be home tomorrow.
She desperately wants to ask about the paper, almost as badly as she would rather remain in the dark.
She isn’t even angry anymore, those feelings were long ago replaced with resentment, only to be substituted again by a smothering resignation, more oppressive than the hottest summer she can remember, back when she was a young girl, back in the days when her parents were invincible and the worst thing she could imagine was to be embarrassed in front of a boy she kinda liked, maybe, but wouldn’t admit to liking, no way…
She and her husband have been married for nineteen years and it’s never been this bad before, not even during the aftermath of Katrina.
They had to repair the restaurant then, but unlike the hurricane, the oil spill kept coming and it closed them down.
“Well,” he says, something…finally.
She looks at him, but he’s still hiding below the brim of his hat.
“It’s an offer.”
She allows herself to hope, just briefly, but she knows it’s a lie. He still won’t look at her.
“It won’t bring back the restaurant, but it might save the house, for a little while.”
She doesn’t respond to this, not right away…She doesn’t know what to say.
The sun is so warm, unseasonably so.
And we’ll get through this, she thinks, she doesn’t know how, but some way. They’re strong, they’ve had to be many times in their marriage and they’ll have to be even stronger now.
“You okay?” he asks.
She looks back at him where their eyes meet again. Neither turn away this time and she’s struck by how much older he looks, aging fast over the past year, ever since the oil started drifting their way…
“Yes,” she lies, and then quickly corrects herself, “No, no, but I want to be, I will be.”
“Me too,” he says, unsmiling.
The phone rings again.
And this time she flinches, “We’re going to have to get a lawyer, it’s the only way.”
He sighs, nodding, and exhales smoke through the dirty rays of the sun…
This ain’t exactly the way it happened of course, of how a family, or of how many families decided they had to sue British Petroleum to have any chance the company would actually make things right…
But the point of such naratives are to remind anyone who forgets that the people on the Gulf Coast are not statistics on a GCCF website.
They’re people and they’re families.
If only Feinberg would realize this, instead of just saying the words…
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Just wanted to send a quick note of congratulations to G, and her husband. They got in touch with me sometime ago about their claims, expressing their frustrations with investigations by the GCCF, disgust with the length of time it was taking…79 days to get a quick payment? And an overall disappointment with BP and Feinberg for the damages, the stalling, the runaround and the lies.
Well, they got paid today, so I just wanted to say congratulations to them and a continuing best of luck to everybody who’s still waiting. Like G. and her husband, may all eventually have the good fortune to finally be done with the GCCF and their miserly ways…
From the Walton Sun:
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) announced Monday that more than half of the claims submitted to the organization for losses associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been processed. Ken Feinberg, GCCF administrator, reported more than 54 percent of the roughly 256,000 claims submitted since the end of the emergency payment period in November have been processed.
“We are determined to continue to accelerate the processing of all individual and business claims submitted to the GCCF. I remain concerned about the number of claims which lack proof and remain unsubstantiated,” Feinberg said in a statement.
Wow, sounds pretty good on the surface of things…course, once one digs a little deeper the problems begin to rear their oily heads…
In Florida, where 38% of the 260, 739 claims filed were paid, though the total paid out was more about $1.25 billion, this means the average final payment comes to about $12,600 dollars. Twelve thousand dollars for total loss of wages, present and future, in an un-recovered Gulf. When you take into account that these average numbers are helped by larger payments to businesses, how much are individuals really getting?
Certainly not enough to make things right.
Also, out of the 62,204 applications submitted for interim payments, you know, those pesky claims where people don’t have to waive their right to sue British Petroleum, the GCCF’s percentage of claimants paid, that 50% number drops significantly. In fact, it drops to 4%. Of the interim payments filed, less than 2500 claims have been paid.
So, if Feinberg and the GCCF have paid half of the final payment claims, claims where people must waive their right to sue while only paying 4% of the claims where people do not, what do you think might be happening out there?
Yeah, that’s right, it would appear that people are being funneled by frustration with the interim payment process into making final payment claims.
And who would benefit the most from that development?
British Petroleum, the same company that pays Feinberg.
Have a nice day.
Wow, just wow…
One of Bobby Jindal’s corporate buddies made the news today…
Turns out that the nuclear industry in Japan has a horrible safety record, which some experts are suggesting is partly to blame in the severity of the meltdowns as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
And now, the Japanese nuclear industry is coming to America.
TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company is coming to Texas to build two nuclear plants and they apparently have a safety record that could make even British Petroleum look like, well…like a different oil company than British Petroleum.
Anyways, all nuclear power plants have to be certified for “SQ” or Seismic Qualification be it Japan or any other place and the easiest way to do this is to lie, something the industry apparently does a lot of. In 1988, a nuclear plant in Shoreham, New York was told they didn’t meet their “SQ,” and in order to do so, it would have cost one billion in updates. Instead of spending the money, the company in charge of the plant told their engineers to simply change the tests from “fail,” to “pass.”
So, guess what company put in the false safety report?
Stone & Webster.
Guess what Stone & Webster is now?
The nuclear division of Shaw Construction.
Guess what company is going to be working with TEPCO on the new nuclear plants in Texas?
The Gulf really needs this right now.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Remember these old hits?
Tony Hayward says he “wants his life back?”
Or how about that now infamous slogan of British Petroleum’s concerning all things oil spill, that pledge to”make things right.”
Well, as someone who blogs about these subjects, these two statements gave me a lot of mileage. They were tailor-made, a way to give a verbal “screw-you” to the whole damn company every time they inevitably did anything but make things right, or when I mentioned how Gulf Coast residents are far more entitled to get their life back, way more than some narcissist with an inability to shut up like Mr. Hayward.
But, you know…those slogans were getting a little old, a little tired, kind of hard to keep using them in different ways oh-so-many months later, and just when I was starting to get really nervous about what I was going to do as a blogger…well, Bob Dudley goes to the CERA conference and in his apology to his fellow oil and gas industry executives, he spoke of having to regain not only their trust, but the trust of the politicians and the Gulf Coast residents themselves.
And then, Bob uttered the newest catchphrase…saying that British Petroleum gets it, and in order to regain the trust of all, this will require: “Actions, not words.”
Actions, not words…
I couldn’t agree more.
So okay…Bob…if British Petroleum is about actions to regain trust of the Gulf Coast and not just words, then why is British Petroleum reneging on yet another promise?
From the Alabama Press-register: Time for BP to ‘take responsibility’ for VOO damages
Turns out that all those boats Bob’s company hired to help cleanup the oil as part of the “Vessels of Opportunity” program are not getting the promised repairs. BP initially told everyone if there were any damages, they’d pay to fix things up, but just like hundreds of thousands of people who have been denied by Feinberg’s GCCF, captains in the Orange Beach area of Alabama are now getting their repair claims denied by BP.
Way to regain trust, moron.
“These boat captains — experts on local waters — were willing and ready to work for BP during the worst days of the oil spill, deploying boom, skimming oil and patrolling for oil sheens and slicks. Despite complaints that local people weren’t always getting first chance at the jobs, the idea of employing the people who were kept from their business of fishing and tourism was sound…(Now) the busiest time of the year for boat owners and captains is again approaching. They need to be out on the water…They made agreements with BP to do a job, and part of those agreements included reimbursements for damages. Instead of living up to its end of the deal, BP seems willing to risk more bad publicity and the possibility that frustrated captains will hire attorneys and file lawsuits.”
“Actions, not words…”
Damn Bob, it’s like when you guys at BP speak, you’re living in this strange self-created reality where you are good, kind, responsible people who care, where the Gulf of Mexico is fine. I understand that in your boardrooms and bedrooms, people automatically take your words as the gospel truth,or at least tell you they do…but out here in the real world, things are a little different. Out here, Bob, most people recognize you for the shameless shyster you are, at the helm of a company who reneges on deals, destroys the environment and is at minimum, partly culpable in the deaths of eleven people in the Gulf.
But, it would seem to you that’s neither here nor there.
“Actions, not words…”
So, I mean, thanks for the new catchphrase…I like it, I think it might be you’re biggest hit yet and I’ll probably hang onto it for awhile…but really Bob, don’t think people don’t realize your slogans are as hollow as your apologies, your integrity and your promises.
People simply aren’t that stupid.
Have a nice day.