Archive for October 2011
So, this week the New Orleans Saints go into St. Louis to play the “Rams.” Ha…sorry, still can’t get over the whole St. Louis Cardinals football team winding up in Arizona, and Los Angeles Rams winding up in St. Louis thing…it would seem to me, why not just have Arizona become the Rams and the Rams become the Cardinals so balance can again be restored to this horrible, wonderful world…
Okay, but that’s not really my point, so, sorry.
Oh, and the point is also not to tear down the Cardinals winning the World Series.
I don’t really care who wins the World Series anymore…and the reason why, okay, that is a larger part of the overall point…
You see, back when I was a wee lad, my family and I used to go on vacation every summer. Everyone loads into the fire engine red Chevy Vega and off we go, hitting the interstate to whatever relative we were going to spend a week with this year…we hit Tampa, we hit Hershey, Kansas City and oh yeah, we hit St. Louis. Went to Six Flags, went to the Arch, saw the Mississippi River and yes, we went to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium, and it wasn’t just any game. This was late summer in August of 1977. Back then, I was a huge baseball fan, played in Little League, collected baseball cards and paid attention to all the milestones so I was well aware that Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals was closing in on Ty Cobb’s once considered untouchable career stolen bases record. As we got closer to the game I knew we’d be attending, I began paying attention to how many stolen bases Brock still needed, how many left he still had to go. I wondered, would we be at the game when he did it? Could the stars possibly line up in this way?
He broke the record the night after my family was at the game.
You know, but I got over it. No worries…it took some time, but I moved on and right about the time I’d moved past all that, five years later, that same goddamned Cardinals team beat my hometown baseball team in the 1982 World Series.
But, okay…okay, I got over that too…the Cardinals, I stopped hoping for plane crashes, I stopped wishing death upon the entire team…no worries, moving on…and then let’s flash forward 15 years. This would be the year of the whole Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire home run chase. I was excited and interested. Even though I was no longer the biggest baseball fan (NHL…Hockey baby! Violence! Speed! Precsision! Blood! In love!) but I paid attention to the narratives and I was enjoying the competition. For my birthday that year, my parents asked me what I would like to do and I said, in lieu of any sort of gifts, let’s go see the Cardinals play, see if McGwire hits a home run. So we go to a game and every time he comes up to bat, the flash bulbs would start popping, everywhere across the sold out stadium. It was fascinating, thrilling and in McGwire’s 3rd at bat, he did it.
I got to see Mark McGwire hit a home run the season he hit 70 and first broke Roger Maris’s record.
Yep, sure did.
What do you mean, steroids?
Curse you Cardinals!!!!!!!
And that brings us to this weeks Saints game. I know the Saints are playing the “Rams,” but as I mentioned before, they are still the damned Cardinals to me and though it may be a different sport, it’s the same name and the same town and the Saints need to win for the city of New Orleans and just as important to me, they need to win to avenge my disappointment, my disillusionment and the tarnishing of various family memories that damned city is responsible for ruining.
Enjoy the game and have a nice day…
Feinberg testified thursday at a hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources that new rules will be created to make payouts more generous for the Gulf Coast shrimpers suffering through this, and possibly future terrible seasons.
“I think we’ve got to do better for the shrimpers,” Feinberg said.
It was a rare concession from Feinberg, that perhaps things aren’t going as swimmingly in the Gulf as the GCCF estimated they would by now, and even though he said he hopes to announce the new rules in two weeks, shrimpers remain skeptical about what they will entail.
Feinberg can say he’ll increase payments to shrimpers, “but I’ll have to see it to believe it,” said Allen Estay, owner of Bluewater Shrimp Company, ”They’re going to have their rules and regulations.”
And that skepticism is warranted.
Though Feinberg testified he has paid $5.5 billion dollars to 213,408 claimants, some members of the house committee wanted to know why over 300,000 had been denied.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said that despite assurances from the White House following the oil spill that BP would be held fully accountable “that does not appear to be the case.” He said the number of people paid to date, considering how many have applied for money, is “simply unacceptable.”
And from an article in Houma Today:
“Many locals in the shrimp industry say they’ve lost faith in the man heading the claims facility, who has attended many meetings in Terrebonne and Lafourche, talked to many of them firsthand about their troubles and made many promises that never materialized.
Dean Blanchard, owner of Grand Isle Seafood, a shrimp processing company, said he was in Washington watching the committee meeting Thursday.
“(Feinberg) is a nice guy, the problem is he won’t work with us,” Blanchard said.
Rep. Steven Palazzo R-Miss also questioned Feinberg about the fund, “the $20 billion was supposed to be the floor, not the ceiling.”
And from a recent AP article:
An Associated Press review published in February that included interviews with legal experts, government officials and more than 300 Gulf residents found a process beset by red tape and delay, and at the center of it all a fund administrator whose ties to BP have raised questions about his independence.
Critics say little has improved since then, and in some cases has gotten worse.
Many observers worry a big chunk of the $20 billion will be returned to BP when the Gulf Coast Claims Facility ceases making payouts, which is currently scheduled for August 2013. At one point, Feinberg told reporters that he expected half of the fund to be sufficient to compensate all victims. He took considerable heat for making that prediction, and he has declined to speculate on the issue in the months since then.
Yes, skepticism abounds…but how bad has it gotten?
“It might sound strange to say, but if Ken Feinberg would quit today and they turned (the claims fund) over to BP, I’d celebrate,” said David Chauvin, co-owner of Mariah Jade Shrimp Company.
Put British Petroleum back in charge of paying damages?
Man, that’s pretty bad, even for Feinberg.
Read the articles:
Have a nice day.
Back in August, US District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued a ruling allowing for claimants in the B1 Bundle to sue British Petroleum for punitive damages, a ruling BP appealed.
“I have given this a lot of thought,” Barbier said about BP’s appeal at the end of last week…
The B1 bundle includes all claims for private or “nongovernmental economic loss and property damages…” meaning claims for economic damages filed by fishermen, seafood processors and distributors, recreational and commercial businesses, plant and dock workers and those who worked for BP’s Vessels of Opportunity program.
British Petroleum attorney Andrew Lanagan seemed to suggest that by kicking these claims out of the litigation, Barbier would only be doing these claimants a favor, “We still have the GCCF [Gulf Coast Claims Facility] in place. If these claims are all eliminated from litigation, litigants will have no option but to go through the GCCF.”
Yes, through the GCCF, where claimants can’t receive compensation for punitive damages, where they are getting shafted by low compensation offers, where they’re claims are often dismissed outright by Ken Feinberg’s process.
You know, that place where British Petroleum can exact a certain amount of control, unlike Barbier’s Courtroom.
In defending the plaintiff’s right to not have their cases dismissed on appeal before they even had a chance to be heard, Elizabeth Cabraser, the plaintiff’s attorney, argued, “The law, like time, does not flow backwards.”
And this must have come as news to British Petroleum, who in the past week has not only announced what CEO Bob Dudley called a “turning point” in its profits for the third quarter, but they have also received permission to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico from the Interior Department.
Yes, if it weren’t for Barbier’s ruling, it might seem like March of 2010, all over again…
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Sometimes, I think I like the drink a little too much.
‘Tis true…back in my early to mid-twenties, there was no question about it and during the time I actually lived in New Orleans, again…no doubt. I liked a pitcher or two, perhaps a bit more than I should have but hell, in New Orleans I was taking a break from my social work career and tending bar in the French Quarter for fun and a change of pace so, no worries…the drinks were flowing and good times were had by all, and I can’t say it ever cost me anything. No failed relationships, lost jobs, drunk driving arrests…nothing. I tend to be more of the fun-loving, grease the wheels, laugh a little harder and a little longer, all good kind of buzzed.
Nonetheless, there have been times in my life when I felt the need to take a break from it all, like when I’m trying to focus especially hard on what I need to accomplish and that meant no distractions so, ya cut out the bad food, the booze, the cigarettes, television for the most part…etc.
Distractions, you know? Get rid of them until the task is done.
And until the game tonight this had been one of those times…but come on, Saints versus Indianapolis?
This game is the perfect storm.
Not only do I not have tonight off, which means I am free to relax and watch the game at my leisure, but I don’t have to work tomorrow either. Yep, got Monday off and on Tuesday, I only have to work like two hours, mid-afternoon.
Oh, but more important than all that?
Yes…the Curtis Painter. That gridiron legend, the ironman quarterback threatening Brett Favre’s consecutive games played record…Indianapolis Colts Superstar, Curtis Painter. One of the highest paid, most talented quarterbacks in the game…Curtis Painter, and he is set to make this the game!
Oh yeah, we all know how Indianapolis is an aging team, they don’t quite have the running game or the receivers they once had; their defense is getting old and hitting opposing quarterbacks with canes and walkers, but so long as the Colts have Curtis Painter, so long as he calls the signals, executes his pin-point passing and hands off the ball like there is no tomorrow, the Colts, well, even with all their other deficiencies, they always have a Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
Oh, halftime’s over? Cool, hand me a beers, few of them okay?
Thanks for waking me up…
Go Saints, enjoy the game all!
…especially when they can’t control who will be in the audience?
…especially when many in that audience think Eric Cantor and the GOP response form a large part of the overall problem, championing many policies that cause much of the afore-mentioned economic inequality?
Okay then, glad we got that settled.
Eric Cantor and the GOP’s official response to issues raised by the Occupy Protests is as follows: gulp loudly, then don’t show up out of fear you won’t be able to control the crowd or the questions, with all of it on camera. Well played guys, and thanks for the update Eric…you complete and utter coward.
From the article in Firedoglake:
“Eric Cantor, staunch protector of the 1 percent and champion for that portion of the 99 percent duped into protecting the 1 Percent, but ever fearful of the mob, startled a disbelieving Beltway a few days ago by announcing that income and wealth inequality were real problems and that the GOP should do something about that.
In a moral universe, that epiphany should have been followed by lightning striking the man, as on the road to Damascus, but that didn’t happen.
Cantor promised to address those issues in a speech he planned to give today at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. What would an unrepentant representative of the 1 Percent possibly have to say? Would he explain why the Senate members of his party unanimously opposed taxing the rich at one half of one percent on annual income over a million dollars so we could have 400,000 more teachers and thousands more first responders?
Well, we may never know. It seems Mr. Cantor has bugged out, after learning from his hosts that his speech might become the occasion for a mic check.
To continue reading about the credibility issues of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va), please…just click below:
Have a good day, a better day than the House GOP leadership when they meet tomorrow in Boehner’s office, to discuss how this fiasco played out for their side, across all forms of media…
On Wednesday, Ken Feinberg attended a meeting in Jefferson Parish where local fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers and crabbers weren’t as celebratory of his efforts with the GCCF as the law students were when he recently spoke in Ireland.
Harlon Pearce, owner of LA Fish & Seafood asked, “How do we go out and market this product, when we’re worried about having a product to market?”
This is becoming quite the valid question.
For the past couple of weeks, reports have been coming in to shore fast and furious about the lack of shrimp catch, “I am talking to the guys, I am talking to the docks, and they are telling me that they are 80 percent off,” said Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, “We should have had a good year this year.” Carol Terrebonne, who runs the Seafood Shed, a seafood wholesaler in Golden Meadow, agreed, “Usually at this time of the year, we are loading trailer loads,” Terrebonne said, “It’s just not happening.”
Dean Blanchard, a third generation shrimper who owns a processing plant in Grand Isle is being forced to close because far fewer shrimp are coming into the plant this season and some of the shrimp are showing signs of contamination. Blanchard says he is seeing first hand how the oil and dispersants are causing the wildlife and people to get sick, “We’re seeing dead porpoises, we’re seeing shrimp with no eyes that’s still alive, we’re seeing fish with tumors the size of golf balls in them, we’re seeing fish with oil all over the gills…it’s hard for me to think that everything is going to be alright.”
And back in the meeting at Jefferson Parish, Ken Feinberg stated the obvious, saying that the problems on the Gulf Coast go deeper than issues with his claims process, “There are fishermen in there complaining that though they’ve heard from the GCCF, they don’t like the news they’ve heard — about deficiencies, delays, denials — and that’s what we have to deal with.”
Yes, you do…because though the problems go deeper, the environmental concerns and your claims process are linked.
The GCCF was intended to make things whole for the people of the Gulf Coast, including the fishermen. If they can’t bring product to market, the claims process must address this and fill in the financial gaps until they are again able to do so. That was the whole point of the escrow account, to financially resolve damages caused by this oil spill…well, those damages are ongoing.
Some ideas to come out of this meeting that could help are:
1) There is a proposed separation of claims coming out of the so-called oil spill “Ground Zero” in Louisiana, mainly for those involved in fisheries in Lafitte, Grand Isle and Venice.
2) The setting up of a “Claims Day” in Jefferson Parish, where payment complaints could be handled.
3) A potential change in how the claims are processed and calculated.
And number three would seem to be the most important. If the estimates and calculations for the GCCF claims process are indeed wrong as the ongoing environmental problems would indicate, then those calculations need to be changed.
Also, the interim claims process need to be expanded. Claimants, especially those who make a living from the environment, from the seafood industry who previously accepted final and quick payments and now want to re-apply should be allowed to do so, given amnesty, given another chance as the science keeps rolling in. To say tough luck, shouldn’t have signed away your rights and taken those offers, who does this serve? British Petroleum, yes, but certainly not justice. In addition, the GCCF needs to stop pressuring people into taking final claims, and that goes straight to the top, to Feinberg who has publicly stated that at some point, people need to move on.
If the fishermen have nothing to catch, how are they supposed to do that?
The worst part of all this?
For some it might already be too late, “I don’t even need [Feinberg] to pay me,” Blanchard said of his now closed processing business, “If he could just pay the fishermen, so they quit asking for credit, I would consider staying open.”
Feinberg needs to be reminded this isn’t about British Petroleum, nor is it about what’s easiest and best for the GCCF, it is about the people of the Gulf Coast and if they are still losing money due to environmental damages, if businesses are still closing down as a result of this oil spill, then the GCCF is not doing their job, which means Ken needs to go back to the drawing board and make right these problems and the people once and for all.
Supposedly, this is why he was hired.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Ken Feinberg recently visited Dublin as part of the US-Ireland Alliance where he gave a talk to Trinity College law students, and then an interview to the Irish Times. During both engagements, he spoke of the cottage industry he has established as a mediator for a variety of compensation funds, including his role with the GCCF.
When discussing his role in the Gulf, Ken said, “In 13 months I received one million claims from all 50 states and 37 foreign countries…when BP said it was putting up $20 billion, it engendered a lot of very creative claims.”
Good one Ken, yes, “creative claims.”
Very nice, because obviously people from all over the world were trying to play the British Petroleum lottery, trying their best to fool Feinberg and get their fraudulent hands on all that BP money…but how many fraudulent claims did you actually refer to the Justice Department for investigation? A few thousand, out of over a million filed…yes Ken, very good joke, I’m sure much laughter was had as you misrepresented the integrity of those who filed claims, of those so affected by the largest environmental disaster in the United States.
And during his interview, Feinberg was asked, “Was there an element of compulsion in accepting the compensation, as people have to waive their right to sue when the full extent of the damage may not yet be known?”
Good question, very good…
To which Ken replied, “No one is required to accept a final settlement…if anyone feels the future is uncertain, they can opt for an interim payment and keep coming back until they are comfortable about the future; 25,000 people took that option.”
Okay, but taking a look at the most recent GCCF statistics, whereas you are correct Ken, approximately 29,0000 people have accepted interim payments, you again misrepresented this situation entirely. What you failed to mention is the GCCF has received over 100,000 interim claims, yet two out of every three claimants haven’t been paid.
Why is that?
Did they not qualify?
Were the offered payments so low, they instead took the final payment you also offered, out of frustration?
Are they maybe just still waiting to hear from you, after all the interim payments were the last to be processed, right Ken? Or maybe it had something to do with your continued statements about the Gulf so rapidly improving, people might not be happy down the line with final offers, or when you said there comes a time, that people just have to move on…perhaps if there were transparency in the GCCF process, we might have the answers to these question, but alas, there is not.
Now Ken, don’t get me wrong.
I don’t actually expect you to go to Ireland and talk about what a horrible job you’ve done as arbitrator for the BP compensation fund. I mean, who would do that? But, I also would expect you to not make light of the still terrible situation in the Gulf, or misrepresent claimants and facts, or make things appear better than they are… And now that I think about it, I really wouldn’t expect you to be in Ireland in the first place, haven’t you heard? They’re discovering some real alarming things going on in the Gulf environmentally that would seem to make an impact on not only the seafood catch, but the health of Gulf Coast residents and in turn, impact your calculations for your payment methodology…you know, the one you said was an estimate and could be changed down the line as new facts come in…
Whereas I am sure the people in Ireland love ya a lot more than the people of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, so as I would certainly imagine it’d be more fun for you to be over there rather than in the Gulf…the people in Ireland? Well, they aren’t still waiting for you to finish doing your job.
So what do you say, maybe you should get back to work? After all, you are getting paid a hell of a lot of money, right?
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Bob Dudley announced Monday that British Petroleum had come to terms with Anadarko, which has agreed to give up its 25% stake in the Macondo Well and pay British Petroleum $4 billion dollars as its share of damage claims and cleanup costs.
“I am very pleased that they stepped in and are now shouldering some of the responsibilities,” BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said. He went on to add the agreement was not an admission of liability from either party, but the settlement is “favorable for both companies.”
Well, of course nobody is liable, of course, but favorable to both Anadarko and British Petroleum…how might that be?
Well, simply put, British Petroleum has estimated total costs in cleanup and damages will eventually reach $42 billion dollars. Anadarko could have potentially been on the line for 25% of that due to its 25% ownership of the well. However, if Anadarko had been able to prove in its lawsuit that British Petroleum was grossly negligent, then they would have been financially off the hook altogether. So, essentially Anadarko chose to cut their losses, with BP agreeing to the company paying only 10% of projected damages and cleanup costs, while Anadarko also gives up its pursuit of proving BP was grossly negligent in the spill.
And in case one needs reminding, a proven designation of gross negligence would raise BP’s fine by $18 billion dollars, because the fine per barrel under such a designation would increase from $1,100 per barrel to $4,300 dollars.
And that’s getting expensive, really expensive, so though Bob was glad to see Anadarko “shouldering some of the responsibilities,” what BP really wanted was for the company to stop pursuing this designation, same as they want to settle with Transocean and Halliburton more than likely under the same terms, possibly saving British Petroleum billions… billions that would go towards the restoration of the Gulf Coast, billions that would certainly constitute BP fulfilling their sense of responsibility, and potentially coming closer to finally making the coast whole again.
So yeah, when Bob Dudley says on Monday, “There is clear progress with parties stepping forward to meet their obligations and help fund the economic and environmental restoration of the Gulf, it’s time for the contractors, including Transocean and Halliburton, to do the same,” that’s pretty damned annoying to hear from the CEO of British Petroleum, and pretty self-serving too.
I get that as a profit-making company, Bob and BP are beholden to their shareholders. I also understand it only makes sense in our current system for a profit-making company to try real hard to not pay out damages, regardless of who or how many it hurts, while at the same time, giving the impression they are doing all they can to make things right.
But Bob? Mr. Dudley?
To those of us who pay close attention to this story, we do see what is going on here. Your company complains Ken Feinberg is paying too much to claimants. Your company bought off scientists from universities all over the Gulf Coast in hopes of furthering your advantage in upcoming court proceedings. Your company killed eleven people in this catastraphuk alone. Your company is making it very difficult for researchers to get their hands on necessary oil samples so they can find ways to restore the coast your company fucked up. Your company stands accused of harassing plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against it.
And yes, your company is fighting the designation of gross negligence while at the same time urging other companies to own up to their obligations and responsibilities.
In other words, Bob, you’re full of shit.
Your company is grossly negligent. There is little to dispute about that, but what, unfortunately, is very much in dispute is whether you sons of bitches are going to be able to buy your way out of it.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.