I have a confession to make…I’m a really lousy crisis worker…

If he can do it, why not me?

I am, really bad…

You see, I’ve been doing this job for a long, long time, off and on for about ten years and frankly, it’s getting a little old. If unfamiliar with crisis work, what I do for a living is I get calls from doctors and police officers in various hospital emergency rooms, or maybe jail corporals at detention centers to come to the scene and speak to the client for the purposes of determining the least restrictive setting where the client will be safe, until they can get follow-up professional help. If at the jail, I might place them on a special watch status which can include suicide gowns and isolation. If at the emergency room, I will determine whether they can go home, can go to a crisis house or go to a behavioral hospital either on a voluntary basis or under an emergency detention called a Chapter 51, where they will be escorted to the hospital by the police in handcuffs.

And truth be told, I’m not very good at making these decisions. I don’t want to go so far as to say that anyone has made a succesful attempt because of the decisions I’ve made, but if they did, I’m certain I wouldn’t have just received the usual bonus for a missed call, I would probably instead be put in charge of the entire Adult Crisis Program.

That may sound like an odd system of rewards, but over the past ten years, social work has largely undergone a transformation from something that was once a total client model to the more black and white corporate model. Sure, the clients are still important, don’t get me wrong, but moreso is the money. Billing, cutting costs, so much of social work today is about billable time and productive, measurable results.

No, I’m not complaining about this. Being as bad at this as I am, it’s probably the only reason I’m still employed.

In fact, the ongoing transition to the corporate model has even improved my career prospects and the many opportunities to receive promotions and raises.

Need another example of how this works?

Simple:

Transocean gives safety bonuses despite deaths in Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion

or…

Tony Hayward may receive bonus of eight million pounds

or…

BP increases monthly fee for claims czar Kenneth Feinberg’s law firm to $1.25 million

or, how about this old favorite…

President Bush Wins 2000 Election!

For a long, long time, in the field of social work, traits such as compassion, empathy, client rights, maintaining client focus and making a difference in people’s lives, no matter the cost were how the true worth of a social worker were measured, and in Adult Crisis work, client rights and client safety were preeminent.

That’s why I came close to getting fired, a few times.

But now?

The system plays to my strengths, or should I say, lack of them.

Just like the Transocean guys involved with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, or just like Tony Hayward and the destruction of Gulf Coast lives and ecosystem, or just like Ken Feinberg who couldn’t efficiently pay a claim if his life depended on it, or just like our former President who couldn’t even find oil, in Texas, just like all these guys…rather than being fired and left on the streets for my incompetence, the corporatization of social services has got me looking at promotions, bonuses and hell, who knows? If I really screw this up and somebody should die, well, according to the corporate way of doing things not only in the Gulf, but across the country, I could be looking at a promotion to Director of Social Services for the entire state.

It could happen…

Hey, maybe it’s time for some new blood.

I certainly have both eyes on that corporate bottom line, a lackadaisacal work ethic, a solid understanding of corruption navigation and a total lack of concern for the welfare of others which, when you put it all together, might just make me the ultimate envy of every other social worker in my field.

I tell ya, the county I work in better promote me soon because I expect a job offer from Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility any day now. My total amoral response to people in distress is sure to make me quite the draw. 

Lord knows, I could certainly use the raise.

Have a nice day.

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Just in case you missed it…Unions didn’t cause the financial meltdown

Goldman Sachs Headquarters...first, one must recognize the tyrant...second, one must...

So, our economy is in recovery now, did ya hear? Good news for Wall Street, bad news for everybody else but when it comes to our politicians let’s be honest, beyond Wall Street is there really an America?

Ask homeowners facing foreclosure.

Ask the people who are unemployed, who still aren’t getting hired.

Ask the people trying to get loans, who’ve been turned down by the banks who received all the TARP funds, designed in part to increase their lending but in fact, did nothing of the sort.

Hell, just ask anyone who isn’t politically or financially connected to that fiscal top 1% of our country and they might give you another story, just don’t ask the Republicans who are to blame for this whole mess, because they keep trying to tell anyone who’ll listen that the trouble with our economy is the pensions, wages and benefits of state unions, not the banks and investment firms like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, those same cesspools from which the past three administrations have extracted their financial cabinet types.

So, wanna know how we got into this mess, who should have done something and didn’t or who did something when they shouldn’t have? All the people who are responsible for the trashing of your finances, your predatory home loans, who glad handled policies that made money for their financially elite friends, whose banks then still failed, only to turn around and then design a TARP bailout that gave your money to all their friends and past co-workers, again? 

From Washington’s Blog…(website with outstanding economic analysis and commentary) here is a summary of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s report on the, you guessed it…causes of the financial crisis:

The many causal factors highlighted in the FCIC report via Barry Ritholz:

• Alan Greenspan’s malfeasance — his refusal to perform his regulatory duties because he did not believe in them — allowed the credit bubble to expand, driving housing prices to dangerously unsustainable levels; Greenspan’s advocacy for financial deregulation was a “pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages” and “the prime example” of government negligence;

• Ben S. Bernanke failed to foresee the crisis;

• The Bush administration’s “inconsistent response” — saving Bear, but allowing Lehman to crater — “added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets.”

• Bush Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. wrongly predicted in 2007 that subprime meltdown would be contained.

• The Clinton White House, including then Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, made a crucial error in “shielding over-the-counter derivatives from regulation [CFMA]. This was “a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis.”

• Then NY Fed President, now Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner failed to “clamp down on excesses by Citigroup in the lead-up to the crisis;” Further, a month before Lehman’s collapse, Geithner was still in the dark about Lehman’s derivative exposure;

• Low interest rates brought about by the Fed after the 2001 recession “created increased risks” but were not chiefly to blame, according to the FCIC (I place some more weight on Ultra-low rates than they do);

• The financial sector spent $2.7 billion on lobbying from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with the industry made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions. The impact of which an incestuous relationship between bankers and regulators, Congress and bankers, and classic regulatory capture by the industry.

• The credit-rating agencies “cogs in the wheel of financial destruction.”

• The Securities and Exchange Commission allowed the 5 biggest banks to ramp up their leverage, hold insufficient capital, and engage in risky practices.

• Leverage at the nation’s five largest investment banks was wildly excessive: They kept only $1 in capital to cover losses for about every $40 in assets;

• The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency along with the Office of Thrift Supervision, “federally pre-empted” (blocked) state regulators from reining in lending abuses;

• The report documents “questionable practices by mortgage lenders and careless betting by banks;”

• The report portrays the “bumbling incompetence among corporate chieftains” as to the risk and operations of their own firms:

Citigroup executives admitting that they paid little attention to the risks associated with mortgage securities.
AIG executives were blind to its $79 billion exposure to credit default swaps;
Merrill Lynch top managers were surprised when mortgage investments suddenly resulted in billions of dollars in losses.

Yeah, something like that...

Continue reading:

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Slams Greenspan, Bernake, Geithner, Paulson, Summers, SEC, Rating Agencies and Big Banks for Causing Crisis

Have an inexpensive day.

Tony Hayward Speaks at British Commons…and a response

So, couple of days ago, Mr. Hayward was questioned about British Petroleum’s safety record in England by the MPs and apparently, he had more to say to his local pol’s then he did when Congress had their go a few months back, you remember, when he gave an hour-long version of “Oh, I didn’t know.”

This time around, he offered up these gems:

In discussing all BP had spent on safety previous to the Deepwater Horizon Explosion that killed eleven men, “And it is undeniably the fact that because of all of that, this particular incident is so devastating to me personally because we have made an enormous amount of progress (on safety) in that three-year period.”

He also denied that cost cutting had anything to do with the disaster, despite all the money they saved by making risky choices in constructing the Deepwater Horizon, telling MPs “safety is the first call on every dollar BP invests. Before we invest in anything, we invest in safety”.

Oh, really…

Okay kids…please turn your heads…

Mr. Hayward?

Please…allow me to express my opinion here, just for a moment, just a second or two, just a few comments about you and your company’s “safety.”

First off…are you serious? Fuck you.

Second…safety comes first out of every dollar you spend?

Interesting.

I for one would hate to see what happens when it is second, third, or fourth. Had that been the case, rather than spilling 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, you might have found some way to dump some substance even more toxic to make the whole oil spill even worse…something like, oh…I don’t know…Corexit. Yeah, that really would have fucked it all up.

Oh, and personally devastating to you?

I don’t give a goddamn if you obsess yourself blind every minute of every day for the rest of your life, or at least to the point of insanity, you pathetic, personality disordered narcissist. Course, a personality disorder makes a hell of a lot of sense as anyone who works in the mental health field understands the first point of a personality disorder is the person will have zero insight into their disorder, and the way you keep uttering these wholly inappropriate statements of personal pain and loss definitely indicates an asshole with zero insight.

But, I suppose I could concede one point, your oh so fucking hard work on your safety record over the past three years…yeah, that.

When your company blew up the refinery in Texas, fifteen people were killed…and this time, when the oil rig blew up, only eleven died so yeah, I guess that could be considered improvement…except for the fact that in the past three years you jack-holes have racked up over 750 safety fines by OSHA while Exxon had…one. One? Versus 750?

I haven’t been so disgusted with you fucking oil guys since that prick of a failed oilman from Crawford Texas got elected president and then sat back jacking while the city of New Orleans drowned. Yes Tony, you know him; he’s the one responsible for deregulating everything at MMS…but back to OSHA, in two separate disasters prior to the Deepwater Horizon, 30 BP workers were killed and over 200 injured, and your refineries in Texas and Ohio? They are responsible for 97% of the “egregious and willful” safety violations handed out in the past three years by OSHA.

97% of the safety violations.

Zero insight. You have zero.

Asshole.

And Mr. Hayward? Just in case your statements are some craptacular attempt to try to rewrite history through the wonders of repetition, through the unquestioned reporting of your distorted, bullshit words as fact by members of the mainstream media…let’s repeat this again: 3 BP accidents – 41 workers dead. BP – 760 safety violations by OSHA.  Two refineries owned by BP – 97% of willful and egregious safety violations handed out by OSHA over the past three years.

Safety?

Read the article if you like…

BP Chief Tells MPs Gulf Spill Was Devastating to Me

Have a nice day.

Everyone but Mr. Hayward.

A jackass at least has some modicum of self-awareness. You?

Zero…

A Review: William Quigley’s How to Destroy an African American City in 33 Steps

I discovered this essay in Quigley’s book: Storms Still Raging – Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice, but the essay has existed online for quite some time; it was written three years ago.

William Quigley is a human rights lawyer and professor of law at Loyola University in New Orleans where he heads the center for Social Justice, the Clinic, and the Poverty Law Center.

Take a look, no need for me to comment except to ask, though initially published in 2007, how many of these steps still echo in New Orleans today?

Step One. Delay. If there is one word that sums up the way to destroy an African-American city after a disaster, that word is DELAY. If you are in doubt about any of the following steps–just remember to delay and you will probably be doing the right thing.

Step Two. When a disaster is coming, do not arrange a public evacuation. Rely only on individual resources. People with cars and money for hotels will leave. The elderly, the disabled and the poor will not be able to leave. Most of those without cars–25% of households of New Orleans, overwhelmingly African-Americans–will not be able to leave. Most of the working poor, overwhelmingly African-American, will not be able to leave. Many will then permanently accuse the victims who were left behind of creating their own human disaster because of their own poor planning. It is critical to start by having people blame the victims for their own problems.

Step Three. When the disaster hits make certain the national response is overseen by someone who has no experience at all handling anything on a large scale, particularly disasters. In fact, you can even inject some humor into the response–have the disaster coordinator be someone whose last job was the head of a dancing horse association.

Step Four. Make sure that the President and national leaders remain aloof and only slightly concerned. This sends an important message to the rest of the country.

Step Five. Make certain the local, state, and national governments do not respond in a coordinated effective way. This will create more chaos on the ground.

Step Six. Do not bring in food or water or communications right away. This will make everyone left behind more frantic and create incredible scenes for the media.

Step Seven. Make certain that the media focus of the disaster is not on the heroic community work of thousands of women, men and young people helping the elderly, the sick and the trapped survive, but mainly on acts of people looting. Also spread and repeat the rumors that people trapped on rooftops are shooting guns not to attract attention and get help, but AT the helicopters. This will reinforce the message that “those people” left behind are different from the rest of us and are beyond help.

Step Eight. Refuse help from other countries. If we accept help, it looks like we cannot or choose not to handle this problem ourselves. This cannot be the message. The message we want to put out over and over is that we have plenty of resources and there is plenty of help. Then if people are not receiving help, it is their own fault. This should be done quietly.

Step Nine. Once the evacuation of those left behind actually starts, make sure people do not know where they are going or have any way to know where the rest of their family has gone. In fact, make sure that African-Americans end up much farther away from home than others.

Step Ten. Make sure that when government assistance finally has to be given out, it is given out in a totally arbitrary way. People will have lost their homes, jobs, churches, doctors, schools, neighbors and friends. Give them a little bit of money, but not too much. Make people dependent. Then cut off the money. Then give it to some and not others. Refuse to assist more than one person in every household. This will create conflicts where more than one generation lived together. Make it impossible for people to get consistent answers to their questions. Long lines and busy phones will discourage people from looking for help.

To read the remaining 23 steps, hit the link:

Lessons From Katrina: How to Destroy an African American City in 33 Steps

Have a nice day.

Some Headlines of Interest…

A few headlines from around the web…no commentary today…didn’t ya hear? I’m sick and no amount of cold pills my co-workers keep throwing at me seem to be doing the trick…though now I do feel like I’m on speed…a whole lotta speed…

Enjoy: 

Not so Crazy? Reuters probes the idea of nuking the oil well

Us Lawmaker: Oil spill costs may run trillions of dollars

BP plans to get rid of safety watchdog

Mary Landrieu gives thumbs down on Gulf oil spill commission

John Wathen: Gulf oil spill leaves horror in its wake

Gulf oil spill: is clean up help being turned down?

BP quickly contains lawsuits

238 presidential scholars: Bush worst president of modern era

Have a nice day.