In the latest from the MDL litigation, Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, alleged that their contract with British Petroleum, the leaseholder of the Macondo Well, had indemnified them against any liabilities for pollution underneath the surface of the Gulf, and also against any civil penalties under the Clean Water Act or punitive damages from being declared grossly negligent. British Petroleum, of course asserted otherwise, as did the US Department of Justice.
Well, yesterday Judge Barbier issued his rulings. He decided the contract did indeed clear Transocean from those damage claims occurring below the surface of the water, it is British Petroleum who will be the responsible party for pollution damages from the 4.9 million barrels that leaked directly from the Macondo Well. Barbier also ruled the contract did not shield Transocean from any liability for punitive damages should their company be declared grossly negligent, nor did it indemnify them from any potential civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.
Transocean, of course, declared this ruling a victory, “This confirms that BP is responsible for all economic damages caused by the oil that leaked from its Macondo well, and discredits BP’s ongoing attempts to evade both its contractual and financial obligations. Transocean is pleased to see its position affirmed, consistent with the law and the long-established model for allocating risks in the offshore oil and gas industry…”
This only makes sense.
You see, BP was trying to skirt their responsibilities under the law and Barbier set them straight.
British Petroleum also felt themselves to be quite victorious, “Today’s ruling makes clear that contractors will be held accountable for their actions under the law. While all official investigations have concluded that Transocean played a causal role in the accident, the contractor has long contended it is fully indemnified by BP for the liabilities resulting from the oil spill. The Court rejected this view…”
This too only makes sense.
You see, Transocean was trying to skirt their responsibilities under the the law and Barbier set them straight.
And with spin factories so readily engaged, victory toasts were had all around.
Executives clapped lawyers on backs and lawyers hit speed dials to their favorite banking institutions to check account balances.
And with all these companies claiming all these victories over all these decisions, when the dust settled and the cheering finally dissipated into idle conversations about Super Bowls and stock options, it was almost kind of easy to forget that when it comes to this catastraphuk that unleashed 4.9 million barrels of oil after an explosion that killed eleven people, just how there really were no victories to be had here…
When it comes to the worst environmental disaster to hit the United States, British Petroleum had a hand in it, and so did Transocean, and for that matter so did Anardarko and Halliburton…and no matter how Barbier ruled yesterday, not one person from any of these companies has yet to spend a day in jail.
So yeah…Transocean claims victory. British Petroleum claims victory. Transocean calls British Petroleum liable and vice versa, yet eleven people are still dead while thousands of others still wait to be made whole, and all cheering aside, that’s something someone should be liable for…criminally.
Can’t you just imagine BP’s control room after the oil gushing into the Gulf hit mainstream news worldwide?
Bunch of sweaty suits and PR flacks sitting around, not concerned about the truth per se, but more about how to spin what couldn’t be denied, that the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast were about to be really screwed, and for a long time… Oil companies had already become the bane of everyone’s existence as their profits skyrocketed even higher than gas prices. British Petroleum’s safety record was full of fuck-ups, their previous mishaps had killed their employees before and now, they had unleashed the mother of all fuck-ups and killed eleven more people.
Good lord was it ever public relations time! PR departments were invented for these kinds of situations.
No, British Petroleum would not admit this was their fault, but they would work with the Obama administration to come up with a $20 billion dollar compensation fund and they’d go all over the news to talk about making things right, about making the Gulf whole again…about doing whatever it could, as an ethical company to make sure this never happened again and also to mitigate the damages as much as technologically and humanly possible.
And they put their efforts all over the television, the radio, the internet.
Course, as we approach the two-year anniversary and all the mainstream new outlets are gone, as the American public has stopped paying attention…as public relations become increasingly unnecessary, British Petroleum has decided the oil spill was never their fault at all, and they want their money back, every last fucking dime from the real culprit…
No, British Petroleum never meant to be the penitent company they played while the cameras were bright. That was just a show, a sham, a staged media event and now that nobody’s paying attention, now that fewer mainstream journalists are around to call them a bunch of fucking weasels…
British Petroleum is blaming everybody else.
And they’re suing Halliburton for the entire cost of cleanup – $42 billion dollars – and hey, even if the suit doesn’t work, maybe it’ll help them avoid a declaration of gross negligence, which would vastly increase their oil spill fine…
Yes sir, British Petroleum is again engaging in the egotistical, do no wrong kind of behavior that makes an increasing percentage of Americans hate said oil companies or maybe a better way of putting it would be that as the media’s cameras turn off for good, BP is again free to be BP…an irresponsible, ethically challenged, profit before worker and environmental safety oil company who’ll try to do whatever it can to walk away from their clusterfuck of almost two years ago at the expense of…whomever.
In case you don’t know what this is about, British Petroleum has accused Halliburton of intentionally destroying test results showing samples of the cement they used to seal the Macondo Well were unstable, in addition to the suppression of computer models that might have also showed them at fault.
In truth, Halliburton said they are reviewing the filing…
And that’s about all the truth you’re going to get, especially from companies like British Petroleum who, lest we forget, fought to keep the press out of the Gulf, has made it next to impossible for independent scientists to get the oil samples they need to do testing in the Gulf, as well as buy up scientists throughout the Gulf region.
Now, British Petroleum would maintain the latter was done so the cleanup wasn’t affected, that they are just following procedures and were trying to find the best and the brightest to help them with the expertise needed to make the cleanup a complete and rousing success…except of course, for the obvious, which is no pictures, no evidence, no way a scientist can testify against us now that you’re entire science department signed the confidentiality clause…
Yeah, BP’s full of it, duh…but nonetheless it leaves me to scratch my head and say, when it comes to accusing Halliburton of concealing or destroying evidence in the Gulf:
In two developments this past week, British Petroleum officially welcomed the Coast Guard and the Federal Government to their party that history forgot. Behind the ivy covered walls, steel doors and security guards of BP headquarters, Bob Dudley toasted Coast Guard Captain, Julia Heim and BOEMRE head, Michael Bromwich, celebrating a rousing relapse of maritime irresponsibility and forgetfulness. Toast completed, Bob turned on the tequila fountain, shaped like a deepwater oil rig, and they all took an extra shot for luck…
Whereupon a few Gulf Coast journalists decided to go and wreck the party by writing a few editorials to ask Julia and Michael…um, what the hell, remember the whole oil spill, corporate irresponsibility thing?
Julia and Michael, you remember all that, right?
Well, apparently Julia, the Coast Guard Captain, doesn’t remember shit because while the Coast Guard signed an agreement with BP, transitioning the clean-up portion of the response towards one of coastal recovery, she seemed to forget a few very important details. Not only does the agreement allow BP to pretty much weasel their way out of any more clean-up and its accompanying costs, she forgot to specify any long-term monitoring of the Gulf Coast. Captain Hein also left out any part where BP continues to pay for aerial monitoring of the Macondo well site.
Yeah, bang-up job, Ms. Hein.
So, all this means that if/when oil comes into the Louisiana wetlands and marshes it will now be up to the public to discover and report it. Then, the state will have to prove it is actually BP oil, which as the oil degrades will become increasingly impossible to do, which in turn will leave the state on the line to pay for the clean-up. When Tropical Storm Lee hit on Labor Day and dumped tar mats, tar balls and other assorted tar products…BP’s clean-up was very slow and when the next storm hits, it will be even slower, or not come at all…thanks to the Coast Guard and their bullshit agreement. Not to mention all those oil slicks they kept discovering this fall by the Macondo Well. Remember? BP and the Coast Guard denied the slicks even existed, until they were photographed by a non-profit group. Then they denied the slicks were in the vicinity of the Macondo site, until it was shown they were, and finally, they then denied the oil actually came from the Macondo well until journalists had tests run, proving them wrong for a third time.
Now, any more monitoring is on the state dime.
Garret Graves, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said of the Coast Guard’s relationship with BP, it’s “like they’re a victim of Stockholm Syndrome,” referring to a phenomenon in which hostages become sympathetic to their captors, but I disagree. The Coast Guard never seemed like a hostage at all, more of a willing participant or co-conspirator in this agreement, one which Louisiana representatives refused to sign, a fact Julia and the Coast Guard simply ignored, going ahead with the agreement regardless. No, that ain’t a hostage, that’s someone with an open invite to party with Bob.
Which brings us to the other party guest, Mr. Michael Bromwich…
This individual currently runs what was formerly the MMS, that lovely regulatory agency that was doing blow and hookers with the oil company reps they were supposed to be monitoring. No wonder the Deepwater Horizon blew up, hard to see a design flaw in the specs when the design prints are on a table covered with empty beer cans. Now, as we all know, the MMS is the BOEMRE, a much more catchy acronym that stands for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and with this new moniker came a brand new seriousness about safety, or so we’ve all been told, but then they go and release to the public a draft called the “Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.” The point of the BOEMRE’S OCSOGPEIS is to analyze and weigh the “environmental implications of continued drilling in federal waters between 2012 and 2017,” also, “the economic analysis associated with the new impact statement projects the potential for future spills and the damage they might cause based on all “spills from 1964-2010 excluding the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon (DWH) event.””
So, when this agency estimated environmental impacts and possibilities of a spill by analyzing data from the past, they decided to leave out the economic and environmental impacts of the biggest oil spill in United States history?
Why, because it screwed up the curve?
Believe it or not…that’s precisely why. From the report and accompanying article, “If a more recent period is chosen (1990-2009)” for the risk analysis. For instance, using only the 19 years prior to the BP spill in the environmental analysis, the report concludes, this would further “decrease the anticipated environmental costs” of continued drilling.”
You see, if we just kind of leave out the whole millions of barrels spilled, millions of gallons of Corexit dispersant dumped, eleven people dead thing from last summer, well then, deepwater drilling not only looks more economically beneficial but damnit, wouldn’t you know it is environmentally sound, too? Really, no fooling.
Course another take on it could be: “By omitting the nation’s largest environmental disaster from its calculation of the environmental costs of drilling, BOEMRE continues to bury its head in the sand and pretend that the Deepwater Horizon accident never happened,” Catherine Wannamaker, with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in an emailed statement. Wannamaker said that even low-probability events such as the Deepwater Horizon blowout must be included when looking at the economic and environmental costs of offshore drilling, “BOEMRE tries to move forward without truly accounting for these risks and costs,” Wannamaker said. “This is not a responsible course of action for a supposedly reformed agency.”
How much you wanna bet Ms. Wannamaker never gets invited to any of Bob’s parties.
Well, she wouldn’t be the only one because it sure seems these get togethers are not meant for you and I, especially if we have a vested interest in not only ensuring BOEMRE fulfills its responsibilities by monitoring the oil companies and all of these wells, but also that British Petroleum is not allowed to walk away from their responsibilities in the Gulf as they seem hell-bent on doing, with the complicity of BOEMRE, the Coast Guard and the Obama Administration.
Remember back when the oil spill first happened? Congress was truly up in arms and they promised to regulate this, enforce that, do whatever they had to do to ensure a preventable tragedy such as the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon could never happen again…so they declared, promised, wrote out in blood, but when push came to shove, Congress passed nothing. Well, the Coast Guard’s bullshit agreement and BOEMRES skewed numbers are just more of this same pattern. Both agencies like to talk about the unlikelihood of such catastrophic events. Yeah, that’s great and all, this ongoing unlikelihood…but it sure as hell don’t keep the coast safe and it didn’t keep those eleven men on the Deepwater Horizon alive.
What the Gulf Coast and this entire country needs, right now, is for the government to finally step up and proceed with true regulation and actual enforcement of industry, because if there’s one thing we know, they sure as hell aren’t going to do it themselves.
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.
I know I certainly don’t envy anyone who makes their living by what they catch from Gulf waters, be they shrimpers or fishers or whoever, because things don’t seem to be getting much better. The catch, especially the shrimp catch is way off, with some shrimpers estimating their catch to be off by 80%. In one article I read, a company used to taking in ten thousand pounds of shrimp per day has taken in about 41,000 pounds all season.
And it isn’t just the shrimp.
Many have read reports of the killifish, and the cellular damage done to its reproductive functions and gills as a result of hydrocarbon poisoning. Many also are aware this small minnow like fish is near the bottom of the food chain and is considered a good indicator of the Gulf’s general health.
Even Ken Feinberg seemed to backtrack the other day on his estimation of a recovered Gulf by 2013 when he said of the shrimp catch, “We are monitoring this, and we are sensitive to these concerns. We reserve the right to change the formula if anecdotal and empirical evidence justifies it.” And that’s about as close to an admission of error as one’s likely to get from Ken, not that he’ll actually change anything but I suppose admitting to a problem is the first step.
Oh and let’s see, what else? Ah yes, though the FDA has maintained the Gulf seafood is safe to eat, a new study has challenged this assumption, reporting the FDA’s qualifications on what constitutes safe are incredibly flawed.
So…bad catches, sick fish, FDA screw-ups…yep, it’s got to be hard to be a shrimper, a fisher, anyone working the Gulf waters these days…and besides the fact the oil’s still out there, you know what else isn’t helping, what’s making this whole Gulf Coast mess even worse?
Eighteen months later, the information is still inconsistent. We’ve been treated to eighteen months of profit margins, legal maneuverings and a whole range of answers and/or denials to every goddamned question…
Everyone has been forced to endure eighteen months of agendas.
The EPA, the FDA and the NOAA all appear to have an agenda designed to make it seem the Gulf is perfectly fine. British Petroleum’s agenda is all about savings and profit margin, all the time, and their stance too is that everything is okay in the Gulf. The Obama Administration has their own agendas, their own problems. For starters, they’re not seen as trustworthy, having initially ceded far too much control to British Petroleum in the capping of the well and the clean-up, and now, today, they are widely perceived as having forgotten the Gulf Coast even exists at all…
And all these agendas, they all bring us back to the seafood industry.
What exactly is a fisher supposed to make of all this? That person who is just trying to get their life back to normal, who wants to get back to work, but also doesn’t want to make anybody sick; what the fuck are they supposed to do? Who are they supposed to believe? Who are they supposed to trust? BP? The government? The FDA and NOAA? All these entities telling them everything is fine, or the increasingly negative academic studies, not to mention the fishers own years of experience in the Gulf waters, showing them that something appears to be wrong out there…
So hard to know for sure, and such an unenviable place to be.
And you know what really pisses me off?
It didn’t have to be this way, not at all.
If British Petroleum had stuck to their promises to make people whole. If Feinberg had stuck to his promises to take care of the people in the Gulf British Petroleum hadn’t gotten to, perhaps then the financial pressures could have been eased off on everybody. If the Obama Administration had done more than toss out a fucking speech and Barack had come down to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and done more than look concerned, pick up a tarball or eaten a damned shrimp…if Obama had worked, as a leader and kept the Gulf, and everything the Gulf means to this country in the foreground of American consciousness…maybe then these problems would seem more manageable today, to everybody.
If the only agenda in the Gulf had been to make sure people were taken care of and those responsible for this mess were held accountable…yes, if that had been the only agenda, then today in the Gulf we might at least have trust.
Instead, all we got are versions of what’s real: BP’s version, Obama’s version, the FDA’s version, the NRDC’s version, LSU’s, the shrimper’s, Halliburton’s and the GCCF’s version…just to name a few.
And that ain’t helping anybody.
Certainly not the public, and certainly not the people who continue to suffer as a result of BP’s catastraphuk.
So what now?
Wish I knew…all I hope for at this point is that Feinberg, for once, can be taken at his word, and he actually will take a long, hard look at the recovery estimates he based his methodology upon…because if you work harder to catch only 20% of the shrimp you normally get, the payment methodology needs to be changed.
Oh, and to the BP spokesman who said the 80% drop-off in the shrimp catch is within the normal range of good and bad seasons, you are just one more bullshit microphone with another ethically conflicted agenda, and you should be tossed into the next oil sheen spotted on the Gulf’s surface above the Macondo wellhead.
So, to sum up…a corporation screwed up and did billions in financial damage to an entire region of the country, not to mention the emotional toll on people and the physical toll on the environment. The people have recourse to the law, but that is a process that could take decades. The government issues false platitudes and seems to disappear just when they are needed most, almost as if they are backing the corporations that did the damage rather than the people who got screwed.
And nobody goes to jail.
Hey, now that I think about it, sure sounds familiar, kinda like what those people in New York are so pissed off about.
So, when the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement hit British Petroleum and their contractors with 15 “incidents of non-compliance,” BP expressed their hopes that now, finally, Transocean and Halliburton would admit responsibility, quit their complaining and put in the effort necessary to join BP in their current “safety first” environment.
“BP said it has taken steps to enhance safety and the sanctions show that its contractors also played a role in the spill, “We continue to encourage other parties, including Transocean and Halliburton, to acknowledge their responsibilities in the accident,” BP said in a statement.”
Because over the past 18 months, isn’t safety for the environment all British Petroleum has strived for? Of course, certainly…since the Macondo Well was plugged, BP has given nary a thought to profit and/or saving money. It is quite likely a moment of pure coincidence that such an admission of guilt by Transocean or Halliburton, as BP has asked for, would certainly bolster BP in their lawsuits against the two companies and/or avoid a declaration by the courts of “gross negligence.”
And I’m sure the savings involved in such possible events, why they never ever entered the mind of BP’s corporate personhood. Really, British Petroleum, in their new-found sense of responsibility is now all about safety, and only about safety, so it would make perfect sense for them to hope and pray that Halliburton and Transocean also make such strong safety goals a priority, you know, just like BP has and…wait, what?
Oil giant BP believes a worst-case oil spill nearly a mile below the Atlantic off Scotland would dwarf the U.S. Gulf oil spill, internal documents indicate. The contingency plans for a worst-case spill from a proposed exploratory well in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands indicate a sea-floor oil gusher would spew 75,000 barrels of crude oil a day for 140 days before it could be capped — more than double the Gulf of Mexico spill’s 88-day average 53,000 barrels a day from April 20-July 15, 2010, the documents reviewed by Britain’s Independent newspaper indicated. The Gulf spill’s wellhead released about 4.9 million barrels before it was capped. The proposed North Uist exploratory well’s worst-case gusher would release 10.5 million barrels, the BP documents forecast.
Environmentalists say the well’s planned seabed location is in waters among the most wildlife-rich in all of Britain. Seabirds, including many rare species, are found in enormous concentrations, along with large numbers of whales, dolphins and seals and substantial fish stocks.
A BP spokesman told the newspaper the global oil and gas company was required by law to model the worst-case scenario, “But the reality is, the chances of a spill are very unlikely,” he said.
“Very unlikely,” he said.
Okay, that begs a question: what did BP consider the chances of the Deepwater Horizon blowing up to be?
Really likely? Kind of likely? Maybe kinda sorta once in a blue moon likely?
No, probably about as likely as Transocean and Halliburton are to suddenly acknowledge their responsibilities in the Macondo blowout. Or maybe just as likely as British Petroleum is to finally make all the Gulf Coast residents whole again…
No, I know, BP considered the possibility of the Deepwater Horizon exploding about as likely as BOEMRE again granting their company deep water drilling leases in the Gulf.
“BP petrophysicist Galina Skripnikova in a closed-door deposition two months ago told attorneys involved in the oil spill litigation that there appeared to be a zone of gas more than 300 feet above where BP told its contractors and regulators with the then-Minerals Management Service the shallowest zone was located. The depth of the oil and gas is a critical parameter in drilling because it determines how much cement a company needs to pump to adequately seal a well. Federal regulations require the top of the cement to be 500 feet above the shallowest zone holding hydrocarbons, meaning BP’s cement job was potentially well below where it should have been.”
Or maybe it was due to the report released yesterday by the Joint Investigative Team of the Federal Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the US Coast Guard which states:
“BP’s failure to fully assess the risks associated with a number of operational decisions leading up to the blowout was a contributing cause of the Macondo blowout,” and “BP’s cost- or time-saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation were contributing causes of the Macondo blowout.” The report notes that “at the time of the blowout, operations at Macondo were significantly behind schedule” and more than $58 million over budget.”
In any case…what concerns this writer most is whether or not British Petroleum’s actions will fall into the categories of “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct.” Simply put, the basic fine under the Clean Water Act is $1100 dollars per barrel spilled, but if the company doing the spilling is found to be “grossly negligent” that fine jumps to $4300 dollars per barrel and at a government estimate of 4.9 billion barrels, that’s a big difference in price.
And considering the joint report, it would certainly appear what many have suspected all along, British Petroleum, in a rush for profits, put at risk the safety of its own workers, the entire environment of the Gulf and all those who live along it and beyond.
“The report concluded that BP, as the well’s owner, was ultimately responsible for the accident.”
BP was ultimately responsible, that’s pretty damning, especially when one considers one of the best ways to dispute a claim of gross negligence is to spread the blame around as much as possible…which is why it is of little surprise British Petroleum’s response to the report is the following:
“BP agrees with the report’s core conclusion — consistent with every other official investigation — that the Deepwater Horizon accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties, including Transocean and Halliburton,” the company said. It added that it had taken steps to improve its safety practices and strengthen oversight of its contractors.”
Improving its safety practices…
Because Prudhoe Bay and Texas City weren’t enough of an indication something was very wrong…nope, needed the Deepwater Horizon for them to finally get it, or say they got it, again…
Make them pay.
They’re still picking up tar balls on Gulf Coast beaches, what…17 months later?
Though I’m thinking of starting my own charter school, but more about that later…
I know its been a while, and I might apologize if I believed in such sentiment but I don’t…so, another legislative session comes and goes, and I’m caught in the city in that early summer dry spell…why do contract hits slow down in the early part of the summer? I don’t know, your guess is good as mine, but during the down time I’ve been taking a few weeks to myself, sitting by the river, drinking a good strong cup of coffee and watching the barges and hey, how about the Mississippi a few weeks back? I mean, damn…sometimes being an assassin just don’t do a bit of good, no matter how expert one might be. It’s not like I could have disposed of the water, though I will admit, one drunken night after a few, few too many, I did try…and if you were near the Quarter, you know what I’m talking about, kind of risky going without the silencer, but obviously I wasn’t making the best of decisions that night…if I had, I wouldn’t have tried shooting a river in the first place…fair enough? After many Abitas though, lots of dumb shit starts making sense…s’why I don’t drink for the most part.
Anyways…back to the legislative session…mixed bag this year, though slightly better than expected…and overall, let’s take a look at some of the good and the bad and most importantly, look at how I can make this work for me…and working for me, that would seem to be the theme of this years session…I mean really, a four cent cigarette tax extension vetoed because Jindal swore not to raise taxes? The only reason for that foolishness is aspirations to a rabid GOP base and a ride on the Romney machine…unless Jindal’s courting the pro-cancer crowd, and that could very well be, he is a Republican and cancer is a money maker for pharmaceutical companies and hospitals and Jindal, he likes himself some hospitals…even if they don’t have the necessary funding.
Okay, okay…sidetracked again…
Did I mention I might be starting my own charter school?
Yeah, I get 49% of the seats on the board…and I’m betting my 49% will easily dictate to the other 51, we’ll be far better armed. Gonna call it the “Jackal School of the Arts and Assassination.” Normal curriculum, except we’ll be pretty pro-science. No creationism at the Jackal, and no “Intelligent Design” either, and a whole lot more about climate change…know what else? Ronald Reagan’s name will be taboo at the Jackal, and so will George W. Bush, who will be known simply as “Treason” so at the Jackal, if you mention treason, you’re talking Texas. My school, my rules and if you don’t like it, too bad, don’t enroll here. If you don’t come to the front doors as a friend, don’t come at all, seriously, don’t come…but really, is anyone stupid enough to come to the Jackal School of the Arts and Assassination with complaints?
If so, you will be outgunned.
I pay the bills, I set the template…oh, and all those teachers fired after Katrina…front of the line to apply, if so interested, so thanks to Baton Rouge and Bobby for this corporate charter thing (the possibilities) and don’t worry guys and gals, there could be worse schools then mine as a result…you might get stuck with Starbucks High or maybe the Dow Chemical School of Pleasant Poison, Halliburton Cementing Central or even the Goldman Sachs Institute of Fuck You, America.
We all know many charter schools deny entry to those less fortunate or those with behavioral problems and they wreck much of the admirable work of those so dedicated to, and inside the public schools through deprivation, and I wish I could do more to right this wrong, but what I can do is promise you that at the Jackal, we’ll take anybody, and in a few years of training a few handpicked students and teachers, well…plots have a way of hatching and plots, they can bust open all the school doors for everybody…at least that’s what I’ve heard, you know, about plots and conspiracies and, and such…
Turns out I’m going to have to find another way to communicate with friends on the inside as Facebook appears out of the picture, but really, that’s neither here nor there since me and my ilk have dozens of guards on the take anyway and speaking of prison, would it surprise you to know of my humanitarian streak, to find out I sponsor several young adults at Delgado Community College? If it does, one might ask whether you live entirely in a world of black and white, you know, like Treason does. Grey my friends, this world is grey as a coming storm cloud which this tuition hike might be for me if it weren’t for the tax breaks my software business is going to get in the next fiscal year.
I tell ya, that Bobby…on and on about not raising taxes like with the cigarette thing…yet he raises school tuitions, well, what would you call that? It’s a tax ya fool, they just go under different names. Oh, and raising the fees for probation and parole…you know, we here in the field have noticed a trend of this as late nationwide and I gotta say, our contract fees are going up because of it, but it’s okay for us, I mean we have a marketable skill, one that grows more marketable each year but a lot of people coming out of the prisons don’t. So I get it, it’s easy to pick on prisoners, I mean who sticks up for ex-cons? Well, I’m an ex-con, and though I may be well past any probation or parole time myself, let me just say that finding a job with a record, no matter what anyone says about the legalities of it, discrimination happens and it’s often hard for those so unskilled to find a job carrying a record, so raising these fees on people just adds to the pressure…and rasing these fees? Again, fees are just another name for a tax, but since Bobby’s going for the GOP base, if there’s one thing we all know about the Grand Ol Party, they give a fuck about ex-cons…oh, and if there’s one place we know for sure these ex-cons can’t collect a pay check anymore, at least not one they can show Probation and Parole, it’s for the hard work they could have done at a synthetic marijuana or bath salts factory.
Way to narrow down the job prospects Baton Rouge…and while I’m sure many citizens of New Orleans were pleased that penalties were increased for businesses that hire illegal immigrants, especially when dealing with state contracts, I bet they would have been even happier if Jindal and co. would have also guaranteed things like benefits and livable wages and maybe even local hire laws…but hey, it’s a start right? I know I’m getting a bit sick of the Argentinian crew that moved in Uptown getting some of my contracts. I know they do it cheaper, but this is about quality… and in my trade quality typically wins out, just as I suspect it will eventually in this case. Just wait till one of those guys in the CBD gets fingered because an Argentine got careless and if there’s one thing we all have come to know about Argentinian assassins, eventually they all do get careless.
Course I’m sure I don’t have to explain that to anyone here…common knowledge complete, like the rats run into the Quarter from the river at dusk, or New Orleans needs more movie theaters.
Oh, and here’s a thought, maybe you jokers would have a better time of placing limits on pay packages for the higher ups in college administrations or getting state employees to contribute more to their pensions if you weren’t trying to screw with state employee’s healthcare or if you demanded similar limits on pay for CEO’s in the private sector. And speaking of bitching, let’s just touch base for a moment on transparency. Yeah, Jindal ran on it and yeah, now Jindal runs from it and maybe one of these days the transparency law gets passed, like after Jindal leaves Louisiana for the whole Vice-Presidency thing…dream a little dream…don’t care where you go Bobby so long as you’re gone, besides…putting you on a national stage to give speeches, well, let’s just say that unless you’re getting off a helicopter to exploit another disaster to appeal to your base while railing against the Feds, when it comes to the speeches, you kinda suck.
Wooden would be a compliment.
When it comes to transparency…the time has long since come. Much like BP, Feinberg and the whole lot of them, lack of transparency gives the appearance you’re hiding something and what with that whole Medicaid contract thing…and the Chaffe report, you’ve been hiding a lot. You know it, we know it…and the businesses reaping insider benefits, they know it a lot. Pretty sleazy Bobby, and pretty slick, like Mitt Romney’s hair products.
And also Bobby, let’s tell the truth about this legislative session, you’ve had some issues this time round.
Hell, your own House out-righted you, made you look positively spend-happy at times…so, thank God for the Senate, huh?
And what else…
Sell the prisons? Oops…
Try to raise tuition at all the state universities too? Oops…cough cough TAXES cough cough…
SUNO and UNO what?
Reauthorization in 2014 of your plan to screw the poor by turning over a lot of Louisiana’s Medicaid programs to private insurers, those bastions of corporate and civic responsibility…nothing says “we care” like corporations trying to turn a profit by turning down health procedures for the sick…
Anyways Bobby, the New Orleans Assassin would like to wish you better luck next year…cause I firmly believe next year you won’t be here, instead you’ll be vying for either a useless figurehead position like Vice President or you’ll be part of an administration hell bent on screwing the entire country the way you’ve been trying to screw Louisiana so see-ya…and honestly, I’m of two minds on that subject:
Civic-mindedly, it’s disappointing to grow older in your age of the robber-barons and their Republican, and not a few Democrat enablers.
And personally, Republican policies always create desperation, and desperation creates contract work…some of it pro-bono for those who couldn’t typically afford my services and on the flip side, those who can afford it, get more money to spend and spend they will…often on me and my services.
So, the way I see it, another middling legislative session, some of it good personally, but per usual, mostly bad for the majority of the state. In any case, like I mentioned it’s the slow season and in the spirit of helping those less fortunate, time for some pro-bono work, so I’ll be looking…just put the chalk “X”, last pew on the left at St. Louis Cathedral and then walk away…I’ll find you and we’ll talk.
Or, keep a look out for the signs announcing construction of the “Jackal School of the Arts and Assassination.”
I’ll be around…and oh, one last thing…a special thanks for the defeat of concealed weapons on college campuses. I’m not typically called to work at the universities, but if that day comes, well, call me more comfortable…
Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon, recently objected to a draft of a Coast Guard report, released on April 22nd that placed partial blame for the explosion upon their poor safety culture, among other problems:
“Switzerland-based Transocean insists the blast did not result from poor upkeep, that the blowout preventer was properly maintained and that the general alarm on the rig did not fail to operate automatically. It also said the engines on the rig did not fail to shut down upon detection of gas.”
The Coast Guard stated in their draft:
“Decisions made by workers aboard the rig “may have affected the explosions or their impact,” such as failing to follow procedures for notifying other crew members about the emergency after the blast. It also said electrical equipment that may have ignited the explosion was poorly maintained, while gas alarms and automatic shutdown systems were bypassed so that they did not alert the crew. And, the report said, rig workers didn’t receive adequate training on how and when to disconnect the rig from the well to avoid an explosion.”
A company spokesman reportedly said: “Nuh-uh!”
Meanwhile…BP claims their design wasn’t really that bad, and they did all really necessary testing. Halliburton said their welds were A-OK…how could Dick Cheney ever be wrong about anything and Nalco refused to make any statement, period, claiming trade secrets.
And as for the response?
The Obama administration considers it as flawless as Bobby Jindal’s sand berms but the GOP disagreed, attacking Obama while assuring America politics had absolutely nothing to do with said attack, it’s just that they care about the way corporations are polluting this great land of ours…
And all this, of course, leaves one to wonder…is anyone really at fault? There is certainly plenty of blame to go around and once all news articles are read, experts are heard and opinions soundly weighed out, the answer becomes clear. Obviously, this was a well coordinated attack on an oil rig by baby dolphins, sea turtles, the damned red snapper and the fishermen, don’t forget the fishermen…after all, who’s sick, who died or is dying, and who’s getting rich?
Damned right…the sea life and the fishermen…they did it, led by Reggie Bush.