Posts Tagged ‘gulf oil spill’

Ass Kicking No More

June 16, 2010 1 comment

President Obama just finished his latest in a series of ongoing speeches about British Petroleum and gave his best stock market value investor analysis.  The President proclaimed that he is “absolutely confident BP will meet its obligations.”  This is in contrast to the President’s recent remarks about looking for whose “ass to kick” with regard to the oil spill.  Listening to the speech, and watching the reaction in BP’s stock (an aggressive rally for those yet to see) I couldn’t help but think that President Obama had a long, difficult talk with his British counterpart, Prime Minster David Cameron, that went something like this (please take note, this is a FAKE conversation that I imagined in my head):

Barrack Obama: Hey David, how’s it going?  Things are a bit rough here and I just wanted to let you know that I am going to be kicking some British Petroleum ass pretty soon.  I figure since you’re new to the job you deserve a little heads up.

David Cameron: Cheers mate, in all honesty this is a serious call and I want to get right to the point.  While things are clearly not great in the Gulf, I would prefer if you would refrain from arse kicking for the time being.  This is ver…

BO: …What do you mean Dave…can I call you Dave? or is it David.  What you have to realize is that the pressure on me in this country from these Teabaggers is immense.  I mean one dayI talk about using alternative energies so that we don’t need to take oil from dangerous place and they call me Communist and Socialist and Hitler and Stalin all in one, and the next day they’re blaming me for the spill as if it’s MY fault.  What am I to do other than kick some ass?  I gotta tell you Dave, welcome to the top of world politics, but get out while you can.

DC: Well Barack, it turns out that a lot of our country’s pension plans and wealthy people are HEAVILY invested in BP stock.  Many people in my country LIVE off of this dividend.  I implore you to take that into consideration when proceeding with your arse kicking.  Our country is completely and utterly broke in both the public and private sectors.  I mean seriously Barack.  We are broke.  If your people think your deficit is a problem, I don’t even want to imagine what they would be saying over here.  We too bailed out our banks, but our recovery is far from robust like you Americans.  Besides, it’s our banks that own the most toxic of your assets over there.  Were it not for our power to print money, we too would go Greek.  There cannot be a second Tea Party in which you Americans kick our arses back across the pond.  Please throw me a bone here.

BO: Dave, you have some points there.  This is a complex situation and we need to find some sort of middle ground.  We need to find a way in which I appear to be kicking some what’s that British word you use for it?  Arse? without actually kicking that arse.  We need to find a way through which BP the company will take some pain, but its shareholders will take no more.  We just need to find some common ground in order to build a consensus.  Let’s work together and speak strongly while letting others take care of the actual planning and execution of our actual plan.  Does that sound like a viable approach?

DC: Brilliant!  That is an outstanding idea Barack.  Let’s not worry about the details about how exactly this will work, let’s just ensure that we are neither tough nor soft, neither loud nor quiet, neither right nor wrong.  I look forward to an outstanding piece of rhetoric from you yet again.

BO: Thanks Dave, much appreciated.  I work hard on these speeches of mine.  It’s pretty demanding with all these crises one after the other to come up with original ways to say pretty much the same thing.  Anyway, it’s time for me to get my speech writing on and to step up to the podium and delivery.  We’ll continue this conversation later in the day after your high tea.

DC: Pip pip cheerio Barack.

BO: Speak soon Dave.


Animal Rescue In the Gulf

June 4, 2010 7 comments

So since I last asked for places to donate to animal rescue in the Gulf, I have scoured the interwebs for some good places to help people play a part in the recovery from this unfortunate disaster. The National Wildlife Federation has now arranged a text-message donation system to help with animal rescue in the Gulf.  I urge you all to text “WILDLIFE” to 20222 in order to donate $10.  This is an incredibly important initiative to help salvage what is left of one of our country’s most precious and important ecosystems.  Additionally, as the oil continues to leak, the extent of the damage becomes increasingly unknown.  We all have an obligation to do everything possible in order to mitigate this damage and to take the steps to ensure that this can never happen again.  So text 20222 and enter the word “WILDLIFE” in the message in order to get started in playing a part.  For those who might need an extra kick, take a look at the video below.

Below are a few more links through which the geographically mobile can actually in volunteer in person for the cleanup effort (and some organizations for the immobile to donate to):

Volunteer Latin America put together a broad collection of links with different ways in which people can help out in the Gulf. also has an excellent collection of multiple avenues through which to get involved.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Alabama Coastal Foundation are both organizations that work to protect the ecosystem and its habitats and wildlife in the Gulf region.

As I continue to find new ways to help out I will post them right here.  It’s great to see that there is now a text message donation hotline, as that was major enhancement to the fundraising drive for aid to Haiti following their devastating earthquake.  It is wonderful that to see innovative technologies lend a helping hand to the recovery efforts in the wake of such catastrophic events.

Update: From a commenter, I was alerted to this great website/initiative which donates the proceeds from the recycling of old electronic products for the benefit of the National Wildlife Federation.  This is an easy way to get involved for those who may not have the disposable cash, but do have some lingering old electronics:

Recycle 4 Pets has started a campaign as well. Your empty ink cartridges and used electronics can be donated and recycled to benefit the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf clean-up efforts. Visit http:/// for a free shipping label. Print it, and write NAT529C in the return address. Recycle 4 Pets will send the market value of your used electronics to the National Wildlife Federation. You can also email recycle4acause(at)yahoo(dot)com for more information.

And in case you still need yet more motivation to help out, this picture says it all:

BP Living in an Alternate Reality

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Firstly, I would like to apologize for brushing the oil spill to second-class status amidst the Euro/Eurozone blowup.  As a trader I sometimes overindulge myself in the happenings in front of my eyes, rather than thinking of the far more consequential and significant issues taking fold around the world.  The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is unfortunately a catastrophic disaster from both an environmental and human perspective.  This is not a second-class issue of our day and in many respects the essence of this issue cuts at the heart of the crisis in Europe: the seeking of short-term solutions to long-term problems.  Oil expropriation is our past, efficient energy our future.

Robert Reich wrote an excellent piece on his blog bashing the “Beyond Petroleum” ad campaign for what it is: a marketing ploy without any substantive action.  BP has a spotted track record (to put it nicely) with its concern for both human and environmental safety issues and basically no track record when it comes to promoting alternative energy (although their flashy, fancy, futuristic gas stations do look sleek, sexy and um futuristic).  I think an important point can be drawn from BP’s ad campaign.  The company had an awful image in the United States and was able to expand its earnings power on account of outwardly displaying an environmentally conscious image.  What this tells me is that people actually do want alternative energy.  There is real DEMAND and earnings that can go along with moving into the alternative energy space.  Yet what BP did is rather ingenuous in some respects (the greedy short-sighted respect).  Rather than really take positive steps they made people THINK they took positive steps and spent their time collecting the cash.

People do really want to move “beyond petroleum” but those with the capital are not ready to make that investment.  I think one of the primary reasons behind this is that were a company like BP to sincerely invest in alternative energy, they would proactively be seeking a way to undercut demand for their primary product (oil) and ultimately their source of wealth (oil).   The movement to alternative energy will have to result in a transfer of wealth from those who own the “old” resource (oil) to those who own the “new” (technology).  The technology is there; however, it is just a capital intensive process to get the ball rolling.  With energy efficiency we need global consensus and cooperation in order to move forward in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  Without it, those who act will suffer from the free rider problem in which those who do not act share equally in the improvements.  As it stands now, our country is one of the biggest impediments to a global consensus on alternative energy and sadly, and likely as a result of our global stance, we are not the leader in technology in this area–China is.

It is nearly impossible to achieve longer-term gains without taking on some kind of shorter-term expense.  The people who argue about the “costs” of energy efficiency in the short-run have a vested interest in preventing the long-run transition from taking place.  Never has that been clearer than the “Beyond Petroleum” bullshit leaking out of BP’s own ruptured public relations pipeline.