The Thursday “It’s Not About LOST” Blog

Everybody is talking about the end of LOST this week. I saw it, it was okay. Probably the best way they had left to end it, but pretty much what I thought would happen from about episode two, and exactly what I thought the final image would be.

24 is also ending under the weight of it’s own actor’s salaries. Shows like this always cannabalize their own profits in the end and leave themselves unable to compete with other newer shows featuring relative unknowns who don’t need their cocks bathed in Cristal at the end of shooting every scene. (I don’t actually know that about Keifer Sutherland, it’s just a… whaddayacall… rumor.) I hear they’re already planning a trio of big screen theatrical releases called 1½: The Long Take, 1½ II: Do You Remember When This Shit Was Free?, and 1½ III: We Couldn’t Decide On A Cool Title So We Made It In 3D Instead.

As the World Turns is also going off the air after 54 years… but it’s going off because no one cares about it so this isn’t really news. Ditto for Guiding Light, 57.

ABC decided after two episodes to cancel Happy Town, which I was already digging a lot. Lena and I had watched the season of V and felt like we’d been more than fair, but it just wasn’t grabbing us. Looking for a replacement on the DVR we checked out Happy Town and were immediately intrigued. Almost as immediately I read that ACB had cancelled it… in order to keep V.

Everybody already knows about The Jay Leno Show getting canned, but it made me happy so I thought I’d repeat it. (Because it was cheaper to run a scripted show than have Leno stand there and blather. LOL!) Jay Leno, cancelled.

Nip/Tuck is off the air forever. I haven’t told Lena yet because she’s in love with Julian McMahon. That’s why I had to watch Charmed. I have nothing personal against the guy, but I’d like to punch him just on principle.

Not that any of this matters. This blog is about the BP oil spill. (Yes, I’m blaming them.) While I’m all for decimating the environment until the air catches fire, no one can produce food and our babies are born inside out, you gotta admit that BP has really pulled a serious boner here. Either they are responsible, or they are responsible for creating a situation where no one is responsible. The only reason he isn’t already in jail is because (BP CEO) Tony Hayward turned into black smoke at his Senate hearing and promised to explain everything if the Senators would just do one more thing for him… like continue to push for increased levels of offshore drilling, which they, and Obama, have been happy to do.

See, Tony isn’t allowed to kill us all himself. He has to get someone else to do it for him.

There are something on the order of 3,400 more oil rigs in the Gulf, and given that just this one carries the potential to wipe out the fishing industry of four states, I think we should at least find out which of them are being inspected for safety by Halliburton — as this one was the day before it blew up. Experts have stated that it would have been impossible for the inspectors not to have seen the many very serious problems that would have led up to this catastrophic event, but that it is commonplace for problems that would result in the rig being shut down for repairs to be “overlooked”. It’s kinda like if you left a bomb on a submarine knowing that you were gonna be somewhere else when it went off, so who cares who it actually killed? For the record, it killed eleven people… none of whom were candidates for derrick manager as far as I know.

The number of mercilessly callous actions taken by BP both leading up to and after this event are not only heart wrenching, but also enough in number to make this a much longer blog than anyone would care to read… especially if I keep up with the LOST references. Trying to prevent the surviving workers from receiving medical compensation, the fact that they have always had an option to destroy the rig and stop the leak from day one, claiming that the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf was ecologically insignificant because there was so much more water than oil, deliberately choosing more toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic (but already paid for) dispersants over those better designed to break up and become inert… it goes on and on, and it’s made all the more sad by the fact that no amount of domestic drilling will lower the amount America pays for gas at all. The market isn’t constructed that way.

BP has already received insurance money for the accident. Eight billion the first week. And the only thing keeping them from washing their hands and walking away… is the will of politicians already on their payroll.

Unless somebody stabs BP and throws them off a cliff.

36 Responses to The Thursday “It’s Not About LOST” Blog

  1. Is that an option? Maybe I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption too much lately but it seems that frontier justice has its place. Someone should find this Tony guy, get a group of angry people together, get a rope, and hang him to a tree. Just sayin. And my wife would definitely say I’ve been playing too much Red Dead. Is seven days worth of gameplay too much? Nah.

      • No, but I did see a wagon cruising through the air for about a minute before gravity kicked in and it fell to earth. The passengers were okay, thank god.

  2. I’m of the opinion that there was gross negligence to cause the oil slick accident too but I’m not aware of any definitive review yet so I’m still calling this an accident for now.

    Also, the chemicals… you are being misleading when you say the ones they are using are paid for. Not only are they paid for AND they are available. It’s my understanding that there isn’t enough of the alternative to cover the area they needed to.

    So, who’s more to blame? The buisness that is addicted to oil profits or the government that keeps giving them funding and subsidies to persue their habit and can’t even regulate them properly, apperently? Who’s REALLY to blame here? How many more companies will your tax dollars be bailing out?

    • There is an alternative dispersant chemical… if it’s important to you I can find out what it’s called… that is EPA approved, tons of which sitting in storage for no reason anyone has yet been able to ascertain. BP won’t discuss it. The owner of the company that produces it has stated that he could have been making much, much more of it except BP is dragging their feet about ordering anything they might not have to pay for.

      CNN ran a story on this a couple of days ago.

      (Edit: The EPA actually banned the chemical they’re using currently, a point which Congress emphasized. BP told them to go hang. But they’re not in charge.)

      • I read of it too and I heard there is a lot of it. However, my impression was that there was not NEAR enough to handle the massive size of the oil spill. The only chemical on hand that they had enough of for this spill, is what they are currently using.

        As a side note, I also talked to an oil guy not too long ago. He seemed satisfied with the response so far. You might find it interesting to read. He posted it on the 25th. didn’t mention anything about the chemicals though.

        “People are making BP out to be idiots or something…most of the people doing the complaining about this incident know very little, or absolutely nothing about drilling for oil. The precautions that were taken on this well, and also every other off shore well being drilled in the world are hugely over-kill. There really isn’t much more a company can do to make it safer. Maybe run 2 BOP’s? Another safety valve? I guess…but it really won’t accomplish too much, and the incremental costs aren’t too much in comparison to the whole cost of the well. ”

        “Also…BP truly is doing, and has done wayyyy more in response to this mess than I ever imagined. The response time has been very fast, the shear amount of equipment and resources applied to this has been astonishing, and the interaction with the public in my opinion has been very good…especially in comparison to other similar events around the world. ”

        “Shutting this off is very challenging…alot of the potential fixes could actually make the problem worse, which is why they are going the direction they are going. The best fix…bar none will be the relief wells. So, we might end up having to wait for that. ”

        “This was a very unfortunate incident which happened due to a series of low probability events all happening at once. ”

        You can take it for what you want but this guy knows the field better then we do. Although, I’ve also read that BP has has a subpar safty record to begin with. I think I’ll make a post and ask him about it.

        • A report was just released showing that rig engineers have been allowed for the last several years to fill out their own safety inspections (lightly, in pencil) which the actual inspectors would then come in and write over in pen.

          This was certainly the result, as you say, of a series of unusual and catastrophic events… many, if not all of which would have been immediately obvious to a safety inspector ahead of time had actual inspections been conducted.

          If BP’s response is being seen as better than average, then we have an even more serious problem with what we require from those who hold our lives and livelihoods in their hands, as well as the people we pay to protect us.

        • To me (a non-oil industry person), the main reason that it has taken this long to clear up the mess is that all of their efforts have been to fix the problem while at the same time keeping the oil flowing (and thus $$$ into their pocket). If they had focused on stopping the flow, even if that meant not getting the oil, I think they could have stopped it already. And then, they could have gone about tapping into the oil reserve from another location.

          But again, I’m not an expert in this area and don’t know what I’m talking about.

          • I worked as a well tester in western Canada for a number of years and the ONE thing that I’m absolutely certain of is this; it’s all about the profit margin. I’ve seen numerous safety violations, incorrect procedures, use of substandard equipment… the list goes on. I don’t know much about offshore drilling but I’m sure that at the very least they could have plugged the hole with concrete long before now. It would be complicated but they DID build a rig, float it to location, fix it in place, drill a hole however many meters deep and stick a well-head on it. When you consider how much time, effort and money it took to do all that, how hard could it be to plug a goddam hole? And yes Layne, with directional drilling they can access the reservoir from a different location. Oil companies do it all the time when farmers and other landowners won’t let them on their land.

              • I’ve just read about BP’s attempt to “top kill” the well with drilling fluid. That stuff is toxic as hell and actually worse than the oil itself. I still can’t see why they aren’t trying to kill the leak with concrete as they can obviously access the hole. Maybe they want to be able to use that particular well at a later date. Ah well, there’s a reason I have no intention of going back to the oilfield…

  3. Sad things is, yes, BP are being _subjectively_ responsible. Within the law. Within economic guidelines.

    The only real option is to have less of them (rigs). They -will- break and all the precautions in the world only mean it’s going to be a major major catastrophy when it finally does go. But to have less rigs means people will have to use less oil… and since the US uses most of the oil, especially fuel oil (for heating) that means to reduce rigs US citizens will have to go without voluntarily. Can’t see it happening (unless they bring out nuclear powered cars….).

    So do we bitch about BP? While enjoying the fruits of their crime…?

    • And this highlights what I feel is the major action the Obama administration should be taking. (Though perhaps they should wait a bit first.) The President’s office needs to use this event as a clarion call towards the development and implementation of non-fossil fuels.

      • …Because you can just SO make plastic products out of solar power…We’re gonna need oil for a good long while, sorry to say, until someone manages to invent a replicator.

        Have they ever ascertained what exactly caused the thing to go boom? Have they totally ruled out some Greenpeace nutcase planting a bomb?

        Oh, and Mexican oil companies drilling in Cuban Territorial (or international) waters will be SO much more safe and regulated, won’t they? Now that there’s the technology to drill sideways, all they need to do is build a rig one mile outside US waters and drill right into our reserves…that will be of SUCH benefit to the environment.

        Note that Obama didn’t actually approve any new drilling…he approved the leasing of exploratory rights to areas were the oil companies have already determined there probably isn’t any oil anyway due to the geology of the area. It’s similar to telling someone “OK…I give you permission to go look for wild growing banana plants in Canada. Look all you want, but if you actually find any, you still can’t do anything with them without applying for a license.”

        • …Because you can just SO make plastic products out of solar power…We’re gonna need oil for a good long while, sorry to say, until someone manages to invent a replicator.

          Which is just one of the reasons we should develop alternatives as fast as possible.

          Let’s say we run out of oil. We can make do for electricity, at least partially. But for plastics? Medecine? Clothes? Medicaments? Agriculture? There is no alternative, AFAK.
          A rationnal behaviour would be to say something like “OK, let’s stop using oil when we can avoid, and keep it for the rest”. But that’s too medium-term thinking. What’s more important is that, here and now, you can do more bucks with oil being spend for cars worldwide, especially with the new markets, like china, being in constant expansion (which means more $, whooo!).

        • Sorry. Plastics from petroleum doesn’t excuse immoral, irresponsible, and dangerous behavior in the pursuit of oil dollars. I’d say it doesn’t actually have anything to do with it.

  4. I don’t understand how they could drill without a plan for in the event of the worst possible outcome, Murphy’s Law says hi.

    could you imagine if NASA didn’t have a giant book of procedures for every possible imaginable incident?

    is it so much to ask for a company to be prepared for the worst?

    if its impossible to drill so deep without a plan for the worst possible outcome then why are we drilling that deep?

    No matter how many safety measures are taken, given enough time they will all fail eventually, don’t believe me? look up Murphy’s Law. Wiki’s got some funny stories to illustrate it

    • NASA have been caught out with flawed procedures numerous times, at the cost of 14 astronauts’ lives.

      I feel a bit of sympathy for BP – maybe it’s a vestige of British solidarity, but did they fail to do anything that any other oil company would have done? It’s costing them millions regardless (and yeah, they can afford it) but from what I understand it was largely their subcontractors that mucked up. They are just being made out as the mega-villains because their logo happened to be painted on the rig. If they didn’t drill there, someone else would have, and would have probably used the same technology and subcontractors.

      I think the majority of blame should be pointed at the decision-makers who approved deep-water off-coast drilling and the activists and lobbyists (and a certain media outlet) that encouraged them. I believe this was actually Obama’s call when it came down to it. Sooner or later this or something like it was bound to happen to one or another of the oil companies, however many precautions you take and however heavy your safety regime, there is always a so-called “black swan” that no-one can predict or take into account that will catch you out.

      I can see why the blame shifting is so important given the massive amounts of cash needed for cleanup and compensation, particularly in these days of massive budget deficits. Why should tax-payers pay for the mistakes of their elected representatives when there’s an oil company recording multi-billion dollar profits year on year sitting at the scene of the crime with a smoking rig?

      • from what I understand it was largely their subcontractors that mucked up. They are just being made out as the mega-villains because their logo happened to be painted on the rig. If they didn’t drill there, someone else would have, and would have probably used the same technology and subcontractors..

        Okay. I don’t know anything about these. But if this works as usual? They’ll have chosen the cheapest subcontractors possible, the ones that cut corners at every turn, just to make more money.
        We had numerous cases like this, in france. Each fuckin time, the companies, instead of choosing subcontractors that followed the laws and security mesures, took something like repairs from illiterate workers from a third-world country, flag from another country where you just have to pay for your ship to be declared seaworthy, and sailors who didn’t even knew how to read the ship’s intructions.

        Sure, BP is no worse than any other company. To me, this is like saying Galactus is no worse than Darkseid. Sure, if it wasn’t them, it’s have been someone else. It doesn’t mean it’s have been any less anormal

        • So if you have a bunch of evil companies, and an inevitable disaster waiting to happen to whichever one of them sank their substandard equipment into the wrong hole first, why pick on BP just because the fickle finger of fate rolled their way, rather than to Exxon, Texaco, Shell etc etc. Surely the problem is not a “BP” problem, but an “oil industry” problem, or more cogently, a problem for whoever gave the industry the legal permissions they needed to undertake such potentially disastrous operations in such an ecologically sensitive area? (interesting question, would there have been more or less outrage if this had happened to the pristine wilderness of Alaska?).

          It’s like blaming a dog or an unruly child who does something because it’s owner or parent either isn’t watching or isn’t exercising control.

          Picking on one company and taking them to task might make us all feel better, but it will have absolutely no effect on the behaviour of other companies. We are just reinforcing their unhelpful creed that it’s not their problem until it happens to them. By which time, it’s too late for the shrimpers and the shrimps.

    • I very much doubt that ANY oil company would have done any differently… except maybe Citgo, they’re a bit of an odd duck. However, if someone puts a $50 bounty on my wife’s head and ten guys line up for the job, that isn’t going to prevent me from getting the angriest at the guy who shot her in the head. That more people were involved, or could have been involved, only expands my ire, not negates it.

      The oil industry in general has been posting record profits every year for the past eight years, and BP is no different. This is as the rest of the world slides into the crapper. In my experience, the one guy who profits while everyone around him suffers is generally the villain.

  5. BP BP BP. I for one am sick of hearing BP is at fault. Let me put it this way. A guy named Sam has a tree on his property. A guy named Bob needs the wood from that tree so he buys the tree from Sam and hires a Tree Operator to cut the tree down. While cutting down the tree it falls on a car belonging to Sam’s neighbour. In this case 90% of people blame the Tree Operator since he was the one cutting down the tree. Now lets say that Sam is Uncle Sam, the US gov’t. The property has oil on it instead of a tree. Bob is BP who buys a lease from Uncle Sam and then hires Transocean (who was Tree Operator in previous scenario) to drill the oil for them. While BP is pledging money and trying to fix the problem and has mentioned nothing about a fixed amount they are willing to spend, Transocean immediately started claiming that some mid-1800’s sunken vessel law limited their liability. Perhaps we will find Halliburton had defective equipment they provided to Transocean that caused the accident. Maybe call that a tie rope that broke when cutting down the tree that allowed the car to be hit. BP is just the big name most recognise and I think they are getting a large unfair share of the blame while spending a lot of money trying to fix something.

    • Sorry Ken, but the Engineer on the rig, the man in charge of everything that happens on that rig, from who works what day to which safety reports get falsified, works for BP. Therefore, ultimately, BP is responsible.

      • And if the explosion was caused by something beyond anyone’s control? Let’s say a meteor hit the rig…is it still BP’s fault for not putting a (non-existant) Meteor defense on the rig?

        Until the cause is known, it is incredibly idiotic for ANYONE to be pointing fingers yet.

        Kinda like this guy:

        Knows nothing, yet shares a prejudiced opinion with the nation.

        • But it wasn’t a meteor, and it wasn’t a problem that magically no-one could have foreseen, so your whole argument is nothing but an attempt to distract.

          Furthermore, funnily enough according to European newspapers and news reports the cause is very well known. 😐

          • Source that please…saying “The cause is reported as well known” without any evidence is not, itself, a refutation of my suggestion that it could quite possibly have been a cause that wasn’t BP’s fault.

            The meteor was what is known as an EXAMPLE to illustrate that there ARE causes that are out of our control, not a claim that was actually what happened.

            If you have no source, don’t try to get out of the argument in this cowardly manner. After all, there are “newspapers” that report that it is “commonly known” that Elvis is still alive, so that argument is total Barbera Streisand.

            • Here’s what is known for certain. The event was caused by a blowout, or uncontrolled pressure build, from within the well. The explosion and fire on the rig (as well as the high gas content of the escaping oil the first week or so) say that the blowout was caused in turn by striking a pocket of gas which rose up the shaft of the well-pipe and combusted explosively. Also known for certain is that the rig should have been equipped to deal with something like this, and contained numerous mechanical redundancies which should have fallen into place. As well we know that even among oil companies BP has a less than mediocre record with safety, and former inspectors have come forward and said that their job was essentially to rubber-stamp whatever paperwork the Engineers handed them. Finally we know that whatever equipment DID actually fail, it should have been detectable by the safety inspectors, who failed to do so.

              The only thing we do not actually know is specifically which pieces of equipment failed, though I would argue that it is relatively immaterial at the current juncture.

              If a meteor or other unforeseen and “out of our control” occurrence had cause the oil spill, we would doubtless be having an entirely different discussion today. I appreciate your frustration, but I feel it is misplaced.

              Here is the Wall Street Journal account of their investigation thus far:

  6. We all need an escape goat. BP is being held responsible, just look at the Live Feed Video, BP wanted to end this but was forced by simple population to continue it. Market Share outlook will punish BP enough if they do not fix this mess – fix meaning any number of positive outcomes, mostly repair the operation. Investors will pull their market shares from BP stock if BP cannot show that they can in fact contain incidents like this. Funny thing that popularity has on industrial giants and their success.

    The best part about this whole situation is that Land Wells break all the time, cause huge spills, deaths, yet when is the last time anyone has heard anything on the news about this? What I am sick of is having there to be a significant incident for the media to show the many issues and risks of drilling/mining/etc… when in fact accidents happen every single day.

    Safety precautions do not protect from disasters – they only stem them off for a time.

    Oh shit look… now we are at war – sorry – political unrest – with North Korea. At least gas prices are going down… wait what?

  7. This is just the latest incident, and one we hear about. Welcome to the Cyberpunk world. Let’s all bow down to our corporate overlords. 👿

    Where’s Robocop when you need him?

    • Corporate monetary and political power got you down? Try Brute Force! ‘Cause every powerful man will still spill all over the sidewalk with Brute Force!

      (Brute Force not available in Canada and Florida. Brute Force is not intended for minors, and should not be considered an incitement to violence. Brute Force will make you sexy even if you don’t smoke. Do not try Brute Force if you have asthma, back pain, bursitis, or inflammation of the bowels. Or anybody else.)

  8. Ah, it’s nice to be back. Two scenarios to explain this:
    #1: Werewolf the Apocalypse was right. The evil corporation Pentex, pawn of the Wyrm, is trying to destroy Gaia in the guise of careless pollution. Right now weresharks frantically battle zombies at the bottom of the sea.
    #2: My theory: The Fey / Merpeople are pumping oil, which is their waste product, up into our seas because they hate us. BP is taking the blame in the media to cover for something they can’t control.
    Take your pick… Neither is as farfetched as a Democrat-controlled congress and president spreading their asscheeks wider for a megacorp (how big? not in Fortune 500 for some reason) who spends five weeks failing to figure out how to fill in a hole they dug. Incidentally, most oil comes up mixed with water when you drill. Everyone could just pull up a boat and suck it up with equipment they already have, free of charge per maritime salvage law. But at $77.62 a barrel, it’s just not worth it. If you think that’s unbelievable, I agree. See scenarios 1 and 2.