Boycott BP?

Suicide is called another casualty of BP oil spill

An Alabama charter boat captain kills himself after he was forced to do something he hated: working for BP on the cleanup. Now, a close-knit community worries there may be others suffering silently. [Link]

Every day, I drive past a BP gas station – called ARCO here – on my way to and from my home. And I wonder at the fact that there are still cars at the pumps there. And people inside the AMPM MiniMart, buying Doritos and beef jerky, and Cokes and other crap. I say to myself, boy I'd have to be pretty damn low on gas – desperately so – to pull my pickup into that place.

Maybe I'm wrong, and we shouldn't be driving past the BP, staging a boycott, exerting the power of our debit cards over the evil indifference of global corporate greed. After all, there are local people working in there, and it seems shallow and vindictive to make them pay for our collective outrage.

Fine. I could accept that point of view, if at least I sensed any collective outrage at all. Where is it? Are the American people even mildly annoyed with this company?

It seems like we are all so hypnotized by the rhetoric that "we need oil," and the fact that we're all driving around using it, that we feel complicit with BP in its greed and destruction. I was driving my gas-burning vehicle when I encountered this train of thought, so perhaps that was a bad moment to get self-righteous.

Baloney. People eat meat too. That doesn't mean we're all accomplices if McDonald's starts grinding up people along with the cows. Though we are guilty if we're eating the cows they're grinding up now. But that's another blog post.

Another analogy lies in the fact we pay taxes for a national defense. That doesn't prove we concur with the myopic and misbegotten judgments of an assclown president, who decides to launch shock and awe and perpetual war against countries who pose no clear and present danger to US.

The reality is that I never stop at that ARCO anyway, unless I'm seriously on fumes and in a rush at the moment I'm passing it. I never did like that place, because they play annoying commercials from overhead speakers, and the pay stations don't work half the time. And if you go inside to pay, you're met with a cashier who seems to have been stunned by a blow to the head.

The head of BP met with our Congress and president Obama, then went yachting. Aside from the irony that he sailed in waters not seething with poison, it's obvious he and his company aren't getting the message: You don't get to devastate a large and beautiful, vital part of America, destroy people's lives, leave communities and families lost in your wake, and just go on doing business as usual.

So even if that had been my favorite place to buy my fuel before, I wouldn't set my Goodyears on it now. No way. I'm boycotting British Petroleum until they clean up the mess and grow a conscience. Both of which are certain to take a very long time.

big spillage

I’ve been reading the news about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. It’s going to go down in history as quite a tragedy for a lot of people and animals, not to mention the 11 people who died outright, and their families.

I keep seeing the news referring to it as the largest oil spill in US history, though, and that’s not correct.

The largest spill in US history happened right here in California, in Kern County west of Bakersfield. It was called The Lakeview Gusher, and it spewed oil onto the land from March 1909 to September 1911. About a year and a half. And it gushed approximately 1.2 million tons of oil. The latest high end estimate I’ve seen for the Deepwater Horizon is about half that.

The Lakeview Gusher was the 2nd largest oil spill in the history of Earth. The largest remains the Gulf War Oil Spill in 1991, notably a series of deliberate acts.

Before I did some googling this morning, I hadn’t heard of the Lakeview Gusher and I’d forgotten how big the Iraq War spill was. I thought the Deepwater Horizon was probably the largest ever in the world. Of course, it’s not over yet. 

it stands alone

"Had I not gotten up to get the cheese, I would probably be dead."

– Gerri Guardipee

This Seattle lady narrowly escape death by going to her kitchen for some cheese. Seconds later, a car crashed through her living room.

the high cost of ash

I have a confusion.

I keep reading in the news that the effects of the volcanic eruption in Iceland led to a massive financial loss for the airlines. For example, in this morning's Los Angeles Times:

Critics accused authorities of having bungled their response to the airborne grit by imposing an unnecessary near-total flight ban that cost the airline industry $1.7 billion. [Link]

I understand that flights had to be canceled and people were left stranded. But what did they do, decide to give up and buy real estate where they were stranded? I mean, aren't they eventually – as soon as possible – going to buy another ticket and go to where they won't be stranded?

If people already live in the area from which they intended to begin travel, and were stuck there – at home – they weren't stranded. They were unable to travel. And that's not what the news has been reporting. 

Unless the stranded people decided to live where they're stuck now (screw it, Honey, let's just buy a house here) the airlines have postponed sales, not lost them, right?


raising arizona

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony lambasted legislation passed Monday by Arizona lawmakers that would crack down on illegal immigrants, likening it to "German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques" that compelled people to turn each other in.

"The Arizona legislature just passed the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law," he wrote on his blog. "The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense."

Los Angeles Times

I agree with the Cardinal, except in one way: the law isn't useless. It serves quite ably to create a climate of fear and dehumanization. It's unamerican and unchristian, which is why all Christians and their leaders like this one should speak out against it.

the shot heard hardly at all

I have reconsidered my last post, about H1N1 vaccinations being hard to get. I was wrong.

The fact that well- educated, hard-working scientists were able to devise a vaccine for a new strain of influenza, and get millions of doses into the hands of physicians and nurses, in a matter of months, is a helluva lot to be proud of. It’s not easy, I’m sure, and everything takes time.

The important thing is that there is a vaccine which can be provided to the most vulnerable among us. Because Death, left to it’s implacable devices, just loves to weed out the weak.

Vaccination vacillation

I’ve been wondering whether I should look into getting a shot for the new flu this year. I got my regular seasonal shot last week, as I do every year. But I think some of the furor over the swine flu is nothing but that – furor. Emotion, panic. It’s a virus, not the black death. Almost everybody who gets it gets better; it’s no more likely to make one seriously ill or seriously dead than the regular old flu. In fact, it’s probably less likely, from the stats I’ve read in the news. In any case, I guess this answers my question: 

“If you’re generally healthy and come down with the H1N1 flu this season, staying home and riding out normal flu symptoms is probably your only option.

A limited supply of vaccines in Santa Barbara County are being targeted for those who are especially high risk: If you’re a pregnant woman or a medically fragile child or young adult, those vaccines are for you.”

The H1N1 virus has been a major issue for months and months. This isn’t a sudden disaster. But it hasn’t been possible to make enough vaccine for the people who might want to have it to protect themselves and their families from suffering, and to keep themselves on the job so that this illness doesn’t cause yet still again another major glitch for the staggering economy.

It was ever thus; it’s not the fault of the individuals currently in authority at any level. This is a systemic failure of public policy priorities. It goes back a generation, and it ain’t no way to run a railroad.

That being said, I’d like to ask what the hell is going on with the price of a flu shot. I paid $30 this year, $20 last year, $10 in 2007, and $5 in 2006. Seriously, WTF?