Oily Obama and the PR spill

Warning – this is a political (well, kinda) opinion, so if you don’t care too much about this kinda stuff, wait till the next update, which will inevitably contain fart jokes and pictures of nipples.  Ok, maybe not the nipples.

So, as we’re all well aware, things went a bit tits up in the Gulf of Mexico with BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform and well.  For whatever reasons, the safety mechanisms didn’t kick in when they should have done and oil is gushing everywhere.  Bad news.

US President Obama, the saviour of the world, holder of the Nobel Peace Prize for stuff he hasn’t actually done yet, has come out guns a-blazing in a PR storm, criticizing BP for this, that and the other, giving them deadlines to fix it or else (what, a detention, six of the best?) and now has threatened to introduce laws to force them not to pay a dividend to shareholders.  I’ll come back to this point in a minute.

The way Obama has yelled and carried on at BP, you’d think they actually did this on purpose.  That somehow they wanted this and or really don’t care about fixing it.  Obama even threatened to take BP off the case and replace them with a Government Task Force (led by Homeland Security I think).

Yes, spilled oil is a bad thing, we know this, but lets not get too carried away burning witches.

Lets look at this in more detail.

1.  Someone, somehow, stuffed up somewhere with the safety gear and it didn’t work.  Was it deliberate?  Unlikely.  Shoddy workmanship?  Possibly, but these things are not built in the back of someone’s shed, they’re expensive pieces of equipment operating in extreme environments and used all over the world.    Shit happens?  Probably.  Design flaws that only got exposed under extreme test?  I’d bet that’s it.  The thing didn’t work cos the circumstances of the situation hadn’t been foreseen.  It happens in engineering all the time. Its nobody’s fault per se, it’s just really bad luck.  If corners were cut and they scrimped on some of this stuff, then they deserve criticism, but not without looking at all other deep water wells from all other companies as well.  If this is an industry wide thing then they ALL need to be brought to book over it.

2.  Obama’s deadlines and rhetoric at BP.  You think BP wants this?  You think they don’t care about a gargantuan oil spill off the US coast?  Geeze, I can’t imagine anything further from the truth.  Even if you’re the most rabid anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation nut, you’d have to realise that even just using the corporate greed angle, this is REALLY bad for business.

I’d be willing to bet they are doing all they can and at all costs to fix this as fast as possible.  The entire future for BP’s oil exploration in deep oceans is under question right now – you think they don’t care about this?   And that’s just taking the dimmest view possible.  Remember, a company is made up entirely of people.  Nothing else, just people.  Saying BP doesn’t care is accusing every single BP worker of not caring about what happens to the environment when the oil gets out.  I’ll bet they care every bit as much as the environmental hardcore do.

The simple matter is, there’s oil, we need it, they’re spending billions getting it out, refining it and selling it at quite small margins to all and sundry around the world.  And they do this, generally, without too many stuff ups.  Can you say the same thing about other industries?  Nope, its industry, they all stuff up sometime.

They’re not bad guys.  I’m sure they could do better, like we all could at things we do in our lives, but I seriously doubt they set out to do this difficult deep water well on a shoestring budget, cut corners everywhere and thought ‘ah well, if it all goes tits and a billion barrels of oil washes up all over the Gulf we’re only liable for a few million dollars of cleanup under US law’

You’d have to be a complete idiot to think that.  And yet, those are almost the words coming from President Obama’s mouth.

3.  Obama’s take over.  He wanted, for a short while, to take over the capping mission, shove BP out the way, let the Government sort it out.  Just a moment there, the US government now has deep water well drilling and capping experience that is somehow better than anyone else?  Oh really..  Yeah, the silence on that idea matter speaks volumes for how much of a dumb-arsed empty-headed piece of nonsense it was.  Let BP sort it out, they, more than anyone else on the planet, want this to stop.

4.  The dividend law.  Apparently, Obama rules the world and can impose laws on a foreign-owned company telling them what they can and can’t do. The dividend is paid in the UK, under UK law, to shareholders and investors.  You know, pension funds, that kind of thing.   If they choose (and can afford to after the costs of the gulf) – they can pay a dividend and there’s not a damn thing Obama can do about it.  It would set such a slippery precedent that it would have global corporations and the financials markets in meltdown.  So he should shut the hell up about it.

5.  Compensation.  Obama wants BP to pay compensation to the thousands of people laid off in the gulf of mexico as a result of the total drilling and exploration ban.  Its bad news for those people and they have my sympathy, but how is that BP’s fault?

Obama shut down the Gulf, not BP.

Obama should be paying.  It’s a bit like being made to pay for everyone’s time and all business lost as a result of that lost time if your car breaks down and blocks the road and holds traffic up for an hour.  Actually, its worse, it’s a bit like you breaking down or having a crash and the Highways Agency deciding that all driving is dangerous, closing all the roads and then asking you to pay for everyone’s lost income and business.    Its nuts.   I have no problem asking BP to clean up, and if part of that is payments to fishermen and coastal areas hit, then that’s fine, but rampant sweeping payments from BP to everybody who has even the slightest knock on effect due the actions of the Government is just nonsense.  Can I get compensation from BP when the price of petrol goes up due to the drop in global supply and the rise in oil prices?  Of course not, but it’s not far from what Obama is asking for.

So yeah, that’s my summary – Obama is not being helpful, quite the reverse, he’s almost certainly hindering BP’s attempts at sorting problem by his highly negative and distracting PR campaign.

The best managers help to solve and sort the problem and then worry about the how’s and why’s later.  If there is genuine blame, then that stuff will come out later and there are laws and procedures in place to deal with that.  None of that stuff helps stop the oil now.

In the meantime, ask yourself just how much the Obama administration has actually done to help solve the problem vs how much finger-pointing and arse covering they are doing.

That’s the acid test of good management vs bad management.

I should point out that I’m not tied to, funded by or connected to BP in any way other than sometimes filling my car up with BP petrol.  I think the oil spill is really bad news and I’m not advocating letting BP off the hook, this is just commentary on the media frenzy.  I will comfirm that I think Obama is both good and bad as a president. –  he’s not as good as he was touted to be, but he’s certainly not a total numpty

oooh, they makes me so mad..

Politicians. Gah!

Somehow politicians everywhere over think the world owes them a living! I know they have to do a challenging job sometimes, but so does everyone else, but somehow they think they are better than everyone else and that’s what irks me the most.

I’ve just read in the Guardian that Sir Nicholas Winterton (aka Lord Chinless Wonder), an MP in the UK has decided that its outrageous that MP’s might be forced to travel in standard class on the train and not the luxurious tax-payer funded gilt-edged first class they are used to.

To add insult to injury, Lord Muck states that the reason for his complaint it that:

there are a “totally different type of people” in standard class.

He went on to say :

“I didn’t say they weren’t as good, but they are in a different walk of life. They are doing different things. Very often they are there with children.

Oh really, Sir Fuckwad, if you don’t want to mix with the hoi paloi, that’s your business and at your cost. How out of touch you have become.

He also says:

“MPs would not be able to get enough work done in standard class because of the noise and disturbance from children”

So, how is it that everyone else can work and survive the commute in cattle class, many working away as best they can for salaries and reward a lot less than yours, but somehow you can’t?

And then he rounds it off with

“So we are supposed to stand when there are no seats … I’m sorry, it infuriates me.”

Oh boo fucking hoo – you do what the rest of the population you’re supposed to be representing does and suck it up.

I think you’ve forgotten who pays your wages, mate.

With that kind of attitude, I think Sir Alan Sugar’s catchphrase is required.
You’re Fired.

Vote for me

I think the world needs a new direction, so I’m going to put myself up for the role of world leader

Its pretty simple I think – there are some basic rules I’d like to enforce but apart from that, here’s my mandate

1.  Tax – I’ll keep it as low as I possibly can.  I’ll do this by not having a vast and huge bureaucratic government – light and lean is the watchword here.  As world leader, I’ll be quite important, but I don’t need a vast palace and motorcades and shit like that – I’ll live in my own house I think – maybe the taxpayers can fund a shack on a quiet beach somewhere so I can take myself off to think about how to solve tough problems for a bit.  I’ll have a few people advising me but thats all – I trust my own opinions and don’t need other people’s agendas being passed on to you.

2.  Rules.  There are way too many rules in the world, particularly in Australia where I live (and as its nice and warm here, I’ll continue to live here when I’m world leader) Thats because there are no consequences for people’s actions.  Justice is weak, punishments poor and too many people know they can all but get away with whatever they want.  Today, we have to ban everything and restrict people’s liberties and choices because of a tiny minority that cant be trusted.   Its pretty much the same minority for everything – speeding, bad behaviour, violence, graffiti, anti social behaviour etc – so I’ll just have one over arching rule – if you do something stupid that hurts or impacts someone else in a negative way, I’m shipping you off to Siberia for life.

Frankly the world doesn’t need you and the gene pool is better off without you.   I’m not willing to make a complicated system of grades of bad behaviour, its one size fits all – its cheaper that way too which means lower taxes.  People can just learn to live with each other in a more responsible way.  If you want to drink in public – fine by me.  Thump someone cos you’re pissed – its off to the gulag for you.  If you want to drive fast, good for you.  Kill someone cos you don’t understand that driving fast in built up areas is stupid – off to the gulag.  Murder someone, same deal.  Make the consequences severe and people wont need loads of rules, they’ll just understand they have to play their part in a responsible social machine.  I’m empowering you with responsibility.

3.  Work – we all have to work hard – I think people get that already, but dole bludgers and scroungers will not be tolerated.  If you’re claiming there is no work and need state support, then we’ll give you work.  You might not like it, but nobody gets something for nothing, so its litter pick up duty, cleaning up the place, community gardening, help the needy etc.  Mandatory, no excuses.  Child care will be provided.   If we need to build something, then we’ll get the unemployed builders to help whilst they have no other work, hell, I have no problems paying people properly for jobs like that, not just unemployment benefits.  We’ll all pull together and guess what – the world will be a better place.

4.  Architecture.  I want some memorable buildings. Made of stone and quality materials.  The world’s most amazing buildings are not made of steel and glass. Architects that suggest modern glass crap next to wonderful gothic masterpieces will be sent to the gulag.  End. Of.

5.  Energy.  We’re in a bit of a pickle with this – wars and fighting and invasions, peak oil, bio fuels causing starvation etc.  So, I’m going to put a stop to this.  I’m going to impose a fuel tax to fund research into inventing a new energy source that will replace oil asap.  I don’t care that the fallout to this is the balance of power is put back into the hands of the everyday man – I’m sick and tired of energy sources being used as excuses for oppression.   If at all possible, this new energy source will be cheap and abundant and available to all with no strings.  We all have the right to heat, cooling, cooking, clean water etc.

6. Pollution.  People and companies that pollute the environment will be sent to the gulag.  If we cant make something without destroying the environment and causing harm to life on the planet then we are not going to make it anymore.  Full Stop.   There’ll be a transition period where we’ll help manufacturers make the change, but after that, its clean living.  If it means we have to make some compromises in the stuff we “need” for life, then so be it.  I’m not going to be stupid and overly restrictive, I want cheap electronics, good cars, the internet and everything too, but only if we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot to get it.

Oh, and military spending will be cut right back – we’ll have a world army, navy and airforce, but once the social reforms and justice is sorted, we don’t think we’ll need it that much.  Anyone in remote parts of the world that think they can engage in illegal activity (Somalian Pirates, are you listening up here?) will be crushed swiftly and decisively.   We want everyone to live in harmony, but those preventing that and those willing to treat other people in a way that is not consistent with a single cohesive society will be held to account with no mercy.

So yeah, vote for me, man, its gonna be a blast!


been a bit of a delay in posting as I’ve been sick.  really sick.  stay in bed for 48 hours kind of sick.


Just about getting over it now, but now the family are starting to go down with it, which is not good.  Jay is ok-ish for the moment, but both the kidlets are off school and have a high fever.  Hope they get better soon.

Hope I continue to get better too, I have a customer meeting tomorrow in Perth that I have to go to no matter what.

So, whats been happening..

Well, not a lot, as I’ve been sick, but apart from the usual nice stuff, theres been stuff that really irks me.  So I’m going to write about it.   I guess the people concerned might guess this is about them should they read it but I don’t care too much.

Friends who plead poverty and borrow money from their families for essential items and then go and splash their own money on luxuries like flat screen tv’s and new pets the very next day

Mothers who smoke when they have a newborn.   There have been so many studies done about this, even if they dont smoke around the baby, the second hand smoke linkers enough in the mothers lungs to breathe significant volumes of carcenogenic tars over the child.   Its not as if this should be a surprise, these health warnings are advertised everywhere and have een for years.  This annoys me just as much as parents who smoke in the car with their kids.   If anyone reading this smokes with young children – you really need to think about your children and their health before your “needs” Grow the fuck up.

Friends who want us to babysit after school but then go home from work and leave the kid with us but dont actually let us know.  Pick her up almost 3 hours late.  No apologies.  Nice.

People who still text whilst they are driving.

The news sickens me.  People are capable of the most horrible things.  For instance, I just read about a man in the US who threw his 4 year old (and gorgeous too, looking at the photos) daughter off a cliff and killed her because he didnt want to pay child support.  I mean, who the fuck does that.  With their own child.  Forget jail time, just chuck the gutless piece of shit out of a moving car at 100mph. I have to say, this news has totally ruined my day – not my mood, but its drained the colour from me totally.  How can I look at the world the same way knowing this kind of thing.   I’m not reading the news any more.  Back when there was no internet and global awareness, perhaps current affairs were useful, but now it seems to dredge up so much hideousness, for me, its become  irrelevant.   I don’t need to know.

Politics.  Fuck me, they are all petty point scoring children.  Watched a clip on the news from the Federal Parliament and it was embarrassing and it struck me right then, again, how irrelevant it is, not only to me, but to the way a country needs to be run.  I’d rather campaign for a “vote for nobody” box on the election form and pay the fines for missing mandatory voting (honestly, what kind of a choice is it when you cant vote for “none of the above”)  than vote for anyone who participates in that kind of petty kindergarten nonsense.  I’d expect better debate from my children.  Seriously.

In positive news, the Olympus Trip 35’s arrived – very nice they are too, although the low light shutter lock on mine doesnt work, but the red flag pops up ok.

Off to buy some film for them right now.  And a subway, I’m starving.