Sunday, June 06, 2010
It's BP's World
Forgive the dearth of posts—and forgive this one for being mostly a cut-and-paste—but things are busy as heck here, in part because my 94-year-old uncle has had another health setback; I've spent a good chunk of the last two weeks bouncing back and forth between hospital, nursing home, etc. He's better than he was when he went to the hospital two weeks ago, but "better" is an awfully relative term when you're 94; right now, we're mostly hoping that he can recover enough to go home to his retirement community and face whatever his remaining life has in store for him there as opposed to spending his last days in a nursing home. I've already had my fill of dealing with what passes for the "health care" industry here, and I fear I may have weeks of it yet to go. Please send any good vibes you can spare my uncle's way—and send any extra to me, 'cause man, dealing with this draculesque industry makes me wanta drive a stake through somebody's heart.
I managed to do some catching up with news today, though, I couldn't resist passing on this sadly hilarious dispatch from a Mother Jones reporter dealing with the "authorities" on the befouled beaches of Louisiana:
The blockade to Elmer's [Island, Louisiana] is now four cop cars strong. As we pull up, deputies start bawling us out; all media need to go to the Grand Isle community center, where a "BP Information Center" sign now hangs out front. Grand Isle residents are not amused by the beach closing.I nside, a couple of Times-Picayune reporters circle BP representative Barbara Martin, who tells them that if they want passage to Elmer they have to get it from another BP flack, Irvin Lipp; Grand Isle beach is closed too, she adds. When we inform the Times-Pic reporters otherwise, she asks Dr. Hazlett if he's a reporter; he says, "No." She says, "Good." She doesn't ask me. We tell her that deputies were just yelling at us, and she seems truly upset. For one, she's married to a Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy. For another, "We don't need more of a black eye than we already have."I'm glad that I can still feel at least a little sympathy for PR flacks. But then it's hard not to when you can almost hear what's left of their souls dying as they talk.
"But it wasn't BP that was yelling at us, it was the sheriff's office," we say.
"Yeah, I know, but we have…a very strong relationship."
"What do you mean? You have a lot of sway over the sheriff's office?"
When I tell Barbara I am a reporter, she stalks off and says she's not talking to me, then comes back and hugs me and says she was just playing. I tell her I don't understand why I can't see Elmer's Island unless I'm escorted by BP. She tells me BP's in charge because "it's BP's oil."
"But it's not BP's land."
"But BP's liable if anything happens."
"So you're saying it's a safety precaution."
"Yeah! You don't want that oil gettin' into your pores."
"But there are tourists and residents walking around in it across the street."
"The mayor decides which beaches are closed." So I call the Grand Isle police requesting a press liason, only to get routed to voicemail for Melanie with BP. I call the police back and ask why they gave me a number for BP; they blame the fire chief.
I reach the fire chief. "Why did the police give me a number for BP?" I ask.
"That's the number they gave us."
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