BP Update, April 30, 2011 – Gulf of Mexico Disaster: First Annual Awards

By Ted Becker

Tackiest Public Relations Award:

The Nominees: Barack Obama; BP; The U.S. Coast Guard; EPA; NOAA.

The Winner: BP

BP’s public relations campaign exceeded all expectations of tackiness. By spending more money on PR than in helping the victims of their felonious negligence, they have outdistanced their competitors by a wide margin. Here are a couple of their ads that exemplify their excellence at being so obvious: one to reassure us that BP is doing a great job on the Gulf restoration and the other to make you feel that your soul is invigorated when you drive into their spic and span petrol stations to pay outrageous prices for their gasoline.

The Humongous Chutzpa Award

The Nominees: Barack Obama, State of Mississippi Tourism, BP, Kenneth Feinberg

The Winner: Kenneth Feinberg

This was a very close competition. Barack Obama was the chief competitor for his sheer gall in awarding BP a new contract for an even deeper deep water drilling platform off the Texas Coast.in 2011—AND for telling the American people that “The Gulf Coast is open for business”—in August of 2010.  Wow, and he even risked his daughter’s health by swimming in the stuff. See that story at Yahoo News: Obama declares Gulf Coast ‘open for business

The State of Mississippi’s Tourism board was not far behind by announcing that The Gulf Coast was sparkling clean and open for business as well. Hearing this said by such a beautiful lady with such a charming Southern accent and sounding so convincing takes a huge amount of chutzpah. See for yourself

But people born in Hawaii and Mississippi cannot expect to truly grasp the fullness of “chutzpah” when they are dealing with a genuine New York University Law School lawyer like Kenneth Feinberg. Here he is in a “Town Hall Meeting” with hundreds of unhappy Alabamians who are extremely displeased with his “independent” arbitrage of their multiple claims of injury from BP’s misanthropy. Notice his apologetic tone, deep sincerity and countless promises to speed up the process and how sorry he is that BP has been so slow and he swears to them time and time again that he will ramp it up and that justice will be done. For the Essence of Chutzpah, this is a crown jewel.

That performance by Mr. Feinberg took place in the Fall of 2010 almost a half year after the oil volcano erupted. But what has happened since gives The Humongous Chutzpah Award to Mr. Feinberg: HANDS DOWN. Why so?

For one thing: Mr. Feinberg’s law firm—at the time of this “Town Hall” meeting and from Day One to today—is being paid handsomely for his “neutrality” by none other than: BRITISH PETROLEUM….who, for their money, think that he is being MUCH TOO GENEROUS.

Here’s the data on his firm’s being paid by BP on CBS News: BP has Paid Feinberg’s Firm $3.5M in Fees

Here’s the data on BP’s alleged dissatisfaction with Mr. Feinberg’s leniency in February 2011 – NYTimes: BP Says Spill Settlement Terms Are Too Generous

For his grandiose Shakespearian acting abilities, Kenneth Feinberg has not only won The Humongous Chutzpah Award, but his law firm is now being sued in a Florida court for gross negligence and egregious fraud.

We think Mr. Feinberg will be a strong contender for next year’s Award too.

The Making of Strange Political Bedfellows Award

The Nominees: Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and BP.

The Winner: BP

Ron Paul and Ralph Nader

It is true that “politics makes strange bedfellows.” And when we blogged about the coming together of Ralph Nader (The Green Party) and Ron Paul (The Libertarian Party), we thought we had seen one of the unlikeliest alliances in American political history.  Thanks in large part to the center right antics of President Obama, Americans are beginning to think of a serious alternative to the two party system. Thanks to Obama’s political Corexit, Paul and Nader go together like, well, oil and water.

However, BP has outdone the president by a long shot. They have managed, through their various nefarious misdeeds and arrogance to bring together the American Gulf Coast community and the people of Alberta, Canada in one of the weirdest political coalitions of this century.

The Gulf Coast and Alberta, Canada? What on Earth do they have in common? The answer: BP’s destruction of their ecosystem. Okay, Americans know a lot about the former, but what about the latter?

Well, it involves an enormous BP project in northern Alberta to extract oil from their vast reservoir of “tar sands” that began in 2007.

According to a Greenpeace analysis in 2009 (which ia is reasonably uncontroversial, by the way) “To produce one barrel of oil, up to four tons of rock and soil – plus the forest on top of it – need to be removed and four barrels of surface and ground water need to be used. The process is so energy intensive that tar sands produce up to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil.”  BP’s motto is, according to Greenpeace: “Oil at any cost.”   In addition, BP is building a huge pipeline through pristine forests to the U.S.A. through which that oil will flow. So, this is yet another set of projects which has produced  huge and continuing popular and disruptive uprisings in Canada against BP…including…as above…vandalizing their gas stations.

After a while, these two communities saw their connection and figured out a good way to humiliate BP at its core. What they did was to pool money to buy BP voting stock and then go to BP’s London shareholders meeting and raise an uproar.  Here is an NBC-TV Nightly News account of that event…by Brian Williams…who himself does not acknowledge the Canadian presence. However, if you watch the video carefully, you will see them acting together…Gulf disaster victims and Canadian tar sands activists, as allies. (Please click link below images to view videos.)


Below is the BBC’s take on that protest…if it is now working. (By the way, strangely, every other video of this event on YouTube or other TV news sources seems to be down, out of commission, or missing in action). If the link doesn’t work, paste the URL in your browser and give a try yourself.


BP is clearly the star of this year’s Awards. We’re sure they’ll be very competitive next year as well.

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7 Responses to “BP Update, April 30, 2011 – Gulf of Mexico Disaster: First Annual Awards”

  1. I’m so lucky to have detected this web page. You actually told me exactly what I wished to hear and then some. Gorgeous composition and many thanks all over again for getting this 100 % free!

  2. Ted Becker says:

    Kitano: Hey if ALL BP did was to commit negligent homicide of 11 workers, why aren’t their executives indicted? Where’s the investigation? It’s over a year now and not one arrest…not one hearing…not one law. Then there’s BP’s crimes at Texas City, on the Alaska pipeline, their selling their US assets so they can’t be seized, their suppressing evidence by making all workers and press and scientists sign forms saying they won’t testify for three years, and on and on. This is a criminal conspiracy if ever there was one. And the Obama Administration has been complicit in it from the gitgo.

    I agree with your assessment of our “representaitve democracy”, which is like saying “almost pregnant.” Dr.B.

  3. Kitano says:


    Fined into the ground isn’t what you want to do to a company. However, there has to be accountability for mistakes. Really, in BP’s case, it’s not so much that a mistake was made. It’s the casual demeanor they are taking with it, as if just saying sorry and an ad campaign makes up for the fact they have barely followed through with the payments to injured parties that they should be giving out. Many of the points brought up in the blog post would be negated if they had just been punctual and on the ball with dealing with the mistake and the aftermath. There was too much pissing around, in my opinion.

    @Dr Becker
    Politics and government is only going to go to a shade a grey at its brightest so I don’t expect much of them anyway. Hell, if they can keep the majority of the male population low testosterone’d drones, fat females, and zombie’d out on the next american idol, they are happy.

  4. Ted Becker says:

    Kitano: …and the game is called “dirty politics”…which is the opposite of “clean politics” which doesn’t exist.

  5. Kitano says:

    Obama swimming and the tourist board is simple damage control to get money flowing around there again so while it’s lame to try to get people back in that pit, I get it. BP, on the other hand, should not have had their contract renewed until the bulk of the claims filed were settled. I’m sure that was done to appease some group to get something else passed. All a game…

  6. Jessica says:

    I’ve been hearing ‘tar sands’ rumblings for some time now – guess I really need to educate myself! Thanks for the reminder.

  7. michael walker says:

    This might be ignorant… or sound crazy, but BP not being completely crippled by fining them might possibly be a good thing. Ask yourself, “who are the major oil companies in the world, and what country are they making rich?” well, I may be misinformed, but from what I know BP is the only oil company in an allied country. If we fined the crap out of them then that would only cripple the company. If BP is crippled, then the supply of BP oil would be down and the demand for other countries oil would be up. Just something to think about.