Oil Spill Numbers Lie. What’s New?

by David on August 6, 2015

I just read an article by Michael Blood writing for Associated Press about the oil spill in California that happened two months ago. Its contents ticked me off, so I thought I’d write about it. Not that it’s Michael Blood’s fault. I’m sure he’s just passing along the information his sources gave him. And I’ll bet those sources are from the oil and pipeline industries, so that’s why they are so full of crap.Bird Covered in Oil from Spill

This spill was from a corroded oil pipeline off the coast. The first sentence of the article says that documents “disclosed that the spill might have been far larger than earlier projected.” What a shock. Have we ever had a spill that later evaluations concluded was less than expected? The companies lie. They always lie. They always give initial numbers that are smaller than reality. Does anyone ever think that those numbers are real? They talk about smaller amounts, and after a few months or years pass, and the media have shifted their attention to the next shiny object, new numbers come out. And we are supposed to believe these, too, I guess. But why should we?

This isn’t the first time the figures were revised. The spill happened on a Tuesday. By Saturday Plains All American Pipeline had already revised the numbers up to an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude fouling the water and beaches and killing at least 300 animals. This was about a five times increase. Now they say “alternate calculations” put the amount at 143,000 gallons, another 40% increase. ALTERNATE CALCULATIONS??? Yes, we’ll start with these lies and then come up with alternate lies. And they say figures are still “preliminary.”

The concluding paragraph states “Wildlife officials reported that nearly 200 birds and more than 100 marine mammals were found dead in the spill area. Investigators have not yet determined what, if any, role the spill played in those deaths.” –head bang– Oh yeah… it coulda been something else, maybe.

When are these criminals going to be reined in? Or maybe rounded up and shot? Ok that’s extreme. But how long are we going to put up with these kinds of charades? I’ll tell you how long. As long as our elected officials are in the pockets of the oil, gas, and pipeline industries. So FOREVER. Unless we interrupt the flow of big money into the lawmakers coffers. Unless we insure the overturn of “Citizens United” which made the mind-bogglingly preposterous decision that corporations are people. Unless we assure the bozos who take the money they will be kicked out of office.

I wish I could say that this rant made me feel better. Why isn’t everyone ranting???

Related links:

Michael Blood’s article

Plains All American Pipeline

Citizens United (Wikipedia)

Overview of Citizens United


The First Change

Political and religious posts on Facebook get tiring. But only if they aren’t what YOU believe, eh? Yep, I found myself thinking that lately.

But I like Facebook, I really do. It’s fun to keep up with people that you’d never keep up with otherwise. It makes you feel connected to people that you’d rarely correspond with. It feels good to post things, then have people “Like” them, doesn’t it? And if it’s something you feel strongly about, there are people who will support you and tell you they feel the same way. The people who disagree… well, they just don’t get it, do they?

The political and religious posts kinda separate the sheep from the goats, don’t they? And YOU get to decide what the sheep and goat categories are. Take the recent Supreme Court decision about gay marriage: by their posts, you could tell who supported it and who didn’t.

Which brings me to my first change of mind. Here’s what I WAS going to post on Facebook. I didn’t post it, and later I’ll tell you why.

“As many of you know, in the past I’ve posted statements or links that supported my spiritual and political views. I’m changing that. From now on when I want to post something like that, I’m only going to post a link to one of my blogs, where the story or comment or link can be found. That way, anyone who wants to can go see it, but no one will see the content without going there.

This change is consistent with my new decision to not use Facebook for voicing short “sound bites” on things that need and deserve to be placed in context, or cannot be sufficiently discussed in the tit-for-tat realm of Facebook.

I won’t block anyone who makes a different choice, but I won’t be commenting, unless it’s to add a link to something.

Please note that I’m not doing this because I’m afraid I’ll hurt someone’s feelings, or that I shy away from controversy, but because I believe Facebook is not an adequate medium for real, productive discourse on complex topics, and encourages short, rude remarks.”

It was while typing that last sentence that I changed my mind again.

The Second Change

When I considered WHY I was making the above decision, I realized that all I was doing is removing my voice — my ideas — from the fog that is Facebook. No, Facebook isn’t a good place to have meaningful discussions. Yes, Facebook lends itself to the “sound bite” that is often rude or silly or even hateful. But I’m certainly not changing anything by remaining silent. And any snobby good feeling I get from “rising above it all” would be offset by the same frustrations I’ve always had. I had to ask myself: do I really want to let a stupid hateful remark go unchallenged?

Not that I set myself up as “the voice” of any particular idea or cause, but what if no one says to a person, “That’s a racist statement, here’s why, and you really should re-think your post.” The die-hard racist won’t change their position of course, but what about a well-meaning person who just doesn’t see that a particular thought leans that way? Is Facebook really a place where NO mind can be changed and NO person will think more deeply about something, if prompted? I’m going to say no to that question, even in the face of plenty of evidence otherwise.

So, with my mind changed again, I’m going back to commenting now and then, back to “Liking” things I agree with, and back to gently chastising people when I think it’s warranted. If we all just talked about the great meal we just had or only wished people happy birthday, I do think Facebook would be nicer. But the world isn’t a nice place many times, and maybe a well placed word will make a difference after all, even if small.


Who Is My Neighbor? New Thoughts on “The Good Samaritan”

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Thoughtglut Lives!

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Mindful Consumption

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This was originally posted on St. Andrew’s Blog, and is by Meredith Lancaster, a member of St. Andrew’s OUR DAILY BREAD St Andrew’s has a theology that calls us away from relinquishing our lives to corporate control. Rather, we are challenged to live our lives with depth while celebrating God in one another. We, in […]

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I Agree, We Westerners are Pretty Dang Weird

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I just read an article in the National Post about how psychologists are discovering that most of what we Americans consider to be settled psychology is based on the weird thought processes of Westerners. And quite frankly folks, we’re extremely weird, compared to the rest of the world. Americans are especially so. Besides being obsessed […]

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