Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Citizen Journalists: Tar Balls on NE Florida Beach

Crescent Beach, in the Northeast corner of Florida, is littered with tar. It’s shocking to see the pliable, gummy substance up close. The folks in this YouTube video don’t know whether it’s from the oil spill in the Gulf, but are dismayed nonetheless.

What an environmental disaster. Meanwhile, Tony Hayward, perhaps the savviest PR guy around, parties on with an unknown woman in Texas.

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Filed under: environmentalism, oil spill, , , , , , , ,

Raging Grannies Raging at BP

Even the Raging Grannies are giving BP and Halliburton a piece of their mind.

Filed under: age, environmentalism, oil spill, social justice, , , , ,

BP to Reporter: “What are You Doing Here?”

Vodpod videos no longer available. Seems that BP is giving the press–and its workers–a hard time.

Despite BP’s recent statement that open access is allowed to the press (excepting security or safety concerns), reporters like Dan Harris, in the clip above, are continuously blocked in their efforts to cover the oil spill and its ramifications.

The trickle-down effect of BP officials not speaking to the press extends to the more than 20,000 workers cleaning up the beaches. Harris says that workers are reluctant to speak on camera because they have been told by BP not to do so. After all, who’s going to bite the hand that feeds you?

Workers use absorbent pads to clean oil from the Pelican Rookery near Grand Isle, La., on Thursday. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Still, some of BP’s workers are speaking out. George Jackson, a 53 year-old fisherman in Louisiana, took work for the BP clean-up after the company eliminated any hope for his fishing business. Not only has the disaster affected his livelihood, it has created health problems. Jackson told The Los Angeles Times:

As he was laying containment booms Sunday, he said, a dark substance floating on the water made his eyes burn.

“I ain’t never run on anything like this,” Jackson said. Within seconds, he said, his head started hurting and he became nauseated.

Like other cleanup workers, Jackson had attended a training class where he was told not to pick up oil-related waste. But he said he wasn’t provided with protective equipment and wore leather boots and regular clothes on his boat.

“They [BP officials] told us if we ran into oil, it wasn’t supposed to bother us,” Jackson said. “As far as gloves, no, we haven’t been wearing any gloves.”

Commercial fisher-woman Diane Wilson of Seadrift, Texas, pours a jar of syrup made to look like oil over herself as a police officer drags her from a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing yesterday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Seems that BP’s efforts to contain the bad publicity are failing. In addition to the press and workers talking, activists like commercial fisherwoman Diane Wilson are speaking out. Wilson interrupted a Senate hearing in which Senator Lisa Murkowski sought to limit BP’s liability. Murkoswki has been in bed with the big oil companies nearly $150,000 in campaign funds from the oil industry.

Wilson doused herself in fake oil at the beginning of the session to express her outrage over BP support on Capitol Hill. A powerful action that received lots of media attention and continues the public pressure on BP to act more responsibly.

Filed under: environmentalism, labor, media, oil spill, , , , , , , , , , ,

Colbert Sets the Birds Loose on BP

Vodpod videos no longer available. Stephen Colbert gives BP honcho Tony Hayward a piece of his mind (and muscle), on behalf of the American people. My favorite bit is his nod to Hitchcock’s The Birds.

If only Colbert’s humor could truly alleviate the tragedy of this epic disaster.

Filed under: environmentalism, humor, , , , , , ,

New Terrible Things on the BP Front

Carmen Garcia was working at the Hopedale Command Center in Louisiana, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement visited in May. (Photo: Annie Correal)

Can things get any worse for the gulf coast?

We recently marked the 50th day since the British Petroleum disaster. A tragic birthday. Worse, however, are small, probably underreported things like these items:

  • BP is buying ad space on Google for its own propoganda. Go ahead, try it. Type “oil spill” or “BP disaster” into Google and witness how your favorite corporation is spending millions of dollars in advertising instead of clean-up efforts. How much exactly? ABC News has an estimate:

Scott Slatin, an analyst who runs search engine marketing company Rivington in New York, estimates the company is paying upwards of $10,000 per day to maintain the various search terms.

ICE, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, visited two command centers, one in Venice and the other in Hopedale, twice in May. ICE agents arrived at the staging areas without prior notice, rounded up workers, and asked for documentation of their legal status.

Looking for unbiased information on this disaster? Don’t click on the search engine results that read “Ways BP is Trying to Help.” God forbid, actually trying to help the clean-up effort in person? Remember to bring your ID.

Filed under: environmentalism, government, immigration, , , , , , , ,

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BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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