Burroughs Adding Machine

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

The Utilitarianism of Art

…in revealing politics.

Banksy offers up superb social commentary on a tourist boardwalk in Brighton. I love the way that this mother obliviously takes photographs while her children take glee in riding a dolphin leaping over an oil barrel and the remains of BP’s mess.

Good stuff. Banksy strikes again.

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Filed under: art, oil spill, politics, , ,

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.

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

Want Oil Spill News? Risk a $40K Fine

65 feet.

That’s the distance the federal government and BP have established as a media-free zone around the oil spill. Want to capture images of oil-soaked gulls and endless booms? You’ll have to do it from a distance. Interview BP employees or visit their medical facilities? Not anymore.

Commander Thad Allen, who previously called for–and later promised–media transparency except for safety or security concerns, has now backtracked. TV, radio, print, and citizen bloggers face jail time or a $40,000 fine for violating the order.

Makes you wonder: If the press is not allowed to cover what’s happening in the clean-up efforts, who will?

Filed under: government, media, military, 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, , , , , , , , , , ,

Publications

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)
August 2019
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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