Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama: BP Agrees to $20 Billion Escrow Fund. Press and Media Oil Criticism of President Propaganda or News?

Tags: BP Obama $20 B Escrow Agreed, BP Cost Shortcuts Disaster, NYT Influence, Voters Decide,

The New York Times heavily influences what other press and media say about President Obama. To a critical reader, this can be observed in how the Times emphasizes news stories in its headlines and first half dozen paragraphs. Therefore it is not surprising that the media has taken this up with a bang including Keith Olbermann, MSNBC’s star commentator who is normally very logical and fair. How we think depends a lot on what we see, hear, and read.

American voters unlike French ones do not relish discussing politics with folks who have opposing views and sometimes different opinions on television from FOX (not so much), CNN, MSNBC to network news, and even PBS Jim Lehrer. Giving the appearance of being even handed lets opposing views talk without critical questions by the host. It takes more than the background most Americans have about what is happening in Washington.

So most voters as a very recent study showed, vote on how the candidate looks as a replacement for true knowledge about how the congressperson, senator, or President will vote and behave in office.

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2010) — Are voters truly sophisticated and rational decision makers? Apparently not. Their choices are heavily influenced by superficial, nonverbal cues, such as politicians' appearance, according to Christopher Olivola from University College London in the UK and Alexander Todorov from Princeton University in the US. According to their findings1, voters make judgments about politicians' competence based on their facial appearance and these appearance-based competence judgments reliably predict both voting decisions and election outcomes.

The research is published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, a Springer publication. …

Jim Kawakami, June 16, 2010,

BP Executives Agree today on $20 Billion Escrow Fund administered by Ken Feinberg who ran the compensation.

Wikipedia: Kenneth Feinberg (born October 23, 1945, Brockton, Massachusetts)[1] is an American attorney, specializing in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Feinberg was appointed Special Master of the U.S. Government's September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and currently serves as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation, popularly called the "pay czar." He is currently under consideration as the person to oversee the proposed BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund. He is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and at the Columbia University School of Law. …

As usual Maureen Dowd unjustly trashes Obama by attacking his personality and not what he can do and what he has done which reminds me how she attacked Gore’s brown suits in the 2,000 election which led to the current debacle of no regulations period.

BP Repeatedly Ignored Safety Procedures in Drilling Operations Columbia Journalism Review, Ryan Chittum, June 15, 2010 The evidence keeps stacking up that BP cut all kinds of corners to save time and money at the expense of safety while drilling the Deepwater Horizon well. The Wall Street Journal goes A1 with congressional confirmation of its excellent BP story from three weeks ago.

In one case, BP engineers decided on April 16 to use just six so-called “centralizers” to stabilize the well before cementing it, instead of 21 as recommended by contractor Halliburton Corp. according to BP internal emails made public by the panel.

In their letter, the lawmakers say that BP’s well team leader, John Guide, “raised objections to the use of the additional centralizers” in an April 16 email released by the panel. “It will take 10 hrs to install them…I do not like this,” Mr. Guide wrote.

The lawmakers cited another BP email as an indication that “Mr. Guide’s perspective prevailed.” A BP official wrote in an April 16 email: “Who cares, it’s done, end of story, will probably be fine.” … Somebody up the chain was putting pressure on these guys to get the well drilled. How far up the chain? How much pressure? We’re still waiting for those stories.

There’s also this, which the Journal reported last month: Mr. Waxman also highlighted BP’s decision not to take 12 hours to completely circulate the heavy drilling fluid in the well, a step that would have allowed them to check if gas was leaking into the well and clean it out.

BP also skipped a test to determine if the cement had properly bonded to the well and rock formations, according to documents from oilfield service firm Schlumberger Ltd., whose crew was sent back to shore hours before the explosion.

While the test would have allowed BP to check if the cement job was adequate and allowed for repairs, it would have taken nine to 12 hours just for the test.

A petroleum engineer advising the congressional committee called the decision not to run a cement bond test “horribly negligent.”

I don’t know how much of this stuff would have come out without the Journal’s earlier reporting, but you can bet it wouldn’t have come out this quickly. All the more reason to applaud the paper’s excellent work in the Gulf. …

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