The Kinfolk Brass Band — who will perform in London for the 2012 Olympic Games, thanks to BP — introduced Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne at the Old U.S. Mint this morning, who announced a partnership with Harry Connick Jr. and Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LBP).
In addition to the six-part documentary Louisiana: 200 Years of Statehood, LPB announced it will also air a "musical tribute" to tie in with the state's 2013 tourism campaign highlighting the state's music. BP has provided $1 million for the program.
"It was almost a mandate," Dardenne said, that the state call attention to its musical history for the Bicentennial. Connick will host and narrate the program, which features Louisiana artists performing on-site across the state.
The artists will perform renditions of "You Are My Sunshine," originally recorded by Gov. Jimmie Davis in 1939 and designated as the official state song in 1977. Performers include Connick, the Marsalis Family, Tim McGraw, Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas, The Zion Harmonizers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Buddy Guy, Buckwheat Zydeco, Trombone Shorty, Zachary Richard and Better Than Ezra. (No word on whether it'll include any sludge metal or bounce artists.)
"There's so much talent here, and so much passion in so many areas," Connick said.
The program will weave in several vignettes highlighting the state's agriculture, waterways, tourism and oil and gas industries — the vignettes will be written by Chris Rose and narrated by Connick.
The documentary airs Aug. 13 around the state and Aug. 14 in New Orleans on local affiliate WLAE. The music program airs later this year.
Eight Louisiana and Gulf Coast chefs — including John Folse and Galatoire's executive chef Michael Sichel — are on their way to London. BP will send them to the 2012 Olympic Games host city to fill it with a "dash of spice."
BP announced today via local public relations firm The Ehrhardt Group (of which BP is a client) that the "Spirit of the Gulf" events at the games will target "more than 1,000 people each day" to encourage them to visit the Gulf Coast, and "sample the world’s freshest and best-tasting seafood and experience the Gulf’s unique culture and distinctive attractions."
... the Gulf Coast’s finest are gearing up for a trip across the pond to deliver the ultimate good luck charm — Gulf Coast tastes and tunes. For four days during the 2012 Olympic Games, the ‘Spirit of the Gulf’ will introduce Team USA to a showcase of the Gulf Coast presented by BP.
BP's presence at the 2012 games has already set off a wave of protests — several of the company's massive billboards were smeared with "oil" and a campaign wants to remove BP as an Olympics sponsor.
BP vice president of government and public affairs Crystal Ashby said the company is "proud to use the power of the London 2012 Olympic Games" to promote the Gulf and show the company's "ongoing commitment to the community."
BP currently is spending millions in advertising during the international rush to London for the 2012 Olympic games, including a massive wraparound, marquee-style billboard featuring athletes bursting out the BP "sun" logo, alongside the slogan "Fuelling the Future." (The double "L" is their spelling.)
Yesterday, that billboard and other ads and surfaces throughout the city were vandalized — slapped with a "To Go BP Free in 2012" sticker or, in the billboard's case, smothered in "oil."
Stuffed sea animals covered in oil and placed outside the Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and Royal Opera House. Signs and ads in the London Underground were sprayed with black "oil," and BP "sun" signs outside petrol stations were also hit.
Greenpeace filed many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information, including photos, related to the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, it published photos related to an endangered species of turtle. It also published government aerial shots of oil in the Gulf and marshes.
Two long, essential reads spell out the still burning impact of the BP oil disaster, two years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 men and sent millions of gallons of oil and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico for months.
For Al Jazeera, Dahr Jamail looks at crustacean and fish populations in the Gulf and makes disturbing finds — seafood with tumors, lesions and deformities.
A statement to Al Jazeera from Gov. Bobby Jindal's office reads, "Gulf seafood has consistently tested lower than the safety thresholds established by the FDA for the levels of oil and dispersant contamination that would pose a risk to human health. ... Louisiana seafood continues to go through extensive testing to ensure that seafood is safe for human consumption. More than 3,000 composite samples of seafood, sediment and water have been tested in Louisiana since the start of the spill."
Except those thresholds are far lower than the amounts consumed in Louisiana. The FDA guidelines represent a national average, not a regional one.
The Political Desk has unearthed a real gem — a 1960 "public information service" newsreel by the American Petroleum Institute, which debunks the crazy theory that the oil industry might have some deleterious effect on the Louisiana oyster population ... as proven with a "two-million-dollar oyster research program!".
Back then, something was retarding the growth of oysters in the Gulf, so oil company scientists put some oysters in a tank and fed them a diet of crude oil and other gunk.
Surprise: "The test oysters were so happy they brought forth new generations – they never had it so good!"
Must be seen to be believed.
In Barataria Bay, scientists and researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have been studying bottlenose dolphins in the wake of the BP oil disaster.
The NOAA performed physicals on 32 dolphins in 2011, and today, the early results are dramatic: many are "underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease," and "nearly half also have abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function." One of those dolphins died in early 2012.
An "Unusual Mortality Event" was declared by NOAA following a spike in dolphins entering (and dying in) the northern Gulf of Mexico — since February 2010, NOAA said, more than 675 dolphins have been stranded there (atypical of an average 74 per year). Most have died, but 33 were stranded alive, and seven were put into rehabilitation, according to NOAA.
NOAA told Baton Rouge's Advocate that though a link can't be made between the 2010 oil disaster and the plunge in dolphin health, it's been seen before.
The study was performed under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a requirement under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
For someone who can't get in any of the GOP debates (though there's certainly room on the stage these days), Buddy Roemer sure knows how to get TV time. He's appeared on The Colbert Report several times with Stephen Colbert and once on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now he's completing a comedy-pundit trifecta with a scheduled appearance on Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher. From HBO:
Real Time with Bill Maher continues its tenth season Friday, January 20th (10:00-11:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), exclusively on HBO, with an instant replay at 11:00 p.m. following the live presentation. Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviews with in-studio and satellite guests.
The roundtable guests this week are former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, reporter Matt Lewis and former La. Gov. Buddy Roemer; commentator Bill Moyers and Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders are interview guests.
Hey, Buddy, while you're there: Why don't you ask Bill about that "New Rules" segment he did about Gulf Coast residents in the wake of the BP oil disaster?
And finally, New Rule: Stop talking about jobs being lost in a murderous, hateful industry like it's a bad thing. Now, last week, I may have hurt a few feelings when my response to the complaint that jobs will be lost in the offshore drilling business was, "F**k your jobs!" But, I meant it. And it goes double for burning coal and chopping down redwoods. Sorry, roughnecks*, but eventually, you're going to have to find something else to do. Try building windmills. You know what happens when windmills collapse into the sea? A splash.
You know, it's Washington gospel that jobs in the private sector are better than government jobs. You even hear Democrats saying it. But, oil jobs are private, and look at the toll this industry takes: cooking the planet, enslaving us to Saudi Arabia, killing animals. If the government hired away all the 58,000 oil workers who work now in the state of Louisiana and paid them their same salary to work repairing infrastructure and building solar panels, it would cost us $5.5 billion, which the Pentagon loses every day in the couch.
Wouldn't that be worth it? Is working on an oil rig really that great a job anyway? You spend weeks at a time on a floating well in the ocean. If you want to avoid your family that bad, take up golf. Yes, the oil industry creates jobs. So does the kiddie porn industry.
If Maher blamed Appalachian coal miners after mine collapses, I don't remember seeing it.
* I remember that word pretty clearly as 'rednecks,' not 'roughnecks,' but the HBO transcript has the latter.
The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Fox News and NPR are all reporting U.S. prosecutors are preparing a criminal case against BP employees following the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.
The prosecutors, according to WSJ, are aiming for Houston-based engineers and at least one BP supervisor. Prosecutors are leaning on evidence that those BP employees may have given drilling regulators false information about the deepwater drilling risks.
Last year, the Guardian speculated "what if" the business end of Big Oil faced felony charges for its accidents. The question was prompted after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the administration's end of a temporary drilling moratorium, before any Oil Spill Commission reports or internal investigations revealed any of their findings — a free pass to Big Oil on their word that they'd addressed the problem. So, "what if?"
NPR's Carrie Johnson reported that the U.S. Department of Justice task force investigating the disaster, led by Brooklyn prosecutor John Buretta, is deciding whether to prosecute, and engineers already are lawyering up. (In September, DOJ officials announced the department was looking into whether BP properly reported pressure measurements during drilling.) In February, BP will enter trial anyway, to determine liability for the explosion that killed 11 men. Meanwhile, the company faces stacks of lawsuits for compensation not addressed by its claims process.
In this week's cover story, I talked to the Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, author and illustrator of Oil and Water, a mostly nonfiction graphic novel about a group visiting the Gulf of Mexico last year — days after the Deepwater Horizon well had been capped.
The group, part of the real-life PDX 2 Gulf Coast project, was condensed from its 22 participants to 10 characters, and they quickly realize the oil disaster is a much larger and more complex problem than they believed. Duin and Wheeler were part of the real-life group, and Wheeler sketched and painted more than 300 pages over his 10 day tour across the coast.
After the jump: Wheeler, a New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the award-winning Too Much Coffee Man, shares his thoughts and some of his collection of sketches and paintings, from the Lower 9th Ward and French Quarter to people and places in coastal communities.
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