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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 92

Posted By on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 8:39 PM

  • Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says 290 oil-related exposure cases have been reported since the disaster began, including 216 from workers on oil rigs or doing cleanup, and 74 from those living along the coast. Some were reported through the toll-free line via the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, which handled BP's exposure-related calls. Other reports came from Acadian Ambulance, doctors, clinics and emergency care facilities.

  • Mother Jones reports that for more than a decade, BP has operated a hotline in California allowing lawmakers and other politicos to call in and request concert tickets, killer seats at NBA games and other VIP treatments — totaling giveaways to the tune of about $300,000:

    In the past five years, BP has given state officials more than 1,200 complimentary tickets to the Arco Arena, hosting them in its corporate suite to see Sacramento Kings games, World Extreme Cagefighting matches, and Britney Spears and Lil Wayne concerts. Getting the tickets is as easy as calling the BP ticket request line, an exclusive, unpublished phone number that appears to exist for the sole purpose of granting freebies to lawmakers, regulators, and their staffs.

    "You make a request, leave it on the voicemail, and at some date the tickets either magically appear or they don't," says a legislative consultant who gave me the ticket line's number and spoke on condition of anonymity. "They don't talk to you; you just see 'em or you don't."

  • BP got caught 'shopping. Doctored photos of its incident command center have popped up online via AMERICAblog, showing what are supposed to be giant, blank screens but are "filled" with busy-looking images like maps, radar, etc. The BP response:

    Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, said that there was nothing sinister in the photo alteration and provided the original unaltered version. He said that a photographer working for the company had inserted the three images in spots where the video screens were blank.

    "Normally we only use Photoshop for the typical purposes of color correction and cropping," Dean said in an e-mail. "In this case they copied and pasted three ROV screen images in the original photo over three screens that were not running video feeds at the time."

    Dean said BP usually has a couple remotely operated vehicles on the surface at any given time for maintenance.

    "We will replace the Photoshopped version currently on with the original image tonight," he added. "We've instructed our post-production team to refrain from doing this in the future."

  • This morning, I joined Sandra Averhart from Pensacola's WUWF and Ryan Dezember from the Mobile Press-Register on the Brian Lehrer Show on New York's NPR affiliate WNYC this morning to talk about oil impacting the Gulf Coast. Here's the clip.

  • And finally, Abita's S.O.S. pilsner is now available in stores. Here's the display inside Rouses:

    click to enlarge " width=

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