Canadian Embassy emails reveal Canadian, US lobbying on tar sands-derived oil

Recently released emails written by employees of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC and other Canadian government workers show that the Embassy directly lobbied the Bush Administration and Congress in an attempt to influence regulations and legislation that could restrict exports of Alberta tar sands-derived bitumen and petroleum. The emails further reveal that the Bush Administration had asked the Canadian Embassy to lobby Congress and to use its influence with key oil companies to convince them to lobby on Canada’s – and the Bush Administration’s – behalf. Continue reading

Gallup poll reveals that public questions PR industry credibility: are PR practitioners to blame?

A Gallup poll released in August indicated that the advertising and PR industries aren’t viewed very favorably by the American public.

One-third of respondents voiced a positive view of the advertising/pr industry (6 percent “very,” 27 percent “somewhat”). Twenty-seven percent were “neutral.” Twenty-five percent expressed a “somewhat negative view,” while 11 percent were “very negative.” (The rest didn’t venture an opinion.)

You might argue that, on balance, the numbers are only slightly negative – total positives were 33% while total negatives were 36% – and the AdWeek story cited here certainly goes out of their way to put a chirpy spin on the results (no real surprise there, I suppose). Continue reading

Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Visualization of the scale of the oil spill

Andy Linter at Beowolfe.com spent some time with Google Maps recently and came up with a visualization tool for the scale of the BP oil slick. When you got to his site, his site grabs your location from your IP address and then moves an overlay of the present size of the oil slick from the Gulf to over your home. The image at right is how big it would be if it were centered near my home in the Denver metro area, Colorado.

After the last census I calculated what percentage of Colorado’s population lived between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, and it was somewhere between 70-80% of the state. So if that slick were here in Colorado, 3.5 to 4 million people would be covered in oil.

Click on the image to get a feel for how much of your neck of the woods it would cover.

h/t to S&R’s own wufnik

Gulf oil has likely reached the Loop Current

The image at right is a composite of the most recent MODIS satellite image of the spill area in the Gulf of Mexico and a National Weather Service model of the Loop Current. It was created by Brad Johnson of Think Progress’ The Wonk Room.

The composite image shows that the oil spill area has almost certainly reached the Loop Current, which is one of the major currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The loop current runs right past the Florida Keys and then meets up with the Gulf Stream, and if the tar balls that have been washing up on Key West beaches over the last day or two are from the spill (they may be from older spills years ago), then we should assume that the MODIS satellite imagery is the minimum extent of the spill area. Given that scientists aboard a NOAA survey ship have observed a plume at least 45 km long and 10 km wide that’s thousands of feet below the surface (and thus not visually detectable from the surface), it’s reasonable to say that the observed surface slick does not represent the full extent of the spill to date. And NOAA has now closed 19% of federally-controlled Gulf waters to all fishing (map).

Deepwater Horizon rig "damaged" – WTF?

I was heading into work today when I heard someone on NPR talking about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the rig’s owners Transocean. Apparently Transocean is trying to limit the company’s liability to about $27 million even though it has already been paid over $400 million by the company’s insurers. While I think that’s pretty shitty, that wasn’t really what grabbed my attention during the brief “coming up next” announcement.

No, what grabbed my attention was that the NPR guy said that the rig was “damaged.” Not destroyed, just damaged. And I might be OK with using the word “damaged” if it had only been the explosion and fire. But last I checked, it had sunk in water nearly a mile deep. That strikes me as needing an adjective that’s a bit more… serious than “damaged” implies. Continue reading