Obama Addresses BP Oil Spill from the White House Oval Office

In addition to the Facebook chat link provided with the Whitehouse.gov player above, YouTube is soliciting questions for the White House at youtube.com/whitehouse.

“This is the worst environmental disaster of our lifetimes,” the president said in opening a speech that started off sounded eerily like a declaration of a war with no end in sight, as we’re already fighting on two international fronts.

“I’m willing to look at different approaches. The one approach I will not accept is inaction,” Obama said. 18 minutes later, the speech is over and I’m not sure exactly what we CAN do.

Press Secretary Robert Gates later answered questions. Watch that video below:
Continue reading “Obama Addresses BP Oil Spill from the White House Oval Office”

New OECD report on “The future of news and the Internet”

The death of the newspaper is greatly exaggerated — generally speaking from the point of view of the OECD. Aside from in the U.S., the decline in revenues is on par with the general financial decline in recent years.

Figure 1. Estimated newspaper publishing market decline in OECD countries, 2007-2009 (in per cent)

…[A] new OECD report looking at “The Future of News and the Internet”. It contains new data and analysis on the global newspaper industry and the challenges presented by the Internet. Its main message is that “large country-by-country and title-by-title differences and the data currently do not lend themselves to make the case for “the death of the newspaper”, in particular if non-OECD countries and potential positive effects of the economic recovery are taken into account.” The full report, including data and charts, is available at http://www.oecd.org/document/48/0,3343,en_2649_34223_45449136_1_1_1_1,00.html

After very profitable years, newspaper publishers in most OECD countries face declining advertising revenues, titles and circulation. The economic crisis has amplified this downward development.

About 20 out of 30 OECD countries face declining newspaper readership, with significant decreases in some OECD countries. Newspaper readership is usually lower among younger people who tend to attribute less importance to print media. In OECD countries, the general, regional and local press have been hardest hit and 2009 was expected to be the worst year for OECD newspapers, with the largest declines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Canada, and Spain (but much a much smaller impact on countries such as Austria, Australia (See above).

Continue reading “New OECD report on “The future of news and the Internet””

Google Should Use AdWords to Make BP Fund Oil Spill Relief

BP Logo mashupFor the past couple weeks I’ve seen headlines and tweets regarding BP’s leveraging of Google Adwords (as well as Bing and Yahoo!) to control the top (sponsored) search results for such terms as BP Oil Spill. This is a natural response to crisis for any corporation, no matter the depth of its PR 2.0 savvy.

But according to recent AdWords number crunches, BP is only paying an average of $1.33 per click or roughly $1 million each month (SearchEngineWatch, June 9). Perhaps as low as $1.22 per click.

Why so little? Nobody has been outbidding them in the AdWords marketplace. It’s time for some guerrilla tactics.

Here’s what I propose: Google should donate any revenues above $5 per click for any keyword to funds and charities dedicated to restoring the Gulf and/or to benefit those whose livelihoods have been shattered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.

Yes, this is a crazy idea and it could throw AdWords of its hinges. So let’s just do it for ONE DAY. Google can’t change the rules for specific keywords but they can change the rules across the board. All it would take is a few noble souls willing to launch a bidding war with BP up to say – $20 per click. And Google’s word that monies will be donated (a great PR move in itself).

Justice is: clicking a search result and having $15 transfer BP to a non-profit Oil Spill fund. With each and every click!

Continue reading “Google Should Use AdWords to Make BP Fund Oil Spill Relief”

BP Has So Much Money to Lose. But Who Should Manage It?

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. – Jeff Phillips, Environmental Contaminants Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, rescues a Brown Pelican from the Barataria Bay in Grand Isle, La., June 4, 2010. State and federal wildlife services pulled approximately 60 Brown Pelicans, in the last two days, covered in oil from the Barataria Bay area. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ann Marie Gorden. Who do we trust when an exploitative company that makes more money than god claims to be fixing its mess, but is the king of an industry that has colluded with the government for years?

This seems to be one of the broadest and most frustrating takeaways of the crisis resulting from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.

Under current law (Oil Pollution Act of 1990), a leaseholder for a deepwater port is liable for no more than $75 million per spill plus removal costs. Transocean, owner of the sunken drill ship, is liable for up to $350 million under the same law.

BP reported more than $6 BILLION in PROFIT for the first quarter 2010. That’s $60 million each day. Revenues from 2009 sales totaled $239 BILLION (about the same as Finland’s GDP). BP must pay.

But Obama and the government have only teased the idea of lifting the $75 million cap, much less seizing BP’s assets entirely.

BP claims to have already spent $1 billion on cleanup costs and small bundles of cash to the affected states. but BP itself estimates the total costs to be $6 billion. Then there are the mounting health concerns for humans and animals encountering the dispersants being used, as well as liability for obliterating the sea-based industries of the Gulf. Not to mention lawsuits already filed by the survivors and surviving families of the April 20 blast that led to the gusher. Credit Suisse recently estimated those costs at an additional $14 billion.

These numbers don’t mean very much. What matters is that some organization, public or private, must be left responsible for managing recovery funds. One that is independent of both BP and the U.S. Government. But who?

UPDATE: David Axelrod appeared on Meet the Press this morning and hinted at Obama leaning toward a fund managed by a third party. Another empty signal or the start of something? – Obama will demand BP establish escrow account to handle oil spill claims. Obama may ask for as much as $50 billion to start the fund when he addresses the nation Wednesday. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Photo via Deepwater Horizon Response‘s flickr (taken June 4, 2010, Jefferson Pa., Louisiana).