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I just arrived back in New Orleans to begin planning the next phase of the nearshore oil vacuuming process for BP and US Flood Control. Just as it sounds, we'll be vacuuming oil that has accumulated in waters too shallow for larger barges or skimming. It's a huge job, but I'm pumped to be serving Louisiana during this crisis – and I've graduated from sleeping in a bunk trailer this time.

I made it back from the Army Corp of Engineer's Coastal and Hydraulics Lab in Mississippi just in time to catch Obama's oval office address and in my limited amount of time to write this evening I'd simply ask:

What did YOU think about Obama's speech?

What I liked:
  • Believable commitment to making peoplein the Gulf whole
  • Introduction of a long-term Gulf coast restoration plan

What I didn't like:
  • "Here's our battle plan" wasn't followed by much of a battle plan. More of the same "Look, here's how much boom we put out there!"
  • I'm not in the Boycott BP camp, but I wish he would have hammered them for not being more transparent

Website of the Week: Stormpulse

Stormpulse is my favorite interactive hurricane tracking map (and a great radar map too). It's great for both current storms (did you know there's a small one out there?) and historic storms too. Annnnd, you can embed the map on your agency's website for free.

Preparedness Tip of the Week

If you have a landline telephone at home, keep one old phone that doesn't require power/batteries and has a long cord (like this - $3). It will still work when the power is out unlike newer phones, and the long cord enables you to bring it into the safest room in your house.

Question of the Week

What did YOU think about Obama's speech?

Factoid About Me

I could never work at Google because I'm terrified of goats. My parents gave me a whole sleeve of graham crackers instead of just one or two at the Pocono petting zoo and the goats swarmed from every direction pummeling me to the ground. My dad continued filming. When I got home that afternoon, I stepped on a hornet's nest and got stung everywhere. I was 5. (Who gets the Google reference?)



About Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.

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Tags: 2, communications, jobs, leadership, tech

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Comment by Sara Estes Cohen on June 22, 2010 at 12:47pm
Thanks Chris! I look forward to it!
Comment by Andrew Krzmarzick on June 22, 2010 at 12:19pm
P.S. I don't think Google will be asking you to mow their lawn anytime soon. :-)
Comment by Andrew Krzmarzick on June 22, 2010 at 12:18pm
I didn't watch or read it...not that I don't care...I just have a new baby and had been on travel and just got home and...well, you know, life is happening...

And I'll bet I represent the majority of Americans...who sincerely care and wish there were a fix, but feel as if this disaster is distant and well beyond our control. And if we're half-listening as we glance at CNN at the airport or overhear it on the TV while preparing dinner or putting the kids to bed, we're left with the impression that no one has a clue what to do.

So we pray and hope for the best...and if I felt okay about the President before the disaster, I sympathize...and if I didn't support him, then I have more "fuel" for my personal fire.
Comment by Chris Bennett on June 22, 2010 at 11:50am
Sara, that will be tomorrow's CB2 :) -Chris
Comment by Sara Estes Cohen on June 22, 2010 at 11:40am
Chris, I think this is a great blog - and i hear you are down in the gulf coast? Wondering if you might blog a bit about what you are seeing down there regarding response, clean up efforts, recovery?
Comment by Janet Wischnia on June 17, 2010 at 3:01pm
It was a good pep talk, and sometimes people need a good pep talk to get motivated for the next step - action. It probably could've been done sooner to motivate more cleanup crews sooner to get more done (and I am grateful for the ones that are out there now).

As far as your goats reference - I hear they make wonderful lawnmowers/weed control/fertilizers :) sorry to hear about your negative experience...
Comment by Jeff Nice on June 17, 2010 at 11:22am
It just goes to show how out of touch he is with the majority of Americans. He has a specific agenda to achieve and all these other issues just make him so mad he must use profanity to vocalize his disgust with the distractions. If you didn't recognize his lack of experience as a candidate you would have to be completely blind to not see it now. He appears to me to be a goal oriented personality that keeps getting distracted by all this other stuff. I can see him behind closed doors screaming at staff members, "Do I have to do everything?!"
Comment by Chris Bennett on June 17, 2010 at 10:04am
Agree with you entirely, Sara.
Comment by Sara Estes Cohen on June 17, 2010 at 9:54am
I think Carvell and Landrieu said it pretty well on Larry King afterwards - although it is severely important to begin the path toward clean energy and to distinguish this country's dependency on oil, this speech was NOT the time to push a political agenda. It was the time for Obama to show his committment to the region, to recovery, and his strength as a leader.

If I was his speech writer, I would have at least included ONE reference to specific individuals, by name, with whom he met while down in the Gulf. Personalize this disaster, rather than politicize.

The Gulf Coast, my home, has suffered. To add a moratorium on the lifeblood of the region - and this concept is even supported by those individuals down there affected by the oil, would cripple them so far beyond repair. As Landrieu said herself, "Let's not add an economic disaster to an already existing environmental one."
Comment by Brian E. Lindholm on June 17, 2010 at 9:28am
No, it didn't make me feel better. I'll feel better when I see results of clean-up and containment. Speeches are hollow without action. Rhetoric is not soothing. Positive results are.

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