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CB2: Did Obama make you feel better?

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?)

Read Last Week’s CB2: Oil Spill – Not Your Typical Disaster.

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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Bryan Conway JD, PMP

I’m glad to read that you are not in favor of boycotting BP, and thereby punishing thousands of blue collar workers, minimum wage workers, and small business owners for the mistakes made by top management. I’m shocked that so many just recklessly lash out and become reactionary without considering the consequences of a boycott. A targeted, thoughtful, logical response (punishing those that engaged in willful law violations and negligence) is what is needed.

Chris Bennett

Completely, Bryan. Moratoriums on drilling have similar effects. I just returned from a meeting at St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center and heard a great line from one of the guys, “We don’t need Obama behind us, we need 5,000 people here in front of us.”

Henry Brown

This was my response elsewhere:

IMO the presidential speech changed very few minds, those who were trying to make a political issue of the disaster are still trying to do so. Those who are a-political were somewhat impressed by the words but since the majority of that group have the mindset “actions speak louder than words” they are probably still in wait mode to see how the actions are carried out. Those who were approving of the President still are and “they” believe that the speech was awesome…

Henry Brown

Kinda “sad”/”funny” all the news yesterday (6/16) was full of how the president had “convinced” BP to put in escrow 20 billion dollars. And it was only after listening to some in-depth analysis that it was pointed out that this 20 billion dollars was in fact over a 4 year period. Which, IMO, is not going to cause any significant “pain” to BP when compared to their annual income.

Would offer that this MIGHT have been an effort by some to convince the “public” that the president is coming down on BP which the public believes is needed.

Brian E. Lindholm

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.

Sara Estes Cohen

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.”

Jeff Nice

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?!”

Janet Wischnia

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…

Sara Estes Cohen

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?

Andrew Krzmarzick

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.