Rhode Island outraged by use of Massachusetts to illustrate size of oil spill

Rhode Island, perhaps because it is the smallest state in the union, is the preferred media reference when describing the size of something. This works well for both the factual and the fantastical.

031105_RhodeIsland The following are just from news stories in the past week:

The ice sheets that peel off of Antarctica all seem mathematically related to the Ocean State. The most recent: An Ice Shelf the Size of Rhode Island Breaks Up in Just 24 Hours

For those of you keeping track at home, Rhode Island is either 1000 square miles in size (just measuring the land part) or 1,500 sq. mi. if you include Narragansett Bay as well. Now comes the horrific news that MASSACHUSETTS!!! of all places is being used as a measure.

They say the dead zone is roughly the size of Massachusetts, or at least 7,722 square miles. The largest ever measured was just over 8,000 square miles in 2001.

Rhode Island has always had a chip on its shoulder about Massachusetts. My home state was literally founded by Bay State castoffs (cast off because they were in favor of things like religious tolerance, I might add). So this trend has to be stopped in its tracks. NOW. So Mr. Reporter, lets try again. It is nearly EIGHT TIMES THE SIZE OF RHODE ISLAND!!! Now, isn’t that more impressive?

BP’s marketing stupidity flows even faster than its oil

I have never said this so early in a year before but … the worst marketing of the year competition has been decided. BP’s ongoing attempts to clean up its reputation as it fails to clean up the Gulf are so horrendous it is impossible for anyone else to catch up.

It is only fair to point out that BP has used a ringer, someone whose skills are so extraordinary that having him on the team is almost like cheating. I speak, of course, of soon-to-be-unemployed CEO Tony Hayward. Hayward is so astoundingly dangerous in front of a microphone that he makes Joe Biden and former GM CEO Rick Waggoner seem like the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

street-giant-BP-cares-white-thumb First there was the spectacularly stupid whine about wanting his life back. In one little phrase Hayward made it clear that he views this entire incident as an imposition on him and can’t quite remember that actual lives have been lost.

But wait, that’s not all! Today he replied to his critics thusly: "They’ve thrown some words at me, but I’m a Brit. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” OK everyone, put down the tar and feathers and go get some sticks and stones. If Mr. Hayward continues on in this manner his PR staff will likely be first in line to deliver the wood-and-rock therapy.

Speaking of BP’s PR staff … no one – not even John McCain – can win an award of this magnitude all by themselves. Mr. Hayward is being aided and abetted by a group of people whom I must assume are paid many millions of dollars a year and whom I wouldn’t let promote a church car wash. These are people like BP spokesman Randy Prescott: who said, “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”

But, let’s be honest, these are just individual gaffes from individual idiots. This is really an enterprise-wide award which takes enterprise-wide effort to take it up another level and execute some truly world-class stupidity. To wit a brief list:

Congrats to all those responsible at BP and God help us all.