“Good-Bye Little Bird, Good-Bye!” BP/Halliburton Oil Spill Dirge
30 July 2011
The harmonica solo is as sweet as his question to BP/Halliburton/Transocean, is bitter: “Listen, Oil Man! / Tell me why / this bird only lands here to die? / I better hang my head and cry / and say good-bye / to a little bird / to a little bird….” New Orleans song-writer Mark (“Mickey”) McLaughlin wrote this shortly before he passed away.
This song is his gentle reminder to British Petroleum & Halliburton-types that the meek shall inherit the Earth. It’s about a little bird that landed in front of ol Slewfoot (what locals like myself named him long ago) on his way home one day during the BP oil spill disaster. The bird “was all covered in oil, and it broke my heart,” he recalls. “I couldn’t talk about it, but I did make a song to remember that little bird….a little bird that British Petroleum didn’t care about, obviously.”
It was the first day of Spring 2011 when Mickey sang this only-recording of “‘Good-Bye!’ to a Little Bird” at his favorite “spot” or perch of 31 years along the muddy Mississippi River‘s batture (“The Moonwalk”) that fronts St. Louis Cathedral. I didn’t edit-out the strong Gulf breeze blowing, paddle-boat steam whistles, seabirds, etc., because that’s exactly why New Orleans’ “Slewfoot” loved to busk at the riverfront, “better than anyplace in the World!”
Friday 15th April 2016
BP shareholders say NO to boss’s £14 MILLION payout boost as foodbank use hits new high
SHAREHOLDERS of oil-spiller BP said No to the bloated near £14 million pay rise of its boss yesterday as record levels of starving families headed to the foodbanks.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley’s greedy 20 per cent pay boost was resoundingly rejected by a huge 60 per cent of the group’s shareholders during the company’s AGM at London’s ExCel Centre.
The slap in the face for BP’s management came after the oil giant posted its largest annual losses in decades — resulting in thousands of job losses worldwide.
Ethical investors’ group ShareAction CEO Catherina Howarts said the message of the day came from a former employee who said: “When so much of our population must accept austerity this looks like an utter PR disaster.”
At the same time, figures published today revealed foodbank use remains at record levels with more than 1.1 million supplies given out by the Trussell Trust charity alone last year.
Shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary Kerry McCarthy called the figures a “national scandal.”
Foodbanks have become a “truly shameful symbol” of the mercenary Tory government and should “never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society,” she fumed.
She blamed the unfairness on Chancellor George Osborne giving tax breaks to the wealthiest companies and individuals while people struggle on very low incomes.
An all-party parliamentary group on hunger found yesterday that one in five schoolchildren cite hunger as their “most constant companion” with hospital admissions because of malnourishment rising.
More than 415,000 provisions went to children, said the Trussell Trust, mostly as a result of sanctioned benefits, low-household wages and insecure work.
Almost half of the charity’s 424 foodbanks said there had been an increase in the number of people needing help for these reasons.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said foodbanks show “the fierce, burning inequality” blighting Britain with children “bearing the brunt of hard-hearted ministerial policies.”
He contrasted the record use of foodbanks with Mr Dudley’s bumper pay and “following hard on the heels of the billions stashed abroad by the rich and powerful.”
Mr McCluskey said: “It is a national disgrace and those on the Conservative benches should not just hang their heads in shame but act now to block the further cuts their party plans to unleash on ordinary people and struggling families.”
The vote by BP shareholders, however, counted only as a sign of indignation as Mr Dudley has already been paid the gross sum.
Prior to the vote, the Institute of Directors had urged shareholders to weigh in on the remuneration as the increase could send the “wrong message” to other firms.
BP or Not BP spokesman Chris Garrard told the Star that the oil company was “on the wrong side of history.”
He said: “The idea that this company, which is outmoded, can give a massive pay increase to its CEO at a time like that has just been a huge blow.
“Any time there is dissatisfaction you would see very little shift in how the shareholders would vote.
“The margin by which shareholders have actually gone against that pay package is significant.”
Mr Garrard added “there were rumours that this might spell the end of Dudley’s time as CEO.”
The shareholders’ thumbs down “is asserting that the company cannot just go ahead however it wants.
“Now we saw it over pay, maybe next year we could see a shareholder rebellion over questions to do with climate.”
BP’s AGM did not run smoothly from the start, with environmental activists holding court outside the Excel Centre protesting against the company’s plans to drill on the Australian coast.
With them they brought a full-size inflatable sperm whale.
Trussell Trust agreed that a million emergency food supplies a year must not become the “new normal.”
Its chief executive David McAuley said: “One million three-day food supplies given out by our foodbanks every year is one million too many.”
Jon Glackin is an organiser of the Streets Kitchen foodbank, which does not operate on the basis of referrals by social workers, teachers and doctors like most foodbanks.
He told the Star that the volunteers were “seeing a great increase in people accessing our services” and that they included people who had benefits sanctioned and those that could barely survive.
Streets Kitchen will be protesting today at 6pm outside Downing Street on the March with the Homeless.