Rants & Raves

Because we have been so tight for space in the paper, we’ve not run Rants & Raves for the past month. Here are some the letters to the editor and emails that we’ve received:


Great job on Countdown.

I’ve been wondering why I felt as though I had woken up in a alternate reality. As thought the prospect of the oil was not horrible enough, the “handling” we’ve been receiving by BP and their spin crew is really CREEPY. I know you agree.

So, I did some research into the BP contractors, and I think we’re being spun by the internationally known master spinners, aka Halliburton. I’ve also been in contact with Kimberly Miller, a Palm Beach Post reporter that I met last Saturday at Wayside Park who published an article about the oil and Pensacola in their Sunday edition. I sent her the link to your interview with Keith as well and asked for her help in getting more national attention on how this is being handled.

FACT: The hiring for post contact clean up, being handled by Escarosa Center, is through BP contractor The Allegis Group.

Rick –

Just saw your piece on Countdown. Nice to see a local face on the national news during this extraordinary time. Great job! and congratulations.

Peter Rubardt
Music Director, Pensacola Symphony

Thanks for all of the updates that you’ve posted. I’m trying to hope for the best and I have to admit that it’s difficult. I wanted to share some thoughts for you (some worst case scenario).

If BP doesn’t get this oil well capped off soon, it’s going to be tragic for all of us. I’ve started reading up on what happened with the Exxon Valdez and how it impacted the community and it causes me great concern especially with all of the challenges that we face economically.

I’ve attached a couple of links for you if you haven’t already come across them. I wanted to include the Existence Value link because it’s something that is very real to us in which the financial value in my opinion cannot be adequately determined. In my opinion, the perceived monetary value would never be enough; however, it’s something that we cannot overlook.


I’m quite concerned that the powers at be will do everything possible to diminish the severity of the oil spill and will probably avoid discussions as to the long term impact that it will have on our community economically and socially. I believe that the social impact should deserve just as much attention as the economic impact with regards to depression, post traumatic stress and sometimes suicide. I’m sure someone has to be monitoring this and if not it should. We have enough challenges as it is and how do you subrogate BP for these issues?

I was in Perdido Key yesterday to help clean-up debris and it was mentioned that BP finally agreed to “cover” volunteers for their clean-up efforts and that they generated a form to have everyone sign. We were so anxious to get moving that we just signed the statement and went to our designated area for clean-up. Once we were done, I stopped back by the Perdido Key Chamber to see if I could read a copy of the form again and was surprised by what I read. The 1st page of the form was a Release Form & a Waiver of Liability which was completely different than what was communicated and on the page of the form was an Addendum to an existing contract providing minimal coverage using abbreviations that was not specifically explained. So let’s say that I pulled my document out of there because I didn’t want to let anyone of the hook so easy. It concerns me that hundreds of volunteers signed this form not knowing what they were signing.

Since you’re so great at what you do, I’ve attached a copy of the form and erased all of my information. I’d be curious to find out what the Addendum was for and what they are actually agreeing to because it doesn’t seem like much. Also, I’d be quite careful how volunteers are handled due to the wording of the addendum and it would be a great way out of providing coverage for what they “say” they are.

I appreciate your article that “The Beast” issued. Keep up the great work and stay on top of these issues. If you don’t, I don’t know who will.

Best Regards,
Kristine Karsten
Let Floridians Vote on Near Shore Oil May 7, 2010

With the massive and ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico spewing millions of gallons into the nation’s marine waters, now is the time for our elected government to allow us, the citizens of the state, to decide whether we want to allow oil and gas exploration in our state waters. Our state waters stretch from our beaches to three miles out in the Atlantic and nine miles out into the Gulf. I am hopeful Governor Crist will soon call a special session and that the Legislature will pass a Joint Resolution to put this issue on the November 2010 ballot. Allow us the opportunity to amend the constitution and stop any chance of this ever happening right next to our shoreline.

I can think of no more crucial issue to Florida’s economy and ecology. We rely on tourism and the trademark of white sandy beaches to create and retain jobs. If the ongoing spill had happened right off Naples, Jacksonville, Tampa or Miami, our entire economy would take a hit that would last years. It is the last thing we need to have to worry about. If the amendment passes, oil drilling will continue in the Gulf, just not right next to Florida.

Where the massive spill south of Pensacola will end up, and which communities will have to pay the price, we do not yet fully know. But citizens should be allowed to make their opinions known in November. This is an issue that supersedes Republican, Democratic or Independent partisan politics. It is an issue about our future. Let us vote.

Preston T. Robertson
Florida Wildlife Federation
Mr. Outzen,

I was taken aback by your characterization (in your Vol 11 #20 issue) of tea partiers as displaying “racist-phony anger” compared to the all these disparate people feeling “real” anger. I don’t know how you were able to conjure up that revealing comment about tea partiers…however you need to know that the tea party people tend to be better educated and more traditional….you know the people that really led this country to be the most successful and powerful in the world!?! I am confident that the tea partiers are the antithesis of those who display racist phony anger…go fine your friends Sharpton and Jackson and their ilk who conjure up the last vestiges of trumped up-blown out of proportion negativity that truly IS racist…no my naïve but accomplished friend…the tea partiers represent millions of us who are VERY VERY angry at people and institutions who are purveyors of irresponsibility….whether it be BP, the current Commander in Chief (CINC), the CINC’s Marxist-Maoists sympathizing czars, or those would relish undermining our national strengths for the sake of rewarding those slothful people who choose not to work hard or who parasitize our way of life.

The TRUTH is not racist….but those who have influenced many of us to avoid speaking the truth are by far the most dangerous of elements,

Mr. Outzen.
I would dare say the vast majority of the good salt of the earth folks you interviewed in Eunice for your outstanding the BP article last week would strongly agree with me….however unlike me, truth be told, they are far more concerned about their paychecks than they are our sugar white sands….yes Rick THAT IS politics!!!! I lived in New Orleans for seven years and recruited for the Navy all over southern and southeastern Louisiana….those folks have their “special” interests and we have ours….however the thing we have in common is that we all need oil and it is foolish to so heavily depend on hostile middle eastern countries for it.

Pensacoleans need oil and sugar white sand beaches….therefore environmentalism is not an absolute black-white/clear cut issue…why do you think BP is drilling in 5000 feet of water?!? It is because environmentalists have driven them off the west coast, off most of the east coast and to the far reaches of technological capability….hence our problem….this is most certainly a political issue….politics led to poor regulation, politics led to BP having to drill in 5000 feet of water, politics keeps the CINC interested more in taking less action to justify an anti-drilling position….the nice little boats you and I have are of little value if the economy totally collapses because of enormous liberal monetary/policy rewards to the irresponsible and undeserving in society and in industry…..

You want a solution….then we need to pursue paradigm shifting solutions to our energy producing challenges….(i.e. perhaps hydrogen cell etc) as aggressively as we did when JFK committed us to going to the moon in the 60s…however, I suspect politics are an impediment to common sense and a solution that will ENHANCE our strength as a nation as opposed to policy that would serve a primary purpose of dragging the US down economically to the rest of the world’s level….

You are right about one thing Rick……..we are POed!!!! As evidence by my rambling discourse….. As a sixth generation Pensacolean who has lived all over the world, it sickens me that this threat to our beaches exists….but I suggest you critique those who seek to undermine our American way of life (in either party but particularly the Democrat party) not the predominantly red, white, and blue patriots in the tea party movement!!!!

Interviews with individuals like Palast have a lot of value for me. Interviews with individuals like Coon (who must make things appear as badly as possible to get maximum return for his clients) not so much.

Good article (May 11, What to expect from BP).

I continue to see that BP only considers options that will let them get the oil to the tankers on the surface so they can process it and sell it. I see no great effort to simply plug the leaks and then figure out how to deal with the environment. Is BP the best alternative for getting this leaks stopped?

Dear Rick,

Thank you so much for the depth and honesty you offer in general and especially now in the Gulf oil catastrophe. Please keep it up! We ALL need to know what is going on………really going on. Sincerely Bonnie McLean

Rick –

The article Fighting for Papa Bear has touched me. Your story about Blair Manuel gives me chill bumps and truly shows someone who has worked hard to provide for his family in a dangerous job. The media is covering the oil spill and the impact it is having on our environment but barely skimmed the surface to talk about these men. The spill is very important and we all want to know the outcome, but I think you came back and showed sensitivity to those 11 men that lost their lives that day. I’m glad you were able to get that interview and give us insight into their lives right now. Thank you so much for getting this story and showing sympathy.

Whitney Vaughan Fike

When reading your May 20th issue of “Fighting for Papa Bear”, it is/was the FIRST time I have seen the names of the 11 men who perished on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Even though I did not know any of them, it is still comforting to know their names so I and many others can pray for them and their families. Thanks again for a great story and an even better magazine!

Candy Holland

Dear Rick,
I am a resident of Pensacola who rarely gets in the middle of issues-BP however is one I would love to take on. I just read your article “What to Expect from BP” and I am floored. I thank you for your candor. My family spends A LOT of time on the beach, watching the dolphins,birds, fishing, and enjoying this area-we love Pensacola. I am sickened and confused over this whole BP mess, feeling it has dropped off the radar since the oil has not washed up yet. Please keep up the great work. I am attaching a picture-what I think the beautiful beaches of Pensacola are saying to BP.
Thank you again,
This BP spill is a terrible environmental and economic disaster, but I wouldn’t compare it to the destruction of western
I have read “Alas, Babylon” many times, and believe me, I think of the book often in the days right before and right after a
hurricane when I’m stocking up on supplies or wishing that my light switch would actually turn on a light.

While the BP spill is killing wildlife, putting people out of work, and keeping many outsiders away, the Gulf Coast is not
completely cut off from the outside world. We are receiving news of what’s being done (or not being done) through active
media and the internet, as opposed to Pat Frank’s survivors who don’t know what’s happening outside of their community.
No one is dying of diabetes because a supply of insulin and the refrigeration to keep it viable is non-existent.

As the article goes on, you make a lot of good points. I just don’t think your premise about “Alas, Babylon” holds water,
oily or not.

Auriette Lindsey

I just wanted to drop you a line to express my admiration of the journalism you and yours have been doing with the BP story. One hates to say congratulations under such circumstances. Rather, I’ll say keep up the good work. There are a lot of us out here in the world outside of Pensacola anxiously watching how this catastrophe is playing out on the shores of our hometown.


Our Government should post a 10 million dollar reward for any idea that can stop the BP oil leak. Please be reminded that most oil insiders do not think outside the box. Some high school kid may very well have an idea to solve this..I think if you send this out ….The government may listen