OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!
The British Daily Mail's website shows an article about the so-called "Spillionaires" of coastal Alabama. Who are they? "They are the shrimp boat owners who have prospered hugely from the millions of pounds handed out by BP," according to the Sunday article.
The British press don't exactly have a reputation for pulling punches. They were, after all, the ones who termed Michael Jackson "Wacko Jacko."
Now, the home media for British Petroleum seems to be having a bit of a field day with the BP oil spill. Or, to be more specific, the local people who have gotten jobs helping in the cleanup/recovery effort.
Wrote Paul Thompson of the Daily Mail:
"It was the home town of Forrest Gump's shrimp-loving friend Bubba Blue in the famous movie. But since the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Bayou La Batre in Alabama has become home to a new breed of men known as the 'Spillionaires.'
"They are the shrimp boat owners who have prospered hugely from the millions of pounds handed out by BP."
According to Thompson, while poor British workers are seeing their pensions go to pot because the stock value of BP has plummeted, the shrimp boat set in the Bayou have raked in the dough since the spill.
According to the Daily Mail article, all that BP cash, "has led to greed and jealousy among the close-knit community where shrimp fishing has been the lifeblood for years."
Thompson quotes state Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Bayou La Batre, as acknowledging that "there are people here who have done very well out of the spill. We call them 'Spillionaires' and in a short space of time they have earned more money than they would in a very long time."
The seafood workers in question have been being paid as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program, designed to give local boats spill work since they are idled by an inability to fish.
The program has been controversial, with complaints early on that out-of-town boat owners were flooding the ranks and taking work from the local captains who needed it. Later, as some captains sat waiting fruitlessly for the call to work, others were hauling in five-figure paydays without ever getting on the water.
Some people have made enough in the VOO program that they've asked that that income not be considered against their BP claim. That is, they would like to be reimbursed for the fishing income they lost, without any deduction for what they were paid working in the cleanup program.
Perhaps the quirkiest reference in Thompson's report: That even drug dealers have tried to capitalize on the influx of "spillionaire" money into town
Thompson quotes Bayou police Capt. Darryl Wilson as saying: "Before the spill a rock of crack cocaine was being sold on the street for $20. Now that same rock is going for $40."
So how are the British readers greeting this news? Comments on the article range from a lack of surprise that BP is being "shafted" by "a nation that values greed and selfishness as positive character traits" to delight that a common, working man is making a buck in an era of "obscene bonuses" for bankers.