Thanks to Fred Stanback for this article.
The sudden, hideous explosion of oil in the Gulf of Mexico is the latest reminder of who we really are. By we, I mean:
British Petroleum: For a while it engaged in an expensive public relations campaign to restyle itself as Beyond Petroleum, but clearly the initials stand for Broken Pipe. Or maybe Bigtime Pollution. Or maybe just Bad People. You want to know what it means to be a hugely profitable company? It means taking huge risks, almost always with other people’s money and future. BP has left a trail of fines, safety violations and hubris on its way to its enormous sums of money, and its liability for damages in the gulf is carefully capped by federal law at $75 million, roughly one-fiftieth of what the company made in the fourth quarter of last year. (You think BP might have played a role in writing that federal law?) Right now it’s busy building a device technically known as a Big Honking Dome that it’s planning to lower over the hole. Maybe this will work, in which case the obvious question will be: Why didn’t you have a Big Honking Dome standing by before you started?
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