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Chan Lowe: The great slick cometh

flaslick.gifThis is beginning to look a lot like the Wall Street bailout all over again: the privatization of profit and the socialization of risk.

BP has been making a big sanctimonious stink about how it’s going to pay for the entire cleanup, as well it should.

But after that, the company is only liable for $75 million in compensation to mitigate the damage done to everyone from shrimp fishermen to mom-and-pop motels along the coast.

Considering all the tort lawyers who have swarmed the Gulf Coast to sign up clients, that $75 mil isn’t going to stretch very far. “Here’s your hundred bucks minus my commission, Ma’am. Have a good life.”

The U.S. Senate is talking about raising the cap for damages to $10 billion, but you know how that’s going to go. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will put a personal hold on it and it won’t go anywhere. She doesn’t even have to make it one of those infamous “secret holds,” since there will be no downside for her back in her home state.

I love her reasoning: A cap that high will squeeze all the little people out of the offshore drilling business. Only the huge mega-corporations will be able to afford it. Right. “Hey, Duane! Let’s take that money you got for sellin’ the Fairlane and go sink us a billion-dollar rig out there in the gulf. We’ll get rich quick.”

So, absent making BP and related villains pony up, who will that leave to make us all whole again?

Us, of course.

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CHAN-Your bitter-sweet cartoon is great..
BP says NO to scientists who want to check for oxygen depletion on the sea floor. They don't want anyone to see the killing off of sea life and the dead zones it's created.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska is the "stoppage-cap" on BP's $75 million responsibility of more than that amount.But now that the Supreme Court has deemed corporations the same status as "People",maybe we should have a "Corporate Death Penalty"...Sounds good to me...Give it back to "We the People"
We have a toxic merger of Corporation & State..A Oligarchy-which is killing off the environment with 3.4 million gallons of oil per day.No one really knows-nor can they check.When regulations are not passed,or enforced,this is what we get..Thanks Cheney & Gang.
A relief well -considered the permanent solution is still being drilled and months away from completion.
Not much is said about the 11 men killed in the oil spill--I finally found a in-depth article in the London Times,(April 30th) Guess they don't count as "media news."...tell that to their families.
Again Chan-Great cartoon & thoughts.

Totally inappropriate....

Florida beaches, where tar heels feel at home.

Having a $75M cap may or may not be a good idea (I don't think it's a good idea, but honestly I haven't thought about it much). But, can the government just change the law after the accident? Doesn't the Constitution forbid ex post facto (after the fact) laws? Wouldn't any changes in the law apply to future events? Or could it be applied to damages from the time it is passed into the future for damages that continue?

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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