BP has created a relief fund and workers are fighting day and night to contain the spill.

President Barack Obama’s plans for cleaning up the spill and placing a cap on carbon are both “short on details,” and the latter hurts the chances of a climate bill passing. Where’s the sense of urgency?

Conflicts of interest have been revealed among congressmen charged with regulating the oil and gas industry.

BP creates relief fund
The announcement of a $20 billion escrow fund to help pay for spill damages gave a boost to BP’s stock.

The fund will be administered by “master mediator” Kenneth Feinberg.

Over the course of his long career as a mediator, he has helped settle a variety of thorny disputes, including a class-action suit by Vietnam veterans protesting the use of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, and a determination of the fair market value of the Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

At the Treasury Department, he has repeatedly slashed the pay of Wall Street and auto company executives, confronting outraged citizens and bankers alike.

“He has an enormously thick skin,” said his law partner, Michael Rozen.

“Like forest animals fleeing a fire”
The devastation of the Gulf of Mexico habitat has only begun to take its toll on wildlife.

Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign.

The animals’ presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily be devoured by predators.


What aren’t we being told? Some frightening (and informed) speculation.

What about Nigeria? The devastation has brought attention to disastrous oil spills elsewhere in the world.

Paying a mental price: The psychological burden borne by gulf workers.

Quote of the week: “It’s unfortunate that walruses were included.” —Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, on BP’s response plan for the Gulf of Mexico

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The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal society founded in New Haven, Conn. in 1881, does a lot of good work. In a report detailing its charitable giving during 2009, the organization noted that while the “Knights and their families are hardly immune to the economic downturn,” they had once again furthered their proud 128-year tradition of service — a tradition including “helping the widows and orphans of the late 19th century” and “providing coats to poor, cold children.” Add to that list a donation of a whopping $1.4 million in 2009 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage through the ballot initiative system in California, Maine and other states. While NOM hasn’t yet made public its 2009 fundraising numbers, the amount of charitable contributions it received in 2008 totaled approximately $2.9 million.