link round-up

The Bad
BP’s massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has imposed a fishing ban in affected waters, stretching from the mouth of the Mississippi to Pensacola Bay. As Mississippi shrimper Jimmy Rowell puts it, “Nobody wants no oily shrimp.”

For the fourth year in a row, more than a third of US honeybee colonies did not survive the winter. Scientists still have no solid answers as to why, and no effective solutions to the problem.

The Good
Two renewable energy companies are testing a greenhouse that integrates photovoltaics–producing both food and electricity–in Savona, Italy.

This semester, California College of Arts and Crafts learned to cook soup from five immigrant women, then produced marketing materials for the women’s entrepreneurial pursuits.

3 Responses to “link round-up”

  1. 1 Jon
    May 3, 2010 at 17:45

    Bonus: BP’s contract to employ the currently underemployed fisherman in cleaning up the spill also handily indemnifies BP from future lawsuits:

    To be fair, this smells more of your garden variety legalese creep than active evil.

    • May 4, 2010 at 08:27

      So, BP is offering the clean-up work as a replacement for the fishermen’s usual work–work that BP took away their ability to do, which would be grounds for the suits BP wants the fishermen to sign away their ability to file, in order to get the clean-up work BP is offering as a replacement… and so on. The offer of clean-up work is called a sop, the clause protecting BP from legal action is called a scam.

      Or you can call it garden-variety legalese creep, because it really doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary. Besides that, there are also two classic imbalances in the power dynamic around these contracts.

      1) Besides having to deal with the catch-22 in BP’s clean-up contracts, many of the fishermen can’t read and/or don’t speak English.

      2) BP is an organization, presenting a unified (never mind monied and powerful) front, whereas the fishermen are unorganized, and expected to sign the BP-made contracts as individuals. This gives them no say in the content of the contract: they have an up or down choice, where up absolves BP and takes the fisherman’s ability to sue, but down takes the work that BP is offering away from the fisherman. So we need a fishermen’s union as well as a class action suit.

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