I’m no engineer and have no idea how many wells there are in the Gulf of Mexico . . . but how could we not have had a giant dome standing by, just a day or two distant from any well in the Gulf, aboard a ship jointly paid for by all the drillers – and maybe all the insurance companies insuring those drillers – waiting for the day we all hoped would never come?

  • Should we not have such things in place in the future – and in the North Sea and the Persian Gulf and wherever else?
  • What other dome-like things (metaphorically) should we have standing by for other kinds of disasters?

There must be a long check-list of such disaster-mitigators – tents, generators, gauze, antidotes, snap-together pre-fab bridges, whatever might mitigate a calamity at a nuclear plant, and on and on. Some of the items have yet to be acquired and adequately deployed, either because it would cost too much (an excuse that cannot be dismissed out of hand, but that does not hold up in the case of the dome) or because no one felt the responsibility to do it (a situation we could correct).

Certainly, if the cost of such a dome had been $50 million to fabricate, in 1975, say; and we had had to spend $25 million a year maintaining it and the barge it sat on (or should we have left it sitting on the ocean floor, immune to hurricanes, to be hoisted by some gigantic winch if the day ever came to use it?), it would have been a bargain.

How could this catastrophe have happened?

ROZ IS ROWING AGAIN

Even as ever more plastic is dumped into the ocean, she dips oar to brine to make her point. Australia, here she comes.

CASH IS FLOWING AGAIN

Let no one ever accuse me of sitting by my Bloomberg, pouncing on news the instant it’s released. Embarrassingly, I don’t have a Bloomberg. (I do have a Blumberg, four Blums, five Blooms, two other Bloombergs, and a Bloomstein.) My point is . . . I just now noticed a February 25 press release from Boise Paper.

Remember our Boise warrants? Most recently purchased at 2 cents and up 40-fold? As reported periodically, I’ve already sold a lot of them, especially once they went long-term. But I still have a nice bunch, and according to that press release, debt has been paid down significantly and free cash flow is substantial.

Is “paper” an industry of the future? Well, no, probably not. Might the stock hit $10 or $12 before the warrants expire June 18, 2011? Probably not, either. (For one thing, I’m not that lucky. For another, who knows what other catastrophes our economy or financial markets may encounter. For a third, I don’t want to jinx it.) But it’s not an altogether crazy notion, so I am holding on.

 

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