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Oil spills then are oil spills now

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

BP says it's waiting to see whether the top kill it started yesterday is working to plug the Deepwater Horizon. As of last night, BP said that what appears to be coming out of the Gulf of Mexico well now is drilling mud and not oil. It's a hopeful sign, anyway.While we're all waiting and hoping and praying and getting madder and madder, consider a report from Deja Vu Land. In June 1979, an oil rig called the Ixtoc I blew up in the Gulf of Mexico. Amazingly, the sad and sorry tale of the Ixtoc oil disaster involves many of the same players and the same desperate techniques for stanching the oil gushing into the Gulf. Rachel Maddow:

The oil companies keep talking about how technologically advanced they are, but what they have gotten technologically advanced at is drilling deeper. They haven’t gotten any more advanced on how to deal with the risks attached to that. They haven't made any technological advances in the last 30 years when it comes to stopping a leak like this when it happens.

All they've gotten better at is making the risks worse, by putting these leaks further out of our reach. Wow, hey, congratulations. Now the thing you can't stop is a full mile underwater. That and making themselves the most profitable industry the universe has ever seen, and I am not exaggerating.