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But really, Feinberg picked up the phone that day for the same reason Americans yield to their instinct to give money to those felled by spectacularly unkind fates: He felt helpless but wanted to help, and his version of helping was to volunteer for one of the worst jobs in the world. Hagel placed a call to Attorney General John Ashcroft, and after a series of backroom discussions, Ashcroft appointed Feinberg the special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, working pro bono, as he almost always does on behalf of the dead. That work and the work that has followed it, his growing collection of aftermaths, have changed him. He has become smarter, humbler, more acute, more uniquely fitted to his task. Virginia Tech, the Deepwater Horizon, Newtown, Boston—he managed each of those horrors, and each was managed better because of what he has learned. But all of them were shaped, because he was shaped, by September 11.Kenneth Feinberg: The Nation's Leading Expert in Picking up the Pieces [more inside]
But this was a disaster with two distinct parts — first a blowout, then the destruction of the Horizon. The second part, which killed 11 people and injured dozens, has escaped intense scrutiny, as if it were an inevitable casualty of the blowout.
It was not.David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul report for the New York Times on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. [more inside]