Larry Mantle |

President Obama's defense

The President's Thursday morning news conference on the Gulf oil disaster was fascinating, as reporters challenged him about the federal government's response. Though Mr. Obama, for the most part, defended his administration, he also owned up to some mistakes. He admitted that he put too much stock in the oil industry's claims that it could handle rig failures.

For me, one of the biggest questions to come out of this environmental and economic crisis is how the federal government can better oversee highly technical industries like oil. Typically, government regulators and inspectors come from the very industries they're overseeing. They're the ones with the expertise to do the work. Unfortunately, they also typically have long-term business and personal relationships with the people they're inspecting.

If you have any ideas for how to work around this inherent conflict, please let me know.