Note to BP: Get rid of those ads, and probably the CEO. Both are looking so ludicrous they've become laughingstocks. The money can be put to much better use than smarmy PR.

Speaking of image making vis-a-vis actually doing stuff, President Obama already knows whose "ass to kick," as he elegantly put it during his Matt Lauer "Today Show" interview. That approach to dealing with the buttheads is long overdue. We know who the targets should be — the ones who keep promising to "make it right.” A good way to kick ass would be to kick their asses out of the "make it right " process. BP's money, but someone else controlling how's it's disbursed.

The easiest suggestion would be to have the federal government take over. But that would be the same federal government that gave us MMS, the Minerals Management Service, the bureaucracy that was supposed to regulate the energy companies but instead enabled them so they could do whatever the hell they wanted. So scratch the feds as the arbiter of any financial reparation.

What is needed here is a panel of private citizens, local ones with the know-how to make decisions over what is or is not a "legitimate claim.” They should be backed with the authority to make binding rulings and to set up a mechanism that gets the job done in days instead of weeks, months or forever.

Surely big-business apologists will squeal that haste invites fraud. So this arrangement should absolutely include ways for the company to get its money back and even prosecute those who try and game the system. The difference here is that the onus would be on BP to "get this right,” not those who "got this wrong" in the first place.

This seems to be a much more equitable way to handle the recovery. Am I right or wrong?

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