I trend Right. Actually, what I like to say is that I like being “Left” in a “Right” world. That is, I enjoy the fact that there are armies of men and women out there who work their asses off so that our nation and world can be what it is. Yet I also enjoy playing the role of individual freedom spoiler in my little life.
I like fighting for the little guy. I like pullin’ for the underdog. I want the immigrant to hit the big time. And I want the oppressed to rise up…if only to become part of the machine.
And so it is that I enjoy getting my news from the Right. I like hearing that the workers are working, I like hearing what the folks who DO STUFF have to say. Mostly I agree, often I don’t. But every now and then I need to go the other way and get some of my “input” from the other side. And when I get this urge, it usually takes the form of “opinion journalism”. I.E. Talk radio or reading other blogs.
Wish I Could Write Like This:
But I can’t. That’ s why Bob Herbert has a column in The New York Times and neither you nor I do. This morning, he’s feeling a tad testy about his President and about those big oil companies.
Moe goes on to quote a story from the NY Times [ The SECOND most biased news outlet behind the Wall Street Journal ] as saying:
…how is it possible for anyone with any reasonable awareness of the nonstop carnage that has accompanied the entire history of giant corporations to believe that the oil companies, which are among the most rapacious players on the planet, somehow “had their act together” with regard to worst-case scenarios . . .
Indeed. And yet it continues:
These are greedy merchant armies drilling blindly at depths a mile and more beneath the seas
they are closing in on the kinds of profits that ancient kingdoms could only envy.
My. So much to work with.
First, let’s deal with the first. Moe’s quoted story attempts to discuss the fact that the oil companies do, or rather–don’t, address “worst case scenarios”. I would posit that is poppy-cock.
Consider, if you will, that this spill has yet to crack the top 10 worst of all time [ though it most assuredly will ]. The context of the spill is certainly important when discussing an industry that is composed of “giant corporations”. And to add to that context, note that the spill would have to continue spilling as it is today for 139 more days before topping the list.
But the REAL story is how well the oil industry is doing in preventing these massive spills in the first place. From the same story above comes this important piece of information:
Even better news is the declining frequency of major oil spills. Some evidence of this healthy trend is the fact that the average time that elapsed between each of history’s top ten accidental oil spills prior to BP Deepwater was 26 months.
Got that? Call each spill that breaks the top 10 an “Event”. The average time between events has been 26 months.
The LAST time the world saw such an event?
But the amount of time between the most recent of these top-ten spills (which occurred in September 1994) and the BP Deepwater spill is 187 months.
More than 15 years ago.
The second claim that Moe’s valiant reporter makes is that of “greedy merchants” drilling “a mile and more beneath the seas”.
Greed is a funny thing. Let’s face it, we’re all greedy. It’s what makes this possible. It’s what drives each of us to go in search of, ahem, the cheapest gallon of gas we can find. Rather than condemn greed, we should at least allow that it serves a purpose.
But the whole “a mile and more” thing really fires me up. Who, does the gentle author suppose, forced the oil companies to drill at such depths? Why, it would be the very Leftists that he is currently sharing martinis with at this very moment.
Finally, finally, we get to profits.
Profit. Next to greed perhaps the most ugly of words to the Leftist. Why? Not important. Not now. Let’s just look at profits:
On the margin. The oil industry urges people to look beyond its profits to its profit margin: about 7.6 percent of revenues late last year. That’s not much higher than the 5.8 percent profit margin for all U.S. manufacturing, and if you exclude the financially troubled auto industry from that analysis, the oil industry actually appears less profitable than most manufacturers, which were earning 9.2 cents on every dollar of sales.
So really, oil isn’t more profitable than many other businesses, or industries. Rather, because of the vast amount of money required to drill a mile or more beneath the water, the numbers are just awesome.
Let’s face it. The damage is going to be immense. The oil spilling is vast. The fact that BP has work to do is accepted world-wide. But this isn’t unprecedented, unexpected or surprising.