Archive for May, 2011

Big Oil, Bigger Fools

I’m surprised that I haven’t seen bell ringers and kettles on the corner of Signal Street and Ojai Ave.  No, not for the Salvation Army.  For the oil companies.

After listening to the CEOs of the five largest oil companies testify before Congress, I feel it’s my patriotic duty to support them in their hour of need.   And I used to think it was school kids, poor people and seniors who needed help.  How could I have been so addled?

The five guys who expressed indignance and scorn at the idea of giving up $2 billion in annual tax subsidies have impeccable logic.  If they give up the $2 billion, prices will go up at the pump, exploration will be halted, and they will pout a lot.  Even worse, it will lead to more endangered subsidies, like for corporate farmers and stock brokers.

Sure, $2 billion is a lot of billion.  It’s almost two percent of the annualized first quarter profits of these five behemoths.  The oil companies only make about five percent on every dollar sent their way.  So, their annual revenue is about $2 trillion.  For those who can’t get their heads around a trillion, it’s a thousand billion.  And big oil’s got two of those.  Confiscating $2 billion in subsidies would leave them with only $1,998,000,000.  No wonder they’re upset.

But the Republicans will rise to the occasion and once again champion the underdog.  The Senate will never get to vote on the $2 billion reduction because the Democrats won’t get enough votes to block a filibuster.  And even if they did, the Katzenjammer Kids in the House will sit on their hands.

But no matter.  We’re headed for Armageddon anyway.  I watched Senator McConnell smirk on the NewsHour last night and realized that he has the winning hand.  He threatens economic meltdown by refusing to increase the federal debt limit if he and the chief Katzenjammer Kid, John Boehner, don’t get $2 trillion lopped from the federal budget.  It was a glorious display of my way or the highway.

Then I realized that the expenditure reduction demanded by Mitch and John is exactly equal to the total annual revenue of the five oil companies…and a solution to the problem leaped into my head.  Rather than gutting Medicare, privatizing Social Security, and limiting Medicaid benefits to only those folks who have been trampled by dinosaurs, let’s nationalize the oil companies, take their $2 trillion, and reduce the deficit.

Then we can pay closer attention to important things, like whether Moammar Ghadafi is really going to star in a remake of the Three Stooges.

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Libbey Bowl Has Seats

Over 900 seats have been installed at the Bowl and the lawn seating area is ready for prime time.  If you would like a 360 degree ride around the site, click on the photo.  When you arrive at the Photosynth site, click on the plus sign to enlarge the image before scrolling around.


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