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Create Jobs, Grow the Economy

Imagine a Virginia legislator standing to introduce a bill to legalize prostitution. His presentation would include the need and benefit of such legalization because it would create jobs, provide tax money and bring revenue to the economy.

I remember the General Assembly debate over the adoption of a state lottery. Those for the lottery pressed the value of passage because proceeds would go toward Virginia education. It sounded as though all budget shortfalls would be satisfied with a Virginia lottery. We do  have a Virginia lottery, but we also still need more monies in our school systems.

Several states have made the sale of marijuana legal. What was the argument? More safe than alcohol. Creates Job.  And, it provides tax revenue.

Now, if you are of the belief that all problems can be solved through “Drill Baby Drill”, then the next few paragraphs are for you.

Rex Springston of the Richmond Times-Dispatch summarized the opinion of politicians in Virginia regarding allowing oil drilling off the coast of Virginia Beach. They said the following according to his reporting:

The Energy proposal “is a positive step toward responsible offshore energy development that will create jobs and economic activity, while helping our commonwealth diversify its energy resources,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.

U.S. Sens. Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, said in a joint statement regarding drilling: “This is a significant step in a multiyear process that should result in the safe, responsible development of energy resources off the Virginia and Mid-Atlantic coasts.”

Speaker of the Virginia General Assembly House Delegates William J. Howell, R-Stafford says that, “Increasing domestic energy production helps lower energy prices for Virginia consumers and makes our country more energy secure.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-2nd, (his district includes Virginia Beach), is for drilling the 50 miles offshore of Virginia Beach but thinks that the current initiative has unnecessary restrictions that include the 50-mile buffer zone. He thinks it should be allowed closer. The restrictions, he said, “create significant obstacles for Virginia’s goals of creating jobs and growing our economy”.

     Despite this call for immediate approval for drilling, yesterday, CNBC reported that US crude oil inventories rose by 8.9 million barrels. Well above the expected levels. So, there is no shortage of oil and I don’t have to tell you the difference in price when we are at the pumps. We have not seen these prices in a long time.

So in summary, should we be ok with drilling right off Virginia Beach? Is there a reason that revenue and job creation are ok for oil drilling, while these same politicians are against other things that would do the same? Is there a possibility of oil destroying the Virginia coast and tourism, like what happened in the Gulf and to Louisiana could happen to Virginia? Things that make you go hmmmm.

Years ago, I heard a lawyer describe how he handled a defense doctor’s claim that the plaintiff would not need the future treatment that was predicted by the treating doctors. The defense was asking that the jury not consider the future medicals as necessary in their verdict.

The  plaintiff’s lawyer took out a big piece of paper that had Guarantee at the top of it. He presented it to the defense doctor in front of the jury. He said to the doctor, “Isn’t it true that you are telling this jury that my client will not need a hip replacement in the future and that they should not consider such expense in their verdict?”.

The doctor acknowledged his testimony. So the lawyer continued, “Since you are telling the jury not to consider a hip replacement expense in their verdict, would  you instead agree to be personally responsible to pay for a hip replacement if my client needs it?”. The lawyer then presented the Guarantee to the doctor for his signature. The doctor would not sign it.

I wanted to throw these thoughts out to you. Job creation and revenue seem to be great talking points for the oil industry. I wonder if these politicians would agree to be personally responsible for oil spill damages. I just don’t want the jobs that are created to be in the area of cleaning up the environment. Just a thought!

And for pic o’ day, let’s follow the  clues. Who doesn’t deserve cake?



Does Oil Drilling = More Jobs?

     In 2007, the Washington Post convinced a world-renowned violinist named Joshua Bell, to act as a street musician during morning “walking work traffic” (about 7:50 am). How many people would stop and listen. A tip cup was placed, to see how many would donate money. The article shows the result or watch the condensed  video here, to see what happened. 

     Bell looks a bit like Donnie Osmond, according to the Post reporter. He first began to play Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Partita in D minor for solo violin”. He was playing on a 3.5 million dollar Stradivari violin. It was purposely a study in humanity.

     The previous week, Bell had played to packed audiences, to seats that had cost hundreds of dollars. After this little “Post study”, he was headed for more concerts in various countries.

     The video shows that some people did stop momentarily. Most of the over 1000 people that walked by, gave him little notice. In a span of about 45 minutes, his “donation cup” collected a total of $32.17.  As the author of the article states, “If a great musician plays music, and no one hears it, was he really any good.”.

     The reporter of the story “Pearls Before Breakfast”, won a Pulitzer prize for the article. It was concluded that  the crowd of people didn’t appreciate the artist and music. 

     Maybe if someone had just announced the greatness of the musician; the expense of the violin or the music being played. Maybe then, the passersby would have known to stop and appreciate. Did it prove that people really base their opinions on what everyone else thinks? Are we really so reliant on the “herd mentality” that we have difficulty forming our own opinion? Are we really too busy with our daily lives to notice what is going on around us?

     This past week, I received a mass email from a candidate, running for the US Senate. Twice in the email, he pointed out that Washington was keeping us from Drilling for Oil, and that such policy was costing jobs for America.  

     This past week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing titled “Making the Gulf Coast Whole Again: Assessing the Recovery Efforts of BP and the Obama Administration after the Oil Spill”.

     RockyKistner writes that the Republican Chairman of the House Committee, first called Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as the lead witness. Haley was a former energy industry lobbyist. Filings show that his lobbying firm (Barbour, Griffith and Rogers) had received 2.96 million in lobbying fees (1999-2003) from the energy industry. 

     When Barbour was head of the Republican National Committee; during the 1994-96 election cycle, the oil and gas industry donated over 30 million to Republicans.  Oil and Gas interests have also donated millions to personal campaigns for Governor.

     Barbour told the House Committee that the issues regarding Oil drilling were economic, not environmental. He blamed the media, in his testimony, for making oil-coated wildlife look like “chocolate pelicans”. He emphatically told the House panel that all seafood testing, so far, has shown to be safe to eat, within the beaches of Mississippi.

     Barbour maintains that the massive Deep-water Gulf blowout was worth the risks, because of the benefits of the other 30,000 oil wells in the gulf. “The risk of 1 in 31,000 is worth taking when you are talking about something so important to the economy of the United States”.

     When Representative William Lacy Clay asked Barbour if Barbour’s view on drilling is a dangerous policy, Barbour replied that “the industry tries to prevent accidents and protect people because it’s expensive when they don’t” Barbour then went on to quickly add that “I’m against excessive regulation”.

     The last person to testify was Michael R. Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. (BOEMRE) He pointed out that the bi-partisan commission that was studying the Oil spill, had concluded that there had been 79 serious loss of well control incidents in the Gulf, since 1996. That was the Commission that recommended slowing down and regulating our US drilling applications.

     In the coming days, we will hear more from politicians about the regulation of oil drilling versus the impact to our jobs,  if such drilling is not permitted off our US coasts. It seems to be argued along party lines. The question, I guess, is whether we get convinced that no matter the environmental cost, that it is too expensive not to drill for our future;  Or, are the jobs that are really being created, really within the area of environmental clean-up?

     Environmentalists are trying to win the argument of safety and beauty. The Oil Industryand their allies are  trying to win the argument of economics. Who will the herd follow or will we not take the time to really stop and listen?

The Sirens For Oil

      In the epic poem, The Odyssey, written in 800 B.C. by  Homer, the hero Ulysses, faces a difficult problem. He and his men had embarked on a long sea voyage. He knew that they would be sailing past the Sirens; female enchanters who used their beautiful voices to lure men to the island.

     Ulysses knew that these “enchanters” lured men there, for the purpose of luring them to their death. At that time, no man had been able to listen to the sirens without giving in to the temptation of coming to the island and the beach was “piled with bone heaps of men now rotted away”.

     To protect his men, Ulysses required that all of them put wax in their ears to keep them from hearing the tempting voices of the Sirens. However, Ulysses was unwilling to “plug” his own ears because he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. He was faced with the dilemma of hearing the sirens versus wanting to live.

     Ulysses told his men to bind him to the ship with rope that could not be broken.  He ordered them not to release him, no matter what he said or did, until they had safely passed by the island and out of the hearing of the Sirens.  He was able to hear the songs without losing his life.

     There is a  battle being waged between environmentalist and Oil companies. As oil companies scour the coastline of Alaska, they are running into polar bears who are already facing extinction from shrinking and thinning ice.  In response, President Obama has designated 187,000 acres as “critical habitat” for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, which could have an impact on future drilling.

     In response to this designation, the Alaskan Governor is threatening to file suit against the Obama administration. The basis of the potential suit is that the Governor believes that the President is overstepping Federal authority and stepping on States’ rights. The argument is that it hinders oil exploration, which impacts job creation and the economic welfare of Alaska.

         Is Oil exploration like the song of the Sirens? Does the beautiful sound of job creation, decrease of dependence on foreign oil and the benefits of the economics of oil drilling outweigh the environment? Are oil leaks, equipment placed all over landscape and nature and wildlife destruction an acceptable amount of collateral damage,  to make our country energy independent?

      Oil exploration is a two-sided issue. It really comes down to who is the singer of destruction and who should be putting wax in their ears. All I know is, no oil company or lobbyist is working hard toward alternatives to drilling. Is it a song of destruction to drill or fail to not drill?

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