As I follow the news lately it seems that either the world has gone mad or I have. This week it’s BP Global, a conglomerate highly enriched by our taxpayer-funded war in Iraq (often cited for safety violations). One of BP’s oil platforms exploded costing 11 lives, spilling 200,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico (4.7 million gallons to date) and threatening marine life from Louisiana to Texas. Remember Sarah Palin’s cheerful chant, “Drill baby, drill?”
Reportedly the disaster, perhaps the worst ever, might have been prevented but for a missing $500,000 acoustic trigger. It’s an insane world.
To me it feels like we’re destroying the planet slick by slick. Then again, this is nothing new. In the 1950s, when the nuclear power industry went to Congress for approval to build reactors, they promised that by the time nuclear waste became a dangerous problem, technology would solve it. And Congress bought it. Or should I say Congress was bought? Well, that promised “technology” appears to be burying the crap in a mountain. Sounds like sweeping dirt under a rug. Radioactive dirt with a toxic life of 250,000 years.
As a culture, we seem more interested in “Dancing with the Stars” or Tiger’s divorce and who will get custody of the kids? (Maybe Rachel Uchitel will wind up their step-mom?)
In this National Enquirer vein, I had to mention the latest in Dodger owners Jamie and Frank McCourt’s contentious legal battle. The judge finally ruled on temporary spousal support, awarding Jamie $637,159 a month (three times the judge’s annual salary)! And yet Jamie seemed deeply disappointed. With an apparent spend baby, spend lifestyle, she had requested $1 million a month. After all, how can we expect her to survive on a paltry $637k for an entire 30 days?
Reportedly, Frank had started the negotiations at “bupkes.” (Yiddish for “nothing.”) Soon his offer was up to $150,000 a month, or $500,000 less than what he now must pay. Get this, the lawyers’ and accountants’ fees are estimated at $19 million! Did I mention it’s an insane world?
I had planned on writing about how pathetic the Dodgers have been and then they won four straight (still closer to last place than first). Given the win streak, maybe McCourt should pay me to think about trashing the Dodgers more often.
My displeasure with the McCourts starts with their seven houses. There should be a rule that the Dodgers’ owner can’t have more houses than the team has reliable starting pitchers. By that standard, and so far this season, the McCourts should be living in HUD housing.
Frankly, I don’t know how the average family can afford a Dodger game, not to mention the $15 parking. (Although there’s now a free shuttle to Dodger Stadium from Union Station thanks to a grant from AQMD.)
Things were very different when I grew up in the late 1950s. The decade had a lot wrong with it: Joe McCarthy, the ill-fated Korean War (other than WWII, which of our wars hasn’t been ill fated?), rampant racism and confining conformity. But it was a golden period for the American family.
Back then, a family could actually live on one income. (Now they’re lucky to survive on three.) Union workers were paid medical benefits and a good wage. What a radical concept. If Obama proposed it today, the Teabaggers would call him a socialist. Of course they do anyway. What a group of brain surgeons they are.
Also in the ‘50s, college was accessible. Previously, it had only been for the elite. After WWII, it was available to anyone who qualified. And now, full circle, it’s practically for just the elite again. Even at state-funded universities, who but the rich can afford tuition? On the other hand, “American Idol” is accessible to everyone.
We barely have a middle class anymore. Then, the average CEO earned eight times more than the average worker. Now it’s four hundred times more. The U.S. was the greatest manufacturer in the world. Now we don’t make things, we social network. We buy our goods from China. (If they ever call in their I.O.U, we’ll all be washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant. I just hope free meals come with the job.)
In the meantime, the oil in the Gulf continues to ooze with no end in sight. Adding to the lost lives, and the eco disaster, imagine the suffering of the oil-covered animals. All in the name of cheap gas for our scandalously fuel inefficient cars. We’re 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 25 percent of the energy. To quote Dick Cheney, “So?”
I’m reminded that the $500,000 acoustic trigger that might have prevented this ecological nightmare represents three weeks of Jamie’s spousal support. Yes, the world is definitely insane.
When Jack isn’t agonizing over the endless damage to the planet, plus the lack of Dodger pitching, he can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.