Skip to main content

Michael Smerconish's crazy, unfactual sympathy for BP and the oil spill

Michael Smerconish isn't joining a boycott of BP -- because if the boycott succeeds, maybe BP will go out of business. And if they go out of business, who will provide the money and expertise to fix the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
I intend to drive out of my way to fill up at a BP pump.

Why? Because it's imperative that the company doesn't tap out before plugging the leak and cleaning up the tens of millions of gallons of crude oil marring the Gulf of Mexico.

If BP goes under before either of those tasks is complete - or if the company can't afford to complete them itself - the federal government will be sucked into picking up the tab. Or worse, actually taking the lead in trying to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf and mop up the mess.
Here's the thing: the mess is proving very costly to BP -- both in terms of its stock market value and in terms of how much it's spending. And yet those enormous costs pale in comparison to how much money BP still has left over. Tuesday's New York Times:
One analyst calculated that in a worst-case scenario, BP’s cleanup liability would be around $14 billion, which would account for the entire loss of all fishing and tourism revenues for coastal states closest to the spill, said Kevin Book, a managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. Even then, Mr. Book said, the market overreacted, and BP can easily handle the cleanup bill.

BP remains a formidable corporation, with the ability to withstand penalties that would easily bankrupt most companies. On April 26, a few days after the Deepwater Horizon rig that it had rented from Transocean sank, BP reported first-quarter profits of $6.2 billion. Because of its considerable profits and size, it does not buy outside insurance for such disasters.

The market drop means that while BP is not at risk of bankruptcy, the crisis could potentially turn it into a takeover target if the slide continues.
So the worst that can happen to BP right now -- aside from the unlikely scenario of the federal government deciding to take it over -- is that some other capitalist will take the company over, not that the company will go under. And honestly: Why should I care if some other Richie Rich is making profits and assuming liability for the oil spill? It's too bad Michael Smerconish didn't decide to use some actual facts in his column, instead of indulging in baseless speculation.


Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…