Now Let’s Go Get It!

Assigned Reading: BP’s Big Oil Find Cements Gulf’s Revival
(FROM: Wall Street Journal)

I’ve always found offshore drilling to be fascinating and had a curiosity about offshore drilling practices, ever since the subject may have led to the incident which was the cornerstone of my fear of public speaking.

The year was 1988. I was in the fifth grade. As part of some sort of assembly in our school’s “cafetorium” (I still like saying that word), I was tapped to portray Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in a presidential-vice presidential debate. Fifth grade, I know! My guess is that the adults just did it for their own amusement. Anyway, I can’t remember if the question came from the moderator or the kid who was portraying Dan Quayle, but at one point I was asked about the environmental impact of offshore oil drilling. The Exxon Valdez disaster had not yet occurred, but nonetheless the question was there: How, senator, can oil spills be prevented?

Like an idiot, I stumbled and I stammered and I fidgeted and the only explanation which came out of my mouth was: “Uhhhh, I guess we’ll just have to try to catch it all on the boat.”

I was mortified. I could have done better than that. I could have said to the Social Studies teacher–or whomever was moderating the event–that “I know Peter Jennings, I’ve worked with Peter Jennings, Peter Jennings was a friend of mine and you, sir, are no Peter Jennings.” I could have just said, “ahh, screw it, let’s just import the oil from people who want to kill us.”

But I didn’t. At the end of the day, Michael Dukakis and I lost the 1988 fifth-grade election. Perhaps I can be comforted by the fate of the real Dukakis and Bentsen, but I still didn’t like the feeling of being up there in front of all those people, completely unable to formulate a cogent sentence. And from that point on, right on up until now, I freeze when giving any sort of public speech.

I was actually asked last week to speak at an Energy Citizens rally today in nearby Chester, PA. Unfortunately, due to a communications problem on my end as well as a tight schedule due to work and school (I’d have to leave the event after only about 15 minutes), I didn’t accept the invitation in time and the spots were filled. Part of me is exceptionally disappointed, as I’d love the chance to give it a go and I had a TelePrompTer joke all planned out and everything. The other part of me is relieved. What if I had pulled a Van Jones and called Democrats something a little nastier than “nincompoop?”

Surely, one of the things that I would have loved to talk about at the Energy Citizens rally would be the safety, security and prosperity that a true, all-encompassing approach to achieving energy independence would bring. And yet it seems as though this administration isn’t serious about it at all. Just a little more than a week ago, after all, President Obama committed $2 billion to Brazil’s Petrobras company for offshore operations south of the Equator, yet he refuses to make the same sort of commitment here.

It’s time we do it all — oil, natural gas, coal, shale oil, nuclear and even wind, solar, tidal and more. We absolutely must free ourselves of our energy encumbrances, before it’s too late.



  1. Anonymous says:

    A little off topic, but interesting link from

    China pushes silver and gold investment to the masses

    A report suggests that the Chinese government is pushing the general public into buying gold and silver bullion, which could have a dramatic effect on the markets.
    Author: Lawrence Williams
    Posted: Thursday , 03 Sep 2009

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oil independence is a no-brainer. What are we waiting for?

    verification word: goilinch
    (give oil an inch???)

  3. Chuck in San Diego says:

    Texans aren't all pansy-wansy about off-shore drilling like Californians. If Texans could punch a directional hole over to California they would. What a national resource wasted off the coast of California. Unfortunately even with these discoveries it takes time – lots of time – before any of this oil makes it to the corner gas station. They're talking about production figures into the year 2020. The U.S. desperately still needs to explore/exploit alternatives to fossil fuel energy resources.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand how, especially in the face of a huge discovery like this that proves off-shore oil deposits are out there waiting to be discovered, there can be any opposition to expanding off-shore drilling.

    There is not enough metal on Earth to build enough windmills to generate as much power as we need. Switching from gasoline to electric powered cars will mean we needs millions of batteries, which we will have to buy from foreign nations, and while they at least won't be Middle Eastern nations we will still be at their mercy, and those batteries will end up dumped somewhere. You can build all the solar and wind farms you want out in the middle of nowhere but you have to be able to get the electricity from hot windy desolation to where it's needed in population dense areas.

    It's going to take a mesh work, a fabric, of multiple energy sources across the spectrum, from gloriously clean to acceptably dirty and dangerous.

    (As an aside, there also is not enough copper on Earth for every nation to become as electrified as the United States. It is impossible for everyone to be equal in that sense… wonder what Obama thinks about that)

  5. Rix says:

    How dare you! If oil price goes down – Allah forbid! – there will be less money to buy ammunition and explosives for people bringing the Religion of Peace to the world of uneducated pig-eaters. Worse, there will be less Islamic conversions in jails, less Muslim schools and less foreign contributions to Obama's election coffers. Is it obvious to you now that drilling for American oil is all about racism and religious oppression? Only a bloodthirsty, gun-clinging, Bible-reading right wing lunatic could suggest such an outrageous idea!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rix is right.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Jeff: you sound like I did 35 years ago about public speaking. I was scared to death!! However I would recommend to you that you join some local chapter of Toastmasters Int. Believe me that it was a very good thing to help for stage fright etc. I see you did debating but that won't get you very far if you don't practice and they are a great organization for that and it's fun because you meet so many prople at the meetings with completely different backgrounds you can get a great deal of feedback on many differnt subjects. It sure helped me because my career was spent in the US government for 35 years and later in that career I had to speak to as many as 600 people. I even made a little money once because Toastmasters sometimes get a call for a speaker to voluteer for a speaking engagement and I made $300 teaching a course and workshop to a Firefighters annual meeting on what else: 'learning to speak in public'.
    Good luck
    John from ohio

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