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.