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Archive for May 14th, 2007

Oil CEO fingers refining profits for higher gas prices

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I drive past the same gasoline station (er, “convenience store”; we don’t have gas stations any more) each morning en route to work. In January, unleaded regular cost $2.24 a gallon there. This morning, it cost $3.09 — a 38 percent increase.

So I’m pissed. And, if you live in the United States, where part of our genetic coding is imprinted with “drive anywhere any time in anything,” you’re pissed, too.

We have reasons, of course. “My income isn’t rising anywhere enough to offset that added cost” — particularly if we commute appreciable distances. “How come inflation is only about 2.5 percent this year (the lowest rate in four years) but gasoline price inflation is about 15 times that?”

And: “How come oil-company profits are so (insert favorite expletive here) high?” (ExxonMobil reported $39.5 billion in profit for 2006, the highest corporate profit ever.) And: “We’re getting screwed somehow.”

We smell conspiracies.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 14, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Got an opinion? Attach your real name to it

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Back in my days as an editorial-page editor in New England, I would eat breakfast in the same diner each morning. And, each morning, the diner regulars and not-so-regulars would grace me with their learned opinion of my bylined commentary or editorial of the day before:

“That was just plain wrong.” Or the Leno line: “What the hell were you thinking?” Or the ever-popular “That’s bullshit” and “You’re a moron.”

Then, in I-know-better-than-you fashion, they’d tell me what the column or editorial should have said. I’d take out my reporter’s notebook and write down what they were saying. They’d notice and ask what I was doing.

“Well, your point is interesting,” I’d say. “I believe in running opinion on the editorial page that disagrees with our editorials or my columns. So I’m going to put your opinion in the paper. All I need is your name, please.”

None of them ever offered a name. None was willing to attach his or her name to an opinion in public. None stood up for what he or she believed. That’s the point Tom Grubisich makes about Internet opinion in today’s Washington Post. Internet opinion or commentary is much like that diner: No real names required.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 14, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized