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Sunday, April 27, 2014 ISSUE #797

Life without pipelines
     Last week, Vladimir Putin had Russian fighter jets fly over eastern Ukraine in a show of force. President Obama responded defiantly, “We'll continue to keep some arrows in our quiver.” Arrows? Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a fair fight.  

    Do you know what a rich guy can buy with $100 million? Well, he might buy half a hockey team. Or get his name put on a football stadium or a new medical center. But there’s a fellow in California that decided to invest $100 million, not to buy or build something, but rather to keep other men from building something. Namely the Keystone XL pipeline. Yes, one rich man, and a handful of environmentalists, convinced President Obama to block construction of that oil pipeline for at least another year.

    Here’s a question we should all be asking: after Canada decides to sell their oil to China instead of us, will the same guy and his friends demand that the 3 million miles of existing gas and oil pipelines be plugged? After all, if a new pipeline is unsafe, how could we trust old ones?

    What has happened to common sense? This is a time when we should be preparing to sell abundant North American gas and oil to Europe, including Ukraine. We already sell food to most of Europe, why not fuel. If Europe stops buying oil and gas from Russia, how long can Putin last with no exports except caviar and vodka?

    Northwestern football players voted last week on whether to join a union. The votes have not been counted, but I’m guessing they voted against. These players are smart, no doubt about it. To get into Northwestern they’ve got to be among the smartest players in the country. But are they the best players? No way. Northwestern is usually close the bottom of the Big Ten, often finishing eleventh. (Figure that one out.) And while players on the top teams in the country, like Alabama and Michigan State, receive scholarships worth $25,000 to $35,000 a year, scholarships at Northwestern are worth $75,000. So, mediocre players are receiving a college education worth two or three times what superior players are receiving at other schools.

    If it turns out that the players are unionized employees, Northwestern might even drop football. These players are still smart enough to graduate from Northwestern, but they would have to pay the $75,000 a year themselves. How about playing football for one of those other teams? Most of them aren’t good enough to even ride the bench for top teams.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
    “After a football game in Lima, Peru, five were killed... Up here we don’t kill our football players. We make coaches out of the smartest ones and send the others to the Legislature.”
DT #1389, Jan. 5, 1931

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