I'm curious as to what this community will think about Bill Maher's final New Rule from last Friday, the season finale (they're off till September 17th). He expanded on what he had said the previous week about complaints from both the left and the right about the moratorium on offshore drilling causing a loss of jobs of oil rig workers. To that, Maher said, "f*ck your jobs". On Friday, he expanded it into his final New Rule of the season.
New Rule: Stop talking about "jobs" being lost in a murderous, hateful industry like it's a bad thing.
Video and transcript below the fold.
Now, last week, I may have hurt a few feelings when my response to the complaint that jobs will be lost in the offshore drilling business was, "Fuck your jobs!"
But I meant it, and it goes double for burning coal and chopping down redwoods. Sorry, roughnecks, but eventually you're gonna have to find something else to do. Try building windmills. You know what happens when windmills collapse into the sea? A splash.
You know, it's Washington gospel that jobs in the private sector are better than government jobs. You even hear Democrats saying it. But oil jobs are private, and look at the toil this industry takes: cooking the planet, enslaving us to Saudi Arabia, killing animals. If the government hired away all the 58,000 oil workers who work now in the state of Louisiana, and paid them their same salary to work repairing infrastructure and building solar panels, it would cost us $5.5 billion, which the Pentagon loses every day in the couch. Wouldn't that be worth it?
Is working on an oil rig really that great a job anyway? You spend weeks at a time on a floating well in the ocean? If you want to avoid your family that bad, take up golf.
Yes, the oil industry creates jobs. So does the kiddie porn industry.
I mean, can you imagine someone making this argument: that business must be allowed to dump toxic waste right into our waterways, because treating it is expensive, and that will cost jobs and growth. Well, is that really so different from someone on CNBC talking about the need for continued deep water drilling?
Maher then goes on to specifically call out Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for his opposition to any moratorium on offshore drilling.
This week, he finally found a place to draw a line in the now shit-brown flammable sand of his home state. He told President Obama, you must not stop drilling, because it would affect jobs and growth. Yes, David Vitter says a moratorium on more drilling could potentially be devastating for Louisiana. Only a Republican can look at a dead ocean and say, "Boy, I sure hope Big Government doesn't turn this into something bad!"
You know, maybe your job needs to go when it starts killing things. Maybe this whole mess is a sign that people who work in the oil industry should look into producing something else that's less immediately harmful, like asbestos suppositories. Or a season of The Bachelor starring Joran van der Sloot.
You know, a man can get another job. I used to be a luggage handler at Rentboy.com. That didn't mean I'd do it for life. Jobs come and go. But once a species is extinct, it's forever. Calling something your "job" doesn't make it sacred. Pauly Shore used to have a "job" in the movies; now he doesn't. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Everything can't come down to money. Some things you have to do for love. Except have sex with David Vitter. That, you can only do for money.
So. This is sort of a touchy subject here. One the one hand, you have the livelihoods of people who have been working in those industries for generations, like oil, but especially coal. But we all recognize that we need to transition away from fossil fuels and into alternative and renewable energies. But that means those industries as they exist today will need to die away. What should we do about the workers in those industries?
Now, Maher does offer a possible solution. Have the government hire them at their same salary to do something Rachel and others here have been shouting loudly about, hoping someone would hear them: building/rebuilding our nation's infrastructure.
It's ludicrous that a simple winter storm in the 21st century can cause massive power blackouts through major parts of the Eastern seaboard. So is this feasible? Instead of spending weeks living on an oil rig, train those workers to go into parts of the Northeast and fix the power grid where they can to protect it from failing during a regular storm or snowfall.
And surely we can do something similar with coal workers and loggers, right? Right??? Or is Maher just saying some pie-in-the-sky stuff here?
You'll also want to check out the Overtime segment, where there was a very uncomfortable discussion about Israel and Gaza, and then some amazing moments where Rachel Maddow absolutely tore into Bill Frist for complaining about Obama's health care bill not being bipartisan enough. She correctly nails the Republicans for their refusal to actually negotiate in good faith.