Monday, February 04, 2008

Ser · en · DIP · i · ty 

Upon occasion kind fate presents us with a fortuitous juxtaposition, and we find that, try as we might, we cannot improve upon it. Consider, for example, the unrelated items that earlier today appeared chockablock in the imperial inbox, courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.:
Baghdad drowning in sewage: Iraqi official

Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said on Sunday in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion.

One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth," said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan.
Exxon's Profits: Measuring a Record Windfall

Exxon Mobil's staggering $40.6 billion earnings for 2007 drive the truth home: There's no business on the planet that gushes forth more profit than selling oil—nothing even close . . . .

Exxon beat its own one-year-old record for the biggest corporate profits ever by 3 percent. Put together with the announcement by the No. 2 U.S. oil company, Chevron, of an $18.7 billion year, up 9 percent over 2006, plus the earlier results of Shell and ConocoPhillips, and that's more than $100 billion in profits from four companies. It's all thanks to the historic 35 percent climb in worldwide crude oil prices in the second half of 2007, ending the first week of this year when oil briefly touched $100 per barrel.

If Exxon Mobil were a country, its 2007 profit would exceed the gross domestic product of nearly two thirds of the 183 nations in the World Bank's economic rankings. It would be right in there behind the likes of Angola and Qatar—two oil-producing nations, incidentally, where Exxon has major operations.
If Exxon Mobil were in fact a country, and the CEO just a tad more tyrannical, and the stockholders just a trifle more oppressed, could we justify an invasion on human-rights grounds?

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