Is Katie Couric honestly worth $10 million a year?
Well, no. But that’s what Yahoo is going to pay the “perky” journeyman (er, journeywoman) TV celebrity to continue as the global anchor of the company’s online news-video presentations. Yahoo would not confirm terms of the deal with the former NBC glamor queen turned news hawk. But the picture such salaries paint is way over the top.
What’s even more disturbing is that the public is willing to pay such super-bling to be entertained. Just look at professional sports.
In Couric’s case, she ought to bank $250,000 and split the rest between the Wounded Warriors Fund and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Then perhaps the shrinking middle class could stomach her new contract.
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Are we about to see a “gas war” reminiscent of the 1960s in the oil industry?
CNN reports that in May, the member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produced an average of 31.3 million barrels of black gold per day. That’s the highest level of production in nearly three years by OPEC, as the cartel tries to maintain market share in the face of lackadaisical crude prices. Today’s $60-a-barrel prices are fueled in part by new oil production in non-OPEC nations such as the United States.
Moreover, worldwide demand, while robust, is not keeping up. Therefore, oil inventories are growing. But oil, like any commodity, doesn’t earn anybody anything if it isn’t sold.
Prediction: The price at the pump will continue for some time to hover around $2.50 a gallon. But at some point, when the going gets tough for the oil sheiks, we might experience a price war that will drop a gallon of “regular” fuel to below $2. One of the mitigating factors, however, is the limited capacity of refineries to generate more output, even though significant expansion has occurred at the old refineries.
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One more nail in the ol’ soccer ball: An Egyptian court has dealt the death sentence to 11 men found liable for igniting in a soccer riot that claimed the lives of some 70 fans, including some children, during a February match.
Some might call the court’s decision overreaching and excessive. However, the families of those who died are calling it justice. In any case, we appear to be losing our senses of humor in the Divine Comedy of daily existence, which worldwide is turning more and more into the divine tragedy.
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Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl just took a tumble. But his stock went up among rock-music fans. Grohl fell off the stage while performing at a concert in Sweden. He broke the fibula (smaller bone) in one of his legs. Undaunted, he told the group’s drummer to take over, had himself transported to the nearest hospital, was treated, and Grohl returned to finish the concert. Is that dedication, or what? What Grohl did took a lot of Nirvana. Anybody less would have left the hospital, blown off his mates at the concert and took a cab to the best pub in town to ease the pain.
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Finally: Connecticut is reporting that gun-related homicides fell as much as 40 percent in the 10 years after the state implemented a law requiring prospective firearms purchasers to first show a gun license.
The researchers trotted out the numbers, stating that Connecticut would have recorded 740 gun slayings during those 10 years under pre-law conditions. But, they concluded, the new law dropped actual homicides to 444 on record. (Obtaining a state gun license under the 10-year-old law means you have to be 21 years old – not 18 – to get one; you must survive a background check, and you must complete eight hours of gun-safety training.)
The Connecticut report points to one outcome: What’s good for the goose isn’t always what’s good for the gander. That is, “one size fits all” doesn’t necessarily fit everybody. Gun laws such as those in Connecticut might work fine for a meek populace like Maine’s, or for a city with a broad poverty belt – such as Savannah, Ga. But the Connecticut law likely would never work – much less be invoked – in places such as Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, Montana or Wyoming. And perhaps that’s as it should be. (Bless you, Charlton Heston.)