Overheard on CNN.com: Shrinking Big Oil
Sen. Orrin Hatch called the oil- and gas-company bill a "dog and pony" show that would never pass.
May 12th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Shrinking Big Oil

Comment of the Day:

"Why is everyone unhappy? You all voted these oil drenched Repubs into office, didn't you? Don't complain now. There is always a price to pay for failing to heed the 'fool me once' warning. Pay up and shut your mouths. Fill that big ole tank up and just smile."- john1450

Big Oil execs hit back on tax proposal

Big Oil showdown on Capitol Hill

Saying they could not control rising prices at the pump, oil company executives fought a Senate bill to eliminate tax breaks for the "big five" oil and gas companies. Savings from the bill would be used to pay down the deficit. Executives admitted the tax breaks were not needed for exploration but said the subsidies are similar to those enjoyed by other industries.

Many CNN.com readers were outraged that oil executives would fight the proposed bill. Others expressed anxiety that oil companies would merely pass on any additional costs to Americans at the gas pumps. And some supported the oil companies.

Brian222 said, "I am amazed by both the sense of entitlement and the complete disconnect of CEOs. No one owes you a profit nor a bonus and there is no reason to use tax payer dollars to increase your already large profit margins." AZJames replied, "The dollars they are using are their own dollars. The subsidies they are using just allow them to offset their costs with profits. It reduces the amount of tax money they pay. No different that any other manufacturer still left in the USA."

Haroldwolf said, "Congress will never fix the problem. They are too much in the pocket of the oil lobby. This hearing is a dog and pony show." am8canpops said, "You ain't seen nothin' yet. Wait until the elections of 2012. Our learned Supreme Court judges just gave big corporations including Big Oil the means to buy the next election. I thought these learned judges were apolitical. Guess I was wrong."

Change begins at the gas pump, wrote many readers. Zfrost said, "The government might not be able to control them but we can. Pick one day, two days, three days a month repeatedly and boycott gas stations. Do whatever you can to lessen your gas consumption. Big Oil will get the message." Guest, a "local American Mechanical Engineer" agreed. "Electric car. Solar panel on roof. Battery charges car at night. Done, no more gas needed. Use the hybrid to go far if need be. Bet they won't like that."

k382 said, "Inflated gas prices are the ball and chain of the economy. Back in the Depression, cheap gas prices fueled the growth of this country. America was empowered to build dams, bridges, skyscrapers, and businesses. Today we need an alternative energy fuel for vehicles. Gas prices will never be reasonable again. We have to start rebuilding America and the future with total electric vehicles."

goatfish86 said "If you don't like Big Oil, then don't buy it. And if not doing so wrecks your economy, then you were pretty foolish for basing your economy on a substance that does not replenish and is found chiefly in countries that despise the way you do business. If you are angry with Big Oil, then keep in mind that you are the ones who created it."

Demjanjuk guilty of Nazi war crimes, German court finds

John Demjanjuk, 91, has been found guilty of accessory to mass murder as a guard in Sobibor, Poland. After decades spent fighting accusations that he was a Nazi camp guard, Demjanjuk changed his line of defense when the Munich trial opened 18 months ago, arguing that as a prisoner of war he was forced to obey the Nazis.

Some CNN.com readers thought his sentence, five years in prison, was unnecessary, given his age and previous imprisonment. FlyBoy2 said, "As bad as it was for the Jews in the 40's during WWII, there is nothing anyone can do to turn back the hands of time. Is prosecuting a 91-year-old who had a long life really going to do anything?" Dav91 asked, "Would a 100-year sentence have been better? He is 91 for heaven's sake."

GM1966 asked, "Are you saying that if you are a criminal and reach a certain age then you shouldn't be held accountable? Are you wanting an age limit for prosecution?" soporifix said, "There's no statute of limitations on murder." allmosttoast said, "Five years for helping to kill 27,900 people. About 5,580 people dead for each year in prison. A slap on his wrist. That's an insult."

The story had some readers discussing whether Demjanjuk's defense was valid and what is required of U.S. soldiers. rozarlive said, "He was a soldier following orders: either follow orders or be executed. If a U.S. soldier doesn't follow orders, he gets court marshaled and rots in prison for a long time. soporifix replied, "He was a POW chosen specifically because he was good guard material. He wasn't a soldier following orders from superiors."

roaderik60505 said, "So I can tell our military commanders 'no' to something? Not how it works." RdclCntrst replied, "Yes, you can. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, soldiers are expected to refuse any illegal orders. 'I was just following orders' is specifically NOT a defense in an American military court. I know this because I am an American soldier and infantryman. If you're also in the American military, you should know this too."

Activist battles Kenyan tradition of rape 'beading'

In a remote area of Kenya, a Samburu tribe male is allowed to rape a girl of his family by draping a necklace over her in the presence of her parents. "Effectively he has booked her," says Kulea, an activist and member of the Samburu herself. Pregnancy from this is both prohibited and not prevented, often resulting in infanticide and infection.

Most people who left comments on the story agreed with Guest, who said, "I just wanted to cry when I read this story. How awful, girls as young as 6 beaded! Why not call it what it is: a pedophile state. How disturbing."

Some readers said it was unfair that the whole of Kenya was identified with the practice. WBMD said, "This is terrible reporting. Presenting one small tribe's practices as a Kenyan 'tradition.' " Kivu said, "Less than 1% of Kenyans are Samburu, so this hardly makes Kenya a 'pedophile state.' Do you think the U.S. is a polygamous, pedophile state because of extremist Mormons making up a fraction of the population?" robacek said, "When I lived in Utah, every second woman I met revealed being raped by a male relative (usually her father) back when she was a child. How is that any situation any different from Kenya? We have sick, perverted sub-cultures right here in the US..."

swap42 said, "I've been to Kenya and most of their traditions are not this degree of wrong. I guess the news media likes to highlight the most extreme stories." jenst said, "It's still very important to shine a light on any situation like this, no matter how isolated. You can bet that any child would be glad for that."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. M.K.

    For what it is worth, I remember buying gasoline for 11 cents a gallon in Smyrna, Georgia during a gas war at a Spur station, and getting a glass goblet as a gift. I eventually got a whole six piece setting of the dinner ware, although not all of it was for 11 cents a gallon. The regular price was twenty six cents a gallon. This was in 1959.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. TheJanitor

    Congress can help in a big way. Ban the taxation of fuels at all levels of government. Taxation of fuels has been the only blockage of alternative fuels that already exist from coming to market and car manufacturers from making cars that use them. Kenny Kline of Florida (before he mysteriously died) invented electrolyis hydrogen fuel on-the-fly that ran his car (entirely) with only a simple, inexpensive mod. Stop taxing oil, gas, diesel, propane, hydrogen, kerosene, etc.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. jesse

    I couldn't care if they're for or agenst, and I mean truly for or agenst and not just pretend, big oil. The fact still remains that they've recorded record profits almost yearly around the world for almost more than a decade. They have no lagitamate reason to be getting government aid to beef up their bottom line. However, this is only half the problem. We should be looking at refineries and such and putting them on the spot as well. Clearly their is price gougeing going on if the oil companies are selling crude at the "low" prices that some have claimed and we're seeing such a massive jump in price after that.... and diesel actually takes less to refine than the other grades which I personally find far more insulting.

    May 13, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andreas Moser

    Just go car-free. It's a joy: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/car-free-by-choice/

    May 13, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Just go car free ??????????? That's really easy to say if you don't have to travel 30 miles one way to work.and at night on top of that. And no, public transportation is not availabe.

      May 13, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Cranky

      Bobcat, don't worry your head about it. Some of these "car free" people are so self-centered and divorced from reality that they can't imagine that someone can't walk 10 minutes to the nearest subway and hop on a train "for less than a gallon of gas."

      Some of us don't want to live in the loud, overcrowded, dirty, crime-ridden, vermin-infested cities....yeah, I know, crazy right?

      May 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • EHarris

      I completely agree bobcat2u! I live in a VERY rural state. We consist of farmers and people who drive to farming communities. I hate the reaction that we should all go carless or electric. That's nice to say when you can afford a new electric car or if you live in a city with public transit. Remember, the foundation of this country is built on the backs of workers who are thankful to have a 197something car that starts in the morning! If you want us all to go carless, electirc, or hybrid, be prepared to buy everyone a car!!

      May 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • AcE

      In some areas the buses only run till 11:00 pm.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AcE

    I love the smiles. I have to live off of my Disability. I listen to them the other day and I couldn't understand. I would love to see the tax incentives go to the people. The stock holder get profit. Oil companys will always (ALWAYS) make money. AcE

    May 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • EHarris

      Oil companies should have some kind of a profit, if it's REASONABLE! They do have workers to pay from the bottom up. The difference with them and other companies is that a 25-50% profit margin is just not reasonable, no matter what the economy is! The fact that they would say it's unreasonable to take away their tax breaks is rediculous. Our country is in a place where the only people who should get tax breaks are those working in low-to-mid income! I don't vote party, but some of these politicians need to get their hands out of their pockets, heads out of their butts, and realize what is best for the country, not themselves!

      May 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. whitleyfan810

    Basic economics 101 the higher gas prices are the less people spend on other items and the higher loan defaults we have as a nation. Outrageous oil prices doesn't just affect private citizens, it affects the whole economic system. And before anyone replies by saying europe pays more, well that may be so but europeans are also paid higher wages for a lot less hours worked which actually means they pay less per gallon than we do.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • AcE

      Remember the house boom. Loan defaults everywhere, no answer. Now you can get a loan on the internet, 1000s of them. So who will pay the banks back? In one day I got 0ver 100 email saying we got you some money.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. whitleyfan810

    A few years ago Rush Limbaugh talked about the Democrats wanting to raise gas to 4 or 5 dollars a gallon and how bad that would be for the economy and he was right, but now that it's his Big Oil buddies doing it it's just fine and dandy, talk about a true hypocrite. I can't believe my home State was stupid enough to put his brother on the State Supreme Court, arrgh the shame.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rkc5253

    Do we subsidize any other natural resource industries the way we do the oil industry??

    May 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carole

    As soon as the GOP took over the House, their robber barron backers started gouging America at the pump. I say lets either regulate or NATIONALIZE the buggers.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tony

    you all keep reelecting these idiots

    May 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. luther whitaker

    i would just like to comment on the greaty oil company exe.i see they jacked the gas back up for the holidays i hope they all have to burn in hell one of these days

    June 29, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Guicamillo

    I got the article in today's Mother Earth e-mail and rzgecnieod your name in the byline - congrats. What fantastic timing, too, since we had a total grid outage for a couple of hours last night (about half the county!). We have a couple of oil lamps, but I'd been thinking about non-petroleum alternatives. You can bet I'm trying these out before the next blackout. Thanks

    December 31, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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