The Supreme Court this week chisled-away most of the punative damages awarded claimants against Exxon in its ill-fated Exxon Valdez oil spill. Lobotomized is a more apt description to the 80% reduction from $2.5-billion to $500-million in damages.
Basically, the Supremes decided Exxon shouldn't have to pay above and beyond the $507.5-million it had already expended to compensate victims of the spill in Alaska. Under the original judgement, plaintiffs would have received about $75,000 apiece, which now shrinks to about $15,000 each.
Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but still hardly enough for most fishermen to offset the losses they incurred, regardless of how long ago (18-years!)
Exxon's gotta love it: The new amount is equal to about 4-day's worth of profits, based on the $10.9-billion the company booked last quarter.
Meanwhile, down at the ball park in Houston, the Astro's needed a little something to liven-up their 36-42 season. Enter Shawn Chacon, a pitcher the team signed to a one-year, $2-million contract during Spring Training.
So far this season, his record has been about as exciting as a revised Exxon damages payout--and come to think of it, his performance has been worth about as much, with an 0-3 record in the past four starts and a 9.35 ERA.
Yesterday, in the Astro's lunchroom, Chacon was summoned to the principal's office. Actually, it was a calling onto the carpet in General Manager Ed Wade's office (remember, the dude's banking $2-mil this year for suiting up with the team.)
Chacon didn't want to be bothered.
Let's think about this: His performance is on par with an Oreck 12-pound upright, he's getting paid good money, so what response should he have had?
The response Chacon gave Wade was a pair of hands around the GM's neck, and throwing his boss to the ground.
Chacon's name is already being stencilled into the Book of Names that Are Also Verbs (remember Sprewell, Lewinski, Crapper, etc?)
Chacon has told his agent he'd like to be released from the team or traded.
I would imagine the former is going to happen before the latter; for $2-mil, I'd expect any team manager would demand a bit more respect and decorum.
For half Chacon's contract, I'll play for you, sit in the bull pen all season long, if you want.
Call my people.
Better yet, just call me.
CODA: Shawn Chacon's originally from Alaska.
Mebbe he was just miffed about that Supreme Court decision...