Archive for July 2008

Oil

This seems to be vexing a lot of people.

Oil prices tumbled below $130 a barrel for the first time in more than a month Thursday, as crude’s dramatic slide entered a third day accompanied by a sharp sell-off in natural gas.

The declines accelerated amid growing concerns that the weakening economy and creeping inflation are eroding demand for fossil fuels in the U.S. and other large energy-consuming nations.

Gee, think this might have something to do with it?

The Interior Department on Wednesday made 2.6 million acres of potentially oil-rich territory in northern Alaska available for energy exploration.

It’s not cause and effect — the prices started dropping Tuesday, and the announcement was on Wednesday. But can there be much doubt that the drop is being sustained, at least in part, by the availability of new domestic drilling? How much more of a price drop would we see if we announced — just announced — that we would allow drilling in ANWAR?

I mean, the only way that new oil sources in the future could effect today’s prices would be if there were people speculating on the future price of oil, and we all know that speculation is bad, right?

What really worries me is this issue.

President Bush’s lifting of the executive ban on offshore drilling this week is more than a symbolic gesture. It means the only thing preventing expanded offshore oil-and-gas development is a temporary, one-year congressional ban set to expire on September 30. While Congress has a habit of re-imposing this ban each year, it has never gotten around to writing it into permanent law. This creates a key opportunity for supporters of domestic energy production, including the president, to force a showdown.

I see this as an issue that could kill the Democrats in November. If Congress reaffirms this ban, then gas prices will continue to rise. The RNC can run ad after ad that says, “John McCain and the Republicans did everything they could to allow more drilling in international waters off the coast of America. They were blocked by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress. Gas prices rose even higher. Are the Democrats and Barack Obama ready to run America? Put the party that stands to lower gas prices in Washington.” Throw in an ad or two showing Barack talking about wanting higher gas prices (just gradually) , and the election is done.

And with gas at $4.50 or $5 a gallon, the Democrats would get pounded. The problem with that strategy is that it requires gas prices to keep going up. I would rather they do the right thing now and trust the American public to remember for at least four months. Do the Republicans have the backbone to stand up and keep the ban from being reinstituted, either by vote or veto, or will they go with the easy, November oriented strategy?

What am I saying? Any plan that involves Republican backbone vs. the Democrats is made of fail. Get ready for gas prices to become even more of a political football.

Ending Moderate Drinking Tied To Depression

USA! USA! USA!

Scientific evidence has long suggested that moderate drinking offers some protection against heart disease, certain types of stroke and some forms of cancer.

But new research shows that stopping drinking — including at moderate levels — may lead to health problems including depression and a reduced capacity of the brain to produce new neurons, a process called neurogenesis.

That’s it.  I’m buying this, and I’m opening a Flex medical spending account, and I’m charging my beer back to it.

Anyone know a good package shop that handles kegs and a gas vendor that does one-off CO2 in Dallas?  (I should probably call some old paintball buddies on the CO2 supply.)

Facepalm Duex

My county commisioner, making me look good:

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections “has become a black hole” because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud “Excuse me!” He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a “white hole.”

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Best case scenario, JPW is scientifically illiterate. That’s where I am. I’m down to hoping that my county commissioner, responsible for hundreds of millions in budgeting, is a blithering fool. Because the alternative is that he is a worse race pimp than I ever imagined.

FACEPALM

It is in the moronosphere now, so there is no stopping it.

Oh, wait, it gets better:

Continue reading ‘Facepalm Duex’ »

Notable Quote

The American Scholar – The Disadvantages of an Elite Education – By William Deresiewicz:

Being an intellectual means thinking your way toward a vision of the good society and then trying to realize that vision by speaking truth to power. It means going into spiritual exile. It means foreswearing your allegiance, in lonely freedom, to God, to country, and to Yale. It takes more than just intellect; it takes imagination and courage. “I am not afraid to make a mistake,” Stephen Dedalus says, “even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhaps as long as eternity, too.”

Bad Form

So now “Fox & Friends” is photoshoping images of NYT reporters? Stupid and unprofessional.  That is the only thing that comes to mind.  Given all the complaints about unprofessional Obama coverage, you should be minding your Ps and Qs.  Instead, you feed into this opinion.

You want a comedy show with no credibility like the Onion or Colbert?  Then do one.  But don’t pull shit like this on news stories.  Either the images I am seeing on my screen are trustworthy or not.  I expect these sorts of shenanigans from the AP or from USA Today, but not from you.  Much more, and I’ll lump you into the same group.

Speaking Plainly

Jeff Lord is doing it. And he sees the same thing in Obama that I do.  It’s funny — six months ago, I would have said that McCain was the one to worry about from this standpoint, but he’s a trifle compared to his opponent.