Wednesday, 07 July 2010

In Passing

Zero THEIR budget, too

“Black” is “White,” if it means more power for us!  Dept
Mission creep:
...The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat...
Meaning storage of milk will be treated like storage of oil, requiring engineering certification of milk tanks, construction of “secondary containment structures” (i.e., dikes) around them, and testing for underground leakage.

Of course, the enviros think it’s a great idea:
Gayle Miller, legislative director of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, said agricultural pollution probably is the nation's most severe chronic problem when it comes to water pollution.

...“The fact that it’s biodegradable is irrelevant if people die as a result of cryptosporidium, beaches close for E. coli and fish are killed.”
Milk = crypto and E coli?  Who knew?

Trail of credits:  Watts Up With That? (with many great comments), via Kate, via Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, via Mike H., via TrogloPundit (who makes a clarifying suggestion), via Brian Noggle. Whew!

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 16:39:35 GMT | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Tuesday, 06 July 2010

In Passing

Zero their budget



I have no interest whatever in funding a government agency which thinks its “foremost” mission is “helping predominately Muslim nations” “feel good about themselves.”

Elsewhere:

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 15:27:52 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Monday, 05 July 2010

Rants

“Cheap” gas, part 1


A couple of days back, Insty linked a Popular Mechanics story, “Why Is Gas so Cheap Right Now?”

In the week running up to the July 4th weekend, the average price of a regular gallon of gas is $2.75.  The cost of fuel has been on a steady downward slope since May, when the average price was nearly three bucks a gallon.  And if we adjust the price of fuel for inflation, the cost of gas is as cheap as it was five years ago...
The story’s author fumbles for an answer (he cites Paul Krugman, fercryinoutloud), but finally attributes the U.S.’ “low” prices to the current foreign exchange rates:
It has to do with the relative value of the world's currencies, specifically, the euro versus the dollar.  The euro is tied to a host of European nations and, as you have probably heard, some of those countries are in a bit of a debt crisis, and that has led to the value of the euro falling in relation to the dollar.  Crude-oil prices are tied to the dollar so, in simple terms, our stronger currency is simply buying more oil than before.
Well, maybe.  The Euro’s July 2 interbank middle rate was .7968/$, down from .8074/$ on June 25, and down 14% from the first of the year.[1]  But this explanation strikes me as incomplete.  And it specifically fails to account for the lack of volatility of the price at the pump over the last few months.

Because not only has the pump price not increased, it has also been remarkably stable in the face of the sort of external events that used to set it wildly gyrating.  Consider...

We’ve heard rumblings from the middle east (Iran threatens nuclear war on Israel, Turkey (and Iran) stirs up the Palestinians, various “informed sources” raise the possibility of Israel preemptively nuking Iran, etc., etc.).  The oil market? “Ho, hum.”

Then there’s BP’s debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, topped with the president’s on-again-off-again-on-again drilling moratorium.  Reaction? “Z-z-z-z-z-z.”
$2.559/gallon gas in South Carolina on June 30th
In the past, either would have instantly rocketed the price above $3.00 per gallon.

And finally, we’ve seen two holiday weekends go by- Memorial Day and now July 4th- without the typical 5-10¢ “just because we know you’ll need to buy gas this weekend” price blip.  (Particularly noticable to me during last month’s Memorial Weekend trip to South Carolina.)

Meanwhile, what’s been happening upstream?
Oil fell for a fifth straight day Friday...

Crude prices in New York and London settled down about 1%...  On a weekly basis, oil prices were down about 9%.  In the second quarter [April-June], they fell almost 10%.[2]
Can you say “Summer driving season”?  Apparently not this year.

So what’s my explanation?  Simple: Supply and demand.

Gas today in Indianapolis: $2.699.Supply:   I’m prepared to bet that there is more oil floating around out there (ha-ha!) than was typical when we had an expanding world economy.  A lot more.  Enough more that the folks who make their living betting on oil futures aren’t ready to bet that even a months-long shortage would drive the prices up.

Demand:   I’m also prepared to bet that the United States economy is in considerably worse shape than we’re being told, and possibly in even worse shape than the pessimists are saying.  Unemployed people don’t have to drive (as much).  Businesses which are cutting back don’t require as many deliveries. Manufacturing cutbacks reduce the demand for petroleum feedstocks.  All of which pressure prices downward.

Mix them both and presto, we wind up with “unexpectedly” low(er) gasoline prices.  Well, enjoy ’em, if you can pay ’em.

And appreciate the irony:  The mess brought on by our government’s lousy economic policies is shielding it from the consequences of its lousier energy policies.  For the moment, anyway.  After all, there’s always cap-and-trade!

LATER (100707): MaxedOutMama posts an interesting chart of U.S. gasoline deliveries:  1985 levels!

------
[1]  source: Reuters, via The Wall Street Journal: “World Value of the Dollar,” July 3-4, 2010, Page B6.

[2]  source: Reuters, via Investor’s Business Daily: “CRB Suffers Big Loss For the Week as Tumbling Crude Weighs On Index,” July 6, 2010, Page B16.

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 18:01:31 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Saturday, 03 July 2010

In Passing

Land of the “free”


Via Roberta and Tam, the jackboots are alive and well in Miami.

First there’s the “Chief of Safety and Security,” who said

“If you tell us that you’re not using the pictures for commercial work and they’re (for) personal use, at that point in time the security officers, and/or the MDT representative should feel that his question is answered and at that point you’re free to take pictures until the next train comes or whatever.”
Of course the “president of the security contractor,” says
“All we would know is what you tell us and we would not stand by that.  We would ask you to identify yourself and if you didn’t have a permit we would ask you to leave. In fact… you would have to leave or we would notify law enforcement of the situation.  We would need approval from the county, a form that the county provides us.”  He went on to say that anyone who does not have that form would be prevented from making photographs on MDT property.
Hmm. Seems to be a failure to communicate heah.  So whaddaya suppose does happen if you show up with a camera?

Read the whole thing, and be quietly infuriated while you set off your fireworks.

Elsewhere:

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 21:46:22 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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