Friday, September 30, 2005

Atrios points to a NY Times article about the rise of natural gas prices and how much that's gonna hurt this winter. He's got that right. Gas prices have risen 7(!!!) times since the '90s, and tripled in just the last 5 years.

What I really want to know is this - Why are public service/public utility commisions and the Interstate Commerce Commission (or whoever it is that regulates interstate gas pipelines) allowing such precipitous rate increases when there little or nothing to justify them? Production costs haven't gone up. Transportation costs haven't gone up. Advertising/marketing costs haven't gone up. Supply, they say, is a bit constrained due to disruptions on the Gulf Coast, but is still sufficient to meet demand. So if the supply is indeed sufficient, the only thing the gas-price rise reflects is, pure and simple, gouging and profiteering on the part of the gas industry, with government regulators complicit.

Expect to see a lot more fireplaces at work this winter. Of course, that will produce a lot of particulate-laden smoke, and its concomitant air pollution - for which there are no clean-up resources anymore.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Am I posting again after all this time? Damned if I know ...

I don't often have anything new or particularly insightful to say, but sometimes I get so damn pissed-off that I just have to write about it.

Was THIS in "The Book of Virtues?" 
Repellent ├╝ber-moralist, neo-con stalwart, Reagan Administration Secretary of Education, and call-in show host Bill Bennett said this on his radio show today:
I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.
What next? Interest rates would go down if we abort all the Jewish babies? Damn, how low can these people sink?

from Media Matters, via The Sideshow

Don't give these suckers your money OR your votes 
...no matter how big their "but we're Democrats!" crocodile tears...
Baucus, Mont., Bingaman, N.M., Byrd, W.Va., Carper, Del., Conrad, N.D., Dodd, Conn., Dorgan, N.D., Feingold, Wis., Johnson, S.D., Kohl, Wis., Landrieu, La., Leahy, Vt., Levin, Mich., Lieberman, Conn., Lincoln, Ark., Murray, Wash., Nelson, Fla., Nelson, Neb., Pryor, Ark., Rockefeller, W.Va., Salazar, Colo., Wyden, Ore.

via The Sideshow
These US Senators are the so called Democrats who, along with all 55 Republicans, voted to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice. What good is being the opposition party if you're never willing to oppose anything?

Apropos of that but on the Iraq issue, there's a very interesting and thought-provoking article by William Lind at AntiWar.com. It's about Fourth Generation War. He writes:
...such a lack of debate and absence of alternatives makes probable is a bitter fracturing of the American body politic once the loss of the war becomes evident to the public. The public will feel itself betrayed, not merely by one political party, but by the whole political system.

The primum mobile of Fourth Generation war is a crisis of legitimacy of the state. If the absence of a loyal opposition and alternative courses of action further delegitimizes the American state in the eye of the public, the forces of the Fourth Generation will have won a victory of far greater proportions than anything that could happen on the ground in Iraq. The Soviet Union's defeat in Afghanistan played a central role in the collapse of the Soviet state. Could the American defeat in Iraq have similar consequences here? The chance is far greater than Washington elites can imagine.

via James Wolcott

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