Friday, May 30, 2008

What are peope doing today about rising gas prices?

France: Many returning to work after several weeks of action after government offers 100m euro aid package
Spain: Thousands taking part in Madrid protest
Italy: 5,000 expected to strike, emergency aid refused
Portugal: Indefinite strike from midnight (2300 GMT on Thursday)
Belgium: Dozens demonstrating in the capital Brussels

US: Nothing. We wouldn't want to make the poor oil companies cranky.

Fuel prices are now being speculated ever higher. The government needs to step in and stop that by making such speculation illegal. Also raising capital gains taxes on passed speculation should curb the current price freak. This will hurt some people but the majority will benefit. In a crisis the needs of the many out way the needs of the few.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flip Flopping along

I like John McCain. I feel for the guy. But he is who he is and what he is. He is stuck in a party that he has to appease, a party that is far from realistic on all sorts of issues, a party of failure, a party who's "faithful" seem to think the world is about to end anyway so better make sure not to get god mad.

Then he has to switch gears and lay out progressive ideas of nuclear non-proliferation, reduction in warheads, etc. Then he has to go into closed door meetings with Bush-Co and probably tell them that he is only trying to get elected so they shouldn't take what he is saying too seriously. He seems to be a man spinning from dunderheaded conservatism to populism, to liberalism, all the while looking like a guy who will pretty much tell any audience what they want to hear to get a vote.

Obama on the other hand has been pretty clear, non flip-floppish, and consistently enlightened about the world and seems to be anything but a lightweight. The lightweight can't figure out where to stand on any issue.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I love Gasoline!

The current price of a barrel of oil is $135. Wow that is a lot of money. People have been talking about this eventuality for years. But nobody wants to think about ones own death until forced to do so by fate and the facts of life.

Our world runs on oil and so to have our BLOOD supply so expensive really screws things up for the whole system. We become sick, like a patient with a blood disease where the ability of the body to produce blood is dysfunctional. So the whole body begins to weaken.

In the future location is going to be even more important. Location of work to home, location of food to home, location of manufacturer to consumer, location of supplies to demand. Making a car on one side of the planet and selling it on the other side of the planet may to really work anymore. Same with growing food and shipping it thousands of miles.

We have built a world economy based on some really bad sand. The sand of cheap crude oil. If things continue the entire world economy will shift into a radically new direction. I hope it will be a smarter direction.

Then again we tend to make decisions based on momentary satisfaction. For instance ethanol from corn is causing food prices world wide to soar. It is also the spreading of a crop that is very costly to produce. In fact it is more costly than pumping oil out of the ground. We are doing this since it is a quick fix.

In the long run it is only conservation of energy resources that is going to work. We are not going to replace petroleum with ethanol or bio-diesel. We have to make our life more efficient. Only efficiency in energy usage is going to allow for the continued expansion of human civilization. The equation we are in is very complex and hard for the average human to solve. An example of this is recycling. How much energy does it take to recycle? Somethings are better to recycle than others. Somethings it may be better to simply bury.

What is clear is that the idea of buying, using, and tossings, is about over. Also the idea of vast arrays of cheap consumables may also be coming to and end. Look inside a Walmart and ask yourself "how much energy did it take to fill this store? How much to produce the products lining the shelves?"

Efficiency, at some point, is going to rub up against the consumer economy. Simply put we are not going to be able to live in an efficient world, safe from environmental destruction, and with an expanding civilization based on available energy, and have a Walmart society. They will probably be mutually exclusive.

I hate people who claim to be able to predict stuff, but I will do it now anyway. I would predict that, ceterus paribus, manufacturing will be done close to the consumer, and that the manufacturing process will be based on instantly available data on need not desire. This pattern will be managed through a order of magnitude shift in cost from Needed items to Desired items. This does not bode well for an society of equality. Especially if you define equality as being able to acquire the same stuff as your neighbor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

75,000 people in Obama rally in Portland

What is it about Obama that can get so many people out? I have heard him speak and he is good. But 75,000 people? That is rockstar status. He is drawing crowds larger than almost any candidate in history.

As I see it the Democrats are either headed into the White House with Obama or into a train wreck. The establishment does not know what to do with this guy. McCain is trying to paint Obama as a lightweight, like Clinton. However judging by the campaign organization, the fire, the crowds, and message crafting, McCain and Clinton are the lightweights. True they both have been around a lot longer. But that is exactly the point. Obama has charged ahead faster and stronger than either of the other two. Where was Mrs Clinton at Obama's age? Suffering as the wife of a Governor who slept around. And McCain? He was dealing with bribes and the coming S&L disaster.

Obama is so clearly the man who should be President. The other two, not bad at all, are simply not in the same class as Obama.

McCain last week said that we should win Iraq by 2013. Do you know what that means? Why 2013? Because that is the year AFTER the end of the next Presidential Administration. So McCain is basically punting the stinking turd down the lawn again admitting that there will be war in the first four years of his administration. Sounds brilliant doesn't it? Sounds like a loser to me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hot Hot Hot!

I do not like it hot. I do not like it cold. I am getting old, set in my ways, and beginning not to like things that are too hot and too cold. When I was a kid I could jump in the northern Pacific and the only thing that would annoy me was the time it took for my body to go numb so I could enjoy frolicking in the 50 degree water. And heat? Heat was to be much anticipated. 100 degree days were a reason to play with the hose, waste precious ground water, and jump in the neighbors green swimming pool. In January I could go up to the mountain and try to climb it. Cold and windy? Hey all the more adventurous!

Now I find myself cursing the wind, the cold, the heat. Not in a easy going manner either. But in an earnest way one might curse a villain like Hitler, of Bush. It is a curmudgeonly dislike for the discomfort of extremes. A lack of desire to accommodate such changes. Oh I could be gracious and accommodating. But in an angry spiteful, and quite useless, way I toss up my nose at any such niceties.

It is hot now. 9:30pm at night and it is hot. It should not be hot. I should be relaxing but no. The heat has decided that it will stay the night. Like a drunken house guest that you cannot reason with. It sulks, ruining the night. If I go to the bathroom it is there waiting for me. In bed it will not move over, it hogs the whole thing. I open the window to let in some cool night air only to find my ugly house guest has invited more uncivilized friends over to have a party.

I spend $21.00 to get me and my kid into see a movie, not because I am wealthy really want to watch a movie, just to get a big cold drink (a $5.00 drink!!!) and sit in a cold room for two hours. Last night we wandered around shopping mall until it closed. In the morning I longed for Sheri's, yes Sheris resturant, only for its overly active airconditioning system.

So here I sit at 9:30 pm with my loathsome sticky house guest and all I can do is write this blog that few people, if any, will ever read.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Getting near the end...sort of

All the crap shoveled at Obama didn't really stick. Yesterday was the opposite of what the media was advertising. Before yesterday the headlines were "Clinton hopes to narrow Obama victory in NC" and "Clinton hopes to widen victory in Indiana" Both proved incorrect. Both hopes failed. Obama and Clinton nearly tied in Indiana and Obama held on to a double digit lead in NC.

Furthermore Obama has picked up a series of super delegates. While Clinton is having trouble convincing them that she can still win this without a bunch of last minute back-room dealing.

Either candidate would be a gigantic improvement over the current occupant in the White House. H. Dean is right when he says that the loser of the nomination is going to have more to do with winning in November. A back-room deal fest is going to release a stink that is going to really set the Democrats back. I would make the case that before the end of this month somebody had better get out. As of today I see no "open" way for Clinton to wind this. The only way she can do it is via rule changes, and strong arming super delegates, most of whom will have to answer to their own electorates. So as of today Clinton, in all seriousness, needs to bow out. I do not know if Obama can win, but as the presumptive nominee we need to get behind him and charge on.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Election reminders

Before we all get happy or sad, understand that this country is still filled with idiots who voted Bush into the office twice. There are still lots of people who want to vote for a bar-stool warmer. I would love it if this were not the case. However that would be very wishful thinking. Just because you make a good argument doesn't mean that the lowbrows will buy it. I know this sounds kind of insulting to the average voter but I think the shoe seems to be fitting pretty well.

Obama is the only candidate worth your vote. Not that you will vote for him. But he is the only one who is worth the effort. The other two are lame and will accomplish little that is good. They will take your money and give it to their friends, their rich friends.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Review of Vatel

M. Vatel was the cook for M. la Prince D'Conde. He produced spectacular festivities for a visit to Conde's estate, by king Louis XIV and 2000 other guests. After the event he committed suicide with a sword. He was the inventor of Chantilly Creme.

Passion, Seduction, Betrayal? No not really. Little passion, no real suduction, and the only betrayal was Conde who bet his cook in a card game with the king.

The movie is about that last gigantic feast. It is a visual feast and the acting is also well done too. However the story, as it is portrayed is quite thin. The characters, though splendidly portrayed, are not introduced well and if you are not a connoisseur of history a lot is going to be lost on the average viewer. I read a review that said the story is hard to follow. Well it is rather easy to follow if you know the history, but if you do not know Conde and his relationship to the king, or the nature of the king himself, it is kind of hard to understand.

Tim Roth is typically caustic in his role, Uma Thurman would definitely have turned Louis' head. And Depardieu is superb as Vatel himself. The supporting cast is also spot on.

The music sucked. Of all the courts of Europe that you could make a movie about, Louis' court provides an immense reportior. Particularly music for grand festivities. The music dudes for this film, I guess were too ignorant and used Rameau, who wasn't born yet, and Handel who was not born yet either. If Lully saw this film he'd be pissed.

Other than the music the movie a lot of 17th century fun.

Movie gets a 6 out of 10