Monday, October 31, 2005

For the Economically Illiterate

Since when did it become a major ethical violation to benefit from the law of supply and demand? I continue to hear griping about the cost of gas and that it is the fault of the big bad oil companies.

Today's Denver Post Business section contains a story that starts out about gas prices going down. I was surprised to see this since you frequently see stories about the price of gas going up, but seldom see the story about it going down.

As I continued into the article, I noticed it was simply an opportunity for the Post to rehash a previous story they did on oil company profits:

"A Denver Post investigation last month found that record high gasoline prices were driven by oil refiner profit margins that had more than tripled in the past year. The nation's top five oil companies - Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips - own 42 percent of U.S. refining capacity. "

My thinking today, as it was when I first read the story was, "So what?" Do I like paying more for gas? No. Am I going to blame the oil companies because I am so dependent on my car? No. That's like blaming the tobacco companies for making me smoke (I don't smoke by the way, but if I did, that is what it would be like).

I posted here about the rising cost of gas a couple months ago. Of course, it's all supply and demand. There is more demand than supply so the price goes up. That's it. But before you blame our dependence on foreign oil, keep in mind that there hasn't been a refinery built in the U.S. since the 1970s, which means that even if we took over the whole middle east and pumped all we could out of the ground, we wouldn't have the refining capacity to make it into gasoline. NIMBY attitudes have made it so difficult to build new refineries that the oil companies went ahead and made the ones they had more efficient and more profitable.

Can you blame them? There were years when oil was $10/barrel and they weren't making a whole lot of money. No one was sympathizing with them then.

Back to the article in the Post. My biggest concern is the fundamental lack of understanding that the people quoted in the story have about this topic:

"I know they're making record profits. Didn't Shell Oil make something like $9 billion in profits in the most recent quarter?" asked Dan Charogoff, 40, who was driving his employer's Chess Inc. truck. "As long as we have an oilman in the White House, oil companies will make big profits."

Actually Dan, it wouldn't matter who was in the White House right now, the situation would be the same. Actually, I take that back, with John Kerry in the White House, we probably would have had price caps leading to shortages and lines at the pump. I'm sure Dan would have liked that.

Chris Gallegos, 38, who owns Mr. Lucky's sandwich shop in Denver, said he didn't accept the explanation that gasoline prices rose after recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico damaged equipment and pipelines.

"You notice they're not raising prices after this current hurricane. People were outraged before," Gallegos said.

Chris, the last hurricane went from west to east through the Caribbean and across Florida. The oil platforms and refineries are on the north and west sides of the Gulf of Mexico, so naturally, they weren't impacted.

Another driver said she has changed her driving habits in recent weeks.

"It's frustrating that oil companies are taking advantage of the situation," said Paulene Meyer, 31, sitting in her Toyota Rav-4. "I haven't gone hiking a couple of times because I'm out by Lowry, and it's a good drive to get to the foothills."

Waaaaahhhhhh!!!! I can't go hiking because gas prices are too high and its the oil companies fault because instead of walking near my home, I have to drive for a pretty hike. Give me a break Pauline!

Does the Post go Jay (Leno) walking to find the biggest morons in town or are we as a society just that gullible to the crap that is spit out by the newspapers and the talking heads.

Knowledge is power!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Staying on Message

Yesterday's speech by President Bush is the speech that he should have been giving everyday for the past three years. It is the also the speech that he should give everyday for the rest of his administration. If you haven't heard it, read it.

A few tidbits:
...Recently our country observed the fourth anniversary of a great evil, and looked back on a great turning point in our history. We still remember a proud city covered in smoke and ashes, a fire across the Potomac, and passengers who spent their final moments on Earth fighting the enemy. We still remember the men who rejoiced in every death, and Americans in uniform rising to duty. And we remember the calling that came to us on that day, and continues to this hour: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won...

...Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics...

...With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet the fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle, between those who put their faith in dictators, and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure -- until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent -- until the day that free men and women defeat them...

...We don't know the course of our own struggle -- the course our own struggle will take -- or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice. We do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history. And we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail.

May God bless you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Over at, Thomas Lifson comments on conservatives who can't see the strategy of nominating Harriett Miers:

President Bush is a politician trained in strategic thinking at Harvard Business School, and schooled in tactics by experience and advice, including the experience and advice of his father, whose most lasting political mistake was the nomination of David Souter. The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court shows that he has learned his lessons well. Regrettably, a large contingent of conservative commentators does not yet grasp the strategy and tactics at work in this excellent nomination...

...These critics are playing the Democrats’ game. The GOP is not the party which idolizes Ivy League acceptability as the criterion of intellectual and mental fitness. Nor does the Supreme Court ideally consist of the nine greatest legal scholars of an era. Like any small group, it is better off being able to draw on abilities of more than one type of personality. The Houston lawyer who blogs under the name of Beldar wisely points out that practicing high level law in the real world and rising to co-managing partner of a major law firm not only demonstrates a proficient mind, it provides a necessary and valuable perspective for a Supreme Court Justice, one which has sorely been lacking...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Who Do You Trust?

Reactions from all over the political spectrum are rolling in on President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

There were initial reactions and then second-thought reactions, like this one and this one at Polipundit.

The talk radio waves were blowing up yesterday with the lament that an opportunity had been lost.

But Hugh Hewitt asked the question: Do you trust him? and Do you trust them?

In the first post, he calls on conservatives to trust the President, and although we don't know much about Miers, he does.

In the second post, he has a round-up of the endorsements for Miers, which include James Dobson.

The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning called, Faith-Based Nominee:

With the nomination yesterday of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, President Bush has fulfilled his promise to appoint Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Or has he? The only person who can say for sure seems to be the President himself, who has known Ms. Miers for 20 years as his personal attorney and White House adviser.

For the rest of us, the nominee is mostly a Texas mystery. The 60-year-old has had a worthy career--any woman of that era who rose to lead a Dallas law firm, was elected to head the Texas Bar Association and became White House Counsel is no legal slouch. But when it comes to the judicial philosophy that she would bring to the Supreme Court, she is a blank public slate. Mr. Bush is asking the Senate, his supporters especially, to trust him on this one.

The President, who knows infinitely more about these matters than most Americans, including the pundits, has a plan.

Sure it is easy to question and second guess because we don't have to live with the legacy of being wrong. Back in 1991, when Clarence Thomas was nominated, National Review stated:

Truth be told, however, his public record on issues other than civil rights is still more Souteresque than Borkian. Hat-tip: Drudge

I doubt the folks at National Review would agree with this statement today.

Since I know little about the Supreme Court or con law, I will defer to the President. I will trust that he knows what he is doing and that he will represent the interests that I elected him to represent.