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A sampler of articles on the current oil situation
IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION
by Nancy Pelosi - grade 2
This summer, I decided to be a big girl and have a vacation all to myself. A lot of my family wanted to stay home and work because of the problems we had at home. Daddy was having trouble digesting everything he was being fed (and mommy said he was also having gas problems. How gross!!!). I also think daddy was having a fight with the dentist, he kept yelling about not drilling, or something like that. Ye gods, I couldn't take it any more. All the complaining. That's all I heard after I started the 2nd grade last October. You wouldn't believe how much complaining there was. All I heard was people talking about problems. Like you could do something about them, right? It got so bad that I didn't even listen anymore.I'd just lock myself in my room and listen to Barbra Streisand records. (Don't you just love her?) Finally, I just had to get away. I had to have time to myself. I'm a big girl now.
There's also another reason. My marks weren't so very good, average below 10%, and the Principal and some of the School Council wanted me to stay in school until I could show some accomplishment. (I'm not sure what that word means; I'll ask Mommy when I get back from my vacation.) But, stay in school? That's called summer school. Ugh! I don't need summer school. I'm a big girl now.
Anyway, the first day I got to Camp Duck & Hide I was happy to find that a lot of my friends from my 2nd grade class were there. The first one I met was Harry. He's a nice boy, and he's nice to me but he's not very handsome. (A lot of people tell me I'm pretty. Maybe that's one of the reasons I was voted class representative. I really wanted to be Student President, but I'll probably have to wait another four years, when I'll be in the 6th grade. But that's not too bad. The girl who was running for Student President lost, so now I guess I'm the top girl.) I'm a big girl now.
I just got a letter from Mommy. She said that the family is still not so good and Daddy's gas pains are getting worse. Jeez, she never stops bitching. (I told you I was a big girl.) I hope I won't be like that when I get to be old. She also said something about a lot of people going into the school last week (I thought it was closed) and talking about stuff in the dark. I don't really understand what she was trying to tell me, but it seems they were mostly talking about daddy's gas pains and his problems with the dentist, and trying to figure out how to make the pains go away. Oh well, after I get home from camp, I'll see if I can find some way to make him feel better. He should be able to stand the pain until then. He's a big boy. And I'm a big girl now.
There was also a nice surprise in Mommy's letter. There was a $20 bill in the envelope. Mommy said it was a present from someone named Green. Now I can walk into town after our multi-cultural tug-of-war (that's the last activity on the afternoon schedule) and buy a pizza slice for myself. I might even buy one for Harry. I'm a big girl now.
May 22, 2008: YESTERDAY PEOPLE: THE U.S. CONGRESS - STONE AGE SOLUTIONS IN THE HYDROCARBON AGE
OIL SURGES OVER $134 ON SUPPLY WOES, WEAK DOLLAR. (Reuters May 21, 2008) "Weakness in the U.S. dollar encouraged Wednesday's buying spree by bolstering the purchasing power of buyers holding other currencies, dealers said."
OIL PRICES PASS $134 AFTER REPORT OF SUPPLY DROP. (AP May 21, 2008) "With demand for oil growing in the developing world, and little end in sight to supply problems in producing countries such as Nigeria, few analysts are willing to call an end to crude's rally."
So, is it the weak dollar or the time-honored story of supply & demand? Whatever the underlying cause, the fact remains: we have an energy crisis, so what do we have to do to solve it? Not to worry. Our politicians are stepping up to face this newly emerging crisis.
1. THE SENATE calls in the oil company executives (May 21, 2008) and Senator Durbin (Illinois Democrat) berates them for having no 'corporate conscience'. "Is there anybody here that has any concerns about what you're doing to this country with the prices that you're charging and the profits that you're taking?" Durbin asked.
According to the unbiased reporter from Associated Press, "The titans of America's oil industry sat quietly for a moment." And further, from that fair and balanced reporter, "The executives, sitting shoulder to shoulder in the hearing room, said they understood people were hurting, but they tried to blunt the emotion with economic analysis."
How dare the Oil Company executives blunt emotion and with economic analysis, of all things?
2. THE HOUSE votes to pursue legal action against OPEC - CONGRESS' LATEST ANSWER TO RISING GASOLINE PRICES: SUE (The LA Times, May 21, 2008)
"Defying a White House veto threat, the House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow the Justice Department to pursue legal action against the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for conspiring to restrict supplies or drive up prices."
So, the Democratic House goes in a direction different from the Democratic Senate and wants to lay the blame for our oil-related problems squarely on OPEC, of all people.
3. BARACK OBAMA "wants windfall profits tax on oil companies." (The Guardian April 25, 2008). "Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama today called for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, which he said would be used to ease the burden of rising energy costs on poor and middle-class Americans."
So, Barack Obama throws his lot in with the tax windfall profits gang founded by Jimmy Carter (and we know how well that worked for him) and recently joined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Chavez announced his windfall profits tax in April 2008, claiming that it is necessary to fund key social programs as part of his effort to implement an economic and social system he calls "21st-century socialism."
With all this political posturing, confusion, finger pointing and hand wringing, where do we look for answers? Certainly not to our elected officials who have never come to grips with the fact that, other than through enacting tax related measures and caving in to the manic demands of the environmental lobby, they have negligible power over global markets. In fact, the sum total of their proposals will not produce one additional drop of oil. We are in the Hydrocarbon Age, reaping the rich harvest of rewards of this gift from God. Just as the Stone Age did not come to an end because we ran out of stones, the Hydrocarbon Age is not coming to an end because we're running out of oil.
According to the website http://www.partnershipforenergy.com (a project of The American Petroleum Institute), "As global demand for oil increases, many people are asking how our nation's oil needs will be met in the coming decades. The good news is that America isn't running out of oil and neither is the rest of the world."
"New extraction and refining techniques have opened up opportunities to explore for oil cost-effectively in oil sands, oil shale, and coastal lands and waters. New oil discoveries worldwide would provide billions of barrels of oil for years to come. In the U.S. and Canada alone, these discoveries include:
> Up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil in oil shale in North Dakota's Bakken Formation
> Up to 19 billion barrels of oil in oil sands in Utah
> More than 30 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's coastal plains and the Chukchi Sea
> An estimated 173 billion barrels of oil from oil sands in western Canada
> More than 1.2 trillion barrels of oil in oil shale in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.
What does it mean? 1 billion barrels of oil could provide enough fuel to keep more than 1 million cars running for the next 30 years."
Now I know that Big, Bad Oil is supposed to be the enemy, Congress is our friend (assuming you pay no attention to Nancy Pelosi & Company's approval ratings) and the environmentalists all have our best interests at heart.
How about a novel approach? Might it not make sense to listen to the people who best know about oil, the oil industry itself?