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Personal Gripe About Banks
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Devastation On Gulf Coast Near Complete
Howard Dean's Words on The War In Iraq
Konservative Komic Books In Kentucky? Yep
Fletcher Testifies Tomorrow...
2004 Census Figure Out Tomorrow: Poverty Expected ...
Iraq: Peter Daou's Take
Oil Update: $70 A Barrel
Gas prices climbed through the roof today, setting a new record of $2.92 a gallon before settling at $2.61 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This comes as oil companies struggle to bring refineries back online after the cataclysmic Hurricane Katrina let slip the dogs of war on the Gulf Coast of the United States.
Many industry experts are predicting $4 a gallon at the pump despite authorization by the White House to tap into the strategic oil reserves. The Dept. of Energy also announced they would temporarily lift environmental regulations in order to increase production at unaffected refineries.
As initial reports come in on the condition of Gulf oil rigs amd pipelines, a number of them appear to be heavily damaged. This is particularly disheartening because it took months to bring a number of rigs online after the havoc generated by last year's Hurricane Ivan.
Oil futures have been shakey for months on supply fears for various reasons including refinery problems, hurricanes, political instability and simply an inability to produce more crude oil. The rigs in the Gulf of Mexico produce approximately 25% of the U.S. oil supply.
President Bush agreed today to release some of the stock in the strategic oil reserves and that held down prices somewhat in oil trading but it failed to solve the gasoline shortages. Some communities have already taken to rationing gasoline at $15 or $20 limits. At $3+ a gallon, that's not much petrol.
End In Sight
Not likely. New Orleans is the largest port in the United States and the city is under 20 feet of water in places. The mayor of New Orleans is predicting 16 weeks or more to pump the water out of the city. In that time, they will be working to restore utilities, clean up the mess and bury the dead, which he believes numbers in the thousands. With transportation in the city near impossible, New Orleans doesn't look hopeful.
Other cities in Mississippi got hit just as hard if not harder but the storm itself with reports of 100 dead in one county alone. Once again, it will be months before the clean up is complete and when the ports will be ready for traffic is unknown. It will also take months to get the oil rigs back in line in the Gulf. It's going to be a long wait for things to return to normal.
Oft quoted economist Dr.Pete Morici at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland said some weeks ago that if mortgage rates climb another 1.25% or if oil goes to $80 a barrel then an economic slow down would occur. If both happened, he predicted a full blown recession. He really didn't address the issue of a natural disaster potentially wrecking the U.S. oil infrastructure. As gasoline prices continue to rise, one wonders whether the additional capacity of other refineries after the environmental rules were lifted will be able to make up the difference.
Not much, this is my story. You tell me!
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:37 PM
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$4/gal. gasoline: as those "industry experts" work for the industry that is setting the prices, and as one reason they are making the statement is to "go, and prepare the way", expect the predictions to be uncannily accurate.
And that's not counting the story i saw earlier today, that the Coast Guard counted 20 missing oil rigs.
N'Awlins is lost to us for now and for years. Maybe it would do better to pump out the historic, tourist sections - the Garden District, the French Quarter - and rebuild the rest on higher ground.
But the real clinker is the people. Look, those still there when the storm landed weren't there because they wanted to see if Hell really could be wet. They were there because they had no resources to run. They were barely making it before, and now they cannot do even what they were doing for themselves before. Now what? What gets done for them, if they have no rich daddies to get them back from bankruptcy? (The new bankruptcy law started at midnight Sept. 1. Will be interesting to see how many rich Louisianians and Mississippians will have managed to file on the older, more forgiving law in the few days before the change.)
Wanna guess why the "left-behind" N'Awlins residents were looting? Well, besides the fact that they could (always enough reason for homo sapiens), they have nothing, and there's a fistfull of jewelry, and at the rate things are going, boosting that jewelry or tv or whatever may be the only disaster relief they get. Not exactly the "self-reliance and initiative" that we want to see, but what if they're right?
After all, the big scare right now is that oil prices are about to go through the roof, the insurance industry is about to blow its top, economic disruptions are going to echo and feed on each other.....and maybe, just maybe, some of the foriegners holding all the paper on the insane US debt will start calling it in. Not a problem for the gated-Connecticut-community-multimillionaire-with-connections, but a depression is a real pain in the ass for the lower 95%.
Christ, what a time for me to be broke. Would to God that i had cash to go convert to Euros.
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My apologies, i didn't follow the factcheck well enough, the end of non-millionaire bankruptcy filing is October 17th.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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