Month: July 2006

How Electric Deregulation has ‘benefited’ us

Great write up. In essence it casts the blame on Enron for the mess our electrical distribution system has become. but there were plenty of other players in the game. Enron was just the front man.

For example – here in RI my transmission costs make up an astounding 32% of my electric bill. Yet we’re footing the bill to bury power lines at India Point Park. I agree the lines should be buried, but National Grid should be paying for it, not us. I remember when I was at the AG’s office we were looking at what it would cost PG&E to install scrubbers and water coolers on it’s Brayton Point power plant. In essence, it would have cost penauts compared to the costs to area fishermen, etc.

And should I mention that if you look at my per kW cost, they say it’s ten cents but when you factor in distribution/transmission, it comes up to almost sixteen cents a kWh. Oh yeah, deregulation has been great for the consume. If you don’t sense the dripping sarcasm in that there’s something wrong with you.

BTW, just look at what happened to formerly nationalized entities in Britain when they deregulated and privatized. Perfect example is their rail transit system. The new owner decided that maintenance and upgrades weren’t such a big deal and so for quite some time their rail system suffered tremendously.

Certain things should not be a competitive market, but a tightly regulated market. Power and transit are two that come immediately to mind. But even telecom deregulation really hasn’t benefitted everyone unless of course they told Ma Bell (And Ma Bell is back, only it’s a duopoly now instead of a monopoly.) to go to hell and went VoIP. But Ma Bell is fighting tooth and nail, and losing the battle little by little as more people get ticked off by the tacked on fees and rising costs.

I’m hoping that someday the pendulum swings the other way. But it won’t start to swing back until we break the corporate dominance of government. See my post about substituting the occurences of a single word in the 14th amendment as a first step.

Another reason gas prices are so high

Seems that the refiners have deliberately been keeping supply under tight control. For anyone who has studied economics either macro or micro, you know that as supply goes down, and demand up, price goes up. Limiting the number of refineries means you can limit supply while demand reaches ever greater heights. Hence why gasoline is over $3.00 a gallon.

The article states that the price of crude accounts for roughly half the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

So in a past post I said there was $1.17 or so that accounted for refining and transportation.

Now I can get a better fix on the actual number. As of 07/29/06 a gallon of 87 octane gasoline was $3.09 down the street from me. Taxes make up $0.48 of that so we’re left with $2.61. If half that is crude price, we’re left with $1.305. Gas stations aren’t making a large profit on gas but I’ll be generous and say they’re making $0.10 a gallon. That leaves $1.205.

The number we can’t get a true fix on is the refining cost because now I’ll include the transport in that cost. So lets do the breakdown by percentages:

Whole gallon: $3.09
Taxes: $0.48 = 16%
Station Profit: $0.10 = 3%
Crude Cost: $1.305 = 42%
Refining: $1.205 = 39%

Yes, it adds to 101% because of rounding. But While crude is the highest percentage, it is very closely followed by refining.

And you have to ask yourself, who owns the refineries? The answer is that the oil companies own them.

This is why we MUST invest in energy independence, except not a dime of that money should go to oil companies. They have long proven that they cannot be trusted to keep profit within reason.

But then, they’ve got greedy investors who demand huge returns and oh are they happy people right now.

The Damage the Ex-Gay movement does to people

For a while now this has been simmering in me.

A friend of ours wasn’t very lucky in love. He’d find fuck buddies but he wanted something deeper. What didn’t help was the asshole he found, who said he loved him and all, while diddling a 14 year old as well as other guys.

From there our friend became involved with the Methodist church. Through the church he got involved in transition program to help him leave homosexuality behind. He tried, moved to MO, tried to live life as a straight man and failed. He came back to RI but was living with a ‘family’ that was comprise of formerly gay people who know were in a heterosexual relationship.

Both the church and this couple put enormous pressure on our friend who has realized that there isn’t a problem with him being gay as far as he is concerned. It’s the people around him that are making him crazy. It is to the point that he bunks at our place for a day or two every week or so.

He has some serious psychological issues but the problem is, in jobs he can get he can’t get health coverage. So nobody wants to help.

So this is how the ex-gay movement can damage someone. As my grandfather used to say, a leopard can’t change its spots. If you’re gay, you’re gay. Get over it, get used to it, and live with it. Trying to change yourself to please others will only make you miserable.

Whitney – Pre Druggie and my radio days

It makes me so sad to watch this. She could sing. I remember this song so well, I had just started a dj gig at WDOM 91.3FM. Yes it was college radio but we weren’t students. At the time Providence College had a hard time keeping its radio station going. We stepped in and offered to run it and run it we did from 1985 to 1987. We had some very good times. Between the antics, seeing who ended up where (DJ Bucket ended up on WRIU for the longest time, and then he hooked up with pro radio last I knew.) and the general fun it was an experience I highly recommend if you can get it.

I recall it was a 125W transmitter on top of Joseph Hall, but you could kick the power up a bit from the remote in the studio, and we regularly did. You could hear us pretty much all over RI. It’s also how I ended up with not only my restricted radiotelephone license, but my amateur radio and general radiotelephone licenses.

Anyway, used to go on the air Sunday morning at midnight and our normal hours were to broadcast until 2AM. Well, sometimes we went a little longer. Now at the time my full time job was retail, and I had to open a store at 8AM on Sunday morning. So at times I wouldn’t sleep until 5PM Sunday. But then we got the Sunday 6PM to 9PM slot too. So sometimes (most of the time!) I wouldn’t sleep all weekend.

Whitney’s first album had dropped that summer and we played the hell out of it. You Give Good Love was so popular that we had to record the track on a cart because the groove in the album was almost worn straight through.

Anyhow, here’s Whitney in her glory on The Tonight Show:

If she only realizes she’s a crack ho and cleans up her act, which includes ditching Bobby, I bet she’d have a hell of a comeback career, one that might even upstage Madonna.

Neural bases for language existed already 25-30 million years ago

Recent research found that Rhesus macaques when listening to other monkeys
� calls activate brain areas equivalent to the ones used for language in humans supporting the hypothesis that the neural basis for language existed already in a common ancestral.

This doesn’t surprise me. But it should surprise those idiots who think the earth is only 6,000 years old. It’s WAY older. But they can’t comprehend lengths of time that long.

read more | digg story

If you’re an elected official be very careful

Be very careful of who you piss off. Seriously. Look at what people have been capable of when they feel impotent and more succinctly, when they’re humiliated. This by the way is one of the myriad problems in the middle east.

Mr. Marvin Heemeyer found himself at odds with his corporate neighbor. Mr. Heemeyer owned a muffler repair shop that held out against the advances of the concrete plant until finally they’d bought out everything around him, even access to his business.

And when he turned to his elected officials to help, they turned a deaf ear on a small businessman. There have been other cases where people felt those feelings against the government and they never turned out well. Three that stand out are Timothy McVeigh, the Branch Davidians, and Ruby Ridge. Mr. Heemeyer joins his fellow disgruntled Americans on a list of those who took matters into their own hands.

This should serve as a warning to all those in government who could help a citizen vs. helping a corporation. After all, our government representatives know which side their bread is buttered on, and it isn’t the side for the people. It’s for those who can contribute the most cash to keep said representative in power.

In Heemeyers case, he armored a bulldozer and proceeded to tear down all the buildings belonging to those who screwed him. The concrete plant, the council members homes, town buildings, etc. But he didn’t kill anyone in fact he went out of his way not to kill, other than that little episode where he goes near the propane storage facility.

You can find commentary here, and video here.

Anne Coulter – Still suffering the delusion

How she can sit there and spout this bullshit with a straight face is beyond me. And her condescending attitude is insufferable. You have to watch the whole video though because she saves her best venom for the end where she said “…thus the audience laughed except little miss smarty pants here.” (LMSP)

Them be fightin’ words. LMSP should have launched at Coulter and torn her throat out. Every time I watch the woman say something stupid I want to give her a quick whack upside the head and look at her and ask “Are you fucking serious?”

Of course Coulter can’t come up with anything more interesting than that. So her capacity is limited. She also deflect uncomfortable questions poorly. So how did this woman become the mouthpiece for the Neocons?

Sign a petition, incur the wrath

Seems that those people who signed the petition to make a constitutional change in Massachusetts (and Florida) had their names published online. And in P-Town some of the bigots feel as though they’re being persecuted. Silly Christians.

One woman who signed the petition complained that dog shit was ‘near’ her car. How do I explain this, if I had pulled a stunt like that it wouldn’t just be near the car, it would be smeared all over the car, the house, her.

And it should come as no surprise that all who signed are members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church. What the hell happened to the Catholics? My only recollection is that post Vatican II they were great, actually interested in helping ‘the least of them’ as proscribed by Christ. Then in the 80’s they started getting a little crazier, what with born agains, etc. And now in 2006 the Catholic church is trying to re-assert it’s divine power.

The most recent example is the Catholic Diocese of Providence which used it’s lobbyist, the Reverend Bernhard Healey to wine and dine legislators. See this link that details the expenditure reports for the good Reverend and then go to the RILIN web site and lookup the bill text. You’ll see that the Dicoese is interested in lots of things. Just plug the numbers from the reports in the first link into the RILIN search and see precisely what the Catholic Church in Rhode Island has been up to.

Why is it that nobody wants to say it, that the church should be paying taxes if they wish to have a voice in government.

Of Flash Mobs and Corporate America

Look at the pictures, read the text and watch the videos. They got 80 people to dress somewhat like Best Buy employees and then flash mobbed the store.

Reaction was typical. Floor level employees thought it was funny. Management (and yes, once I was retail management but I left the job because my heart wasn’t in it.) didn’t think it was funny, and kept likening it to The Thomas Crown Affair (A good movie btw.)

It definitely showed that the bar for management at Best Buy isn’t set all that high. For example one manager claimed it was against her civil rights to film her. Ummm, no, your civil rights come from the Constitution which makes no mention of filming or taking video of someone. And these are the people running the show.

Just part of the reason I have a general hatred of Best Buy. Between the clone look of all their employees, their geek squad which knows shit and is hideously expensive (Ask me how many geek squad screw-ups I’ve had to fix for people!), and their overall Walmartization of consumer electronics.