Month: August 2008

Oil down but oil and natural gas prices still up?

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Providence Journal this morning.

Jim Cummings: Cut electricity, gas prices next?

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, August 13, 2008

With the rapid decline in the price of a barrel of oil, can we expect to see National Grid and the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission soon collaborating to announce a retraction in the dramatic price increase for electricity and natural gas they recently implemented?

Just curious.


East Greenwich

The problem with oil and natural gas is that they’re both traded on ‘futures’ markets. What we’re paying now for gasoline and oil was set a long time ago. That’s why futures were developed, it started with agriculture and they didn’t like the wild fluctuations of pricing.

To me futures trading violates the law of supply and demand. When demand is higher than supply prices go up. When it’s the opposite, prices go down. But in setting a price for your product or service you want to reach what is called equilibrium.

The current futures market looks more like a boom-bust cycle. And how curious is it that way back in 2000 an insertion was made to an appropriations bill that removed most oversight of most markets. It was called the Enron Loophole. We all remember Enron don’t we? Ran the grid in California into the ground, their CEO was a friend and donor to George W. Bush.

That loophole allows big oil to trade without federal regulation. It also allowed a system of shadow banks to prop up to assume some of the debt for the trades.

And there was a recent move to close the Enron loophole but it failed. I hope they’ll try again but I think that big oil is getting the picture. Look at the declining price of a barrel of oil.

But it’s still wildly inflated. I recall reading a piece where an economist said that fully 60% of the price of a barrel of oil was based solely on speculation (Ie. Futures Contracts).

So when oil was $150 a barrel, it should really be $60 a barrel.

Chew on that one for a while.

TMI Tuesday #147 a la Polt

1. What is your favorite song to have sex to?

Hmmm, don’t generally have music playing. I do however have a Fuck Tunes playlist. It contains a hell of a lot of Marvin Gaye, particularly “I Want You”, and Janet Jackson’s “Anytime, Anyplace” is in there too. Comes from my days of actually spinning the stuff on WDOM in Providence.

2. What is your vision of hell?

Actually it’s very much like that in Robert Heinlein’s “Job: A Comedy of Justice” which I just re-read recently. Hell isn’t the fire and brimstone place you’re lead to believe, it’s just like earth, right down to the bills. But then I don’t believe there is such a place, nor do I believe it heaven.

So hell was right here and now except I just got some nice six figure news today so it’s not so hellish.

3. In the film made of your life, who will play you?

I’d like to think Brad Pitt but I’m not that pretty.

4. What is the one thing you most urgently need to tell your mom?

That I still love her and wish she were here today.

5. What will be carved onto your tombstone?

Vini, Vidi Vici!

And the bonus: What is your drag name (which would be, first name: the name of your first pet; last name: the name of the street you grew up on)?

Randy Cheshire. But if I take one of my streets I lived on, we get that blast from 80’s gay porn past Randy Sutton.

Of course Randy Sutton is also a police Sergeant with the Las Vegas Metro PD and author.

Yes, old English names for streets. That seems to be popular in the North End and on Federal Hill.

Would you survive?

Got this from Polt’s Palace.

These are my chances for surviving a Zombie attack.


Unfortunately I can’t get the flashy zombie graphics embedded in this post as WordPress strips out the certain tags that are well represented in the code for my results. Just as well, you don’t get all the spam for oneplusyou.

Anyhow that 76%, I had posted in a comment whether that had comforted me or scared me. I’m leaning very heavily toward comforted. Why? Because I can do what has to be done. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the guy they call in to remove dead critter carcasses. I own the requisite items for defense against zombies too.

I think that’s what tipped my score over 50%. The other ones were finding a heavily fortified building, checking for all entrances and when you hear a noise wait silently also drive ones score up.

The Real McCain: Why he shouldn’t be President

I’m not going to say too much on this one. I think the video does a good enough job of making McSame look like the bumbling old fool that he is.

Actually I think will say a little bit about it. McCain strikes me as an evil old man. Imagine a hawkish version of Ronald Reagan and you get what I’m saying here.

But I also see serious signs of mental decline in McCain. He’s definitely lost his short term memory. Do we really want someone in office that maybe six months in will be a total basket case?

I’ve often though that the rules on who can run for president should be changed. Maybe put an upper limit of 65 on the office. The requirements are that you reach the age of 35 when you start your term as President of the United States. I think a 30 year span would be sufficient.

New Money for ITS Programs in RI

Apparently Senator Jack Reed was in RI announcing the $1.34 Million dollar grant to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA).

The enhancements according to RIPTA are:

“Thanks to Senator Reed, RIPTA will be able to add Intelligent Transportation System technology to all 240 of its fixed-route buses, bringing the RIPTA bus fleet into the 21st century. This new technology, which will also include real-time information for customers at our transit centers, will result in greatly improved service for our customers. We are very grateful to the Senator for securing the funding to make all this possible,” said RIPTA’s General Manager. Mr. Moscola also thanked Senator Reed for obtaining ITS funding for RIPTA in the past.

The enhancements will include vehicle location, automatic A/V announcements of stops on buses, and computer aided dispatch. I guess they’ve been putting GPS transceivers in all the buses lately.

This is good and I’d like to see this technology spread to major stops (E.g. those with shelters). It’d be easy to throw solar on the roof of the shelter to power a networked device. I’m pretty sure they could even work a deal with the City of Providence to tie them into the MESH network the city has deployed all over the place. You can spot them easily, they’re little whip antennas on top of street lights.

And down the street from me is a PowerWave Repeater for the network. It’s just hanging on a pole with a bigger whip on top of the pole. I’ll have to see how many of these I can spot in the neighborhood.

I’ve also emailed both my Senators and my Representative telling them that if MA could get $20 Billion to bury I-93, we should sure as hell be able to get a similar amount to put in tracked public transit in RI, especially in the urban core.

We don’t even have to bury the pathways for the light rail either. Just lay it into the road. You could even run power underground – put a third rail recessed a few feet into the ground. No need for overhead catenary. And those light rail trains are low enough to the ground that you wouldn’t worry about pedestrian hazards with it.

It’s time for us to re-think RI’s transportation strategy.

The whole Obama v. McCain thing

It’s getting into the ridiculous category now. McCain is just making a complete and utter ass of himself with his stupid attacks on Obama.

And I’m happy that Obama is firing it right back at McCain.

Interestingly I’ve read a number of screeds from people who say Obama is too serious. Damn it that is what I want in a president, someone who IS serious about the job before him/her. And someone who is more serious about helping people than lining the pockets of his donors, since McSame’s energy plan is to quote Obama “…an early Christmas for the oil and gas industry.” to the tune of $4 Billion, not a bad payoff for investing $20 Million in the McSame campaign.

I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

And as to my Nerd Score, like this is a surprise? I’m one point from being a god. Imagine that.