Month: March 2012

Politics: Santorum says single moms are “breeding more criminals”

Ok, I’m not sure where to start on this one.

Yes, there have been studies that single parenting does in fact predispose one for criminal acts. However they almost all point to income inequality.

Because the biggest driver of crime is in fact income inequality.

I recall reading in Freakonomics about how the decrease in crime in the 1990’s was DIRECTLY related to the legalization of abortion. And since that time we’re seeing attack after attack on reproductive rights, namely abortion.

And Rick Santorum is so completely wrong on this whole issue, not just the abortion issue but the single moms issue. And yet the ‘solutions’ he suggests are to further reform the social safety net. I do not agree.

Here’s what I suggest.

1) Repeal the ‘reforms’ of welfare that were made in the 1990’s. Let me state, we will ALWAYS have people that will be on some form of public assistance on a permanent basis. So why play this stupid game and make them scrimp in order to live.

2) Stop the attacks on women’s reproductive health. I’ll expound, abortion should be a free service that is available to any woman who chooses. Same goes for birth control and god damn it, the insurance companies should pay for it! After all, , preventing a pregnancy is far cheaper than to allow it to go full term.

And lets stop the game called abstinence only. It’s funny, I went to Catholic schools and we discussed such things as withdrawal, the the rhythm method. I still remember the brother who taught the course telling us that another name for those who practiced such things was parents.

3) Double the minimum wage. Yes, double it. If you did that you’d lift a hell of a lot of people out of poverty. And the silver lining, the extra money, it goes right back into the economy. And doubling the minimum wage would also have a positive impact on all other salaries and hourly rates.

Maybe then we’d see a drop in crime rates once again. And with that last point I made, a better economic prospect for all.

Tech: So I did it

Goodbye Firefox. You were great up until version 3.6.27, that’s where I had to part company. First of all memory usage, I kept getting warnings from AVG that Firefox was using 200MB,300MB, and then half a gigabyte.

I was following a Slashdot thread about what to do after Firefox and someone had recommended Opera. I went and downloaded it, installed it and I’m using it now to post this. It’s memory usage, < 100MB. And CPU, while Firefox and its vaunted plugin-container I could watch my CPU usage scale up to 100% due to Firefox. Now the CPU is tamed quite a bit.

Only thing is, I have to find a GOOD RSS reader for Opera now. I had been using Sage for some time on Firefox. But I don't see any such for Opera.

Politics: Santorum wants to annull gay marriages

This is ludicrous, and ultimately it will cost Santorum any chance of obtaining the Presidency.

How do I say this, I’ve been saying for a long time. It’s sort of a play on those chocolate and peanut butter bits. Those in opposition to marriage equality had better keep their god out of my government and I would do my best to keep my government out of their religion.

Let me tell Mr. Santorum what I will push for if he gets his way. I will push for monitors in all churches, to be sure they aren’t preaching hatred. If a pastor/priest/what have you wants to spew hatred against any group, women, gay people, other religions, they shall be arrested on spot, tried and convicted!

You want to play Mr. Santorum? I’m game.

Tech: Firefox 10.0.2 really sucks

Let me describe my Firefox saga.

First I had been running 3.6.27 and updagted to 4.0. Firefox 4.0 was an abortion from the beginning, it’s java engine, rendering engine etc. were all crap.

When it got to Firefox 10 I figured perhaps they worked out their issues. And 10.0.1 worked fairly well enough.

But then they rolled out the 10.0.2 update. Utter and complete crap. For example, I don’t know what changed in their rendering engine but I could literally watch it paint images, and typing text was an exercise in futility. I could bang out text and wait a minute or so as it slowly typed it out on screen.

My advice to the Mozilla team, stop the craziness of rushing versions out the door. I don’t care if there is a 12 month wait for the next major version. Get it right BEFORE you release.

And while I’m on the topic, Shockwave Flash Player 11 is awful. First off it assumes hardware acceleration. Nice if you have an add-on graphics card, but it you’re using integrated graphics, it slows performance.

I suppose I really should upgrade my computer. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that be dictated by software vendors.

The rise in gasoline prices is ALL due to speculation

So I heard today that gasoline consumption today is at the same level as it was in 1997.

Not only that the supply side of oil is up too.

So what that means is demand is pretty much a constant. So why is the price of a gallon og gasoline scraping $4 again?

If you remember your micro and macro economics, you recall the Supply/Demand curves.

If supply is low and demand high, price rises.

If supply is low and demand low, prices reach equilibrium

If demand is low and supply is high, prices are reduced

If demand is high and supply is high, prices reach equilibrium.

But what we have in gasoline is a demand that is lower, with a supply that has increased. So prices should drop. But they don’t.

There are a few reasons why this is the case.

First of all energy in general is traded on speculative markets. Those markets have trading on spot or contract, and vary due to external influence such as instability in the middle east. But the thing about crude oil in the U.S. is that the majority of ours now comes from our neighbor to the north, Canada. So how doe sinstability in the middle east and Persia influence that? I can see how, if those soures in the middle east and Persia went offline, the demand for Canadian oil might increase. Note I say might, not will.

I say it might because there are several other oil sources around the globe that play into the equation.

But the main point I am making is that gasoline prices run completely counter to the supply and damand curves that have long been a staple of economic theory.

Then recall that the distribution side of energy is gamed too. For examle, the refineries in the U.S. are deliberately kept outdated and in short supply to control the price per gallon.

So I have now pointed out two major factors that are used to control the price of gasoline. Speculation for the raw material that ignores the supply and demand theory, and control of the refining and distribution channels.

Beteween the two outlined above, we can derive an estimate of the cost of a gallon of gasoline if the market weren’t gamed, and if refining and distribution weren’t rigged.

Gas prices where I am are currently about $3.89 a gallon Of that about 50 cents is federal and state taxes.

So the raw price per gallon is $3.39. The gas station gets anwywhere from 1 cent to 7 cents per gallon, so I’ll say 5 cents. We’re own to $3.34 now.

Now refining and distribution probably account for $2.00 of the price of a gallon. Lets say that dropped to 1/3 the cost, or 67 cents. That raw cost of gasoline would now be down to $2.01, plus dealer 5 cents is $2.06, and with taxes $2.56 a gallon.

Now I’ve focused on refining and distribution. Focus on the speculation on oil. It’s currently trading at about $115 a barrel. But what if it dropped in half, to $57 a barrel. Still a high price but the raw cost of $1.34 from the above would probably drop to half too if the system weren’t gamed. Figure on say 70 cents a gallon.

So 67 cents for refining and distribution, a raw cost of 70 cents, and taxes and profit of 55 cents gives $1.92 !

So bascially $3.89 less $1.92 leaves $1.97 of pure profit to the oil companies in every gallon.

Since 400 million gallons are sold every day, that’s an additional $788 million per DAY, or $287 Billion per year. That’s just the excess.

Get mad, get angry.