Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Roadmap For Increased Oil Prices

Note that in each case, the problem is government, which thinks itself at each turn, the solution.

Bits Blog -- How to raise fuel prices
Bits Blog has a list of 11 ways the government has managed oil to the levels we see today!

Obama Pandering

So a summer gas tax holiday that would save consumers $11 billion is, in Obama's words, "a gimmick." But proposing an additional $50 billion in rebate checks to be dispatched... during the summer months... isn't?

The News Bucket -- The Audacity of Gimmickery

Violent and Property Crime Drops -- Maybe Not In Rockford Though

Both violent and property crimes declined in 2007 from the previous year, the FBI reported Monday. But one expert warned the figures could mask rising murder rates among young black men.

In preliminary figures for crimes reported to police, the bureau said the number of violent crimes declined by 1.4 percent from 2006, reversing two years of rising violent crime numbers. Violent crime had climbed 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2005, alarming federal and local officials.

Property crimes were down 2.1 percent last year, the largest drop in the last four years.

The largest declines were in vehicle theft, down 8.9 percent and in rape, down 4.3 percent and murder, down 2.7 percent.

The crime trends were not uniform. Murders, for instance, were down in cities of more than 250,000, including an enormous 9.8 percent drop in cities of more than a million residents. But murders rose in some small cities — up 3.7 percent in cities of 50,000 to 100,000, up 1.9 percent in cities of 100,000 to 250,000, and up 1.8 percent in cities under 10,000. Historically, national murder trends have begun in the largest cities and moved over several years to smaller ones.

Based on the news Rockford seems to be experiencing an increase in crime, the 2007 stats aren't on the Rockford site yet.


Associated Press Report

Americans Want Solutions!

Even as the price of oil nearly doubled over the last year, the percentage of Americans pointing the finger of blame at oil companies fell, from 37% a year ago to 20%.

And 57% favor drilling in areas of the US that are currrently off limits.

Other factors measured, a drop in the percentage of Americans blaming high gas prices on the Iraq war, and single digit percentages blaming speculators (6%) and a weaker US dollar (4%). Those pointing to economic forces and supply vs. demand up from 10% to 15%.

Meanwhile Senate Democrats recommend imposing "a 25 percent tax on profits over what would be determined "reasonable"

Ace of Spades HQ -- Dave in Texas -- Gallup: Fewer Americans Blame Oil Companies, More Americans Say Drill

McCain On Oil -- Replaying

Although the GOP presidential candidate didn't address the question of raising taxes on oil companies, he said the companies "absolutely" should return some profits to consumers. "And they should be embarking on research and development that will pay off in reducing our dependence on foreign oil," he said.

"The point is, oil companies have got to be more participatory in alternate energy, in sharing their profits in a variety of ways, and there is very strong and justifiable emotion about their profits," McCain said.

The issue of oil company profits came up this week in the Senate, where Republicans stopped the Democrats from imposing a tax on windfall profits and taking away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the $4-a-gallon price of gas.

In the past McCain has indicated he would consider such a tax proposal, saying he didn't want to see companies making "obscene profits" that distort the market.

I just don't get this -- what is McCain trying to do? If he is trying to be an Obama, "Me Too," guy, well that didn't work too well for Hillary.

The problem is not the oil companies -- it is the government!


Associated Press -- McCain says gas prices won't drop and could rise


After having thought a little more about this I am even more confused. While I have long thought John McCain's default reaction was to have government resolve issues, this paragraph is really shocking:

"The point is, oil companies have got to be more participatory in alternate energy, in sharing their profits in a variety of ways, and there is very strong and justifiable emotion about their profits," McCain said.

Every thing he said here is just wrong:

  • It is not government's purpose to tell companies what to sell. If an oil company wants to sell oil and only oil they have that right. As a matter of fact if they want to explore for and sell chocolate frosting and ONLY chocolate frosting that is perfectly fine and their right. They do something and they do it well, if they want to diversify that is their decision.
  • They have no responsibility to, "share their profits," with anyone. They can distribute their profits to their shareholders but they could be held legally liable for, "sharing," their profits with anyone else if it diminishes the value of the company and it's stock. In addition they are precluded from altering their pricing structure as I pointed out here.(That doesn't preclude purchasing good will via charitable gifts or a foundation as part of their fiduciary responsibility and as a business investment that doesn't negatively affect the company's value.)
  • Of course people are emotional about GAS prices, that is their right, but it is completely inaccurate to suggest that any person is justified in resenting a company's profits unless those profits were gained in an illegal manner. This is just not correct.

Republicans Compare -- Do Nothing Vs. Solutions

Republican Whip Roy Blunt's office adds this footnote:

Methodology: Retail gasoline prices are the result of literally hundreds of factors including crude oil supply, global demand, refinery capacity, regulation, taxes, weather, the value of the dollar, etc. Therefore it is impossible to say with certainty what one individual action will do to the overall price. However, based on what we know about the impact of crude oil supply and prices it is possible to develop some potential ranges of impact on gasoline prices for certain policy changes. For example, using the methodology employed by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats that suspending shipments into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (between 40-77,000 barrels of oil a day) would reduce gas prices by at least 5 cents, bringing ANWR online (at least one million barrels of oil a day) could impact gasoline prices by between 70 cents and $1.60
Via Powerline -- Doing Something Constructive About Oil Prices

Dollar Largest Gains Since 2005

The dollar may extend the biggest two-day gain versus the euro since 2005 after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said economic risks have faded, spurring traders to boost wagers interest rates will rise.

The U.S. currency rose to a three-month high against the yen after Bernanke said late on June 9 that the central bank will ``strongly resist'' any waning of public confidence in stable prices. Economic fundamentals ``compare favorably with those of other industrialized major economies,'' Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview in Washington. A Fed report today on economic activity, the so-called beige book, may show an improvement.

Policy makers are trying to ``dispel this notion in the market that the U.S. has a policy of benign neglect to the dollar.''


Democrat Solution -- Old Failed Policies -- Punish Success, Raise Prices

Senate Republicans blocked a proposal Tuesday to tax the windfall profits of the largest oil companies, despite pleas by Democratic leaders to use the measure to address America's anger over $4 a gallon gasoline.

The Democratic energy package would have imposed a tax on any "unreasonable" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies and given the federal government more power to address oil market speculation that the bill's supporters argue has added to the crude oil price surge.

(...) "The American people are clamoring for relief at the pump," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., but if taxes are increased on the oil companies "they will get exactly what they don't want. The bill will raise taxes, increase imports."

Associated Press

Raising taxes sure does seem to be the default position of the Democrats isn't it!

Taxing away your freedom doesn't leave you very free does it.

Corporations aren't evil and taxes on corporations are taxes on us -- either via higher prices, lower employment, or lower investment returns. Corporations don't pay.

Here is the strange thing -- and I've heard O'Reilly repeat it often -- why don't the oil companies all lower the price and give us a break?

Well, for a few reasons. In many states it is actually illegal for gas to be sold below a certain margin, undercutting competitors.

If one company lowered their price then others would follow and they would be accused of colluding illegally.

If the price of the company suffered at all, the company, the CEO, and everyone else involved would be sued and possibly held criminally responsible for any loss investors suffered.

Making money doing something legal and moral should be admired and praised, not demonized! Especially when we have made it as hard to do business as any business out there.

No Excuses Energy Act!

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on a discharge petition filed by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) to force Democratic leaders to schedule a vote on the No More Excuses Energy Act (H.R. 3089), legislation authored by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to increase U.S. energy production and invest in alternative sources of energy:

“The Democratic Majority’s callous indifference as American families and small businesses struggle with $4 per gallon gasoline is both inexcusable and irresponsible. By flatly refusing to schedule votes on the House GOP plan to help reduce fuel costs and achieve energy independence, the Democrats in control of Congress are proving themselves complicit in our nation’s energy crisis, which is growing worse by the day on their watch.

“Where Democrats refuse to lead, Republicans will. Beginning today, House Republicans will offer a series of discharge petitions aimed at forcing the Democratic leadership to schedule several GOP-sponsored bills to increase production of American-made energy, reduce America’s costly dependence on foreign sources of energy, harness new alternative energy technologies, and lower gas prices. I thank Rep. Tim Walberg for offering the first discharge petition in this effort – one that seeks to force Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer to schedule Rep. Mac Thornberry’s No More Excuses Energy Act. The Thornberry bill will open new American oil refineries, invest in alternative energy sources, and increase environmentally-safe exploration of untapped oil resources in the United States.

“Rep. Walberg’s discharge petition provides rank-and-file Democrats an important opportunity to back up their rhetoric on gas prices with real action. By joining House Republicans in supporting it, they can send a long-overdue message to the Democratic leadership: American consumers are hurting, and this Congress has a responsibility to act on meaningful legislation aimed to bring down soaring prices at the pump.”

NOTE: The No More Excuses Energy Act would help reduce the price of gasoline by opening new American oil refineries; investing in diverse energy sources such as wind, nuclear, and captured carbon dioxide; and making available more homegrown energy through environmentally-sensitive exploration of the Arctic coastal plain and in deep ocean energy resources. A recent Gallup survey indicated that 57 percent of Americans support increased production of American-made energy. For more information on the House GOP’s comprehensive plan for lower gas prices, please visit the House GOP’s “Real Energy Solutions” website at

Via Michelle Malkin

Man Formerly Known As Prince -- Now Known As Jerk, If Known At All

Or, how to screw up your reputation and alienate the business center of the entertainment world -- the internet.

Here is the story. Prince has spent quite a bit of time and energy cleansing the internet of anything that included his music. You may remember he attempted to get a YouTube video removed because one of his songs was playing in the background when parents were filming their toddler.

Recently he had a concert and he performed a cover of Radiohead's "Creep". Someone took a cell phone video and put it on YouTube with the inevitable result of being removed for violating DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998).

Thing is, the Radiohead guys, who own the song don't think it should have been pulled -- after all they own it:

All videos of Prince's unique rendition of Radiohead's early hit were quickly taken down, leaving only a message that his label, NPG Records, had removed the clips, claiming a copyright violation. But the posted videos were shot by fans and, obviously, the song isn't Prince's.

In a recent interview, Thom Yorke said he heard about Prince's performance from a text message and thought it was "hilarious." Yorke laughed when his bandmate, guitarist Ed O'Brien, said the blocking had prevented him from seeing Prince's version of their song.

"Really? He's blocked it?" asked Yorke, who figured it was their song to block or not. "Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment."

Yorke added: "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."


The dispute was an interesting twist in debates over digital ownership, held between two major acts with differing views on music and the Internet. Radiohead famously released their most recent album, "In Rainbows," as a digital download with optional pricing. They also have a channel on YouTube.

When Prince performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 26, he prohibited the standard arrangement of allowing photographers to shoot near the stage during the first three songs of his set. Instead, he had a camera crew filming his performance.

(Associated Press)

Prince removed his official website from the internet last September and has been unrelenting about removing all images, video, or audio traces online. In the process he has turned many fans into former fans! Shunning the internet is a strange business model for the music industry -- maybe it is some strange version of the Cartman business model (Episode "Cartmanland" -- Cartman denied people access to an amusement park so he could ride the rides without a line and people lined up to get in!)


The Truth The Left Denies -- How Success Is Winning

The US public and policymakers need to recognize how this happened - and draw lessons from this success.

1) We need to acknowledge that the Iraq war wasn't a "distraction" from the War on Terror, as critics still complain, but its centerpiece.

It's not mere coincidence that our success against al Qaeda globally comes along with success in Iraq. For all its setbacks and frustrations, the Iraq war drew jihadists into a battle they thought they could win, because it would be fought on their home turf - but which they're now losing disastrously.

2) The US decision to "stay the course" in the Iraq war, which was also widely mocked and criticized, served to thoroughly demoralize the jihadist movement.

From its start in spring 2003, the Iraqi insurgency has been entirely built on the premise that it could use suicide and roadside bombings, sectarian slaughter and the torture and murder of hostages to force America out of the Middle East.

If Democrats had won the White House in 2004, the jihadists might have succeeded.

Instead, America doggedly refused to give in to terror, despite 4,000 combat deaths and massive antiwar sentiment, and unwaveringly supported an Iraqi government that was at times feeble and confused - and proceeded to break the jihadist movement's back.

Hugh Hewitt -- "There's No Substitute For Winning" (Bumped)

Manzullo News -- Received Challenger Mailer

U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) joined today with U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Michael Michaud (D-Maine) to introduce bipartisan and bicameral legislation to help protect America’s 27 million small businesses from computer hackers and other information security breaches. The Small Business Information Security Act of 2008 (S. 3102 and H.R. 6206) would create the Small Business Information Security Task Force within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small firms understand and effectively respond to the information security challenges they face.
Representative Don Manzullo

Today I received my first mailer from Don Manzullo's challenger, millionaire Robert Abboud and the Democrats are really riding the, "supports a reasonible plan to end the Iraq War," dog -- but I wonder if they have misread the polls. What Americans hate is losing in Iraq, if we are winning will the polls be as favorable for the left?

Abboud also wants to invest in renewable energy, science and technology but I think Americans are starting to realize that just isn't going to solve the problem for the short to intermediate term. Yes, for the long term encourage development of those energy sources -- but right now we need to access our own existing energy and that means getting government out of the way!

If Manzullo and McCain pledged to increase production and refining capacity immediately then their chance of winning would be greatly enhanced. As Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report McCain could easily state that his objection to exploring in ANWR was based on the information at the time, but with the changes in circumstances (kinda like Obama changed churches when circumstances changed!) he now supports using all of the resources of the US.


Is Concealed Carry Coming To Winnebago County?

Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers lent his considerable support to the county’s concealed carry debate.

Meyers was the last of 30 speakers to take the podium, and he received a standing ovation for his efforts.

“Let me get it out of the way,” he told the crowd. “I do not have a problem with concealed carry.”

He said that “20 years ago, I would have told you different,” but “we’re at a point where we don’t have a choice.”

The County Board is drafting a resolution that will authorize the sheriff to issue gun permits to qualified citizens. Although the resolution is still in draft form, at least 13 of the 28 board members have already signed on.

Rockford Register Star -- Concealed carry proposal gets support of sheriff

Meyers stated that concealed carry nearly passed in Wisconsin and if it does then Illinois is the only state that is without some form of concealed carry law.

He also stated that while he may not be able to issue the permits legally under state law, he may be able to deputize permit holders under a special citizen provision.

This is a positive step for the County and perhaps might start the cracks in the Daley -- Springfield unreasonable gun control lobby.

This would also be a perfect opportunity for McCain to highlight Obama's Illinois and it's irrational gun fears. He should show up here and support this sheriff and the Republicans on the Board.
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