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Five Dollars A Gallon

There a lot of people beginning to notice that the price of gas is going up, and most probably think it has something to do with increased demand because the economy is improving. Well, it doesn’t.

People are seeing the effects of the ‘Goldman Sachs tax’ and the ‘Israel tax’ pushing the cost of fuel higher.

The ”Goldman Sachs tax’ is the upward pressure on oil futures caused by ‘speculators’ like Goldman Sachs [gamblers by any other name]. This has no relationship to supply or demand. [Update: McClatchy covers this]

On the supply side there are several restrictions coming into play related to the ‘Israel tax’. This is basically the pressure being applied to Iran, the fifth largest supplier of crude oil in the world, over the unsubstantiated claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has responded by ceasing to sell oil to the UK and France which is not good news for British petrol prices. The US and EU assumed that there would be no other problems around the world, and that Saudi Arabia would make up the losses.

Saudi Arabia is having trouble maintaining normal production, and there are problems in Sudan and Nigeria, so the price will go up.

In the US, the refineries decided that they liked $3.50/gallon gas, so they have been exporting refined products, rather than selling them in the US. The US has been a net exporter of petroleum for months, which makes the justification for moves by the GOP to open up more areas for drilling, and pushing the Keystone XL pipeline ‘inoperative’. We have excess capacity in the US, not a shortage.

You would have thought that they would have waited until the latest blow-out of a well on the North Slope was controlled before proposing new wells, but the GOP doesn’t worry about reality.

In the natural gas area producers are reducing their efforts because the price of natural gas plunged when they brought so much on line at the same time. They are limiting the supply to push the price back up.

In a free market, the price of gasoline and natural gas would probably be half of what it is today, but corporations don’t want it to happen, so it doesn’t.

February 21, 2012   7 Comments

Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras

The last day before the beginning of Lent on the Gulf Coast that once belonged to France, it is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

It was first celebrated in Mobile, Alabama, but the big show these days is in New Orleans, and it is a holiday in the state of Louisiana, because people wouldn’t show up for work anyway, so why fight it.

The tradition is to serve King cake, which is a circle of cinnamon bun dough with a white frosting on top sprinkled with sugar colored purple, gold, and green. If that weren’t bad enough, they put the figurine of a baby in the dough, and whoever finds it in their piece is supposed to be lucky. Actually if you find it and don’t choke on it, I guess you are lucky. You should use a small ceramic figurine, as some of the cheap plastic versions melt in the oven [yummy].

February 21, 2012   Comments Off on Shrove Tuesday