Archives: Politics

Man, Bubba loves the spotlight of politics (posting this after watching him at the DNC in Denver this evening). I think if Bill Clinton had his way, he would have repealed the two term limits on Presidents and ran for a third term. Hell, he could be onto a 4th term by now, unless of course his “slick little Willy” got him in more trouble than the Lewinsky/cigar episode.

I’m not one to get on my soapbox to blog politics or the like, but I heard something today that really made me sit back and think about the state of this great nation, and how far down the tubes its been sent in the past 8 years.

What got me was an interview on the APM/NPR show Marketplace about the price of oil/gas and what could be done to deflate the oil bubble. Now I’m not one to believe everything I hear and/or read, but in this interview, Michael Greenberger from the University of Maryland Law School, basically stated that we’re still paying for Enron and commodity speculators:

Kai Ryssdal: You’re not really telling me that seven years on, we’re still paying the price for Enron, are you?

Michael Greenberger: Well, this has been called the “Enron Loophole” and there are many legislators working very hard to close that loophole. There is tremendous concern about this on Capitol Hill and on a bipartisan basis, people are drafting legislation to try and get a handle on this and not eliminate speculation, but bring the speculation under the kind of time-tested controls that were used until Enron had its way and amended the law to escape traditional tested regulation on speculative activities.

Greenberger went on to say that he thought that we were in a “bubble” situation with the oil market because of these speculators driving up prices. And with every bubble, there is a POP. So the next question is inevitable:

Ryssdal: How long is it going to take then if we are, as you say, in a bubble, for it to work its way through and us to get back to something more realistic for the price of a barrel of oil, whether its 50 bucks or 80 bucks?

Greenberger: From my own experience as a commodity regulator, I believe that if the Bush Administration were serious about its regulation, we could begin seeing prices drop within a month. If we don’t get the kind of regulation that has been done for decades and the market proceeds along the pace its proceeding, we will have to go through a very, very serious recession. The question is do you want to deflate the bubble by that kind of suffering or do you want to deflate the bubble by applying tight U.S. regulatory controls?

A month…it would take a flippin’ month to bring this back to some level of relative sanity. Do I fully buy that estimate? Not really. But the point is that if the administration had a clue, they could do what is needed quickly to bring prices back to some level of normalcy in fairly short order and turn this around before things get in really serious, serious trouble. If anything, the silver lining is that the country is now being forced to think about alternate energy sources.

Is it November yet?

I step off my soapbox and will get back to more entertaining posts.

Over the past few weeks, I have been watching the debates between the Presidential candidates (John Kerry and George W. Bush for those of you who live on Mars) along with the VP debate last week (John Edwards and Dick Cheney). In the Presidential debate, John Kerry clearly had the upper hand. He consistently had Bush on his heels and Bush’s reactions and facial expressions spoke volumes. I think Kerry impressed a lot of swing voters.

As for the VP debate, I think that it was close but I would reluctantly give the nod to Cheney. I think Cheney is very intimidating for some reason, and I don’t know why I feel this way. Maybe its his cold demeanor or the knowledge that he is really running the show in this country.

November will be an interesting election.

OK, so I am genuinely sad to hear of the passing of Ronald Reagan. In many ways, he was the great figurehead of the 1980′s, a time that was definitely an interesting period in my life. Don’t get me wrong, he was a very important figure in the history of the US and at the time, he was probably the best choice the country had as we were emerging out of the Vietnam and Watergate eras. But he was really not that great of a President IMHO and, similar to a certain current President, it was brutally obvious that there were people pulling the strings and he was the puppet. His tenure was marked by the Iran-Contra scandal, a scandal that for some reason did not nearly get the type attention and fallout on his Presidency that it deserved. And to say that Reagan ended the Cold War is just silly. All this talk about putting his bust on Mount Rushmore, or renaming something in every state for him, is just loony. Go ahead and name some streets, a river, and some place out in California that was important to him, but lets not get carried away here folks.