The Locker Room

August 29, 2005

Gas price watch — Fearing an overnight spike

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:37 PM

My wife just called from a gas station outside Fuquay-Varina, NC. She was informed at her meeting that You'd better get gas tonight, because tomorrow it's going to be $2.87/gal. This would represent a 42-cents-per-gallon increase from the pump prices I witnessed earlier this evening. Apparently bunches of people heard about this, because my wife reports long lines at several gas stations, including the one she stopped at (and at which she paid $2.45/gal.) *Update: I have heard from others a rumor of a 40-to-50-cent price increase overnight.*

Nevertheless, I am quite skeptical. I think I know what those reports are based on — the opening price of crude oil this morning, which went above $70/barrel over Hurricane Katrina worries, but declined as the day went on. But it makes no sense for price-taking retailers to wait a whole day before changing prices if they and everyone else know that tomorrow the price at the pump will be 42 cents higher. At least that's what I told my wife, who being pragmatic decided to stick it out. I expect that the pump price will steadily increase over the next few days as the full effects of Katrina are learned — but an overnight price spike in combination with no change whatsoever in the price during the day and into the evening seems highly irrational.

But for what it's worth, my wife did report seeing one gas station that had closed for the night had listed $2.79 on its signs for tomorrow.

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Re: Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 5:30 PM

I second Comrade Roy's anti-fascist program with these additions to the bill of indictment for a corporatist, if not fascist, regime:

Bailout of airlines; Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs to sap small start-ups and preferential tax treatment of dividends to favor big companies; militarization of law enforcement; mere existence of the FCC, and bankruptcy reform to favor banks.

Of course, I have absolutely no confidence in the American Political Science Association exploring these issues in the proper manner.

I'm pretty sure they've been co-opted too.

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Re: Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:30 PM

Actually, I think a panel with the title "Is it time to call it fascism?" could be informative. The panel could look at the kind of economy that tends to be advocated by the modern day left. For the most part liberals have abandoned the advocacy of outright socialism--that is the nationalization of industry and state ownership of the means of production. On the other hand the classic economics definition of fascism is a system where, theoretically industry and the means of production are in private hands but most of the important decision making is done by government. For example, this seems to be the model that the left is pursing in the area of energy production and unfortunately it is the model that seems to have guided much of the Administration's energy bill. Clearly it is a model that guides land use--to a greater or lesser extent --at the local level with smart growth as the paradigm example. Portland is the most extreme case. I think it would be interesting for a panel with this title to examine these and other resource allocation arrangements, i.e., North Carolina's Certificate of Need laws for hospitals and other health care facilities, in light of the model of economic fascism. Panelists could consider such questions as, when do we cross the line from capitalism to fascism? Have we already done so in some areas and industries? Are we on the way to making that cross over in still others?

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Partisan press — or just ridiculously petty?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:21 PM

In the vein of recent press finger-waggings about Pres. Bush — whether over taking too much time for vacation ("Bush's long vacations are more than a curiosity: They play into diametrically opposite arguments about this leadership style"), exercising too danged much ("Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy") or spending too much on gas ("Almost every vehicle Bush uses is custom-made to add security and communications capabilities, and the heavier weight of those guzzlers further drives up gas and jet-fuel costs") — comes this piece currently being promoted as a headline on Yahoo! News:

President Bush calls his Prairie Chapel Ranch "a slice of heaven," a special place where he can ride his mountain bike, fish his man-made pond and clear brush to his heart's content. But is it really a ranch?

Here's a clue: The Secret Service agents now outnumber the cows. ... But with a handful of cattle now on the property, some Texans suggest that calling the place a ranch could be considered a stretch.

While the reporter does a good job of getting to the heart of the Great Ranch Definitional Controversy, I can tell that at least one question didn't occur to him, to wit: Who cares?

(Afterthought: It does seem that Bush is a few heads of cattle short of the current bid for Chelsea Clinton's hand in holy wedlock.)

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Re: HSAs, Canada and Japan

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:15 PM

Arnold Kling at TCS tries to sort through the whole Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker blob I commented on last week.

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More Eve Ensler silliness

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:59 AM

Ensler's e-mail is announcing the tour of her "The Good Body" play. Ensler's review of Ensler's work reminds me of "The Simpsons" sign gag outside a movie theater -- "Siskel & Ebert: The Movie ('Two thumbs up! -- Siskel & Ebert"): "When Eve takes the stage, she doesn't just perform a play...she causes a sensation. In THE GOOD BODY she takes an inside look at the outside, exploring the cultures of beauty, food and desire through the eyes of women around the world. This provocative, hilarious, and profoundly moving show promises to be no less extraordinary than Eve's previous triumph, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, which inspired a worldwide revolution."

Ensler also spices her ad with more of her trademark immoral equivalence rhetoric, where she strains to portray the situation for women in America as just as bad as it is for women behind oppressive regimes:

"With THE GOOD BODY, Eve turns her unique eye to the rest of the female form. Whether undergoing botox injections or living beneath burkhas, women of all cultures and backgrounds feel compelled to change the way they look in order to fit in."

Of course, Ensler's immoral equivalency is, despite her use of "feel compelled," a joke. Women aren't "compelled" by the brunt of a gun or the threat of rape and dismemberment to inject themselves with botox. Botox injection is a choice that, in fact, few women percentagewise in America actually make.

One could just as [in]accurately state,

Whether [paying to hear "talking" vaginas] or living beneath burkhas, women of all cultures and backgrounds feel compelled to [behave in strange ways] in order to fit in...

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Hell is Freezing Over

Posted by Donna Martinez at 10:01 AM

The Town of Chapel Hill has discovered there's a limit to what town business owners are willing to take.

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Ignorance of history

Posted by Jon Ham at 09:22 AM

George, the experience of my children in Durham Public Schools confirms Ravitch's point. If they learned American history at all, it was outside the classroom. A good example involved my youngest son. During his first week in high school the teacher of one of his classes administered the standard U.S. citizenship test. My son was the only one in the class who passed it. Why? Because he had already completed the three Boy Scout citizenship merit badges, which require more historical knowledge about our country than any school history class.

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Diane Ravitch on historical ignorance

Posted by George Leef at 08:31 AM

This is not a brand-new problem that has never been discussed before, but this column by Diane Ravitch sums up the distressing situation well. Young Americans are for the most part learning almost nothing about our history. What little they do learn is often tinged with statism.

Worth reading!

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Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture

Posted by John Hood at 08:18 AM

Talk about your “bats in the belltower” (a regular feature of the higher-education section of Carolina Journal):

Arnold Beichman, columnist for The Washington Times, writes Monday about an upcoming sessions of the American Political Science Association. The theme is, no joke: “Is it time to call it fascism?”

No, the panelists won’t be talking about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, or dictatorships in North Korea, Iran, Syria, or Venezuela. Beichman writes:

. . . I would like to help Professor Dvora Yanow of California State University, Hayward, the panel chairman answer the panel's question: "Is there a theoretical-definitional grounding to make a claim for the present U.S. administration as fascist, and is it useful, critically, to use that language at this point in time?"

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