CALL ME WHEN YOU FIGURE THIS OUT: If you live in the US, it's pretty hard not to notice that gas prices have risen an average of 30 cents per gallon in the past couple of days.
Of course, an increase like that makes you think that some kind of global calamity (or, more likely, RUMOR of global calamity) has befallen us. So this afternoon, I did a little research and found out not one but several reasons why gasoline experienced its biggest one-month rise in a dozen years. Bear in mind that each of these reasons is presented, by separate sources, as the only reason:
* The AAA sez that the sudden spike is due to "Higher global oil prices and increased demand for gasoline during the busy summer driving season ..." Never mind that oil prices have remained flat (within a $4/barrel range) all through July, and that there hasn't been a "busy summer driving season" in the United States since 2005, when gasoline shot up to over $3/gallon after Hurricane Katrina;
* The Wall Street Journal blames the rise on soaring ethanol prices in the wake of this summer's drought (although a modest depletion in corn stocks, coupled with a global oversupply of ethanol, certainly doesn't explain such a meteoric rise in the price of gasoline);
TODAY'S MUST-READ: "Cloud9 Doula"'s amazing trip up Alaska's Dalton Highway (the "haul road," for all you Ice Road Truckers fans). This is a fun read, and there are some splendid pictures to boot. Teaser below:
Along the Dalton
Make sure you click on the images to enlarge them. Incredible resolution in some of the shots.
DAILY GAAAAAAZ-O-LEEEEEEN! AWARD: This is a paraphrase from the comments section of our local online newspaper the other day. The subject was a conference on education at Harvard University at which Gov. Scott Walker had been invited to speak (yes, you read that right):
Commenter 1: Don't you have to have an education to speak about it?
Commenter 2: Governor Walker is in good company. Other college dropouts who have spoken at Harvard: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Commenter 3: Yeah, but they created millions of jobs.
ONTO OTHER THINGS: Athough I reserve the right to char-broil Dicktator (sic!) for Life Scottie Walker whenever I see fit
—f'rinstance, whenever the newest set of dismal job figures are released in the third week of the month
—I think it is time to move onto other things.
This blog, since the massive anti-Walker protests of February 2011, has basically had one theme, and that was alerting the public to the evil that is Scott Walker. I do not take back one word of what I've said about that evil; anyone doing even a casual read-through of the comments section of madison.com or channel3000.com can see how much Walker has poisoned the well of political discourse in what was once one of the most level-headed states in the Union. That's the kind of damage that can never be undone, and those of us who work in the public sector can never forget our former friends and neighbors now screaming for us to be fired and even deported (see post below), as if we were dangerous criminals.
Some bloggers see their blogs as entertainment, and I do hope I've entertained y'all from time to time. But if I'd been a blogger in the Weimar Republic (bear with me here!), alerting the public to the dangers of Adolf Hitler would have superseded any obligation to entertain. Yes, I realize that I've lost nearly all of my former readership, but that's okay. I know that I did the right thing.
I'm sick of Scott Walker, and I'm sick of living in the ruin he's made of our state. If I ever meet him, I will refuse to shake his hand.
So. As my general kiss-off to the 17-month "Walker Era" of Schmaltz und Grieben, let me close with a recent lyric by Bruce Springsteen.
"Death To My Hometown"
No cannonballs did fly No rifles cut us down No bombs fell from the sky No blood soaked the ground No powder flash blinded the eye No deafening thunder sounded But just as sure as the hand of God They brought death to my hometown They brought death to my hometown
No shells ripped the evening sky No cities burning down No armies stormed the shores for which we’d die No dictators were crowned High off on a quiet night I never heard a sound The marauders raided in the dark and brought death to my hometown, boys Death to my hometown
They destroyed our families’ factories and they took our homes They left our bodies on the plains The vultures picked our bones
So listen up, my sonny boy Be ready for when they come For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun
Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well Send the robber barons straight to hell The greedy thieves that came around And ate the flesh of everything they’ve found Whose crimes have gone unpunished now Walk the streets as free men now
And they brought death to our hometown, boys Death to our hometown, boys Death to our hometown, boys Death to our hometown
OK, I SEE HOW YA ARE: I've made a very disturbing discovery over the past few months, reading through the comments sections of news articles having to do with the Walker administration and its failure to stimulate economic growth in Wisconsin (the latest round of bad news is here and here):
Walker's "divide and conquer" strategy succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, like starting a major conflagration while trying to ignite a campfire. Somehow all the smug boilerplate about "fat cats" and "far-left ideological zealots," applied to civil servants ranging from attorneys all the way down to snowplow drivers, succeeded in convincing rank-and-file Wisconsinites that they were staring at an insidious enemy that controlled all the wealth, all the means of production, and the future of every man, woman, and child in the state. In short, Walker managed to out-Hitler Hitler.
The insane raving and drooling of commenters on these news pieces shows just how successful Walker's strategy was. Frequently we read that civil servants should all be fired, be forced to work for mininum wage, or be exiled to another country. (Seriously.)
The people making these comments are usually either business owners or other private-sector people chafing over the lack of "suffering" on the part of public-sector workers during this depression. In effect, these folks are extremely frightened that the government will find a way to reach into their "mine!" pile and make them suffer. Largely unscathed by the depression, they look over their shoulders at their neighbors and former friends who are out of work or underemployed, who have lost their houses and seen their "American Dream" go up in smoke, and they want to make damned sure it won't happen to them. If every civil servant in the state of Wisconsin is turned out of a job as a result, that's just fine. Who needs government? Government, after all, is now playing the role of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
Scott Walker is the agent of this sickening and thoroughly un-American "me-firstism." He seems now to be blinking at the uncontrollable rage he has unleashed against innocent, hardworking people whose only mistake has been to choose a career in civil service. But Pandora is out of the box now, and the only good that can possibly come of this is that other states will learn from our mistake and avoid nominating destructive demagogues for the governor's office.