Friday, October 05, 2012

History Repeats: Gas Stations Shutting Pumps in CA – Prices Surge – Running Out of Gas at Pumps – Coming to a State Near You? Analysis

Pumps closed in CA - image from the

During the period from 1979 to1980 one saw the price of gas surge, gas stations run out of regular then premium, shutting pumps, gas rationing and after a stabilization, (government controls) the price of gas surged in 1980 and lines still cropped up in urban areas (The End of Happy Motoring, Sarasota Herald Tribune. This added to the nation’s woes as high unemployment, coupled with high inflation and high interest rates on loans, resulted in what became known as the “misery index. There were fingers pointed in every direction, from supply and demand (as prices at the pumps rose, motorists could no longer afford to fill their tanks, refineries slowed or ceased production, shortages began to occur, first on the West Coast, spreading east to encompass the entire nation.) to government regulation and oversight of gas rationing.

Fast forward: California is running out of gasoline and pumps are shutting down. From the Contra Costra Times 10/4/2012 Headline: “Gas shortage shutters Costco stations, prices skyrocket” - “California had its largest single-day gasoline price spike in almost five years Thursday, leading to long lines at the pump, gas shortages and even station closures. According to the Times, the price of regular unleaded is at $5.79 for those paying with a credit card, and a dime less for those paying cash. In addition the paper cites a multi-faceted problem causing high fuel prices and lack of available fuel as part regulations requiring gasoline to be refined differently during summer months than winter months (emissions), which slowed production, coupled with a rise in wholesale prices, and a power failure at an area refinery.

From the Redding Record Searchlight: the question “What's next? Gas lines in California? The answer, most likely. The Record sites a Bloomberg News Article, which speaks to the problem in California headlining :”California Gas Stations Shut as Oil Refiners Ration Supplies” and the gist:

Low-P, a gasoline station in Calabasas, California, 30 miles west of Los Angeles, stopped selling unleaded gasoline Oct. 2 and ran out of high-octane and medium-octane fuel yesterday, John Ravi, the station’s owner, said by phone yesterday. Ravi said he posted an “Out of Gasoline” sign on each pump and took down the prices outside his shop. “I can get gas, but it’s going to cost me $4.90 a gallon, and I can’t sell it here for $5,” Ravi said. “If you come here right now, I’ve got some diesel left. That’s all. My market is open, but no gas.” “We’re going to start shutting pumps Friday,” Sam Krikorian, owner of Quality Auto Repair in North Hollywood, said by phone yesterday. “Gas is costing me almost $4.75 a gallon with taxes. There’s no sense in staying open. The profit margins are so low it’s not worth it.”

What is usually not considered by the average consumer is that gas stations are either franchised or owned by the corporation, meaning the nations gas supply is kept going by small business owners. In fact the majority of gas stations are owned by independents or franchise, according to U.S. Census data, gas and convenience stores are in the top 10 of industries that “make up the majority of the business nationwide” (Inc. Magazine online) Therefore, when the small businesses owner, already burdened by regulation and uncertainty over additional regulations, including national health care and the tax code (Which the Bush era tax cuts are set to expire in 2012 as the White House and the Congress will address taxes in January’s lame-duck session – leaving the entire nation, individuals as well as businesses subject to tax increases), a tightening of available loans (Dodd-Frank) and rising costs of a product which is highly taxed to begin with – the choice is often made for that owner, they shut down.

If one thinks this is going to stay in California without some intervention by both state and the federal government (or perhaps, less intervention by the states and Federal government would better serve the problem) those rising prices will be exported east, and the lines and lack of fuel will be at your door. With winter coming to the nation, especially the upper west, Midwest and Northeast, home heating may also be affected.

Is there a way out? Yes of course, depending upon how the crisis in the Middle East is handled, taxes on individuals and small businesses as well as fuel are stabilized or lowered, and more consumers (lower unemployment) will all combine to up demand, and supplies will follow – of course, regulations may put a damper on that 1980-1981 model. In the meantime, grab a bus schedule, buy a bike, or start a carpool and wait it out. Of course, depending upon the election and the outcome, if the status quo remains, one can anticipate stocking up on sneakers and bicycle tubes, bus passes, and in the northeast, blankets and fleece.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Romney Runs Away with First Debate – CNN Poll – Romney Makes History 67 to 25% - A Win – Obama Uses More Time – Debate Format a Winner – Opinion and Analysis

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama Post Debate - Image

Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney clearly won the first of three debates with President Barack Obama, edging the President out in a CNN/ORC poll 67% to 25% among registered voters. In addition the pollster notes that the make-up of those polled, not used in most polling was 37% Democrat and 33% Republican, or 5 points more Democrat and 8 Points more Republican than the normal poll, or in truth, more in line with actual registered voters in 2010. The format, broken down into, what was supposed to be 15 minute segments, with 2 minutes allotted for each candidate to answer, and the balance more of a Lincoln Douglas debate format, was seen as some in the media as uncontrollable, however, that format allowed the viewer to see, for the first time, Romney and President Obama, both unfettered and unprotected by a moderator. The result was a win for the viewing public, let alone Mitt Romney, who clearly was in a comfort zone in the debate arena. Romney also has set the bar fairly high for the next debate, given the thrashing that he gave the President, although most pundits might disagree, what the public has seen of Romney on any subject has been limited by media coverage that is clearly made up of sound bites and somewhat slanted towards the Incumbent.

More on the CNN/ORC poll :
  • "No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.”
  • 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.
  • More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Romney performed better than expected. Only one in ten felt that the former Massachusetts governor performed worse than expected.
  • Forty-nine percent of debate watchers said before the debate that they had a favorable opinion of Obama…Romney, whose favorable rating among debate watchers edged up just two points, from 54% before the debate to 56% after the debate.
  • The economy dominated the first debate and according to the poll, and by a 55%-43% margin, debate watchers said that Romney rather than Obama would better handle the economy. On the issue of taxes, which kicked off the debate, Romney had a 53%-44% edge over Obama. And by a 52%-47% margin, debate watchers said Romney would better handle health care, and he had the edge on the budget deficit by a 57%-41% margin.
  • By a 58%-37% margin, debate watchers thought Romney appeared to be the stronger leader.

  • Of course, the obvious win for Romney explains the flurry of media “Fact-checkers” which began immediately following the debate – with the “Fact-Checkers” clearly attempting to cover the President’s tracks – the biggest Fact being Romney’s charge that the President had hijacked $718 Billion from Medicare as being untrue, unless of course one has read the Law known as Obamacare. In the text, it clearly states that the sum in question, be taken from Medicare. In addition, the Act combines Medicare with Medicaid, two separate programs. The law also establishes oversight panels on payment and necessity of procedures. One only needs to download the massive bill here in pdf and search for “Medicare”, read it and weep.

    Of course, there are more “questionable” things that Governor Romney must have said, however, he is a statistical wonk, therefore, one might be hard-pressed to find an inaccuracy in his statements, unless of course, one was just saying, without backup, that Romney’s fact’s were fiction. This appears to be more “opinion” than actual fact when dealing with – Fact Checkers!

    Suffice it to say, that it is now clear that grabbing the popcorn is essential for the next set of debates – one questions whether the debates will make or break the campaign for either candidate, and it is this opinion that it may move only the small percentage of “undecided’s” (if there are truly any undecided’s), perhaps not enough to make a difference. One understands that polls, all polls, are not totally accurate, and that using a 2008 model based on return of votes by party enrollment is a recipe for inaccuracy. Therefore, what is most important about these debates, contrary to most opinion, is not to change minds, but to comfort and reinforce the decisions that individuals have already made. It is this opinion that the die has been cast, and that history will repeat itself based on the current model.

    One final thought...Mitt Romney, exuded both leadership, and confidence on the debate stage, how much more would that same persona be apparent on the world stage? That is the question asked and answered for the nation in last night’s debate. Romney can clearly handle the stage. Next up, regardless of the format of the debate, the onus is on the President, not Romney to come in and defend his foreign policy. It will be Romney who will be in the driver’s seat, and although the media may have called some of Romney’s statements “gaffes”, it apparently depends upon one’s personal point of view. This suggests that perhaps, just perhaps, another larger percentage may agree with Romney’s take on foreign policy, regardless of the President’s experience (on-the-job-training). It is clear the major issue, the economy, is Romney’s purview, and he owns it outright.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2012

    The First Round – Debate in Colorado – Mitt Romney vs. President Obama – Bring on the Popcorn or - Not

    The first debate between GOP Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and Incumbent President Barack Obama will be held tonight in Colorado. The media offers this primer: “Five things to watch at First Debate”: A Q&A of sorts from Politico via The list in this article includes: “Can Romney win the first half-hour?”, “How hard will Obama attack?”, “How do "47 percent" and Libya play?”, “Who brings up Bill Clinton?” and finally: “Is Obama ready for prime-time?”.

    On the first question posed, suggests Mitt Romney must not be overly aggressive for fear of appearing to attack the President. In reviewing all previous GOP primary debates, of which there were, one might think, too many, Romney never seemed to attack at all. His style is one where he weighs a statement, then answers – all without fiery rhetoric, but more to the point. A debate can be won or lost at anytime in the process. One memorable comment in the last 10 minutes may set the course not only for the debate win, but for the balance of the election. The second question is answered by the fifth, following the logic of the 5th questions response that the President may be a little Rusty, (which one cannot fathom, given multiple appearance and a continual debate with Congress and the campaign stump (which to this mind is a debate prep it itself that goes towards both men), would make one believe that the President is incapable of a debate attack. Perhaps the article is referring to the 2008 DNC debates between Hillary Clinton and the Senator Barack Obama. Clinton appeared to be the fire-brand, while Obama more “laid back”. On the “47 percent political strategy of Mitt Romney’s, and Obama’s foreign policy fiasco in Libya”, one can hardly compare the two, and to do so, show’s a great disconnect, between what one might consider a “gaffe”. In the case of Romney’s “47%” remark, he was speaking to a group regarding political strategy – which demographic he would focus on (the Independents), it is much ado about nothing more than a sound bite used by the Obama campaign in order to sway the electorate – (a fair play in political terms). As far as having full knowledge of an impending attack on U.S. interest, weeks before they occurred, and then blaming that attack on the outrage against America in the entire Middle East, for weeks after the world was aware that these attacks were pre-planned by Al Queda is, simply put foreign policy negligence. When the buck stops here, regardless of who dropped the ball in the administration, the narrative of the “movie” at fault, should have been dropped immediately. It is the press comparing apples to oranges, not that a great percentage of the population even is aware of either occurrence, due to lack of interest in watching news. The question of who brings up Bill Clinton first – does it matter? It depends, but one might guess not overly much. The focus will be on the way which both men handle themselves on the stage and the content and delivery of their answers and rebuttals.

    The question hat is not asked: How hostile will the moderator be towards one candidate over another? Regardless of what plays out live during the debate, what small segment with opinion by the media will be shown on the evening news cast? Will anyone but a slim majority of the voters actually watch or will it be those who are interested in politics and have no access to alterative programming that will view the first of three debates?

    The debate between Incumbent President Jimmy Carter and then Governor Ronald Reagan may have been a factor in Reagan’s sweeping victory in 1980 however,it was considered a victory over job approval in the end game, even though the polls were tied. Reference: Reagan Win Bigger than Prediction from The Evening Independent, November 5, 180. One has to understand that in 1980, there were millions more viewers of the only three available networks, and no alternative stations – viewership of 25 million per network was the rule not the exception. Now, those are entertainment numbers, with major news outlets vying against cable and other sources, including other non-news networks.

    In winning the debate, one must not duck a question, answer straight forward, and throw in a zinger (for lightening the mood) and compare and contrast. Calling out one’s opponent for embellishing the truth is also not out of bounds, and worth points. This is criteria, of course, is personal, however, to win over this independent conservative, one must be able to offer more than pat answers, or party lines and deliver policy with conviction and honesty. One might not always agree with the individual standing at the podium, but if the candidate scores on well (by following) the above criteria, then that will indeed be a win. It may or may not matter to those actually watching, one might get the impression that if one is watching this debate, one has already settled on a candidate, despite polls and debates and the media. (Refer to prior paragraph).

    Tuesday, October 02, 2012

    Explosive Obama 2007 Speech - Daily Caller .com Breaking – 54 Minute Video – October Surprise – Will the Media Comment?

    At 9 P.M. October 2, 2012, a day before the first 2012 Presidential Debates are to take place, The Daily Callerreleased a 54 minute video (video below), from 2007 featuring Barack Obama, speaking at length at a ministers conference. The speech reinforces his long-term relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man who mentored him and his faith for years. The same Reverend Wright he kept “under wraps” during his 2008 presidential run. He speaks in a very different “dialect”, as well as rhetoric that can only be called divisive and racists. This may explain his campaign tactics against Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP Presidential candidate – a campaign characterized as divisive and racists. He may know no other way to relate. It is disheartening for those who have lived long enough to see past race, to have been alive in the 1950’s, the 1960’s and found our lives changed through Civil Rights and the way in which we have brought up our children not to see a person’s color, or religion or ethnicity, rather to see a person for who they are, regardless of circumstance, lofty or low.

    This type of speech, in the twenty first century, by anyone in a position to be admired, whether that individual is a teacher, a minister, a little league coach, or a President, does nothing but take us backward, backward to the 1950’s, to the 1940’s when there was real division is this nation. To deny that racism in society exists is ridiculous; there are a minority of individuals, of all races, who are indeed racist. However, for a person of authority, to use racism as a platform and insist it is practiced by a majority – it is, in a word, despicable. The fact that a news outlet could find the speech, the entire speech, and had shown bits and pieces to the majority of the media in the U.S. five years ago, and those in the media ignored this, is reprehensible. At the very least, this type of explosive racist language coming from a candidate should have been investigated, and the President should have been allowed to answer questions regarding the fact that not a year before the election, he had indulged in this type of racist rhetoric. From the media, came one soft question, not hard questions. It remains to be seen if they will, at this point, do little more than ignore and bury this video. It is, in today’s society a shame, a shame, that we are still living in the past, not in the historical context, but in the very real context – where our neighbors may hate us because of our color, that our neighbors may believe we hate them because of their color.

    To raise people up, to encourage, that is the job of a President, to unite, not divide, to put down, to shackle in fear. We, as a nation, should not forget our past, never - but we should not believe, in our hearts, that we have not moved past this, as a nation, as a people, as a culture that celebrates diversity and embraces every single citizen, regardless of race.

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) Debate Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – Brown Bests Warren in 2nd Debate – Warren Comes Across As Occupy-Partisan

    Scott Brown, the former State Senator and now U.S. Senator has, in representing either the people of his district or the Commonwealth, been extremely independent minded. It is rare to hear Brown even smack of partisanship – one knows he is an independent simply because he is angering either straight Republicans or straight Democrats, and is not what, one would call, a consistent party-line vote.

    Therefore, when Elizabeth Warren, College Professor from Harvard, and former Obama Administration Appointee, announced she was running for the Senate, it was with some surprise, considering that Brown is an extremely capable, competent and perhaps, the only independent-aisle-crossing-get things done, bi-partisan representative the people have, be it in Massachusetts or the rest of the nation. When Warren began her campaign it was evident that she was, for all intents and purposes, particularly partisan, in an almost anarchic “Occupy Wall Street” way – It’s all about Billionaires and the “rest of us” – a class warfare set-up that highlights both her ideology and her demagoguery when it comes to political thought. In her closing statement to defend hers candidacy last evening, she appeared all party-line, giving a hint of what would be should she go to Washington and cast straight-party-line votes. She thanked the moderator, and then went into a diatribe on how Scott Brown supports Billionaires! She sounded fresh out of college rather than a college professor. For starters, anyone who has followed the legislation of Scott Brown (R) knows that he is for the “little guy” rather than big business, unless supporting business brings jobs. In his first term in the Senate, Brown pointed out that Legislatures were allowed to do a little insider trading, something he found a bit underhanded, wrote the legislation and got it passed. Warren lost her opportunity to outline her plans, to put out her plea to the voters, instead haranguing Brown in her closing statements. It was evident that she is new to the political arena or the debate arena as she appeared to harp her way through the entire debate, sometimes appearing “coy” and using her femininity rather than displaying herself as a strong woman. This begs the question from a feminist point of view – When will any party in Massachusetts put up a strong, non-partisan woman to run for a higher office? Until then, the answer to the question of “Why hasn’t a woman been elected to the Governor’s office or the Senate in Massachusetts?” will continue to evade those moderators who ask ridiculous questions at debates.

    On Brown’s part, he was straight-forward, typical Boston, take no prisoners, debate from the hip, rather than the lip, and that caught the independent, once again. Where Warren makes her error is in plain got her base, the 30% of the Democrat voters in MA, which, not unlike the 11-12% of Republican’s can get no-one elected. One has to be in the middle – squarely – and no one does that better than Brown.

    The one clip that is being played as a “Mistake” on Brown’s part, is the answer to a question on Supreme Court Justices – Brown hesitated, saying they were all good, and began by listing Scalia, first, followed by Kennedy, Roberts and finally Sonia Sotomayor. Which is to say, he could not decide because he pointed out, they all are good justices. In Brown’s true format he chose from the right, the center and the left – an independent point of view. That said, Warren immediately chose Kagan, the justice that must recluse herself from most cases due to her partisanship.

    Go figure.

    The full debate is below via You Tube, and the next debate will take place in Western Massachusetts , on October 10th at Symphony call according to Masslive

    Video - via You Tube

    Note: If a woman were to run, say one former Senator and now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, she would have the vote. This is because she proved herself to be a positive influence while in the Senate, and able to work across the aisle to actually accomplish much – As to admired women in public service, she is, perhaps the epitome of what younger woman should strive to emulate. Whether one agrees with her personal politics, or not, it is the way that she voted, her ideals and her unabashed straightforward method of dealing with situations that make her, or anyone who has even a hint of her persona, as a woman, a credible candidate. Unfortunately, those who would be choosing women to run for office in Massachusetts do not look towards what one might call the “Clinton Model” – they should – then, and only, then would one see a women elected in the Commonwealth. Which is why women in the Commonewealth won't vote for just "any woman" they have an ideal that can and should be met.

    Monday, October 01, 2012

    The CA 12th (formerly the 8th district) – Nancy Pelosi faces John Dennis in November election – Dennis new Commercial Quirky a Bit of Humor goes a long way.

    The Contest: John Dennis Vs. Nancy Pelosi for the 12th - image John Dennis 2012 dot com

    Yes, Virginia, there is a challenger to Nancy Pelosi in the California 8th district, one Libertarian, John Dennis. Dennis ran against Nancy Pelosi in 2010, the results of which race, was one of the few that the NYTimes predicted correctly – the return of votes – showing Pelosi with an 80% lead over candidate Dennis in the 8th district, one district that is gerrymandered to the point where Pelosi might as well have the ability to name her own successor. That said, different race, different year – the same odds however, apply to the newly formed 12th District – which Pelosi inherited when California, not unlike Massachusetts had to reshuffle the Congressional seats due to population loss. In Massachusetts, for example, Barney Frank became the sacrificial lamb (so to speak) when the Democrats on the Hill, had to restructure 10 districts into 9 – the result one of them had to have more conservatives (yes, in Massachusetts) than others – the district give to Barney Frank looked a lot different, with a majority of the large urban areas sliced away, and central Massachusetts (the reddest part of the bluest state east) included in the mix. Frank resigned – he had run a tough race for re-election against Sean Beilat – the race projected by the New York Times as a blow-out for Frank, by 75% of the vote, ended up a tad closer, at a 10 point lead. That said the former 8th district did indeed go to Nancy Pelosi – pre-redistricting.

    The 8th district includes – San Francisco – Bay view Excelsior and Presidio. The 12th district now includes Outer Sunset and the Sunset District, a bit broader, but the Times continue to call the seat – “Safe Democrat”. They also have the Massachusetts 6th, with the Tierney-Tisei match up “Safe Democrat”, that said, a recent poll shows the Republican running away with the District. Go figure.

    The 8th District results in 2010 showed Speaker Pelosi garnering 157,000 votes to John Dennis’s 33,000 (California Secretary of State) – and considering that in San Francisco County (the 8th District) -461,768 are eligible to vote, with 259,808 Democrats, 44,003 Republicans, 136,000 registered as not stating, and the balance a jumble of parties. The point being, that less than a third of those eligible to vote showed up at the polls. (Secretary of State, CA)

    Therefore there may be an opportunity here for John Dennis to pick up the Disenfranchised, Democrats, as well as “declined to states” add a few Republicans and unseat Nancy.

    The campaign released a new video – shown below – a bit quirky, but isn’t that what San Francisco is all about? – Those 4 million jobs Nancy is referring to as being created, hardly enough to push down the 8% unemployment rate nationally – however, Dennis and CO kept it light focusing instead on domestic surveillance issues – but again, he’s a Libertarian, and what’s not to like about a Libertarian?

    There is likely to be zero polls out the district, and Dennis appears to be a serious challenger – in a year where the polls are based on the prior election (2010 for Congress – 2008 for the President), there are some factors to consider: Redistricting is one of the biggies, no one is apparently talking about – while talking heads use outdated district maps to back up 2008 and 2010 return of votes as a predictive indicator. One would be cautioned to wait until the dust settles, However, Dennis needs a ground game in the City-District, and poll watchers, and of course, someone to keep an eye on the bay, where most of the ballots may end up if they are not favorable to Ms. Pelosi.

    (Basing that on MA and CT shenanigans.)

    He’s got a sense of humor, grant him that.

    One last thought, on almost every single race, and every single poll, the media is now noting (Politico) that it is those with blinders on that cannot see an across the board win for Democrats in November – The polls simply cannot be wrong. (See: Poltico article on parallel universe) Further, that those who insist that the polls are somehow skewed in favor of the incumbent Democrat (pick one) are living in la-la- land. Of course, they do not consider that there is some math to factor into the mix. The following apparently makes sense to those in the media. Based on a 2008 electorate, polls are correct, because in 2008 there were 8% more Registered Democrats at the polls, the Republican’s were outmatched by the Democrats and Independents, an almost equal number trended Democrat. Further they used the 2008 Congressional elections to predict house and senate races in 2010. They were shocked when they work up and found historic gains by Republican’s in the House. The math is what is at fault, and since they no longer teach basic math skills to the majority - they assume, that 8 points or more will magically appear. One has to be delusional to believe that can happen. One would be better served to poll based on election statistics from the 2010 election, of course, the results are far less favorable, and with redistricting, that takes a great deal of county by county predictions right off the table, unless someone is actually polling the District or State for the Senate Race and not using 2008 models.

    Which is why the nation was shocked when a day before the November 1980 elections Jimmy Carter was tied with Ronald Reagan, and the results just didn’t jive because Regan won! Shocker! – Gallup in explaining the differential once the dust settled simply stated, there was a change in enrollment in political parties from the prior election that weren’t factored into the polls. (Google News Archives).


    Check out the video below – Personal Note, a Libertarian in Congress would far better serve the nation, as they are independent of major party affiliation... If one is in the Califonria12th, visit, maybe make a donation, be part of history, get him a ground game. Find those 250,000 missing voters who stayed home and get them to the polls for Dennis.

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