April 12th, 2016

#5156: How does it go up THIRTY-TWO CENTS A GALLON IN ONE DAY??????

This morning, on my way to work, I stopped to put a splash of fuel into the Jeep--$10 worth because that's all I could spare (payday is Friday)--and it cost me $2 a gallon. ($1.999). On my way home, gas had risen to $2.32 ($2.319) per gallon.


No one blew anything up, there's no obvious news from the middle east, and no one has said anything about a refinery going "poit" again.

Bet it's $2 in Indiana, though.


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I'll say it again: if the GOP nominates someone--other than Trump--who actually ran in the primaries and got a plurality of the vote, I'll support him. (By that I mean Cruz since the other ones didn't get enough votes to be elected dog catcher.) If they nominate someone who didn't even run, I will vote Democrat. Because at least the Democrats are honest about ignoring the votes of the little people.

I am not kidding or even exaggerating about this. And I am not alone.

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John F-in' Kerry is a huge idiot and we dodged a bullet when we re-elected Bush rather than elect that ridiculous gigolo. (Damn if that ain't the most apt description I ever heard for Kerry. Who did I steal that from, again?)

"What more can one say about John F. Kerry that even Hillary Clinton was a better Secretary of State?" Seriously, that just takes the cake.

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Wisdom from Jerry Pournelle Start with "There's not a lot to say about the election:..." because prior to that it's all Windows 10 stuff. I want to blockquote the whole thing, it's so good, but instead I'll have you go over there and read it. It's worth the time.

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It's physically impossible, but I really, REALLY want the EM drive to work. I want it to work so bad I can taste it.

Look: the ability to push out thirty kilonewtons of thrust for a kilowatt of power expended--the theoretical specific impulse of an EM drive--means a lot of things, including flying cars even if we don't get Mr. Fusion first. Because you can generate a kilowatt of power with a two horsepower engine, more or less (2 HP is about 1500w) and we routinely build cars with a lot more power than that. It means "cheap access to space" because an airtight box with a single hybrid jet/rocket engine--not for thrust, but connected to a generator to make electricity!--would have enough power to boost stuff into orbit.

Of course, if the EM drive works, it means we have to rewrite a lot of physics. But that's what makes it so exciting.

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I just made Mrs. Fungus laugh out loud by saying, "Mr. Magoo, you're cyclobenzaprine!"

#5157: Paracetamol will SCREW YOU UP DUDE

Apparently Tylenol can keep you from noticing errors. You see, when you take acetominophen, you really are on the hard stuff.

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Ice ages occur--and end--because of a lack of CO2 in the atmosphere. Keeping CO2 concentrations high is beneficial enough to the environment that a sensible race would make every effort to do so.

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Even people who are active in the GOP are sick of the shenanigans.
Another disgusted Trump supporter Larry Wayne Lindsey from Douglas County had his name removed from the ballot. He posted this video after he was scratched from the ballot without his knowledge after driving to Colorado Springs for the convention.

"I’ve been a lifelong Republican all of my life. And this corrupt bunch of thieves is not even worth fighting for. I’ll find another party that believes more like I do. I’ve had it with them. But Jan Morgan you’re not going to get away with this. I’ll find somebody to listen to me. I’ll find someway to hold you accountable for this."
Colorado was jiggered to keep Trump from winning it, and the only way the GOP could manage that was to take the rank-and-file out of the nominating process entirely.

This is part of a transcript from Limbaugh's show, and the transcript ends with this paragraph:
Now, second ballot, if nobody gets 1,237, that’s where the GOP and Cruz forces will split apart, and Cruz will find out what it’s like to be Trump right now. That would be on the third ballot. Make no mistake, the Republican powers that be do not want Trump, and they don’t want Cruz. They did want Jeb. They wouldn’t mind Kasich. They are drooling over Paul Ryan. And they would take Romney again. So that’s the immediate universe of people that they might be thinking could be their salvation.
It might be, but it also means the end of the Republican party.

The GOP can't do what it looks to be planning; it can't. Or, rather, it certainly may do it, but it'll be a pyrrhic victory when the rank-and-file deserts them en masse and votes Democrat, Libertarian, Old Ones, or what-the-hell-ever. The GOP will stop winning elections--any elections--and in the meantime, another party will rise up to replace it.

Nominating Trump or Cruz and giving the nominee proper backing will guarantee them a win in November, just about, because their opponent is either going to be a dried-up socialist or a dried-up harridan, neither of whom has any charisma. Picking anyone else besides the primary frontrunners will not only guarantee that we get another four years (or eight, or more?) of Obamanomics and the other nonsense, but it will also guarantee the end of the GOP as a serious political party. They'll end up in the same bin as the Whigs.

The GOPe can get its way, make no mistake about it; but it can only do so by ignoring the expressed will of its voters. It's done that for over a decade, now, and the voters are tired of being ignored. If the GOP had worked with the TEA parties rather than undercut and stifle them, we would not be where we are; but the heavy-handed "we know best" bullshit has been the rule of the day since before Obama took office and the GOPe is so entranced by the odor of its own flatus it apparently is incapable of realizing that they're sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

I am astounded by what I see here: apparently the GOPe would rather lose the election than elect someone they didn't pick; and while that's bad enough, what makes it so astonishing is that they don't see what will happen if they subvert the will of the people.

But they've been getting away with that since 2005 (if not longer) and by now they think they're so slick and we're so stupid that they can just do anything they want.

You know, I'm reminded of the 1992 election season, for one reason: in 1988 George H.W. Bush campaigned on, among other things, a signature phrase: "Read my lips: no new taxes." A simple proposition, refusing to sign any budget that increased taxes. Of course, he then subsequently folded in the face of strong Democrat opposition (gee, that sounds familiar) and signed what was, at the time, the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.

...and then, in 1992, all the Clinton campaign had to do was play a five second sound bite: "Read my lips: no new taxes." It was enough to remind everyone--particularly their target audience, which was Republican voters--that Bush had reneged on his promise to stand against tax increases. But they didn't need reminding, and enough Republican voters either voted for Perot or stayed home that Clinton won.

One would think that the GOP would remember that lesson. Our self-styled betters think we can't remember anything longer than a few months at best, and act accordingly; and despite the evidence demonstrating the inherent error of this mode of operation, they continue to do it.

Not too long ago some arrogant GOPe git said that the party nominates the candidate, not the voters. That's true, as far as it goes, but the party cannot continue without the voters. You can nominate whoever you like for any election, but without the support of voters he can't even get on the ballot, let alone win the election. The GOPe apparently thinks that the handful of months between the convention (June is the month I've heard bandied about, but I don't really care) and the election in November is enough time for the voters to forget a monstrous act of voter nullification--but it's not, and if the GOP ignores the expressed will of its voters, it will lose the election on November 8th, and it will cease to be an effective political party...because I can guaran-god-damned-tee it that on November 9th new political parties will start springing up. And by the time of the 2020 election season, those political parties will have accreted into a new conservative party that'll flatten the GOP.

I'm not the only person to make this observation. Except that I think the GOP will be ended by this nonsense, not merely "hurt for years."

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So this is why gas skyrocketed by $0.32 per gallon yesterday. Because of a report from "unidentified sources" saying that Russia and Saudi Arabia might freeze output at current levels.

Not "cut". Not "lower". Not "curtail", "reduce", or "slow", either. Freeze. As in "not increase but not decrease, either."

...there is still just as much oversupply as there was on Sunday, the fundamentals of the oil commodity market have not changed, and Iran still appears bent on increasing production, but because two countries allegedly made an agreement not to increase further their production, the price of oil spikes, and with it the price of gasoline.

The price of oil went up all of $1 per barrel. This was enough to force the price of gasoline up $0.32 per gallon? There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel, and a typical refinery gets 19 gallons of gas from one barrel (and 12 gallons of diesel). So how the hell does a rise of three cents per gallon of crude translate to a rise of thirty cents per gallon of gasoline? If you're paying $1 more for the raw materials needed to make 19 gallons of gasoline, that only translates to a price increase of six cents per gallon of finished gasoline.

And that ignores the 12 gallons of diesel you get from the same barrel, and the other distillates that are used elsewhere! That's tacking the price increase directly onto the price of refined gasoline and leaving the other prices the same! Double it, and that still only accounts for a third of the price increase!

The United States is sitting atop a massive amount of oil. We could end all this horseshit simply by enacting an energy policy which took into account the simple facts of modern life. Instead, we have a loose patchwork of nonsense which results in us having to buy oil from tin pot dictators and islamic savages, and we generate our electricity using 19th century technology that makes it cost a hell of a lot more than it needs to.

I seem to recall the media talking up "the speculators" as a cause of high oil prices. When was that? 2009? 2010? 1998? 1999? I can't remember; I just remember hearing all about how "the speculators" were why gasoline cost so much; certainly it wasn't the insensate energy policy of whatever Democrat was in charge at the time. I seem to recall it being during the Bush years, but that can't be right, because the media blamed those gas prices on Bush and his oil industry cronies. (Recall my little vignette about Bush and Cheney drinking bloody marys made with the blood of virgins while Bush raised the price of gasoline from the special computer in the Oval Office and they cackled about sticking it to the little people for their own profit.) No, the "speculators" schtick was meant to shield a Democrat from criticism; I just can't remember which Democrat it was.

...only this time it really is the speculators who are driving up the cost of oil. Because the feds don't really regulate the financial "industry" any longer.

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Damn, what an apt metaphor.
In the old days cars had mechanical fuel pumps which ran off the engine's camshaft. If the engine wasn't running, the pump wasn't pumping. If the car had sat a long time, you needed to prime the pump--and the best way was to open up the carb and fill the float bowls with fresh gas, then start the engine. Usually, by the time the float bowls were emptied, the pump was supplying fuel from the gas tank and the engine would stay running. (I've done this myself plenty of times.)

The less-mechanically inclined would crank the engine and crank and crank and crank it, and then go get the starting fluid and spray it down the carb. It does the same thing: gets the engine running, and thus works the fuel pump.

But pump priming can only take you so far. All of this assumes that your fuel pump works and that there's good fuel in the gas tank, that there's not a hole in your fuel line or a plugged filter or-or-or. If there are mechanical problems with the fuel supply system, the engine will sputter to a halt again because it's not getting the fuel it needs. You can spray in more ether or pour in more gas, but this is a stopgap measure and you can't drive the car that way.

The Obama administration and the Democrats (and to a lesser extent the GOP too) have been concentrating on getting the old beater started, arguing over whether they should use more ether or fill the float bowls again, and how long do we have to charge the battery before we can give 'er another crank--and haven't given a lick of thought to why doesn't the damn thing stay running?

The simple fact is, the blue model--socialism, in other words--doesn't work. There is simply not enough money in the world for even a plurality of people to be given a free ride, not in perpetuity. The entitlements have to be curtailed, because--like it or not--we are out of money. It's all downhill from here; our standard of living has reached its peak and from now on, if nothing changes, we're going to find ourselves getting more and more poor. And the Beltway types don't have any incentive to change it, because while we get poorer, they get richer.
That was in July of 2012. And it's still true today. Nothing has changed.

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Today is going to be another day of aggressively doing nothing, because I can, and because if I don't do it today it won't happen. To be honest I don't even know what I'm doing out of bed.