mm380: The return of cheap gasoline

May 15, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

…   Actually, it never left.

That’s right, faithful reader, that $3.899/gallon gasoline is still amazingly cheap.

That’s what yr (justifiably) humble svt paid yesterday to put 15 gallons of ExxonMobil’s 87 octane best into his mid-size sedan’s tank. Do the math. A Sunday paper less than $60.

Amazingly cheap, right?

Apparently so.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?
mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

I’ve seen this argument before; that compared with much of the rest of the world (except places like Mexico and Venezuela, where domestic prices are kept artificially low for political reasons), U.S. residents pay proportionately less to fuel their minivans and SUVs than most.

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mm373: Repairing the world? Start at home!

May 8, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Three days after first published, this column by Thomas Friedman is still among the NYTimes’ most emailed stories. I’ve had it on my shelf since then, thought its time might have passed, but the fact that it’s still in such strong circulation made it the perfect candidate for yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s post no. 400 at this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

In all the noise of an endless political season, Friedman discerns a message that obviously resonates with his audience.

nytimes

Who Will Tell the People?

Op-Ed Columnist | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN | Published: May 4, 2008

Traveling the country these past five months while writing a book, I’ve had my own opportunity to take the pulse, far from the campaign crowds. My own totally unscientific polling has left me feeling that if there is one overwhelming hunger in our country today it’s this: People want to do nation-building. They really do. But they want to do nation-building in America.

They are not only tired of nation-building in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with so little to show for it. They sense something deeper — that we’re just not that strong anymore. We’re borrowing money to shore up our banks from city-states called Dubai and Singapore. Our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage — as long as our forces are pinned down in Baghdad and our economy is pinned to Middle East oil.

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mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?*

May 5, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Surprisingly (to me at least) it’s been several weeks since we last looked at the nation’s recession. Maybe we were hoping that we would wake up and find it was all a bad, bad dream.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Basically, the time since Jan. 20, 2001 has been a bad, bad dream; our collective misfortune is that we’ve been experiencing it together. Okay, people, no more sushi from that place down the street!

But, about our recession. Did you catch the news that the unemployment numbers weren’t as desperately bad as predicted? These are the types of statistics examined by gimlet-eyed economists, whom I’m afraid function in much the same way (just different, more electrified tools) as witch doctors and soothsayers.

Consider the employment numbers as so much chicken entrails.

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