Friday, May 11, 2007

“Big Oil”, or Bigots?

This morning, the Washington Post headlines a story about gasoline and oil price concerns As Gas Prices Rise Again, Democrats Blame Big Oil.

Hoping to maximize their exposure, and their attempts to ingratiate themselves with the poor suffering fools we individual Americans supposedly are, at the mercy of “Big Oil” ya know, the Democrats took their act of incredulousness over gasoline pricing to the streets.

Standing in front of an Exxon station near the Capitol on Wednesday with the posted $3.05-a-gallon price for unleaded regular in the background, half a dozen senators railed against the oil industry.

The Democrats mentioned in the story - Pelosi, Cantwell, Schumer, Sanders, Stupak - all have their individual pet peeve about the oil industry, mostly that they earn money, and I think their raileries against the oil and gas industry are summed up rather well in this statement uttered by Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas.

“I think it shows that they’re either unbelievably naive about how markets work or unbelievably cynical.

Here’s a more sound idea for the Democrats, and the Republicans for that matter, on both the national and state level, to pursue.  Lower the amount of taxes Americans have to pay for a gallon of gas.

The currrent per gallon gasoline tax, nationally, averages 45.8 cents.  So the “near record high” quoted in the Times story of $3.05 a gallon effectually is only $2.60 per gallon, because both state and federal coffers are profiting to the tune of approximately 45 cents with each gallon pumped into your car.

Take a look at this pdf formatted chart of gasoline taxes, published by energy API, and see how much you’re paying the state and federal coffers, not “Big Oil,” each time you plug that gas spout in your tank, and think about how much of the price you are paying is actually NOT going to “Big Oil.”

Posted by John Venlet on 05/11 at 08:34 AM
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PC Mission Creep

Smoking, already driven outdoors in many cities, may possibly be driven underground.  You see, the Motion Picture Association of America, under pressure from various and sundry anti-smoking groups, has acquiesced to demands made upon them to consider smoking when rating a movie, utilizing the following subjective cues.

In deciding whether a tougher rating is appropriate, board members will be expected to consider whether smoking is pervasive, whether it tends to be glamorized and whether the context or historical fact mitigates the portrayal.

Expect the movies, very soon, to portray only the “bad” guys smoking.

But, it’s for the children, so it must be the left PC thing to do.  I think I’ll go have a smoke and a cup of coffee.

Puffing Away That PG Rating

Posted by John Venlet on 05/11 at 07:57 AM
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Is the U.S. Patent System in Trouble?

My knowledge of the U.S. patent system is relatively neglible, but I am well aware of how to utilize a gas pedal.  Though these two subjects seem rather incongruous, they are currently intertwined within a Supreme Court case, KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc.

According to a Boston Globe story titled Patently obvious, the U.S. patent system is being “jolted” by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the above mentioned case, and the ruling’s jolt factor hinges on the word “obvious.”

Obviously, due to my relatively negligible knowledge of the U.S. patent system, I do not have enough information to opine, one or the other, on the soundness of the court’s decision, but I will note that the court at least understood one obvious factor in the granting of a patent.

If an invention proves especially successful commercially, the court ruled in 1976, that suggests the invention must not have been obvious, or market pressures would have driven someone to come up with it earlier.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/11 at 07:40 AM
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