Sunday, June 29, 2008

A NY State gasoline reliefbate

The Center for American Progress has a proposal for helping households on the gas price increase. It calls it a "reliefbate", giving households a rebate check ranging from $453 for low-income houses to decreasing amounts at higher income levels.See below:
A Fuel Price “Reliefbate”Middle- and lower-income families need immediate help to cope with record fuel prices. We can help these families by providing a “fuel price reliefbate” check of up to $450, which will cover some or all of the higher fuel price costs faced by working families due to the increase in gas prices over the last seven years.
The fuel price reliefbate would be applied progressively to families who need it the most. The amount households in each income group would receive in offsets is calculated using the average annual fuel expenditure increase between 2001 and an estimate for 2008 (see methodology for more details). The fuel price reliefbate would reimburse 100 percent of the higher cost of gasoline since 2001—or $450—for families earning less than $10,000 per year. Families with higher incomes would receive a progressively smaller offset. Families earning $50,000 to $75,000 annually would receive $200 or one-fifth of the total annual average increase for gasoline between 2001 and 2008. And families earning more than $75,000 annually would receive no aid. Overall, this portion of the fuel price reliefbate would provide some reprieve to 80 percent of all households and cost $22 billion.
This proposal would also provide independent truckers with a $4,000 fuel price reliefbate, which would offset, albeit slightly, the exorbitant rise in diesel prices. This portion of the fuel price reliefbate would cost $1.2 billion. There are over 306,000 self-employed truck drivers who spend on average over $110,000 annually on fuel, driving an average of 130,000 plus miles per year. Each independent truck driver would get $4000, which is five percent of the difference between the annual 2001 fuel expenditure and an estimate of his/her fuel bill in 2008.
This short-term relief proposal should be followed by meaningful, long-term solutions.
Closing Tax Loopholes and Recovering Lost RoyaltiesThis fuel price reliefbate may sound like a lot of money, but it could easily be paid for by closing several oil tax loopholes and recovering lost royalties. The bipartisan “Energy Advancement and Investment Act of 2007” had several provisions to close tax loopholes and recover
Posted by gecannon on June 28, 2008 2:06 PM
In my post yesterday, I described the Center for American Progress's "reliefbate"-a progressive check to holdholds to help pay for increased gas prices.
Let's do this at the state level. Gov. Paterson should cost this out and announce the program in July. It would cost less than a $1 billion, but the monies can be found.
Paterson should announce this as an executive order, using already budgeted monies. He should ignore the dysfunctional legislature. They have already gone home anyhow.
Posted by gecannon on June 29, 2008 12:09 PM

Carole King, Upton Sinclair, Iraq and Big Oil

"Hidiho, Hydi,Hydi,Hydiho, going to get me a piece of the sky..."Carole King from Tapestry.
Hope everyone is cool this super Summer weekend.
The flick There Will Be Blood is engrossing. It's about oil. It's also about bloody violence in the early oil fields.It's also about the irrelevance of fundmentalist religion in opposing the oil market competition. It's an adoption of Upton Sinclair's Oil.
Daniel Day-Lewis is an awesome actor. This is not, however, a flick for children.
Is Upton Sinclair's muckraking still relevant in today's new Guilded Age. I think so.
Oil is also still relevant, at least for now. The violent oil wars are still visible. Our Irag preemptive war had alot to do with distroying Saddam's nationalized oil production. The ensuing religious civil war is a good replication of There Will Be Blood.
Big Oil joined Bush/Cheney in the Iraq invasion. Big Oil is now on the cusp of getting Iraq to agree to favorable no-bid oil contracts. Bush/Cheney are also pressuring Iraq to agree to our long-term military presence in Iraq to protect Big Oil. McCain is in Iraq now to pressure for this.
Everyone agrees on the need to transform our energy infrastructure. We need to move to a post-oil era. But that's like turning around a large ocean carrier.
Pessimists like my friend, the Saratoga suburban critic James Howard Kunstler, argue that all the alternatives to oil are marginal solutions. Some optimists disagree. Let's split the difference and hope that at least our reliance on imported oil can be eliminated.
As an aside, I rented Blood from a supermarket Redbox...those non-personal machines. Whe I returned it, the machine ate it and did not give credit for returning. When I called the Redbox #800 , I couldn't get a live person.
Help me here, Carole King and Upton!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some rambling political ruminations

SOME RAMBLING POLITICAL RUMINATIONS ON THIS WARM JUNE SATURDAY—————————————–***The Unity NH rally made for good pr. It should not imply that Obama will pick Hillary as vp (assuming she’s interested). Current polls show Obama doing very well against McCain in blue and swing states. If these polls hold in July, Obama has no incentive to consider Hillary.
***The subterranean creature, Joe McCarthy/Roy Cohn clone Roger Stone thinks the MTA chair has raised his NYC rent as payback for his alledged harassment of Eliot Spitzer’s dad. Stone doesn’t really undertand the deep politics involved here. I am using all of my modest clout to work to put Stone under his rock permanently.*****A Charles M. Blow has a NYT oped this morning arguing that McCain should not joke about his age. He uses recent surveys suggesting that 20% of the total national voters believe age is a negative for McCain.
If McCain wants to do another cameo on SNL, he can use the old man from Maine old age jokes printed on Daily Koz (with the old man saying even he knew what a fist bump was):
“Cheers and Jeers: Wednesdayby Bill in Portland MaineWed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:58:49 AM PDTFrom the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
I am an old man
My hair is gray, my bones are brittle, my skin is leather, my eyes are dim, my liver is pickled, my wrists are carpal tunneled, my libido is shot, my lips are botoxed, my toes are corned, my memory is fading, my nose is sprouting weeds, my bottom is diapered, my teeth are loose, my stomach is a bubbling cauldron of acid overproduction, my hips are flabby, my knees are knobby, my hands are spotted, my Amigo is being unloaded from the UPS truck as I speak, my AARP card is tattered and torn, my cardiologist is on speed-dial, my joints are calcified, my food tastes like wood, my mood is sour, my wattle flaps like a flag, my head shakes, my TV volume is set to 45, and I never plan anything more than a month in advance.
But even I know what a fist-bump is, E.D. Hill”
Comment by gecannonphd — June 28, 2008 @ 11:14 am
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Senator Joe Bruno's retirment and George Carlin

“…Live every day as if it’s your last and eventually it will be. You’ll be fully prepared…”
“”Politicans don’t decide things, they determine them….They don’t tell, they advise; they don’t answer, they respond; they don’t read, they review; they don’t form opinions, they determine positions; and they don’t give advice, they make recommendations….and so it is, after each politican has responded to other’s initiatives, and after they have reviewed their responses, made their judgments, determined their positions and offered their recommendations, they begin to approach the terrifying possibility that they now may actually be required to do something.”
George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

We wish Mr. Joe well in his remaining years. Mario Cuomo used to call him the best looking guy in the legislature. And so he was, and probably still is.
But he led a Senate GOP Conference that favored big government, or at least big spending on local schools, member items, and economic development.
The great schism within the national GOP is between the Big Gov. Wall Street, country club crowd and the main street ,anti-Wall Street, Ron Paul liberatarians.
Mr. Joe is a member of the former, not the latter

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Some political ruminations this rainy Sunday

Susan Arbetter, on NY Now, had the heavy hitters, as she described them. Fred Dicker, Karen DeWitt and Jay Gallagher . They all agreed that this Albany legislative session is very bad. Well, it is an election year.
Karen is such a lovable, delicate flower. She needs to be protected from Dicker; and Susan seems to do that.*****
"Politics is like takes three things to win. The first is money, and the second is money, and the third is money"Someone said this somewhere, at some time.
Obama has opted out of the public finance option. He could raise 300m-500m for the general election. Both Hillary and Obama spent close to $500m during the recent primary/caucus battle. It is obscene to be spending a billion to live in the WH.
Obama will not lose votes by rejecting public financing. But it is hyprocrisy to run as a reformer, and spend this amount to win.*****"It will be said of Bush...he was a far better politician than his father, but as a statesman and world leader, he could not carry the old man's loafers..."Pat Buchanan
I would not even go as far to say GW is a better politician than his father.
I really do think impeachment charges should be brought against both GW and Cheney. The subversion of the Constitution is no small matter; and there needs to be accountability for those doing the subversion,*****C-Span had a segment of a forum at the JFK Library on Robert Kennedy's last campaign. It is the 40th anniversary of the campaign. It is good to relive this 1968 traumatic year.
It is also perhaps good to remember that George Wallace was also anti-Vietnam war in 1968; and it contributed to his strong support that year. In fact, he campaigned on a pledge to pull the plug on the war in 90 days if it was not winnable. Of course, Wallace may have used nukes to win the war.
RFK's campaign was generally positive. Although one can get Kennedy fatigue easily.
There is the story of Jimmy Hoffa going to RFK's office when Robert was AG. Hoffa was kept waiting for over an hour, while Robert walked his dog. Outside the AG's office, Hoffa grapped RFK around the neck and would have likely choked him without others intervening.
The irony is that the reverse happened in 1960. In James Rosen's biography of John Mitchell, The Strong Man, the story is told that RFK went to Mitchell's office in 1960 to ask the strong man to manage his brother's presidential campaign. Mitchell kept RFK waiting and then threw him out of his office.
Speaking of the Kennedys, Mitchell, Nixon and Watergate, Geoff Shepard (a Nixon partisan) makes the case that Watergate was blown out of proportion as a plot by the Kennedy forces to make Ted Kennedy President (The Secret Plot to Make Ted Kennedy President:Inside the Real Watergate Conspiracy.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bush and Big Oil

Gov. Paterson renewed his call for a summer gas tax holiday. Senator Bruno drove a 13-gear diesel truck around the Capital.
Both actions provided nice media sound bites. Both were full of sound and fury. Both signified nothing.
The gas tax holiday is DOA. It was always a popular soundbite for politicos, but bad public policy. As some suggested, it's putting a band-aid over a tumor.
Bush's call for off-shore drilling is another sign of the Bush and Big Oil synergy.This synergy is also displayed in the news that Big Oil is about to close a deal on Iraquie no-bid contracts. That was what our invasion of Iraq was mostly about. The major goal was to destroy Iraq's nationalized oil operations; and return it to a free market for Big Oil.
Even if the off-shore oil can be extracted, it would take 5-10 years minimum to begin refining it. It could, at most, supply our domestic needs for 3-5 yrs. at most. See yesterday's NYT good editorial on this.
Off-shore drilling and tax holidays are political pandering. Transforming leadership would guide us into a post-petroleum world. Oil is the antiquated past. Renewable energy is the future.
The hugh spike in oil and gas prices are a wakeup call. It's a call for all of us to become "masters of our domaine" (as those lovable Seinfeld characters would say).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bush and Big Oil

The NYT reports today that the major oil majors are close to completing deals on no bid contracts in Iraq. ExxonMobil, Shell Total, BP , Chevron and others are involved.

Aren't these the same giants that Cheney met with secretly in the early Bush tenure?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The national and state polls are currently looking good for Obama. He is even up slighlty from McCain in Ohio, Florida, and Pa.
These polls seem to show that he does not need Hillary as VP to win. It's also unlikely that Hillary would want the job.
Look for a major October surprise from Bush and the GOP. One possibility would be the capture of Bin Laden. Another would be the bombing of Iran.

Fred Dicker, Albany's Deep Throat and Property Tax Caps

Fred Dicker defended his story that Gov. Paterson privately called Mayor Bloomberg a lier. Although Dicker alledges that he has a good source for this, the source remains Albany "deep throat" source.
It's a non-story. Politicians do lie..both big and small lies. If we put Bush's lies on the ground, they would stretch from Washington to Baghdad.
Dicker needs to give his reporting a bit higher emphasis.
Take the issue of property tax caps. Paterson and advocates are taking a narrow view on this. Think big! The Senate GOP Conference is floating the idea of eliminating the property tax entirely. Now that is pushing the envelope; thinking BIG!
Is the Confeence proposing to fund education through State revenues? Would a more progressive income tax provide the revenue?
Let's engage in a serious dialogue on this issue.