More trouble from Rita?
September 21, 2005 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Oh my. This could get very ugly.
posted by guidonDeBascogne (179 comments total)

 
A hurricane? You don't say.

Who knew hurricane was oilspeak for profit?
posted by fenriq at 5:31 PM on September 21, 2005


Holy crap. We might actually look back at Katrina and be thankful it gave us a wakeup call before this one came. The administration got the wakeup call... right? (*praying that it defuses and disappears*)
posted by VulcanMike at 5:35 PM on September 21, 2005


Somebody needs to unleash Hurricane Kyoto ASAP.
posted by fire&wings at 5:36 PM on September 21, 2005


I predict gas rationing by the end of the year. Well done, George! If he's already drinking again, imagine what this will do to him! (Note: that last link is from a dubious source, of course).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:37 PM on September 21, 2005


How long is it going to take to get FEMA into the area this time?
posted by bshort at 5:45 PM on September 21, 2005


Hopefully FEMA is already there, directly in the path of the eye.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 5:53 PM on September 21, 2005


Or, at least Brownie and the other FEMA cronies.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 5:53 PM on September 21, 2005


I just had a lovely image of Ann Coulter mooning Hurricane Rita and saying "See this? I want you to wreck it!"

And then the hurricane pukes all over itself and runs away. And Ann cries herself to sleep again.

What's wrong with me?
posted by fenriq at 5:54 PM on September 21, 2005


Could some of you guys at least attempt to type something humorous before hitting the post button? Seriously. Just give it a try sometime. This is a potentially serious national crisis compounded only by the devastation Katrina has already caused and your collective effort is shitty one-liners? Who are you trying to impress?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:55 PM on September 21, 2005


This CNN Money link has some interesting graphs.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:59 PM on September 21, 2005


Funny how Katrina hits and oil companies makes big profits, then Rita hits and no doubt they will make even higher profits. We have become a nation of crack whores. I hope this thing takes out every refinery in Texas. Anything to facilitate the inevitable move away from fossil fuels. Anything that will force some moron who has never ventured off road in his life to think twice about buying a 3 ton SUV is a good thing in my book. I welcome $5/gallon gasoline. Maybe then we can start building cities with sidewalks again.
posted by any major dude at 6:09 PM on September 21, 2005


dear SeizeTheDay,

Rita?! Damn near killed 'em!

sincerely,

shmegegge
posted by shmegegge at 6:12 PM on September 21, 2005


Rita MacNeil == Eat a big meal.

There, got that off my chest.
posted by furtive at 6:17 PM on September 21, 2005


Meanwhile, in the other hemisphere...
posted by gsteff at 6:19 PM on September 21, 2005


Now, on a serious note...

I wonder about the relief for this. You know, everyone loves NO. Even wrecked, we still love her. When it comes time to help NO, everyone but the government was ready and willing to pitch in.

But how much can we all give? It's been a short time since Katrina. I don't think people are going to be giving as much time/money to this one, even if the devastation is comparable/worse. If for no other reason than simply because they gave what they could 3 weeks ago.

Also, and this is pure speculation, here... At 9/11 there was tremendous support from all over the country, just like with Katrina. But that didn't stop the red state resentment of blue states that contributed fairly heavily to bush's voter base. As one article posted here mentioned (which I'm too lazy to look for), the red states cheered for a war on terror they were in no danger from. Terrorist attacks on this country had one target thus far: a blue state, and obvious potential targets: new york (again) and california (because of hollywood), that were also blue states.

I can't speak for everyone, but I know I resent the red states. No matter how many modified maps show me that most states are purple. I can't help it. Obviously I don't intend or want this to cause me to wish harm on Texas or support them any less because of it when this hits.

But... it kinda has. I can't afford to donate anything anyway (laid off), so it's moot, but do other folks find themselves feeling similarly? Do you all just kind of see this as Texas getting what's coming to it, no matter how much you don't want to feel that way? Hell, part of me wants this to force Texas to regret its fossil-fuel mania. Now that they'll only suffer from its effects like the rest of the country, rather than profit.

I feel bad saying this. Really.

[/novel]
posted by shmegegge at 6:23 PM on September 21, 2005


I correct something above: 2 targets ny and dc. didn't dc go blue last election? I don't remember. also, dc is another obvious terror target, still.
posted by shmegegge at 6:29 PM on September 21, 2005


sheegegge: Orleans Parish had a higher percentage vote for Kerry than any county in America, at 78 percent. Texas is said by some political scientists to be poised to be competition in party politics in about or within a decade, given the growing power of the Hispanic vote. Meanwhile, the hurricanes are and will be affecting the blue states in a huge way as well, so you might as well get over your stupid bullshit.
posted by raysmj at 6:34 PM on September 21, 2005


Shmegegge, you realize that you sound like this guy?

Sorry, but I'm in one of those blue areas of Texas.
posted by melt away at 6:35 PM on September 21, 2005


The sooner it hits 5 bucks a gallon the better.
posted by docpops at 6:36 PM on September 21, 2005


Correction: Orleans has among the very highest votes, percentage-wise, for Kerry. Some rural counties and San Fran/Manhattan, etc., were slightly higher. But Orleans Parish still beat frickin' Marin County, Ca. Not that this whole notion of Mother Nature punishing voters isn't ridiculous in the first place.
posted by raysmj at 6:39 PM on September 21, 2005


The sooner it hits 5 bucks a gallon the better.
posted by docpops at 9:36 PM EST on September 21 [!]


Agreed. Less driving, less traffic, less noise, less accidents, less pollution, less dependence on foreign oil. Full speed ahead with the hurricanes, God.
posted by Rothko at 6:42 PM on September 21, 2005


docpops: but then it will cost $200 to fill my SUV!
posted by wakko at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2005


Accepting another Katrina-level disaster this soon is a bit too much for me right now. I welcome the one-liners, and pray that we don't have another dozen threads where we must be tragically concerned.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:44 PM on September 21, 2005


But how much can we all give?

Maybe this time the American government will have to cut into their pork budget for emergency relief. God forbid.
posted by mek at 6:44 PM on September 21, 2005


And on that note, it's probably time to pull that rusty bike out of the basement and make sure the VPN is working.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:44 PM on September 21, 2005


This storm may in fact set the record for lowest pressure ever recorded in an Atlantic storm.

Katrina was #4 (as of a few hours ago, it's now #5.)
posted by wakko at 6:46 PM on September 21, 2005


shmegegge: You're entitled to feel anything you want. But it's definitely good - I guess - that you know that what you're feel is bullshit. melt away is right - you sound like an Evangelical Christian blaming the sodomites, or even an Islamic terrorist blaming US foreign policy. How about we blame it on weather? And science? And the fact that hurricanes always happen?

If you look for greater meaning, be careful. You're bound to spout off whatever political drivel you're into at that time and say, "See? This big nasty thing happened because [insert people you don't like] were asking for it." Seriously, I understand your gut may lead you one way, and that's fine. But your mind should step in at some point and tell you that your gut is a douche.

Although, if you want to believe there is something insidious about the fact that all of these nasty hurricanes recently have, I don't know - GIRL'S NAMES??? Hmmmm??? Well, dude, I totally hear that!
posted by billysumday at 6:47 PM on September 21, 2005


...as per usual, everyone hates Houston.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:48 PM on September 21, 2005


The funny thing is, even if this turns into a huge disaster, it won't change America's focus on oil as a solution to all energy problems.
posted by nightchrome at 6:49 PM on September 21, 2005


Why has this never been a problem before?
posted by 517 at 6:50 PM on September 21, 2005


melt away: My point wasn't to say anything about storms punishing anyone. My point was to ask whether people foresee a shortage of public financial/labor support for texas. sorry if I misrepresented myself. I was saying that, despite myself, I saw texas' coming disaster as evoking too little sympathy from me.

raysmj: you're an ass.

Seriously, what the fuck? there are people here who are congratulating the storm and praying for massive damage in texas, and they get nothing. I actually demonstrate some level of personal regret and shame for feeling badly towards a state that, intellectually, I know isn't bad and I get jumped on? fuck you.
posted by shmegegge at 6:51 PM on September 21, 2005


Why has this never been a problem before

Because gay people never wanted to get married before...
posted by any major dude at 6:54 PM on September 21, 2005


billysumday: I am completely blown away by the fact that I failed to see that in my own post. Seriously, that just wasn't what I was trying to say. Now I see it, obviously, but I wasn't trying to say "Texas is getting what it deserves," but rather to say "Texas isn't getting enough of my sympathy because I resent red states. That's fucked up, and I wonder if I represent any kind of trend for texas' relief in the near future."

really sorry. I'm not even religious. I'm agnostic.
posted by shmegegge at 6:55 PM on September 21, 2005


All you people rooting for $5/gallon gas don't realize how badly that will hurt everyone, not just those evil white suburbanites with SUVs.
posted by keswick at 6:55 PM on September 21, 2005


I heard something on NPR today about the increase in gas prices after Katrina being artificial and that the SEC was considering defining "price gouging."

I'm sure nothing will come of it.
posted by 517 at 6:58 PM on September 21, 2005


What I am about to say is bullshit and everyone feel free to say that it is,

but a smaaaallll part of my mind thinks... of course texas is going to be better taken care of, it is Bush's home state. I fully realize the nastiness of that thought and I don't hold it as truth, but it was there.
posted by edgeways at 6:58 PM on September 21, 2005


517, Sen Dayton (D-MN) introduced a bill to define price gouging and make it a felony. He has also asked Bush et all to investigate the allegations of gouging, but has not got a response as of yet
posted by edgeways at 7:00 PM on September 21, 2005


shmegegge: Well, your comment, Do you all just kind of see this as Texas getting what's coming to it, no matter how much you don't want to feel that way? seemed to imply that you thought states accrue karma and then in turn get 'what's coming to it' in the form of natural disasters.

I can see your point about people not wanting to help as much this time around. Over-saturation of Katrina coverage on TV for one thing. I'm frankly sick of watching the news. I don't know if I could stomach watching more despair, carnage, wreckage, poverty, hopelessness, etc. Let's hope Rita loses steam. Even if that means - omigod! - it saves some oil platforms.
posted by billysumday at 7:00 PM on September 21, 2005


All you people rooting for $5/gallon gas don't realize how badly that will hurt everyone, not just those evil white suburbanites with SUVs.
posted by keswick at 9:55 PM EST on September 21 [!]


It's time to get off the oil teat and start putting elbow grease into alternatives. The only way that will happen is when gas hurts the pocketbook of evil white suburbanites with SUVs.
posted by Rothko at 7:00 PM on September 21, 2005


Rothko: ....Full speed ahead with the hurricanes, God."

It isn't like I didn't already think you were a fucktard, Alex, but for crying out loud.

I suppose I should be more worried about my roof getting ripped off this weekend than by a few comments here, but I have to say that those of you who seem gleeful about this storm because it raises the prospect of $5 a gallon gasoline can kiss my ass. Repeatedly.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:02 PM on September 21, 2005


Come on. Can't you people see that it's the 18 cents of Federal Tax in that 5 dollar gallon that is really hurting you, not the oil companies profits.

If I hear one more thing about reducing the taxes on gas solving any problems...
posted by 517 at 7:03 PM on September 21, 2005


billysumday:

Well, your comment, Do you all just kind of see this as Texas getting what's coming to it, no matter how much you don't want to feel that way? seemed to imply that you thought states accrue karma and then in turn get 'what's coming to it' in the form of natural disasters.

Yeah, I see it now. It's a shame, because I really wasn't trying to say that the storm was predestined or intelligently directed or anything. oh well.
posted by shmegegge at 7:03 PM on September 21, 2005


All you people rooting for $5/gallon gas don't realize how badly that will hurt everyone, not just those evil white suburbanites with SUVs.

Keswick, better us than our children and grandchildren. I'd rather the painful transition be reckoned mostly by the people who used the oil than those who come after.
posted by any major dude at 7:04 PM on September 21, 2005


John Smallberries:

Thank you for calling him Alex. Sometimes I wish that at least one person will bring up that Rothko is Alex_Reynolds in every thread he participates in.
posted by shmegegge at 7:05 PM on September 21, 2005


I wouldn't drive any different if gas were $5/gallon, but I sure would bitch about it a lot more.
posted by smackfu at 7:06 PM on September 21, 2005


Agreed. Less driving, less traffic, less noise, less accidents, less pollution, less dependence on foreign oil. Full speed ahead with the hurricanes, God.

Five dollar gallon gas means the price of your organic produce and granola is going to go up, too, you fucking pinko.
posted by kjh at 7:08 PM on September 21, 2005


and the price of EVERYTHING ELSE.
posted by shmegegge at 7:11 PM on September 21, 2005


Cool! Now we're all, like, complacent about hurricanes too.
posted by bobloblaw at 7:13 PM on September 21, 2005


I'm not oblivious to the hurt it will put on the average consumer, but gas at three dollars a gallon hurts pretty fucking bad for a typical commuter, and people still don't seem motivated to push for alternative energy. And anything that makes people break out of their cognitive dissonance and admit that they elected someone that absolutely, truly, totally has his own cock in his mouth and can't make even the most basic sensible energy policy without giving a reacharound to big oil is a good, good thing.
posted by docpops at 7:13 PM on September 21, 2005


the SEC was considering defining "price gouging."

Why would the SEC do such a thing?

(Price gouging) is an intentionally vague and deceptive, morally abstruse, and economically harmful concept, but for those very reasons, it must be taken seriously.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:16 PM on September 21, 2005


I welcome $5/gallon gasoline. Maybe then we can start building cities with sidewalks again.

You and Rothko are not very bright, are you? What do you suppose the machines that build the cities and the sidewalks run on? Tofu? Do you think only SUV drivers use all the other shit that is made out of oil, like fertilizer or plastics? Or the same damn asphalt sidewalks that will cure all our ills?
posted by c13 at 7:17 PM on September 21, 2005


If gas is so expensive how will Google techs be able to drive to each building in all of America and provide us free intardnet?!!! Noooooooo!!!!
posted by evilelvis at 7:17 PM on September 21, 2005


If strangers that I don't even know suffering untold pain, loss, misery and heartbreak is what it takes to advance a political agenda I agree with, that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

/snark

I am just aching for the people of Texas and for the poor survivors of Katrina who are having to run again. I sincerely hope that the storm blows out before it hits land. Good luck, Texas.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:17 PM on September 21, 2005


Anything, docpops? No matter whether it kills a goodly number of people, and leaves thousands homeless and destitute, with everything they've worked for gone overnight?

Anything?

I repeat - kiss my ass.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:18 PM on September 21, 2005


I suppose I should be more worried about my roof getting ripped off this weekend than by a few comments here, but I have to say that those of you who seem gleeful about this storm because it raises the prospect of $5 a gallon gasoline can kiss my ass. Repeatedly.
posted by John Smallberries at 10:02 PM EST on September 21 [!]


I think that kind of short-term thinking is why we're in these messes to begin with. But I'm a "fucktard", right, so that concept isn't allowed to fly here.

Thank you for calling him Alex. Sometimes I wish that at least one person will bring up that Rothko is Alex_Reynolds in every thread he participates in.
posted by shmegegge at 10:05 PM EST on September 21 [!]


That's a rich comment from you, given this coming out of your mouth:

Do you all just kind of see this as Texas getting what's coming to it, no matter how much you don't want to feel that way? Hell, part of me wants this to force Texas to regret its fossil-fuel mania. Now that they'll only suffer from its effects like the rest of the country, rather than profit.

Pot meet kettle, fellow "fucktard".
posted by Rothko at 7:19 PM on September 21, 2005


Short term thinking? Yeah, I guess my concern over whether my disabled mother's townhome (and only asset) will be scoured off it's foundation IS rather a short term concern.

You may not be alone in the fucktard category, but shmegegge isn't your compatriot there. Your post reeks of Schadenfreude. His doesn't.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:24 PM on September 21, 2005


You and Rothko are not very bright, are you? What do you suppose the machines that build the cities and the sidewalks run on? Tofu? Do you think only SUV drivers use all the other shit that is made out of oil, like fertilizer or plastics? Or the same damn asphalt sidewalks that will cure all our ills?
posted by c13 at 10:17 PM EST on September 21 [!]


You're not very bright, are you? Do you actually think the market price paid for all those items actually reflects the subsidized cost of gasoline paid today? Where do you think that oil comes from? The oil fairy?

Higher energy prices would put market pressure on lots of good things: locally produced food and goods, improved energy efficiency, lower pollution, smarter labor pool.

Our country would actually have to make things again, instead of being reliant on the good graces of our neighbors.
posted by Rothko at 7:25 PM on September 21, 2005


Five dollar gallon gas means the price of your organic produce and granola is going to go up, too, you fucking pinko
Fucking pinko? Glad you joined the conversation.

Anyway, we need a petroleum alternative someday -- I think the sentiment of "sooner the better" is not particularly displaced.

You and Rothko are not very bright, are you?

Nice, call em dumb and flex your forehead muscles. Hey dood, newsflash. Just because we make a shitload more from oil than gasoline doesn't change the fact that we're gonna need an alternative.
posted by undule at 7:25 PM on September 21, 2005


er, just how old are you guys anyway?
posted by edgeways at 7:25 PM on September 21, 2005


Your post reeks of Schadenfreude. His doesn't.
posted by John Smallberries at 10:24 PM EST on September 21 [!]


Keep telling yourself that and maybe it'll come true.
posted by Rothko at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2005


so, when $5 a gallon gas actually does happen, it will be the fault of the blue?

i am lol-ing
posted by wakko at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2005


rothko: I actually express some form of regret for feeling that way, though. I still have sympathy for texas, it's just poisoned by something that I, frankly, wish I didn't feel. Furthermore, I was bringing it up to find out if anyone thought that enough other people might feel similarly to hurt the relief that Texas deserves and will eventually need.

Your views are not only celebrating a fucking NATURAL DISASTER, but doing so for foolish reasons. A hurricane isn't going to wake up america to its fuel crisis. No matter what is destroyed in Texas, it won't cause joe hummer-driver to repent. The only thing that will is going to be the moment when people stop being able to buy the fuel they need, no matter what the price.

It's like saying Katrina will spark a worldwide effort to strengthen levies. Idiotic. Frankly, I suspect trolling. But then, you are Alex_Reynolds.
posted by shmegegge at 7:29 PM on September 21, 2005


Oh my. This could get very ugly.

Wait, the hurricane or this thread?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:30 PM on September 21, 2005


er, just how old are you guys anyway?

I'm ten but my mom says I'm really smart. I'm going to take the SAT's next month and over the summer I went to this camp, it was like a camp for smart kids, and I beat the counselor at chess.
posted by billysumday at 7:31 PM on September 21, 2005


John Smallberries,

No one here is gleeful at all about the thought of another hurricane. The third fucking link in the FPP was about the effect of the hurricane on the price of gas. But guess what? Whether or not I care about your well-being in a hurricane is moot, because it's clear that most of America could care less what happens as long as they can fill up their tanks and get cheap shit at the Megamall. I can't do a goddamn thing about the weather, but if gas crosses three or four or five dollars we may - may - finally see some conservation take the stress off the supply chain.

The sad reality is that time and again this administration equates leadership on alternative energy research and implementation akin to donning a floral dress and skipping through a field of daisies. If they can't make sensible decisions out of foresight and concern for future generations, then maybe they'll do it when their poll numbers look like turds floating in the toilet.
posted by docpops at 7:32 PM on September 21, 2005


Frankly, I suspect trolling. But then, you are Alex_Reynolds.
posted by shmegegge at 10:29 PM EST on September 21 [!]


Didn't you get the memo? Trolling != disagreement.
posted by Rothko at 7:33 PM on September 21, 2005


Docpops, this administration has its head so far up its ass it can revisit last night's dinner. No arguments there. In regards to American energy policy, pretty much every adminstration since Carter has at best played pocket pool on the issue.

That doesn't make a natural disaster a good thing. I would guess that most folks hereabouts would agree with the proposition that the ends do NOT justify the means.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:36 PM on September 21, 2005


Kwanstar Defining it legally. Apparently it was the FTC, which does make more sense.
posted by 517 at 7:36 PM on September 21, 2005


What's the Alex_Reynolds thing?
posted by undule at 7:38 PM on September 21, 2005


As a tofu-eating, automobile-loathing ex Texan (who still has tons of friends and family there), I hereby invite all of you to kiss my

god - you know what? Nevermind. It's not worth it.
posted by item at 7:40 PM on September 21, 2005


Yes let's all start making things here so that our highly educated workforce can do menial tasks like stitch together t-shirts. And let's force the poor into small apartments, remember the last century? Yeah where instead of being able to move into a trailer or small house there were several families packed into apartments? Let's not forget all the luxury goods (laptop, iPod) we have now that we can spend time to develop and use in our free time because we have found a cheap source of energy.

It's not like there's some other kind of magical energy source out there that the evil oil companies are keeping away from us that will make everyone live in the city, get along and not drive cars. Cheap oil has brought millions, perhaps billions out of poverty. Look at India and China now and look at them 30 years ago. Would this have been possible without oil? No oil is cheap, abundant and poweful. It has the unfortunate side effect of polluting our environment which we do need to work on, but if I had the choice between pre-Industrial society with no cheap energy or what we have now I'd chose now in a heart beat.

But you know, a few people who abuse the environment in their Hummers means we should hope for $5/gallon gas, right?
posted by geoff. at 7:43 PM on September 21, 2005


John S- If you are indeed in the path of this hurricane then I hope everything goes OK. The end doesn't justify the means if the means were something anyone could have altered. But by that same notion, if airport security was modelled on El Al and cockpit doors were actually reinforced, amongst other things, then I could even listen to Bush invoke 9/11 for another one of his ill-conceived endeavors without throwing up.
posted by docpops at 7:44 PM on September 21, 2005


docpops:

I sympathize with your hope that gas conservation will actually help us out, but I just went and looked up a gas price chart for the last 2 1/2 years. here.

Now, if gas went up to $5/gallon, there would certainly be a lot of people hurt enough to change their private spending and travel policies, but that graph shows that people haven't really changed too much after having their gas prices almost DOUBLE in 2 years. the last year has seen literally exponential price inreases. a sudden rise to 5 dollars? hell, it's just coninuing the trend.

admittedly, I might just be cynical.
posted by shmegegge at 7:47 PM on September 21, 2005


if gas crosses three or four or five dollars we may - may - finally see some conservation take the stress off the supply chain.

Really? So people will just stop driving to work? All those millions that are barely making it from month to month are going to trade in their cars for a Prius? Do you really think that they "get cheap shit at the Megamall" because they LIKE it? And when gas gets to $5, they will have enough disposable income to by local organic shit that is twice as expensive?
In this country one has to be really well off to be able to afford living a "simple life" and have a "small footprint". Not everyone gets several hundred grand a year. And $5 dollar gas is not going to change it.

On privew: as far as Administration goes, you're preaching to the choir here. Unfortunately they are not the ones living in suburbs and consuming all the oil.
posted by c13 at 7:49 PM on September 21, 2005


Wow, geoff, if that's really what people are using as an argument against oil conservation then we are truly fucked. You sound like the loggers around here that refuse to accept that they can't sustain a career for another generation that consists of getting paid for spending days in the woods clear-cutting forests when machines can do it for far less and their nearest tract of forest land has the last stands of three hundred year old doug firs left in the state. No one is saying it's easy, or fair, or certainly that oil won't be a critical element of a forward-moving society, but only a cretin would hold to the idea that our current usage patterns are sustainable. Your kids will be confronting this disaster if you and I aren't willing to.
posted by docpops at 7:50 PM on September 21, 2005


No, you see, $5 gas is good because everyone will move back into the cities and we will produce stuff locally. Rooftop gardens will magically feed the population of New York, and we won't need to truck stuff into the cities at all. There won't be any cars in the cities at all, as a matter of fact, just fancy rail cars that don't require oil to power, lubricate, or manufacture.
posted by keswick at 7:55 PM on September 21, 2005


c13,

I totally agree. It will be horrible. I mean it. But what would you say is necessary for people to accept change? We've shown people won't get ahead of a problem and won't act on it at all unless they are personally affected by it. Oil dependence makes us a weak nation, it makes us vulnerable, and it gets our sons and daughters slaughtered on moonscapes halfway around the world. Confronting poverty over a daily commute might be the one thing that dissipates the white noise of 'morality' and 'taxation' and all the other bullshit of Presidential campaigns in favor of someone willing to take a leadership position on the seminal issue of the twenty-first century.
posted by docpops at 7:56 PM on September 21, 2005


Well back to Rita... good grief, the bugger is huge!!!
posted by edgeways at 7:56 PM on September 21, 2005


geoff:

oil is cheap, abundant and poweful.

are you kidding? I mean, it's cheap in the US, but you know that england, for example, is already paying over 6 US dollars a gallon at the pump? and abundant? maybe you haven't heard, but it's a finite and rapidly diminishing resource. abundant is an adjective that only oil execs are using to describe oil right now.

and the rest of that hysteria... christ. It's not like we're talking about abandoning long distance travel all together. We're talking about actually focusing on alternative fuel development. Also, the poorest towns in this country are usually places where factories closed. Those people could definitely do with some more domestic manufacturing. Hell, not to mention Detroit. how many decades has that town suffered from the departure of the majority of this country's auto business, now?
posted by shmegegge at 7:57 PM on September 21, 2005


geoff wrote:

And let's force the poor into small apartments, remember the last century?

out of sight out of mind huh geoff? Those exploited workers didn't just disappear because of that magical black gold appeared, it just gave us (and our collective American conscience) the ability to move that problem so far away that ignorant morons like Kathy Lee Gifford gleefully lent their name as a sponsor to that type of exploitation. At least when it happened right under our noses it allowed heroes like Mother Jones to publicize the problem - which in turn no doubt led to the offshoring of the problem. Out of sight out of mind...
posted by any major dude at 7:59 PM on September 21, 2005


docpops, by no means am I using that as an argument against conservation of oil, I'm saying that cheap oil has provided more benefits than ill to our society. I specifically stated that there are those who don't conserve and drive around in Hummers on Sunday for fun. You can insert oil for any non-usable resource in existence. Are we not buying tungsten light bulbs anymore? What about buildings made of steel, are we trying to cut back on that? There's a stark difference between being wasteful and simply using a resource to enable a society to raise its own condition. I think those wishing for higher gas prices for some reason fail to see who it will hurt. What exactly will gas prices accomplish? Are the rich living better or worse than they did a hundred years ago? Do we look back and compare Vanderbilt and Gates going "Gee, look how far we've come" or do we look back on the immigrant family suffering in horrid conditions and the average immigrant family now that benefits from increases in technology and cheap energy?

Or we can hope for higher gas prices, leading to conservation and hopefully the discovery another viable energy alternative -- in the interim the shift will be hard for some but better we bear the burden?
posted by geoff. at 8:00 PM on September 21, 2005


This thread hurts my brain.
posted by sian at 8:00 PM on September 21, 2005


shmegegge and c13 got it. what is this? hurricanes = higher gas prices = good, because it speeds renewables? wtf? do you cheer when soldiers die in iraq or prisoners get tortured at guantanamo because it makes the administration look bad?

i'm in austin. i'm a fairly well-off middle class white twentysomething male, and this is pretty frightening to me. but after all this, i'll probably be alive, and i'll still be able to make ends meet, in all likelihood.

rothko/alex/others, no one is claiming that oil dependency is a good thing. but keep in mind that we here are in a privileged position, where we're actually not as dependent on people who, as c13 says, are living month-to-month. those people didn't ask for the oil infrastructure, but they're stuck with it, and they're the ones who're at its mercy, not us.

not so coincidentally, many of those people are the same ones whose livelihoods were destroyed by katrina and will be destroyed by rita. and if things get bad for those of us with the luxury of the internet, i assure you that it will be many, many times worse for them.

so please, don't make light of the situation by cheering. it's not trolling, it's just insensitive. if you want to push renewables, write your congressman. cheering on death and destruction because it fits your political agenda is the sort of thing that we lefties get caricatured for -- and for good reason. we don't want anything to do with you. go elsewhere with your ignorance.
posted by spiderwire at 8:05 PM on September 21, 2005


but you know that england, for example, is already paying over 6 US dollars a gallon at the pump?

Perhaps doing the same thing here would be a better way to raise the price of gasoline to something y'all would find acceptable? That might kill fewer people than having God send these giant vortices to wipe the oil industry off the gulf coast. Just a suggestion, you know. For those of you who appear, far as I can tell, though I'm still not sure I really believe it, to be arguing seriously that the hurricane is somehow helpful.
posted by sfenders at 8:05 PM on September 21, 2005


Docpops, you know what happens to a bacterial population at the end of the log phase, right? Do you think we are different? I'm afraid that the magnitude of the change will be so great that most people will never accept it. At any rate, the change must come very, very slowly, otherwise the society will not be able to handle it. But there isn't time..
posted by c13 at 8:06 PM on September 21, 2005


geoff: Or we can hope for higher gas prices, leading to conservation and hopefully the discovery another viable energy alternative -- in the interim the shift will be hard for some but better we bear the burden?

that's a far cry from saying "bring on the hurricanes."

maybe you should all be a little more specific about the acceptable conditions under which you'd be willing to tolerate the advent of higher gas prices, as well as the potential human costs. that way we can separate those who are trying to find the silver lining from the morons.
posted by spiderwire at 8:07 PM on September 21, 2005


shmegegge, yes abundant. Look how much were pumping out every day, look how much is left (in both light and heavy crude). Look how much has been pumped, what else besides water lies in such easy access?

any major dude, out of sight? Out of mind? Are you insinuating that the third world countries are not increasing? Unfortunately we cannot bring the third world out of poverty overnight but have you not been following on the increasing Chinese/Indian threat? Two major countries that export us in these prices? India and China are now taking R&D jobs for American firms. Yes poverty still exists there but nowhere near the levels it once was, as in the US poverty levels are nowhere near where they are.

Sorry to bail out but I'll see this thread sometime tomorrow morning.
posted by geoff. at 8:09 PM on September 21, 2005


this is interesting ... this hurricane's hundreds of miles from land and it's already caused one train wreck

people are really confirming my worst suspicions about what they think really matters here ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:10 PM on September 21, 2005


that should read: increasing economically
posted by geoff. at 8:10 PM on September 21, 2005


and as far as people being able to afford to ditch their cars... fwiw:

I lived in new jersey until this april. fortunately, I lived near a train station into nyc (which boosted rent) that I could walk to, but I drove into nyc every day to work. It took between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to commute each direction every day. My car, a civic so not too expensive, was costing me between 600 and 750 dollars every month to own, between loans, gas, insurance, tolls and what have you. Eventually, when gas prices rose, I sold the car to my dad for the blue book value, (he was kind enough not to haggle with me) and canceled the insurance then paid off the loan. I started taking the train to work every day, so my monthly commute was now a 200 dollar expense. The ONLY reason I was able to do this, however, was because my girlfriend, with whom I live, had a car that had been handed down to her by her parents which she drove to work locally. We did all our grocery shopping and additional travel with that car because our neighborhood had no grocery stores within walking distance.

So, even though I did precisely what a lot of people are hoping America will do if forced to, the only reason I was able to was because a) I had a parent who could afford to take the expense off my hands, basically. b) I had a gf/roommate with a more affordable vehicle that we could split the expense of. and c) I was walking distance to public transportation to a major city.

without even ONE of those things I could have had to keep the car no matter how bad gas prices got. How many americans do you think are in the position I was lucky enough to be in? there's a lot more to our fuel problem than just people driving suvs. It's naive to think rita will help us get off our dependency like some kind of terrible magic wand.
posted by shmegegge at 8:12 PM on September 21, 2005


Ah crap a ton of grammer/spelling errors. Oh well I'm off to bed. Where I dream of big smoke stacks filling the sky with their black, black loving clouds.
posted by geoff. at 8:13 PM on September 21, 2005


And one more thing. What will all those people do when they can no loger afford gas or cheap Wallmart shit, or McBoxes in suburbs? With all those guns laying around? How long will peacefull, environmentally sound, bike-riding, local-organic communities last?
posted by c13 at 8:13 PM on September 21, 2005


that should read: "And then I cancelled the insurance and paid off the loan."

my dad did not pay my loan off for me, although I used the money he paid me for the car to do so.
posted by shmegegge at 8:15 PM on September 21, 2005


Meanwhile, on a recent trip to New Jersey, I was chased down by a member of the Red Cross. I thought she was going to ask for a donation, but instead, she handed me a niffty bag with the Red Cross logo on it. Inside were ALL sorts of disaster preparation pamphlets and phone numbers. I hope she wasn't trying to warn me that New Jersey is on the hit list.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:18 PM on September 21, 2005


Is there such a thing as carma?
posted by 31d1 at 8:19 PM on September 21, 2005


*karma*
posted by 31d1 at 8:19 PM on September 21, 2005


Let's just clarify something here. Suburbanites with large vehicles are an easy scapegoat, but I have to imagine that the goods transportation system in this country consumes A LOT more oil every year. That means that even if you don't drive a car yourself, you still contribute quite a bit in terms of pollution and oil dependence, just much less directly. This also means that when oil hits $5/gallon it wont be the suburbanites crying out for sympathy while the urbanites sit back and cackle gleefully; rather, the suburbs will probably feel less of an effect since suburban people typically have more disposable income.

All I'm saying is that it's easy to sit back and point fingers at obvious targets but it's much harder to understand how you fit into the puzzle, and much harder still to realize how deeply you're going to be affected, and how much sooner it's going to hit you than Joe McBurb.
posted by baphomet at 8:20 PM on September 21, 2005


Where did I put that booze?...*rummage*rummage*...Ahh!
posted by kuatto at 8:30 PM on September 21, 2005


It's not just that many sububanities commute with way more vehicile than they need. A lot of them have chronic cases of NIMBY and busy bodiness. What I mean is it is not unusual in many housing developments for the nearest place to buy milk and eggs to be a five minute car drive away. Many residents would have a heart attack if you proposed putting a convience store within walking distance. Suburbs also tend to have huge manicured front lawns that no one ever walks on, streets with no sidewalks, rules against easy enviromental measures like clothes lines, windmills and vegetable gardens. Many of these communities are going to look like the abandoned areas of Detroit as gas continues to ramp up.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 PM on September 21, 2005


"Look how much were [sic] pumping out every day, look how much is left (in both light and heavy crude)."

We actually don't know how much is left, because OPEC's actual reserve numbers are state secrets.

Here's the deal, geoff. Oil has been cheap, abundant and powerful, most definitely. It has improved things immensely over the last 100 years.

That is not going to last much longer - at least, not the "cheap" part. The key thing is that while there's still plenty of oil available in various forms - tar sands, oil shales and heavy crude reserves, as well as coal-to-liquid fuel processes - the CHEAP oil is not going to last for too much longer.

Which means sooner than later, all the fallout from expensive energy is going to hit all of us, everywhere in the world. I hate to think of the destruction of these hurricanes, I hate to think about hundreds of thousands of homeless people, I hate to think about the economic problems that are coming up, but people really need to be slapped out of their complacency. I don't like it any more than you do.

It's going to be a hell of a lot worse if we just keep on blithely guzzling down gasoline to drive cars everywhere, as opposed to starting real conservation efforts and work on every type of alternative possible - from efficient mass transit to very high-mileage engines and different fuels - to try to ameliorate the damage. It sucks that it will take the pain of natural disasters and economic hardship to wake people up, but frankly that's how humans (collectively) learn things - just like we learn not to put our hands in the stove flame when we're little kids, by trying it and getting burned.

And now that Rita is blowing at 175+ mph, and slamming through much of the same oil and gas production area as Katrina, the platforms and pipelines that were damaged by Katrina will take an even bigger hit this time, and ones that survived undamaged are gonna get mangled.

This is going to be rough, we are all going to be affected. Think now about how you will respond to it. If you drive a low-mileage vehicle, please reconsider.

For the record, I ride a motorcycle for almost all my miles, at 45 mpg. I do own a 60's muscle car that gets about 12 mpg, but I drive that very rarely.

Crossing my fingers that Rita calms down.

baphomet: "I have to imagine that the goods transportation system in this country consumes A LOT more oil every year."

Um, not really. 50% of our oil use is gasoline for our cars. Goods are mostly transported by trucks, which run on diesel. But the whining you're referring to is already happening, as truckers are now paying $3.50+ a gallon for diesel fuel - the price has skyrocketed and is showing no signs of slacking, as "distillate fuels," which include diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, and home heating oil, are in relatively tight supply, and there is zero spare refining capacity for those fuels. The Katrina mess didn't help that at all, and neither will Rita.

Mitheral:
"Many of these communities are going to look like the abandoned areas of Detroit as gas continues to ramp up."

You got that right, brother. That's going to be the biggest hit to our economy, which gets a HUGE contribution from "housing starts" and the mortgage business - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with trillions of dollars in outstanding loans. Neighborhoods like you describe will, as you say, no longer be livable if motor fuel is too expensive, and all those McMansions will be essentially worthless. Poof, no more housing starts.

Very very bad. I really hope we can slow the slide.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:53 PM on September 21, 2005


are you kidding? I mean, it's cheap in the US, but you know that england, for example, is already paying over 6 US dollars a gallon at the pump?

That's why they don't have iPods in England.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:56 PM on September 21, 2005


some of you guys are disgusting. some of you are rational... all i know, just like Katrina, is i have friends in harms way.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:59 PM on September 21, 2005


This thread eats its young.
posted by klangklangston at 9:00 PM on September 21, 2005


'Burds exist that don't allow veggie gardens? Egh, we really are going bad. Odd that every home still has a bathroom, you would think people living that way would not even have BMs. The terrible reality of it all!
posted by buzzman at 9:03 PM on September 21, 2005


'Burbs.
posted by buzzman at 9:04 PM on September 21, 2005


Hmm... None of these hurricanes has hit a blue state yet. Perhaps somebody up there wasn't too pleased with the 2004 election.
posted by jonp72 at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2005


I am not sure when this thread hijack began... but we are where we are... deal with it.

Texas will be hurting soon. and if you fuckers want to help, instead of bitching about gas and policy. Help out.

Theory helps those comfortable souls away from danger. After the storm, we will see. We will all have to deal with the same shit, 5 dollars or not.
posted by Benway at 9:15 PM on September 21, 2005


buzzman writes "exist that don't allow veggie gardens?"

Lots of HOAs only permit "approved" landscaping which rarely includes potatoes, carrots, corn, rutabagus etc. A place my aunt use to live didn't allow composting. 'Course you couldn't park on the street in front of her house over night either; heaven forbid you have a more than a couple people come for a visit at the same time.
posted by Mitheral at 9:17 PM on September 21, 2005


Well, it hasn't hit anything yet. So you might want to get off the soapbox for now.
Besides, some of us just want to bitch.
posted by c13 at 9:18 PM on September 21, 2005


Heed your own advice. and Karma's a bitch... take her
posted by Benway at 9:21 PM on September 21, 2005


This thread eats its young.

actually, I was just thinking how this thread may be the first instance I can remember where a trainwreck magically righted itself after the fact and became a civil discussion. the last bunch of comments have been awfully calm and reasoned ones, even though there is still disagreement.

funny that. it happened shortly after rothko left.
posted by shmegegge at 9:27 PM on September 21, 2005


funny that. it happened shortly after rothko left.
posted by shmegegge at 12:27 AM EST on September 22 [!]


Gosh, I guess I should accuse you of trolling.
posted by Rothko at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2005


this looks like a penis.
posted by shmegegge at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2005


How old are you again?
posted by Rothko at 9:30 PM on September 21, 2005


yeah, it was pretty juvenile of me. if you're continuing to read this thread only in case I say anything else about you, though, in all likelihood I won't.
posted by shmegegge at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2005


Good. My comments were no different from yours.
posted by Rothko at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2005


Benway, dude, what the hell do you want us to do? Start driving down to Texas right now? Exactly what kind of help do you expect? Like I said, you're at least 3 days too early.
posted by c13 at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2005


geoff the basic fact is that dependence on oil by our economy is not sustainable. We've known this since the 70's. Back then we had a president who wanted to do something about it. What did we do? Tarred and feathered him and voted in a President who much like the President we have now chooses to stick America's collective head in the sand. One that believes that American might can overcome any shortfall in resources. The oil wars have already begun, don't kid yourself - they started in '91 and it's only going to get uglier from here when behemoths like China - a country with very little of it's own oil reserves - starts competing heavily on the world market with the US to garner what's left of the cheap oil on earth. If we only made it a national priority 30 years ago to pry our bloody gums off the diseased teet of foreign oil maybe the future of our country - and the world -wouldn't look so bleak. We are running on fumes and if I welcome the end sooner it's because I'd rather go through this pain - pain that my generation and those before me have caused - than pass it off to my children and grandchildren.
posted by any major dude at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2005


oh, and the pic/penis comment wasn't directed at you. Your comment wasn't even there when I hit preview for that comment.
posted by shmegegge at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2005


looks like the butt of america is about to be royally shafted.
posted by rodney stewart at 9:54 PM on September 21, 2005


Stop posting inline images, schmegwhatever. Please.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:56 PM on September 21, 2005


schmegge: actually, I was just thinking how this thread may be the first instance I can remember where a trainwreck magically righted itself after the fact and became a civil discussion. the last bunch of comments have been awfully calm and reasoned ones, even though there is still disagreement.

funny that. it happened shortly after rothko left.


Rothko: Gosh, I guess I should accuse you of trolling.

And amazingly, in the space of just two actually pretty appropriate comments, you guys manage to derail it again.

And then a giant Rita phallus. Intentional or not.

This is the most ridiculous thread ever. Alex/Rothko, your comments were still inappropriate. schmegge, that picture is even worse. Way to go, everyone. Metafilter has achieved a thread whose seriousness is the exact polar inverse of the appropriate level of gravity to assign to a situation.

Those of us in coastal and central Texas thank you.
posted by spiderwire at 10:00 PM on September 21, 2005


yeah, that pic was an example of what my friends and relatives know as classic lack of impulse control on my part. sorry about that. if a moderator of any kind wants to delete it, I'd be happy.
posted by shmegegge at 10:05 PM on September 21, 2005


Threads like this reaffirm my belief that the only thing worse, lower, scummier even, than a Republican is a Democrat.
posted by mischief at 10:07 PM on September 21, 2005


I loves me a good train wreck. Popcorn, anyone?
posted by mek at 10:10 PM on September 21, 2005


Threads like this reaffirm my belief that the only thing worse, lower, scummier even, than a Republican is a Democrat
------------------------------------------------------
Snore, rolling over and going back to bed as lunkhead mefi poster makes baseless accusation easily disproven... *yawn*
posted by mk1gti at 10:13 PM on September 21, 2005


Threads like this reaffirm my belief that the only thing worse, lower, scummier even, than a Republican is a Democrat.

What's really funny about this is that by now, I have absolutely no idea who mischief is talking about.
posted by spiderwire at 10:32 PM on September 21, 2005


Oil dependence should be a national concern, but I don't think Rita has much to do with it. Any price increases due to Rita will be temporary. Oil prices are not set by OPEC, despite the conspiracy theories; there's real competition in the industry. The prices may be high, and continue to climb, but that will be because of the geological reality of fields drying up. People worried about oil prices shouldn't worry about Katrina and Rita (unless you think that global warming is causing more intense hurricanes, and that these are now permanent problems for U.S. refineries).
posted by gsteff at 10:51 PM on September 21, 2005


(Just trying to rerail)
posted by gsteff at 10:51 PM on September 21, 2005


This thread gave me herp... hey, will you look at the time? I can't believe it's already meh o'clock! *punches out*
posted by loquacious at 11:09 PM on September 21, 2005


Metafilter: vengeful wind fetuses and then a giant Rita phallus
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:09 PM on September 21, 2005


gsteff, you're right about the overarching causes, but the proximate causes of powerful hurricanes in the Gulf is a real and sometimes protracted loss of oil and gas production. As of last week gas production was still down by 50% and oil production by something near there (sorry I don't have the correct figures), and repair efforts were underway for damaged platforms - although a fair number were completely destroyed and sunk, and must be replaced. Rita is cutting a 150-mile-wide swath through a lot of the same deeper-water production area out in the Gulf as Katrina did, and heading into another area of gas and oil production and refining where at this power level it will very likely inflict great damage on facilities that were untouched by Katrina, reducing capacity even more.

You're right that some of the immediate price jumps are temporary, but we're not going to see the full economic impact of the production loss for some weeks or a couple months yet. Distillate fuel inventories are tight, with no available refining capacities to bolster them - which means heating oil is going to get very expensive indeed if this winter is a cold one across the northern tier. Natural gas is now similarly tight and is seeing a huge jump in price, which would also be exacerbated by a cold winter.

We've already seen skyrocketing jet fuel prices contribute to the bankruptcies of Delta and Northwest airlines, though obviously there are other factors, but these are the first economic casualties. Truck shipping has seen the price of diesel fuel shoot up over $3.50 in many markets, which will have a drastic effect on prices everywhere if it stays high, which it likely will with reduced refining capacity.

And then there's the effects of all the displaced people, all the lost jobs, all the destroyed homes and insurance claims... we really don't know how it's going to hit us, but it's definitely going to affect the entire US economically.

And yeah, it's looking like the hurricanes are getting more dangerous. Every one of them that crosses into the Gulf during peak season will probably turn into a monster, because the Gulf is so much warmer now than it used to be. As long as the Gulf stays that warm, this will happen a lot.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:26 PM on September 21, 2005


Some backup for what I just said:
"Fully 30% of all US refining capacity is in the target zone. Perhaps most importantly, almost every refinery capable of producing diesel fuel is in immediate danger. This promises (especially in the wake of Katrina) a devastating and irreplaceable shortage of the diesel fuel needed to power America’s harvest of grain and food crops this month and next. Without diesel fuel to power the harvesters and combines, crops may be left to rot in the ground presenting a double whammy: food shortages (with prices that may treble or quadruple) and export defaults negatively impacting the financial markets and trade deficit.

Even before Rita strikes, fully 30% of all domestic natural gas production is shut in. The US cannot import natural gas from overseas like it can both crude and refined products. Repair work on infrastructure damaged by Katrina has been halted as crews have been evacuated. The remaining half of Gulf energy production undamaged by Katrina is directly in Rita’s crosshairs. Natural gas prices are up over 110% and home heating oil futures are up almost 70% before Rita even gets here. Since Katrina, US domestic oil production is down one million barrels per day (from 5Mbpd to 4 Mbpd). We were producing 9 Mbpd less than a decade ago."
(via)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:39 PM on September 21, 2005


zoogleplex, that is some scary shit.

but, what's the likelihood of serious damage to those facilities? I'm not asking like "I don't believe anything will break!" but rather I'm genuinely worried and wondering. Is there a decent chance that the refineries will come through this largely unscathed, or is this a sure thing?
posted by shmegegge at 11:43 PM on September 21, 2005


worst.thread.evar.

I hope all of you in the path of this storm the best. Be safe.
posted by jba at 11:55 PM on September 21, 2005


All you people rooting for $5/gallon gas don't realize how badly that will hurt everyone, not just those evil white suburbanites with SUVs.

Well, my mom is depending on massive oil company profits to pay back her student loans, so I'm not complaining. (long story)

Lets hear it for the $100 barrel!

The whole anti-price gouging laws in FL and other places is stupid. A hurricane comes by and gas stations can't charge more then regular for their gas, some people take more then they need and then the stations just run out. Then people drive around for hours looking for another station with some gas. Retarded.


You and Rothko are not very bright, are you? What do you suppose the machines that build the cities and the sidewalks run on? Tofu? Do you think only SUV drivers use all the other shit that is made out of oil, like fertilizer or plastics? Or the same damn asphalt sidewalks that will cure all our ills?


Are you retarded? Higher gas prices will rase the price of sidewalks perportional to the relative cost of the fuel used to run the cost of the equipment, which is probably not that much. Most of the cost will be in wear-and-tear on the equipment, labor, and materials. We're not talking about all gasoline disappearing here, just the cost going up.

What's the Alex_Reynolds thing?

Think of him like a Liberal Dios, only even more whiny.

Anyway, Hopefully people will be scared enough after Katrina to actually evacuate this time.

It's not like there's some other kind of magical energy source out there that the evil oil companies are keeping away from us that will make everyone live in the city, get along and not drive cars.

There are plenty of cheap alternatives, like Ethanol and gasoline derived from Coal (!). But they're not as cheap as oil. As the price of oil goes up, those other fuel types can take over running our cars, and nuclear power can power our grids. France generates 80% or so of their energy using nukes. China and India could have done the same thing. Our oil
addiction has dire political ramifications.

I suppose you would rather we just use the magical oil machine?

But you know, a few people who abuse the environment in their Hummers means we should hope for $5/gallon gas, right?

That's just a bonus :)

As far as poor people go, that's too bad. Perhaps there should be a gas-rebate for lower income people? Wouldn't that solve the problem? Oh, but that would be 'welfare' oh, noes! Can't have that.

And speaking of poor people, it's not like there's a darth of low-skilled workers in the us to do manufacturing jobs. Skilled manual labor pays more in the US then white collar work. A friend of mine worked in a factory for a while, and made more money they I did (but he worked insane hours. 7am to 3am at once).

Anyway, for all my cheerleading of high oil prices, obviously I don't want to see more lethal hurricanes. For one thing destroying refineries is going to lower the price of crude, not rase it. For another, I'm anti-death and suffering.

By the way, I've been to Galveston, TX. A lot of the houses are actualy on stilts sometimes with a garage underneath. Even in the poor neighborhoods (and there are lots of those). Very weird to see. Galveston is a town a lot like NO. Touristy façade, and lots of poor blacks.

As for the state of the thread, it was sort of 'autoderailed' by posting a link about oil prices in the FPP. Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 12:00 AM on September 22, 2005


What're all the Big Oil supporters bitching about on this thread? The oil'll be gone in 50 years or so, (thank you very much, geoff, you sound like a 1920's textbook) so what's the deal? OK, let's not find alternatives, and completely bend over for the disaster. Then, when the oil runs out, no more oil-based plastics, etc, no more fuel, we'll finally see some world anarchy. Anyone for looting? Woohoo!
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:05 AM on September 22, 2005


The next time someone laughs at me for living in a state with a lot of snow and cold weather. I'm just going to chuckle to myself.
posted by drezdn at 12:06 AM on September 22, 2005


schmegegge: "what's the likelihood of serious damage to those facilities?"

I have no idea how the refineries have been designed, to what wind-resistance standard they are constructed. So I really don't know.

However, I can tell you that most skyscraper-type buildings are designed to handle sustained wind loads up to 130mph. Assuming that refinery towers and hardware are similarly built... well, a 150-mile-wide swatch of 175mph winds moving at 9mph, which Rita is doing now, will subject structures to 175mph sustained winds for sixteen hours straight.

Even before that, there are tropical-storm-force winds out to a 185-mile radius from the eye - a swath 370 miles across where the wind starts at 65-73mph and then just goes up from there.

If something this big hit Manhattan, for instance, at that strength and for that length of time, it would probably knock over just about every building taller than 10 floors.

Right now out under that 150-mile swath of cloud there are waves 50, 60, 80, maybe even 100 feet tall, in addition to winds that are likely gusting around 190mph. If Rita maintains this strength for even 2 more days those waves and that wind will be plowing through offshore oil platforms like a bull in a china shop. They have already been evacuated.

The "hurricane doctor" guy on the Weather Channel called this thing "a tornado the size of Georgia."

We just have to hope that Rita loses power before it gets to where the refineries are: Houston, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi. TWC just said best guess for landfall right now is Houston/Corpus Christi.

If she comes in full power, she might still be blowing over 100 mph as far inland as Dallas, where my sister and a few of my friends live. I'm worried.

It could really be bad. I really hope it's not.

drezdn: You might not be chuckling when you get your oil or gas bill. I have a friend in Maine who is going to have trouble heating his house already with the price where it is NOW. He's not happy. I do wish you the best tho, hey you might have wood heat and 10 cord in the woodshed. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 12:10 AM on September 22, 2005


How long will peacefull, environmentally sound, bike-riding, local-organic communities last?

That depends on how well they are armed.
posted by ryoshu at 12:13 AM on September 22, 2005


From all evidence, as long as personal arguments don't interfere with the power-structure (oligarchy, communism, elected leader, etc.) then they could last forever. As long as alternatives to environmentally-friendly methods aren't readily available- (easier, though destructive), then it should work out.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:16 AM on September 22, 2005


However, I can tell you that most skyscraper-type buildings are designed to handle sustained wind loads up to 130mph. Assuming that refinery towers and hardware are similarly built... well, a 150-mile-wide swatch of 175mph winds moving at 9mph, which Rita is doing now, will subject structures to 175mph sustained winds for sixteen hours straight.

RIP, Houston.

Wonder if I should head for El Paso.
posted by spiderwire at 12:24 AM on September 22, 2005


Oh, and another important thing regarding the harvest; the Port of New Orleans is still closed, and doesn't look like it's going to be up and running to a good percentage of its full capacity within the next month or two. Which means that even if Rita makes no significant impact, and there's enough diesel available to harvest the crops properly, the grain and other harvest shipments may still not go out - most of it goes via barge down the Mississippi to PoNO to be loaded on oceangoing ships. There is no other comparable facility to take that shipping load, so the harvest would still rot. In fact, if there's no definite way of shipping the harvest, there's no point in harvesting any more than can actually be transported with what's available.

I'm sure some of it could go by rail to Great Lakes ports and out thru the St. Lawrence Seaway, but those ships are size-limited by the lock system and much smaller than the usual freighters. Some could also get to east coast ports by rail as well, but shipping it on barges down the Big Muddy is by far the most bulk-efficient and cheapest way to handle it.

We're not going to know about how that will impact us until mid-October. So we really haven't seen even the beginnings of how Katrina will really affect us, let alone Rita.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:25 AM on September 22, 2005


zoogleplex just scared the fuck out of me. I sincerely hope texas weathers this storm ok. jesus.

regarding oil being cheaper than everything else:

Isn't it largely oil company and middle-eastern lobbying and interference that keeps alternative fuels from a) being researched as much as it needs to be and b) becoming cheaper?

I guess what I'm saying is: wouldn't the alternatives become cheaper once oil wasn't an option and they stopped being alternatives? Price is, after all, determined by what the market will bear, ideally. The market will bear expensive alternatives right now because most people delude themselves that oil is still a viable option.
posted by shmegegge at 12:47 AM on September 22, 2005


I can tell you that most skyscraper-type buildings are designed to handle sustained wind loads up to 130mph. (etc.)

Okay, but I don't recall any of the tall buildings in New Orleans collapsing outright. Lost most of their windows, from the pictures, but they didn't fall down or anything. Were they built to a different standard?
posted by furiousthought at 1:38 AM on September 22, 2005


OK, I'm aware that pretty much any comment in this particular thread could be judged to be a troll. But I'm not trolling - just a silly UKer who doesn't quite understand US economics too well.

Everyone over here's saying that America just has an artificially very very low petrol pricing system, so if the price was to double for example, people would just have to get used to it like we're all used to it, and the country wouldn't collapse anyway. Not really. Not if looked at with a cool head.

But I don't necessarily know that's true, and I don't even know how or why your prices have remained so artificially low. Can anyone write a quick and easy primer on that? Like I say, I know nothing of the detail and I've a feeling I'll have to within 24 hours. :o(
posted by paperpete at 1:47 AM on September 22, 2005


But I don't necessarily know that's true,

There is some price elasticity, but many people are scraping by as it is and doubling the price means they'll drive less and/or consume less in other areas. This could be a real shitty Christmas as a result. Even going out to the stores costs a buck or two now, plus less driving means less customers for the travel related industry.

and I don't even know how or why your prices have remained so artificially low.

On a $3/gallon pump in California, the taxes are:

Federal $0.184
California $0.192 plus 7.25% or ~0.20 sales tax.

So here in California we're paying ~$0.60/gallon tax, just under 1/4th the UK tax of $2.80/gallon (IOW your tax alone is basically our market price including tax).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:08 AM on September 22, 2005


In my experience, price and market mechanisms only work in situations where there is some elasticity. In the case of an American oil industry and transportation system crippled by natural disasters of unprecedented scale, I don't think normal price and market mechanisms are going to be sufficient to efficiently allocate resources that simply don't exist for a while, or to regulate consumption behaviors in ways that are socially normal.

As a result of Katrina, we've already effectively lost New Orleans as a port for months. We've already sustained damage to the refinery and Gulf oil/gas production industry that is going to take months, if not years to recover. But Katrina at least left us with alternatives, and a working Louisiana Superport facility.

Clearly, Rita is liable to further damage production and refinery capacities in the area, and do so in a way that is multiplicative, not just additive, to Katrina's damage. Example: If the Superport is damaged by Rita, and Texas refineries not damaged by Katrina are shut down by Rita, the net effect of Rita following Katrina is substantially worse than the damage of both incidents taken individually, because they interact to cut options for energy importation and at the same time, hamper re-routing of all kinds of mitigation efforts through Texas ports. Early assessments from major Texas facilities focus on comparisons to previous storms of significantly lower magnitude than Rita is shaping up to be, but point up that few facilities are constructed to withstand Category 5 storms.

And it goes well beyond just the energy sector, as others have pointed out previously. Losses of this magnitude in such a short term hit the insurance industry to a degree that is well beyond that which any risk averaging models have probably predicted. The disruption to housing, transportation, and a lot of other industries are going to take months, if not years to fully fathom.

My point being that there is going to be plenty of misery to go around out of these disasters, and, in my opinion, more than a market economy is really capable of taking care of in the course of normal business in any near time frame. And there are still more than 2 months to go in this horrible hurricane season...
posted by paulsc at 2:20 AM on September 22, 2005


The world view...
posted by catchmurray at 2:45 AM on September 22, 2005


paperpete:

there really aren't that many people saying that doubling the price of gas in the US wouldn't hurt. It's actually a scary proposition that some people are just forgetting (willfully or otherwise) will affect more than just SUV drivers.

as far as why the US pays so little, welcome to the hot button topic that no republican wants to talk about!

it's because we attack countries that saudi arabia wants us to, according to some people. it's because we have our own oil fields and reserves, according to others.

it's because we steal oil from middle eastern countries, according to yet others.

I lean toward the first one, but there are a lot of theories and a lot of disagreement about that. Personally, I think it's foolish to think that it comes from anything other than our (should be) criminal foreign policy for 30 years.
posted by shmegegge at 2:57 AM on September 22, 2005


Denmark. Gas is $8 a gallon (was $5 6 months ago.) Highest standard of living on the planet.
posted by n9 at 3:30 AM on September 22, 2005


people really need to be slapped out of their complacency.

I don't think so, not like this. I don't think people will take the right message from it. Look what happened when people got slapped out of their complacency with the terrorist attacks in September 2001. On the whole, it wasn't exactly a response that made the world a better place. Even just economically, it's bound to do far more harm than good, even if it does some good. The government borrowing another $400 billion for reconstruction money is not going to help put the country in a position to be prosperous despite higher energy prices.

I think we've already seen enough of higher-than-expected oil prices that anyone who's going to learn any useful lessons from them already has by now. Like you say, one learns by touching the hot stove and getting burned. Well, that stove has already gotten painfully hot a few times, and we don't seem to have learned much. In fact, some people have drawn the lesson that when the pain comes, it will surely go away again just like it did in the past; a price spike caused by a hurricane will, if anything, just reinforce that kind of thinking.
posted by sfenders at 5:20 AM on September 22, 2005


I'm still hoping for a conversion of diesel trucks to LNG, as there's trillions of cubic feet of NG ready to be pulled out of the ground... either that or a revamp of the rail system to take a significant chunk of the diesel trucking system out of service.

Anyway, I have a bunch of friends in Texas, and they're all battening down the hatches. Hold fast, folks.
posted by fet at 6:31 AM on September 22, 2005


furiousthought writes "Lost most of their windows, from the pictures, but they didn't fall down or anything."

Katrina didn't hit NO dead on, it passed by on one side. Katrina would have been much worse for NO if it had hit dead on.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 AM on September 22, 2005


zoogleplex: The Port of New Orleans is not closed. It is not fully operational, but it is open. Did you get this bit of incorrect detail from James Howard Kunstler?
posted by raysmj at 7:02 AM on September 22, 2005


More on the port.
posted by raysmj at 7:08 AM on September 22, 2005


If gas hits five bucks a gallon, I am going biodiesel. My first fuel source will be Rothko's corpse. ;-)
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2005


Hmm...looks like I'll be waiting a few more days before buying my plane tickets for Thanksgiving in Houston. My parents are planning (ironically (I'm sure I'm using the word "ironically" incorrectly)) to go to Louisiana if the forecast continues to indicate a direct strike on Houston, so I'm not worried about them, but taking my wife to see my childhood home and hometown for the first time wouldn't be such a great idea if either of them are gone...

And to think, they're worried about me living in an earthquake area.

Since a child, the only superstition I've had was an occassional belief in some sort of god of irony. This kinda thing just makes me more religious...
posted by Bugbread at 7:31 AM on September 22, 2005


One thing that a lot of folks who are citing high prices in Europe for gas are forgetting is that it's not the actual price of the commodity that determines how much gas is sold for. Those extra three to five dollars in taxes go to pay for things like Denmarks' social structure and high living standard.
So, Europeans, get ready for gas prices hitting your local currency's equivalent of $12-$15 per gallon, if you keep the same tax rate.
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 AM on September 22, 2005


If gas hits five bucks a gallon, I am going biodiesel. My first fuel source will be Rothko's corpse. ;-)
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:19 AM EST on September 22 [!]


Glad to see the double standards in place here are alive and well. Hypocrites.
posted by Rothko at 8:45 AM on September 22, 2005


You SIR, YOU are the hippocrittimus.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:03 AM on September 22, 2005


Oh come now, Rothko. You would make the bestest biodisel.
posted by c13 at 9:06 AM on September 22, 2005


Hypocrites.
posted by Rothko at 9:08 AM on September 22, 2005


Really tightly-wound person!
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:11 AM on September 22, 2005


Of course everyone's immediate concern is rightfully with those in the path of this hurricane. I would like to point out, though, that when gas prices were approaching $3.00 a gallon after Katrina, American truck drivers were talking about the possibility of striking. Now that everyone thinks $5.oo gas is at hand, I'd think the rest of us should consider stocking up on essential products such as nonperishable food, personal hygiene products, light bulbs, etc., just in case the supply chain gets stopped up for whatever reason.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2005


raysmj: no, didn't get it from him, but it's possible the source I got it from did. Anyway, if there's some capacity there already, that's really good news, thanks.

And other good news, Rita is weakening. Hopefully that will continue!
posted by zoogleplex at 9:44 AM on September 22, 2005


Be careful with Rothko, guys. He's tragically sensitive.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 AM on September 22, 2005


Yeah, I think there is a term for it...
posted by c13 at 10:47 AM on September 22, 2005


Guys, stop the flamebaiting for a second, please. Or at least keep it in the grey.
posted by Bugbread at 10:54 AM on September 22, 2005


For fuck's sake. Grow a hide. Or a chitinous carapace. Either.
posted by loquacious at 11:46 AM on September 22, 2005


Did anyone else see Oil Storm The Movie? It is eerily similar to what is happening this month.
posted by sophist at 12:16 PM on September 22, 2005


For fuck's sake. Grow a hide. Or a chitinous carapace. Either.
posted by loquacious at 2:46 PM EST on September 22 [!]


Thanks, I'll quote you next time someone wrongly complains about one of my comments.
posted by Rothko at 12:37 PM on September 22, 2005


After clicking on the first link, I thought this post was about the potential loss of life and homes. I was a little disappointed it was about the *gasp* cost of fuel rising.
posted by Specklet at 2:34 PM on September 22, 2005


Oh yeah, and Rothko? You need to chill out, man. No one's attacking you.
posted by Specklet at 2:34 PM on September 22, 2005


Oil Storm! Cool. I love those cheesy disaster movies. If I were sitting around waiting for a hurricane to knock my house over, that's the kind of movie I'd want to be watching.
posted by sfenders at 5:51 PM on September 22, 2005


On the energy argument, both sides are basically correct. Really, in this case that's possible because, depsite appearances, the two basic premises aren't contradictory.

It's true that oil has been very cheap energy and has driven the world's economy for a long time now. It's also true that there is presently no equally cheap alternative. So it's also true that high oil prices will have dire effects on economies and will hurt the poorest the most.

However, it's true that cheap oil is probably going to run out (though we'll not run out of oil in general) sooner or later and the sudden shock then will be as bad as one now would be. It's also true that European energy is more expensive and it hasn't wrecked their economies; but it's true that a) the biggest portion of the greater expense is from taxation; b) part of this taxation is a deliberate and wise strategy to make oil more expensive in smaller and slower steps while financing alternatives hoping that they'd become more cheap in the long wrong. The US quite intentionally not doing this is a bad long term decision.

Markets are quite efficient but they're not perfect and they fail in a variety of well-known situations. One of the most notorious is with long-term risks and costs that seem psychologically remote enough that the market doesn't "rationally" evaluate them until disastrously at the last minute. The eventual problem with cheap oil running out is an example of this (as is environmental pollution and destruction) and it is precisely in these sorts of circumstances that governments are best able to act to correct a deficiency in market mechanisms. A US government program that "weans" the US from cheap oil would, in the long run, be a very good thing. But it will cost. It will cost a lot in a lot of ways, there's moral hazard here with often the most disadvantaged paying the bulk of the penalty. In nations that are more socially just, this is accounted for. Don't hold your breath expecting that the US will do the same. So higher energy prices in the US will be like a medical therapy without anything to dull the pain of the procedure. It may be necessary, and it may in the long run be for the best, but it will be heartless most likely and those that advocate should be prepared for the consequences of this.

I personally think at this point there's a real and massive failure of the US economy to supply the need for alternative fuel technologies. Because of our lean, efficient economic organization and the maturity of our economy, we still for the most part are the core of the world's R&D in terms of technology and such. We could have done and be doing much, much more than we have in solving the alternative energy problem and the biggest reason we haven't done so is because our leaders haven't had the courage to (or are deluded and don't) realize this is a problem that, in the long run, desperately needs solving. Not unlike the human activities contributing to global warming, actually.

Even so, the people that think that weaning ourselves from cheap oil will be mostly painless for the least guilty are very economically uninformed.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:31 PM on September 22, 2005


(Capitalism) is an intentionally vague and deceptive, morally abstruse, and economically harmful concept, but for those very reasons, it must be taken seriously.

Price gouging -- it's not a bug, it's a feature!
posted by eustatic at 9:18 PM on September 22, 2005


"Price gouging -- it's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Well, no, by definition. However, most people have an incorrectly broad definition of "gouging" and, thus, what many people call "price gouging" is really just a functional market and is, truly, a feature.

"Gouging" isn't merely a sudden increase in price for a high demand item because of some act-of-God (or whatever) event; it's this in the context of something that is economically analogous to a monopoly where efficient market mechanisms are subverted.

Alternatively, the more broad sense of "price gouging" can be considered valid given the assumption of a moral imperative of a governing body to choose to set aside the importance of an efficient market in certain circumstances in favor of some higher justice. This is generally true about any sort of price controls. But it seems to me you have to make a strong case for the greater value of that other ultimate good, attempt to quantify it somehow, and compare it to the price you're paying--and you will pay it, one way or another--by choosing to make your market less efficient. I don't worship market economics the way a lot of folks do, and I'm quite willing to accept the validity of market interference for some higher aim. I just ask, or demand, that the argument behind any particular example of this be rigorous and as thorough in looking for moral hazard as possible. Which, often, isn't the case.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:58 PM on September 22, 2005


Water is now flooding back into New Orleans.
posted by caddis at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2005


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