I am a critical thinking
person. I have a math/science
background. I believe in logic, - cause
and effect. I even understand (to some
extent) Chaos Theory. But there is one
thing in my everyday life that I am totally confused by: Gas Prices.
With a business model – a
commodity – a grocery store buys a case of peas at wholesale price then figures
out the percentage of markup necessary in order to guarantee their retail
profit. The can of peas is then placed
on a shelf and sold at that price.
At a gas station the owner
buys gas at a wholesale price. He then
figures the percent of markup in order to make a retail profit. He then sets the price on the pump to resale
the gas and extract his profit margin.
Then the next day he raises the price; and that evening he raises the
price again; the next day he jumps the price a nickel higher; then the next day
he lowers the price a penny: What the
hell is going on here?
If asked about this he may
tell you that the next time he has to buy gas the product will cost more. This doesn’t wash. The grocery store does not change the price
of peas daily in order to adjust to a possible icrease in wholesale pea prices
at their next purchase.
We are told that the oil
supply is plentiful. We know that here
in the US
oil companies have wells capped and off line in order to regulate prices. These oil companies pollute our environment,
keep oil prices high, collect huge subsidies from the government and buy Senators
and Congresspersons in order to slow and disrupt our move to clean, non-fossil
fuel energy. They are the most profitable companies that
have ever existed on the face of the earth.
All that aside, what the hell
is going on at the gas pump?
It seems I often borrow from the blog Squalto’s Rant – and
it is true.
Today I have co-opted the following video that he
This is the type of video that if you begin watching you
must watch to the end. The premise of
the video is that human beings are moving toward empathy for all life on the
earth and concern for the earth’s ecology in general.
This is a consummation much to be desired. Jeremy Rifkin is representative of a far
left liberal thinker with a great ability to connect with his audience. He leaves you feeling that there is hope for
human empathy because of the evolutionary development of the human brain which
has been stimulated by the technical advancements is communication.
Being a cynical old fart I tend to see the down side to this
argument. Human empathy hasn’t changed
much since four million years ago when Australopithecus walked across the
savanna in Africa, picked up a stick, went
over a hill and beat the brains out of his neighbor and fucked his female.
We live in a tribal society and we don’t much concern
ourselves for the tribes over the hill.
We seek validation from our family, our church, or racial identity or
our local or national identity. We
decide which cult gratifies us the most and that is where we place our
allegiance, while decrying other cults that do not stroke our ego.
Abraham Maslow was an American professor of Psychology who
defined the human hierarchy of needs.
People develop from the most basic needs of fulfillment toward the
highest level of Actualization. People
can not move into a higher level until they are secure in the levels below
The steps defined are:
PSYCHOLOGICAL: Breathing, food, water, waste, sleep, warmth,
freedom from fear and freedom from sickness.
SAFETY: Physical security, family security, psychological
security and financial security.
LOVE AND BELONGING: Friendships, family, sexual intimacy,
SELF-ESTEEM: Self respect, Respect of others.
SELF-ACTUALIZATION: Able to embrace facts and realities, spontaneous,
creative, problem solving, caring for others, morality independent of authority
and judge the world objectively.
Many people throughout the world today (including in the United States)
are stuck in the SAFETY level – concerned with basic survival.
A good majority in this country are striving to BELONG – to
seek gratification through a social network.
Very few of society are secured enough to be striving in the
And, an even smaller percentage (which must includes Jeremy Rifkin, - the producer
of the video) find themselves secure enough to have reached SELD
Only the people in the SELF ACTUALIZATION level have the security
and ability to be truly empathetic for the human race specifically and all
other living things in general.
Add to this the high percentage of blatant human
ignorance: The IQ is represented by a
The top of the curve is
declared to be 100 , with fifty percent
of the people above the curve and fifty percent below the curve. The up side of the Bell Curve represents from high average to superior intellect – while the down side of the curve
represents from average to below average intelligence.
The 100 IQ point shifts according to demographics of
population growth. At the present time
humans on the down side of the curve are breeding at a faster rate than those
on the up side; which constantly skews the intelligence quota of the human race
SELF ACTUALIZATION is not in the reach of everyone. Empathy is a pipe dream – though a beautiful
one. But the reality is that the human
race is not programmed for the gentleness that empathy would require.
I will watch the video again: maybe a few more times – for
there is much presented that stimulates the thought processes. But in the end we live in the real world
where human egocentricity has not changed much in four million years.
I usually type my post in Microsoft Word and cut and paste to my blog. Today when I paste my post it appeared on white background strips. I had to select Text Background Color icon and choose black background in order for my post to conform to my template.
Is anyone else experiencing this problem?
this sux as it messes with the color of fount I choose.
you to click the link to read the full post in context.)
“An article on Huffington Post grabbed my attention this
morning, and I'm still sitting here shaking my head at the treasonous behavior
of some in today's GOP.
A Greene County Republican Committee newsletter that was published back in
March included an essay by the newsletter's editor, one Ponch McPhee, in which
he called President Obama "America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S.
President" and urged patriotic Republicans to take up arms against the
government should Obama win reelection.”
read this as a blatant call for violence against our President.
often hear TV and talk radio Republican talking heads comparing the extreme
right of their party and the extreme left of the Democratic Party as both
equally radical in their diatribes.
is not a correct comparison: the extreme right of the Republican Party has a
vitriol that is poisonous and dangerous and does not exist in the extreme left. The Right Wing of the Republican Party
(including the Tea Party) attracts militia nut cases, the KKK, skin heads and
other organizations that advocate violence.
This contingent of the party contains unstable gun carrying fanatics
capable of killing abortion doctors and shooting politicians they do not agree
with. These people, constantly goaded
by Fox News and talk radio, are unstable, delusional and damn right dangerous.
fact is that the party has moved so far to the right extreme, that the Texas governor (Rick Perry), who publicly announced that
he considered Texas secession from the United States
as plausible possibility and who has been filmed shooting his pistol into the air
at a political gathering, became one of the Presidential candidates for the
bothering is that Republican Senators and Congressmen do not come out and
denounce this violent rhetoric, and that mainstream TV news shows do not highlight
these right wing dangerous psychopaths and tie them to the Party.
Republican supported newsletter that published this article against President
Obama is the type of officially approved rant the feeds the frenzy.
for President Obama every time he appears publicly in the South.
may sound like an unfair attack against the South. It is not.
It is an observation. I was
raised in Kentucky and Mississippi and I know the religious
ignorance that permeate the south and encourages anti-liberal fanaticism.
is not the first Democratic President to face such southern racist hatred.
Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 King documents the hatred that
was publicly displayed in Dallas
toward President Kennedy on the day of his assassination. American flags flew upside down at the
airport; and earlier Adlai Stevenson and Lady Bird Johnson had been subjected
to a spit shower from a group of protesting middle class housewives. The Dallas
police were complicit by looking the other way.
is an especially dangerous time for our President as the lunatic fringe of the
far right sees his reelection as a biblical offense leading to the destruction
of their racially pure America.
an assassination attempt takes place against the first black President of the United States
it will be the lowest point in our National history since the Civil War.
they will try to distance themselves, the leaders of the Republican Party will
be complicit. It will be an event that was encouraged by Republican
propagandist TV and talk radio outlets (including Fox News and Rush Limbaugh) and it will have taken place because the
leaders of the party encouraged the rhetoric and chose not to denounce the lies
and vitriol promulgated against this President.
I spend so much money on bird food that I sometimes feel I should be able to claim the local bird population as dependents on my tax return (along with our cat.) Everyone who feeds birds eventually has to come to terms with squirrels raiding the bird feeders. Needless to say my squirrels eat good.
But, I have found a solution that seems to be working. I have mounted a 3-inch stove pipe around the base of my stand-alone feeder. The squirrels still feed on the seeds dropped by the birds but they are no longer climb upon the feeder.
Winter view - the snow has been gone here for about three weeks
I also have found a solution for ants on my humming bird feeder: I grease a two foot section of my metal upright feeder stand with wheel grease (Vaseline will work as well.) If you hang your feeder, hang it from a wire and grease the wire.
Many bird lovers are concerned about predators. I have a falcon that occasionally visits my yard and takes doves (for some reason that seems to be his bird of choice.) Cats can also be a problem. We must remember that we too are predators. We kill for food and we kill for sport (we even kill for religion and natural resources) - therefore we shouldn't get too sanctimonious about predation.
I lay awake this morning
thinking of the past – at this point I have far more past the future. I thought of all the crossroads I have
transited in my life and the path I took at each juncture. The thousands of decisions I have made that
presented alternate outcomes and would have resulted in entirely different
This isn’t sour grapes – I am
content with who I am; but the man I am is the result of a chain of decisions
that led to other decisions that led to other decisions – now here I am.
We are not who we are by
design, but who we are by chance. The
world we exist in is the product of Chaos: A butterfly in Brazil flapping its wings results in a storm in