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2006-11-03 - 12:39 p.m.

Well, I got Brin up to John and handed her over. After a quick reunion lunch, I headed back south.

This time, I learned. As soon as I got out of the moutain pass, I pulled over at a Wendy's and stretched and used the facilities. That made the rest of the trip easier to bear. Traffic was fine until I reached the big 5/60/10 interchange. That's the same place Brin and I got caught in last week. This time, I dodged to the 60. Then, as soon as I saw the 60 was packed, I went to the 710. Traffic was much lighter there, and I was able to get to the 91, which for the most part was very quick. I made it home in about 3 1/2 hours.

I think I'll start going home that way more often. Brin's next planned trip is at the end of November, just after Thanksgiving. Bob wants her to do more recording.

Maybe I can get him to contribute to the gas tank. It'd be a business expense, after all.


Speaking of cars, gas, and businesses...

As promised, here's my take on California's Proposition 87. This WILL turn into a rant, so be ready.

The basics of Proposition 87 are as follows:

  • puts a $4 billion tax on the oil companies
  • promotes alternative energies
  • supposed to lessen our "dependance on foreign oil"

Well, let's look a little closer.

First, the $4 billion tax. According to the information I've gotten, 87 says that the oil companies can't pass on the cost of this tax to the consumers, as in they can't raise prices.

This provision scares me, big time. If you're a business and your costs go up, you can 1) raise your prices to compensate, 2) cut costs, or 3) close down. Now, I work at a family entertainment center. In January, minimum wage goes up. I'm quite certain that our prices will go up, too...because now we have to pay more to our employees, or to anyone else we hire. Or we could cut costs by NOT hiring people, which will cause our quality of service to go down. I've had to work shifts where I've been the ONLY PERSON ON DUTY and we've been busy. Most customers are tolerant about it; I've had a few that weren't. Or we could go completely out of business, in which case I'm out of a job.

If the oil companies are hit with this, what's really likely to happen? If they have to pay an extra $4 billion in taxes for doing business in California, they'll just pack up and go elsewhere. Now, California supplies about 37% of the nation's oil. That's right - over a third of the US oil comes from California. So that goes away. Where do we get oil to make up for that 37%? Right - more foreign oil, not less. And the price of gas WILL go up, because OPEC will surely raise the per-barrel price. "You want it? You pay for it." Supply and demand.

Now, where is the money supposed to go? Towards funding for alternative energies. But, if you read the proposition, it provides for yet another government agency...and they AREN'T REQUIRED TO ACTUALLY PRODUCE ANYTHING! So the money collected will go to pay government employees who don't really have to do anything. And we all know how hard it is to get the government to close down a wasteful department, right?

Now, some of the pro-87 folk have screamed that the anti-87 ads are "paid for by the big oil companies". I call a loud "well, DUH" on that. If, say, the music industry were going to be charged an additional $5 per CD that they couldn't pass on to the consumer, don't you think THEY'D run ads aginst the measure?

And 87 was actually put on the ballot by a group of businessmen that are IN THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY BUSINESSES. So some of that $4 billion taken from the oil companies would go TO THESE BUSINESSMEN...who, again, are NOT required to actually produce any results!!

"Oil companies posted record profits!" Yes, they did. But were those GROSS profits, or NET profits? Most of the profits went back into the company. How much NET profit, per dollar they took in, did they get? I did a rant about that back in June.

But the big lie comes from the Clinton ad, where he says that, in Brazil, they did a "simple" adjustment to their cars so they could run on ethanol. Our bass player, Dave Kern, is the closest thing to an automotive expert I have. He worked as a mechanic for over 30 years, and now inspects cars for car manufacturers. I asked him about the "simple conversion". It's not simple - AND the cost would be prohibitive compared to what you'd save filling up on ethanol. Want to bet any of that $4 billion will go towards converting your car?

Now, while it is true that they use ethanol in Brazil instead of gasoline, they have something we don't and can't have - sugar cane fields. Ethanol yield is based on sugar content. Due to our climate here in the continental US, we can't grow sugar cane. What do we grow for ethanol? Corn...and it takes about THREE TIMES as much corn to make the same amount of ethanol. (And I'm also pretty sure that this won't work...unless you're diabetic.)

Ah, now here's the kicker. Ever hear of Archer Daniels Midland? It's one of the biggest agro companies in the world. They are heavily into ethanol. Their home base offices are in Illinois. Guess what state Hillary was born in.

So, in summary: take $4B from private companies, put it into a new government agency that doesn't have to produce results, and possibly drive those companies out of the state and produce the opposite effect of what you wanted to do. Oh, and YOU would have to pay to convert your car for the new energy scheme.

Um...that would be a no.

Rant over.

Oh, two side notes:

Bill Clinton and Al Gore have both done ads for 87. Since when have they been legal residents of California? And, if alternative fuel is so important, why didn't they do anything when they were in office?


If you're a California resident, you can certainly vote how you wish. All of the above are just my take on it.

At least get out and vote. Make your voice heard.

If you don't vote, you have no right to bitch about the results.

Be seeing you.


3 comments so far

Bob - 2006-11-05 16:03:50 -
1. Both sides claim to want to 'lessen our dependence on foreign oil' - there are two routes. Drill for more domestic supply, or develop alternative energy sources. Prop 87 creates a bureaucracy with no accountability, but the oil companies aren't exactly lining up to kill their golden goose. --- 2. Gross vs. Net Profits. The companies are STILL making that much money; this is the Hollywood argument that multi-million dollar films don't turn a profit, even when they're box-office champs, a legal distinction often used to screw naive actors out of a few bucks. --- 3. Agreed with you and Brin. Vote, or help yourself to a nice big cup of Shut The F--k Up. If you disagree with just the war in Iraq, for example, do you think the soldiers who have been killed are honored by your abdicating your privelege to vote? Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. Can't say it enough.


Dave - 2006-11-05 22:08:48 -
Bob, I'd love it if we could drill for more domestic oil, and we could also do nuclear again...if only the environmentalists would let us.


Brin - 2006-11-03 18:03:12 -
Your last several sentences have been my mantra every time there's something to vote for. Amen and verily AMEN.


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