May 4, 2006
Matt Roberts and Yuka Tachibana - CrossFit Missoula
"Girls vs Guys" [video] - CrossFit Vancouver
Oily Politicians Part 1 and Part 2 - Thomas Sowell
Read and post thoughts to comments.
Posted by lauren at May 4, 2006 5:38 PM
Took the day off on Thursday. Am doing an epic mountain bike day on friday. Long live the freaks.
Anybody in Addison Texas?
Great, my legs are still sore from Tuesday..
Any advice from fellow zoners. I just started and I'm a 22 block a day guy. On my rest days do I still take in the 22 blocks? Especially breakfast. Should I drop it from 5 to 3? It's usually my first meal after the CF WOD.
Close - Denton.
There's also a crossfit Plano right off of 75, probably 20 minute from you.
I'm loving the videos, please keep them coming!
The Titan loves off days but not as much as he loves his WODs. Can't wait till Friday!!!
Thomas Sowell is one of the 5 smartest people in the country. He'll take something complex and convoluted and explain it in terms that most anyone can understand.
Just about everything you hear from politicians on both sides about the high price of gas is pandering. The know, or should know, about the law of suppy and demand. More demand, higher price; more supply, lower price. I don't understand why that is so hard to comprehend.
Oil companies are in business to make money. That what any business is in business to do. If you punish them for making money with some trumped up "excess profit" tax, they'll just sit on the oil/gas/whatever for a while and then sell it when the time is right. Meanwhile there's gonna be less oil/gas/whatever available and the price will go up for consumers. Isn't it great when our representatives try to rig the free market system? They just screw it up.
One more thing........ Crossfit is the best workout I've ever had. Been in it for one month and I've never been stronger. Lost about 5 pounds even though I really haven't been watching my diet that well. I'm sure my body fat is down to a greater degree than my weight. I hope to be able to complete a muscle-up by June.
It's good to see that someone else has been beating their heads into the wall over gas rebate checks, lowering of refinery and emissions standard to boost supply, and a few other inane proposals that seem to ignore that oil has overpeaked and the world political situation is not conducive to gathering more.
The intelligent undercurrent, beneath the economic ignorance, may be the realization that all is not right with oil and government and foreign policy, and hasn't been for a long time. I hope that's lurking in there....but probably not. Sigh...
A very readable article on a similar theme in one of the Sydney papers yesterday -
It basically makes the same point - it's a matter of economics, not improper use of market power. Reference to the effect of taxation - and the different levels in different countries - is interesting. Note the Australian price referred to - around AUD$1.40/litre - equates to (I think) about US$3.97/US gallon.
Australian trade practices authorities (administering what are in the US called anti-trust laws) have been after the oil companies for years too - looking for collusive pricing or other anti-competitive practices - without much in the way of success. There is the potential for the "it's all economics" argument to fall down if such practices can be shown to exist. The fact that prices increase does not mean that those practices are occurring.
And on more important matters, off to the Indochina Cup rugby tournament (teams from Vientiane, Hanoi, Saigon and Phnom Penh) tomorrow to see the benefits bestowed by about 7 months of CF. Not expecting miracles, but I think CF has taken me back to where I was about 20 years ago in overall fitness terms. If only I knew then what I know now ...
Thomas Sowell is a smart dude. I love reading his stuff.
Funny...I don't recall seeing politicians crying out to help Exxon, Chevron or other oil companies several years ago when oil was $10 per barrel. Where was Washington then?
Bird Flu. Gas prices. November.
Decent articles, I guess. Is their always someone to blame? I still go to movies and buy ten dollar bags of popcorn. I spend thousands of dollars on iPods and laptops and 500 channels on the TV. If you don’t want to buy something at full price wait for it to go on sale. Gas stations only make pennies on the dollar of gas. The real money is getting you in the door to buy that 80 ounce blueberry slurpie and bag of jerky. Demand becomes less and supplies go up! I’m no mathmagician and I get it.
Here's an interesting solution. All the hippie, tree hugger, enviro-loving Sierra Group types put your money where your mouth is. Stop driving your cars, riding in boats and trains and flying in planes. Ride a bike. Stop contributing to global warming, save the Earth and save the rest of us some money at the pump...yeah right. Hypocrites.
The government never helps anything!!!!
They'll give you a billion dollar solution for a million dollar problem. Beware the politician that wants to help you and "works together” with his enemies.
It's the old adage, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail."
Politician's only tool is law. Lordy, we don't need more LAW!!! What do YOU think this problem looks like to them?
I will admit, however, a 400 million dollar retirement package for the CEO of EXXON does seem excessive. DON'T BUY EXXON!!! Weren't they the ones with the Valdez? Make them pay for those poor, defenseless seals and ducks they slicked up! I guess they recovered from that just fine. I guess time heals all wounds indeed.
Drive less, people, or let's take control of the oil in the Middle East. Why should American taxpayers have to pay for a war that can pay for itself with their own oil? We own it already! I’m already here! Who’s with me??? ARRGHH!!! What a joke.
-Dennis in Baghdad
God I'm sore. It's the lactic acid talking...sorry.
"Big Oil," specficially Exxon has seen record profits over the last two years. Tell me why their profits are increasing if they are only raising the cost to consumers because the cost of production is higher. Shouldn't their profits stay the same? Of course they should. On the other hand, what should the government do about it? Is it the government's place to legislate in cases like this? I would argue no. Anyway... its 4am and I have finals tomorrow.
Loved the videos, that was freaking awsome.
Didn't read all of the articles, but I'm personally praying for $10\gal gas. Until then, we will "adjust". When something finally wakes us up, we will throw these bastards out of office who continue to ignore us on everything from oil to immigration and put someone in who will listen. Keep it up Big Oil!
Today's vid was my fav. It does not have to be fun to be fun.
Most of the people that I hear complaining about gas prices are the ones that will hop in their big vehicles and drive a couple of miles to get an overpriced coffee instead of staying home and making one themselves......sigh. I do have sympathy however for those involved in businesses wherein fuel prices are eliminating ability to stay in the black.
Sore after the last three WOD's. Thanks again to Coach, Lauren and all the rest involved in bringing us CrossFit.
"Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million"
Someone, anyone...please explain how this has anything to do with supply and demand.
This is an obscene...here in all caps::: OBSCENE amount of money for doing what?? Retiring?
No one. No one can properly explain why he deserves this much money to do NOTHING.
It's gross and it's rotten and we ALL know it is...
There's something happening here.
What it is isn't exactly clear...
Crossfit: Elite Fitness, Crap Politics.
There are a couple of points here that I think Sowell botches completely. The main problem is that he ignores the fact that oil companies and the prices they charge do not in any way exist in a the kind of ideal free-market system that he pretends they do. “Prices are like a thermometer reading” is an absurd statement when describing an industry that is by all accounts directly affected by an incredible amount of legislation. Our federal and state governments provide massive net subsidies to the oil industry—you can argue about the total amount, but it’s clear that the aggregate effect of things like providing for the strategic petroleum reserve, special tax codes for things like oil-related machinery depreciation, foreign tax credits, etc., is an overall transfer of wealth to the oil industry. Nobody on either side of the political fence denies this; most people agree it’s in our nation’s best interests to do so, in the interests of keeping our oil-hungry economy stable. None of this, by the way, even touches on the much more controversial idea that our federal government might enter into military conflicts as a way of controlling our oil supply.
So for Sowell to then argue about prices being “a symptom of underlying reality” and to go on about “price-coordinated markets” is disingenous at best. That underlying reality is a product not only of his beloved free market forces but also clear government intervention. The question then is, who benefits from all that government meddling? At the moment, given the massive recent oil company profits, it’s hard to argue that the companies themselves, and their shareholders, aren’t the big winners here.
If we want price-coordinated markets, we’d have to get the government completely out of the entire equation. It’s simply not going to happen. I’m a huge fan of free markets, but the oil sector is about as far from such a thing as we have.
Er, sorry--the second thing about this article that I find ridiculous—and this is a commom problem in polemic-based “journalism”—is the off-handed way he creates a fictitious group of people and attacks them for their conveniently incoherent stand. He claims that “the people who are making the most noise about the high price of gasoline are the very people who have for years blocked every attempt to increase our own oil supply” and goes on to detail the various ways these “spoiled brats” have blocked new drilling, fought against nuclear power, etc. This is preposterous. Responsible writers, no matter their political views, should not indulge in this kind of lazy stereotyping. A lot of people are making noise about the high prices. Who is making the most? Is it really an identifiable group that coincidentally also like windmills but then complained about their view being blocked? What is he talking about?
Having said all that, I do think people should stop whining about the high gas prices. Sell your car if you can and ride your bike. (And yes, before you flame: I’ve already taken my own advice.)
4 rounds for time of:
14 one arm DB snatch (7 r, 7 l), DB = 25% BW
500 m row
Capt E - 13:00
Lt D - 12:43
Lt G - 13:37
Lt M - 10:40
Lt E - 12:38
Is this Crossfit or Cross-politics? Great points wrong forum.
the status quo is bad, but a great way to make it worse would be to levy an "excess" profits tax.
some better steps:
-end market distorting subsidies to the fossil fuel industry
-make your peace with the reality that the real market price of gas might be higher than you're used to paying. Even if that fact is inconvenient for you, it might still be true.
-if we are "addicted" to oil then we ought to be desperately looking for ways to lower demand for it and encourage alternatives to it. Higher prices do both of those better than anything else. If you don't want all that money going to Exxon, then support a carbon tax whose proceeds are dedicated to remedies to oil's negative externalities.
The way to judge whether the oil companies are "price gouging" is not to look at the price of gasoline, or at the gross profits of the oil industry, but to look at the profit margin per gallon. Are they making significantly more money per gallon now than last year or the year before? Demagogic politicians of both parties don't care about the answer that question.
The same thing is happening with the price of steel right now. Increased demand in China and other parts of the world has driven prices through the roof, but it doesn't mean that the steel companies are "gouging" anyone. And, because steel price hikes don't have the political resonance of gas price hikes, our spineless politicos are silent on the subject.
Anyone here old enough to remember Richard Nixon's pandering effort to imitate the USSR & fix the price of gasoline back in the 70s when OPEC was 1st formed and gas prices started to skyrocket? The results of his attempt to control prices were mile long lines at the pumps, shortages of gasoline, and rationing. We don't need to go down that road again.
1. It is nonsensical for political leaders of both parties to eliminate the gas tax temporarily or permanently as this will only worsen our dependence on oil by disincentivizing the innovation of oil alternatives and oil conservation efforts.
2. Both mainstream American political parties are doing their country a disservice by accusing convenient scapegoats of price gouging or price fixing instead of educating the public about how the price of gas is actually set.
3. Right now, governments should be focused on helping us cure our “addiction to oil.”
The answer does not lie in lowering gas prices, which will only encourage people to drive more and further waste our valuable resources. As the Department of Energy funded Hirsch Report on Peak Oil laid out, the consequences of not taking steps to transition away from oil could be dramatic to our economic system. Appropriate solutions include large-scale research, development, and implementation programs to improve the scalability of alternative sources of energy, other projects geared towards improving mass transit and carpooling programs across the country, providing incentives to buy smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, and promoting a campaign to increase awareness about conservation.
The political discourse on this topic is simply so devoid of fact, and constructive discourse so buried and out of the mainstream, that someone definitely needs to raise a voice of reason. Public officials will continue to misinform and obfuscate if the public allows it.
The only solution is to educate the public about the most important problem we face as a generation. We, the citizens of the US and the world, must move our attention to this the issue of energy more than any other. We must hold our representative governments accountable for having an open and honest debate on the subject.
Simply put, we must learn more about where our energy comes from.
Great points in the article. Another aspect to consider is profit margin, which the oil companies do not lead in. Yes, the retirement package given seemed excessive, but that's because the demand is so great that the oil companies make money, even though the profit margin is not the highest in the industry. They just have a product that is always in high demand.
Build more refineries, drill for oil in the places we already know it is and refine it ourselves. The drilling debate in Alaska is a joke. It's a 19 million acre refuge. With modern technology and Gov't imposed restrictions, the footprint of the oil wells would be less than 2000 acres. (though initial impact would be a little more as they set up, build and drill)
Below is part of an article on profit margins.
Business Week magazine regularly compares the profitability of various industries and companies on the basis of profit margin, which is calculated by dividing net income (profit) by total sales and other revenues. For example, a software company that clears $90 million in net income on product sales of $1 billion would earn a profit margin of 9 percent or 9 cents on each dollar of sales.
Traditionally, oil companies have trailed many other industries in this measure of profitability. As indicated in the graphic, the profit margin of oil and natural gas companies was slightly above that of all industry in the third quarter of 2005. However, the industry's profitability remained below the profit margins of other industries such as banking, financial services, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and computer software.
Can't open the video. Can't figure out why. Tried "open" "open in new window" and just clicking on it. Any suggestions? I've never had this problem before.
Good article. I understand and agree with the laws of supply and demand. What makes me very angry is corporate welfare. For instance, when many of the airlines were struggling in 2002, the US Government gave, I believe, a 14.5 billion dollar grant for them to get back on their feet. If these corporations want a true capitalist society, then when times are tough, let the companies go under. There is still a need in this country and worldwide to fly. Some other company or companies would have bought the airlines and probably hired many of the airline workers.
After all, in a few years my job as a computer programmer will become obsolete in this country. There is someone over in India who will can do what I do for 1/3 the price. I don’t believe the government is going to bail me out.
Keep up the good work! Thanks for keeping "Words of truth" in the front of us. Oily Politicians address the real issues. Who's got the guts? - Thomas Sowell do. Man, does America need people with guts right now? More than ever.
Love your 'reality check' politics my brother.
I'm all for a free market, but the oil industry is not a free market at all; way too much regulation of every flavor already exists. The one thing I am quite certain of is that more gov't intervention will just F things up more.
Record profits by the oil companies during a time of war and at a time when the average person's budget is being severely squeezed just isn't right. Neither is all the political pandering.
Reduced global supply does not fully explain the higher prices at the pump. Doesn't it stand to reason that if the oil companies had to spend that much more to get the gas to us, their profits would not be at record highs?
I don't know nearly enough about all this to really have any meaningful, specific suggestions (wouldn't it be nice if more folks would make that admission?). But it does seem to me that increasing domestic production at the same time as we develop alternative energy sources would be the prudent direction to head in from where we are now. Prudent from the standpoints of both economics and national security.
For my own part, I did just trade my beloved 4x4 Nissan pickup (averaged 17-18mpg) in on a Saab 9-3 that should average about 30mpg. And yes, I am riding my bike more as well...
Brian M. Try right clicking, save as...
Even though today is a rest day, I will spend two hours in the gym as part of my job. Inevitably, I will end up doing some kind of exercise. Any suggestions for what I should do? Practice O-Lifts with light weights? Turkish getups?
No great insights here but as a licensed professional geologist with experience in oil exploration and environmental protection, I'd like to remind everyone that 'Big Oil' is actually many, many small investors and 'Big Government' is actually many concerned citizens.
Now with that said, ... why are the dumbest people elected to be leaders? I donno. And why are they allowed to suggest the dumbest ideas? I donno. No one steps up to stop them, I guess. But often when something doesn't make any sense, ... there's more to it that you don't know about.
Keep in mind the boom-bust history of the oil industry while debating this current situation. I was sitting on a WildCat well back in '86 when the price fell from $33/bbl to $13/bbl in 3 days. That changed the economics, or feasibility, of the project, small investors lost their monies, companies went out of business and all of us workers got out of the industry and looked for new lines of employment. That's the inverse situation to today's, ... when the polititians step up and propose subsidies and tax breaks for the industry.
So, it all comes full circle and the general public must have been asleep, drugged or just dopey.
Anyway, ... good luck in your training,
Is the supply/demand bottleneck at the refineries or at the point crude is pummped out of the ground?
Seems like if the business is doing this well, more players would be tripping overthemselves to get into the market.
Regardless, the political pandering is noise. Wink #7 is right, this is Economics, not Politics.
For a long time our country raised the taxes on tobacco to try to curb use. What we found was it was almost impossible to curb tobacco use by raising cost. Sure, there is a point where use would way down because the price is so high, but the federal governement could not legally or rationally raise the tariff that high.
We are so dependant on oil, that we as a nation are willing to pay an awful lot for it. And you know what, the oil companies know that we need it and are willing to pay for it. Such is life in a free market economy.
I'm conflicted because I support free markets. Yet I really do not see a cap on fuel costs and oil company profits without federal intervention.
The free market solution is to use alternative fuel sources. Ironically, that will reduce the demand for oil, which will cause prices to drop, which will make it more economical than the alternative sources, which will cause demand for oil to rise.
I'm going to go workout.
The two articles are spot on (if I may borrow phrase) concerning supply and demand and political pandering related to the price of gas. I agree totally with #18 bcf concerning the Sowell's pandering to the right in blaming a straw man. He falls victim to a common misunderstanding of economics in stating that our (US) limited production is an underlying cause of the current high price of oil. The price of oil is based on the world market, not ours. Unless we nationalize our oil fields like Bolivia did this week with their natural gas fields, or our buddy Hugo Chavez is likely to do in Venezuela, the price of oil is unlikely to be significantly impacted for very long by whatever pitiful contribution we can make to world supply. Check out the relative supplies at this site: Http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/oil/oilcharts.html
North America, and the U.S. in particular, account for a small fraction of world oil reserves.
Though painful, high gas prices are a necessary reality to spur any meaningful market adjustment in terms of conservation (a word our leadership, particularly Dick Cheney, can barely utter without a sneer) and investment in or transition to new energy sources. Government and politicians certainly have a role to play in leading us through this change, it just shouldn't involve meddling in market pricing or pandering to special interests for political gain. The age of cheap and easily extractable oil is coming to an end.
GO GRIZ! Don't do your workouts at the UM campus rec center..you'll get some funny looks. The bald guy that runs the place used to kick my friend and I out all the time a couple of years ago for "being too aggressive" with our workout.
Brian M. - Today's video is in Quicktime format, which is unusual for Crossfit. Be sure you have Quicktime installed on your computer (it's free) before you click. Matt Townsend's suggestion is a good one, if you already have it installed.
It's a terrific video. I was so enthused after watching it, I blasted by two guys on $1,800 racing bikes on my way to work, and smiled as they tried to catch me on my beat up old mountain bike. Gotta love Crossfit.
As far as the article goes, yes of course oil, a commodity, is going to be governed not by government but by economics. However, people see high gas prices and by some fallacy of logic decide the government should be responsible to do something. What they should think is, "Wow, oil prices are damn nasty high, maybe I should ride my bike to work today or invest in alternate fuels?"
I completely agree with these articles, but this shouldn’t be surprising since I have worked for Big Oil the past 25 years. On the supply side I do see some good things going on. There is significant reinvestment in the oil industry, and I’m especially pleased to see much of this going to the refineries. Historically the refineries have been the poor stepchild of the industry, making meager returns on capital employed and hence receiving very little investment. This new investment in the downstream is like shoring up the infrastructure in any industry, and that is a good thing in the long term.
On the demand side I see a worrisome future for the consumer. I recently saw a graph looking at the number of vehicles per number of driving population. In the US there are more than 90 cars for every 100 drivers (in other words just about everyone who can drive has a car). In China and India there is about 1 car for every 100 drivers. As the wealth of the populous in those countries increase, you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to calculate the impact this will have on the energy markets.
Hey I'm 6'5" and I've looked over the Zone diet in the diet article of the Crossfit Journal. It seems to make a lot of sense to me except from my experience I have always based my diet around calorie consumption and what percent of my diet consists of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. As you now know I am much taller than the average person, so how can I make the Zone diet work for me when I need to consume at least 3500 calories a day without losing massive amounts of weight when the highest amount of calories in the block chart came out to be around 2000? (based on the principal that 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, and one gram of fat is 9 calories)
To be fair to Sowell, he is talking about Oily Politicians, not responsible commentators. Therefore, what you call a strawman is in fact the living breathing membership of the Democrat party, and gutless, pandering Republicans who know better - which is most of them.
An even better example of eco-lefty hypocrisy on gas prices is found in the perennial suggestion that gas taxes be jacked up in order to elevate prices to discourage consumption and promote alternative energy development. They were all for high gas prices before they were dead set against them, and for the exact same reasons!
My only concern is with the creation on the part of oil producers of artificial scarcity. Let's say they have 10 oil fields lined up with proven reserves, and they don't drill them because they are making fat money now. All that would happen if they opened them up is the price would go down.
Adam Smith himself said that you can't have 3 capitalists in the same industry in a room together five minutes before they start talking price fixing. I'm in Sales. It doesn't take long to realize that if you could negotiate something with your competitors--say, you bid high on the north side of town, and I'll bid high on the South--you could easily maintain very high margins. This was really only made illegal in an enforceable sense in this country this century, and I guarantee if you put me in charge of one of those companies, I'd figure out how to get around the laws. It wouldn't be hard.
Therefore, even though formal evidence is not at hand, to my knowledge, nothing can convince me some sort of pricing collusion is not happening somewhere. There is too much money at stake for it not to be happening.
As far as action, price controls are a bad idea. Our focus simply needs to be on doing what we can, through the enforcement of laws, to ensure that competition is as robust as possible, and prosecute and violations we find. It will never be perfect, but better than socialism.
Re: Comment #16
Tristram: Posts on rest days, nowhere to be found when a WOD rears its ugly head.
Just a few thoughts: First I hear grumblings about why Car companies don't make more fuel efficent cars. Because the buying public wants SUV's and more horsepower. It is quite odd that cars seems to have more horsepower than years ago. And now the same people who drive these cars are complaining about high gas prices which are about the same as the prices in the 80's adjusted for inflation. What is the price of the average vehicle today? What is the price of the average house today? Hmm, they cost a lot more than in the 80's? I never would have imagined so many people would buy plasma tv's for thousands of dollars and then complain about the price of a gal of gas. Citizens have to make an effort to change their habits and make a committment to conserve if they want companies and polititians to notice. It's easy to blame others but you need to pony up and be active to make a change.
Thomas Sowell is an American hero, and his phrase “bipartisan demagoguery” should endure. But alas, economics is not his strong suit. Economics apparently IS rocket science.
Supply and demand is not working in the oil business. Nor is there enough of a free market (he calls it a “price-coordinated market”). Nor is the price caused by China and India. The oil companies are culpable, and guilty of gouging, but neither the oil companies nor natural resources are the source of the problem.
The source is the monopoly controlling crude prices by throttling back on supply. It is named OPEC. And as if that supply problem is not bad enough, our federal and state governments cooperate by strangling supply from ANWAR to offshore, and strangling production by constricting refinery construction. Then they over-regulate to interfere more in the market. They make the competing technology of nuclear power prohibitive, further increasing our national demand for fossil fuel. And then to heap injury on injury, the governments bleed the consumers with commodity taxes.
Now the oil companies are perfectly happy with high cost crude. That’s because they base their profits not on their investment (why, that would be capitalism!) but instead they set their profits proportional to the price of crude. Crude goes up, and so does gasoline, but so do oil company profits. The oil companies do indeed pass on the crude costs to the consumer, but it doesn’t end there. They add proportionally to their profits, too. There are no market forces acting on their bookkeeping.
Between 1988 and 2001, gasoline prices increased 1.9% per year. Between 2001 and early this year, they increased 15.3% per year. In the last month, they increased 2.2% per DAY. That’s about 300,000% per year! Just where in this pattern did China and India awake? The price gouging, OPEC’s and the oil companies’, is more correlated with, and payback for, the War on Terrorism than it is with any budding industrialization.
What our federal government should do under a sensible energy policy is embargo all essential goods and services uniquely supplied by the US to the OPEC countries and their friends. The rate should be just enough to underwrite the price of crude to, say, 1995 dollars. This embargo should include medicines, trips to the Mayo clinic, spare parts for their aircraft and machinery, software updates, and whatever else we might dream up. Price everything on the margin in barrels of oil.
The next thing our governments should do is figure out how (who, more precisely) the pump price of gasoline at all the different, “competing”, service stations manages to remain synchronized as the prices increase. This cannot be the consequence of market forces. They move too slowly.
The government responses of conservation, voluntary or forced, and alternative fuel sources are romantic nonsense. Bipartisan demagoguery.
Capitalism is about earnings based on invested capital, and prices set by an AUCTION in a free market. Measuring oil company or grocery store earnings as a percentage of sales is an accounting fiction. The market forces aren’t working. Instead, MBA-ology is at work. Stop investing, and maximize cash flow is their credo.
The illegal immigration problem is analogous to the gasoline price problem. The analogy is in the failure to characterize the problem fully and get at its source.
We have an open (and dangerous) border with Mexico. But Mexico is not a friendly state. Capitalism is to borders as Mexico is to OPEC. Fox may be Bush’s friend, but he’s an enemy of the U.S. We need to close the border, not build walls. Shut down all traffic at every check point, from San Ysidro and Otay Mesa to Brownsville, Texas. Tourism first. Then day laborers. Throttle back. Halt NAFTA. Soon all goods and services. The only way across the border should be by dirt roads, aircraft, and boats, with the INS at the ready. If Mexico wants it different, then Mexican authorities can stop the export of illegals.
Then we can start deporting as illegals pop up.
The U.S. has come to think of diplomacy as an alternative to action. As a result, problems are exacerbated. Diplomacy is a defense, not an offense. We should bypass the UN and NATO, and prepare to take out all Iran’s nuclear facilities with precision guided munitions flown out of Iraq. Iran will know we’re coming when we take out their air defense cites, and then their military aircraft. Drop leaflets; tell them to evacuate; give them a time schedule that comes true. Now if someone wants diplomacy, let it be Ahmadinejad. Let HIM take it to the UN.
I think a lot of you are missing the point about the profits the oil companies are seeing. The arguement that some of you have said goes like this: "Reduced global supply does not fully explain the higher prices at the pump. Doesn't it stand to reason that if the oil companies had to spend that much more to get the gas to us, their profits would not be at record highs?"
The problem with this logic is that the oil supply isn't being reduced. Also, it isn't costing the oil companies any more to get the gas to us. The amount of oil pumped out of the ground every day is a function of OPEC. They determine how much they pump out of the ground by deciding how much they think people will pay for their oil. The more they think people will pay, the less they'll pump. Or you can think of it this way; if they pump a set amount, the same amount every day, but the demand for that amount grows everyday from developing nations like china and india, then there is less overall available gas for each individual country, and the price per unit of gas will increase, because more value has been placed up it.
Think of it like this. If Kansas supplied all the bread for all 50 states, the same amount everyday, say 50 loaves (stay with me) thats 1 loaf per state. (its a big loaf) now if california realizes that its population needs 2 loaves, but kansas is still only making 50 loaves per day, now the intrinsic value of the bread has increased, because everyone needs to eat. kansas now gets to decide who gets the 50 loaves by how much they think they can get paid for them.
hope this rambling made sense. oh yeah, my quads are still hurting. thanks coach!
Sowell makes some good points and he is way off on others, which exposes his true intent of the article.
First the facts:
The US uses very little oil for electricity. We get something like 4-5% of our electricity from oil so we could build nuclear power plants in every city and it would have little effect on oil demand. His whole tirade about windmills and nuclear power has nothing to do with the issue of oil demand so he either doesn't know what he is talking about or purposefully obscures the issue so he can attack that vague group of brats he refers to. You be the judge.
He is dead on about the all of the moaning from politicians on both sides of the isle. It's a bunch of opportunistic posturing by people who have ignored the real problems of oil dependence for decades.
The real issue is that we have a transportation system that depends almost entirely on oil-based products for fuel. This make as much economic sense as investing your entire retirement savings in stocks from one industry. You do great when the stocks rise but suffer when they tank. Right now our transportation investments are tanking.
The fact that Sowell is probably the most right about is that the cool discipline of the market is probably the best antidote for our problems, instead of knee jerk reactions from politicians. We're most likely to get the profitable investments we need in new production, refinery capacity, and alternative fuels when oil prices are $70+ a barrel.
A few other corrections: The oil companies did bitch and moan for legislative goodies when oil prices were low. Next time you do your taxes, take a close look at all of those obscure tax credits for oil drilling and exploration. Do you think those were inserted in the tax code when oil prices were $70 a barrel or $15?
Like the airlines and other well connected industries, they have astutely used the political system to their advantage during the bad times (no one paid attention then) and deflected criticism when they are in the limelight.
I just won the big drawing at our health and fitness fair ... 2 passes for 6 months membership, at Gold's Gym. Yeessss!
Imagine, ... the only guy working here with a power rack, platform and bumpers gym in his garage AND keys to the weight room at the HS.
I'm doing handstands, ... no really, handstands.
My recent trip to SanDiego was paid for by my winning a $625 drawing at our football banquet.
I'm off now to get my bets in on the Derby.
Best of luck in your training,
"Thomas Sowell is an American hero, and his phrase “bipartisan demagoguery” should endure. But alas, economics is not his strong suit. Economics apparently IS rocket science."
Wait a second, Thomas Sowell has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago. If he is fudging his economic reasoning, maybe you should question what his motivations are for doing so?
Pull-upx10 (slight kip) and Ring dipx10 for 10 sets.
Tempo :45 interval/exercise in order to keep sets uninterrupted. I was successful.
Kevin Rogers (post #50)
The smart money is on Lawyer Ron.
Call it a hunch.
You know, I remember about a year ago, Crossfit Vancouver staged a contest to name their gym. The brilliant entry of "Black Box" was selected by the proprietor as the winning entry. The winner was to receive a neat CF Vancouver hoodie sweatshirt (or some other reasonable CFV facsimile). Said winner has yet to receive his swag.
Guess who that winner was. Patty, don't make me come after you.
I have been doing crossfit for three months. I do not fit the crossfit mold. I way 245 lbs. I'm having problems with my joints (elbows and knees). Do u think I way to much for the exercises. Also I'm pretty stong but my flexabilty seems to hurt me on power clings. does anyone have any advise. I'm in great shape do to crossfit and I don't want to stop.
Missed date w/ Helen earlier in week so I'm doing that today.
Legs STILL sore from Tuesday. By the way, is a 5/2 split with the WOD okay or do I need to make the 3/1 work? Don't have access to the gym on the weekends
I have said it before-"A sound mind in a sound body" is a good thing. Thanks to the coach. We had some rolling brown outs here in Texas last week. What happened was that the temperatures hit record highs in areas that were served by power plants that were partially down for plant maintenance. The next day, a congressman came out and promised to prevent that from happening again. So, what was he going to do? Prevent the temperature from going up or prevent plant maintenance? Sowell makes very good points!
Welcome back Tristam. Haven't seen you as usual since your last diatribe, especially not on any of the days that involve exercise.
I wonder if you are part of the crowd who pays $20 for a gallon of coffee (avg price at Starbucks or your favorite coffee house when you pay $3 a cup) or $10 for a gallon of water (avg price at the store when you buy it at $1.50 a bottle) then drive your big ass SUV up to the faculty lounge to bitch about gas costing $3 a gallon. Awsome.
P.S. Don't forget to blame Bush. Remember, he caused the hurricanes and gave nukes to Iran to drive up the price of oil.
I've noticed a lot of newbies asking about pullups. After 26 yrs in the Corps I thought I'd seen every program, heard every argument. Here's something that may help pull up novices. Discovered a use for the mini trampoline in the basement. You know, the ones sold as "fitness equipment. Put it under your pullup bar! I used this technique with my kids and they love it. Also good for practicing the mechanics (greasing the groove) for bar muscle ups. It can be a great plyo-jumping-pulling movement for CF'ers too. I did 80 and was stoked/smoked! Play around with it, it's fun!
Darn right Bush is to blame! I didn't think it needed said or I would have mentioned it earlier. I'm still mad at him about my cat dying too. If he really loved the American people he wouldn't let things like that happen.
Anybody here read that Crunchy Con book by Rod Dreher? Just wondering if it's any good. I might buy it later today, because I've been meaning to check it out but I keep forgetting.
You are right
Send me your address ASAP and I will send you the hoodie
Just for the record...loved your idea about Black Box.......but it didn't work....Lab might have potential
We have beeen redefining GYM...old school gym
Thanks for the kind comments about the video...it was a ton of fun......and biz is booming because of it (Fun that is)
E-mail on the way. Still think you're making a mistake with dumping "black box," but I can see the negative ramifications (hope that's clear).
Much love to the Canadian contigency.
Any use of a resource that is nonsustainable will have its day of reckoning. (Water is another example) The only solution to the oil problem that will not lead to a conflict is to reduce demand.
For 8 years in the 1990's (Aug 1990 after the Kuwait invasion by Iraq) I communted 45 miles/day on a bicycle in San Antonio, Texas...not a bike-friendly city. During that time, I watched the number of SUV/Trucks become more than 50% of the vehicles on the road. The average mph actually decrease; The shoulders of the road I used for a bike lane, subsumed to make more lanes for cars. How many people joined me riding a bicycle? ZERO. How many bicycles did I see in front of the high schools I passed? ZERO.
The problem with oil was forseen and will get worse as long as the demand increases. The answer is obvious: decrease the demand. However, my experience suggests that in this country that will not happen.
Did Helen from Monday. Subbed 35# db for the 55 and had to do push-ups instead of pull-ups due to recovering injury.
3 x 400 run ( 9.0, 9.0, 9.6)
3 x 21 swings w/35
3 x 25 push-ups, last 2 sets broken
Just watched the video. I think I see what the CF Games could be.
Looked like fun. I mean real "fun." Not "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun."
I think all businesses are quite profitable right now...because the economy is doing well. It's not just oil that is profitable. JP Morgan Chase and Sallie Mae have a much higher profit margin than Exxon. But they are just banks and have nothing to do with oil so we won't go after them today. Plus their CEO's don't get unrealistic benefits packages. Right.
I carpool 60 miles each way to work. In that commute our car is usually the only one we see with additional passengers in it. I will only believe that gas is too high when I see others making an effort to conserve. When there are fewer cars in traffic I'll believe there's an impact to the everyday man. Until then I see no reason for government to punish the businessman. I believe it's just a scramble for votes.
Lack (Comment #54),
Stick with it. Get in the zone (diet), practice the basic movements, scale the WOD appropriately and have fun! Specific joint pain and weight concerns would be better addressed on the message board.
I'm not an educated man by any means. But that doesn't make me an idiot either. Choosing to join the military after high school and put my education from a school of higher learning on hold forced me to learn some very important things.
One is that the K.I.S.S.(Keep It Simple Stupid) method is usually the best way keep things. Especially when trying to understand them and or get your point to others. That's what I liked most about the author. He can put things in simplest terms. By doing this, it's easier to understand what is really going on. And to see through the "Crap screen" that the Left is always putting up. These are the people who want their cake and to eat it too.
Secondly, the simpler you keep things, the more people will argue and fight to disprove it. That way they can't be seen for what they really are. No matter how bad they want to give the Conservatives a black eye and blame them for every thing from oil prices to Matt Leinart dropping in the draft, the truth will prevail. As long as we keep fighting for it to be put out there and not hidden for a special interest groups hidden agenda.
The answers are out there. We need to tap safely, which we have a ability to do, the resources at our disposal while working at getting off other countries tit. The options are out there. Despite what the gentleman running ads to de-seat Arnold here in California is saying.
We as a country need to stay strong and self reliant. We need to stay together on this. People need to stop thinking about what's best for them, but what's best for the team!
That's my $.02 on it. But then again, who am I?
For God and country!
Oh yah, Tristram. How did you do on yesterdays WOD? That's what I thought. And if you don't like the politics being discussed here, or the stimulating articles that make you think for your self and stop being a sheep, then feel free to get your workouts from Men's Health.
Nice day here in NYC. Ran 4 miles in the park
I am just Starting The Zone this week and I too wonder if I should add a few blocks. I am trying to stick with the recs for a week or two to see what happens but I am hungry frequently. As for calorie count, remember that the protein source typically has carbs/fat that you are probably only counting as protein. This is less so for the fats (fats are often aalmost purely fat alone) and carbs but they too have uncounted calories since most foods are a mixture of protein/carb/fat. For example, chicken also has fat so one block of chicken is more than the 4 x 7 = 28 calories (45-50 cals estimate). You could find a calorie counting source or just experiment and see how your weight responds. Good luck!
Interesting article, with all the usual straw men: "spoiled brats" (presumably liberal), "liberal politicians", "liberal media" and all the usual heroes, mainly the inviolable free market, of which oil companies are a part.
Problem is, and as been pointed out well here, the idea of oil companies being free market creatures is a myth. The U.S. entire economy is based upon subsidizing this form of energy economy in one form or another.
Does anyone here believe we would be in the Mideast if there weren't oil there? Can military intervention not be considered a subsidy?
I'm not saying this is a conscious decision, this oil dependency, and the subsidization that has occured, nor that it is completely bad, just that it is.
And we are hooked - how many of us could go to work, shop, go to church, etc. without automobiles? And as a whole, this group (CF) is more willing to do so, but the free market of land use decisions, combined with cheap gasoline, has led to suburban sprawl, lack of public transportation, and lack of pedestrian/bike access throughout the U.S. (maybe with the exception of California). Ken Davis (#63) made a very good point about willingness to actually do without; most Americans aren't willing.
As for GW's blame in this (#57 & 59) - while I recognize sarcasm - he's been President for 5+ years and hasn't come up with any recognizable energy policy that would do anything to deal with the problem (other than a hydrogen [?!] car). Not that anyone here would expect him to try to change the status quo - he's an oil man, and his family is an oil family.
Question is - what can be done? To an extent, I say "let the free market reign". Remove the subsidies and the tax breaks, bring our troops home from the Mideast, pay for street and highway construction and repair only from gasoline taxes, then see how we restructure (we might also want to have oil companies internalize the cost of environmental damage... but hey, that's a real pipe dream). Only then will we have a free market - Jeff Glassman nailed it: there is "the failure to characterize the problem fully and get at its source." We need to get to the source - and the source is us and our consumption habits, combined with our corrupt politicians and pundits (Sowell included) who talk a good game while supporting the priveleged at the expense of the "average" American.
I don't think it's completely accurate to categorize our presence in Iraq as an oil subsidy. While you're correct that we're there because of oil, it's not in the sense many think. We're there because oil brought wealth to the Middle East. Without oil money, Middle Eastern religious fanaticism would have little impact due to limited funding. Since the end of the crusades, the Middle East has been little to the West outside of energy and strategic land. Notice the difference between the Middle East and Africa? I'm more interested in alternative energy sources as a way of marginalizing the Middle East than as a way to save a few bucks at the pump. 'Course, saving a few bucks wouldn't hurt.
Ran 5.2 miles with lots of hills
The Oil Dependency issue is a 40 year problem just like the levies in New Orleans. Who do you blame? The blame goes to all politicians and citizens who attempted to do nothing for 40 years. I'm from New Orleans originally and I just love the fact that a 40 year problem is blamed on a President who has been in office for a few years. Same goes to the Oil dependency issue.
Are highways, bridges, and road signs a subidy for the oil and automobile industries? Would some of that same government money be better spent on trains? Bike lanes? Don't know the answer, just thought I'd throw it out there.
It seems to me that the oil industry receives more direct and indirect government support than just about any other business in this not quite free market of ours.
Sowell seems to willfully gloss over such points. He also willfully blurs the distincions between profits and income.
There are a variety of demagogues on this issue, not all of whom fit Sowell's model. Many of the so-called demogogues are NOT actually blaming the oil industry for high prices. They are simply saying that at a time of record profits it is time to rescind some of subsidies granted in the past.
One almost all of us seem to agree on is that the future needs to be powered by something other than oil. Some of us have to wonder what took America so long to figure this out? Why did it take high gas prices to make it obvious?
Hey, this is sort of off of today's topic, but I feel a follow up to a previous Rest Day discussion is due:
On March 21, Crossfit posted a link to an October 1998 interview with Sallie Baliunas in "Reason" magazine. She gave some reasons why she was skeptical about the science of climate change. Much of her skepticism was based on the apparent discrepancies between temperature increases at different levels of the atmosphere. Don't know if she still feels that way, nine years later. Probably not after yestrday's news:
From the NY Times:
"The new study found that "there is no longer a discrepancy in the rate of global average temperature increase for the surface compared with higher levels in the atmosphere," in the words of a news release issued by the Commerce Department and approved by the White House. The report was published yesterday online at climatescience.gov (http://climatescience.gov)."
From the Washington Post:
"The bottom line is there are no significant discrepancies in the rates of warming," said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a telephone call with reporters. Karl said reconciling the two sets of temperature readings is "really a major step forward" in understanding climate change."
The report also concluded that humans are driving the warming trend through greenhouse gas emissions, noting in the official news release, "the observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, nor by the effects of short-lived atmospheric constituents such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone alone."
John (#72) - I agree completely, I did simplify. I stand by my point (although I do appreciate the clarification), though. I think we don't give enough credit to the oil corporations for the current situation. Yes, we are there because of the oil wealth that gives destructive capacity to the religious fanatics. But isn't this religious fanaticism to a great extent a result of/response to Western interests carving up the Mid East based upon maintaining control of oil (such as through the Saud "royal" family), and not supporting self-determination (a la T.E. Lawrence "of Arabia") in the wake of WWI and since then?
If gas prices reflected the costs of the Iraq intervention(s) as well as the long term military presence we've had in the region, I'm pretty certain the market would have come up with a replacement. We just don't see how much we're subsidizing oil because we call it "national defense" expenditures, or are borrowing it from our kids in deficit spending.
Awesome video! Workout schedule wonky, trying to get back in synch with the WOD. Will do a Cindy tonight to get myself in gear.
"The U.S. entire economy is based upon subsidizing this form of energy economy in one form or another."
Gas is taxed (state and federal) at 50 cents on the gallon. That is hardly a subsidy.
I really like that pic! Nice. Anybody know how to get a tire to flip? Just ask or do they cost?
This is going to be a LONG post. Take it or leave it and READ up on the technology - IT IS THERE!
For the record, oil companies make about $1 on the gallon. It's just the fact that we use 21 MILLION gallons per day of it.
If you are confused with the math, if you take just the US alone (we use about 1/4 of the world's oil), multiply 21,000,000 * 365 = 7,670,000,000. Or just about 7.67 billion. Multiply this by 4 for the rest of the world, you get about 30,000,000,000. Now, this is roughly what Exxon got last year in profits.
For years, oil companies got HAMMERED in oil. Every huge investment in drilling costs hundreds of millions to billions to underwrite. If oil suddenly has a shift, oil companies can be hurting or bursting at the seams. Currently, they are bursting at the seams.
Exxon Valdez, happened in 1989 and we are still seeing the ramifications of it in the ecosystems of Puget Sound. Damn drunk f*ed that up. My grandfather was called at a very early hour to get his butt back up to Alaska and oversee the cleanup. He spent the next six months at 12 hours a day and seven days a week (mind you he was 70 at the time). Please do not complain to him about this. He is now over 85 and can still whoop butt!
Here is another point, the government is using subsidies to underwrite the oil companies and do more to help them gear up for the next big thing, HYDROGEN. We have MAJOR work to do in order to establish the infrastructure for this.
The writer's views are a bit simplistic - he is asking the public, "Did ANY of you pay attention to high school economics?" It seems a bit far fetched.
Currently, oil companies who own the oil tankers tell the oil tankers to wait off shore if the price is low. As soon as there is a peak, they run the tanker in and get the maximum price that they can. Sounds evil. Yet, this is what is necessary to get the most bang for their buck.
The other side of the coin are the Democrats stating that we cannot drill in the Atlantic - this is for a HUGE natural gas reserve. This would last the US about fifty years. This is WELL worth it. Very easy for all involved and can be highly advantageous for the US.
The ANWAR is dubious - cannot get the equipment there fast enough before you are stuck in the mud. It took about ten years to get the Alaskan pipeline in the 70's. This one is NOT worth the effort.
Another solution that has come up is the synthetic production of oil using our coal reserves. This seems VERY feasible. This, along with technology in nuclear power will make the HYDROGEN economy very likely and possible.
What the writer stated about windmills is the truth. There is currently a study to put VERY large windmills in Long Island Sound. This will not interfere with shipping. Yet, the yuppies and very wealthy on Martha's Vineyard think that a windmill that will look like a strand of hair in the distance will "spoil" their view of the Atlantic. Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) is the operative phrase. People in New Jersey are putting up windmills in their back yards in order to earn some money and help the environment.
Those with the money and power will sacrifice the needs of ordinary Americans for their own selfish devices a good portion of the time - not all the time.
Next topic - nuclear power. To the powers that be, Greenpeace has now ENDORSED nuclear power. This occurred on April 16th, 2006. Look it up if you do not believe me. Now, this group that has been a stick in the mud EVERY time a new nuclear power plant was needed. This group stepped in for some reason or another to stop this industry at EVERY turn. Can you imagine where we would be if we had the French (Yes, I did say the French) philosophy of recycling nuclear waste for the last twenty years and buildt up our nuclear power capabilities to the point that we had 80% of our electricity based on nuclear and not on fossil fuels? Oil would STILL be $10 a barrel and we would be sitting pretty. Need more information, look up www.nei.org (the Nuclear Energy Institute, run by Admiral "Skip" Bowman, retired US Navy and former head of the Naval Nuclear power program).
Next point, too many people are still used to driving themselves (no carpooling) to work and are unwilling to do anything with carpooling. I drive about once a week on average to the site (I work at a nuclear power station - I am about to recommend that we get a shuttle service to the nearest NJ bus depot that goes across the river). For the rest of the week, I ride the bus. Not that I have to, it just makes GOOD sense.
With the news today about gas stockpiles rebounding, this shows that more people are doing more in mass transportation, taking fewer trips to the store, etc. to cut down on their consumption. This also makes good sense.
Went on a rant about this. I discuss this stuff quite a bit with family and friends. I also rambled and went from point to point, forgive me on that.
On another note, did four rounds of CF warmups today with frou 500 m rows in the sub 2:00 minute time. Getting in MUCH better shape because of this.
Thanks Coach. To those who do not agree with me, I think you have EVERY right to question what I have typed and welcome the discussion. As Einstien stated, "Question Everything!"
"For the record, oil companies make about $1 on the gallon. It's just the fact that we use 21 MILLION gallons per day of it."
Oil companies make 10 cents on the gallon. I suggest you watch the two videos I posted earlier in the thread to educate yourself on this situation. You don't know what is going on.
I was being very simplistic. My original slant was pennies. Yet, how are they making $40,000,000,000. It does NOT make sense .
Look at the other points. I think I am fairly correct on those.
I will try to watch the videos when I have time to.
10 cents is about right. The rest of the money comes from their own drilling and selling oil by the barrel.
I still disagree with ANWAR, though. Look at the rest of the comment.
"But isn't this religious fanaticism to a great extent a result of/response to Western interests carving up the Mid East based upon maintaining control of oil"...?
Absolutely! Talk about lack of foresight. Still, I'd love wake the Middle East up one fine morning and say, "Folks, you're right. We really screwed you over all those decades ago. But, I've got great news. We developed an alternate energy source and we Western devils won't be intruding on you by buying all that oil anymore. Have a great day, and good luck to you."
15 sumo deadlift high pull
5 rope climbs (25')
4 rope climbs
3 rope climbs
2 rope climbs
1 rope climb
Connor (75#sdhp) 23:44
Jeff (95# sdhp) 18:34
John (#86) - With you on that!!
Day behind...did ystd WOD.
20 Standard dip (only 10 after round 7)
Hope to get on schedule tomorrow, but if Coach is planning on ANY pull-ups or dips I'll be benched!
Our gas prices are below the world average, so what is the debate about?
Secondly, whether you are democrat or republican you both have the same issue. Your parties are growing stronger and bigger and therefore are lead by more and more money, which forces your leaders to obey that money. Sort of a quid pro quo deal. As long as that continues, so will corruption. Break up the two party system I say.
Vote Libertarian. www.fairtax.org
Great freakin' video, way to rock CF Vancouver!
27:31 slower than planned
10 round Pullup and 3-1 bar dips
A day behind. Still trying to catch up from a little food poisoning break.
Brilliant article. The thing is choice rules. People choose to drive freely and thus expect cheap gas. People also choose to stop at the convenience store to grab something quickly but don't expect it to be cheaper than the big store. Unfortunately gas is high, and it will be priced high until peoples actions catch up with the uproar and demand drops. There are alternatives already but not to many takers. I don't know too many people earning the same amount for the same job now as 5 or 10 years ago or 2 years ago for that matter. I'm not happy paying more for gas but I also haven't decided to drive less orchange cars, when driving for work I charge more. Anyone who complains about the big salaries or profits ought to examine what prices would be without the added taxes to a gallon of gas. Getting back to choice, most Americans complain about the price of healthcare/medical treatment but eat poorly and don't exercise but still expect cheaper treatment. A little dose of accountability is needed all around. Rather than gripe about gas prices the biggest expense to this country is healthcare, and rather than gripe about that we should be griping about all those unaccountable souls (about 85% of the population) that don't do anything to improve their own fitnes through diet and exercise.
This is a link to an interesting article that puts Mr Sowell's argument into a slightly different perspective.
And it makes sense from a supply and demand stand point. If in fact refinery capacity has decreased and the price of gas has risen due to lack of supply, shouldn't the price of oil decrease due to the lack of demand for oil based on a reduced refinery capacity? Why is it that we can blame the price of gas on refinery capacity and then allow the price of oil to move in lock step with it?
Someone earlier mentioned the relationship between wheat and bread as an example. If the milling capacity for grain was reduced and the demand for bread stayed level or increased, it would make sense that the price of bread would increase. However, this would result in an overabundance of wheat and the price of grain would fall. Why is it this relationship doesn't work with oil.
I'm not overly familiar with the oil industry or products made from oil, but my guess would be that unrefined oil is absolutely worthless to producers of goods.
Why is it that the oil industry closed refineries that had the capacity to produce 830,000 barrels of gas a day during the years 1995-2001? Is it because margins on refining oil were to low and the only way to increase profits was to decrease capacity?
In 1996 Texaco wrote in a memo that the company felt it was quite clear that petrol supplies needed "reducing."
"The most critical factor facing the refining industry on the West Coast is the surplus refining capacity, and the surplus gasoline production capacity," said the memo.
"The same situation exists for the entire US refining industry. Supply significantly exceeds demand year-round. This results in very poor refinery margins, and very poor refinery financial results. Significant events need to occur to assist in reducing supplies and/or increasing the demand for gasoline."
The only way the price of oil is going to go down is if there is an alternative fuel source thats readily available. Oil had no competition and the 5 American oil companies know that. Brazil has been using ethanol for years why can we? It didnt start with George Bush and its not going to end with him. Everyone but the consumer profits form gas,form the gas companies down to the state and federal government. Look at the taxes on gas, no state government is going to give that up.
On another note, today I used power cleans for a practical use. I just bought a condo and I am renovating it. After loading 20 sheets of drywall into the back of my truck, I forgot the 3 buckets of joint compound and I was a little tired to pick them up form the ground and throw them over the side of the truck, so instead I power cleaned them into the back of the truck. I did get a couple of "what the hell is he doing" stares but I am used to that in the gym.
Crossfit Rocks !!!!
I will be wearing my Crossfit "Smoke you like cheap crack" T-Shirt this weekend with pride.
In regards to the Sowell articles: How about no more politics on crossfit, there are much better and more appropriate places for it.
Yeah Baby!! My computer was down for a week, had to get my Kool-Aid via the public library.
People are still talking about the same things, only the topic has changed!
I'm off to check out Dan Silver's website, I missed his insight while I was gone.
How about some people start posting their times for typing a comment. I bet I caught up Helen faster than some typed in the comments.
Go to any tire yard and ask if they have any "junk tires" they're getting rid of. If the tire is still usable, it'll cost you. The "junk" ones are free. You will need a truck, a friend (or two), and some tie-downs.
day of rest, not for this guy ran 3.5 miles in 18:41
Can't believe that so many Republicans are running in stead of standing and fighting w/their fellow conservatives on this subject. What happened to the strong leaders of yesteryear?
Your criticism is on target. Not only is Sowell a PhD in economics, he trained at the U. of Chicago and taught at a bunch of universities, including UCLA.
John Kenneth Galbraith died this week. He had a dual doctorate, was renowned as an economist, a professor, and president of the American Economic Association. He was a recognized authority on price controls, having published and worked in the field. But he would be better described as a Marxist than an economist. He was the equivalent of a flat earth scientist, or better, an Anthropogenic Global Warming scientist. Sowell would buy none of it.
Two hundred seventeen tenure professors signed on to the following:
>Open Letter to President George W. Bush
>Dear Mr. President:
>As professors of economics and business, we are concerned that U.S. economic policy has taken a dangerous turn under your stewardship. Nearly every major economic indicator has deteriorated since you took office in January 2001. Real GDP growth during your term is the lowest of any presidential term in recent memory. Total non-farm employment has contracted and the unemployment rate has increased. Bankruptcies are up sharply, as is our dependence on foreign capital to finance an exploding current account deficit. All three major stock indexes are lower now than at the time of your inauguration. The percentage of Americans in poverty has increased, real median income has declined, and income inequality has grown.
>The data make clear that your policy of slashing taxes – primarily for those at the upper reaches of the income distribution – has not worked. The fiscal reversal that has taken place under your leadership is so extreme that it would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. http://www.openlettertothepresident.org/
The date: October 4, 2004. Some economists, eh?
Sowell would have bought none of that either.
Galbraith said, “Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists."
When is an economist not an economist?
It was when Sowell wore his polemicist hat in his twin op-ed pieces.
It was when he urged that recent disruptions in the oil market are because "demand expands more than supply", and when he ignored that the market is at its very core controlled by a cartel?
It was when he guessed that demand from India and China resulted in sudden price increases.
It was when he justified pricing based on "all that traffic will bear". In capitalism the price is supposed to be set by competition, is it not?
10 rd pull up/ ring dip wod from yesterday. Ring dips killed me... :27::55
The video was great! Just started doing the WOD, 52 years old, 205lbs. 25/45/50/55/60#
1. Should I use a weight that allows me to do the circuit our challenge my ability to get the weight up? Because I was so out of breath at the end of the circuit I thought I was going to pass out.
2. On the Cleans I only went half way down, should I go to the full squat position like in the video
Many interesting comments. I'm going to respond to some of Jeff Glassman's (#47,#105):
Yes, economics IS Sowell's strong suit, and NO, it is NOT rocket science, though you would think it ought to be given our collective inability to think clearly about matters economic.
Supply and demand works just fine in the global oil market. Oil is a true fungible, tradable commodity, the development of which is characterized by enormous up-front investment costs and very long lead times to bring additional supply to market. Build in lots of political risk due to the most readily attainable oil being located primarily in countries governed by capricious and corrupt regimes (one of which is angling for Armageddon so their main prophet can climb up out of the well he's hiding in) and you have an absolute guarantee of price volatility. Price volatility is a bitch if you are short on the upside, but it is intrinsic to how markets work. Far, far better to let individuals and firms form their own strategies with respect to how to deal with price volatility than to have government get into the mix with misguided and counterproductive initiatives that seek to engineer a better outcome. The history of better than market outcomes has yet to be written. There is no guiding authority that is more clever than the market and there never will be.
The notion that OPEC is a monopoly controlling crude oil prices is nonsense. Have a look at this chart of world petroleum production from 1970-2004:
Non-OPEC countries produced sixty percent of the world's oil in 2004. That doesn't leave much room for monopoly pricing power on the part of OPEC. There is no evidence that OPEC producers are systematically withholding supply from the market in order to drive up the price. Sustained high crude oil prices are bad news for OPEC producers in the long run because they lead to massive investments to develop additional non-OPEC supplies of oil and oil substitutes (e.g. tar sands) as well shift consumer behavior towards conservation and alternative energy sources. (Be happy the oil majors are making money. These are the funds that will drive future exploration and development.) Sensible OPEC policy would be to pump additional oil to moderate the price rise in order to forestall the possibility of a future price crash due to a combination or reduced consumption and expanded supply. The inability of OPEC members to supply more oil is a function of their inefficient state controlled petroleum sectors and not a diabolical plot. Furthermore, supplier cartels are inherently unstable when it comes to fungible commodities. The incentives to cheat on your fellow cartel members by producing beyond your quota are irresistible. Bottom line: OPEC does not control the price of crude oil.
The domestic market for energy in the US is another matter: it is severely distorted by regulation. The recent rise in US gas prices has a lot to do with Congress screwing us with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This mandated a major increase in the use of ethanol while denying limited liability protection to makers of MBTE. (Ethanol and MBTE are used as oxygenates to get gasoline to burn cleaner to meet a variety of state environmental regulations.) Ethanol is now being expensively trucked from the mid-west where it is made from corn to coastal markets to substitute for MBTE which has been withdrawn from the market because producers don't want to drown in a flood of lawsuits. It would make better economic sense to import foreign ethanol into coastal regions, but this is cost prohibitive because the corn grower's friends in Washington have seen fit to levy a 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. If you are angered by the sudden rise in gas prices, you'd do well to get in touch with your federal representatives and ask for less, not more regulation.
Heheh, I love it.
The establishment is saying “give us your money and your children american chump-pussies” and the american people are saying “a..I wonder why is gas so expensive?”
Exxon makes record profits and we American’s say “I wonder why gas is so expensive?” hahahah
Brian Mulvaney, #108:
Underneath the bull that passes for economics, there exists an iota of science. It could be published in an 8-folio pamphlet. What’s left over is pure social science nonsense.
Science is about making predictions that come true. Can you think of such an example in economics? Of course by chance, given so many economists on so many different sides of issues, some pronouncements are bound to come true from time to time. I know of no economic theory in practice that is actually helpful, especially a macroeconomic theory on which to base national policy.
Economists don’t even have a useful definition of inflation. The one from the ‘30s worked; the modern ones don’t. The old one was an increase in the money supply that caused a general increase in prices. The new one seems to be any rise in prices. The new one lets socialists expand the money supply and inflict price controls willy-nilly.
I agree crude is somewhat fungible, but, alas, for its sulfur content and, of course, regulations. Read up on supply and demand for sweet vs. sour crude, and what the EPA and Clinton did. Regardless, I just don’t see how that helps your argument that “supplier cartels are inherently unstable when it comes to fungible commodities”. Fungible means the product is interchangeable between sources. It does not mean either that it is plentiful or replaceable. Those would be the conditions to make a cartel unreliable.
The chart contradicts your conclusions, taking into account the proven reserves of the two groups: OPEC v. Non-OPEC. Within about three years starting around 1979, the OPECers cut their production from about 31 Mbbl/day to around 18 Mbbl/day. Compared to having the two groups keep apace, OPEC managed to cut world production by a fourth.
Why didn’t the non-OPECers pick up the slack? Best answer: the non-OPEC group variously lacked either the production capacity, an equivalent product, or the reserves. Thus OPEC strangled supply.
Supply and demand are not working in this commodity. S&D is a delicate, sensitive phenomenon. It doesn’t take much to disrupt it. Two things critical things for it to work are an auction and elasticity. Otherwise, suppliers just stick the price where they choose. To a New Englander, gasoline demand is elastic. Just take the train to work. Not so in the West. On average, gasoline is quite inelastic, and it is economically critical. On the crude side of the industry, there is no elasticity because oil companies simply pass on the price of the crude, amplified, thank you. They have an incentive to pay higher prices at the well, not bargain for lower prices. This is contrary to capitalism.
A cartel does not have to control every sale to wield substantial power.
By the way, I don’t blame the Saudis, et al, for doing this. I’m glad they haven’t done much more damage. In fact, unbeknownst to the public, the Saudis have behaved rather reasonably and somewhat friendly (except for their export of Wahhabiism). Of course, they are quite dependent on us for all their luxuries, and they don’t want to break our banks.
You say, “There is no evidence that OPEC producers are systematically withholding supply from the market in order to drive up the price.” Hmmm. But why do you care whether the withholding of crude is systematic or not, or what the motives of OPEC are? The evidence that they are throttling the market is in the chart you tout! It’s also explicit in the following:
>At its March 2000 meeting, OPEC set up a price band mechanism, triggered by the OPEC basket price, to respond to changes in world oil market conditions. According to the price band mechanism, OPEC basket prices above $28 per barrel for 20 consecutive trading days or below $22 per barrel for 10 consecutive trading days would result in production adjustments. This adjustment was originally automatic, but OPEC members changed this so that they could fine-tune production adjustments at their discretion. Since its inception, the informal price band mechanism has been activated only once. On October 31, 2000, OPEC activated the mechanism to increase aggregate OPEC production quotas by 500,000 barrels per day. At its January 30, 2005 meeting, OPEC decided that market changes had rendered the band unrealistic, and decided to temporarily suspend the price band mechanism. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/opec.html
Superficially OPEC increases production in response to prices. In fact, they lag demand appropriately. This could hardly be more systematic, or more evidentiary. And I doubt OPEC adjusted production to drive prices down!
I am happy that the majors are making money. I am unhappy that they are basing prices on Sowell’s anti-capitalistic “what the market will bear”, instead of on their investment and production costs to be competitive.
I wish I could buy your happy scenario for cash–rich oil companies. Not only am I unconvinced that those profits will lead to massive petroleum investments, I believe they will be used for contrary purposes.
First, what are they going to invest in that has to do with their business? Over–regulated and over taxed oil refineries? Not likely. Oil exploration in ANWAR or offshore? You can rule that out.
They will use the money as follows: (1) Minimum earnings per share possible, (2) Mergers and acquisitions, i.e., playing monopoly with business units, especially in unrelated fields, and (3) outrageous retirement packages for CEOs. Why would I expect that, you might ask. The answer is, that’s the American way today. That’s the kind of Republican capitalism we now practice.
Seed money accumulated for new American products is wasted. The automobile market is a case in point. American manufacturers are dying out while their customers stand in repair queues, and the Japanese take over.
The Fed bailed out the banks in the late ‘80s with short term, below market interest rates (expanding the money supply at the people’s expense). It had the vague hope that with the cheap money, banks would lower interest rates for consumers and businesses. Instead the banks bought just about any kind of business they could with their windfall.
The oil companies are playing into the hands of the socialist elements in this country. They are MBA–run: short termers maximizing cash flow. They are not behaving responsibility, either with respect to their own, long term interests or the public’s. And of course our governments just make it worse.
We have two major political instabilities: fuel prices and immigration. Neither is being faced, and the problems could get a lot worse before they get better.
In petroleum, the public perception is quite nasty. Two percent per day price increases are not long tolerable. A little tilt to the election, and just look what’s standing in the wings! Regulation, maybe nationalization, price controls, and higher taxes. Bicycles for the poor, Yugos for the rich, and limos and private jets for congressmen. Whatever we say, in the end economics is a field of human activity.