Friday, January 16, 2009

Conspiracy theorists: You were right about oil prices

Before we get to the headlined matter, I want to lend my voice to those who are, or should be, shouting congratulations to the pilot who set down that crippled jet in the Hudson River yesterday (Jan. 15, 2009).

Despite the headline in the New Haven Register (for shame), it wasn't a crash or anything like it. It was a well-controlled ditching that kept the 155 souls on board that plane alive and, by the way, who knows how many on the ground from death or injury. Jets glide like rocks, and the pilot,  Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger, deserves our praise and adulation for putting that plane, loaded with fuel, passengers, luggage and who knows what else, down in the river ever so gently.

It's said a good landing is one you can walk away from. The splash-landing was expertly executed and everybody got out safely. I hope the new president pins a great big medal on this guy. He deserves it. These people who fly us around deserve the big bucks we seem driven to give to people who can bounce a ball while running or can emote while spouting lines written by somebody else.

Page 2 -- Back to the conspiracy

Did you see" 60 Minutes" last Sunday? If you did, then you know that all of us who said the run-up in oil prices had little if anything to do with market forces were quite correct. The experts interviewed for that broadcast said that, if anything, prices of oil would have gone down last year if market forces alone were controlling the market.

The run-up was 99 1/2 percent due to speculation. One guy said it was like a fly on an elephant. Speculators were buying the oil, flipping it for huge profits and so on. It was all paper gains. Some companies, like Morgan Stanley, actually took possession of the oil and, according to CBS, are storing some of it in New Haven.

It's not like in the 1970s, when ships filled with oil were anchored in Long Island Sound to keep supply away from the market. This is all paper. You know, a Ponzi scheme like Bernie Madoff's, except the folks who got hurt were the ones who were holding to oil futures when the air went out of the market. Some people bought oil for $60 a barrel and sold it for $140. And some johnny-come-latelies bought it for $140 and unloaded for $50. If you can get hold of the "60 Minutes" segment, do so. It'll do your little conspiratorial heart good.

Page 3

I know this will do absolutely no good, but I have to get this off my chest.

I am upset about people who cross streets when and where they feel like it, and traffic flow and their own safety, it seems, be damned.

I have a little something to say to bicyclists as well. 

This seems to happen on Whalley Avenue east of the Fountain Street split.

People wander across the street in the middle of the block. I say wander because they saunter across the street, daring motorists not to slam on their brakes to avoid them.

If you are one of these people, or know one, please keep this in mind: It is the law in Connecticut that drivers have to stop at crosswalks to let pedestrians walk. In other words, genius, if you walked the few yards down to the corner, the cars would have to stop for you. It's the law. The pedestrian doesn't have the right of way otherwise. 

Just walk down to the corner to cross and everyone will get home safely.

I've noticed that some of our bicyclists riding during snowstorms. The letter of the law may be with you, but it's really a dumb thing to do. Riding on sand is tough enough, but snow and ice has to be exponentially harder. It's tough on drivers, too. It's just stupid. 
Yeah, yeah, I know New Haven wants to be a town where drivers, walkers and bikers can coexist, and most of the time I'm all for that. I used to ride from Westville to Sargent Drive in the dark when I worked at the Journal-Courier and Register.

Just because you can do a thing doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. 

Page 4

I have a question. There were news reports out of Gaza yesterday about how an Israeli star shell exploded over a U.N. warehouse full of food and medical supplies and set it on fire.

My question is: If the people in Gaza are starving for food and medical supplies, why is there a warehouse full of these things? Why aren't the U.N. people handing them out, or the Hamas people taking them and handing them out? Why are they still in the warehouse? Why is the U.N. complaining about not having supplies to hand out if there is a full warehouse?

Page 5

It looks like there will be some snow Saturday night and Sunday so, if you are out and about, please be careful.

Have a great weekend and, for those in the Tribe, a great Shabbos.

Until next time...

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