Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Heatwave's Wrath: Squeezin' My Mind Grapes...



























...it's been crazy hot for the past week and change...which started me thinking about global warming and how it seems to be getting hotter and drier every year...a couple of days ago, tens of thousands of LA County area residents were sitting in the dark and over the weekend, this elderly couple in Studio City died from complications due to the heat...that was a bummer to hear...what a way to go...I was listening to a talk radio show and one of the hostesses mentioned that she was out of it because the power was out in portions of the Hills as well...a single crocodile tear ran down my cheek, like Iron Eyes Cody on the side of a littered highway as I thought..."poor baby...don't you have one of those platinum covered generators that David Cross was talking about on his It's Not Funny album?" Heat makes me cynical and snippy as hell if you haven't figured that out yet...I'd forgotten about being back in the south and how that humidity made you want to choke people...but, still, I'm buggin' out...I'M BUGGIN' OUT!!!


























...this heat-induced train of thought brought me to all the latest talks of infrastructure and the lack thereof, as most of our resources are being poured into that Mesopotamian black hole...there's people out there who think that things like taking care of bridges, interstates, the power grid and other functions that have been taken care of by government agencies with our tax dollars, should be privatized (done by businesses who'd no doubt be in it to earn a profit and would half-ass it up to ensure they'd be needed in the future)...that dog don't hunt...look at what's been wrought whenever market-driven corporate enterprises have been used as a stop-gap solution...like, say, all those war profiteers we hear about all the time...oh, they're out there...I met one in the library a couple of weeks ago, this old, Elmer Fudd-lookin' cat dressed like somebody's hayseed grandpa and though he was nice enough (a trifle TOO interested in what I was doing for my trastes, you'd never think he had his fingers crossed in hopes that we'd cross the border and go into the Persian theater...which would be a windfall for his little company-- a very high creep-out factor, there. I've been going elsewhere ever since...was kind of afraid to even bring it up here considering the political climate...but that's another story for another time...

"In the summer of 2000 a drought in the North West states reduced the amount of hydroelectric power that was available to California, though at no point during the crisis was California's sum of [actual electric-generating capacity]+[out of state supply] less than demand. Rather, California's energy reserves were low enough that during peak hours the private industry which owned power-generating plants could effectively hold the State hostage by shutting down their plants for "maintenance" in order to manipulate supply and demand. These critical shutdowns often occurred for no other reason than to force California's electricity grid managers into a position where they would be forced to purchase electricity from other suppliers who could charge astronomical rates. Even though these rates were semi-regulated, the companies (which included Enron and Reliant Energy) controlled the supply of natural gas as well."**


























...I was on the east coast during the California Energy Crisis during the summer of 2000...when the Golden State, strapped for electricity, got fleeced out of hundreds of millions of dollars by out-of-state energy concerns like Enron...I followed the story as it unfolded from the other side of the country and thought to myself...somebody's head is gonna roll..turns out, it would be Gray Davis' dome that would be politically severed...he was voted out of office and ushered in the rule of "Der Governator"...although the energy market was predominantly privatized already, there were laws in place that kept these private holdings from running roughshod over the consuming public, deregulation ceded guard duty of the proverbial hen house to the foxes; some thought that the corporate price gauging would've never been able to take place if California hadn't unanimously loosened up on restrictive Energy laws a few years from both sides of the aisle prior under the administration of Governor Pete Wilson (R) who was long gone by the time the lights went out in 2000...crooks like Ken Lay had found an open window, climbed a ladder, scuttled inside like the slimeball he is and then kicked the ladder away...

"Utilities were precluded from entering into longer-term agreement that would have allowed them to hedge their energy purchases and mitigate day-to-day swings in prices due to tranisent supply disruptions and demand spikes from hot weather. Then, in 2000, wholesale prices were deregulated, but retail prices were regulated for the incumbents as part of a deal with the regulator, allowing the incumbent utilities to recover the cost of assets that would be stranded as a result of greater competition, based on the expectation that "frozen" would remain higher than wholesale prices. This assumption remained true from April 1998 through May 2000. Energy deregulation put the three companies that distribute electricity into a tough situation. Energy deregulation policy froze or capped the existing price of energy that the three energy deliveries could charge. Deregulating the producers of energy did not lower the cost of energy. Deregulation did not encourage new producers to create more power and drive down prices. Instead, with increasing demand for electricity, the producers of energy charged more for electricity. The producers used moments of spike energy production to inflate the price of energy [5]. In January 2001, energy producers began shutting down plants to increase prices"**

..."Recession", says the wind...how soon we forget...or have we really...times are a lot tougher now than they were seven years ago. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when Wal Mart announced that their earnings were in a down turn and shortly after that The Dow dropped 200 points which got my and the finance sector's skin leaking...the Fed has since infused tens of billions of cash into the market to offset that little hiccup but it can't keep doing that forever...not with the bloated deficit that somebody's going to have to pay the vigorish on at some point...we're tapped out, gentle reader...as a nation we're too broke to shop at fucking Wal-Mart, it seems...streams of finance are drying up all over the place...except for that 1% of people who are living like the cotton is high...the people that mainstream media outlets must be talking about and to but those of us knee-deep in the shite know better-- the first part of the 20s might've been "roaring" with finance sector exuberance ...but it limped into the 30s... ...whimpering



...I can't call it...this heat is crazy-making and when I don't get my rest, my mind tends to race: the heat got me thinking of natural disasters which got me thinking of the Dust Bowl which lead to images of the setting in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, then the Great Depression and what led to it..then economics and the situation that we're in right now; the eminent housing/ real estate bust all of which brings me back to where I live and the heat wave...see the logic?...as I type this, there's still 25,000 plus people still sitting in the dark all over the Southland-- 400,000 people's power has been disturbed at some point in the past week and based on the transitive laws of nature and probability, if it doesn't cool down soon, my card's gonna get pulled too... The thing is, they were predicting rain last week at one point....I even recall waking up on one of those sultry nights, my arms bear hugging a fan under the windows and hearing thunder; seeing lightning bolts...but the water never came so I thought I'd bitch about it a little, like I am now...I'll try to keep doing the right thing, however, no matter how far up the mercury rises...it could be worse going for a brother, to quote the godfather of Macroeconomics, John Maynard Keynes, "In the long run, we are all dead"...quite...I wonder if that ever entered the minds of those two oldsters just before they expired...

**quotes from wikipedia for brevity...

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1 Comments:

Blogger leftoverking said...

oh yeah... the enron engineered fake energy crisis of 2000. what a bummer.

11:46 AM, September 04, 2007  

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