The Fix is In – Soaring Winter Heat, 2008; or, Just Who Says So? And If We Know So Much Now, Why is Nobody Acting to Avert It?

August 6, 2008

Here we are in the summer of 2008 and already at mid-year, the local and national news has been fed the directives from its corporate masters and informed us that winter 2008-2009 will be appallingly expensive if you, as a human being who needs to avoid freezing to stay alive, want to heat your home. So, I want to know, who told them this? Where has this information come from? Which executives sat down and decided that home heating will be expensive this winter? Give me some names! Who are they? How do they know so far in advance what is going to happen? The media never tells us. We’re just told that the word comes somewhere from on high, so get used to it and tough shit if you don’t like it. History tells us in times of heavy speculation, prices soar. Guess what’s a popular commodity for speculation right now? That’s right, oil and gas. The fix is in folks. Let’s see if the corporate-owned politicians in either of the corporate-owned political parties will do anything about it when it hits. And, since we already know so much in advance, why is nothing being done these many months in advance to stop, avert, or ease the situation, or ensure fairly priced energy to average citizens? We have several months to take actions, but instead we’re just told we have several months to brace ourselves. Last winter, people had to borrow money to heat their homes, or got so far behind in their payments that they’re still playing catch up. Why are basic necessities that used to be manageable, marginal expenses in the monthly family budget, like heating and health care, now luxuries affordable only by Rockefeller types? The more deregulation we’ve gotten, the higher things have gone—which completely puts the lie to all the BS right-wing promises. Old people and families will freeze this winter, but that’s OK; it’s the free market, after all, and that’s the highest good to which we can aspire. Right? Remember when those Enron energy managers were overheard on an infamous telephone tape laughing at making a killing by shutting off power plants so that California’s grandmothers would have to pay out the ass for electricity? It’s happening again, folks. And what kind of answers do we get from apologists for this kind of system? None, just the usual nonsolutions, defense of the energy status quo and tired diversionary epithets: “Communist!” “Socialist!” “Whaddya want companies to give the energy away for nuthin’?” So, just what kind of fucking country and world is this becoming? Who runs the law in this country, corporations or citizens? Congress can pass a price cap in two seconds if we all demand it. But that won’t happen because we know who really runs the country. The Boston Tea Party looms; the warm cushy mansions harboring the fat and satisfied few will be invaded; the revolution is coming folks, and I’m there. -EG

Home Energy Prices Are Expected to Soar (at New York Times)

$5,000+ These Fuckers Didn’t Get From Me

April 22, 2008

I’m sure all of you saw this motley crew of oil execs assembled before Congress a few weeks ago, mainly so legislatewhores could posture and put on an impotent display of righteous indignation in lieu of actually doing anything to push real alternative energy solutions. While most of you out there have been grumbling but continuing to line the pockets of these oilmen (and their multi-wifed brethren in the Middle East) I have been taking the bus to work, in tandem with my bicycle (and yes, winter doesn’t stop me).

It was two years ago this month (April) that I began this daily ritual, and in the process lost 30 pounds, increased my muscle tone and improved lung capacity, heart health, metabolism, blood pressure, circulation, digestion and so on—not to mention notching piles of unread books on the 20-mile journey each way.

Oh yes, there’s much to be recommended about the complete lack of stress resulting from letting someone else do the driving, not having to swerve and avoid maniacs and playing stop and go with my feet on a gas-guzzling pedal. I can sleep, read, dream, whatever. And I’m inside a vehicle bigger than a tank, so it’s pretty safe.

And it costs $29 a month. See how much gas that gets you–and how far you can get on it.

AS for me, I ride for free because one of my perks of employment is free unlimited TARC rides with an employee ID.

But the most satisfying thing of all is that the oil industry and the profit-gluttonous CEOs who are sucking up all that cash from you got no more than $6 from me over the last two years. (Had to fill up my lawn mower a few times; otherwise most weeks I use a gasless Scott’s reel-mower, just like my grandparents did.)

So adding that up, that’s about $5,000 or so that Big Oil didn’t get from me in the past two years.

And although I know this is an overused picture on the Internet, there is just no better F-YOU! photo ever taken than this one of Johnny Cash. So Big Oil, let Johnny Cash send my message to you loud and clear.


Product Test Spectacular: Gravy Bread Examines 2x Concentrated Laundry Detergent

March 24, 2008

As savvy shoppers know, the current spate of outrageous grocery inflation is not something that has suddenly happened in recent months but has been continuing unabated for many years in the form of a deceitful, backhanded form of inflation that we all know as product downsizing—a form of inflation that doesn’t get counted by the bogus Consumer Price Index. That’s why the “regular”-size $1 paper towel roll is now as thin as a baseball bat and the Sun Ships that were 11.5 ounces last week are 10.5 ounces this week. The reduction in bag size is so slight that the corporate scumbags hope you won’t notice. And I wouldn’t have been able to tell, if it weren’t for the grocery still leaving the old ounce size on their shelf price tag. Caught red-handed.

One tell-tale sign that a product has been reduced in size slightly is a redesign of the shape of the container or a change in the label design. (“New design, same great taste!” is a typical diversionary strategy. What the new label should say is “Same product—and less of it!”).

It’s because of these tactics that I have been leery of late to buy any of the downsized laundry detergent bottles that are now pretty much all that is offered in every store now. From Target to Kroger to Wal-mart and beyond, these 50-percent reduced in size laundry detergent bottles are now the de-facto size on every shelf. I still had an old 120-ounce (“plus 20 percent bonus”) or 38-loads size of Purex detergent in the laundry room. So, for the sake of comparison I decided to go ahead and buy the new Purex 2x-concentrated formula 60-ounce (“plus 20 percent bonus”) or 38-loads size that is now being offered instead (at the same price at Target of $3.49).

To compare the old formula against the new 2x formula, I simply washed two large loads on the large/cold setting on my washer. Into the first load I poured one cap of old formula Purex (up to the fill line, which is about 3/4’s from the top of the cap). For the second load, I poured the new 2x formula into the new bottle’s smaller cap up to its fill line. Just to make sure, I poured that into the old bigger cap to see if it came halfway up the fill line of the old cap, and it did. Theoretically, half the amount of the new formula should produce the same amount of suds as the old formula and get the clothes just as clean.

Well, let’s see.

The following photo sequence shows the procedure described above, and I’m happy to report that the suds produced by both products were comparable and the cleansing power of both was the same.

Ultimately, this all begs the question: Why did the detergent companies sell us watered-down product all these years, in huge, bulky non-biodegradable plastic containers that are horrible for the environment?