This is, if you didn't know, a satire of the "Mohammed Cartoons" which was so demonstrated against when a Danish newspaper decided to run a contest promoting the creation of such things. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earns this dubious distinction today. The man who would be Mohammed, moving mountains.
I received a press release from Harry Glosenger today. Harry (Glosenger) is the Public Relations guy (hack) for e-VotingBooth.com. Notice the small "e". The small e is derivative from every English major who ever read Edward Estlin Cummings. Or, maybe reads S & M, where the sub is denoted by a lower case, rather than upper case (dom), preposition. (How do I know these things? Does that matter if you've never heard of Cummings?)
Anyway, this press release. I would rather not have the subject of this press release publicized, for the sheer stupidity of its subject.
Senator Harry Reid has introduced legislation designed to move the market for oil off-shore. For anyone who has viewed the movie Trading Places, you know the climax of the movie comes when the company of Duke & Duke--evil capitalists--are victims of an insider trading scam perpetrated by the heroes of the movie--Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd. Of course, in the post-modern world this is a case of "just desserts". 'Cause, you know, Murphy and Akroyd are righteous while Bellamy and Ameche really wanted to break the law. This movie is, however, the basis for what most people think the world of commodity speculation really is.
And at the movie's conclusion, Billy Ray and Louis are sipping tropical cocktails while living the good life, all at the expense of the evil capitalists, Duke & Duke.
It is this level of sophistication that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings with his introduction of Senate Bill 3268. Dubbed the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008, Majority Leader Reid presumes that we suspended our disbelief after watching Trading Places and haven't un- or de-suspended it.
According to Harry's (Glosenger) press release, "it is designed 'to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to prevent excessive price speculation with respect to energy commodities, and for other purposes.'”
Sure! And having watched Trading Places five or six times, this only makes sense. Of course, if you talk to the orange growers you might have a much different take on ending price speculation in the commodities market for oranges. When examined through the eyes of the orange grower, Trading Places isn't much of a comedy. But this distinction is lost upon the movie goer.
"Recent media reports have assigned responsibility, in part, for skyrocketing oil and gasoline prices on speculation in commodities markets. One report quoted an analyst saying a barrel of oil could be traded 20 times before it finally gets delivered, driving up the final cost." (Gossinger, Press Release, July 19, 2008.)
Where are Billy Ray and Louis when we need them! Doesn't Harry know--either Harry--that all we need is a street-smart hustler teamed up with a spurned Ivy Leaguer to turn the tables on the bad guys?
I had a prof who had worked the Pit in Chicago. Had I not fallen in love with econometrics I will admit his description had the gloss of a recruiting poster that said, "I Want You!" Working the Pit is among the most demanding jobs in the universe. And wouldn't work without a total commitment to deriving the greatest potential profit from the moment's market transaction. It is only when the rules are broken--in this case by our heroes Billy Ray and Louis--that markets suffer. How many times is a purchase of oranges traded before the "actual" oranges are actually delivered? Who cares? All you want as the consumer is the lowest possible price for oranges.
And that's what speculative markets do. Who do they serve? The consumer. Because, after all, it is the ultimate consumer of a good that determines its actual price.
Nope, it's not the way they show it in the movies. Nor, as I've come to find out, is it the way they teach it in our public schools. And yet every time you head to Safeway, or Costco, or Fred Meyer, you make a decision to either buy, or to buy something else. Likewise, the market for oil.
But Harry Reid knows you don't know that. Otherwise he would have to admit that only the market speculators ensure that we have plenty of oil for those who choose to purchase oil. Being somewhat reliant on my car, I am grateful to these men and women, these, these "speculators"!
What happens when the government intervenes in markets, to legislate winners and losers? Well, we get things like the current mortgage crisis. Or, the Onion Crisis. Ironically, the Onion Crisis was adressed legislatively by a former Republican President. From a Wall Street Journal review by Don Boudreaux.
When you're technologically challenged, there's nothing like a staff of young geeks to drive that point home. One of the major sticking points in my plan for a life unencumbered with glitches has been the reality that for most of my day-to-day applications, a certain fealty to Mr. Gates was perceived as neccessary.
All my computers ran on Windows.
Which underscored some problems with Windows. On my LAN I have one machine that relies upon 3.1, one that runs on 95, and two that run XP, one home, one pro. When possible I run apps on the 3.1 and 95--really just a more robust version of 3.1--because they run more dependably on those machines. For instance, my HP printer hates XP, but loves 3.1. And I have more features on 95 than on XP.
So, hating the Windows world, having decided to avoid VISTA like the plague, I finally bought my first Mac. If you haven't taken a look at Mac yet, you're making a mistake. It is absolutely brilliant.
The young geeks at North Coast Phone and Computer have been my "go to" guys whenever a problem has exceded my problem-solving capacity. And frankly, after the introduction of XP, I lost a great deal of interest in trying to suss out my own problems. It's similiar in many ways to the approach I take with my car. I no longer worry about tuning-up my car. I simply don't have the equipment, and my mechanic--a guy by the name of Jim Varner out in Lewis & Clark, does more than simply change the oil every 3,000 miles. We've caught quite a few problems before they manifested themselves into major problems. And I love my car.
And, after struggling through years of Windows I can finally say that I love my computer. The new one. It's absolutely brilliant.
I heard that North Coast Phone and Computer was looking at becoming a Mac/Apple store months ago. The December 2nd storm created a lot of havoc. Two computers needed help after power was restored. Which meant that more time was spent with the young geeks at NCP&C. The first thing I saw was the Mac Mini. $599.00. 6.5 inches square and 2 inches high. 120gb hard drive. Faster than a PC and--with the installation of Parallels (cost me $79.00) I can install XP and run all my Windows apps.
So, I did it. North Coast Phone and Computer, on the highway in Gearhart, is now a Mac Store. Cannon Beach was their first customer...I think I'm like, number two. Bought it last week. Installed Parallels and XP yesterday.
And it works like you'd always wished your PC would work. It is as if I've spent the past ten years trying to sculpt in stone using stick and stone as tools. Now I've added a vastly improved palette and can work in pastels, oils and watercolors, all without leaving a single canvas. Touch a button? You're in your Windows app. Touch a button? You're in your Mac app.
And fast? Amazing.
I never thought I'd be saying this, but I think I want to upgrade to the iMac. I am so pleased with what I have that I think I want to try a full-bodied Mac.
Imagine a computer that never crashes. Somebody at Mac did. And then built it.