Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sox in! Oil drilling OK! Lunch day!

The last Wednesday of the month is here again already. I love this particular monthly day as it signals a group of retirees that it is time to meet once again for some fine conversation and reasonably good food. But, golly, it seems like it was only yesterday when we had the last end of the month get-together. I’d guess because this is an early date is the reason the time went so fast.

Finally, the Red Sox have made it to the playoffs. They beat Cleveland last night and that shut out the Yankees or anyone else from overtaking them. It is the Wild Card spot, but the Sox have won it all from that position before. They trail Tampa Bay (which plays in St. Petersburg, the GiM’s old stomping ground) by three games with that magic number now at two. Not much chance for the Sox to catch them in the season so I agree with my Fearless Friend that it might be time to accept the wild card and rest the team to prepare for the playoffs. I wonder how the Steinbrenners are feeling today after they fired their manager last year. Joe Torre went to the Dodgers. Now, let’s see. Where are the Dodgers in the NL West standings? It’s the first time 1995 the Yankees won’t be playing in October. Great decision, Steinbrenner family

The drilling debate appears to be over. The Democrats in Congress have decided to allow a drilling ban along the coastal waters to expire. The ban had been in effect for a quarter of a century. The decision in effect concedes victory to the Republicans who have opposed the ban this session in light of the huge increases in heating oil and gasoline. President Bush had indicated he would veto any bill containing a renewal of the ban. The Democrats in the House had passed a bill that allowed some drilling at least 50 miles off shore if the various states gave their permission.

You can read the story here.

Some people who should be in the know estimate that most of the drillable off shore oil is inside the 50 mile limit the House put in their bill. This, of course, doesn’t mean we’ll instantly be able to free ourselves from foreign oil interests as it will take quite a while to get rigs made and into position to get the oil. More modern refineries will also probably be needed. But at long last it’s a start to solving our energy crisis. Now let’s hope that this is also an impetus to get long range research started to find a long term alternative energy source or how to harness and utilize more effectively some of those alternative sources already developed.

The issue isn’t over in Congress. What it does do is give a temporary reprieve to the energy problem allowing Congress to put off any meaningful solution until they can work on it again after the elections. By then, there may be some fresh faces in Washington with different ideas and a potentially less combative House and Senate. Note that “Potentially.” There will also shortly into the New Year be a new President living in the White House. But allowing the drilling ban to expire, Congress was once again able to avoid having to make a decision to get the energy situation resolved.

Congress still hopes to recess later this week for the election season. There is, however, a very contentious crisis they are trying to solve. That, of course, is the financial meltdown facing the country. Our legislators will be working on it all day today and possibly longer. A possible plan was put on the floor but Congress critters from both parties aren’t exactly popping the champagne with happiness over it. We’ll see what happens today, but one thing we do know, it’s going to cost us a lot of money, pushing a trillion dollars, for the government to resolve it. There are some who say, “The market got us into this mess. Let the market get us out.”

As I was finishing this up this morning, word was released that the Dirigo Savings Offset Payment (SOP) has been set at $48.7 million for next year. That’s a 50 percent increase over last year’s. That means that everyone in Maine who pays for their own insurance will see an increase in premiums to pay for Dirigo. The tax will be imposed if the so-called beverage tax is repealed by citizen’s vote in November. I haven’t had any time to evaluate this latest news from the Dirigo disaster so you can expect that tomorrow’s post might be dedicated to Dirigo, the state’s massive, expensive failure into socialistic universal healthcare.

This morning’s weather forecast for our area doesn’t look too great. It looks like we’ll be getting our share of water beginning Friday into Sunday. Oh, Joy!


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