Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Follow Through

Last night a friend asked if how I choose the stories I write about -- if I really look for them in the morning. I do -- I'm fascinated by the subconscious and the sleepy and the unfolding of my own interest. Some mornings it's really hard though --
I've been looking for an hour again.

On the good news front, the Federal Government has stepped in on the Greka situation I talked about a few days ago. They will clean up then sue the company for reimbursement. The spill is horrible, and the concern is that the spill is on its way to federal waters.

A few weeks ago Andrew Revkin wrote a fascinating blog on DOT Earth (NYTimes) about the state of media and the covering of global climate change and politics.

But here's what catches my eye. An article from a small paper in Danbury CT.

The article starts out talking about how people can't pay their heat bills this year. Well, that was to be expected. Some clients are behind thousands of dollars in oil bills, and seniors are adding oil to their list of trade offs as they balance the importance of medication and food...

"On Monday, before appearing at the news conference, Mitchell said a senior citizen stopped by his office and asked to have only 100 gallons of oil delivered to his home.

'If we had filled his tank, that cost would have taken his whole Social Security check,' [said John Mitchell, who started Mitchell Fuel Co. South Windsor 50 years ago.]"

Okay -- all of this we knew. What's interesting, though, is what is folded into this article:

"Meehan [ president of the Portland-based home heating oil company] and a group of fuel dealers appeared at the state Capitol on Monday with U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., to support federal legislation that aims to remove the speculation in the energy futures market. An Energy Department official this month said market speculation on energy prices may have added as much as 10 percent to crude oil costs."

There has been lots of talk that the current increase in oil prices is based largely on speculation -- on fear and guesses that the supply of oil will be tightening soon. And when that happens people buy and trade on the belief that the price of the futures will also go up. I was actually an economic reporter -- and studied this stuff in grad school -- but that was a long time ago, so I'm sorry if I've somehow oversimplified this into nonexistence...

At any rate, the bill proposes that people who buy oil have to take possession of the oil: You can't trade on the price increase -- you have to want the goods.

"[Mitchell] said there have been difficult years, such as the oil shortage during the 1970s.

"But never have I seen conditions that have so flaunted the reality of what is supply and demand and the pricing of this product," he said."

It's an interesting thought. I can't imagine that would ever happen -- what the bill suggests is overturning the American stock market system -- but interesting, none the less.

What is real -- what is physical -- what is tangible. Doesn't it seem like so often our lives revolve around some idea -- some structured system of what we believe the future is going to look like? Don't we so often get caught up in some reality that if we settled down would have little bearing on the physical world we live in?

What if we did that with everything in our lives -- insisted on truth -- on evidence -- on follow through...

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