President Bush is an oil man. His pappy is an oil man. His VP is an oil man. His pals and his family’s pals are oil men. His virtual brother, Prince Bandar ‘Bush,’ and the Saudi Royal Family generally, to whom the Bushes are closely tied, are oil men.

So when you say ‘energy crisis,’ what exactly do you mean? This is a great time to be an oil man! All those guests at the early Cheney energy meetings – the ones whose names the White House would not reveal even after a subpoena from the General Accounting Office? Most of them are likely reveling in this so-called ‘crisis.’

The solution to the ‘crisis,’ according to this administration, is to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, not to promote conservation. Drilling for oil is what oil men DO. Conservation hurts oil men two ways. First, they sell less oil. Second, because of that lessened demand, the oil they do sell fetches a lower price.

With oil at $55 a barrel instead of $30, as I have pointed out before, the Saudis are making (roughly) an extra $250 million – extra! – a day.

Meanwhile, that other ‘energy crisis’ that came and went – the one in California that was engineered in no small part by Enron (the President’s biggest campaign supporters), as told in The Smartest Guys in the Room – is about to hit the silver screen in a documentary by the same name. Don’t miss the part maybe two-thirds of the way through where the Enron guys come out to confab with Arnold before the recall process gets going. The crisis – which disappeared as soon as the manipulation stopped – sure helped to undermine the governor of the largest Democratic state in the country.

My point is, you may think high gasoline or heating oil prices are becoming a hardship. But one man’s crisis is another’s bonanza. It is a grand time to be rich and powerful in America.

Have yourself a double latte.

STARBUCKS

Brendan Segraves: ‘Just a quick confirmation that we’ve had a similar experience with our Starbucks machine (a Digital Italia). The seals busted after three months and they sent us an entirely new machine ($999 retail) instead of making us wait the standard 8-12 weeks to repair the machine. Oh, and the espresso is excellent.’

Jack Rivers: ‘And don’t forget Starbucks pays its workers a fair wage, gives even part time employees health insurance, and supports progressive causes. A Goliath maybe, but definitely not coffee’s version of Wal-Mart.’

Joanna: ‘I’ve never liked their coffee much, but in their defense, I cart off buckets of their used grounds every week for my gardening and composting attempts. Not only do they give me this “gardener’s gold” for free, but they also package the used grounds neatly back into the bags they came in, sealed with a cute sticker telling me what the grounds are good for and how to use them, and set the bag into a basket by the door. I walk in, pick up my bag of free grounds, and leave. And all those bags of grounds end up in my garden instead of in a landfill. I love them.’

☞ Yes, but even at today’s prices, oil is cheaper.

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