Since the Texas oil men, George Bush and Dick Cheney, took over, and since the secret meetings of the energy task force (the list of whose members even a GAO law suit could not dislodge), the price of oil has quadrupled.

‘Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago,’ according to this global overview in the Washington Post, ‘pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone.’

It’s probably just a coincidence that the oil industry and Halliburton have done so spectacularly well. And that California had a sudden energy crisis – unchecked by the ample powers of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – that siphoned billions from San Francisco to Houston, unseated a Democratic governor in mid-term, and then disappeared as fast as it materialized.

But whether coincidence or not, don’t assume $4 is the highest price a gallon of gas can ever reach. Much of Europe is already paying $7.50 and more.


Easy, at least when you’re just one or two in the car. Smart cars arrive in January at about $12,000 a pop, and will double your mileage . . . which halves the cost of fuel. Not right for every situation, but safer than they look and so easy to park.


Why buy this wonderful old movie for $11.99 when you can get the whole seven-DVD Preston Sturges boxed set for $28.49? (Or, of course, NetFlix – but then you can’t rewrap it after you’ve watched them and delight someone for the holidays.) However you do it, though, if you haven’t already seen The Palm Beach Story – do. You have to watch Mary Astor and Rudy Vallee and Joel McRae and Claudette Colbert deadpan Sturges lines like . . . ‘That’s one of the tragedies of this life – that the men most in need of beating up are always enormous.’


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