Thursday, May 31, 2007

WAINWRIGHT: What's going on?

Some seemingly conflicting details have been written lately.

For example:

May 26: Hattiesburg American notes that:
"Wainwright was charged with the felony, punishable by five to 20 years' incarceration, at an initial court appearance April 20."
That sounds like an arraignment (which news stories tended to refer to as "a preliminary hearing") to me, which would mean that the 270 days rule mentioned here (from May 27), has already kicked in:
"Under state law, a defendant must be tried within 270 days of his arraignment. If not, a defendant is entitled to a dismissal of the charges."
However, a story from WLBT in Jackson on May 27 notes that there is "no hurry" to indict Wainwright.

Arraignment & Indictment already happened?

If Wainwright has already been charged with posting threats on the Internet (the law under which he was charged is quite vague and perhaps purposely so: "Posting of Messages through Electronic Media for Purpose of Causing Injury to Any Person"), isn't that an "arraignment?" And according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (quoted in Wikipedia):
"...arraignment shall...[consist of an] open...reading [of] the the defendant...and calling on him to plead thereto. He shall be given a copy of the indictment...before he is called upon to plead."
It seems to me then that Wainwright has already been indicted on April 20, despite claims of the DA to the contrary (HA, May 26--"Weathers said the law doesn't require investigators to move at a particular speed. 'The time factor kicks in after someone is indicted,' he said."). If that is the case, then the 270 days should be ticking, and 41 have passed since April 20.

Another discrepancy

Another discrepancy between some stories is where Wainwright was arrested. The Hattiesburg American originally said he was arrested at a gas station, but the AP says he was arrested at his home.

One thing on which everyone agrees

All of the stories note that Bob Hopkins, head of UPD, still won't say what Wainwright's "threats" actually said and that nothing that is currently available to the public appears to justify Wainwright's arrest and incarceration, which will have lasted two months this coming Wednesday.

It seems as though the DA wants the public to believe that they intend to let Wainwright rot in jail, even though time actually seems to be ticking for them to bring the matter to trial. By my estimate, they've got a little over 7 1/2 months to put up or shut up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Here's something I wrote today on the forum in response to this from a couple other posters regarding the topic of gas prices:

#1: I have said this before in the forums on here. The government should not step in at all when it comes to businesses.

#2: "In the end, it is the American consumer who is to blame. Oil companies will continue to push gas prices up. Right now the American consumer is telling the oil companies that we will stomach these types of prices for gas."

My response

Out of necessity, government is intimately involved in business and commerce. It's the government that issues money. It's the government that sets up the rules that create what many erroneously call "the free market." It's the government that maintains and manages the infrastructure (roads, rails, air travel, harbors, etc.) that allows business to be carried out.
It's the government that allows the creation and regulation of corporations.

Government should not unnecessarily impede commerce, but neither should it allow those engaged in commerce to indulge in rapacious practices. We should always seek a happy medium between government regulation and self-regulation (where business and commerce are concerned).

The price of gas is a special case because its price affects the price of literally everything else. The consumer is no more to blame for the price of gas than sick people are to blame for the price of medicine. That is to say, gas is a necessity--people cannot do without it. They must buy it.

In such cases, reasonable measures must be taken to ensure that the public is not being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we either do not have such measures in place or they are not being enforced.

Instead, we are witnessing and being subjected to an outrageous, unjustifiable transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top. The argument that the public should band together and do something about this situation (and other ones like it) is an enticing one. However, I would argue that we did that already when we created our system of government. The problem is not "the government," the problem is effective corporate control of our government and those who represent us, i.e., Thad "Poison Pill" Cochran.

What oil companies have and do (and don't have and don't do)

Renewable fuels must play a part in getting us out of this mess.

If you saw "Who Killed The Electric Car," you know that electric cars were a viable solution to the very problem we're facing right now. But oil companies don't sell electricity.

Biodiesel would be a great alternative. But oil companies don't sell vegetable oil.

Hemp fuel would be a great alternative. But oil companies wouldn't be able to keep the lid on hemp production and besides, hemp production is illegal.

But oil companies do have very good friends in the White House...

Monday, May 14, 2007


So, another record average gas price.

For the last four years--i.e., since we invaded--up to 15% of Iraq's oil has just...poof!...disappeared. And no one knows exactly why.

But we do know that the average price of gas just hit another record high.

Armed Madhouse Theory

Greg Palast has written about the possible reasons why the oil has "disappeared." In his book "Armed Madhouse," he details the plans for Iraq's oil that were argued over by the neocons and the oil industry.

Long story short, the oil companies won the argument and Iraq is producing far below its capacity and now we learn that even some of that is vanishing into thin air. And why would western oil companies want Iraq to produce less oil?

Simple--it's all part of the income redistribution plan for those who want socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Gas prices are kept artificially high and then, inexplicably, western oil companies have record profits. And the profit records being set are not records for say, this decade, or the last twenty years, or for just the oil industry.

No, that's for chumps--the profits we're talking about are setting records for all time, for all industries, for the entire world.

Iraq "loses" some oil here and there, and ExxonMobil sets records both in profit and gas prices. In the process, more money is extracted from us--i.e., your income, my income, everyone's income is redistributed to the rich.

$60 for a tank of gas

This past Friday, I had to take a long trip and filled up my tank--I got a little over 20 gallons of gas and it cost me almost $59. In late 2001, the average price of gas was around $1.24/gallon.

I have the same job now as I did then and my cost of living raises have not kept pace with this dramatic price increase. What cost approximately $25 in late '01--less than 6 years ago--now costs more than twice that. Good post on this over at Americablog.

Believe me, I could use that extra $25-$35 for, I don't know, an oil change...

Monday, May 07, 2007


So last week the average price of gas reached an all time high:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices rose to an all-time high over the past two weeks, due to a number of refinery outages, according to the latest nationwide Lundberg survey.

The national average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $3.0684 a gallon on May 4, an increase of 19.47 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the survey of about 7,000 gas stations.

The prior all-time record was an average price of $3.0256 per gallon, that was reached on August 11, 2006.

Supposedly the price increase is due to "refinery outages" and the source in the story says there have been "at least 12 refinery incidents" in the last two weeks. Anybody know anything about those 12 incidents?

I have definitely felt this:
"So far this year the average price of regular unleaded gasoline has surged more than 88 cents per gallon..."
I'm sure ExxonMobil has felt that "surge" also, but not in the same way as you and I...I'm sure they'll break the all-time quarterly profit record again...

Considering all the people I encounter that cite high gas prices during the Carter administration, I found this part interesting:
"However, the current price is 6.4 cents short of the inflation-adjusted high that was reached in March of 1981, at that time regular grade self serve gasoline was $1.35 per gallon, but on an inflation-adjusted basis today that would translate into $3.13 per gallon."
That was at the beginning of Ronald Reagan's first term...I'll have to file that little factoid away for future use--the inflation-adjusted high for gas prices came under Reagan...

Oh, and one other thing--when that record was reached, there was a conflict involving Iraq going on, So I guess we have more proof of this theorem: (war + Iraq) Republican president =record gas prices.

The Hattiesburg American files an update:
Southern Miss Police Chief Bob Hopkins said Thursday that the case hadn't been turned over to Forrest and Perry county District Attorney Jon Mark Weathers' office.
This is an outrage. Wainwright was arrested on April 18th (smack dab in the middle of the week of the Virginia Tech massacre and the Columbine anniversary) for writing SOMETHING that's supposedly criminal but Hopkins won't tell us what that criminal writing is. And now Nancy Kaffer finds out that Wainwright's case hasn't even been turned over to the DA?

That means Hopkins won't tell anyone--not the media, the public, OR the criminal justice system--what Wainwright wrote that was criminal in nature. Wainwright will have been in jail for 3 weeks this Wednesday, all because Hopkins wants us to believe he has an open and shut case but won't share the evidence with anyone. Perhaps because he...doesn't have any?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Happy "Mission Accomplished" Anniversary!

If the goal of the so-called "war on terror" is to REDUCE terrorism, then the U.S. is losing that war.

Compared to 2005, terrorist attacks were UP 25% in 2006, and 40% more people were killed by extremists in 2006. This is coming from the Bush administration's own State Department, which said there were around 14,000 terror attacks in 2006.

Just under half of those were in Iraq!

If on the other hand, the publicly unstated but actual goal of the "war on terror" is to reduce the civil liberties of Americans and give their tax money away in the form of fat government contracts to the military-industrial complex, we're winning the "war on terror" big-time! Go USA!