Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin's 2,000 Acres vs. 11,000 Gallons

Maria Bartiromo called Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin an energy expert on this morning's Meet the Press. The CNBC business reporter cited energy as Palin's "sweet spot", saying she was impressed with her knowledge.

Maria found her argument for drilling in Alaska National Wildlife Reserve compelling. It would only impact 2,000 acres out of 2 million. So what's Sarah's track record on representing Alaska oil accurately?

Her February interview on CSPAN's Washington Journal showed a large chink in her energy armour.

Governor Palin (at the 4:00 minute mark): A drunken captain that ran the ExxonValdez ship into Bligh Reef and spilled 11,000 gallons of fuel

Wrong! The ExxonValdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil, eventually covering 11,000 square miles of ocean. The energy expert missed the size of the spill by 10.79 million gallons. She also called it fuel vs. crude oil.

Was it an intentional dodge to minimize attention to human misadventures in moving oil around our planet? If so, what does that imply about her "only 2,000 acres" on ANWR?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let's Hope for Lessons Learned

Barack Obama expressed hope Saturday that the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina three years ago would help to protect the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Gustav this time. Gustav is now a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. His running mate, Joe Biden, urged people to pray that the levees in New Orleans hold. (from AP & Weather Channel reports)

And, those lessons learned? The White House investigative report didn't state who was responsible for evacuating hospital and nursing home patients. Nor did it identify how responsible parties performed their duties. It did declare the event, "an unprecedented disaster". That also covers the White House response.

But author, Fran Townsend, omitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll. LifeCare's twenty four deaths warranted not one mention in the White House tome. I'm sure The Carlyle Group appreciated Fran's oversight. They purchased LifeCare just weeks before landfall.

Bush Wants War on "Affiliated Organizations"

The Bush administration wants Congress to renew its declaration of war on al Qaeda and its affiliates. It requested the legislative branch "acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

This declaration is the linchpin for the many Bush policies that push the boundaries of legality. Rightfully so, some members of Congress are worried about George W.'s motivation with this redeclaration of war. My guess is Bush wants to twist those "associated organizations" in the direction of "Bomb, bomb, bomb" Iran.

As for al Qaeda they must be busy reaffirming all their war declarations. They have eight official wars and three denouncements.

Egypt (D)
Jordan (D)
Saudi Arabia (D)

Those 11 countries have 1.8 billion people. That means each terrorist must subdue millions of citizens. Unless they subdue themselves first.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Governor Palin Missed Exxon Valdez Spill by 10.79 million gallons

CSPAN showed an earlier segment of Washington Journal with newly named Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. I watched to learn more about her and was quite surprised to hear her quote the size of the oil spill.

Governor Palin (at the 4:00 minute mark): A drunken captain that ran the ExxonValdez ship into Bligh Reef and spilled 11,000 gallons of fuel

Wrong! The ExxonValdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil, eventually covering 11,000 square miles of ocean. Missed it by that much! But her mistake helps sell Alaskan fish...

Three Years After Katrina, Still Head Hanging

Three years ago Hurricane Katrina devastated America's Gulf Coast. The world watched in horror at the ineptitude of federal emergency agencies in responding to the natural disaster. Nearly every key member of the Bush staff was on their August vacation.

Once they got back, they circled the wagons. America witnessed a visibly shaken George W. Bush speak from a dead and drowned New Orleans. He said he'd make it right. He promised a robust investigation. As usual, Bush failed.

His White House Lessons Learned report omitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll. Why leave out LifeCare and their twenty four deaths? No response, after nearly three years. Thus, the Carlyle Group gets to keep its good name...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Is Georgie Planning to Pull a Harry?

President Harry Truman castigated a Republican Congress in his acceptance speech at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. He berated them for doing nothing on key issues facing the American people. He closed his speech by calling the 80th Congress back into session, reading a list of things they could do, before the election.

The Republican Energy protest at the Capital hinted at a repeat in today's session. Nearly a month ago, they pleaded with President Bush to call Congress back. After he refused, they dropped Bush's name altogether, and berated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Today, George W.'s name reappeared.

Will George W. Bush call Congress back into session early to deal with the energy issue? Might he need them at work, after V.P. Dick Cheney's world tour through Georgia? Dick’s likely talking about containing Russian blow back after the cascading series of events, also known as Cheney’s Nighttime Fantasy. It could go something like this:

1. Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities
2. Iran retaliates
3. The huge American and international armada in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean and Pacific (off North Africa) crushes Iran’s response
4. Iran’s Ahmadinejad pleads for help in a surprisingly similar fashion to Georgian leader Saakashvili
5. The United Nations sits on its hands
6. The Carlyle Group’s sale of John Maneeley to a Russian steel firm goes through unopposed
7. The U.S. agrees to trade a Saakashvili for an Ahmadinejad and all the hegemonic world powers are happy. Oil flows freely, but at much higher levels due to “world conflict”

All of Dick Cheney’s dreams come true. All of his true friends are overjoyed. He retires from his double secret stamping job as VP with kajillions in Halliburton stock.

Will Georgie pull a Harry on an unproductive Congress? Can Dick gets his fantasy fulfilled? Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lincoln's Gettysburg vs. McCain's Hattiesburg Address

The McCain camp was simply quoting Abraham Lincoln when it answered "at least four" in response to the number of homes owned by John and his wife, Cindy. Of course, they improved on Lincoln's original words, even changing the location. Consider John McCain's Hattiesburg Address:

At least fourscore and up to seven houses ago, my wife Cindy brought forth on this continent a robust investment portfolio, conceived in luxury, born of inheritance and dedicated to the proposition that all my assets are to be worshipped. Got that, cunt?

Yes, Bush clone John McCain has the ability to lead America into another uncivil war.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Five for Fighting: Republican Drilling Protest in Capital

This week an average of five Republicans protested on the floor of the Capital. The protesters finished their third full week demanding President George Bush, I mean House Speaker Nancy Pelosi call Congress back to act on America's energy crisis.

They failed to mention the disconnect between demand and profitability seen in the second quarter. While Americans parked their cars, gas prices soared. People drove fewer miles, compared to last year:

April 1.8% fewer
May 3.7% less
June 4.7% lower

OPEC cited the dramatic drop in demand in the second quarter. The oil cartel has the capability to deliver 2 million more barrels a day, but it sits idle, due to lower demand. So what happened to gasoline prices during the second quarter? March ended with an average price per gallon of $3.25.

April $3.44, up 19 cents
May $3.76, up 32 cents
June $4.06, up 30 cents

While Americans drove up to 5% fewer miles, gas prices soared 81 cents. ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell declared record revenues and profits. None of the five Republicans (fighting for more drilling) addressed this disconnect. Some one's not being honest with the American people. Why am I continually surprised by the failures of our leaders?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Karen Hughes' First Assignment

Bush's Karen Hughes joined Clinton's Mark Penn as Global Vice Chair at giant PR firm, Burson-Marsteller. Apparently, her winning over the Muslim world impressed the big dogs at the infamous communications firm. She did a banner job of keeping the Bush Beijing family & rich donor reunion under wraps.

Her first stop? The Beijing Olympics closing ceremony. Can't get much more global than that. Heading up the delegation are the U.S. Secretary of Labor and Health & Human Services. Never mind China's spotty record on labor. Ignore their repeated sending of poisonous products to America. The Bush appointments couldn't be more ironic.

Will Mike Leavitt inspect any heparin plants during his visit? Can he get back in time to save Americans struggling to keep their health insurance or pay high medical bills?

August 24-Olympic Closing Ceremonies

August 26-Census Bureau releases data on the number of uninsured Americans

Hurry home, Mike! Well over 47 million people are waiting for an explanation....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hack Boss McCain: Will He Ever Learn?

Presidential hopeful John McCain bows to the altar of extrinsic motivation with his call for "pay for performance." Boss McCain wants federal employees to focus on their compensation more than their work. Yet, in his response to a P4P question, John clearly shares his concern about employees' lack of focus on their work.

Q: The Bush administration would like to see "pay for performance" replace the General Schedule pay system for federal workers. If elected, what would you do regarding pay for performance?

A: "The civil service has strayed from its reformist roots and has mutated into a no-accountability zone, where employment is treated as an entitlement, good performance as an option, and accountability as someone else's problem. Our current system isn't fair to the many good federal workers who do not receive recognition for commitment and excellence and must pick up the slack of those who aren't doing their jobs. We must identify excellence in civil service, reward and reward it appropriately."

Horse hockey! None of the above management problems of accountability or performance can be solved with a pay system. John's and George's solution will make matters worse. Leadership is needed, something sorely lacking in our nation's Capital and corporate board rooms. (Barrack rolled a gutter ball on this same question. He never weighed in on "pay for performance". Amazing!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Big Oil's Second Quarter: Dramatic Drop in Demand, Sky High Prices and Profits

The group of Republican oil predators protesting on weekdays in the Capital must cringe every time statistics are released on big oil's second quarter. The public already knows we parked our cars more frequently and that oil companies made record revenues and profits. The reason for soaring high gas prices, according to our darkness to light Congressmen, is high worldwide demand. Not so, according to an OPEC governor:

"Summer strong oil demand growth in China, Middle East and Asia has not been enough to offset the huge decline in OECD oil demand in the second quarter," the producers group said Friday in its monthly oil report.

Huge decline in oil demand in the second quarter? Son of a gun! Both oil company executives and America's elected leaders have pushed bald faced lies. OPEC went on to say:

The group's monthly report also said OPEC is now producing "well above the demand for its crude."

Well, where are those falling prices, given excess supply? Consider the average U.S. price per gallon over this period:

March $3.25
April $3.44
May $3.76
June $4.06

I purchased gas this morning for $3.53 a gallon, some 75 cents a gallon more than last August and above the second quarter with all its non-free market indicators.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Coach Conaway, Uncle Mike

As Republicans talk in the darkness of the House floor, Representative Mike Conaway remains the number one oil company shill. I guess it proves the old adage, "once an oil company accountant, always an oil company booster." When he says to the citizens of his district, "I feel your pain", he means "it boosts my pocketbook," or at least his campaign coffers.

It seems Mike made the protest on Monday, August 11, and has been a no-show since. His blog posted a video on 8-14, but there was no sign of him at today's press conference. Funny, his blue shirt and yellow tie match his attire from Monday.

So where's Mike hiding? What's the oil company predator up to? Do the American people need to watch out for Coach Conaway, also known as Uncle Mike?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Republican's Work-Vacation Confusion

Congressional Republicans continue to show up for work in the Capital. House Republicans stage weekday press conferences during their vacation, encouraging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call a special session of the House.

Contrast their supposed work ethic with Republicans' latest threat, shutting down government altogether. Huh? By showing up during their vaction, I thought these guys wanted to work. Now they want to shut government down? They may take a siesta, just when they're supposed to be in session.

A bi-partisan plan, based on the Gang of 10 proposal, could be the basis for moving forward. Why the tantrum, and why now? Newt must want his way…

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dark Night of the Soulless: George Bush's Late Night RISK Game

Around the world, leaders solve conflicts via force. President George W. Bush trained for this moment in his college days with his all night RISK matches. The game of global domination has players mobilizing armies and rolling the dice to victory. A look at the board shows the U.S. in an overall favorable position, with over 400 military bases throughout the world.

Russia mobilized its forces last week to deal with Georgia, its former Soviet Union member. It came to the aid of two breakaway regions, one of which Georgian forces worked to control. The U.S. and Israel sold military equipment and supplies to Georgia, but the strength of their allegiance remains to be seen.

Months ago, Israel restricted its arms sales to Georgia to defensive weapons. Today it claims to be a neutral party, citing the diplomatic yellow brick road runs through Washington, D.C. It's the same road taken by legions of Israeli defense officials the last two months, as they met with V.P. Dick Cheney and their American counterparts

A New York Times piece shows local Georgians angry at the U.S. for doing little to nothing on their behalf. Meanwhile, multiple aircraft carriers steam toward the Persian Gulf.

Proxy wars are fought with arms from their allies. Notice they don’t take place on home territory, US or Russia. Watch closely what happens next. If Russia is occupied in Georgia, that gives them a great excuse for not rushing to the aid of their ally, Iran.

Me thinks a fix is in. Russia gets to tamper in Georgia, while Israel and the US make mischief in Iran. Is that the backroom deal struck by sociopathic world leaders? Time will tell.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Darkness to Light in Capital

Republican leaders announced two new citizen celebrities would join their efforts to turn the lights back on in the House of Representatives. Coach Sanders and Uncle Al will join the protests sometime in the near future. Ironically, the celebrity guests are prominently featured in a different Darkness to Light campaign, as kind meaning, but dangerous perpetrators. Detect any similarities?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reading the Signs

The world faces a deteriorating situation in the Middle East. Consider the logic strings embedded in a Jerusalem Post article.

Israel expects that a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran likely won't be in place until the beginning of 2009.

The official (Israeli) said he "wasn't that optimistic" that even a weak resolution would pass by the end of the year.

He warned that by the beginning of 2009, Iran could make major strides toward producing nuclear weapons.

The obvious logical conclusion? Between now and early 2009, take military action to prevent the Iranians from making those major nuclear weapon strides. What else did the article say?

There is also interest in disrupting shipping to Iran, which could also affect the country's energy supplies.

And how might Iran respond? Might they try to reopen their shipping lanes, producing an international incident? That leads to the next article, this one from Haaretz:

The Israel Air Force's anti-aircraft division on Tuesday carried out a large exercise testing its response to simultaneous missile strikes by Syria, Hezbollah and Iran.

This comes after a June New York Times report on another IDF drill:

Israel carried out a major military drill during the first week of June that US sources say was apparently a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

But the information that gave me the most pause? The fact that Vice President Dick Cheney won't attend the Republican National Convention. Someone has to manage the mobilization of America's military might on behalf of our BFF, Israel, after their pre-emptive military strike.

Shooter hosted more than his share of Israeli intelligence officials, military leaders, and hawkish elected officials the last month and a half. Either he has lots of Jewish friends trained in violence or some thing's up. Gonzalo Gallegos, State Department Director of Press Relation, said today in regard to Iran, the U.S. is "proceeding opening the door to a disincentive package... we have committed partners in this."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Picture Worth 1,001 Arabian Words

President George W. Bush met with the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. The White House web site posted a mere two pictures on the historic meeting. Dubai is just across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran.

What stories did they tell? Did George W. relay Israel's plans for a pre=emptive strike on Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities? Did he show how America's military might would keep the Emirates safe? As President Bush is a simple man, he likely used less than 1,001 Arabian words in telling his fiction.

Pandering Politician Praises Profound Profits

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) gushed over ExxonMobile's record oil profits of nearly $12 billion in the second quarter of 2008. Roy noted small guy Exxon, "the 14th biggest oil company", had a "Little Engine that Could" quarter.

"So in all likelihood, the 13 companies bigger than them made a whole more money than that, and that all went somewhere besides the United States."

Bull Hockey! Roy purposefully mixed apples to oranges in relaying the corporate, focused-grouped line. Exxon may be down the list in size of reserves, but for three years it stood alone atop the worldwide profit mountain. Guess who has the most oil reserves? It turns out the target of American military might, Iraq is #3, with only a fraction of its fields under development. The current focus of Israeli bravado, Iran, came in #1.

One market has been cleared for Exxon, another awaits. Roy's compadre, VP Dick Cheney, indicated he wouldn't speak at the Republican National Convention. Want to bet, Shooter is busy containing Iranian blowback from Israel's pre-emptive strike on their nuclear facilities? If so, the able Sen. Joe Lieberman and Rep. Eric Cantor, with their Jewish roots, can speak on the Veep's behalf. Meanwhile, the "Drive Less, Pay More" public endures the political theater of Roy's counterparts promising "Drill Now, Pay Less." Even Rep.Tim Walberg (R-MI) called last Friday's stunt "a performance".

It Only Takes One to Tango Says Rowan Williams

The Guardian reported on Rowan Williams' effort to keep unity in the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference. The 230 boycotting bishops might be happy Rowan's diagnosis of the church's schism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury blamed liberal North American churches yesterday for causing turmoil in the Anglican communion by blessing same-sex unions and consecrating gay clergy as he attempted to chart a way out of the crisis that has been engulfing the church.

In a Pilate like move, Williams ended the session with a call. Who do you want released, Barabus (win by might) or Jesus (love for all)? Tuned to the missing 230, Rowan chose Barabus in his call for a moratorium on both practices. The Archbishop perils Christ's lived message in his efforts to save the union.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Yet More Disaster Capitalism?

The thought of government using natural and economic catastrophes to enact laws that favor corporations is disturbing, to say the least. Naomi Klein writes of this pattern, and evidence of it emerged this week.

1) Private equity is trumped as the savior for failing banks. Only it requires fewer regulations, itself a major reason for the subprime crisis which sent financial institutions into a tail spin. Will the Treasury and Federal Reserve open up national banks for major investment by private equity underwriters (PEU's)? Ask SemGroup unitholders, Blue Wave Partners' investors, or Carlyle Capital Corporation shareholders, what they think of The Carlyle Group owning 25% or more of a bank, as opined by Carlyle financial chiefs in a Wall Street Journal editorial?

2) An advisory committee recommended the SEC only require earnings restatements for recent periods. They didn't address causes of the 9% restatement rate by American firms. Final accounting re-do's are much lower worldwide. Historically, they ran 2% in the U.S. After 1998, what happened? Corporate executives cheated to beat the band by backdating their stock option compensation. CEO malfeasance required massive multi-year restatements. What better way to hide the negative impact of long term unethical executive behavior, than not have it come out at all? Disaster capitalism, home of the free pass?

3) "Drill Now, Pay Less." Consumers paying $4 a gallon for gasoline became the motivation to open up large areas for oil company drilling. Never mind, those same oil companies reached record profits once again, continuing their three year run. The 2005 Energy Bill provided $6 billion in giveaways to big oil. It looks like Bush & company want to continue the trend. That 2005 bill laid the foundation for the second quarter of 2008, experienced by customers as "Drive Less, Pay More."

Eric Cantor: NRCC Leader & McCain VP?

The Jerusalem Post story read "McCain campaign considers Jewish VP". However the picture wasn't John's BFF, Joe Lieberman, but a youthful looking Congressman from Virginia. The story said McCain's vetters requested personal documents from Rep. Eric Cantor.

I'm sure the topic of the National Republican Congressional Committee will be front and center. The investigative report shows NRCC Treasurer Chris Ward walked away with $725,000, although other accounts cite $500,000, much of it spent to improve his Maryland home. Representative Eric Cantor played a leadership role in the NRCC during the multi-year pilfering, 2003 to 2008.

A January 2007 press release highlighted Eric's Fundraising Chairman leadership role and importance to the NRCC:

"Eric Cantor has been a great ally and a committed supporter of the NRCC in previous cycles. He has the know-how and the contacts needed to help us raise the funds that will be vital in the next election cycle," Chairman Cole said.

As Chairman of the NRCC's Battleground fundraising effort, Republican Deputy Whip Cantor raised more than $30 Million for Republican candidates. Over the past 3 terms, Rep. Cantor has raised millions of dollars for the Republican Party and was the top contributor in the House to other Republican candidates last cycle.

In 2006 one of Mr. Cantor's peers, frustrated by the lack of any physical auditors, tried to get the NRCC Executive Committee's attention. The scandal was discovered some two years later.

Why does this matter to any member of Congress who served on the NRCC Executive Committee? Sarbanes-Oxley. Eric Cantor was one of 423 members of the House voting "aye" for the fraud busting bill on July 25, 2002. This bill changed audit firm procedures for all entities, for profit and nonprofit.

From 2003 to early 2008, no auditor showed their face at NRCC offices. No partner from a major accounting firm graced the doors of NRCC leadership. They never met with anyone on the draft audit, much less presented a clean opinion and management letter to the NRCC Executive Committee. This gross governance incompetence was not investigated by the forensic accounting firm.

The question is Eric Cantor's exact role, as he "has been a great ally and a committed supporter of the NRCC in previous cycles." Will he put that in his submitted documents?

The NRCC Executive Committee's membership over the last 3 election cycles is an elusive ghost. But rest assured those Representatives failed to live up to the very basics of nonprofit governance. Eric served at least a year on this fiduciarily dismal body. It quickly got up to speed to attack 50 Democrats, but couldn't plan and execute an audit for the 5th year in a row. One might expect someone with community board experience to note something amiss.

But money and connections can sweep such failures under the rug. Cantor's 2007 public financial disclosure, a full 23 pages, reveals a multi-million stock portfolio, a spouse on the Board of several major corporations, and two trips to Israel. While Republicans look to Counting Cantor, Democrats explore eerily similar Bayh's Buy.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bush's Bush Entourage to Beijing

Under the guise of a Personnel Announcement, the White House published the Presidential Delegation to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Not a surprise, it's a Bush family and friends affair. The President, Mrs. Laura Bush, and Miss Barbara Bush will attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, on August 8, 2008. Official members of the Presidential Delegation include:

The Honorable George H.W. Bush, former President of the United States
The Honorable and Mrs. Clark T. Randt, Jr., United States Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin and Margaret Bush

Mrs. Doro Bush Koch
Mr. and Mrs. Roland and Lois Betts-fraternity brother, friend and fundraiser
Mr. Brad Freeman-loyal friend and fundraiser

Roland Betts and Brad Freeman attended the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin as part of the Presidential delegation. That year President Bush took a number of ex-Olympic winners. Doro Bush Koch attended the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake as part of the Presidential delegation.

For the Beijing Closing Ceremony delegation, the White House issued a Statement from the Press Secretary stating members of the diplomatic entourage, far different from the list of family and friends. It came out a week before the personnel announcement. Which U.S. delegation represents "our nation's character", as promised by George W.?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bush Loves King Salmon

President George W. Bush showed his support for Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, currently under indictment for not reporting gifts from constituents. The White House indicated the President had not rescinded an invitation for Senator Stevens to travel on Air Force One.

“I changed your nickname from King Salmon to Duke Salmonella.”

Of course Bush uses his brief moments of creativity to impact the lives of Americans. Consider his likely Executive Order:

“Just as the great Ronald Reagan changed ketchup to a vegetable in school lunch programs, I, George W. Bush, proclaim salmonella a miniature form of the healthy fish so many of us need in our diets.”

Shifting Oil Market Sand Knocks Congress Off Its Feet!

A bi-partisan group of ten senators proposed a plan to break the legislative gridlock in the Capital. The dais shook as the "Gang of 10" discussed the rationale behind their collaborative effort, the Renew Energy Act of 2008.

Senator Kent Conrad said the plan would deal with the "fundamental supply-demand relationship" responsible for high gas prices. His problem, besides record oil company profits? Demand for refined products fell drastically as gas prices soared at the pump. If the relationship was fundamental, prices would have fallen with significant decreases in demand.

Fuel consumption in the past 12 months was the lowest since 2004-2005, according to the Energy Department. And how do prices compare to 2004-2005? Almost double. This fact is never mentioned by leftover Congressmen using new media from the hallowed halls of the Capital. "Drill Now, Pay Less" is a fiction. The second quarter reality has been "Drive Less, Pay More". Ironically, members of Congress may need to drive back to Washington during their five week break. The party of oil is encouraging their Chief Gas Man (President Bush) to call Congress back into special session.