Beginning of the week once again and the plight of life up here on California’s northern coast is a bit overcast and a bit of chill the f*ck out.
Last week was seemingly too dramatic for a simple two-day weekend to compensate for, and the start of another round of work ain’t appetizing for brain food — or fodder.
And a real-ugly spot to be in this morning is a gas station anywhere in this state.
We’ve also caught the southern California gasoline spike with prices here now just at the 5-buck-a-gallon threshold — and don’t get pissed, as one local gas retailer pleads: “So far, my customers aren’t saying much — I think they are still in sticker shock,â€ she said. â€œBut when that wears off … Well, you know the saying, ‘don’t kill the messenger.’ We are suffering just as much as they are.”
(Illustration found here).
I missed this latest nasty peak as it’s been about ten days since I put gas in my old Jeep Comanche — at $4.39 a gallon for regular — so the deep-pitted financial fright has been put off at least until toward the end of this week.
Even as the national pump average is about $3.81 a gallon, some LA area stations were up close to $6 — yes, that’s Six Dollars!
The price surge is based on problems at refineries — first a big fire in early August at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, just south of San Francisco, and then a shutdown at a refinery in Torrence, near LA.
Gas is also a commodity, this from Roseville, Calif., police Sgt. Jeff Kool: “With prices in the upper $4 a gallon, gasoline is obviously more valuable,” Kool said. “It’s a criminal opportunity.”
Meanwhile, a most-ugly, near-criminal statement from Mitt Romney yesterday in Florida — via CNN:
“We had a little debate earlier this week and I enjoyed myself,” Romney told a roaring audience of roughly 10,000 in Port St. Lucie Sunday afternoon.
“You all had the chance to hear his answers – or his non-answers,” he continued.
“Now of course, days later we are hearing his excuses, and next January we’ll be watching him leave the White House for the last time.”
And Obama for his part tried to downplay his ugly performance in the debate, telling a star-studded fundraiser yesterday in LA that in contrast to the musical performers — Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry and Earth, Wind and Fire — who perform â€œflawlessly, night after night,â€ Obama said: â€œI canâ€™t always say the sameâ€ â€” a clear nod to his lackluster debate performance in Denver, Colorado last week.
He also smacked at Romney’s debate blubberings about ripping up Sesame Street:
â€œSomebodyâ€™s finally cracking down on Big Bird,â€ he joked, adding: â€œElmoâ€™s made a run for the borderâ€ â€” a reference to another Sesame Street character known to generations of American children.
Romney would let â€œWall Street run wild again, but heâ€™d bring his hammer down on Sesame Street,â€ he joked.
Jokes won’t cut it now, dude.
And in another way-more-ugly situation, one which neither Obama or Romney will speak of, like climate change among other ugly subjects, is the degrading war in Afghanistan — along with two more US GIs killed this weekend, a couple of reports indicate the conflict will get coyote ugly.
Outgoing head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Reto Stocker, a seven-year veteran of Afghan aid efforts, said as the NATO-led war against the Taliban dragged into a twelfth year, the outlook for ordinary Afghans was increasingly bleak.
“Since I arrived here in 2006, local armed groups have proliferated.
Civilians have been caught between not just one, but multiple front lines,” Stocker told journalists in Kabul.
A security analysis prepared by the International Crisis Group think tank, also released on Monday, said President Hamid Karzai’s increasingly unpopular government could collapse after the NATO withdrawal, especially if people lost confidence in the outcome of presidential elections the same year.
“Plagued by factionalism and corruption, Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014,” the ICG said.
“In the current environment, prospects for clean elections and a smooth transition are slim.”
The longest, and most-ugly of all US-involved wars, and even with an end in sight, is still morally reprehensible and useless.
The two US soldiers were killed Saturday when they came under figure in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul.
This year so far, 257 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, bringing the total death toll since the war began there 12 years ago at more than 2,000.
The US, though, is shit-near-beautiful compared to the entire world as a whole — from HuffPost this morning:
According to a goofily named set of indexes dreamed up by the Financial Times — “Tiger,” or Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery — the U.S. is the best dog in the ugly-dog show of the global economy.
Economic data and confidence have been sinking across the Group of 20 big industrialized and developing nations, according to the FT, with the exception of the U.S.
An historical look at the Tiger indexes shows they are near their lowest levels since the Great Recession, with the whole global economic recovery “on the ropes,” according to Brookings Institution economist Eswar Prasad.
Thus only JUST Monday.