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Posts Tagged ‘gasoline’

       Here is something to think about with all of the financial crisis making the daily news.  Have you signed anything legal agreeing to rip yourself off financially?  Many people probably haven’t realized this aspect of the times yet…but, a normally smart thing to do each summer is to sign up for a budget plan with your winter heating fuel supplier…agreeing to “lock in” a price when the prices are low during the summer…just in case the price of heating oil/gas goes up, like it normally does in the fall and winter months.

        This year…against any predictable reasoning…gas prices have fallen, sharply.  Still, once people sign on the dotted line to lock in a heating source price…they truly are locked in at that price.   I think as people discover this situation for themselves…there is going to be alot of anger of being caught in this situation.  Some say, that most years it makes sense to lock in and it works out to their advantage…but, this year has really challenged that theory.

          Locking in makes sense usually; the agreement is usually accomplished in mid summer.  Well….if you remember correctly, in July…gas prices were sky high.  In my neck of the woods…gasoline prices have dropped from an all time high of approximately $4.25 down to now a $2.88 cents a gallon.  If you apply that thought process to home heating oil/propane….you can just imagine how much money that people are loosing.

          With the rising cost of food, rent/mortgage payments, health insurance, and other necessities…people can ill afford to pay extra when they don’t have to.  I, for one, am glad that i didn’t lock in my propane prices; like i was advised to! 

          Did you get ripped off by signing an agreement to lock in your heating costs this year?  If you did…you are not alone…and personally i don’t think anyone expected such a situation…but, it really is a gamble trying to predict the future with heating costs.  I am pretty sure that, next year, companies will have a hard time getting people who were burned this year, to sign on the dotted line.  Just stop and think about how many people are living on fixed incomes…i almost hate to see winter arrive because…we will see more people suffering and living in dangerous conditions, in colder climates, because of this.

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       With all of the economic shake ups taking place in the United States…i was just wondering…is anyone else feeling a rising, fearful sense of dread and panic?  It has building for the last year and a half with the mortgage crisis, rising costs of food, gasoline, home heating fuels, foreclosures, and job downsizings.  Now on top of all of that…we are seeing the fall of the major financial instutions in our country.

       Some Americans, in portions of our country, have been seeing and feeling the economic sense of dread and panic rising for quite some time.  It started with many job markets closing down or moving out of country (outsourcing) and then we started to see the domino effect from credit card lapses, missed mortgage payments, vehicle repossessions and then, foreclosures of homes that probably never should’ve been financed in the first place.  It has been, and continues to be, a chain reaction.

       The culture of over-indulgence, and pay later, mindset has decided to reveal it’s consequences.  There was no safety net in place to cushion the blow.  Once again in America, our quality of life is being threatened in a way that has the potential to bring our country to it’s knees; similar to the Great Depression that we all studied about in history class as children.  It has gone beyond a wake up call and moved to a place of drastic correction.  How are we going to deal with that as a nation?

      Tonight, President Bush is going to be speaking to the American citizens on the economic crisis that this country faces.  Minutes ago, Sen. John McCain made a statement saying that he is suspending his Presidential campaign to go to Washington to help deal with the historical financial crisis; McCain is calling on Sen. Barack Obama to put the campaign aside for the time being to focus on a bi-partisian solution.  Now is not the time for political game playing.  Anyone who dares go there…will loose the election for sure just because of it.  A commitment must be made to work on the issues that we are facing and stop playing word games and power plays to get attention.

        Time is of the essence at the moment; the impact has the potential to deconstruct the global economy.  Not only are our citizens watching and waiting to find a solution…other countries are doing the same.  Is there any possible way that we can as a nation and as individuals recover from this mess?

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        I read that the host of a tabloid television show, The Insider, is leaving the show.  Pat O’brien has been on The Insider since 2004 he was the host until he had a couple of stints in rehab for addictions.  He made tabloid news himself when he left recorded messages sexually harrassing a female person on the phone.  Before he was the host of the Insider, he was on Access Hollywood for something like seven years.  Some people watch those shows regularily.

         So, he is leaving the show now.  It has been said that the decision to leave is a mutual one.  Yet, no real reason has been disclosed for the leave taking.  However, there has been speculation from; he slipped in his sobriety again, to, he is leaving because of an email that he sent to the staff at The Insider.  The email supposedly alledges that the staff of The Insider is out of touch with their real life viewers; who are struggling with day -to- day financial survival, and are not interested in the elite Hollywood fashions and over-indulgences of the stars. 

           If it is true that he was let go from the show for holding that opinion…i would tend to agree that the powers that be, are indeed out of touch.  However, I am sure that Mr. O’brien could have gotten that message across in a much more effective way than sending an email.  It is a valid point to say that mainstream America is struggling to maintain some semblance of financial stability…hearing about celebrities who toss away untold amounts of money on non-essentials is a bit of rubbing it (their wealth) in the viewer’s faces. 

           In general, i think the viewers would much rather hear about celebrities who are doing “good” in the world, with some of their “excess money”, than to hear about the latest mansion they bought or, how much money they spent on their last shopping spree!  In that, i agree in the theory behind the alleged email.

           I think that there will be a backlash in the sports world, the celebrity arena, the political figures, and other areas of our culture that continues to endorse reckless handling of money.    Reality for most people is not financial wealth; after the collapse of our banking systems, the mortgage crisis, the credit card crunch; and, the constant raising of prices of gasoline, home heating prices, and necessities such as groceries.  The American public is fighting to regain a financially secure life.  The impact of that is going to carry over into all areas of life including entertainment shows!

           If Mr. O’brien has had a change of heart over the types of stories that he felt his show should cover…he has to acknowledge that he also contributed to the environment of that show, for quite a period of time.  That however, doesn’t mean that a person can’t change their actions and raise awareness.  Good luck to everyone involved.  Let’s get real in our expectations and our actions…stop living in a fantasy world that very few people experience.  If the television executives cant do that…then, let those select few be their audience! 

           The Insider is supposed to be about the entertainment world…and it isn’t entertaining to their viewers to watch those who have been blessed financially live in ways that are wasteful when they are struggling to live above the poverty level.

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       Labor Day is celebrated traditionally on the first Monday in September every year in the United States.  The original idea came about in 1882; it is a bit of a controversy who came up with the idea but most agree it is one of these two men, Peter J. McGuire a carpenter or Matthew Maguire a machinist brought the idea to the American forefront.  The reasoning behind a Labor Day was to celebrate the men and women in this country who work so hard to contribute to the infrastructure of our country by the manual labor and the sweat of their brows.  This Day is to honor them by giving them a day off from work and to recognize all that they do for their families, their employers, and their communities.

        It has become a national holiday, that over the years …the reason for the celebration has been diluted by the activities surrounding it.  There are picnics, festivals,tele-thons, fireworks, cookouts, parties and get-togethers…all of which are wonderful.  However, the reason for the Labor Day needs to once again be brought to the forefront; as people work harder than ever to build businesses, products, and services…but, seemingly the American Worker gets farther and farther behind in their earnings and their savings.

         Today, it was announced in the news that personal incomes dropped by 0.7% in the month of July alone…this is the most noteable drop in income, in over three years.  This comes as a disappointment as the government had issued those tax incentive rebate checks that were supposed to stimulate the economy.  It just goes to show that the fine balancing act that is the American economy, is more than just a little off kilter.

          The American worker works longer hours, and has more financial burdens than they need; and, are saving less than ever before.  The uncertainity of job security hangs over everyone’s heads as corporations and businessess outsource work to citizens from other countries, or outright move their businesses overseas to save money.  It costs more to do business now just as it costs workers more to exist. 

            The cost of living seems to be raising the stakes as workers struggle with rising gasoline, food prices, health care, education costs, home heating fuel and fluctuating mortgage payments, foreclosures, and bank failures. 

            Business companies and workers alike need to come back to the idea of the solid  American work ethic and the celebratory rewards from their employers for loyalty of service to their employees by investing back in the American economy.   CEOs and Administrators need to stop demanding and expecting so many perks and rally up behind some sacrifices that pump some new lifeblood into the network of reliable work histories of the American people.  Workers need to work hard to build up the assets of their employers.  We can learn alot from our forebearers in how they earned, saved, and how this country was built from the ground up.  The American worker who went before, often worked in unsafe working conditions. 

              We have come a long way in making working conditions safer due to labor unions and the worker creating an awareness about those issues, as well as child labor laws.  We can learn from both the good and the bad.  People who work hard and are reliable and trustwory as well as dependable; should be rewarded with job security, appropriate income, and benefits.  Companies who value their workers and develop stability should be praised and encouraged.  Together they are what this country needs to get the balance back where it needs to be.  We need to encourage more teamwork between employers and employees.

               So this weekend, as you celebrate your well earned time off to spend with your friends and family with a variety of R & R…let’s keep our priorities straight.  Celebrate and honor the traditions of those who came before and helped to trailblaize for the American worker of today; when you work…work hard and give your best quality.  Companies…if you have workers who don’t do their jobs and don’t give of the appropriate level of work…let them go…there are plenty of workers out there who will. 

                America has become a bit off balance.  There are those who work hard and are proud to do so…and there are slackers who are proud to be slackers.  There are companies who struggle to provide good products, and services who honor their workers with appropriate rewards and there are companies who don’t.  Unions sometimes will get behind a worker who shouldn’t necessarily be backed up if they are in the wrong.  There are occasions where it is hard for a company to dismiss a worker who isn’t working up to the appropriate standard of employment…don’t back up the worker who is in the wrong…it costs the company money, it costs the laborers in morale and it takes jobs away from workers who really want to work and would work hard for what they earn. 

                The next American President needs to create more opportunities for workers to have jobs and not just in the large metropolitan areas…there are plenty of potential employees who live in the suburbs and in the country areas who need good paying jobs.  We need to teach our young people how to work, how to take pride in a job well done and how to respect those in authority over them so that they learn how to be a good employee.  Maybe the next American President could take a page out of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legacy and create something like the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps which created an environment of employment, did amazing things for our environment, provided for families, and built a generation of dedicated hard working individuals who gave something meaningful to their country and their communities.  That would be amazing!

                We want to celebrate the best of the best.  Whether you are an executive, a laborer, a clerk, a stock person,a doctor, professor, janitor, or a truck driver, etc…it doesn’t matter, it is about the quality of person that you are; your integrity, and the willingness you have to earn what you are paid for. So what does Labor Day mean to our country today?  It could very well mean the difference between building up our economy or the total collapse of the very infrastructure that this country was founded on.  Buy American… Happy Labor Day weekend!

           

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       Well, this morning there is breaking news that oil production is not keeping up with the demand for oil…this is a surprise to people; just now?  Come on…with the price of gasoline rising every week…how could they miss something this big?  Most of us commononers have it figured out already.  We need it…they have it…we pay for it…they profit from it…Simple right?  Well, not so much…you see we don’t have to be as dependent on foreign oil as we have been.  Smart people are looking at ways of altering their lifestyle to save money and make greener choices in their energy usuage.

           I say, smart people are trying to take back some control in their lives.  Everyone is trying to figure out, in their own way, what choices in their day- to- day activities they can make, that will cut down on their usage of gasoline and oil.  For some, it isn’t just about saving money…although that too is important…it is understanding that the plentiful supply of oil is not always going to be there.  We need to figure out alternative ways of heating our homes and businesses; as well as, getting around where we need to go. 

        I saw a newspiece the other day on television about how many more people are taking advantage of public transportation; regardless of their financial status.  It seems that the subway systems in some cities are overflowing with riders, busses are experiencing an increase as well.  Around the world where people have the option of using ferries, trolleys or railways, we are seeing more people access public transportation in numbers large enough to measure.  This is good, people are making smarter choices.

          Some great minds are working on designing alternative ways of producing and using solar energy, steam powered products, water powered generators, geo-thermal systems, wind powered generators…we need to look at all of these renewable sources in a serious way.  It is important to encourage people to make small sacrifices now to prevent huge sacrifices later.  Educating others about the dangers of being so dependent on oil as our only source of energy is very important. 

         Some celebrities are wise about leading the call to understanding the importance of changing our ways.  Brad Pitt is into architecture and design and can influence greener choices in his building projects; Leonardo DiCaprio is not only a strong voice; but, is active in his desire to educate others about the importance of respecting our earth, and it’s resources.  There are other celebrities who are encouraging hybrid cars as a way to make a difference.  Being an environmental activist is something we should all take on like Leonardo DiCaprio; here is his website to help educate others to the idea of protecting our environment. www.leonardodicaprio.org/

         Back to the breaking news part of things…today it was announced by Saudi King Abdullah that his country is increasing oil production.  The Saudi’s are going to put out 9.7 million barrels of oil a day instead of the past 9 million barrels.  That is good and maybe it will help with the high prices a bit.   

           Higher production is good and may help temporarily…but again, realizing that we do have choices that can also make an impact on our finances and on our planet is a powerful idea that needs to take root in more people’s minds.  Our future is at stake and the quality of our lives will be impacted by the choices we all make today & tomorrow.  We can no longer be in denial about the condition of our earth.  We have the power to affect positive change by our actions.  How is your life being affected by high gasoline and oil prices?  How have you had to change your lifestyle?  What smart choices have you chosen to make?

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         Ok, it is June 1st, and you know what that means…it is the start of Hurricane Season; get ready.  Each season is filled with predictions of how many storms and how many hurricanes are expected…but, truthfully, there is no way to know for sure how many hurricanes there will be; or, where they will hit.

        The best thing that can be done is to keep an eye on the weather predictions and to be prepared as best you can.  There are some great ideas such as having an emergency preparedness kit available.  Pack them in plastic tubs so that they are water proof; and, are easily put into a vehicle at a moments notice.

          Those kits should include bottled water, batteries,flashlights, matches, candles, extra blankets, important documents, non-perishable food items, a couple of changes of clothing for each person, battery operated radios, extra medications that are taken daily, some baby formula/diapers, a phone/address book that has contact information regarding doctors and insurance company information in them.   Those are the type of items that are needed and they can be quickly accessed if you plan ahead and keep these items all in one location.

       It is wise to also have available tools, nails, sandbags, and boarding to cover windows and doors, in case the hurricane should hit your area.  Plan ahead to have an evacuation route to take, to leave the area early if you are going to do so; this is especially important if you have special health needs or physical challenges.   Keep an extra can of gasoline in the garage, for just such an emergency, if you are being encouraged to evacuate quickly.   Gas prices will go up at a time like this and the lines at the pump will be long and filled with stressed out people.

            If you stay…you are risking your life; and potentially, the life of anyone who may have to “rescue” you later.  Keep emergency flares in your vehicle and maybe in the upper most level of your home.  Stored food and water must be sufficient to last for several days; multiply the amount for each person who stays.  Remember, if help is needed…they may be overwhelmed and may not be able to get to you quickly.  It is best to leave the area than to risk lives unnecessarily.

         Communication with loved ones is very important at a time like this; so, if you have a cell phone, keep it charged and if you don’t have one…keep a calling card with you just for an emergency.  Remember, regular utilities such as phone, gas, and electric may be cut off.  Keeping loved ones informed about where you are and what your plans are, will help to cut down on any confusion and extra anxiety that you may experience. 

              Just an extra bit of advice, if you have valuables or pictures or documents that you absolutely can not afford to lose, you may want to consider keeping them on the upper most level of your home or take them with you.  Many people have lost important papers or pictures that are time consuming to replace or are irreplaceable. 

            With a little bit of planning…if the worst happens and your home or business is damaged…at least you can make it easier for your family to get to a safer place quickly.  Get flood insurance if you can get it.  Lessons learned over the last few years from all of the devastating storms that have been hitting around the world…no things are worth loosing your life over…and, the most important thing is to be as prepared as you can be to lesson the pain and suffering that these horrible storms can cause.  You can check out the hurricane storm situation at:  http://www.noaa.gov/

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       We all know that the economy in the United States isn’t as healthy as it could be.  We know that gas prices are sky rocketing, we know that everything keeps going up except the average American’s paycheck.  Food prices in restaurants and grocery stores keep climbing because they have to pass on the cost of gasoline increases that it takes to produce and ship their products. 

         The media has been building up the idea of stockpiling food…it is not a new idea…Grandma used to do it too…it is called, preserving food.  Everyday family life has changed dramatically, but not all of it is for the good.

       Canning, drying,  and freezing food is in it’s own way, stockpiling food for when the prices and the availability cause food to be scarce in a home. It used to be a fact of life that to get through a winter you had to do this to survive.  I am a baby boomer so i remember when it was the way things were done.  Then, as i transitioned to adulthood and rasing my own family, i did the same thing for a time; when life was about stretching the money we had, to make it last long enough to feed the children.  

        As the children aged, we started to buy our food in bulk, in the fall can good sales, that the major grocery stores do every year.  Over the last 8 years or so, you started finding that the can good sales weren’t as cheap as they used to be.  You began to get less can goods, for the same amount of money…everything started to cost more.  Some people are never going to want to take care of canning, drying, or freezing their own food…they will just continue to pay whatever it costs in the stores.  But, i feel that in the last decade or so, we are starting to see many families looking to learn some of the old ways.  It is going to become more common as young families want to feel more in control of what they put into their family’s diet and save money at the same time.  

        Already, farm markets are making a huge come back.  The media is touting ways to save money and help green up our buying habits, by buying locally grown produce when we can.  This helps us cut down on how much pollution is put into our environment by cutting down on how far the produce is shipped across the country.  It is all about making some sacrifices and using our buying power to make a statement of dedication.

        I think you are going to see a resurgence of people growing and preserving their foods.  Especially with the last couple of years experiences with salmonella outbreaks, contaminated feeds, and the common usage of cancer causing pesticides.  The average person is wanting to eat food that is healthier and the more we learn about producing food that is organic and full of nutrients…the more that people are going to demand a higher standard of quality.

        So, my hat is off to Grandma & Grandpa and all of us who are brillant enough to understand that not all of the old ways are to be passed over for the quicker, easier, and more popular way of doing things.  We can accomplish much when we commit to using wisdom from the past, with wisdom from the present…to use wisdom for our future!

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