How much is too much?

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These days everything has passwords, sign-ins, PINS, & we all have multiple accounts, the invasion doubles when you try to keep your work and personal lives separated. 

Now there’s this weird trend, and it’s one I’m not sure I’m comfortable with.

After a long run of being able to view my YouTube subscriptions using Apple TV, they’ve recently changed things. My YouTube stuff has been reset with a recent release of the Apple TV firmware. Now when I ask to take a look at my subscriptions, My Apple TV tells me…

“Sign in, Get better video recommendations, watch your playlists and subscriptions, and find channels you love. On your phone, tablet, or computer, got to youtube.com/activate and enter: UISU-GWGB”

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Problem is that I ALREADY had signed in the old way, perhaps a year ago. You know where I gave them my ID and password and everything was working great. Now not only do I have to sign in again, but this new sign-in method will probably add another data point to my overall profile at Google. 

This is one of those situations where someone, somewhere is trying to link the string of pearls of my life together via my devices.

The problem is that I’m a human being, and that by most standards implies a certain amount of social interaction. Heck I might log into a device like an Apple TV to show a favorite video or selection of videos to friends at their house on their Apple TV, or Roku, or Chrome, or even their smart TV, instead of my own.

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Pushing this method of registration limits that interaction, forcing instead that sharing be done via a device with a browser.

YouTube isn’t the only one using this method. Several of the TV networks, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, History, and even PBS have been using this register/activate this device at our website model for a while. In those cases they wanted you to register at your Cable/Dish provider, or directly with their website. 

The problem is that the major TV networks and PBS, can be provided over the air without a Cable provider. So the whole registration model makes no sense for them unless they provide a way to register you’re on an antenna.

But DUDE we’re trying to make your user experience better, this way your devices will be forever linked and we’ll push you things our systems determine that you’re likely to be happiest with.

In my life, I want to see the stuff I select and I don’t want content filtered by a computer, no matter how sophisticated it’s algorithms.

Aggregation

I am becoming more uncomfortable with linkages of this type.

At the risk of sounding like I’ve got a tinfoil hat on. The whole register / activate model doesn’t seem all that insidious until you consider what information this registration can collect. Here’s a short list just off the top of my head.

Number of device(s) you own

location (via IP) 

Type of device & manufacturer (via that funny code), your name, your account information (via Cable Provider or in this case Google.)

Socio Economic status (number of devices + your cable bill and premium channels vs. over the air only.)
NewImageYou could make a case for ability to detect approximate educational level and even number of adults or if there are children in the house and possibly the political affiliation of the home just from viewing habits. Nielsen has been doing this kind of thing for years and I’ll bet their algorithms are damn efficient.

Speed of your internet connection, when cross referenced against number of providers in your area, this can provide another data point in your social economic status. Do you have basic DSL or are you in a top tier FiOs or Cable plan?

 NewImageI personally don’t like people having that much information about me. This is Big Brother territory because it’s not only what I own, but what I’m interested in and likely to own.
 
For example, because I went to a site about gun safety sponsored by the NRA I get ads in Brietbart about concealed carry and holsters. Because I checked out a new WiFi device that’s not even released to the public yet, I’m getting ads on all my search pages about the that device. Because I happen to like Andrew Klavens snark on YouTube, my YouTube suggestions are all conspiracy theory videos.
 
This is the problem, because I am curious about a wide variety of subjects I end up having ads shoved down my throat long after I’ve decided a subject or product is of no interest.
 

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 I don’t like it and the only Way I can think of to opt out is to disconnect from the internet. For a wide variety of reasons that is no longer really a viable option in the country.
 
Maybe I should be wearing a tinfoil hat after all…
 
 

Forced into computer maint

Which is boring… ON the up side I can still use the system while it’s fixing one of the drives.

Which means that I can blog, and I can watch the crazy shit on YouTube.

Let me make a couple of things clear. 

I absolutely believe in the Drake Equation. More information about the Drake equation can be found here.

The short explanation is that a guy by the name of Frank Drake attempted to calculate the potential number of civilizations that might be in our galaxy.

The equation itself is 

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where:

N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible (i.e. which are on our current past light cone);

and

R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
f = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space[5]

My belief in the math, doesn’t automatically mean that I think there are aliens around every corner. 

On the other hand I do think that certain anomalous structures on this planet and on our near neighbors deserve investigation.

I’m talking about real science. Not some preconceived beliefs where a scientist is trying to make the evidence fit what they want to believe. I’m talking about an objective dispassionate analysis of the quantifiable facts.

A couple of Earthbound examples would be the Sphinx and the pyramid complex at Giza.

No I’m not suggesting by default that these sites were built by Aliens. I’m suggesting that there is considerable evidence to suggest that the Sphinx is far older than the current accepted age. But that evidence and the theories surrounding it are being ignored or in some cases suppressed.

In the case of the pyramids I’ve just wondered why the Great pyramid is so light on the writing. I mean practically every monument from ancient Egypt is covered with drawings, art, and hieroglyphs why is the Great pyramid so … bare? Just one of those questions I’ve always been curious about.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to discover that the grandeur of Egypt actually went back further than the accepted timeline? Imagine discovering that civilizations in what is now known as Egypt went back 10, 15, or 20 thousand years. Talk about rewriting world history… The Sphinx enclosure seems to point that direction. 

We as human beings deserve to know if our history is richer than previously thought. If our ancestors moved from a hunter gatherer existence to an agricultural civilization earlier than previously imagined then those chapters of our history need to be told and explored.

None of which implies that Aliens were here then or are here now.

Our species is amazingly clever and resourceful. It’s a pity that all too often we choose to use our cleverness to kill each other over some of the stupidest things.

It’s not any more outlandish to say some of our ancestors advanced 5000 years earlier than we thought they did than it is to say Aliens showed up 4000 years ago and taught us farming and building techniques.

All that being said, I’d love to actually meet a benign Alien. I specify because the thought of meeting an Alien that was anything but benign is terrifying. I’m not entirely sure that I’m ready to be someones dinner.

I’d really like to see serious investigation into some of the strange pictures the alien conspiracy people use as their proof of civilizations on Mars or the Moon.

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I’m not talking about the guy who magnifies Nasa photos to the point that they begin to pixelate and then does a color shift to enhance & show “buildings”. Although his photo montages with the spooky music are good for a laugh.

Come on, I can take a picture of my dick, and magnify it to the point of pixelation, do a little color shifting and “prove” that aliens have a civilization on the head of my penis. Hummm probably not the best example…

That sounds more like a commercial for the latest product in body lice removal. (Note to the lice shampoo manufacturers, If you use this idea as a marketing campaign I’m going to want my cut.)

Don’t let invaders build a civilization in your nether regions. Get a bottle of alien kill and wash those itchy devils down the drain. Only 9.95 at your local drug store.

Caution: Alien kill may cause flushing, irritation, skin sloughing, uncontrollable erections, premature ejaculation, impotence, and tenderness in the breasts.”

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There are interesting anomalies in some of the Nasa photos that sure as heck look like regular structures. They could just as easily be lava tubes but I’d like to know.

The bottom line is that I’d like to believe we’ve been visited, I’d like to know for sure one way or the other.

I’m not so gullible as to watch these YouTube videos with anything but the utmost skepticism. 

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One video that really cracked me up today was where this guy is in all seriousness talking about a “UFO crash site” in Antarctica.

He sees four “Tanks” and a trench gouged in the snow by the “Crash”. 

I see four tents. 

He sees the gun barrels of the tanks.

I see the shadows cast by heater/stove vents sticking up through the top of the tents.

I see what looks like a camp.

This “proof” is from Google Earth for goodness sake.

Looking at the shadows, these are not four tanks, their shadows are different indicating to me that the structures casting those shadows have differing shapes which tanks don’t. It looks like the sun is kind of low on the horizon so the object at the top of the frame has something large and boxlike sticking up that’s casting a square shadow. 

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Whatever these are, they’ve been there long enough to have created snow drifts from the wind blowing. I doubt seriously that a military recovery of a crashed UFO would have taken that long.

The gouge and the mysterious pile at the end of it, look like a trench dug with a bulldozer. I’m thinking the trench and tents are some kind of research. Maybe some scientists wanted to look at snow / ice deposition with a wider view than is possible with Ice cores. Maybe they’re trying to get an idea of how fast meteor crater impacts would be covered over in Antarctica. It could be a poop trench for all we know.

But unlike the spooky music folks, I see nothing conspiratorial in this photo. 

I really have to ask this… Since Google is an American company. Don’t you think that the NSA, CIA, and FBI would have the ability to censor images?

If indeed there is a conspiracy do you think these organizations would leave a UFO crash available to be seen by the general public?

I kind of doubt it. 

The thing our government is good at, is cover-ups.

There are a couple of things that these YouTube UFO conspiracy videos prove. 

Humans are immensely imaginative. We see exactly what we want, need, or expect to see. Often what we see is in direct contradiction with reality.

When early man looked up into the void is it any wonder they saw powerful beings in the patterns of the sky and stars? Their brains were wired to see familiar patterns.

For all our sophistication and technology it’s amusing for me to discover that we’re not much different from our early superstitious ancestors.

The only thing that has changed is how we’re getting the patterns to look at.

Be cynical, question the “truth” of what you see and hear. It’s the only way to be sure you really know what you think you know.

I’m going back to the Nasa is lying to us thread on YouTube.

This shit cracks me up!

Was it all a tempest in a teakettle?

 

I have no idea what’s going on.

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This morning I’ve run across several articles in the Register saying that new data analysis of global warming data may suggest that all the hubbub was in fact static.

One article in The Register suggests that global warming has been stalled since 1998.. New looks at the data, suggest that since 1950 the overall global temp has risen by only 1/2 a degree. 

Like all news media, I’m not sure that I trust The Registers reporting or their ability to even understand what they’re reporting well enough to be accurate.

However It’s intriguing to me that after all the wringing of hands and wailing… Things may not be as bad as we’ve been led to believe.

Normally I’d call this a “one off” but then the same publication reports has two other articles where they quote other sources suggesting a direct conflict with “accepted climate change facts”.

This article says that there’ve been no increases in droughts since 1950. But the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a 2007 assessment says “More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s.”

The article says that as our data modeling gets more refined the statistics regarding global drought were over estimated.

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The IPCC 2007 report has pretty much been debunked as over blown and being wildly alarmist. However this new information will likely put a wooden stake in the IPCC report once and for all.

Another article suggests that yes the Greenland ice sheets are in fact melting. At the current rate of melt they’ll be gone in about 13,000 years. The actual effect on sea levels from the Greenland ice melt will be about a 5 cm increase in ocean levels by 2130. This is far less of a “lets scream and run around in little circles.” than has been reported in the media.

Yet Another article details the investigation into why Antarctic ice sheets are growing… This growth is limiting confidence in climate predictions. Scientists from NASA and the British Antarctic Survey have teamed up to see if they can unravel the reason for the ice growth.

None of this information is reason to go burn down a forest, or open a strip mining operation in Alaska. 

The publication of theses articles and the new data shouldn’t  be cause for us to stop being responsible inhabitants of the planet. We should continue to reduce our toxic emissions. We should search for energy sources that don’t damage the environment. That’s just being smart and responsible.

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The common thread in each of the articles is that the data used to support the Global Warming arguments, AKA “Climate Change”  is plagued with signal noise.

Think of it like when the radios in our cars were AM only.

The further you’d get away from a town the more static you’d hear until finally you were only able to catch a word or two every few seconds.

The temperature and climate data is like that. You could perhaps make a sentence out of the one or two words you heard every couple of seconds. The accuracy of that sentence would be highly suspect.

Climate scientists are re-evaluating their data and applying better software techniques to filter out the “noise”. 

Couple these techniques with more sophisticated satellites and monitoring equipment and you get much higher accuracy. Then if you take the data feeds from the Mars satellites and instruments you’ve got the ability to make comparisons and refine our data about Earth.

This is part of normal scientific process.

Another part of this process is that you need to have scientists who are free to ask questions and express their opinions.

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Consider for a moment how the press, governments, other scientists, and people in general treated scientists who questioned the claims that run away global warming was upon us and that the entire planet was going to burn… Next year!

Many of those scientists had their lives and careers destroyed. Simply because they chose to look at the data objectively and critically, which by the way they were trained to do. 

None of those scientists said it wasn’t a problem, they said the data was inconclusive. And they were right

Something to think about before you shout down someone with a different opinion than your own.

Just Saying…


UPDATE

Since I saw the articles mentioned above yesterday, there have been several new articles that say OH NO… the Ice is really melting.

The most recent one is Here

Which of course kind of proves the point. The data is full of noise. 

Given that there is so much conflicting data, obviously further study is needed to understand what exactly is happening.

Again I re-iterate Just because the data is inconclusive and changing doesn’t mean that we have any right to be irresponsible in our utilization of the planetary resources.

We must change, we must learn to use less, recycle more, and in general be more efficient in our energy use. 

I’ve long advocated that in a computer age, with our communication technologies we shouldn’t all be driving to our places of business. If your business is digital in nature you don’t have to be in a cubicle in the heart of an office block 40 miles from your home. You can do your job from your computer in your home office just as easily.

That alone would reduce the amount of auto exhaust daily. But thinking more “outside the box” could take us so much further. We need to change our way of thinking about work, management, and efficiency.

Riddle me This?

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A recent report from Bloomberg reports that Oil Prices (Meaning Crude Trading) is currently at a Two month low, and that as the US output has risen, the Demand has eased.

So Why are we still seeing gas prices that are 4.99 for a gallon of regular?

Really?

The oil futures and price per barrel jumps if there’s the slightest change in the breeze, or a Congressman farts. Driving the cost of a gallon of gas up…

So why isn’t the converse true? More supply means that the cost of gas shouldn’t be as high, isn’t that economics 101?

This leads me to think, contrary to what the Oil Companies have reported for years… Gas prices are directly tied to the cost of crude and the anticipated supply that there’s really a far more insidious conspiracy of artificial controls actually keeping the gas prices up.

Lets see…

Obviously, Obscene Profits are a huge motivator.

Keeping fuel prices artificially high would play out nicely for Corporate America in an election year, since fuel / transportation prices directly affect every aspect of the economy.

Think about it, If a cabal of American or International businesses were to decide that they didn’t want a particular President in office, one way to get that president out of office would be to strangle an already weak economy.

When the preferred candidate was elected, then fuel prices drop and the economy spins up again. People go back to work, new jobs are suddenly created and voila… The new President has turned things around!

I don’t know if this line of reasoning is anything but a trip down conspiracy lane… but I do think that EVERY American should remember that regardless of what the press tells us, and regardless of what the Oil companies tell us…

There is no direct causal link between the cost of a barrel of crude, and the cost of gasoline at the pump… At least not anymore.

When the Oil Barons are testifying before congress and poor mouthing that they have no control over the prices of fuel, I pray to GOD that at least one congressional committee member has the balls to stand up and call BULLSHIT right to the Oil Executives faces on CSPAN!

What would be even better would be if the Oil Executives were clapped in Irons and dragged out of the hearing chambers for lying to congress.

Hell I’d PAY to see that!

Occupy Wall Street should be Occupy EXXON, British Petroleum, Atlantic Richfield, ConocoPhillips, and all the other bastard Oil companies as well as Wall Street futures traders…

I’m more than a little uncomfortable with this

This article is disturbing to me on a number of levels.

UAVs

The US government is beginning to use UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to conduct surveillance over the United States. 

First and foremost, I’m mindful that ALL Governments abuse their power. I have no reason to believe that our government is any different.

In the aftermath of 911 our government enacted The Patriot Act. I, like most Americans at the time thought, “Sure, a temporary abridgment of our rights is worth it to provide for the security of our nation.

At the time I thought that the US government would simply contact everyone that was here on expired visas and give them a deadline to leave. I expected that we’d also severely restrict travel from any countries that were known to harbor extremists. Further I thought that all student visas would be cancelled and foreign students would be asked to return to their home countries while we assessed the threat, and came up with a plan to secure our borders.

All of these logical preventative measures while inconvenient to those affected would have allowed the country some breathing room. Yes it sounds xenophobic… However at the time it was pretty damn obvious that the enemy in an as yet undeclared war was already within our borders.

As we now know… none of these logical steps were taken.

In the period after 9/11 to this day our borders are not secured. There are people from every country in the world who have remained here after their visas ran out, and still others who are here after crossing the border like thieves in the night. Some of these people contribute to the economy and some do not…

The one common element is that all of these people are here and remain so illegally.

Obviously The Patriot Act wasn’t what we thought it was, and it’s purpose was not to help protect the country from external threats.

What I and millions of other Americans forgot is;  once rights are taken away by the State, they are never returned. This truism was brought home by none other than President Obama when he signed the extension of The Patriot Act.

Hope and Change? MY ASS!

Obviously, the government wants to maintain the “Special Powers” so that they can continue the inexorable march toward a police state.

Using Drones over American Soil is another step toward a state wherein the enemy of the United States (AKA Our Government) is in fact the people that are being governed.  

Aerial surveillance is a simple way to bypass the expense of having surveillance cameras mounted everywhere as is done in London. A side benefit is that the populace may not notice a UAV flying overhead sending live video data back to law enforcement. 

There are those that argue surveillance of the kind used in London deters crime.

I agree and disagree. Those people marginally tempted to commit an opportunistic crime will probably be deterred by cameras on every street corner.

A hardened criminal will be undeterred and will actively find methods to obfuscate their identities. The ever popular ski mask and hooded sweatshirt come to mind. 

So while you may not have as many purse snatchings, you’ll still have the really hard crimes.

I’m absolutely opposed to a UAV flying over my house taking pictures of my mundane life, and every other American should be too.This is a violation of privacy, and the potential for abuse is far too high.

Currently thanks to The Patriot Act and other more clandestine laws abridging our rights, our government has the right, desire, and ability to watch virtually every aspect of our lives.

Every communication via whatever media (Landline, Cellphone, Internet, radio) can be monitored without warrant or notification right now!

Don’t forget, your cell phone, and many new vehicles with OnStar type systems can also easily be tracked. My car for example, has the ability to report it’s exact location via GPS. Another thing few people consider is that most cars with all their modern electronics can be disabled remotely.

Sure, it’s called anti theft but the other side of that coin is that if, for some reason the government or law enforcement wanted to arrest you it’s a pretty simple matter to immobilize you in your fancy new car. Spike strips, high speed chases? Nahhh a single command transmitted via the cellular network and your engine simply turns off.

Our government using UAVs simply means that in addition to all the above… Any citizen can be followed, observed, their activities recorded, their acquaintances documented and whatever “evidence” is collected can be used against the citizen by an all powerful, all seeing government.

UAVs don’t have to be large. The same technology that allows you to upload a YouTube video from your cellphone, can be used to allow a small inexpensive UAV to spy on you.

George Orwell’s 1984 is happening right now.

So what are We The People going to do about it?

The SCAM of Gas Prices or HOW to SCREW the Economy

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Oh goody!

Gas prices jumped a nickel over the weekend. This rise happened in spite of the fact that the price per barrel of oil dropped by $1.43.

Hey wait a minute, weren’t we told in the last month that gas prices were going up because of the instant linkage between the barrel price and refined price? Shouldn’t the gas prices FALL as quickly when the barrel price drops?

You’d think that… BUT you’d be wrong!

Now, the gas prices are continuing to rise in anticipation that there will be a supply glitch as the refineries switch from Winter to Summer grades. (WHAT???) I know that supposedly the formulation is different depending on season. I’m not sure that I believe it. I’m more convinced that this is another excuse for the oil industry to drive up prices and increase their profits.

Remember some of the other excuses we’ve heard recently?

Oil prices are going up because of tension with Iran, last year it was tensions with the Iraq, the year before that it was tensions because of Chinas sudden prosperity and their burgeoning oil demand, the year before that it was blah blah, before that blah blady blah.

There’s always some almost plausible reason, if you’re not looking too closely…

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The point is, if you really look at it there is NO good reason, no quantitative, no REAL reason for the volatility in oil prices. Each year the prices go up due to some trumped up crisis NEVER returning to their (Pre-crisis) price. Yet somehow each year the oil companies post record profits.

You know that oil is shipped right? So that means orders have to placed at least a month if not two before it’s needed. What happens when oil is delivered to ports but the demand isn’t as high as anticipated? YOU STORE IT!

It makes no sense to turn the ships around or to offload only a portion of the shipment you’ve ordered unless you can sell that partial shipment somewhere else.

We’ve had a remarkably warm Winter in this country this year. That means that fuel use is down, certainly heating oil and probably electric usage.

Why then are fuel costs going up? Didn’t we stockpile the surplus oil?

This shouldn’t be read as me being anti profit. I’m a capitalist through and through, but there is such a thing as Usury rates and there are laws against that kind of exploitation. The oil companies are not a monopoly, but their prices are obviously fixed. It’s time to bring all the oil companies up on anti-trust charges and let THE PEOPLE not Congress sit in judgement. Maybe then we’d see justice done.

Has it occurred to you that $5 or $6 a gallon gasoline is actually good for the Republican party? So is high unemployment caused by high energy prices.

Why? Think about this… There is a long standing history of collusion between the Captains of industry and politicians.

Now think about high energy prices suppressing the economy making the people restless and how that effect could turn the Presidential race and any congressional seats up for grabs in favor of the Republican party.

Once a candidate preferred by industry is elected, the energy prices go down, employment goes up and it looks like the American people “Made the right choice for the country…” when in fact they made the right choice for industry.

Even if the Democratic party carries the day… Industry still profits, and can slowly lower the energy costs, stimulate the economy and wait another 4 years for a chance to put an “Industry Friendly” President in office.

As I’ve said before, I’m not… or rather I wasn’t a big conspiracy kind of guy.

0302 Newt Gingrich super tuesday gas pump vote full 600

Honestly, I think most politicians are too stupid to carry off a conspiracy and they sure as hell couldn’t keep their mouths shut about it. BUT I can’t help wondering if the politicians are puppets of industry.

I could see industry moving behind the scenes. I could see politicians being compartmentalized, each knowing only enough to carry out their assigned job.

I’ve begun to think this way in part because politics makes no sense.

The majority of Americans couldn’t care less about Gay rights, marriage, or what have you. The majority of Americans don’t care that a woman has access to abortion or to birth control. A large portion of America while being people of faith aren’t willing to shove their faith down the throats of others. Yet all these issues are talking points for politicians.

WHY?

We have far more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

The only explanation I can think of for trotting out the same old tired issues again and again is that our government is trying to put on a Roman Circus.

In that context… all the sudden politics makes sense… It’s a “Reality” show!

This week on real politics, will Rick Santorum insult the transexuals in Ohio and be glitter-bombed? Find out TONITE at 7!

Makes a lot more sense that way doesn’t it?

When you think about it this way, you kinda have no choice but to get really cynical about the whole process.

For me, the icing on the cake is the volatility in oil pricing.

Which leads to only one conclusion… it doesn’t matter WHO is in office, they’re all the bitches of one industry or another.