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9:21 pm EDT        78°F (26°C) in Buckeye, AZ

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I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that Lunarpages, the Los Angeles, CA-based host of this site, took a shit at some point during the early afternoon hours (Los Angeles time), and Larry’s Phat Page was inaccessible for at least a few hours this afternoon or evening, depending on your location. As of right now, at roughly 6:20 pm PDT or 9:20 pm EDT, it does appear to be back up.

The good news is that I saved a ton of money on car insurance — but not by switching to Geico. wink (For some reason, every time I obtain a quote from the gecko, it is THREE FUCKING TIMES what everybody else wants — so their little “15 minutes could save you up to 15% on car insurance” tag line is a big fat load of bullshit.) Progressive wanted to jack up their rate for my next six-month policy, which is scheduled to start May 5, by almost $20 — with absolutely no logical explanation like a recent rash of thefts of Saturns, or a new ticket on my record, or anything. (Remember, the speeding ticket I got last July was eventually converted into an impeding-traffic citation, and as a result, the Jackson County (MI) 12th District Court never reported anything to the Secretary of State — so there is nothing at all on my motor vehicle record.)

After shopping around online, I eventually decided to apply for insurance with State Farm. The quote I was given by State Farm was exactly $450 for the six months; interestingly enough, by the time I completed the application and had that sent to an agent, the price was down to $397. I can definitely put that $80 (compared with Progressive’s renewal rate of $476) to use on something else.

In fact, I know what it will probably be spent on — gasoline. That’s right, our oil companies are back at it again with their price gouging that King Chimpy, Darth Cheney, and Alberto “Torquemada” Gonzales won’t do a goddamn thing to stop — they’re too busy having their pockets lined by all their Big Oil buddies. Just nine days ago, on April 15, I hit a new personal-record fuel price at the TravelCenters of America truck stop in Fultonville, NY, about 45 miles (roughly 70 km) west of the state capital of Albany: $3.029 per gallon! (Thankfully, it was my company paying that price for diesel fuel for my truck, not me.) Around here, near Phoenix, both diesel and regular-unleaded gasoline are already above $3.00, and are undoubtedly heading higher.

The vast majority of Americans are obviously pissed off about this, but I think that almost everybody is so focused on the present that they forget some important historical perspective when asking themselves who is to blame for these prices. Back when Larry’s Phat Page was first unleashed on the world in 1999, gasoline generally ran around $1.40 per gallon during the lower-demand season in winter, and even in the peak demand season during the summer, it generally wouldn’t spike much above $1.75 in most areas. (I do recall that in summer 2000, regular-unleaded did spike above $2.00 in Ann Arbor, but that was a rather obvious anomaly — almost everywhere else in southeastern lower Michigan, and for that matter most of da U.P., had gas for about $1.80 or so.)

Some Reich-wingers would argue that “9/11 changed everything,” as they so frequently do in a knee-jerk fashion to defend King Chimpy’s indefensible war crimes. Actually, when it came to gasoline prices, not even 9/11 really changed things much in even the intermediate term, much less the long term. I was smart enough (obviously, I only knew that in hindsight) to fill up my 2001 Hyundai Elantra, the car I owned at the time, for $1.649 on the evening of 9/10. Twenty-four hours later, or roughly 12 hours after the attacks, the same station wanted $1.999 — but even then, right after the worst terrorist attack in American history, I don’t recall Detroit-area prices ever spiking above $2.00. Within a couple months after 9/11, gas prices were right back to normal.

What finally sent gas prices over $2.00 was King Chimpy’s illegal, lie-based March 19, 2003 invasion of Iraq. All of the saber-rattling that the Bushies falsely claimed was “diplomacy” had already pushed prices perilously close to $2.00, and on the day the march on Iraq’s oil wells was launched, the price spiked almost 40¢ into the $2.30 range. Even Chimpy’s fake little aircraft carrier stunt (in which, I might add, all of his Texas Air National Guard “experience” almost caused the real pilot of that jet, Navy Cmdr. John “Skip” Lussier, to miss the last tailhook cord and have to abort the landing — see the beginning of chapter 13 in Al Franken’s new book The Truth (with jokes) if you don’t believe me) didn’t bring prices back down, because by that point, Halliburton was in control of the oil wells.

While gasoline prices would never really dip below $1.70 or so that winter (2003-04), diesel fuel prices did fall back to pre-“war” levels in early 2004. I mentioned in an update last year that I remembered pumping $1.569 diesel fuel in South Bend, IN, in early March 2004. The reason why fuel prices came down in 2004 likely had something to do with Chimpy telling his Big Oil buddies not to stick it to the American people too much until after the 2004 election — he knew he had to win or steal another election in order to more or less be able to do whatever the fuck he wanted, and high gas prices would have only served to help Kerry. During the 2004 campaign, prices were generally $1.60 winter and $1.85 summer in cheaper areas, and 25¢ to 40¢ more in traditionally expensive areas.

It was really only after Diebold stole the 2004 election for Chimpy that prices went way out of control. Chimpy, knowing that (a) he didn’t have to face another election, and (b) he had four years to line his and all his buddies’ pockets to the greatest extent possible, told his Big Oil buddies “sic ‘em!” My update from last August 16 shows how prices had already moved well above $2.00, and it was around the same time that we started hearing about multi-billion-dollar quarterly profits for ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, ChevronTexaco, and the like. From there, we know how they used Hurricane Katrina to gouge the public with prices averaging $3.20 for as long as they possibly could, and then last winter, for the first time in history, gasoline didn’t drop back below $2.00 in the low-demand winter season. (In fact, diesel stayed way high, never really getting below $2.40 all winter long.)

Mark my words and take this one to the bank, $4.00 gas is coming this summer. Chimpy doesn’t have to face re-“election” again, so it doesn’t make a goddamn bit of difference how much we complain and how low his “approval” ratings get. He and his buddies have 33 months left to rape you and me and all non-filthy-rich Americans, and you can bet your life on it, they’re going to take full advantage of the time they have. All of the saber-rattling now with Iran just further serves to line the pockets of CEOs, as proven by former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond’s $400 million retirement package. This is guaranteed to continue until Rethuglicans are removed from power.

I hope all you ignorant backwater fuck-ups who voted for Chimpy in 2004 because you thought he was gonna stop the gays from marrying, and stop the “activist judges” who were going to allow same-sex marriage, can live with yourselves now. It is because of YOUR stupidity and anti-Christian attitudes that all of us, you people included, are going to be paying TWICE TO THREE TIMES AS MUCH for gasoline as we did at the end of the Clinton administration. Frankly, not only should Chimpy be executed for this treason against the American people, but you should similarly be hanged for your part in facilitating this treason — at least if I had my way.

Let’s finish this update with a little game of “what if?”. Imagine, for a minute, that the Supreme Court had not allowed Chimpy to steal the 2000 election, and that Al Gore was president today. Gasoline would likely still only cost about $1.80 per gallon in these mid-spring months, as the CEOs of Big Oil would be prevented from engaging in such predatory gouging practices. On top of that, perhaps more importantly, we wouldn’t be involved in one illegal war-cum-quagmire and threatening a second, and even yet more importantly than that, we would be a hell of a lot further along the path to weaning ourselves off oil and developing new energy sources. Unfortunately, Chimpy and the destruction of America are what happens when the silent progressive majority of Americans only turn out at a 25% to 30% clip on Election Day — but that’s another topic for another day.