9:48 PM

Highway. Freakin'. Robbery.

With each passing day, every American is being held hostage at the gas pumps by skyrocketing prices that show no signs of abating. Is it that "they" don't think we'll notice $3.99 regular or $7.99 Jet A, or is it that "they" don't care. And if you've been around this planet for the last seven years or so, you most certainly know who "they" are.

It is just pathetic how the good people of the United States are taking this crap without a fight. As the oil barons rob us blind, they are also slowing killing off one of this country's most important industries. From AP:

"Delta and Northwest, seeking to combine to create the world's largest airline, posted losses Wednesday totaling $10.5 billion for the first three months of the year due to exorbitant fuel prices and write-downs of their companies' value. The figures from Delta and Northwest follow large losses at other carriers, such as United Airlines parent UAL Corp., which earlier this week reported a $537 million first-quarter loss on higher fuel costs, and likely rank among the industry's largest quarterly losses ever."
And here is the reason why the airlines are being pummeled right now:
The above "dashboard" courtesy of oil-price.net is the reason for the following, pulled from various sources:
"Exxon Mobil made history recently by reporting the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, boosted in large part by soaring crude prices. Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said 4Q 2007 net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 per share."
and this:
"BP, Europe's second-biggest oil company, posted a 53 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as production rose and increased its dividend. BP climbed as much as 3.5 percent in London trading after boosting the payout by 31 percent from a year ago. Net income advanced to $4.4 billion."
and this:
"Soaring oil prices lifted Chevron Corp.'s annual profit to $18.7 billion in 2007, the fourth consecutive year that the San Ramon company made record amounts of money."
If that has disgusted you, I'm not EVEN getting started.

In researching just how OBSCENE these oil company profits are, I discovered oil-price.net, a well-written site devoted to breaking down the entire "cost of oil" picture. In a blog on that site, writer Steve Austin enlightens us about profits, and gives us a clue why BushCo is in love with the tiny country of Kuwait:
A table that accompanies Austin's story shows the "break-even price" for Kuwait at $17 a barrel USD, a "a key measure" determined by the amount of money it takes to extract 1 barrel of oil. At a market price of $100 for that same barrel, Austin's charts show that cost of extraction and production is multiplied an unbelievable 488 percent!
I briefly jumped around the Internets after seeing this to try and prove these numbers wrong...but found similar "break-even" prices listed on other reputable-looking sites. As all data on the web is to be taken with a considerable amount of skepticism, all versions of this "break even price" story are generally in the same range regardless of writer, so I think Austin's take on this is right on.

This is a sad, sad time for our country. I sure hope the airlines can hang on until new leadership can be elected to the White House. And if that leader is John McCain, we are SO screwed.

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