Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 9)

It’s not a joke

I Have kept silent for the most part about the sudden spate of sexual harassment accusations coming out of Hollywood and Washington DC. Yes, I blogged about how no one should be surprised about Hollywood. The casting couch has been one of the most well-known secrets for decades. Politicians acting the same way is nothing new either. A study of the history of some of the presidents of the last half of the 20th Century should prove that. Eisenhower’s military driver was supposedly his mistress at one point (I say supposedly because I have not researched it or verified reports). Kennedy was, to be blunt, a womanizer. Then you have LBJ and if you, like me, are a Texan, you’ve heard all sorts of rumors about him. I could keep on, but I won’t.

Here’s something to think about. Things have changed. There was a time when the media not only turned a blind eye to such behavior by our politicians or other “notables”, now they only do so in a selective manner. We’ve seen that already with regard to Harvey Weinstein and, more importantly, with the allegations Corey Feldman has made of late. If someone like me, who takes little notice of what goes on out in the glitz of Hollyweird has heard the rumors, you know the media. When those rumors went beyond the casting couch to grown men  and women abusing minor children, where was the media? Where was it when Feldman and others started talking about this years ago?

Now the latest lynching — er reporting — party revolves around sexual harassment allegations being laid against politicians, some elected and some running for election. There are also those against men who haven’t held office is decades but now, suddenly, behavior supposedly occurring decades ago is being brought to light.

The latest allegation to be made public happened yesterday. Sen. Al Franken, former comic (at least he thinks he was), has been accused of inappropriate behavior a decade ago. Unlike most of the other allegations leveled against others, there is a photograph of him reaching toward a sleeping woman’s breast and mugging for the camera as he does so.

The reaction to this revelation hasn’t surprised me. He’s apologized and sworn that he will cooperate with an ethics investigation. Dowd has tried to spin Franken’s actions as not being harassment or abuse because he was “joking”, or some other equally stupid explanation. I have no doubt that sort of justification by a Republisan would have been met with derision. But Franken is one of the darlings of the party.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like the way this country, and especially the so-called journalists, have decided it is all right to not only conduct trial by media but to presume guilt until proven innocent. Worse is the tendency of all too many to assume one is guilty based not on the cicurmstances being alleged but on what their political party happens to be. It doesn’t work that way, folks. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to turn the same hard look on those you agree with politically that you do on those sitting across the aisle from you.

If you sit there and condemn President Trump for what some women say he did and if you also believe he should step down as President because of that, you should hold Franken to the same level of accountability. Conversely, if you are lighting the pitchforks to go after Franken, you sure as hell should be doing the same with every other man — and woman — who stands similarly accused.

But how about doing something novel? How about not deciding on a man’s or woman’s future based on allegations and innuendo? How about letting them face their accusers. Instead of having tear-filled press conferences with Gloria Allred sitting there feeding the accusers their lines, let them sit before an ethics commission or, duh, a court of law and be subject to cross-examination?

I do not automatically doubt a woman who claims she has been abused or harassed. Far from it, in fact. But I also don’t subscribe to the idea that we have to automatically believe them. I worked in law enforcement long enough to have seen situations where a man was accused of crimes by a woman, crimes he did not commit.

I am also tired of certain people who have been the most vocal in the cries for condemnation against many of those currently being accused of harassment or worse also being the ones who defended Bill Clinton and did their best to eviscerate his accusers. Yes, I’m looking straight at Hillary and those who did all they could to protect Clinton to the detriment of those who leveled accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

We are on a very slippery slope right now, one we need to take a hard look at before we go any further. Yes, these accusations need to see the light of day. Yes, the voters have the right to know about them. But the men and women being accused also have the right to defend themselves. They have the right to point out possible motivation for such accusations to be made. We, the public, can only reach an informed decision abut the validity of the accusations after we know both sides of the story.

Besides, if you want me to take your concerns about Moore or any other conservative politician seriously, you have to take mine about Franken and Biden and Clinton seriously. In other words, apply the same standards to both sides of the political spectrum. If you don’t, you are not helping the women’s movement. You are, in fact, harming it by making it nothing more than a political agenda tool.

But I’ll go one better. Every one of those men and women who have been harassed or assaulted need to file criminal charges where they can and civil cases. I have no use for anyone who takes advantage of someone else, especially if they have used their “position of power” to do so. However,  every person who has falsely alleged harassment or abuse, no matter what the reason, needs to face judgment and punishment as well. This issue is too important and too pervasive not to hold to this. We don’t want those who cry “Wolf!” make it where we don’t believe someone when they come forward with a valid accusation.

Most of all, we need the media to quit playing favorites and get back to reporting the news, not trying to make it or manipulate it.

It’s Monday and the Knee-Jerk Reactions Run Wild

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sutherland Springs. No one can deny what happened was a tragedy. A church and a community have been decimated by yesterday’s events. However, instead of rushing to judgment and politicizing the events, we need to step back, breathe and wait for the facts. Not that it will stop any of the usual suspects who couldn’t wait to take to Twitter to beat their favorite political horse.

The homepage for the Dallas Morning News and, from what I’m told, the front page of today’s paper, showed it didn’t hesitate to jump on the gun control bandwagon long before much information had been learned about the shooter. ABC News made sure to condemn President Trump for saying this isn’t the time to call for more gun control and comparing it to how quickly he called for immigration control after the tragedy in New York. I guess ABC can’t see that there was a direct tie between the immigration of the DRIVER in the NY attack and what happened. Besides, it won’t miss an opportunity to attack the President.

Right now, there is still little hard evidence known about the why of yesterday’s attack or how the shooter got his weapons. I’ve seen all sorts of condemnations for Texas for allowing him to get the AR. I’ve seen federal gun control laws attacked. But all were knee-jerk reactions, reactions that ignore the fact that the shooter would have done much more damage had one of the men living near the church not legally owned a gun, grabbed it and used it to drive the shooter away before more people could be killed or injured.

From what Governor Abbott said this morning — and he will know more than any of the so-called pundits and Hollywood stars who helped cover up the actions of Harvey Weinstein and who knows how many others for years — the shooter applied for and was denied a state concealed carry permit. So Texas law and procedures worked. Where someone or something fell down was when, after he was denied the CCL, he was allowed to purchase the AR. We are still waiting to find out what happened then. It is possible information the State learned doing a background check on him (and by using his prints) was different from what the store received when he purchased the AR.

But here’s the thing. We don’t know. So quit rushing to judgment and wait the hell for the facts to come in. Until then, you are doing no one any good.

Let us focus on what’s important right now — the family of those killed or injured, the town that lost so many and the church where approximately half of its congregation was either killed or injured. Ask what you can do to help them. Show the same grace in the face of what happened that they are.

He has it right

This morning, as I was painting a cabinet for my bathroom, I heard an interview with a former college professor of mine. Pretty much anyone in the DFW area who listens to the news is familiar with Dr. Alan Saxe. A small man with a huge heart, he has never met a topic he isn’t willing to research and discuss. Today, he took on the topic of political correctness and how it is silencing a number of Americans because they are too afraid to speak for fear of what others will think.

Dr. Saxe is a small man, not someone you would normally look twice at. Back in the Dark Ages when he was my Political Science prof at the University of Texas at Austin, he was energy personified. That was the first thing that struck me. The second was his joy for teaching and for making his students think. I had him for at least four classes, probably more. He was my favorite professor. It didn’t matter that we disagreed on a number of political issues. When we did, it was a civilized disagreement, one where we could discuss our views and learn.

And boy did I learn from him and, as today proved, he is still teaching any and all who are willing to listen and think.

To the surprise of the radio interviewer, Dr. Saxe said this trend toward being afraid of what we say started in the ’50s and ’60s, with the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Society was changing and words that had been accepted, if not necessarily acceptable, were now forbidden. These words became loaded and the use of them, even innocently, could mark you as, at be, unenlightened, and at worst a racist.

Social media increased this trend. As Dr. Saxe said, we are too quick to use the term “hate speech”, diluting its meaning and impact. We are just as quick to call someone a racist or Nazi, often to simply silence points of view we don’t agree with. It is a dangerous trend, one that needs to not only be slowed but stopped.

As Dr. Saxe said, he teaches people to think, to consider the context and the meaning of a word withing the context. He noted that the quickest and easiest way to avoid a number of the pitfalls we face today with so many trying to silence speech they don’t agree with is to simply think and be nice. No name-calling, no shouting down to silence an opinion that doesn’t match our own. Discussion and consideration.

What a revolutionary idea — not.

One thing that dawned on me as I listened to Dr. Saxe (beyond the fact he isn’t as liberal as he was years ago — or at least he doesn’t seem to be on certain issues) is that two of my favorite instructors, the two who taught me the most about critical thinking and really listening to what others say and framing discussions only after listening were two of the the most liberal. Of course, back then, a Texas liberal was a conservative most everywhere else in the country.

But I digress.

Dr. Saxe was right when he said we are on a slippery slope where free speech is concerned. We have to stand up for our ideas and quit being afraid to speak. Sure, we might say something to hurt someone’s feelings but no one ever guaranteed any of us a life where we wouldn’t get upset or insulted. It is up to us to listen to what people said, learn from it and learn how to discuss issues we don’t agree upon.

On Bergdahl and writing and other things

This is going to be a quick post. I’ll be back this afternoon with a more substantial entry. However, I do have posts up at Victory Girls and Mad Genius Club this morning. At VG, I talk about the delay of Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing and how he is still grasping at any straw he can find to avoid taking responsibility and paying the consequences for deserting his post. My MGC post is about the misconceptions a number of traditionally published authors still have about indie authors AND about readers. I’d appreciate it if you wander over and take a look at both posts.

As for the rest of it, yesterday was very productive. I have the opening chapters of Light Magic figured out, complete with plot changes and a change in the male lead. Finally, the book feels right. I will probably spend this morning and part of the afternoon finishing the note-taking, etc., before sitting down to actual start the rewrite. But, the daily output yesterday, not counting blogging, was close to 10k words. I’m not going to argue with it.

Now I’m off to get back to work. I’ll be back later today with another post. Until then, have a great day!

A question, a reminder and a share

I’m late today due to real life interference. Now, finally, I’m able to sit down and try to get to work. But first things first. Today’s post is going to be short — at least by my standards. I have a question or two, a reminder and a share. Then I have to get back to writing.

First, the questions.

As you guys know, I hate doing the whole promotion bit. I’d rather be writing. It just feels weird climbing to the top of the proverbial mountain to shout about my work. But, it is one of the realities of life as an indie writer. One of the things I’ve been putting off is doing a newsletter. So here are the questions.

  1. Would you be interested in a newsletter? No, it wouldn’t be daily or even weekly, at least not on a regular basis. I would use it to announce upcoming release dates, send out snippets that don’t get posted here, that sort of thing. Most communication would still be done via this blog and Twitter/Facebook.
  2. Next question: Would you be more likely to sign up for the newsletter if you got a freebie with it? (I’m thinking short story set in one of my series’ universes)
    1. Would a one-time sign-up freebie be enough?
    2. Or would you prefer something on a regular basis?

Now for the reminder, actually two reminders.

Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is now live on Amazon. You can order the digital version here or the print version here. This version has approximately 20k additional words included that were not part of the original version. It is only available on Amazon. It is also part of the Kindle Unlimited program there.

The second reminder has to do with the original version of Vengeance from Ashes. You can order it through the following outlets with more to come: KoboPlayster, Tolino (link not yet available) InkteraBarnes & Noble, and iTunes. This is the same edition that had been available on Amazon.

Finally, the share. I have a new post up over at Victory Girls today. I have an issue anytime someone says a certain group of people are above criticism. Unless they’re perfect — and no one is — then they don’t rise to the level where some constructive criticism can’t help them. In this case, Joy Behar opened her mouth (I know, big surprise) and actually said we shouldn’t criticize comedians. That led to Chelsea Handler and that, eventually, to some recent media gaffes as well. So, I committed blog. Go take a look.

On B&N, Spenser Rapone and more

Just a quick post this morning. Yesterday, I blogged over at Mad Genius Club about the latest news coming out about Barnes & Noble. Today, I have a post up at Victory Girls about that poor excuse for an Army officer, Spenser Rapone. While completely different topics, they have one thing in common: they are perfect examples of someone doing whatever the hell they want without worrying about the consequences.

In B&N’s case, the blame falls on Leonard Riggio and the rest of the company’s board. They continue to refuse to admit the world has moved on beyond just the print book. The company waited too long to get into the digital side of the business. It failed to invest the money necessary to develop and maintain the tech side or, even worse, a website that is easily navigable. It lost its identity as a bricks and mortar book store by decreasing the number of books available in favor of non-book related items. Now, after too many losing quarters, it announced it is abandoning the tech side (sorry Nook users) and focusing on the stores. Riiiight. They have been promising to listen to customers and focus on stores for ages and it hasn’t helped. When is the board going to finally realize they have to move forward and be responsive to what their customers want instead of focusing on what worked 20 years ago?

As for Rapone, well, my post at Victory Girls says it all. I’m a proud military mom. I wouldn’t want my son serving anywhere near him. Why? Because someone who doesn’t value the basic tenets of this country, who violates his oaths, can’t be trusted to watch the backs of his squad mates. How he managed to get through West Point is beyond me.

Finally, work progresses on Light Magic. I’m trying to decide how often to post snippets. Now it’s time for me to get back to work. Let me hear your thoughts on both B&N and Rapone. Now go have a great day!

Free Speech, the NFL and More

I hadn’t planned on writing this post. After all, you can’t turn on the news this morning without seeing what happened at the beginning of the NFL games yesterday. The story isn’t over, either, because there is another game tonight. But comments by Pittsburg Steelers coach Mike Tomlin force my hand. His attitude, combined with the events — or non-events — at UC Berkley over the weekend, are indicative of a problem in this country that the media refuses to cover. Very simply put, free speech is approved only so long as you are doing or saying what the “cool kids” approve of. In this case, the cool kids are the media, Antifa and the like.

We saw a perfect example of someone doing what he felt was right yesterday. Steelers player Alejandro Villanueva came out of the tunnel and stood, hand over his heart, during the playing of the National Anthem. He was the lone Steeler to take to the field. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, had the courage to stand in respect and in support of the flag he served and the country he loves. None of his other teammates can say the same.

Not that they had the choice. Coach Tomlin made the call they wouldn’t take the field until after the Anthem was played. Here’s what Tomlin (who, along with several of his coaches, did take to the field and stand for the Anthem) had to say:

We’re chasing something special here in 2017 and we’re not going to play politics. We’re football players. We’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.

People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t have to be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That’s our intent.

Now, at first blush, this seems reasonable. However, look a little closer. He says they aren’t going to play politics but that’s exactly what they did. It was a political statement made in response to President Trump’s comments about firing those players who don’t stand for the playing of the Anthem. There’s no way they would have responded in the same way had it been anyone else to say what Trump did. they might have given the reporters a soundbite but that would have been all. No, this was exactly what Tomlin claimed it wasn’t. It was a political statement. But there’s more.

He goes on to say people shouldn’t have to choose. But isn’t that exactly what he, and the rest of the coaching staff, did for the players? They chose to make a statement by staying inside the tunnel, a choice that was not unanimous. In fact, I have yet to find out how many of the players actually voted to remain off the field. Was this a case where the few made the decision for the many? Even if it was a majority, that took the decision away from those who, like Villanueva, wanted to pay respect to the flag and the anthem.

But there is another quote, even more telling, that came from Tomlin later.

When asked by a reporter about hero Alejandro Villanueva coming out of the locker room to stand for the national anthem, instead of staying inside like the rest of his teammates, coach Tomlin said, “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”

That doesn’t sound like he’s willing to let his players make a decision, to make a choice. Will any of us be surprised to find he disciplined Villanueva for not standing down? If so, he will have simply proven the double-standard that is so evident right now when it comes to the topic of free speech. And no, I’m not talking about “freedom of speech” as guaranteed in the Constitution. I’m talking about the ability to say what we want, as long as it doesn’t violate the law, without fear of reasonable reprisal.

Yes, an employee has to consider how what he says or does reflects on his employer. If he does something that reflects negatively on his employer or that could negatively impact the brand, it is reasonable that he will face reprisal from the employer. However, the key is “negatively impact”. Standing for the National Anthem will not reach that threshold. Now, it is debatable if kneeling for it will. Considering the decline in rating for NFL games, it can be argued that it does. However, that is for the bean counters to decide.

What is so troubling about what happened Sunday is that there were those who wanted to show their respect for the flag, for the anthem and for this country and were not allowed to do so by their coaches. How dare they! If you say in one breath that the NFL isn’t going to play politics and then, with the very next, do something like that, you are worse than those you condemn.

Like it or not, those players who choose to take a knee can do so. I don’t have to like it but I won’t attempt to stop it. I will simply make my feelings known in ways that can impact their bottom line. I won’t buy their jerseys. I won’t go to games they play in. However, when management inserts itself into the equation and claim politics isn’t involved, I will call bullshit. I will turn off the TV when their team is on. I won’t buy from the businesses advertising with them. Since I have no doubt Roger Goodell, head of the NFL, will do anything about the situation, I have no qualms about tuning out. I will also recommend the Pentagon and other governmental agencies withdraw any financial support, through ads etc., from the NFL as well. After all, why should the NFL benefit financially when it won’t take a stance to allow all its players to have a voice in this issue?

If Tomlin wants an all or nothing proposition, I’m more than happy to give it to him.

On Amazon, Clinton and Reviews

I’ve made no secret of how I feel about Hillary Clinton’s latest book being published on 9/12. I’m not a fan of Clinton to begin with. But for her to have a book come out on the anniversary of the Benghazi attack went beyond the pale. I don’t care if it was her decision or her publisher’s. It was too much. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about Amazon’s removal of 1-star reviews of Clinton’s book, What Happened.

I don’t know a single author who hasn’t at least considered asking Amazon to remove a review at some point or another. It is no secret that indie authors feel helpless when it comes to having reviews that attack our work and which we feel are from people who haven’t read the book. Nor is it any secret that many of those complaining about Amazon removing reviews from Clinton’s book have been vocal in demanding Amazon remove 1-star reviews that attack books by authors they support.

Here’s my view. If Amazon removed reviews that did not address the contents of the book but were simply attacks on Clinton, fine. I have no problem with that. My issue will come if they don’t apply the same standard when other authors want reviews removed for the same reason. As an author, I can’t support reviews that don’t discuss the contents of the book. As a reader, to be honest, I don’t want to read those reviews either. If you don’t like Clinton — or Trump or anyone else — then take to social media or your blogs to post your opinions of them as people. Don’t clutter up review pages with those attacks unless you have read the book and the attacks are germane to the book’s contents.

I will also admit to being disappointed in some people who are up in arms about Amazon’s response to those reviews when, not that long ago, they were calling for the same action to be taken with regard to reviews of books by conservative authors. That sort of double-standard does not sit well with me. Now, if Amazon is applying a double-standard as well, then it needs to be held accountable.

And this brings up my next point. Amazon is a company, a very large one. When you have a problem with it, understand that the first level of customer support you get probably won’t be able to help you. It doesn’t matter if you are complaining about formatting going wonky on a book you just uploaded or with the removal of reviews. If, as an author, you think you are being unfairly attacked in reviews based on your political opinions and not on the content of your book, don’t just stop at that first phone call or email or chat. Go up the chain of command. It isn’t difficult at all to figure out how to send an email to Jeff Bezos. And trust me, sending an email to his office gets you a response just about as quickly as sending a complaint to the FCC will get you one from AT&T — pretty damned quickly.

Is it an instant response and is it always the response you want? No, but it is better than taking to social media to whine because you didn’t get your way.

Anyway, back to Clinton and the reviews disappearing. I want to see Amazon apply the same standard to all books and I hope they will moving forward. But, for those of you who are upset because reviews by people who 1) hadn’t read the book and 2) were attacking Clinton and not the contents of the book, ask yourselves this: would you want those reviews to stay up if it were your book? Or would you want Amazon to take them down?

Amazon, for your part, you need to be fair in the application of this rule. If you remove such reviews for Clinton’s book, you need to do the same for Milo’s or for Trump’s or for any other book where reviews do not address the contents of the book. If not, then you deserve any criticism about your double-standard.

Now, I need to get to work. Otherwise, I will be tempted to get hold of a copy of the book just so I can review it. Hmmm, maybe I should. I haven’t done a good snark review in a long time and from the excerpts I’ve seen, this book is rife for it.

A Snippet and a Share

Just a quick post this morning. On the writing front, I finally have the opening of Light Magic figured out and the book is progressing nicely (fingers crossed). I should see the updated cover for the expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes later today. I’ll share as soon as it’s in. This is also my day blogging at Victory Girls. Today’s post is about the latest Rasmussen poll, what it shows about how American voters now view Hillary Clinton and my thoughts about her latest book being released on the 5th anniversary of the attack on our Benghazi compound.

Light Magic has taken some twists and turns since I started visualizing it. The book I thought it would be will actually be the next on in the series. This one will introduce a new main character as well as bringing back some of the favorites from the other titles in the series. Here’s a very brief — and rough draft version — snippet.

Mossy Creek, Texas.

Nothing but a small dot on the map. Or, as I like to think of it, a pimple on the butt of an otherwise great state. So why was I returning to a place I last saw a lifetime ago? Because I gave my word and, while I might be a screw up where most everything else is concerned, I try to keep promises I make to people I care about. But this might prove to be too much, especially for someone like me.

One thing’s for sure. Neither Mossy Creek nor I will be ever be the same.

Now I’m off to write some more. Until later!


Is there a gasoline shortage?

Early yesterday morning, and I do mean early, I switched on the news as I made my first mug of coffee. This is my morning ritual of sorts. News, coffee and then checking the headlines of the local papers before moving onto national and international news. Needless to say, much of what I heard as I went through the motions of making coffee had to do with Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. That was expected. Harvey’s aftermath is going to be with Texas for a long time. What surprised me, however, was news that gas prices had jumped more than a little. At that point, they had gone up a minimum of $0.20/gal. As someone who’s spent most of her life in Texas, I know how important the Houston and Gulf Coast areas of Texas are to the petroleum industry. Had Harvey pushed us into a gasoline shortage?

Dallas Gas Line

A 7-Eleven employee tries to keep order as cars in West Dallas stream toward gas pumps, trying to fill up amid a panic in Dallas-Fort Worth about rising prices and shortage of fuel in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on oil production on Aug. 31,. Brandon Formby

Having lived through the gasoline rationing of the 1970’s, I knew what a shortage could be like for those of us in the Lone Star State. Texas is a wonderful place to live — except when you can’t find fuel. Many of us drive 50 miles or more each way to work on a daily basis. Mass transit in most areas is minimal at best. Add to that this is a holiday weekend and more cars will be on the road. So…off I went to find the car keys to check to see how much gas I had in the tank.

Half a tank. That would be enough to get us through the weekend but not much further. It was also where I usually tried to fill up. That’s a habit born of years of having a family member with a critical illness, of having friends ill as well, and never knowing when I’d be called out. So, off I went to dress and go fill up before everyone on their way to work decided to do the same thing.

Several of the bureaucrats have said not to worry as long as you have half a tank of gas. I’ll admit to laughing, albeit a bit hysterically, at that. Obviously that person has never been stuck in traffic in Dallas. I’ve burned through close to half a tank stuck on 635 more than once. So pardon those of us who have lived through this before if we know better.

With the news still playing in the background, I started hearing of stations in the DFW area reporting they were out of gas and didn’t know when their next delivery would come in. QuickTrip was recommending their customers download their mobile app where they kept fuel status for their stations up-to-date. So I checked and, yep, the station I usually go to was dry. Another station, only a little further away had gas.

Off I went, not wanting to wait any longer and run the risk of that station running out as well. By the time I got there, the station was busy but not much more than usual on a work day morning. When I went inside to pay (which is one reason I don’t normally go to that station. The printer at the pumps always seems to be broken), the clerk checking me out said they were down to 700 gallons and didn’t know when they would get more. Word from Corporate was they would try to keep the stations along the highways stocked but even that was iffy until the situation along the coast eased up.

You can imagine my response when, later in the day, I saw Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton saying there is no fuel shortage. He put the blame on consumers panicking and trying to fill up when they really didn’t need to. Now, while this might technically be correct, there is more to the story than he admitted. I understand he needs to put a positive spin on the current situation, but Texans have “been there, done that” before. We know how storms like Harvey can impact the fuel industry, and do so for a long while.

One thing Sitton didn’t take into account with his statement is the fact stations and their corporate offices were already letting consumers know they weren’t getting fuel deliveries as planned and that it would impact supplies at least over the weekend and possibly long. Then you have to look at the fact that, while we knew prices would climb over the Labor Day Weekend — they always do — they don’t climb as much or as quickly as they did between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. People tend to think about their pocketbook in situations like this and that is exactly what happened yesterday.

In this situation, the problem isn’t that there’s not enough fuel. The problem is getting fuel to the stations from the refineries along the coast. The problem is making sure pipelines and transit ways — be they roadways, rail or water — are passable. Or, as one reporter put it this morning as he sat in a boat in the middle of a flooded area, “Beaumont doesn’t have a water shortage. It has a problem with getting drinkable water.” Yes, there is plenty of fuel. The problem is getting it to the stations right now.

Seeing stories in the media about how Texans are panicking aren’t helping the situation. Are there some folks filling up who don’t need to? You bet. But guess what? Anyone who has ever lived through a fuel shortage, especially one where price are increasing on a daily basis, would as well. That doesn’t equate to panic. It equates to us having been there before and understanding that the distribution chain isn’t going to be back to normal in a day or two.

Yes, it will improve as the waters recede. But all the tanks where the fuel has been stored will have to be checked and the fuel tested before it can be shipped. Then the distributors are going to have to find the trucks to move it from one place to another — and trains, etc. A number of those trucks, etc., have been damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters. Others will have to be checked to make sure they weren’t too badly damaged and can safely haul the fuel from Point A to Point B.

As for today, I just checked the QuikTrip app on my phone. Of the 10 stations located within 10 miles of my home, 6 are out of gas. The price for unleaded is up to $2.65/gal. That is almost $0.20/gal more than I paid yesterday morning. Yet, as I sit here writing this post, the news is telling us that there is no problem getting gas and prices really aren’t going up all that much. If i have to choose between believing what the bureaucrats say and what I’m seeing for myself, I’ll believe what I see.

Paper City Photo. Article by Chris Baldwin.

There might not be a true “shortage”. But, when you can’t find affordable gas, or any gas, for your car, you really don’t give a flying rat’s ass if it is a shortage or a distribution problem. No gas means no gas. All we can do is be smart with our driving over the weekend and keep an eye on the local stations, refilling when we need to. This situation will pass. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

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