Gasoline prices -- why so high?

Ever wonder what factors make gasoline prices so volatile and high? People come up with different ideas.

Some understand that spikes in gas prices are due to conversions from "summer blend" to "winter blend" gasoline, or vice versa. Did you ever ask whose idea these different "blends" were, and why California cannot use available gasoline that is perfectly OK for neighboring states? Why, the government, of course -- thanks, EPA and California Air Resources Board!

Others believe it's a gasoline shortage, especially during heavy driving periods. Why would there be such a shortage? Did you know NO new refineries have been built in the United States in the last 32 years? Think government regulations and restrictions might have anything to do with that?

More fundamentally, some think high gasoline prices reflect a general shortage of oil. Since Canada has a huge supply of oil and wants to sell it to us, surely that would help -- oh, I forgot, the government won't approve the Keystone pipeline, which would bring the oil here, so it's probably going to be sold to China.

Apparently, quite a few voters like spending more money on gas due to all these government agency regulations!

Mike Heller

Danville

News judgment on story seems questionable


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Were readers supposed to feel warm and fuzzy to hear that a 27-year old with four children had a fifth child with her boyfriend? (Nov. 28 Times, page B1) Did this story really deserve the front page of local news? Why glorify single motherhood? Surely there are more newsworthy events to publicize.

Marilynn Hutchison

San Ramon

Sowell's bias to right wing not curable

Thomas Sowell extols unfettered markets and belittles government with editorials comprised of cherry-picked content and reductionist thinking.

He distorts, embellishes and declares those who disagree with him to be ignorant and even unintelligent. He endorsed Newt Gingrich, an appallingly self-absorbed and morally challenged serial adulterer, for president, dismissing such behavior as irrelevant "baggage" to be ignored in order to save the country.

To his followers, Sowell is irreproachable. They lash out against all who criticize him. I have, myself, received their anonymous, potty-mouthed mail. The right-wing ideology that Sowell preaches galvanizes true believers, but is anathema to most and a plague on the Republican Party.

Fanaticism fosters hate, fear, anger and intolerance in order to survive, and it is seen everywhere that fundamentalism prevails -- including in those countries that harbor our worst enemies. Even within the vaunted Hoover think tank, thinking tanks when it is infected with an ideological plague. Sowell and his followers may be incurable, but publishing his columns can help inoculate others. Please keep it up.

John Doggett

Danville

Obama foreign policy has been mostly disaster

In response to the San Ramon Valley Times' editorial "President Morsi's actions have a scary ring" detailing the dictatorial powers Morsi is accumulating, it failed to comment on the glaring fact that this is Obama's foreign policy disaster.

Obama promoted the "Arab Spring" revolutions when all knew the Muslim Brotherhood would end up in control. We traded a U.S. friend, Mubarak, for what is becoming another Iran. The whole region is becoming a vast radical cadre of nations. Obama is proving to be a bigger disaster in foreign policy than Carter.

Obama's next likely foreign disaster will likely be fulfilling his promise to Russia to be "more flexible" in compromising our antimissile defense system. There are also the multiple U.N. treaties he has had Hillary working on that will permanently reduce our rights and national sovereignty. Sadly, he has many choices to unravel America.

Mark Fernwood

Danville

Thanksgiving sales show mad country

Our materialistic society has officially gone too far with stores beginning their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day!

You people who are so desperate to get the "early bird" deals that you will go to stores on Thursday are pathetic! And it's unconscionable for stores to require workers to come to work on a national holiday!

We seriously need to start looking at our priorities. For example, the recent protests against Chick-Fil-A on account of its president's beliefs about gay marriage is outrageous, hateful and un-American behavior. Instead, this company should be admired because of its practice of staying closed on Sundays and holidays because they believe that their employees should have a personal life and need rest from their work.

We desperately need to go back to this. May God open our eyes to this as well as to Him.

Christopher Andrus

Dublin

Free speech seems to be only for some

Freedom of speech is alive and well, except in Livermore.

I'll explain: some friends and I noticed there were many signs favoring some new taxes, but none against. We made some signs opposing one tax, and placed some in Livermore, Fremont and Pleasanton.

On the weekend before the election, all our signs on two Livermore thoroughfares were stolen. We replaced them that Monday night, but most were stolen again by noon Tuesday.

One anti-tax sign at a government site in Livermore was stolen three times, but signs in favor of three proposed taxes were undisturbed.

Apparently, not all speech is equally free in Livermore.

Now, the proposed tax in question would have particularly benefited certain bureaucrats and government employees -- so one might assume a government worker or affiliated person did the repeated thefts -- an assumption with evidence but no proof.

I saw a city truck patrolling along one street, stopping sometimes near signs and an occupant getting out to pick up litter or perhaps nothing at all. I was observed following -- after which no further signs were stolen from that street. A coincidence? Perhaps.

Regardless, I would ask the thief of anti-tax signs to man up, step forward and identify him- or herself, rather than remaining an anonymous, silent coward like a KGB agent. Let us remove all doubt as to who is in favor of free speech and who is against.

Will freedom of speech return to Livermore? One can hope.

Russ Greenlaw

Livermore

Comic not funny, never has been

I find the debate regarding Mallard Fillmore as the funniest thing about the comic strip.

Some years ago in his strip, the author wryly joked that people like me do not exist. I do my best to return the favor. Every morning I carefully set my cereal bowl over Mallard Fillmore so that it does not exist. I proceed to eat breakfast in peace.

Tre Luna

Pleasanton