Kevin Drum: A regular reader asks if I can post a chart of gasoline prices over my lifetime. Of course. In fact, I can do better: I was born right in the middle of that warm postwar summer of ever-declining gasoline prices—which ended abruptly in 1973 with the first oil embargo. And then again in 1979 with the second oil embargo. And again in 2002-08 during the Iraq War. And again in 2011 because of turmoil in the Middle East. And then finally yet again in 2022 thanks to the Ukraine War. Will gasoline ever get down to $2 again? Probably not. OPEC countries need a higher price than that to avoid bankruptcy. But it will probably recede to $3 one of these days. I feel as if my whole life I’ve been aware that we are running out of oil and part of that was assuming that the price was going to go up. Obviously, we are now dealing with the crisis of climate change and have an obligation to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels so we have even more incentive to end our dependence on gas.
The GOP sure knows how to pick them The Messenger: In 2013, Joseph Roberts was accused of verbal and online sexual harassment and suspended from Savannah State University. He claimed he was suspended from school and “denied due process.” Five years later, he’d go on to share his story with Betsy DeVos, then former President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, as an advocate for men who were wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses. In 2020, Roberts appeared on YouTube’s The Exceptional Conservative Show, where he recalled the day he was expelled from campus after three unidentified female students reported him. “They said things like they were afraid for their lives,” Roberts, who left the school just three weeks before graduation, claimed. “It was just total lies.” More than a decade later, Roberts, 42, was arrested on Sept. 7 in a separate incident for the gruesome death of his girlfriend, Rachel Imani Buckner, a recent law school grad whose dismembered body was discovered wrapped in plastic with duct tape along the shore in California’s Alameda County.
The press ignores the “Banality of Crazy” “Sometimes, you have to write when you’re angry,” Brian Klaas begins. Works for me. Klaas also hates writing about Donald Trump. The orange train wreck gets too much free press as is. But sometimes you just gotta. The banality of evil in the Trump age has become the banality of crazy. A Democratic congressman (Jamal Bowman) does something stupid in a rush to get from the Cannon Office Building to a snap vote in the House chambers and … what you’d expect to happen happens: It’s telling that Republicans aren’t even slightly concerned about the absurdity of calling for Bowman’s expulsion while harboring enablers of Trump’s alleged criminality in their ranks. They know they’re pointing the camera away from themselves and at Dems. That’s the ball game.
“Never Seen Anything Like It” It’s not clear if Matt Stoller’s brand has been tainted by his brief late-night association with Russell Brand a decade ago. Stoller has nonetheless plunged ahead with his blog, BIG, where he covers “the politics of monopoly power.” Stoller reports — will wonders never cease? — that federal enforcement actions against monopolies is on the upswing: Before the Biden administration, antitrust was mostly dead. It had picked up a bit under Trump, but mostly no one thought much about this area of law. And the reason was pretty simple. Nothing was happening. The FTC was using its authority to go after powerless actors, such as Uber drivers, church organists, bull semen traders, and ice skating teachers. The changeover has been absolutely stark, and it’s accelerating. Many of my sources in the competition policy world are giving me the same message, which is that this is the most extraordinary month they have ever seen in antitrust. There are the big fights, the cases against Google and Amazon, the suits against private equity and meat price-fixing.
The other day, after glancing out at their walkup front porch, a family in Wellington, New Zealand, happened upon an adorable scene of peace and tranquility. There, curled up next to their door mat, the family saw a tuckered-out animal — a little fur seal, dozing away without a care in the world. But arriving to that cozy locale, a short ways from the sea, had been no easy task. “[The seal] had been on a bit of a mission,” New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) wrote, “climbing up the seawall stairs, crossing a road, hiking up a footpath, a driveway, and finally another set of stairs, before reaching its nap spot.” While conservation officials note that resting seals may be mistakenly perceived as needing rescue, they evidently agreed that this little guy’s choice of sleeping spot wasn’t so ideal. So, an officer was called out to help him find a better one. “[He was taken] further around the coast, to a safe place away from dogs and traffic,” the DOC wrote. Fortunately, the seal looked to be only slightly groggy following his unplanned awakening.
Tick, tick, tick….
A time for choosing again pic.twitter.com/inYmHcu0Pt — mike luckovich (@mluckovichajc) September 26, 2023 President Joe Biden routinely expresses a kinder, gentler American exceptionalism. “This is the United States of America!” Uncle Joe begins. He tells us there is nothing Americans cannot do if we do it together. How many of us in our accustomed cynicism roll our eyes at the naivete of it? But on the other hand…. Maybe Biden’s sunny vision reflects a defense mechanism that is now part of him. The working-class kid from Scranton who overcame his childhood stutter has confronted so much tragedy in his life, so much deep personal loss. Perhaps his Catholic faith tells Biden there has to be a plan. God has a deep purpose we cannot always see. We just have to have faith. Personally, and as a nation. Biden’s most likely presidential opponent in 2024 has no faith, endured no sobering personal losses, never learned empathy. Donald Trump was born on third base with a sliver spoon up his ass. And a trust fund in the hundreds of millions.
Politico Playbook took a look at the feud between McCarthy and Gaetz. Nobody really knows why they’re so hostile but whatever it is, it’s definitely personal: To hear him tell it, Rep. MATT GAETZ is on a good-government crusade. The 41-year-old Florida Republican has railed against continuing resolutions, the short-term spending stopgaps that he blames for Washington’s fiscal dysfunction. He has insisted on regular order for appropriations bills and the devolution of power to the House rank-and-file. That’s why, he says, he’s spent months relentlessly hounding House Speaker KEVIN McCARTHY — to the point that he’s almost certain to lead a charge to remove him in the coming weeks. Most other House Republicans watching as Congress lurches toward a federal shutdown see something else entirely: “This isn’t a function of him being concerned about process,” Rep. MIKE LAWLER (R-N.Y.) told Playbook. “This is a function of personality.” “He wants Kevin,” added a Gaetz friend.
And that says everything Betraying Ukraine is her issue. It’s all she’s been talking about and she told her boy MyKevin that there was no way she would ever vote for a bill that contained funding to support it. And as I write this, the only continuing resolution MyKevin believes may pass with all GOP votes is one that keeps everything going except her pet issue — abandoning the Ukrainian people: Just hours before a government shutdown, the House planned to vote on a measure to keep the government open for 45 days at current spending levels, adding money for U.S. disaster relief but none of the billions of dollars for Ukraine that the White House has sought, Rules Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told reporters. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the bill would pass the House or what its fate in the Senate would be. The government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if a deal is not reached. She is evil. And she is very powerful in the Republican Party right now. She’s no gadfly like Michele Bachman. She’s the real thing. I don’t know if this will pass.
And they love him more than ever Tom Sullivan already did a great post on the Trump speech in California yesterday and I can’t think of anything to add. But I do think you should see some more of what he said. It’s truly unbelievable: Trump’s charisma rests in this: He invites every one of us to liberate the worst version of ourselves from the shackles of decency and convention; to let the id trample our ethics. Gleefully. It’s an intoxicating and irresistible opportunity for tens of millions of Americans. https://t.co/zw3zqizJ9F — Terry Moran 🇺🇸 (@TerryMoran) September 30, 2023 Cheers from the audience that has been having a full blown hissy fit over the assault on decorum in the Senate if men don’t wear suits.