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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Food Drive Breaks Records!

National Letter Carriers' Food Drive A Success!

My good union brother, Bob Bearden, sent me this report on the NALC Food Drive that happpened on May 12th:

All stations except one have reported in their final totals, and that one will be completed by Monday. The current total of food collected in the Metro Area now stands at 347,849 lbs, and there will be more to come. Before we are done we expect to pass 350,000 lbs.!

We pledged to collect 300,000 and by last Saturday night we had exceeded that total by some 5,000 lbs. We have now exceeded it by another 47,000 plus lbs. and counting. One location, Midwest City will have reached at least 30,000 lbs by Monday. Three other locations have exceeded 21,000 lbs and another is within 29 lbs short of 20,000. Edmond's three stations have exceeded 42,000 lbs. Yukon has nearly tripled its amount over last year. It has truly been a Labor of Love! And there are so many people who worked long and hard to make it happen! WOW! is probably an inadequate description, but WOW!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bummed Out by High Gas Prices? Well, It Could Get Worse Real Soon!

Coming to a Station Near You!
Gasoline Picture Looking Grim for Dog Days of Summer
By Matthew R. Simmons
Matthew R. Simmons is founder and currently Chairman of Simmons & Company International, an independent investment bank specializing in the entire spectrum of the energy industry.

(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent ASPO-USA's positions; they are personal statements and observations by informed commentators.)

Here is a quick run down on the possible disaster we face this summer as we head into Memorial Day with the lowest beginning-of-driving-season stocks in US history. It would have been convenient had someone found out exactly what Minimum Operating Levels* really have become. I suspect we will answer this riddle this summer.

*Minimum Operating Levels of petroleum inventories are when all cushions have been used up and the system is now starting to "rob Peter to pay Paul." At this stage, the risk of shortages starting to crop up is Red Alert. Sadly, the last serious study of where this invisible line of minimum stocks is was a NPC study done in 1988.

The reality of gasoline demand is that it will rise during July and August unless we have some roads blocked off to stem demand. Rising late-summer demand has happened almost every year, even as prices rose from $1/gallon to over $3!

To supply this market, several things have to work in unison:
1. Refineries need to crank up to over 16 million b/d instead of current 15 as they struggle to get into compliance from too little maintenance for too long.
2. Imports need to average well over 1 million b/d, and probably need to hit 1.5 million b/d, matching the all-time record set last year.
3. No hurricanes can hit the Gulf producing region.
4. Stock draws are the last plug in the dike.

From the looks of things as we view Memorial Day weekend starting in just over a week, we fail on all four counts.

The burning question is how much lower stocks can drop before shortages sweep our fragile gasoline supply system. Historically, it has been critically important that we build up gasoline stocks during the spring shoulder season (April-May) so that they can be liquidated during peak demand to prevent shortages. We seem to have run out the clock to fix the problem this summer.

I did some quick inventory numbers this morning [May 10]. At the end of February (which is the latest data we have on the location within five PAD districts) we had 116 million barrels of finished product and 99 million barrels of blending stocks (that are now far trickier to blend than when we had RFG) in inventory.

In the course of the next 10 weeks to May 4, we dropped 13.5 million barrels of finished stock and 10.3 million barrels of blending components.
But almost all of the drop probably came from Bulk Terminals as stocks at refineries are essentially works in process and stocks in pipelines and barges are steady flows.
If this is the case, bulk terminal drops were 30% for blending components and 27% for finished products.
The painful last 13 weeks ran out our USA gasoline clock. We must be right at the edge of genuine "minimum operating supplies" in at least a handful of states.
I am certainly glad I drive a diesel where the stock pool or inventory is tight but not nearly as tight as MOGAS [motor gasoline].
This could get really ugly real fast.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Holy City of the Wichitas

Holy City of the Wichitas
Tomb
Memorial
Another interesting feature of the Wichita Refuge is "The Holy City of the Wichitas" Where each spring they do a Passion Play.

More Pics from our Weekend Vacation

Cat and Tooter


Pics from our Mini-Vacation

Medicine Bluff Creek
Medicine Bluff Creek
Medicine Bluff Creek
Mt. Scott
Mt. Scott
My wife and I took a "mini-vacation" down to SW Oklahoma to see the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Along the way, we stopped in the town of Medicine Park and saw that Medicine Bluff Creek is about 6 feet above normal. We had a restful time. Only 3 weeks left in the school year!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cheney and Bush hide behind our troops

Cheney the Artful [Draft] Dodger
Cheney and Bush have attempted to equate support for the Cheney/Bush policy in Iraq with support for our troops who have been made pawns in that policy. Cheney and Bush are trying to hide behind the soldiers so that our women and men in uniform can take the bullet for the Cheney/Bush team. Cowardly and Contempible!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sad Day at School Today

John Marshall High School, Oklahoma City, OK

As you may know, I teach at an urban high school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We have all the usual problems of an urban school that is over 70% African American, over 85% free or reduced lunch recepients. We have gangs, drugs, children from single-parent familes, and even zero-parent families. And our children have violence in their lives.

Thursday, yesterday, a female student, one of mine, was killed in a fight with another female student. As I understand it, they were arguing over some man who had fathered both of their children. The girl who was killed was a senior less that 2 weeks away from her graduation. She was in my senior English class and was a member of our school's National Honor Society. As I said, she had recently given birth to a boy who will now grow up without a mother or a father present in his life. And so the cycle of poverty continues. The girl had decided that she needed to get her life in order, so she was training to become a nurse at one of our Career Tech centers.

I am sick over this. I had had this girl in another class. I saw her develop from an immature kid to a woman of promise. Now her life is over and her family is left to pick up the pieces. At times I wonder why I stay in public education, particularly at an urban school. However, I know, deep down inside, that this is where I am supposed to be; this is part of God's plan for my life.

I would appreciate your thougths and prayers for my students as well as for me.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Jury Duty

Jury Duty
I got a notice in the mail the other day that I am to report for jury duty on May 14th. It's been over 20 years since I last had to report for this citizen obligation. The last time I did this, I never served on an actual jury despite the fact that I was in 7 different jury pools! In fact, I was always the first one dismissed from the pool of potential jurors.
That time I was in state district court. This time it's Federal court. I will see if that makes a difference.

You Gotta Like People Like This

Ballard Street

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

End Mr. Bush's War

Bush War Memorial: A picture is worth a thousand lives
(I was asked to compose a letter to a newspaper editor concerning my response to Bush's veto of the Democratic Congressional majorities Iraq withdrawal timetable. Here it is:)

To the Editor:

George W. Bush has tried to tie support for his failed policies in Iraq with support for our brave women and men who are the victims of those policies. I find this a despicable attempt to dodge his failures. It’s much like the religious leaders who tries to claim that all his actions, no matter how immoral, are sanctioned by divine authority because he is a “man of God.” Bush has tried to blame his failure on “bad intelligence.” There he is correct because many people far smarter and wiser told him that this decision was wrong. However, he choose to ignore wise counsel and listen to greedy men, sycophants, and others telling his “itching ears” what they wanted to hear.

Now as he desperately plunges deeper into the swamp that he has created in Iraq, he has the audacity to question the loyalty of women and men who, because they love their country and weep for it’s wounds, tell him that the American people have had enough wastage, enough broken bodies, more, more than enough flag draped coffins, and much more than enough of their president’s preening, posturing, and posing to last us a lifetime. Mr. President, you have lost all moral authority. We must heed those who seek an end Mr. Bush’s war.

Yes, and the People of Iraq Will Be Throwing Flowers in the Path of Our Troops!

We can add to these brillant statements:
This war will pay for itself through lower oil and gas prices.
Our troops will be home by Thanksgiving.
The Democratic Party will soon be irrelevant.

Tom Tomorrow

What is truly amazing is the fact that these idiots are still on TV and radio!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007