Friday Free For All 

Another week already? And despite the holiday, this week somehow feels longer since we also wrapped up another month of this year of “+2”.

Anyway Friday is here and that’s when I wander a bit off the path to share some random thoughts and observations on this edition of “Becoming Today”. 

Here’s something I had never given any thought to. Did you know that there are no bridges that cross the Amazon River? The second longest river in the world, at nearly 43-hundred miles long it also runs through three countries yet no one has ever attempted to engineer a crossing.

The river contains more fresh water by volume than any other river, is home to the world’s largest species of river dolphin, as well as one-hundred species of electric fish and 60 different types of piranhas. 

While more than 30-million people live in  the adjacent river basins of Brazil, Columbia and Peru engineers say they have never found a need to try and allow vehicles or pedestrians to traverse the waterway.

There are also no significant roads along the path either. 

Imagine that 43-hundred miles is a thousand miles more than the distance between Bangor Maine and San Diego California. Or the distance covered in a 50-hour drive from Bellingham Washington to Miami Florida. 

Yet despite roads and bridges, goods are still delivered along the navigable waterway. 

That got me thinking about some of the delivery issues I encounter. Not cross country or trans Atlantic but within a community.

Here in the U S, I live in one of fastest growing metropolitan areas and Google Maps shows I can get anywhere I need to in 15 to 18 minutes, yet people act like and many local businesses also believe I am in the middle of nowhere.

Less than three minutes outside a city limit and after I moved here I had to cancel my DoorDash account because no one would deliver to my home saying “distance is too far”. 

Did I also mention that I’m also just minutes away from a “national airport”?

So this is why I’m suspicious when I hear restaurants complaining about lack of business. It seems much of that is their own fault. 

Either they need to adapt or cease to exist. 

Out of all the options you can see listed in a food delivery app, there was only one that would make the effort to allow a driver to travel the six miles to me. Plus when they did they were often here 20 minutes before the “expected delivery time”.

Made the effort and did so sooner than promised. 

By the way, within one minute of that location are two other nationally known franchises, not to mention numerous local options. Yet only one sees the benefit of fulfilling the customer’s needs and wants.

That is perhaps why they remain dominant in their marketplace. They have undergone many changes since the founding brothers sold their idea to Ray Kroc and even he probably never saw a day when McDonald’s would be delivering to you.

Gasoline prices are something that we are hearing about consistently. Never before seen increases and yet no plans to prevent it from happening again much less slow thre pain at the pump.

Sure there is a lot of finger pointing and multinational corporations with record profits saying they can’t figure out how to keep costs down, because after all why would they want to? 

Oil companies are not non-profit service agencies.  They are in business to make as much money as possible and elected leaders whom many receive sizable campaign donations from such organizations really do not seem motivated to look at options. However the need to effect change is necessary.

Over this past Memorial Day Weekend there were parts of the country where the price of one gallon of gasoline exceeded the federal minimum wage per hour rate. How can those most in need afford to work? 

Obviously the impacts of these costs go far beyond oil companies and people just trying to get work, they affect every business trying to recruit and retain workers. Unlike many historical government accounting standards, people can not operate at a deficit.

Again this seems to point to two elements: greed and individuals not taking the time to examine the facts while being happy to repeat rhetoric and clicking to share misinformation.

One recent example is oil companies claiming they need to have more access to America’s public lands and coastal waters. They insist they need more leases to control access to the raw materials. Then many elected representatives support that because they get to point fingers rather than do the math.

Currently there are 53-percent of these leases, some given to corporations decades ago, that remain unworked. This number comes directly from the agency involved in managing the leases and is information that is so easily attainable you can click here, and do not even need to be elected to Congress to have instantaneous access to the facts.

The companies have claimed that it is either not profitable enough to attempt at this time or they want government incentives in order for them to be even more profitable in making use of the country’s resources that are currently already in control of. 

Now there are some people trying to actually get more oil out of the ground, but it’s not access they are lacking. As the BBC reported this week drillers are unable to source the tools, materials and enough employees to get the job done.

Now this is not the first “oil crisis” our nation has faced, what is different this time is the reaction to be. In their report Natalie Sherman wrote, 

“As the market heats up, forecasts suggest US production will increase by about one million barrels per day this year.

But that’s less than 10%, not enough to meet the rise in demand – and a far cry from the response the last time prices were this high, in 2014, when US oil output jumped 20% and the fracking revolution was in high gear.”

Now not only are companies hedging their bets against possible decreased demand, as we saw during the lockdown days of the pandemic, but due to international supply chain issues they are unable to get even enough steel pipe to allow the crude oil to flow out of the ground.

Extending more leases and giving away more control of the nation’s resources will not address either of those issues.

I’ll also add the price of diesel fuel, for trucks and trains that “move America”, is also subject to significantly higher costs every winter. Not just this most recent one. Not because of foreign invasions or who may be in the White House, rather because of business not wanting to change their ways

Production of diesel fuel is always lessened after Labor Day until Memorial Day in order to produce home heating oil for a small portion of the country. 

Yes people need to keep warm, but the technology and its affordability to  do so has come a long way since cast iron tanks were installed in basements. 

Of course why would the oil companies want to shift those policies when keeping it like it allows for demand to drive up prices of lessened supplies.?

Since apparently management of these companies don’t see they are truly being negatively impacted by their refusal to adapt and adjust and elected officials are not willing to suggest ideas such as regulations to ‘inspire’ them to do so, then it will take the efforts and questions of individuals.

I’ve been asking these questions for decades and you see how much impact that has had, so who I’m talking about here are some very specific individuals.

Stockholders. 

You see they are people too. 

Sooner or later I pray that some will realize that it is okay that they make  their profits however at what costs? 

Sooner or later some need to recognize that the profits really will do them no good if they can not live in a world where they can enjoy them.

Sooner or later one ( or more) of them must become brave enough to stand up in their meetings and say we need to do things differently. We need to look beyond immediate gratification and look at the long term potential of ensuring  a future that continue to be profitable

In the coming weeks things are expected to really heat up. Not only with the arrival of Summer, but in the potential outcomes of decisions driven by rhetoric. 

It’s ultimately not the decisions themselves but how people will choose to react to them.

Remember Chuck Swindoll’s sage observation; “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”.

One such case will involve whether or not the US Supreme Court does issue a ruling on what we are told is the hotly contested “Roe v. Wade Decision”. 

Yes we are told how the nation is being torn apart and the will of the people must be upheld. But what people and how many?

The nightly news debates are full of those who champion themselves as guardians of the majority, but are they really?

I am not taking a stance on the decision nor stating an opinion on the morality of individual actions. What I’m cautioning about is the potential ramifications from a vocal minority trying to bully others into accepting their beliefs and what could happen if the silent majority were to stand up and get offensive in defense of their rights.

If you believe the rhetoric, misinformation and yes deliberate disinformation that is regularly circulated on the topic, America is fractured because the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the court’s 1973 decision.

That is simply not true. 

Looking at five centric based opinion polling organizations they all come to similar findings. More than what the government views as a super majority of 60-percent to upwards of 80 percent indicate they do not support overturning the case.

From the non-partisan Pew Research Center who learned 59% oppose the idea to the Associated Press’ research that noted 87% are in opposition, multiple other noted organizations were also within that 60-80% range for those wanting the law to remain as it is.

Those include Ipsos 60%, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute 63% and Gallup at 80%.

Even in the study undertaken by Pew only 8-percent favor a total ban on abortions, that many states are quickly passing in so-called trigger laws  to be enacted the moment the court could decide to overturn the deision. 

Many of those state laws are being modeled after the first approved in Texas, however the super-majority of residents there do not even agree with the legislation that was pushed through by special interests. 

Quinnipiac found that 77% of Texans oppose the law that was passed, 72%  are in opposition to conditions of that law that allow random lawsuits to be filed against people who seek certain medical care options as well as  those who “assist” them – including rideshare drivers who probably have no idea why they drive someone to any address. 

Plus 60% of Texas residents indicate they support Roe V. Wade as it stands.

So how is this happening? Why is this happening? Because we have allowed it.

I was disheartened at the celebratory talk from election officials recently as after the primary talk was focused on the biggest election turnout in more than a decade. These startling numbers included around 20% of eligible voters casting a ballot.

That is nothing to rejoice about.

That means 80-percent didn’t make the effort.

Now in that 20% that did, realize you have the fringe elements, the extremists from both sides, so really less than two people out of every ten who have a right and a constitutional responsibility to do their part to practice and protect those rights did not do so.

Silence is not golden in these matters and until you make the decision and choose to stand up for what you believe, yes “they” will continue to tread on you.

And it’s no one’s fault but our own. 

I hope this week is not being perceived as a downer, but my heart has felt heavy. Too many are not giving themselves a voice, so I’m hoping to inspire them to stand up and be heard and yes counted. 

There were uplifting and inspiring thoughts this week as well and when you join us tomorrow we’ll review those discussions on our next edition of “Becoming Today”. 

Plus we’ll continue our month-long focus on “Alphabetical Positivity”, sharing encouraging words you can use to inspire your own conversations.

One thought on “Friday Free For All 

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