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Bailout Passes After Ornaments Attached

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Proving that no bill can pass without lawmakers hanging a lot of pork on it the $700 billion bailout bill was passed by the Senate 74-25 on Wednesday night. Some of the ornaments included energy tax credits for wind and solar and a tax break on wooden arrows used by children plus a handful of other bells and whistles. The energy tax credits will extend roughly $17 billion in tax breaks for solar and wind for another two years.

The House still needs to vote on it before the week is out and they could easily add more ornaments before they vote. If they do the bill will have to go to a compromise committee before it can be signed into law. This is another fine example of politics in action.

Crude futures were up +$1 before the vote at $99.50 and remained unchanged afterwards.

The Minerals Management Service upped the official number of facilities destroyed in the hurricane to 52 from Monday's quote of 23. Four drilling rigs were confirmed as destroyed. Those were Encso 74 operated by Mariner Energy, Pride Wyoming operated by Apache, Mad Dog Spar Rig, BP E&P, Rowan Anchorage, Newfield Exploration.

The MMS said they have received reports that 32 platforms suffered extensive damage that will take from 3-6 months to repair. 41 platforms suffered moderate damage taking 1-3 months to repair. Eight gas transmission pipelines were damaged and it will take quite sometime to check, analyze and repair.

Gasoline rationing is in force in several southern states with many operators placing a limit of $30 per transaction to insure everyone gets fuel. AAA expects the shortage to last another 2-3 weeks. Most stations around Atlanta are out with pumps covered with out of service signs. Traffic has slowed significantly and lines are forming well in advance of scheduled fuel deliveries so drivers can be assured of having a place in land. Drivers are not only filling their tanks but many are filling gas cans, milk jugs and anything else that will hold gas and that is just adding to the shortage for everyone else. This is a prime example of what we will face on a permanent basis once peak oil arrives in a couple years.

Jim Brown

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