Is it time to panic yet?

This from Robert Rapier…..

The gasoline supply situation in the U.S. is just about unprecedented, and for April it is unprecedented. If I go back to 1991 (as far back, it appears, as the EIA maintains a statistic on “days of supply”) then this week’s inventory is the 7th lowest out of 842 weeks. The lowest 6 all happened at the end of summer driving season (late August and early September). In other words, 99.2% of the time we have been in a better inventory situation than we are in right now. More importantly – again going back to 1991 – we have never had inventories this low in the month of April; just when we need to be building supplies for summer.

Last week I went out on a limb and said this week or next week gasoline inventories would turn up. My limb is starting to crack. Something has to give soon. We could be headed for record high prices to reign in demand a bit. Just hope for a mild hurricane season this year

Read the rest of Rapier’s informative post here.

Good News?

Let us see how long this lasts. But at least the family is back together for now….

ERLANGEN, Germany, April 23, 2007 ( – German homeschooler Melissa Busekros finally returned home early this morning on her 16th birthday after having been forcibly separated from her family by the government 3 months ago.

Back in February, Melissa was seized from her family home in a dramatic police raid for the crime of home schooling – illegal since 1937 by edict of Nazi Chancellor Adolf Hitler – and placed with a foster home in a location unknown to her family.

Read this article for the rest of the story. You will also find links that describe the back story. (h/t The Brussels Journal)

Rant of the Week: 4/22/07-4/28/07

This week’s rant is long enough to be an essay, but we are classifying it as a rant anyway. For one thing, it seems more motivated by disgust then careful analysis. For another, the accusations thrown about and the importance of the issue seem a little overdone to us. Still, we think that Spengler has a point in this rant.

Why should America be encouraging the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and yet forbid that part of Kosovo whose population that is majority Serb from rejoining Serbia? Where does self-determination end and who gets to draw the line?

That last question can be answered by saying that those with the guns can make the rules. But making a decision on that basis seems to be laying the ground work for future bloodshed.

Essay of the Week: 4/22/07-4/28/07

Did you know that there are 34 countries with a fertility rate of 1.5 or less? Did you know that to keep population stable it you have to have a fertility rate of 2.1 or more? Did you know that more then half the world’s population has a fertility rate that is below replacement rate?

Do you think that those trends are nothing to worry about? If so, you owe to yourself to read Wolfgang Lutz, Vegard Skirbekk, and Maria Rita Testa’s paper called The Low Fertility Trap Hypothesis: Forces that may lead to further postponement and fewer births in Europe.

This excellent paper lays out the reasons why it may be next to impossible to raise fertility rates once they drop below replacement levels. Even if you are not convinced by their interpretation of the data the paper will make you think.

For more on this paper, read this post by the Ape Man. And we call out a big thank you to the Alpha Source blog for bringing this paper to our attention.

Capital One sings the Subprime Blues

Another bank with a reputation for being well run says that Subprime is affecting its bottom line.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: Capital One Financial Corp. on Thursday reported a 24 percent decrease in first-quarter earnings and lowered its full-year profit forecast, citing revised expectations for its mortgage banking business.
The McLean, Virginia-based company, a credit card issuer that continues to expand into retail banking, provided revised earnings for 2007 of $7 to $7.40 per share. In January, Capital One gave guidance between $7.40 and $7.80 per share.
“This is clearly a very challenging time for our mortgage banking business,” Richard D. Fairbank, Capital One’s chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts on a conference call.
Capital One pointed to last year’s acquisition of subprime lender North Fork, which operates banks in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.