S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Energy update

The economy looks different from an "energy" state. Very different. Travelling to Wyoming this winter has been interesting because of the contrast with my home state of Texas, also an "energy," but not in the same way. My relatives in Wyoming, who work at a variety of different kinds of jobs, all report that there is little evidence of a recession here. Jobs are plentiful, gas prices are low, and foreclosure rates are not as high as in distressed locales.

There are a few signs of change, however. I overheard oilfield workers reporting that most of the rigs in the Pinedale field will be moving to "one of the Dakotas," he couldn't remember which. This is probably associated with the drop in the price of oil. Retail shopping is off a bit this season, as this normally fiscally conservative populace goes back to their normal "saving ways."

Other signs of the times here include a real housing shortage in the town where I am staying. It is so bad that homeowners are renting out rooms to people who need a place to stay. Gasoline prices continue to drop, but grocery prices are high, which is normal. The big new energy push is in the wind arena. Hundreds of new wind turbines are going up in " wind farms" across the state. The affluent are, apparently, unscathed. As evidence, as I was travelling here, I observed several oversold trips to the ski areas in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Snow is plentiful as are cold temperatures. Hats and gloves required, chili on the menu and runny noses are normal. The sense of really bad times for the nation and the world is here, however. The people in this state have always been tuned in to the news and are not removed from it at all. We live in a village, actually, Americans and Indians and Chinese and Russians.

Signing off from the wilds of Wyoming. Further reports as information emerges.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

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