Monday, April 3, 2023

Nothing but gripes



Sunday, Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Ron's Disney World Tantrum" went up.

That's a non-gripe, here's another.  I'll be reviewing a book at the end of the week.  

Now for the gripes.  I had to take my grandmother to her doctors' appointments (that's not a gripe).  She had two and a CT test.  We were at the hospital at lunch.  

Here's the start of the gripes.

1) She wanted a quesadilla so we went to the grill area.  I ordered it for her and she added "Fries too."  So I told the woman fries too.  My grandmother is not a young woman.  That's not me trying to insult her.  It is me insulting the grill.  Five people were served before her, five that ordered after we ordered for her.  How did that happen?

Because they didn't make it on the grill when we ordered.  I kept waiting to see a tortilla.  And five people ordered after us and four of the five people  were handed their food while I'm waiting.  Then they finally put a tortilla on the grill -- and a hamburger from the fifth who ordered after us.  That fifth person stops them and says, "I don't want cheese, I don't want a bun."  So they hand her the patty and she leaves.  All five that ordered after my grandmother have their food.

Finally, the little Kimberly at the counter puts the quesadilla in a container and starts to hand it to my grandmother.

"Fries too, remember?"

That's what I say.

She mutters, "That was rude."

She thought I wouldn't hear.  No, rude was the whole grill and I asked to see whomever was in charge.  When he showed up, I explained that my grandmother -- who I'd already sent to a table -- had to stand that whole time -- at her age -- for 15 minutes.

The manager says that it doesn't take 15 minutes to cook a quesadilla.  It does, I told him, when you don't cook it when it's ordered.  When you cook four meals ahead of it, even though they're ordered after.

He didn't seem to get the problem.

Am I the crazy one hear?  A 70+plus year old woman wants a quesadilla, we order it and they don't start cooking it.  It's not like it was busy.  It was 1:15, the lunch crowd was gone.  When we ordered, we were the only ones there.  The others showed up over two minutes after we ordered.  

And, if I'm not mistaken, you cook the orders in the order you get them.  

Still griping.  We (my girlfriend and I) ordered groceries when I got home.  And I forgot to click the no-substitutions button.  We got organic raspberries instead of regular -- two dollars extra.  Fine.  But hell no to the other substitution.  We ordered two packs of honey ham.  For sandwiches.  We got?  Turkey.

Now if they'd substituted a different ham, I would've lived with it because, again, I forgot to click the no-substitutions button.

But as I said to customer service, "Turkey is not ham.  We ordered ham."  And I'm not a big turkey person to begin with.  I don't order it on a sub when I'm getting a sandwich.  The only time I eat it is at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  And I only eat it on one of the two because I'm not a big fan of Turkey.

I didn't realize I'd have to court-room customer service on this point.

But I did.

"It's sandwich meat!"  I was told that.  To which I replied, "So is bologna.  I don't want that either."



Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, April 3, 2023.  You thought we were recovering from a recession?  Guess again.

Welcome to the disaster that is the global economy.  

THAI PBS WORLD notes, "Major oil powers led by Saudi Arabia announced a surprise production cut of more than one million barrels per day on Sunday, calling it a “precautionary” move aimed at stabilising the market."  KURDISTAN 24 reports, "As part of the collective decision by its fellow OPEC+ members, Iraq has decided to cut 211,000 barrels of oil per day, beginning in May, in an effort to stabilize the oil market, according to a statement from the Iraqi Oil Ministry."  AP insists, "Higher oil prices would help fill Russian President Vladimir Putin’s coffers as his country wages war on Ukraine and force Americans and others to pay even more at the pump amid worldwide inflation." Australia's ABC adds, "Cuts by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Algeria and Oman from May to the end of the year will top one million barrels per day -- the biggest reduction since the OPEC+ cartel slashed two million barrels per day in October."  Seban Scaria (ZAWYA) explains, "Last month oil prices plunged close to $70 per barrel following fears of an imminent global banking crisis triggered by the collapse of US-based Silicon Valley Bank and Geneva's Credit Suisse. However, prices came back up to close to $80 a barrel recently following supply disruptions in Iraq." 

The announcements already having an impact. 

Massoud A Derhally (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Oil prices soared in early trading on Monday after Opec+ producers pledged to collectively cut output by 1.16 million barrels of crude per day on Sunday.

Both Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, and West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, had jumped more than 6 per cent before giving some gains but were still trading strong.

Brent had gained 5.57 per cent and was trading at $84.34 a barrel at 6.37am UAE time, while WTI was up 5.64 per cent to $79.94 a barrel.

CNBC notes the early morning surge and puts it at 8%.  Noah Browning (REUTERS) reports, "Brent crude was trading at $84.53 a barrel as of 1115 GMT, up $4.64, or 5.8%, after touching the highest in a month at $86.44."  Yongchang Chin and Alex Longley (BLOOMBERG NEWS) offer, "The White House said the OPEC+ decision was ill-advised, while adding the US would work with producers and consumers with a focus on gasoline prices. Last year, President Joe Biden ordered an unprecedented release from the nation’s strategic crude reserves after Russia invasion of Ukraine."  From CBS' MONEYWATCH:

The production cuts alone could push U.S. gasoline prices up by roughly 26 cents per gallon, in addition to the usual increase that comes when refineries change the gasoline blend during the summer driving season, said Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners. The Energy Department calculates the seasonal increase at an average of 32 cents per gallon, Book said.

With an average U.S. price now at roughly $3.50 per gallon of regular, according to AAA, that could mean gasoline over $4 per gallon during the summer.

Nick Beams (WSWS) observes:

The decision was unusual in that it took place outside of a formal meeting of the oil-producing countries, “suggesting an element of urgency by the members taking part in the cuts,” according to the Financial Times (FT).

The market was taken by surprise. Bloomberg reported that all 14 traders and analysts it polled last week predicted no change in production. They took their lead from Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman who said last month that the OPEC+ targets set last October were “here to stay for the rest of the year, period.”

However, the financial turmoil, set off by the failure of the US Silicon Valley Bank, the second largest in monetary terms in US history, and the forced takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS appear to have changed those calculations.

There are growing concerns that the financial upheavals and the widely forecast ensuing credit crunch could trigger a slowdown in the global economy, if not a recession.

It's past time to stop the proxy war and if Joe Biden wants to be re-elected or wants another Democrat elected to the White House in 2024, he needs to drop the war on Russia, he needs to stop sending billions of US tax dollars to Ukraine and grasp that the American people cannot stomach another huge round of inflation.  His war of choice has destroyed the American economy.   It's past time to stop funding Ukraine.  


"Aside from the impact on the physical oil market, it is hard not to think that there is some geopolitical posturing embedded in these voluntary cuts," Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said in a report. "It demonstrates the group's support for Russia and flies in the face of the Biden administration's efforts to lower oil prices."

In other news, Iraq's previous prime minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's state visit to Iran in February has created backlash in both Iran and Iraq.  Hassan al-Saeed (AMWAY) notes the backlash and the below:

In parallel with the backlash in Iraq, the country’s judiciary issued arrest warrants and asset freezes targeting multiple high-profile associates of Kadhimi, citing alleged involvement in a major corruption case. The sought individuals notably include former finance minister Ali Allawi, the ex-head of Kadhimi’s office and INIS director Raid Juhi as well as Kadhimi’s secretary Ahmed Najati and political advisor Mushreq Abbas.

 In a break from the past, Kadhimi was quick to respond to the arrest warrants. His office promptly issued a press statement to refute any involvement in the corruption case, portraying the judiciary’s actions as a politicized witch-hunt. The statement further suggested that the alleged motive behind the arrest warrants was to provide cover for the real alleged perpetrators behind the corruption scandal.

Given the likelihood of further arrest warrants, the ultimate extent of the Iraqi judiciary’s actions could indicate that Kadhimi’s political career may be at stake. His rivals in Baghdad certainly do not want him to return to politics and participate in the country’s next parliamentary elections, let alone become a part of the political system in Iraq. But such a scenario will only push the former prime minister even more toward working on reconciliation in the region—ultimately helping bring more Arab states to the negotiation table with Iran.

Chenar Chalik (RUDAW) reports Iraq's current prime minister is also making some unhappy:

Hundreds of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr supporters on Sunday held demonstrations in different areas of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, protesting Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani’s participation in a summit also attended by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sudani on Wednesday virtually joined in with more than 100 leaders who delivered speeches during the Summit for Democracy 2023, hosted by the United States government, and co-hosted by Costa Rica, Netherlands, South Korea, and Zambia.

Among the participants was Israel’s Netanyahu, sparking outrage across the Iraqi street which interpreted Sudani’s attendance as planting the seeds for normalizing Iraq-Israel relations, despite the fact that both leaders attended the summit virtually and had no direct interaction.

Hundreds.  The protests were in two place -- one of which was Sadr City.  Hundreds turned out.  Hundreds.  Sadr City has a population of 1.1 million.  And all they had to do was walk out their front door.  Hundreds.  Hundreds did.  1.1 million but only hundreds did.  Cleric and cult leader Moqtada appears to have lost even more followers.  

Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Ron's Disney World Tantrum" went up Sunday.   The following sites updated:

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