Who Needs A Highway, An Airport Or A Jet. . .

. . . when you can’t buy a gallon of gas?

Drivers along parts of the East Coast piled into gas stations on Tuesday, resulting in long lines and shortages as motorists reacted to what could be a weeklong shutdown of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline because of a cyberattack.

Colonial Pipeline Co., operator of a 5,500-mile conduit for gasoline, diesel and refined products, said Monday it hoped to substantially restore service by the end of the week. It shut the pipeline late last week after a ransomware attack that U.S. officials have linked to a criminal gang known as DarkSide.

We haven’t seen gas lines too often in recent years. I remember those gas lines in the 70s. OPEC was at the height of its powers and while the cartel didn’t conduct ransomware attacks per se, the effect was about the same. It happened the first time in late ’73 and into ’74, right as Watergate was starting to gain traction, and then again in 1979, when many of my friends were getting their driver’s licenses. We were eager to start cruising the main drag, but gas was hard to find at times, limiting our early forays into car culture and adulthood.

In the middle of that summer (July 15, to be precise) Jimmy Carter gave his infamous “malaise” speech. While the chattering classes were supportive, Carter’s hangdog expression and mien sent an unmistakable message of weakness, which other players noticed. Weak politicians don’t prosper, so Carter blew up his career that evening.

A few days earlier, a Chicago disc jockey Steve Dahl had blown up a large box of disco records at Comiskey Park, starting a melee that tore up the field and causing the White Sox to forfeit the second game of a scheduled doubleheader. About a month later, members of the provisional IRA assassinated Lord Mountbatten, detonating a bomb on his boat while he was out sailing with members of his family. One way or another, it seemed like things were about to blow in that summer of ’79.

We’re more than forty years on. Tensions have been high lately, but it’s been calm since the jury came back against Derek Chauvin. It’s likely our current gas shortage will be temporary and may not directly affect the Upper Midwest at all. History does not necessarily repeat, but it’s easy to sense weakness in our leaders at all levels of government. Some have already noticed. Joe Biden was on the scene in 1979, so I’d like to believe he was paying attention. Summer’s coming. I hope it doesn’t blow.


27 thoughts on “Who Needs A Highway, An Airport Or A Jet. . .

  1. Regarding the disco disc blow up, I read something in past year about how that event started a “wave of homophobia” in rock, or something. Or maybe racism. probably both.

    Gotta love “journalists”.

  2. I was in my first year of college in 79 when the lines started. You didn’t go to the gas station alone, not because it was dangerous, but because it was boring to sit there alone for an hour.

  3. Communists notoriously blame their failure to properly manage an economy that they competely control to “hoarders and wreckers.”

  4. From international logistics to the streets of blue cities, it sure is odd how exhibiting weakness brings out the criminals. No mean tweets tho’ – thank goodness for that.

    OPEC was at the height of its powers and while the cartel didn’t conduct ransomware attacks per se, the effect was about the same.

    Nice analogy.

  5. I remember the Disco Demolition on the evening news….good times. Used to have a copy of Dahl’s studio album “Pet Fishsticks” with great songs like “I’m a Wimp” and “The Herpes Song”.

    And I thank God for those sweaters he started wearing around the White House. Helped the nation realize how deep the ‘manure’ was in the Carter administration.

  6. I thought of Carter’s flaw of micromanaging a few weeks ago when I saw Biden lecturing someone at a meeting about not maintaining proper social distance.
    It is not the job of the president to deal with that crap. He has people for that. I wonder if Obama used to send him out for coffee and sandwiches when it came time to discuss important things.

  7. They must have been sold out of bags of gasoline — 1st toilet paper and now this?

    What if we tell people there’s gonna be a vaccine shortage?

  8. I don’t see why this is a problem. If there’s no gasoline, people can’t drive their cars which will reduce carbon emissions conclusively proven to cause Global Climate change that will make the entire planet uninhabitable in just a few years.

    Why are people trying to solve this “problem” of having no gasoline? Call Saint Greta, ask her, she’ll tell you: this is all for the best and couldn’t possibly be any better. $5 a gallon gas to reduce consumption? Piker stuff. Just shut it off completely.

    Saint Barak reportedly smacked himself on the forehead with his palm yesterday, saying: “The pipeline! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” Forget Shadow Presidents, the Harris Administration is humming along nicely without him.

  9. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 05.14.21 : The Other McCain

  10. It’s interesting reading the comments here.
    There are insightful and witty comments, and then there are E* comments.

  11. Where are these gas lines? — I just filled my truck and boat this morning.

    There is a link provided with the post which would answer that question. Lazy troll is not a good look.

  12. ^^ Mischaracterizing the shortage is sooo SiTD….

    When ransomware shuts down a pipeline that half the country relies on to delivers fuel — I guess that’s not a problem.

    The best part about this hack were the photos of customers filling up plastic shopping bags with gasoline and putting the bags in their car trunks.

    Longer lines at the public access than at local service station in town…

  13. Cryptocurrency is what makes ransomware possible. You could fix this problem by prohibiting transactions from between financial institutions and Cryptocurrency accounts. The government can’t abolish cryptocurrency but it can make it very hard to turn dollars into cryptocurrency.

  14. Ban gold transactions, too. Untraceable, you know.
    Another wordl problem solved by Emery, just by thinking it about it for a minute! Gosh!

  15. Also, ban the counterfeit money that George Floyd was passing around. Make the penalty for passing counterfeit money, death. Immediately.

  16. I guess we’ll soon find out just how anonymous BTC ledgers really are.

    According to GasBuddy data, Friday US gasoline demand fell 12.6% from the prior Friday to the lowest Friday since Feb 26.

    Demand pulled forward?
    Out of plastic bags for hoarding?

  17. Emery has become a full time troll.
    It is not Mitch who controls the topic, it is Emery.
    Well done, sir! I salute you!

  18. Which would be fine if the E-Collective picked some different topics for a change. Why not discuss art, or literature, music, even film? Surely George Soros has room in the budget for that?

  19. How about discussing guns? 9 people were shot in Providence, Rhode Island on Thursday, 60 rounds fired, the largest mass shooting in the city’s history. Dispute between two groups of men ages 19-25 who are known to police and have a history of violent disputes.

    No follow-up news reports. No names of people shot or people arrested. No photos.

    Why isn’t this mass shooting being trumpeted by the Susan Rice Administration as further proof of the need to disarm everyone? Could it be there’s some fact about these shooters they don’t want mentioned? What could it be?

  20. Why isn’t this mass shooting being trumpeted by the Susan Rice Administration as further proof of the need to disarm everyone? Could it be there’s some fact about these shooters they don’t want mentioned? What could it be?

    Because they were shooting at Umbrella Man.

  21. If the CNN article I saw was any indication, it’s another example of “if they don’t mention who the perps were, you can guess who the perps were”. Really, if it’s a shootout between two rival gangs, we might be somewhat sorry that there weren’t more fatalities. There is a point where we need to emphasize “your biggest danger isn’t the cops, it’s your neighbors that ought to be in jail but are not because your mayor told the cops to stand down and defunded them.”

  22. Colonial Pipeline shut down critical infrastructure not for safety but for billing reasons?

    /According to a CNN report, though, the main target of the hack wasn’t pumps or switching stations or other physical pipeline infrastructure. Instead, the hackers went after the money./

    “The company halted operations because its billing system was compromised,” sources told CNN. The pipeline’s operators “were concerned they wouldn’t be able to figure out how much to bill customers for fuel they received.”

    What If Somebody Hacks the Money Pipeline Next?

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