DrumBeat: August 29, 2008

Oil's Trouble Spots

At a time of rising dependence on oil and soaring gasoline costs, the potential for supply disruptions for this vital resource and the stability of energy-rich regions pose major concerns. While disruptions can happen anywhere along the supply chain (New Scientist), certain areas are particularly vulnerable. Perhaps the best known of these is the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, through which tankers carry 20 percent of the world's oil. But the Russia-Georgia conflict in August 2008 provided fresh concern that even the newest energy corridors – tapping into the Caspian Basin – are vulnerable to geopolitical events. Analysts say the Niger Delta, Iraq, and Venezuela remain significantly vulnerable (PDF) as well. With global supplies of oil already tight, potential supply disruptions could lead to significant increases in already volatile oil prices.

Brazil Isn't Getting Full Share of Oil Wealth, Mercadante Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil needs new ways to tax oil companies because the current oil-concession auction system isn't providing the government with sufficient revenue from resources, ruling party Senator Aloizio Mercadante said.

Fusion effort in flux

Researchers have finished the first phase of an unorthodox, low-cost nuclear fusion experiment that has generated a megawatt's worth of buzz on the Internet – and they are now waiting for a verdict from their federal funders on whether to proceed to the next phase.

Fusion scientist reprimanded for misconduct

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has reprimanded a scientist who has been accused of falsifying claims he produced nuclear fusion in tabletop experiments.

Rusi Taleyarkhan made headlines in 2002 when he published a paper in the journal Science claiming that he had produced nuclear fusion, long sought as an energy source by scientists, by making tiny bubbles collapse in a liquid.

Nature and the Altruism Gene

The combination of this wealth volcano with the new selfishness, the new discipline of marketing and the Friedmanite re-thinking of institutions, governments and even nations primarily as businesses first, cultural entities second, led to the sustained purchasing explosion that we know as the modern global economy. Growth is good, we obligingly chant, growth is good.

But what we have elected not to notice is that human growth comes at a cost; the cost being planetary depletion.

Live architecture: Grow your own home

Tolkien's hobbits would feel right at home in new dwellings made out of living tree roots and designed to protect inhabitants from earthquakes. The homegrown architecture is just one of many eco-structures a new company hopes to roll out worldwide.

The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

The author of "The Tragedy of the Commons" was Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor who until then was best known as the author of a biology textbook that argued for "control of breeding" of "genetically defective" people (Hardin 1966: 707). In his 1968 essay he argued that communities that share resources inevitably pave the way for their own destruction; instead of wealth for all, there is wealth for none.

...Given the subsequent influence of Hardin's essay, it's shocking to realize that he provided no evidence at all to support his sweeping conclusions. He claimed that the "tragedy" was inevitable -- but he didn't show that it had happened even once.

Hardin simply ignored what actually happens in a real commons: self-regulation by the communities involved.

Global trends: A perfect storm

We find ourselves in the midst of fundamental changes brought on by trends that are, and will continue to, radically shape the world in which we live. These trends are better described as "meta" trends because as they give rise to changes that are complex, long-lasting, profound and borderless. Among other things, this long list of trends includes the growing scarcity of important resources (water, fuel and food), climate change and population growth.

Manufacturers pinched as materials costs outrun product prices

Prices of manufactured goods and raw materials rose less in July than in the previous four months but were still far higher, after a record-breaking oil price spike, than they were a year ago, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The news is grim for Canadian manufacturers because prices they pay for materials are rising much faster than prices they get for goods leaving their plants.

Russia oil tax cut offer won't meet sector hopes - min

DUSHANBE/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Friday his staff would soon present new proposals on oil tax cuts to the government, although they would be much smaller than oil companies had hoped for.

Turkmens set to boost agreed gas supplies to China

Energy-rich Turkmenistan signed a deal Friday to boost its annual delivery of natural gas supplies to China to 40 billion cubic meters, an increase of 10 billion cubic meters (13 billion cubic yards) over the previously agreed amount.

Under the deal, China could start receiving gas deliveries from the Central Asian nation by late 2009.

Russia's powerful weapon: oil and natural gas

Russia believes that its standing as the world's largest exporter of oil and natural gas is the most powerful weapon in its diplomatic arsenal.

Newly Discovered Oil Reserves to Benefit All Brazilians

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Thursday that the recently discovered pre-salt layer oil fields are a national asset, which will benefit all the Brazilians.

"Brazil is not to be a mega exporter of crude oil," said the president, "instead, we want to build a strong oil industry in Brazil to add value to our oil and export the byproducts."

Iraq's oil exports increase in July

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi Oil Ministry says that oil exports in July inched up to 58.8 million barrels — a 0.7 percent increase from the previous month.

Restrictions on Peru's energy supply - Customers to be compensated for blackouts

Energy shortage is becoming a greater concern in Peru as the country demands more power supply than what poor infrastructures are able to provide.

With demand for electricity growing at a rate of 12 percent a year, power companies are looking for ways to control the increasing number of blackouts.

In an effort to make sure that the Andean country's energy supply can continue meeting demands, the Ministry of Energy and Mines is to control the use of electric power for the next three years.

Energy and Mines minister Juan Valdivia explained Peru had reached its limit and did not have the capacity to produce more energy.

He confirmed that diesel fuel was being used to generate electricity.

Pakistan: Non-payment of arrears to power companies

PESHWAR: NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain Thursday billed the Wapda as a criminal institution for not paying arrears to the power supply companies and making life miserable for the people, saying protest against the ‘unjust’ loadshedding and its other excesses would continue.

Major miners resisting self-generation, but juniors stepping up to the power plate

Major South African deep-level miners want to stick to mining and avoid generating their own electricity – except when it comes to emergency power.

However, emerging junior miners are taking self-generation in their stride, examples being South Africa’s Wesizwe Platinum and Australia’s Braemore Resources, which is also JSE-listed.

Braemore goes so far as to accuse South African miners of being “spoilt” and points to the Australian tradition of miners generating their own electricity.

Petro-Canada refilling its pumps

Motorists will be able to start filling up at closed Petro-Canada stations again, possibly as early as this weekend, as the company's Edmonton gasoline refinery comes back on line.

However, it could be weeks before nearly 90 stations in B.C. and Alberta affected by the shortage will be replenished with fuel.

Stalemate In Fuel Adjustment

A stalemate of sorts has been hit in a request issued by transportation contractors from the Southern Fulton School District to their administration and board to offset rising fuel costs with the enactment of a fuel adjustment.

No action was taken by the board to offer contractors some financial relief last Tuesday due to a difference in opinion between several board members whether they should act without knowing where the monetary compensation would come from or to review the budget for possible available funding.

Iran Makes New Stride in Uranium Enrichment

Iran insists that it should continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Iran currently suffers from an electricity shortage that has forced the country into adopting a rationing program by scheduling power outages - of up to two hours a day - across both urban and rural areas.

Iran plans to construct additional nuclear power plants to provide for the electricity needs of its growing population.

Now would be a good time to end nuclear power war

In September 1941, I returned to school for eighth grade and found Miss McKewen smiling and happy.

"Oh, children," she said, "I have the best news. Oil has been discovered in Arabia and there is enough to last for 200 years."

NBC, Pickens spar over foreign oil ad

NEW YORK (Adweek) - Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens doesn't take no for an answer.

At least he didn't when NBC -- and sibling cable networks CNBC and MSNBC -- apparently rejected his latest ad stating the case for the U.S. to decrease its dependence on foreign oil.

In the war of words that ensued, Pickens won his fight to get the spot on all three nets.

Retailers say pellet stoves are hot item as customers flee from pricey oil heating

Concern about high home heating prices is again driving consumers to shop for alternatives, particularly wood pellet stoves, according to local retailers.

At Matchless Stove & Chimney in Clifton Park, for instance, 30 pellet stoves sold in July alone. That compares to 20 to 30 pellet stoves sold during all of last year.

How electric cars get their vroom

Battery life and demands on the nation's electric grid: your questions answered about the coming wave of electric autos.

California Moves on Bill to Curb Sprawl and Emissions

SAN FRANCISCO — California, known for its far-ranging suburbs and jam-packed traffic, is close to adopting a law intended to slow the increase in emissions of heat-trapping gases by encouraging housing close to job sites, rail lines and bus stops to shorten the time people spend in their cars.

The fastest way to put the brakes on global heating (it's not George Monbiot's)

The fastest way to put the brakes on global heating is to embrace the peaking of world oil extraction and the implications of petrocollapse. As long as we deny there's a terminal outcome for our petroleum-based infrastructure -- and therefore society as we know it -- we will keep dancing around the crisis of climate change. Precious time is being lost while feedback loops strengthen greenhouse gas output. Embracing collapse sounds crazy and, as we all would prefer, hopefully unnecessary. But what if that's your only ticket out of the burning theater and the rafters are about to come down?

Alaska Natives Watch Traditions Melting Away

The effects of climate change have wreaked havoc with Arctic weather conditions that while always extreme and highly changeable, could be read like a book by Natives with centuries of experience and highly detailed language to describe different types of ice, wind and other climate conditions. Now, indigenous people across the Arctic region say, they can no longer predict important climactic changes and events like they used to, leading some to freeze to death caught in storms or stranded on ice; or face privation as their traditional hunts are interrupted.

Hurricanes threaten Gulf of Mexico oil production - supply likely never to reach pre-Katrina levels: CIBC World Markets

With Tropical Storm Gustav bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico and most weather agencies calling for an active hurricane season, American motorists should brace for gasoline to spike to $5 per gallon as storms threaten to shut down oil production in the region, predicts a new report from CIBC World Markets.

The report notes that oil production in the rig-dotted Gulf, which has been seen as America's best hope for greater energy self-sufficiency, will be increasingly threatened by severe storms that continue to grow in frequency and strength in the region.

"Only three years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production, an emerging hurricane storm is tracking another potentially lethal swath through America's energy heartland," says Jeff Rubin, Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets. "And with both oil and gasoline inventories much lower than when Katrina and Rita hit, the price consequences could be even worse this time. Any replays of the 2005 storm season could see gasoline prices soar to $5 per gallon."

US to continue conserving gas, even as prices fall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American drivers faced with $4 gasoline have embraced conservation and consumers are unlikely to easily return to their old gas-guzzling ways now that pump prices are retreating from record levels. As U.S. gasoline prices burst above $4 a gallon this summer, U.S. gasoline demand staged its biggest drop in more than a quarter of a century.

But even with gasoline prices falling to their lowest level in 16 weeks to average $3.69 a gallon on Monday, Americans will continue to ride public transportation and buy more fuel-efficient cars.

Why commodity prices are not done rising yet

Many of you were not even born the last time the world discovered a huge elephant oil field. Think about all the elephant fields in the world that you know about. Alaskan oil fields are in decline; Mexican oil fields are in rapid decline; the North Sea is in decline. The UK has been exporting oil for 27 years now. Within the decade, the UK is going to be a major importer of oil again. Indonesia is a member of OPEC. Indonesia is going to get thrown out because they no longer export oil, they are now net importers of oil.

T. Boone Pickens at the DNC

The oil man has a plan. T. Boone Pickens is in Denver this week to pitch the media and politicos on his "Pickens Plan." He says the plan would reduce dependence on foreign oil by developing wind and solar power and switching to natural gas for vehicles. Pickens predicts ten trillion dollars will be spent on foreign oil in the next decade. And he says that's something we can't afford.

Take a listen to this excerpt from a talk Pickens gave to bloggers in the Big Tent.

Oil tycoon Pickens offers pearls of wisdom

HOUSTON (Reuters) - You've seen T. Boone Pickens on "Larry King Live," watched his commercials exalting the "Pickens Plan" to build windmills and listened to him warn of a looming energy crisis.

Now the Texas oil tycoon shares hints at how you can attain a modest measure of his success -- which includes a 68,000-acre ranch teeming with quail and deer and a Gulfstream 550 jet -- and head off an energy crisis while you're at it.

America Does Have Enough Gas, Oil to Meet Our Needs

America has plenty of oil and natural gas to go around - it is just a matter of the getting Congress and the radical environmental lobby out of the way of domestic production. Another misconception often heard is that it will take 10 years before any oil or natural gas makes it to market.

In the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and off the coast of Southern California, where energy infrastructure is currently in place, experts have reported that we could produce oil and natural gas within two years. In areas where infrastructure is not in place it could take upwards of 12 years.

How To Solve Energy Crisis: Blast From Past When Politicians Had Balls

Ford's comprehensive energy policy included:

● more oil drilling

● more use of nuclear power and coal

● forcing Detroit to raise the fuel efficiency of cars

● imposing taxes to assure that the price of gasoline did not fall

● passing a windfall profits tax to assure that the oil companies did not become too rich

The last one is silly (should we put a windfall tax on Google and Microsoft, too?), and high oil prices are doing an excellent job of forcing Detroit to raise fuel efficiency. But diversifying energy sources and taxing gas to encourage conservation and provide price stability are smart.

On the election trail, of course, all John McCain and Barack Obama can talk about it is how to reduce prices at the pump. Let's just hope that even though they can't level with voters about reality, they'll allow reality to dictate their actual energy policies.

As Biomass Power Rises, a Wood-Fired Plant Is Planned in Texas

The city of Austin, Tex., approved plans on Thursday for a huge plant that will burn waste wood to make electricity, the latest sign of rising interest in a long-dormant form of renewable energy.

Energy Conversion Goes Local: Implications for Planners

Problem: Emerging energy technologies ate bringing planners a new set of issues. The supply-oriented framework from engineering economics within which energy planning has ttaditionally been conducted may be useful for siting large refineries, power plants, and transmission corridors, but it is not helpful for mitigating conflicts at the site level, encouraging new technology adoptions, managing the demand for energy, or, especially, coordinating the diverse users of smaller, local energy facilities. Purpose: I provide an alternative conceptual framework for thinking about emerging energy planning tasks. I highlight factors not considered in the traditional model, and introduce terminology for characterizing key characteristics of the changing energy economy.

A Construction Project Bigger Than the U.S. Interstate System

The whole oil and gas infrastructure is a "vast spider web of steel." There are over 335,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S. alone. There are hundreds of refineries in the world, as well as thousands of tank farms, gas stations, and oil and gas wells.

Such infrastructure requires a lot of maintenance, which is not cheap. On the heels of two decades of low oil prices, much of the industry deferred a lot of maintenance. As Simmons says: "The entire value chain is built of steel. Steel begins to corrode the day it is cast."

The risk of failure – of leaks or breakages – is high. "If the world wants to continue using energy, its assets need to be rebuilt. Simple law of nature," Simmons says. "The construction job will rival the combination of building the World War II war machine, the Marshall Plan rebuilding of Europe, and the post-World War II Interstate Highway System."

Obama Ignored Failing Power System in Convention Speech, Says Galvin Electricity Initiative

/PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- In Denver last night, Senator Barack Obama talked about energy as a problem, but did not address a viable solution - modernizing the electric grid. According to Kurt Yeager, energy expert and executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, America's real energy problem is its dependency on an unreliable, inefficient, "ticking time bomb" power system. Like the country's dependency on foreign oil, 21st century Americans are slaves to the whims and weaknesses of an obsolete, 1950s-era power system. Modernizing the grid with smart technology can lower energy costs, achieve energy independence and address climate change.

Hurricanes could push gas to $1.75 per litre, CIBC warns

Canadian motorists should brace for gasoline prices of $1.75 per litre as Tropical Storm Gustav threatens to shut down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. With weather agencies calling for another active hurricane season, a new report from CIBC World Markets is warning that pump prices could spike if the 2005 storm season that saw Hurricanes Kartrina and Rita is repeated. Gustav is expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday.

Punishing Russia could prove costly

Moscow's position is, if friendship with the West can only be bought by standing idly by and ignoring desperate pleas for help from a kindred, ethically affiliated nation, Russia cannot afford such a friendship. Cold war or not, the time of a politically correct, US-style Russia is now over.

Instead, it is the time of a Russia that has restored the dignity of its elected government offices; a Russia that owes nothing to the world financial institutions, and itself holds near US$100 billion in US agencies' debt; and a Russia that supplies one-third of Europe's total gas. This is a country whose army is, once again, capable of procuring world-class armaments and training soldiers in their proper use.

This Russia is prepared to beef up its military collaboration with China, ensuring comprehensive modernization of the Asian giant's forces. This new Russia has re-established its diplomatic and economic presence world-wide, has friends and partners in both hemispheres, and is capable of influencing geopolitical situations in the areas much further distanced than the neighboring Caucasus.

Russia is fighting a new Cold War with banks and pipelines, not tanks and warplanes

In classical mythology, Georgia was the land where the Argonauts had to harness bulls with bronze hooves to win the Golden Fleece. Modern Georgia is the source of a treasure scarcely less precious: oil and gas from central Asia and the Caspian, piped along the only east-west energy corridor that Russia does not control. But whereas Jason and his comrades triumphed, our quest has ended in humiliating failure.

ScottishPower says 'sorry' for 34% gas bill rise

ScottishPower today became the latest British energy supplier to pile more pressure on shrinking household budgets by increasing gas prices by 34 per cent and electricity bills by 9 per cent.

E.ON to Appeal Over Scottish Wind Farm Rejection

LONDON - E.ON UK is to appeal against a local government refusal to grant planning permission for a wind farm at Auchencorth Moss in Scotland, the German-owned utility said on Thursday.

India's nuclear deal headed for fiasco

NEW DELHI - As the tortuous negotiations for the United States-India nuclear deal enters its final stage, it becomes clear that India seriously underestimated the discomfort and opposition the agreement would arouse in many countries because of the special privileges granted to India, largely on New Delhi's terms.

Australia Approves Uranium Mine Expansion Plan

SYDNEY - Australia, which is looking to sell more uranium overseas to meet growing demand for nuclear power, on Thursday approved a proposal by Heathgate Resources to expand its outback Beverley uranium mine.

The approval, announced by Australia's environment minister Peter Garrett, will allow Heathgate to produce up to 1,500 tonnes of uranium oxide a year.

Papua New Guinea to Improve Power Supply

apua New Guinea will draw up a detailed plan to improve power supply in the country where 90% of the population still has no electricity.

The Japan Special Fund, administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is providing a $1.2 million grant for Papua New Guinea to prepare a power sector development project design that will increase supply of reliable and sustainable power at reasonable cost. The government will contribute another $300,000 to the project.

South Africa: Fuel Price to Fall - By Less Than Hoped

BAD news for motorists: petrol prices could fall less than the widely expected R1 a litre if the minerals and energy department decides to channel some of the money towards what is known as the slate account.

The slate account is kept in terms of an agreement between the government and suppliers to determine compensation that is payable by the government to the suppliers, or by the suppliers to the government, in respect of losses suffered or profits gained by the suppliers because of fluctuations in the purchase price of petroleum products.

Nigeria: N-Delta Crisis Has Perilous Implications - Anyaoku

FORMER Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, declared yesterday that the current socio-political situation in the Niger Delta was "a major national crisis with potentially perilous implications that will go beyond our national economy if not properly resolved."

...Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on his part warned that his administration would not welcome any investor wishing to exploit gas in the state without giving equity shares to the host communities.

Climate fight hit by global slowdown

LONDON (Reuters) - The fight against global warming is in danger of being downgraded on more urgent fears over energy security, heightened by a Russian war with Georgia, and a global economic slowdown.

Added to the mix -- politicians are faced with a rising clamor of complaints from voters over record fuel bills, and racing gas and oil prices have sparked new interest in high-carbon coal as well as cleaner alternatives.

Shift to two peaks will save the planet

WORKING 9 to 5, what a way to make a living - and what a waste of greenhouse gases, says one architect and urban planner.

James Calder, a director at architecture firm Woods Bagot, said Sydney would be greener and more productive if the working day was split in two: a morning shift of 6am to 3pm and an afternoon shift of midday to 9pm.

'Unbreakable' greenhouse gas meets its doom at last

The war on climate change just got a chemical weapon: a way to destroy the carbon-fluorine bonds that make a class of widely used industrial gases so dangerous in the atmosphere.

Russia says will ensure oil to flow to Europe

DUSHANBE/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's energy minister and a top oil company denied on Friday they were preparing to cut oil flows to Europe in response to threatened sanctions, a step Moscow never took even at the height of the Cold War.

As Europe prepared its response to Russia's invasion of neighbouring Georgia, the energy minister said Moscow was doing everything it could to ensure stable oil supplies on its key supply line to Europe, the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline.

Russia will still deliver oil says Germany

Germany believes that Russia will stick to its contracts to deliver oil to Europe despite a threat of sanctions from EU nations, a government spokesman said today.

"We firmly believe that the contracts will be fulfilled," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told reporters at a regular government news conference wrote Reuters.

Political Debate on Energy: James Woolsey, former Director of CIA Guests

August 29, 12pm PT / 3pm ET (1 hour)

Barack Obama and John McCain have set forth detailed energy policies and made passionate speeches about America's need for energy independence. Guests:

     ● Jim Woolsey, national security and energy adviser to John McCain, has advocated for plug-in hybrids and biofuels to wean the U.S. off foreign oil.

     ● Bill Becker is executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project and former director of the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Central Regional Office.

     ● Brian Young is communications director for the College Democrats of New York and president of the Binghamton College Democrats.

     ● Charlie Smith, chairman of the College Republican National Committee, graduated from the University of Denver in 2007.

Venezuela state oil company to hire more truckers

Venezuela's state-run oil company plans to hire 2,000 truckers and mechanics currently employed by private companies that will disappear when the government nationalizes wholesale fuel distribution.

Germany considers creating national gas reserve

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is considering setting up a natural gas reserve to reduce its dependency on imports from Russia, a spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry said on Friday.

Germany relies on Russia for about 44 percent of its gas imports, according to government information, and in recent years Moscow has cut off energy supplies to some of its neighbours on a number of occasions.

Russia remains a Black Sea power

If the struggle in the Caucasus was ever over oil and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) agenda towards Central Asia, the United States suffered a colossal setback this week. Kazakhstan, the Caspian energy powerhouse and a key Central Asian player, has decided to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Russia over the conflict with Georgia, and Russia's de facto control over two major Black Sea ports has been consolidated.

Toyota's plunge into big pickups veers into a Texas-size ravine

SAN ANTONIO — Until about three weeks ago, workers built pickups by the thousands here at the sprawling Toyota truck factory south of town. No longer.

...Opened with great fanfare only a couple of years ago, the plant halted production on Aug. 8 after demand collapsed for its Tundra full-size pickups, amid sky-high fuel prices and free-falling home values. Production won't restart until at least November.

Vacationers travel roads closer to home to save the summer

"Staycation" may have been the buzzword this summer, but "nearcation" may better describe what travelers did during prime vacation season.

From Minnesota to Maine, many Americans vacationed closer to home rather than staying at home or traveling longer distances.

Grandparents help with back-to-school bill

With prices for food, gasoline and home heating up, parents are more willing to let grandparents help with clothing costs, says Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations at the National Retail Federation.

UK: Should drivers pay more for petrol?

This week a report claimed families in Sussex were paying almost £800 too much in “green taxes”. The Taxpayers’ Alliance called on the Government to cut taxes, especially on the forecourts where soaring petrol prices were crippling drivers financially. Yet should we in fact be paying more for our petrol?

Power Play

For someone who believes that world oil supplies are about to begin an inexorable decline, possibly dragging down civil society in the process, Rob Hopkins is a rather cheery fellow. Hopkins, a 40-year-old doctoral student at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom, is the founder of the Transition movement, which encourages people to wean their neighborhoods, communities, and towns off oil and nudge them onto a path of self-sufficiency in an increasingly energy-scarce world. “The change we have seen over the past hundred years will be nothing compared with what we will see over the next twenty,” he says. But it’s not a dire warning; it’s an adventure. “This is an extraordinary time to be alive. I feel really fortunate to be around—it’s going to be a fascinating time in history.”

Israel: Lessons from Climate Camp

This wide gap between the rhetoric and reality of climate change highlights the difficulty that most governments struggle with in addressing the trade-off between economic growth, climate change and peak oil. The general attitude in most of the developed world - Israel included - is that increases in energy demand are a given. All we need to do is throw enough money at new technologies, and human ingenuity will somehow enable us to carry on with our over-consumption of energy without destroying the conditions for our existence on this planet. However, the reality of climate change and peak oil is that we cannot simply continue with business as usual.

Time for statesmanship, not bluster

Today's world of 'peak oil', the 'war on terror', unprecedented United States budget and trade deficits twinned with an international financial infrastructure tottering from collateralised mortgage crisis reaching across the United States to Europe, the time has surely come for displays of statesmanship, not bluster.

But what is the forum, what is to be the modern day counterpart of post-war Bretton Woods if the United Nations and World Trade Organisation do not fit the bill? And will Brazil, China and India be invited beyond the ante-room to the main banquet hall? Will as some apparently hasty and unthinking pundits suggest Russia be uninvited?

Taking stock of climate change

Climate change, a large externality bearing down on the global economy, worthy of focus because of the basic fiduciary responsibility to understand risk, was followed by ‘peak oil’, also a driver of economic change.

Beyond the literal definition of peak oil, the anticipation or expectation of increased price volatility of energy-related commodities was a part of the thinking.

In his two years as chief investment officer at CalPERS, Russell Reed introduced two additional areas of investment focus. One was commodities, and the other was infrastructure.

Peak oil study essential to Hamilton's aerotropolis future

Developing any future expansion plans for the lands surrounding the Hamilton International Airport shouldn't proceed until the city's peak oil study is completed, says a few members of the liaison committee.

IAEA: No radioactivity from plutonium leak

VIENNA, Austria: The International Atomic Energy Agency says a plutonium leak at its laboratory earlier this month did not contaminate the environment.

The agency says independent analysis of soil, plant and water samples show that no radioactivity was released into the surrounding area during the Aug. 3 incident.

Iran agrees Nigeria nuclear deal

Iran has agreed to share nuclear technology with Nigeria to help it increase its generation of electricity.

A senior Nigerian foreign ministry official, Tijjani Kaura, said the technology was not intended for any military use.

Canada wants more study on polar bear protection

INUVIK, Northwest Territories (Reuters) - Canada, criticized by environmentalists for not adequately protecting polar bears from the effects of climate change, said on Thursday it will take more time to study its next step.

A scientific panel on Thursday released detailed findings of an April review that classified the bear population as a "special concern," but not endangered or threatened with extinction.

Industry groups file lawsuit over polar bear rule

WASHINGTON - Five industry groups have sued the Interior Department over a rule to protect the polar bear that they say unfairly singles out business operations in Alaska for their contribution to global warming.

Groups representing the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries asked a federal judge Wednesday to ensure that laws designed to protect the bear, which was recently designated a threatened species, are not used to block projects that release heat-trapping gases in the state.

Carbon clues to when Greenland was a green land

PARIS (AFP) - Climatologists poring over Greenland's ancient past say global cooling, unleashed by a fall in atmospheric greenhouse gases, caused the vast island to ice over around three million years ago.

In a study released Wednesday, the British research team say that for aeons, Greenland was mostly ice-free and may have hosted grasslands and forests before it became smothered in a thick, glacial crust in a relatively short time.

The ice sheet can only be explained by a decrease in naturally-occurring, heat-trapping carbon gases in the atmosphere, they say.

Top Three 2005 Net Oil Exporters, Revisited

I wrote my first essay on Net Oil Exports with a guest post on TOD, in January, 2006, where I introduced the Export Land Model (ELM). I focused on the current top three net oil exporters, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Norway. They accounted for about 40% of total world net oil exports in 2005.

Here are the EIA net export numbers for the top three for 2005 and 2007:

2005: 18.7 mbpd
2007: 17.2

Of course, Saudi Arabia is currently showing a year over year increase in production, but I estimate that their 2008 net exports will be at 8.4 mbpd, or less, versus their 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd. Norway is in terminal decline, and then there is Russia.

In our (Khebab/Brown) top five net oil exporters paper, our middle case shows Russia and Norway approaching zero around 2025, when Saudi Arabia would be exporting about 3 mbpd—which would of course be the combined net exports for the top three.

Note that net exports declines tend to approximate linear declines, i.e., an approximately fixed volumetric decline per year. If we average the initial top three two year decline, it’s 750,000 bpd per year. If we extrapolate this out to 2025, the top three would be exporting about 3.7 mbpd. Note that this is about what Khebab’s middle case shows.

Russian oil exports are declining, IMO, because they have to, if they are going to meet internal demand. While Russia has a lot of potential reserves in frontier areas, my guess is that they are to Russia as Alaska is to the US, i.e., Alaska helped, but it was no panacea.

Dear WT -- I hate to keep asking what may seem to be stupid questions, but our political leadership in this part of the world seem to be attached to a reality I don't share. Do they know something I do not?

The Question: How much Liquid Natural Gas will ever come out of Russia for export to the West Coast of the USA? What is the point of building a couple of billion dollars worth of receiving terminals and pipelines (and totally screwing up the river and the ports in the process) if the product to be received is not even there, and may never be?

And how in the world can importation of LNG be called a move toward "energy independence?"

I know these are rhetorical questions, and it's early Friday morning before a holiday. But do you have any thoughts you would share?

Regarding our political leadership, actions speak louder than words, and Bush/Cheney moved as fast as they could to deploy a large permanent military force to the Middle East.

It would appear that we are seeing the same ELM effects regarding coal and NG that we are seeing regarding oil.


If the ELM model is correct, then the only way the large permanent military force in the Middle East could be helpful would be to discourage or prevent domestic consumption in those places. Hardly to "Bring Democracy to the Middle East."

And therefore Oregon will get NG or LNG if Russia and ME does not-- if the force is successful. Is my logic flawed?

I don't think NG will be the primary focus in the Middle East, given how short it seems to be in the Middle East (e.g., Iran in recent years was a net importer).

The assumption is that the implied use of military force will be used to direct oil cargoes to the US and Western Europe.

I agree, but would add that its seems like part of the plan must be to forcibly decrease domestic consumption, since there isn't otherwise enough to go around.

Also, my immediate focus is on NG, not liquid petroleum. I don't want the Columbia River screwed up, especially if there is little or no chance there will ever be any LNG to put through the pipeline.

If you want to stray into the realm of geopolitical speculation, I would say that they went to Iraq for a variety of reasons. Some rational and valid, some quite purposefully insane.

One of the rational reasons for going into Iraq was to artificially and gradually inflate oil prices. They had to do this to give the US economy a chance to prepare for peak oil. The logic behind this is: Iraq is a country that could be made into the world's largest oil exporter in fairly short order. Think about that from a military / tactical perspective. Iraqi oil is a sure thing. Just wipe out the entire civilian population, and there can be no insurgency. This is assuming that the economic fallout from peak oil got bad enough. I am certain that Americans would support any number of Iraqi civilian casualties to ensure that Iraq continues to expand its oil production, IF faced with a large enough crisis here at home.

By invading Iraq, they created a buffer of easily scalable oil supply that they could tap in an emergency. They drove up prices in the short term, but my guess is they did not care about that. They were thinking about the long term picture. They wanted to ensure that America, or rather the world in general, would not get caught in a situation where we were faced with a catastrophic decline in oil production, ie a production problem that could not be overcome no matter how many resources were thrown at the problem. From a tactical perspective, that is one of the ultimate goals of the US military industrial complex. By having an Iraq on the back burner, they are ensured to have oil available for production IF an extreme emergency arises where that extra oil is needed. A great depression and a downward spiral of decreased oil production combined with global pipeline terror and decreased capital flows could be an apt description of such an emergency. Indeed, such a situation could easily spiral into a total breakdown of society across the globe. From a purely tactical perspective, 5 million barrels a day of cheap Iraqi oil brought online during such a crisis could and would turn it around. What is a few million dead Iraqis compared to that? That is no doubt the philosophical question that guides them through all of this.

This analysis assumes that Bush, Cheney, and their controllers are driven by a vision of a greater good that is "somewhat benign". Back in 2001, I think their advisors had told them things like "dont worry what the people say, you are saving civilization by doing this." I think that is why they don't care so much about how they've wrecked the economy. In their minds, they've saved it. Just like in their minds they've prevented more terror attacks. It's total delusion, but given the information they've been fed, it is understandable. The entire system is corrupt. From the figureheads like Bush and Obama, to the advisors, all the way down to the think tanks and foundations that create their philosophy of war. They dont question the overarching philosophy of imperialism and global governance, so they will end up destroying the engines of wealth that support them.

Iraq is the big wildcard. I could see them exporting more than Norway in the near future. Could also go the other way.

Political Debate on Energy: James Woolsey, former Director of CIA Guests

James Woolsey?

Why is this neocon buffoon allowed a platform to spout his lies?

This prevaricating sack of doodoo ought to be tarred and feathered and banished from the public stage.

He was one of the principal architects of the myth that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qeda and that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Woolsey was also one of the main Crazies to link
Saddam to the anthrax attacks.

And just to point out that the FBI has still not shown
how weaponized anthrax was made and delivered to
the victims.

Why are any of the the Talking
Heads, back then, being allowed on TV today?

Because Big Oil/Big Money wants it that way.

For that matter, how does a potus with a rating lower than Nixon when he
was run out of the WH, stay on.

Oh well, it looks like it's a race to see who will reach Banana Republic status first, the U.S. or Great Britain. I see he was also quoted in the Telegraph story linked on yesterday's Drumbeat:

"Russia may cut off oil flow to the West"

A cut of just 1m b/d in global supply – and a veiled threat of more to come – would cause a major price spike.

It is unclear whether Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or other Opec producers have enough spare capacity to plug the shortfall. "Russia is behaving in a very erratic way," said James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA. "There is a risk that they might do something like cutting oil to hurt the world's democracies, if they get angry enough."

Mr Woolsey said the rapid move towards electric cars and other sources of power in the US and Europe means Russia's ability to use the oil weapon will soon be a diminishing asset. "Within a decade it will be very hard for Russia to push us around," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Here we have this crazed Russian, whose sole motive is hurting democracy, acting irrationally, in combination with the Cornucopian dream of U.S. energy independence in a few years.

Geez, can it get any worse than this?

" "Russia is behaving in a very erratic way," said James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA."

And that's just bullshit. Sorry little kids, but one of the grown ups in charge
is lying to your face.

Russia has been straight as a board on what it wants and what it would do,
since Putin's October 2003 Revolution.

Actually the breakthru happened at the end of Yeltsin, when some
wise man in the Kremlin, sent that Russian Brigade to the Pristina airport
ahead of the British. The world to this day doesn't know how close
the British came to firing on the Russians .

Kosovo, was the straw, and Russia said so in no uncertain terms.

The Ukraine is now the fulcrum. The Kazahks have lined up behind Russia.

Watch the Azeris do the same. That leaves Turkey swinging in the wind.

And you better believe that just like Aug 1914, Ankara/Istanbul is
nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.

I agree. Putin is acting completely rationally. Consider this comment by totoneila, reposted here because it appeared so late yesterday that many may have missed it:

First off, IMO, I don't think Putin would be doing this unless he believed his country was going postPeak. He must easily see how a export reduction can still generate the same revenue, and hoarding for the home team is politicaly wise if he decides to go to Max Peak Outreach and early Paradigm Shift in-country. From my prior weblinks: he has already told his people to grow their own food and has refused to expand phosphate[P] shipments to another country, forcing them to buy more expensive P from Morocco.

Second, his KGB may have the inside scoop on KSA's spare capacity [or lack thereof]. Putin's cutting of Russian exports, only to have KSA ramp up their exports [to negate the Russian decrease], would only make him look foolish and cost his country billions. If the KGB does have the crucial, full audit info on KSA's oilfields-->they accomplished something that Matt Simmons requested years ago [Recall that Matt called for full audit transparency in his book, 'Twilight in the Desert'.

If Putin goes ahead with this cutoff scheme immediately driving prices upward AND KSA CANNOT sufficiently ramp up exports to cover this shortfall--> then, the jig is up-->the rest of the world will quickly figure out that KSA is now on the Hubbert Downslope too. This will add even more upward pricing pressure to oil, which of course will cause even more rapid demand destruction to poor crude consumers.

I know nothing of geopolitical strategy, but it is morbidly fun to watch. Have we rolled the tape back to 1900? Will Turkey Abandon NATO?

Georgia won't be a very useful USA/NATO ally if Turkey goes with FSU

Hooray for Turkey. They've finally figured out that they can never act white enough to make Europe or America happy. Now they're open for bidding...

Russia: We bid $500,000,000,000 in US t-bills for a naval base to control the Black Sea and intrude into the Mediterranean for the first time in our history.

US: We bid... uh... a gazillion dollars worth of senior debenture quasi-secure collateralized swappie thingies. Hey, it's good enough collateral for the Federal Reserve!

Then, Turkey's new buddy Saudi Arabia storms into the room and says...

(Okay, I'm open to suggestions for what happens next.)

Perfect synopsis of the state of the global economy!

So Saudi Arabia storms into the room and says...

"you want oil?"

Actually the breakthru happened at the end of Yeltsin, when some
wise man in the Kremlin, sent that Russian Brigade to the Pristina airport
ahead of the British. The world to this day doesn't know how close
the British came to firing on the Russians .

Here's General Mike Jackson's account of how General Wesley Clark tried to start World War 3

Gen Sir Mike Jackson: My clash with Nato chief

"Sir, I'm not going to start World War Three for you." Again Clark stated what he wanted done. I said to him: "Sir, I'm a three-star general, you can't give me orders like this. I have my own judgment of the situation and I believe that this order is outside our mandate."

"Mike, I'm a four-star general, and I can tell you these things."

He insisted that he was giving me a direct order. I told him that I would have to talk to my superiors in London. He telephoned Charles Guthrie, the chief of the defence staff, and outlined the discussion that had just taken place. Guthrie asked to speak to me. I took the phone and moved away from Clark to speak to Guthrie in private.

"I cannot go on," I told him, "I'm going to have to resign."

"For God's sake, Mike, don't do that," Guthrie replied hastily. "It would be a disaster." He asked to speak to Clark again.

"Well, I must say, Wes," he said, "that I agree with Mike - and so does Hugh."

Clark was visibly nonplussed. Hugh Shelton was his boss, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff. He had gone out on a limb, and now he found that he had gone too far.

I left the room so that he could call Shelton in Washington. I later gathered that Shelton told him that Washington did want the runways blocked, but not at the expense of a confrontation with the Russians - which seemed to me an outright contradiction in terms. When Clark said that I was resisting his orders, Shelton suggested that he had an "authority problem".

In the past, the neocons would be referred to as "the lunatics in the basement"

Gratuitous name calling doesn't become The Oil Drum.

I wouldn't call it gratuitous.

Given that Woolsey was party to decisions that have resulted in the death of over 100,000 persons, to actions that have grievously weakened the United States, and to misadventures that poise the Middle East of the brink of an even greater calamity, I think the prior poster was being unnecessarily kind in his choice of words.

The death of over 100,000 persons? Try over 1,100,000, with perhaps 5,000,000 more displaced and you'll be much closer to depicting the gravity of the situation.

I do agree with your sentiments, however.

You're both presuming that without the attack on Iraq, the region would have been less brutal.

Which is a sill assumption to make about the Middle East.

What an ignorant statement. Rather than "presuming" what Iraq would have been like sans "the attack" and more than a decade of draconian economic sanctions, why don't you look it and find out for yourself what kind of country it was.

it was an aggressive Ba'athist dictatorship. Without sanctions, it would have gone to war against somebody.

Given the usage of DU weapons and the fact that the resulting contamination is already being evidenced in a high rate of birth defects the true gravity of the situation is not yet truly known. Even your 1,100,000 figure may be unduly conservative.

Russia says will ensure oil to flow to Europe

The unburdened opponent, enjoying the prospect of gain for comparitavely insignificant loss, retains the initiative. He may endlessly alternate threat of acton with pretense of compromise and continue no wise in danger of diminishment. When the utmost possible gain is achieved in this way, he may still attack at his own discretion.

Source: J.M. Cameron, The CADRE Digest of Air Power Opinion and Thoughts, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

And Winter will be very cold this year.

It's NATO or gas. Pick one.

and the US sees this and must force the issue, even as
it falls to a second rate power. Which is why it's risking all
in Georgia.

One of our Coast Guard ships tied up at Batumi says it all.

If Gustav hits NO, that's the first thing we'll be wanting to know,
where's the CG.

Gas, please. Are you listening, Milliband.

EU sanctions would be 'grave mistake,' Russia says

Today @ 09:25 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - As the European Union considers imposing sanctions against Russia over its recognition of independence for Georgia's rebel regions, Moscow has said that any punitive measures would be a "grave mistake," harming the 27-nation bloc as much as Russia itself.

The Neg 1 rater can now tell me how Russia should respond to
sanctions from a group of nations that also demands Russia's gas
exports be unlimited and at/or below world market prices.

Even as Russia itself is being attacked by a NATO armed nation
that is being, even now, buttressed, to do the very same thing again!?

Go to this page and see how fast articles-like the Telegragh-
are being scrubbed, even now.

And how backtracking of sorts is taking place.


"France, the current EU president, has warned that "sanctions are being considered and many other means as well" - words that were quickly denounced by Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who said the idea showed the workings of a "sick imagination."

And Winter will be very cold this year.

Based on what the farmer almanac? Not exactly applied science, meanwhile the NWS predicts a warm winter.

The almanac is at odds with the National Weather Service, whose trends-based outlook calls for warmer than normal weather this winter over much of the country, including Alaska, said Ed O'Lenic, chief of the operations branch at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The almanac and the weather service are in sync, however, in pointing to a chance of a drier winter in the Northwest.

Why are you talking about US weather?
The reference to a 'cold winter' was for Europe...

Based on the fact that when someone like the US puts all their eggs in one basket,
the worst always happens, because the basketholder-

(Hey!? What am I dong in this basket and where the hell am I going!?)

-has no options.

Like this-the Wehrmacht was not issued greatcoats for Operation Barbarrosa
to raise the moral of the troops that they would be home by XMas.

By the same token, the US is talkin up all the positives about the Ukraine
joining NATO even as it ignores the negative possible scenarios.

Which BTW, has been the MO of DC in the ME/C Asia since 911.

Fascinating - you do realize that the Russians, like the Soviets, have been notable in honoring their delivery contracts to those customers they don't consider part of the former East Bloc? Eastern Europe being viewed by Russia roughly the way the U.S. considers Central America, after all.

The Russians, at least at this point, still consider their energy business to be a business, and not a metaphor for warfare. And when they cut energy shipments to thieves who aren't paying their bills (yes, the country name starts with 'U,' and they desperately want to join NATO), suddenly the Russians are the bad guys.

America is truly becoming unique, including its insistence that everyone else who thinks business is business are completely mistaken - everything in life is just really a way to wage war.

This doesn't mean that relying on an opponent is a good idea. How are those Saudi funded Islamic schools doing, by the way?

Along those lines, don't know if you caught this interview of Andrew Bacevich the other day...


and here's the transcript:


Bacevich is the author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism and The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War.

I like Bacevich, he is an excellent writer and speaker. He also appears to be a concerned citizen and a fine man.

However, I do feel that he does have a massive blind spot. I listen to him and I feel like he believes in a vision of America and its people that the neoconservative movement has nearly extinguished.

IMHO, I am extremely pessimistic that a society of people doped up on the consumption of crappy TV, wonder pills, and easy credit is going to willingly reverse course until its hand is forced by reality.

The other unique aspect of America these days is the total lack of anything resembling a coherent foreign policy.

This has been hinted at by other, better thinkers and writers, but I will repeat the idea that America does not have a true 'foreign' policy at this point in time.

Rather, America has this domestic, consumptive 'id' with a hunger most easily satisfied by the projection of cultural, economic, or military force as necessary. This utterly amoral mob mentality is essentially what is directing our overseas 'adventures' these days.

I am amused by the contradiction between the capitalist dogma that business' pursuit of profit overrides all morality and compassion and the neoconservative mantra that business must serve imperial expansion. What is America's priority ordering? Why, it's as if a cult of fake intellectuals who couldn't run real businesses have volunteered to defend capitalism (and be rewarded with seats at giant corporate boards) by turning it into fascism.

Or is neoconservatism merely the monopolistic ethos of Enron and Microsoft armed with the powers of the state?

Or is neoconservatism merely the monopolistic ethos of Enron and Microsoft armed with the powers of the state?

It's been said many times before but is worth repeating: privatize the profits, subsidize the losses.

Supply Crunch by Jeff Rubin

With both crude and total oil product inventories running significantly lower than they were when either Katrina or Rita sidelined Gulf oil production, both oil and gasoline prices are more exposed to potential storm-related supply disruptions than they were three years ago. A comparable hit to production could easily send gasoline prices to new record highs, with pump prices rising to $5/gal, and send natural gas prices spiking as well.

While supply disruptions, and attendant price hikes, will be temporary, there will be lasting impacts from hurricane damage on future supply growth, as there have already been from the 2005 storm season. Protracted multi-year delays to marquee projects like BP’s Thunder Horse have meant that new production has grown at a fraction of earlier projections for the region and has lagged well behind rapid double-digit depletion rates that are characteristic of offshore fields.

The net result has been a multi-year and likely irreversible, decline in oil production from the region. Already down some 300,000 barrels per day from its pre-Katrina peak, Gulf of Mexico production is likely to
lose another 200,000 barrels over the next five years (see pages 4-8).

And oil shipments from VenMex to the US--which accounted for more than 25% of total US Net Oil Imports in May, 2007--are declining at an annual rate of close to 30% per year.

In one sentence you scared me more than whole pages of comments. Shocking fact!

Do you know what the total decline rate for our imports from Mexico is?

The EIA has imports by country of origin: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbblpd...

Through June, 2008, it looks like year to date that they are down from 1.6 mbpd to 1.3 mbpd.

Note that Mexico imports refined product. Their average annual net exports last year were 1.5 mbpd (EIA). I estimate that they will be down to about 1.0 mbpd in 2008, on track to approach zero in the 2010 to 2012 time frame.

I was just contemplating that...cause I did hear Mexico imports their refined product...and that the US is their main source. Is that true, I could not determine on the EIA site. So if that is right, we import a bunch of crude from Mex into the Gulf refineries, and ship the refined product right back. That's not exactly how the ELM model works is it! So even more energy spent in this scenario, resulting in an even more accelerating ELM model.

The two key metrics are the rate of change in production and the rate of change in consumption, regardless of whether the refined product comes from a domestic or from a foreign refinery, e.g. Iran is also a big refined product importer.

Net exports represent the different between total liquids production and total liquids consumption. Mexico's net exports in 2004 were 1.8 mbpd, down to 1.5 mbpd in 2007 (EIA), and I estimate down to around 1.0 mbpd in 2008.

Look at it this way. We're getting a sneak preview thanks to these hurricanes. Message: don't rely on either US or Mexican GOM production. If the hurricanes keep smashing the rigs, we won't waste the next decade on the delusion that offshore can save us. Investors won't waste as much money on modernizing Gulf Coast infrastructure for oil that we know will never come.

I didn't say it was a free sneak preview, though.

Drill Here! Drill Now! Pay....ummm, uh, oh never mind.

UK Scottish Power said its increasing retail gas(NG) prices by 34% and electricity by 9% from 1st September, due to higher gas and coal prices.


Edit: RWE Npower in the UK has also just raised gas(NG) by 26% and electricity by 14%.

Russia have got Europe over a barrel.

So do the Gulf states, and yet strangely, even with all the anxiety surrounding Islamic terrorism, we keep buying their oil and LNG. The major difference being that the Gulf states have halted oil deliveries due to the actions of the West, while the Russians, like the Soviets before, never have.

This is not to dismiss the position of the Russians to use blackmail to achieve their aims - it is just whether we are talking about the Russians being in a supplier/purchaser relation with Western Europe, or one of being poised to attack. I know pretty well what the people currently in charge in DC think about this, but these are the same people that lied to their citizens and the world to invade an oil rich country.

Every price increase in utilities decreases the time required to break even on ROI for locally generated wind/solar power. If one were to assume a 5% increase in electricity prices YR/YR, then a $30,000 solar power system would pay for itself in 15 years, with a payout of roughly $33,000 in 25 years. This is assuming a monthly bill that starts out at $110/yr, $5/watt installed cost for the 6kw solar system, and 900kwh/mo consumption. I picked these numbers, as they are roughly what my old home consumed and would need to provide sufficient power for that home, given the amount of sun at my location. Obviously, your wattage may vary, and it's quite possible I messed up on the numbers somewhere, so don't take it as gospel, it's merely to illustrate the point of increasing fuel costs for fossil fuels presenting an opportunity for renewable energy systems.

Please note that the Base and 5% Inflate for the first year are the same, as I'm not applying the inflation to the first year. The inflation is calculated as a yearly total, and not a monthly pro-rated 5%, which would make for a higher number.

Base	        5% Inflate	PYR Tot	        CUR YR Tot	ROI	        Year
$1,320.00	$1,320.00	$0.00	        $1,320.00	-$28,680.00	1 yr
$1,320.00	$1,386.00	$1,320.00	$2,706.00	-$27,294.00	2 yr
$1,386.00	$1,455.30	$2,706.00	$4,161.30	-$25,838.70	3 yr
$1,455.30	$1,528.07	$4,161.30	$5,689.37	-$24,310.64	4 yr
$1,528.07	$1,604.47	$5,689.37	$7,293.83	-$22,706.17	5 yr
$1,604.47	$1,684.69	$7,293.83	$8,978.52	-$21,021.48	6 yr
$1,684.69	$1,768.93	$8,978.52	$10,747.45	-$19,252.55	7 yr
$1,768.93	$1,857.37	$10,747.45	$12,604.82	-$17,395.18	8 yr
$1,857.37	$1,950.24	$12,604.82	$14,555.06	-$15,444.94	9 yr
$1,950.24	$2,047.75	$14,555.06	$16,602.82	-$13,397.18	10 yr
$2,047.75	$2,150.14	$16,602.82	$18,752.96	-$11,247.04	11 yr
$2,150.14	$2,257.65	$18,752.96	$21,010.61	-$8,989.39	12 yr
$2,257.65	$2,370.53	$21,010.61	$23,381.14	-$6,618.86	13 yr
$2,370.53	$2,489.06	$23,381.14	$25,870.19	-$4,129.81	14 yr
$2,489.06	$2,613.51	$25,870.19	$28,483.70	-$1,516.30	15 yr
$2,613.51	$2,744.19	$28,483.70	$31,227.89	$1,227.89	16 yr
$2,744.19	$2,881.39	$31,227.89	$34,109.28	$4,109.28	17 yr
$2,881.39	$3,025.46	$34,109.28	$37,134.75	$7,134.75	18 yr
$3,025.46	$3,176.74	$37,134.75	$40,311.49	$10,311.49	19 yr
$3,176.74	$3,335.57	$40,311.49	$43,647.06	$13,647.06	20 yr
$3,335.57	$3,502.35	$43,647.06	$47,149.41	$17,149.41	21 yr
$3,502.35	$3,677.47	$47,149.41	$50,826.88	$20,826.88	22 yr
$3,677.47	$3,861.34	$50,826.88	$54,688.23	$24,688.23	23 yr
$3,861.34	$4,054.41	$54,688.23	$58,742.64	$28,742.64	24 yr
$4,054.41	$4,257.13	$58,742.64	$62,999.77	$32,999.77	25 yr

This is something I have thought about. Effectively investments like solar wind and conservation are tax free and inflation protected. Opponents who say they might take 20 years to pay off are not comparing them with other investments with the same features. In fact tax protected investments rarely pay more than 4% and inflation protected US bonds pay only 1.5% I think.

If Americans understood that the Dow Jones Index is not inflation-adjusted, they would look at their financial situation very differently. A 13,000 Dow today is probably only worth what a 9000 Dow was worth 8 years ago.

I view it as mostly a money sink because they won't last 25 years.

Power Play reference in today's Drumbeat comes from that hopeful side of the human race that says "if we have lemons, lets make lemonade!" So far, so good. (Provided we also have sugar and water.)

But why does every major problem seem to require a "war" analogy for its solution or mitigation?

We often use an analogy of a wartime mobilization. In a town, you have the business community, the environmental activists, the academics, and the town council, and they often don’t have a lot to do with one another. They may be quite antagonistic. But we are not going to get anywhere if we don’t get people working together.

(War on drugs, war on cancer, war on peak oil....") In reality, war serves only to aggrandize the few at the expense of the many-- admittedly while making the many feel-- for a while, until they realize they have been screwed-- like they are part of a team.

Can TOD come up with another meme, another way of looking at reality? War implies a cooperation against something -- a real or imagined deadly opponent (Germans, Russians, Venezuelans, "Arabs", cancers, famines... to use modern historical examples). Surely there is a way to make human beings cooperate in favor of something. Something like "let's all work toward a sustainable town, and extend it to a sustainable village because if feels right to do that."

I don't personally know enough about mass psychology to know how to go about this -- or even if it is possible. I do know that one of the seminal studies, Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power suggests that the fundamental principal in organizing a crowd of people is the same as training dogs -- the command, and the fundamental command is kill. Canetti got a Nobel Prize. Does that mean that he is right, and that is all there is to people?

Germany generally doesn't use the war metaphor - are we talking about people, or Americans?

My suspicion is that German diffidence to the W-word is a temporary thing. Memories seem to be fading fast. The dominoes are lining up again like pre-WWI

The shoes seem completely reversed to me. In WWI, the Allies were the agressors, specifically Russia, which started the Great War by mobilizing against Germany and Austria. This more or less forced Germany to mobilize against Russia & its allies (France & England), after Germany's last-ditch desperate attempts to forestall the war failed. This time it is the Allies (the US in particular, but NATO in general) who are being belligerent towards Russia. The end result, however, might be the same for Germany -- drug into a losing war against its will.

Couldn't agree more. Once again, framing rules cognition.

I think the reaction to the use of the word "wartime" is misplaced. It's just used as an evocative synonym for "large-scale and broad-based" and refers to the needed activation of the society.

As Rob Hopkins put on his blog, Transition Culture, "How might our response to peak oil and climate change look more like a party than a protest march?" IOW, it's NOT about against at all... the Transition Movement is about organizing toward a more positive future. I'm having fun brewing a Transition Initiative myself!

The word "project" comes to mind since it has been used for war and domestic purposes. The Apollo Project analogy has been suggested but what we have is a national security issue calling for a response comparable to a wartime mobilization. For the industrialized nations it calls for the suspension of the production of some products so raw materials will be affordable. We don't need aluminum beverage cans but we do need aluminum high voltage cables for the necessary improvements to the grid. We don't need large SUVs but we do need the steel for railroad tracks. We don't need cell phones for every man, woman, child, and pet but we do need the silicon for PV systems and other electronic materials for inverters and motor controllers.

I remember reading elsewhere that Germany already has a year's worth of natural gas in storage, and it has the EU's third largest natural gas reserves (which isn't saying that much, admittedly). Not finding any information quickly, I put a few facts together, some a couple of years old.

I can't really find much in the way of a link, but here is an English one about new storage being built - http://www.wingas.de/pi-080519.html?&L=1 Including this tidbit 'WINGAS has the largest natural gas storage facility in Western Europe – with a working gas volume of over four billion cubic meters, and the company also participates in Central Europe's second largest storage facility in Haidach, Austria.' The new facility being built will 'have a capacity of approximately 1.2 billion cubic meters.'

Using data from http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Germany/NaturalGas.html and converting measurements (hopefully correctly - billion/milliard and trillion/billionen can be a bit messy), one company already has storage for roughly 5% of Germany's natural gas needs for an entire year. And considering that Germany roughly produces 20% of its own natural gas consumption, that 5% of total consumption in just two storage facilities almost covers a month's worth of natural gas consumption.

Which is still not really an accurate number, of course - consumption is not really an average, due to winter.

In other words, though reasonable to assume that the Germans likely have at least a winter's worth of gas in storage, if not a full year, they are also being typically German, and worrying about not being adequately prepared in case something goes really wrong.

This is just an illustration of how different countries approach upcoming challenges, and why even reading an article can be viewed quite differently depending on perspective. From a German perspective, such planning is simply being prudent - after all, who wants to freeze in the winter? Or the next one, for that matter. Or the winter following that one - which also ties into major German efforts on insulating homes, solar hot water heating, long term use of forests as a source of fuel, etc.

From an alarmist perspective, one could get the impression that Germany is suddenly being confronted with a crisis, another crisis in a long series of such unforeseeable crises which will lead to the end of the world as we know it.

Or one could call this business as usual in Germany - planning for the long term, looking at a problem pragmatically, and attempting to find solutions, some for the shorter term, some that may work over the longer term.

This is considered absolutely normal here, by the way. It is not easy to panic people who are used to looking into the future to be able to meet it, since they also accept that mistakes happen too. And why might the German's be increasing storage? How about because Germans realize that the bear is back, and instead of buying a couple of bombers at 1 billion dollars each, they are trying handle the bear rationally, instead of enraging it. Including being able to handle months of disruption without having to make life or death decisions.

How is that hurricane in the Gulf developing by the way? Lucky the U.S. has prepared so well for such utterly predictable occurrences, isn't it? I mean, no reason to panic, is there? National differences should not be ignored when discussing global issues is the simple point I am trying to make.

Having lived in Germany for 4 years, I understand exactly what you are saying. Coming back to the United States was quite a cultural shock and made me realize that we needed to get over the meme that we are the "greatest country in the world". The Germans will progress to the point where they need little or no natural gas to keep warm through the combination of super insulated homes and solar thermal. In the mean time, the U.S. will waste billions of dollars on what wrongly think is "defense".

The FEMA "plan" for post Katrina New Orleans is a hope and a prayer.

"the greatest country in the history of the world" was what I remember hearing from American politicians when I was growing up in the US in the 70s and 80s........I thought it was kind of funny. How exactly would anyone know that? I think Obama is not using this kind of rhetoric, by the way.

I wonder if there are any private or public/private nonprofit initiatives anywhere in the USA to prepare even small neighborhoods for declining energy supplies in the way that Germany is preparing. For instance, are there any non-profits out there offering initiatives to retrofit existing houses with passive energy-efficiency measures like insulation? I would gladly donate money to them if they needed it.

I still find myself amazed by how the USA has been turned into a nation of children in grown-up bodies, living only for short-term gratification and utterly incapable of taking a long view of anything. My own experience has been that talking to neighbors or co-workers about the issues we are facing generally causes their eyes to glaze over. Or the co-workers (mostly engineers) start spouting off about how they don't believe in climate change, or that "technology will somehow come up with a way" to keep things going on as usual. Only one neighbor ever really "got it", and he was a Hispanic immigrant who worked for a city maintenance crew. We had a long conversation and barely understood each other, but he came to understand Peak Oil. I had that conversation just before I escaped from Southern California.

There was a few years ago a DOE program that insulated the homes of the disabled and elderly if they lived in certain low income neighborhoods. They added insulation to my home but my mother-in-law's house just a few blocks away was on the wrong side of the street for the program's regulations.

In a perverse way energy efficiency and some renewables are considered bad for the economy. Add insulation and for the next several decades you buy less fuel. Add PV or wind and you stop buying as much electricity. Free fuels like wind and sunlight don't add to the GDP and keep you dependent on fossil fuel companies. Even utility scale projects in wind and solar means the utility buys less coal or gas which means less GDP. GDP is such a bad measure of economic well being for the average person but the rich and powerful of both parties have become addicted to its use. We aren't addicted to oil. We are addicted to GDP.

Why would it be impossible to add solar power etc to GDP?
The energy input do useful work and adds to the value of houses etc.
It would not be nearly as strange as excluding food and energy from inflation calculations.

I'm currently working on a pilot program in Omaha, NE to reduce energy consumption by 25% neighborhood wide. 100 no-cost energy audits were provided to residents of the target neighborhood and a survey was sent to all 1500 households in the neighborhood to collect data. After that, residents met to develop a "Neighborhood Energy Action Plan" to figure out the best ways to get the whole neighborhood to reduce residential energy by 25%.

We don't have any funds to make improvements for people, but we have worked with a local hardware store for a discount on energy efficiency products and in September we will have an "Insulation 101" workshop where we hope to get a group of neighbors together to negotiate with insulation contractors on bulk pricing.

After all elements of the action plan have been implemented, there will be follow-up energy audits in the same 100 homes to verify what has been done and why changes have been made (or why not).

If you want to find out more and see a copy of the Neighborhood Energy Action Plan, visit: www.unomaha.edu/energysavers

2009 Old Farmers Almanac weighs in on Climate Change


...Old Farmers Almanac ...

Now there is a scientific authority for you!

If you think that selective rewrite of "history" is anything valid, you simply are willfully ignoring what has been written on the subject.

Hard to believe the Farmer's Almanac is run by idiots. It's like finding out Ben Franklin was a savant rather than a genius...

Anyone who thinks the Earth jumping to a cold phase would *not* be a result of climate change is... an idiot. It's been clearly stated for years.


My worst fears have been realized, McCain has nominated Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. And many of the pundits on TV are agreeing with my early assumption that a female on his ticket will pull many, perhaps millions, of Hillary supporters to his ticket.

I am sad, very sad. It looks like once again the Democrats have snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Ron Patterson

I think you are writing Obama's obituary a little early. This will make it tougher, but I think it will still be a very close race.

MI, OH, VA, WI, FL, PA: These could go either way.

The running mates don't matter. The hairdos on TV like to pretend they do, because it gives them something to talk about.

I thought this was going to be a close race all along, no matter what happened at the conventions or who the running mates were. Yes, people are sick to death of Bush & Co. But this is a conservative nation, and the electoral math favors the red states.

I kinda knew it would be Palin early this morning. CNN reported that a private jet flew from Alaska to Dayton, OH. Very few planes travel between those destinations.

I guess McCain has cemented his reputation as a maverick. Many find this choice very odd.

My personal favorite scenario:

Obama wins: WI, MI, OH, CO, VA

McCain wins: FL, PA

Result: 269 to 269 Electoral tie. It's not that far-fetched a scenario.


Then we can stop the recount, and have the real vote.
Last time it was 5 to 4.
It will be 6 to 3 this time.

Screw any recounts. If this garbage happens again, the pitchforks are gonna come out of the barns and into the streets.

Pitchforks, and torches! You really gotta have torches for the full effect! I'm ready...

sure...throw in some tar and feathers for good measure.

I think we have the spirit of thing! :-)

I thought this was going to be a close race all along, no matter what happened at the conventions or who the running mates were. Yes, people are sick to death of Bush & Co. But this is a conservative nation, and the electoral math favors the red states.

Leanan, I think you've pretty well summed up the US political dynamic in a nutshell.

And I suspect the US is becoming more conservative, not less, as time goes by.

Which, incidentally, is perhaps more favourable to the prospect of a future woman president.

Historically, on the world stage, traditional and conservative cultures have tended to be more likely to select women heads of government. And during swings to the right, more likely to select women of distinctively conservative / hard-nosed persuasion.
Golda Mier in Israel
Indira Gandhi in India
Margaret Thatcher in the U.K.
Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan

Even in Canada, it was the Conservative Party which gave Kim Campbell a shot at the Prime Minister's job, although she was on the progressive side of the party, and ended up serving ever so briefly.

Paradoxes abound as per usual: the feminist mystique appears to work better for the right than left.

An "only Nixon could go to China" type thing, maybe?

I disagree Darwinian, I think this takes experience off the table, helping Obama. Time will tell though.

Also Obama has to use this quote against her in a attack ad:

Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s "Kudlow & Co." asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain ticket mate.
Palin replied: "[A]s for that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that V.P .slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question."

I agree with the A.D.

While Republicans have argued and will argue that Obama doesn't have a lot of experience, the huge difference between Obama and Palin is that we have had several years to evaluate Obama, ever since his speech four years ago at the DNC convention, and through the endless primary process. And of course, Biden has been in D.C. for decades.

Given McCain's age and health history, the VP pick is very important, and I think that the real problem for the Republicans is that voters only have a few weeks to evaluate Palin as a possible president, if something happens to McCain. She is a total unknown to probably 99% of the voters.

One of the CNBC analysts described the choice as "insane." We shall see.

Edit. Update from Politico:


“I don’t know much about her,” Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told CNN this morning. “I don't know Sarah Palin."

. . . Former DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel portrayed Palin as a risky pick for a 72-year-old candidate with health problems in his past. "After trying to make experience the issue of this campaign, John McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday by appointing a former small-town mayor and brand new governor as his vice presidential nominee,” he said. “ Is this really who the Republican Party wants to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency?”

But this is my favorite part:

Palin’s conservative credentials certainly aren’t in question. Among other things, she has backed the teaching of “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution. “I am a proponent of teaching both evolution and intelligent design," Palin said in a debate during her run for the governor’s office. "And, you know, I say this, too, as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution."

So candidates do not need governing experience; they just need campaign experience?

If she did not have to take over for a few years, presumably her understudy as VP would equal his 2-3 years running for president.

My point is that voters only have a few weeks to evaluate Palin as a potential president--versus the years that we have had to evaluate Obama and versus Biden's long experience in D.C. I'm not arguing experience per se; I am simply pointing out that McCain is presenting voters with someone who is virtually unknown to almost all of them--and virtually unknown to most politicians in D.C.

In one fell swoop, IMO McCain has made Obama/Biden the safer choice, which is probably why the CNBC guy described the choice as "insane."

The main issue is still the head of the ticket versus the head of the ticket. I think Palin is an inspired choice and will help McCain more than anyone else that he could have chosen. To most people she will say youth, change, maverick and diversity. The Democrats are already making the case that experience does not matter this cycle.

The main issue is still the head of the ticket

Yes, but. . . you have a 72 year old cancer survivor with other health problems at the head of the ticket. Given valid concerns about his health, McCain has presented us with someone unknown to almost all voters and to most politicians, who believes that Creationism and Evolution are equally valid theories.

If I understand the following table, there is a 3.3% chance that an average 72 year old will die within one year. A question for Gail, or someone else. What is the probability that an average 72 year old male will die within four years?


If McCain can survive for two years, she has the same level of experience as Obama does now. New is great for the news media. Did you see her on the cover of Vogue in a nightgown? She will greatly mix up the dynamic for the next three month.

Re creationism, Republicans have to throw bones like that to their base. She is just saying we have to be fair to religious people.

She does not need to appeal to you. Just people in the middle who are still in play and people like me who are uncomfortable with Obama (I like the fact that he is black).

Notice how McCain got a bigger boost out of this than Obama got out the convention?

Re creationism, Republicans have to throw bones like that to their base. She is just saying we have to be fair to religious people.

Not to me she isn't! She's saying to me that she is either a liar in that she doesn't believe in creationism and is just pandering to that anti-science, anti-critical thinking and ultimately anti-intelligence portion of the american public or that she believes what she says and is a member of the anti-science portion of the american public. Either way, to me a vote for a professed creationist is a vote for taking the country a step towards a backwater religious theocracy.

Too late, my friend. I'm afraid we're pretty much there already.

She's also saying she doesn't believe in the separation of church and state and that the schools should be a primary source of moral education.

One is unconstitutional, the other just crazy: teachers are no more moral than anyone else. They're just people.


who believes that Creationism and Evolution are equally valid theories.

But most of America prefers Creationism.

Well, I guess we get the politicians that we deserve. Call me paranoid, but I just find it "somewhat" unsettling to contemplate the possibility that someone--who 99% of us never heard of before and who may (?) believe that the world is only 5,000 years old--may end up in control of thousands of nuclear weapons.

Isn't this the year for out of nowhere? Where we need to get away from corrupt Washington?

Alaska has surged to become the most corrupt state in the Union today.


I think Sterling is right in this case. The arguments about inexperience and "we don't know her" apply just as much to Obama as to Palin. Maybe more so. At least her family is in the US, and she grew up here.

I disagree. The election is in a little over two months, and McCain is presenting someone as VP who probably has about a 1% name recognition with voters (and perhaps not a whole lot more with politicians). I think that voters are going to be very uneasy, especially given the fact that there is probably about a one in seven chance that she will become president in the first four year term, perhaps more if we run the odds of a 72 year old cancer survivor living for four more years.

I don't think she's as unknown as you think. I knew who she was, because on a couple of other sites I hang out at, guys often post cheesecake photos of her. (Along with penetrating political commentary like "Hawt" and "I'd hit that.")

Okay, that's probably not how she wants to be known. But if you look at the GOP blogs now...they are ecstatic. They think McCain hit a home run with this pick. They love this woman.

you post at FC too?

Apparently not, since I have no clue what FC is.

Leanan - "At least her family is in the US"

I realize you're making the comment from the perspective of how Joe Sixpack might view the candidates but when you raise the issue of one's national origins as a measure of your Patiotism it gets under my skin. My mother retained her British citizenship in lieu of American citizenship (which she could have easily achieved). I am a Vietnam Era Veteran and if anybody ever questioned my patriotism because of my mother's national origin I'd be tempted to punch them in the nose.

I was born and raised in Hawaii, like Obama. And I wish I had a dime for every time a mainland American asked me "What language do they speak in Hawaii?" Or asked questions like, "Do they eat pizza or hamburgers in your country?"

I've been to Hawaii, they eat pineapple and pig at the Luau:)

I have lived in New Mexico for two periods in my life. I had always got a kick of the the magazine column "one of our fifty is missing", dealing with the difficulties of citizens dealing with ignorant people in the rest of the country (asking for passports, refusing to cash foreign checks etc.), then those things started happening to me.

So I guess more than one state is missing from the national mental map?

In that vein, Biden is from Delaware. I bet Delaware (with the possible exception of Rhode Island), is the state the greatest number of citizens couldn't find on a map.

Everyone knows Americans are always up on geography and other intelligent subjects:


At least you know your President and Secretary of State have it all together:


(please note, somewhat dated to Dubya's first term... then again, one never knows for sure)

If the probability of dying in a given year is 0.033, then the probability of not dying in a given year is 1-0.033 = 0.967.
Therefore, the probability of not dying in 4 years is (0.967)^4
Therefore, the probability of dying during any of the 4 years is 1-(0.967)^4 = 12.6%.

So the probability of McCain dying in office is 12.6%.

Note that as he ages, the probability of dying in a given year increases. So the actual probability is somewhat greater than 12.6%

You mean in his first term.

Yes, I meant in his first term as President if he gets elected.

Another way of looking at it:

The US has had 43 Presidents.

Four were murdered while in office, three died of natural causes while in office, and one resigned before his term expired.

Thus, 8/43, or 19% of the presidents failed to serve out their office to the completion of their term.

That suggests that there might be something like a one in five chance that any given president might not serve out his/her full term.

We've had six presidents since the last one exited early. If either McCain or Obama serves out their full term(s), they'll be extending the streak to seven. How lucky do you feel?


From life expectancy tables

72 years (1-.032978) x
73 years (1-.036086) x
74 years (1-.039506) x
75 years (1-.043415) = (1-.856432) or 14.3568% chance of dying in office.

But don't forget, McCain's a maverick (and a celebrity). Those tables only apply to boring people.

McCain has melanoma cancer. So does my brother.

It is a skin cancer that metastasizes into a brain tumor which is what happened to my brother in October of last year. After brain surgery and chemotherapy he is still alive.

While given months to live at the time of diagnosis, he now appears to be cancer free.

But while the cancer may be in remission it can reappear at any time as evidenced by McCain recently having a spot of it removed from his face. One is never free of this type of cancer. It is lurking in the body and waiting to strike again.

In could happen that a brain tumor of melanoma cancer developes while he is in office. My brother only realized something was wrong when he felt "out of it".

Do we really want a President that is in such precarious health and 72-76 years old? I am nearly 66 years old. I am not as quick and can not recall things as well as I use to.

Young drivers for example have no patience with older drivers because they are slow. They are slow for a reason. From their point of view they are driving as fast as they can. That is what age does.

The world goes on at the pace of the young because that is what most people are. Those who survive to be older can not keep up the pace.

Further evidence that McCain is "out of it" is his unwillingness to use computers and the internet. He doesn't want to learn new things. He thinks he knows it all and there is nothing to be gained in something new which is a common point of view of the elderly.

But the main thing about McCain that is scary is that he doesn't realize this stuff and behaves as if he is 20 years younger by seeking the Presidency. It's as though an elderly driver started driving like a 20 something.

Very dangerous.

WT - Creationism and Evolution are equally valid theories

It's interesting that you referred to Creationism and Evolution as theories as if they should be compared equally. The problem for most people is they don't understand what an actual theory is.

In science an hypothesis is an educated guess...A theory is a proven hypothesis that has duplicability and has been peer reviewed.

Evolution is a theory.

Creationism isn't even an hypothesis. I group it into the realm of Freud's Nursery containing wish fantasies such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.


I was using the shorthand of the Creationist crowd.

Imagine theres no heaven and no religion too...John Lennon

Lennon would have got Peak Oil.

Creationism isn't even an hypothesis. I group it into the realm of Freud's Nursery containing wish fantasies such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

That's your classification.
Fortunately most Americans believe all life emanates from God.

It looks like the priests of the great god science can't help putting the ass before you and me.
It just amazes me how cocksure atheists think they have it right.
Such rigid thinking has no basis in fact.

For scientists, a fact is something which is assumed to be true, at least for the purposes of whatever they are doing at the moment, but which might be refuted at some point.


Fortunately most Americans believe all life emanates from God.

Wich god of the, umm, "documented" deities?
And wich interpretation of that god is the correct one?

Gee, let me look that one up on Wikipedia.

The curious part of the atheist stance is the dogmatic belief is that THERE IS NO GOD! FOR ANYONE!

They attack the notion of God with the same zeal Leanan deletes my posts.

Of course there are gods, there are lots of them, living inside peoples heads. And figments in a humans mind can affect the behaviour as much as the physical reality, it can even be more important for that human then the physical reality.

A large part of the discussion on this board is about what people believe in and how that affects what we do. Lots of people here attack what they consider being "living in a fantasy land" and if living withouth regard for the physiocal reality is bad quite a lot of religious beliefs comes into open season. But that can be counter productive since religion seems to sate a psycological need, lots of peopel need God, or a god, or gods, or whatever and I would not be suprised if belief in a deities non existance could sate some of those needs.

It would overall be less irritating if more of the religions could update their storytelling with modern knowledge about how intricate and beutiful the universe is instead of sticking to outdated fantasy stories.

A lot of people on this site display an arrogance of modernity that demeans our ancestors and the beliefs that were of utmost import to them.
What I find ironic is they rejoice in the scientific paradigm as freeing them from the ignorance of the religious life most lived in the past, in the next breath they decry it for destroying the natural world, the very same one that our religious ancestors managed to do quite well in.
So to me if you are looking for deeper meaning in life, science is the least likely source.

As for your statement, "living in a fantasy land" how certain can one be that the reality one perceives, even in its mystery, is all there is to life?
Many people feel the presence of God in their life to the extent that the physical world pales in comparison.
Portraying beings of this sort as having to "sate a psycological need" is a complete failure to the understanding of spirit.

Foolish are they who turn their backs to the sun and argue over the shadow.

Sterling has it right. AND...

Palin highlights Obama's inexperience.

Obama's convention bounce may start resembling a dead cat since the MSM has fallen in love with Palin. I see liberals heading for the exits.

By the way...any of you guys out there Democrats? You're kidding me, right? We can all argue the number of angels that can dance on a pin forever, but it won't change the stalemate that constitutes our two-party system. All I see is a big SUV heading over the cliff, pedal to the metal, no matter who gets elected.

Good point doomer. Palin has no more experience than Bill Clinton had when he became president. Just yesterday ole Billy Boy was making the case that being a governor is an excellent training ground for the presidency. It will be interesting for this old libertarian watching the blues and reds step on their own tongues until the election.

Palin has been governor of Alaska for two years, Clinton was governor of Arkansas for 12 years. That is one hell of a difference. Before becoming governor Palen was mayor of a town of 8,500. But I hope AD is correct, Palen may turn out to be kind of a joke. She, if elected, will be a heartbeat away from a very old and frail president. That is scary.

Ron Patterson

The Republican party in Alaska is up to its eyeballs in corruption. They're in so deep even the Bush administration is prosecuting them(!). I wonder if Palin is clean of all that. If not, it could be very embarrassing for McCain, unless he's got an "all clear" from Bush that they'll cover for Palin.

The GOP members of Alaska's legislature are investigating the unethical if not illegal firing of an official who refused to break the civil service law and fire a state trooper who happened to a former brother-in-law. When it comes to family matters she doesn't believe in the rule of law just like a certain VP of recent years.

You guys really should read up on someone's record before trashing them. It only highlights your lack of understanding.

Palin has been cleaning up the Alaska Republican party since before she took office as Governor. It's all online in Wiki. Next time, do a little research.

The senator from Alaska has been indicted, the only congressmen from the state is under investigation. How is that not corruption?

On the other hand, the Democratic party in Chicago is so clean, they're the shining example for their ugly cuz in Detroit to follow!

Americans in general love outsiders - isn't that partly how Obama sells himself?

Palin will shout DRILL HERE... she will be an outsider known for campaigning for reform... she looks good on TV. In short, no wonder the Democrat's talking heads are doing whatever they can today to find talking points against her that will stick.

Ultimately the VP choice doesn't matter that much, I think. It will liven up the debate though. It will be interesting observe any "debates" between the VP candidates, if they hold any.

I don't know a thing about Palin but when I see she's squeezing out more offspring in her forties that tells me that we would be in store for more "right to life" dogma.

I don't particularly care for either party, they are both the party of "empire" but last night Obama bridged the subject of abortion and family planning as part of his platform. That appeals to my bias of: LESS PEOPLE!

Palin has no more experience than Bill Clinton had when he became president.

Please. Clinton had been elected governor four times and had server 12 years. John Kennedy had served 14 years in congress. Obama had one year in congress before he started to run for president.

Palin has no less experience than Obama had before he started to run for president. Executive experience (governor, mayor) is more relevant for president than is legislative experience. She also had a more diverse background being a woman compared to being a black man. Even today in the US a very inexperienced black man beats a very experienced woman.

How could that help Obama? I think we have a pretty good example of an activist VP in the current administration. Ms. Palin could slot right in -- the power structure is in place, the bureaucracy is already built out. Seems like a truly diabolically clever move.

Alaska is about oil and gas-- and pipelines through Canada. And we need to get rid of the Jones act so cheap foreign labor can man the LNG tankers to bring product from Alaska to U.S. ports (instead of needing U.S. owned and crewed tankers.)

It's not the job of women in the Christian Right to actually make decisions, but to act as a Victorian "moral example" while their husbands run things. In Palin's case the husband is problematic. The intention is that Cheney's existing personnel will remain in place to relay orders from Dick & Co. to McSame, so Palin won't be needed to do anything except photo ops. She certainly won't disagree with Cheney's schemes to keep the dying American oil empire going.

I guess she was hired as TV counterprogramming; she counters Biden's son-in-Iraq audience, Obama's glass-ceilings audience, etc, etc, etc. I am very curious to see if the Christian Right voters can overcome their hatred of any blow against patriarchy to vote for a woman who shares nearly all of their other prejudices.

Right on. It will be as though Cheney never left. And there are some very positive things about Ms. Palin -- she puts her money and her emotional effort where her mouth is when it comes to raising children.

I may not agree with the Republican agenda, but I think they are brilliant strategists. We'll see.

I don't know, Ron. Sarah Palin comes complete with her own ethics investigation. She tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired after he went through a nasty divorce with her sister. When the guy's boss, the Public Safety Commissioner, refused to fire the brother-in-law, she fired the Public Safety Commissioner

Investigation to begin into whether Governor Sarah Palin abused her power in firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan

If you click through on the link, you'll find that the Joint Legislative Council, composed of Republicans and Democrats, voted 12 to 0 to call for an investigation.

It's an ongoing investigation. I'm sure the Republicans will spin this one for all they're worth, and the media will probably either go along or ignore it. But just linking Sarah Palin with the words "ethics investigation" often enough might do the trick.

Palin also has an email scandal brewing. She could be the gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats, if they have the guts to pursue her scandals.

That said, I think she's a smart pick for the Republicans. They're geniuses at great marketing for lousy products. And Palin, a pro-life, anti-science, go-getter mom, is great marketing for McCain. She secures his standing with the religious right and adds a gloss of beauty and glamour (dare I say "celebrity"? She was a TV anchor) to his tired old image at the same time.

The question that should concern this board is what does she mean for America's energy future. Does she bring anything new to the table? She's too much of an unknown for me to figure that out.

The TV pundits agree with you?

Be afraid..be very afraid!

I'm convinced Obama is a total Peak Oiler (though no doomer) while McSame is literally dripping in the stuff. I can't help wondering if GOP governor Palin of the indicted Ted 'Tubes' Stevens/Don Young/ Big Oil wing of the Republican Party(95% of it) isn't up to her deriere in the increasingly pricy goo.

God help 'em if another Katrina hits during their love-fest.

If the third hit on America's offshore oil future in a single 4 year term isn't a message from God then I don't know my 'signs and wonders'.

'Yet I [God] will make [him] so obstinate that, despite the many signs and wonders that I will work in the land he will not listen to you..'

Spread the message.

GOD wants you to get off oil, folks.

Of all the things you could say about Sarah Palin, "Friend of Big Oil" is not one of them:


However, I think the pick is a disaster for McCain. People are going to seriously question his judgment over this.

.....haha INDEED!

Epic Failure John !


"....disaster for McCain "

wondering what qualifications she had to be chief of the o & g commission, let alone commander in chief, chief executive of the usa ?

Won't there be a brutal contrast between Palin's youth and beauty and her 70 something running mate?
She will make him look even older.


I'll say it...what if McSame(God forbid) is elected and dies in office (at age+72) !

Leaving us with Miss Alaska in charge?


The reason Palin's up is that McSame likes to surround himself with young babes. Kewl!


Palin's kind of Hot! What if somebody gets a hold of her husbands stash of private porn...the internet is a ruthless place.

This might help seal it for Obama. Whole lot of people right now saying "who the hell is Sarah Palin?" They'll read about lack of experience, lack of exposure, ties to oil. They'll ask McCain's own question: Who's better qualified to lead?

I think this boosts the dems.


You're right about all those questions. Same ones they asked about Bill Clinton before he was elected president. Oddly enough, ole Bill was just saying yesterday that being a governor was good training to be the president. And let's not forget that many of those 18 million that voted for Hillary did so because they wanted to se a WOMAN make that big political step. As an old libertarian I'm really looking forward to the next couple of months. We'll never win but it's always fun to sit back and watch the hypocrisies of the blues and reds. Too bad the American people will be the butt of the joke.

Repeating your "same ones the asked about Bill ..." lines don't make them any more meaningful. A quick comparison may be in order:
Clinton: BS in Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Rhodes Scholar at Oxford; JD in Law from Yale; 2 years as Attorney General of Arkansas; 12 years as Governor.
Palin: BA in Communications; 4 years part time city council member of Wisilla, at that time estimated to have a population of 6,500; 6 years as Mayor of the same town, by the time she left office the population was estimated at 8,900; 19 months as governor of a state with one fourth the population of Arkansas.

Further, at least according to my wife, a strong Hillary supporter with close ties to several disaffected Hillary supporters, none of her group see having a anti-abortion right-wing religious fundamentalist in the second spot on the Repub ticket as anythign approaching the same as having Hillary in the top spot on the Dem ticket. Aleady today 3 of the ones who had moved to the fence have called her to say they will now back Obama. One said McCain's choice was like getting slapped in the face with patronizing cynicism.

I think that this is going to backfire on McCain big time. Look at this way. Compare Obama's choice of VP to McCain's. Who showed better judgment? I think that McCain will be seen as trying to pander to the female vote and, more importantly, to the social conservatives in the GOP.

As noted above, the key problem for voters--and for most politicians in DC--is that she is a complete unknown and we only have a few weeks to evaluate her as a potential president.

I think Palin is a better choice for McCain than Biden is for Obama (who could have chosen Clinton). She is no Dan Quayle. He would be grooming her to take over the party. After a few years no matter what she would be a national power house, someone who might even rival Clinton.

She has a very compelling life story (for a Republican). She gave a very good speach today. Much better than Biden who is passionate but disorganised.

Dream on.

Know thy enemies. I am a Democrat.

westexas - Better judgment my ass! Biden has a screw loose. Would you give a speech about a family history that you claimed was yours but was not? In 1987 Biden quickly withdrew when it was pointed out that his speech "my father was a coal miner" had nothing to do with his family, but rather was Niel Kinnock's speech -an individual in Brithis politics, but Biden "liked" the speech.

It's such a cheap play for women's votes. Gonna backfire.

Right, because the American people are above being pandered to. Have you been paying attention?

I don't think they're above being pandered to, but that doesn't mean it will work. If it was that easy, they'd have done it long ago.

In Joe Biden's cue for VP debate:
"Sarah, I know Senator Clinton very well, and you're no Hillary."

CO2 re: no Hillary -- And most of the public thinks "Thank God!"

C'mom Consumer... if McCain's gonna pander, let's see some serious pander... this is so lame it's comic.

In one fell swoop they brought to the ticket:

Maverick (won despite opposing her own party)
Tolerance (signed legislation allowing rights to gay couples)
Not Big Oil beholden (Husband works for BP part of the year, but has rooted out corruption and opposed Big Oil at times)
Tough (opposed own party, hunts, works her own fishing boat)
Feminist (Did YOU know there were Republican feminists?!)
The "Awwww..." factor: Down syndrome child
War sentimentality: son soon off to Iraq... (Barack doesn't support my son!)

Might have been an absolutely brilliant choice...


Absolutely agree.

I absolutely believe that the Rovian GOP machine will be able to keep a pretty tight lid on Palin's negatives and relentlessly play up her positives during this election season.

I think it shows that Rove knows McPOW is going to lose. He wanted Lieberman but Rove knew the base would leave the party rather than vote for him. It would have led to a rout comparable to 1934. So Rove insisted on Palin. They need to get the religious right (who will love a forced-birth, creationist to pieces) out to vote to prevent the Dems from landsliding in the Congressional elections. The tax purists will hate her but they'll do as they're told. Remember, Democrats fall in love, but Republicans fall in line. The hope is to keep enough Senate seats to slow O'Biden down. I've got to say, Romney and Pawlenty and Christ must feel so used right now.


Palin is an inspired choice of counterprogramming that plays to the Repub base and undercuts some of Obama's key arguments against McCain.

Note that my political alignment is "paranoid cynic", so I regard the American presidential election as an interesting theatrical diversion more than anything else.

   I've been thinking this too. They "let" McCain get the nomination because they figure they'll lose this time (he's a good fallguy).
   But because things are so tough (oil, econ, envir.) and likely to fall apart in the next four years(?), if the Dems are in power during the beginning of the collapse (which could be partially forced), the Repugs can blame the left and be swept in as saviors (save-me-daddy, patriarchal rightwing) in another four, with the ability to implement really extreme measures to "protect us" (Shock Doctrine-esque).

I'm waiting to see who McCain picks for his VP.

If the man cannot remember how many houses he owns what is the likelihood he will remember he has already announced a VP pick?

Expect multiple McCain announcements between now and November.

To be fair, he doesn't remember how many houses his wife owns. Maybe she doesn't let him in all of them.

Same excuse as Westexas - blame the wife. It's her lifestyle, not mine. ;-)

Maybe some of you should read the info on her. This might have been a brilliant move. Based on Wikipedia, at least, she blows ol' Hillary out of the water.

Veeeelly interestink!



Personal life

Palin's husband, Todd, is a Yup'ik Alaskan native.[4] Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP energy corporation at an oil field on Alaska's North Slope[52] and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times.[4] The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated from college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street.[4] The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.[53]

On September 11, 2007, the Palins' eighteen-year-old son Track, eldest of five, joined the Army.[53] He now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September 2008. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17; Willow, 13; and Piper, 7.[6]

On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome.[54] She returned to the office three days after giving birth.[10] Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"[10]

Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane.[12][55] Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.[9]

And Palin was chairman of the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and now the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Do I know her position on energy?

(Ever go to one of those energy committee meeting? 90% of the people there are lobbyists.)

Yes, I think I do.


Palin--absolutely WRONG for a world entering into oil depletion.

"And Palin was chairman of the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission..."

and what what were her qualifications to be chairman of the o & g commission ?

this is looking like she "charmed" her way to the top.

I think they should bring her up on child cruelty charges, for naming her kids Track, Willow, Bristol, Piper, and Trig. ;-)

I really don't see anything there that will necessarily appeal to Hillary voters. Palin is anti-abortion. She got her start as a beauty pageant winner. The sports she participates in aren't likely to resonate with the blue-collar, older, liberal voters who liked Hillary.

Good hippie names, one and all. Here, we have Harvest, Forest, Orion, Sky, and Rose;
Shanti, Trinity, Satia, Oni, and a few more.

Syracuse, Hanabal, and Malila.

Lots of interesting names. Malila is Miwok Indian..."Salmon swimming up the swiftly flowing river".

I wasn't referencing Hillary. I was responding to the posts here that automatically dismiss her.

Still looking for the part that qualifies her to be a world leader.

Pat Buchanan: "The huge gamble is that John McCain is 72, he’s had a couple of bouts with cancer." If McCain wins the election, but then were to die or become disabled, Buchanan wondered, "Can this woman be President of the United States?"

How cool would it be if we got our first President with VEEP sex scandal, though!

The whole experience thing is total BS IMO. John McCain hasn't shown in any way that he is qualified to be a world leader, and he is the probable next USA President. I haven't seen any evidence that this woman would be less qualified than McCain. As for the corruption charges, IMO that is what makes her qualified-you don't want anyone that thinks they are actually running things-she looks like she will do as she is told.

Still looking for the part that qualified W to be a world leader.

I was neither vetting nor supporting her. See response to Leanan.


Married to the four-time winner of a 2,000 mile (!!!) snowmobile race. Yeah, I wonder what demographic McSame is shooting for. Guns, ammo, gasoline, that's all ya need!

IMO the pick was cunning-they are going to grab struggling white female voters with this one (a huge % of the populace).

My worst fears have been realized, McCain has nominated Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Why? Because she had a history of calling for Open and Transparent government, or because the calls were not backed up with action?


First, go the State of Alaska website and search the terms "Open and transparent." No fewer than 5 pages appear with soundbites from Governor Palin about her commitment to open and transparent government while speaking about different initiatives.
Second, simply look at history. Time and time again, when Palin has invoked the words open and transparent, there is no mention of the stranded gas act or AGIA as McAllister claims.
In November of 2006 on her campaign website she promised voters, "Sarah will open the door wide to transparent and accountable government."

(Almost a trifecta - oil-gas AND open-transparent government. All it needs is a conspiracy)

I love your posts ... but if I read, or hear, this line again "Democrats have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory" ... I'm going to shoot myself in the head.

Please wait till you cast your absentee vote.


Geesus that made me laugh........good one.

My worse fears are that McCain would do something that would cause me even slightly consider a vote for Obama. He has now done so.

Therefore my choices are one and only one: In disgust to not vote at all.

Instead to turn my back on the whole stupid charade and go back to gardening,survivalism and forget about the rest of the world. I threw the TV out long ago. I have stopped my internet and disconnected my landline. This may be my last post. I have plans to implement. Posting here seems to be useless unless one is beating the drum about the stupid USA and Neocons.

Rants are ok and I have posted my share but every single DB and every single day the derision and goofiness continues. Neocons is a word I am starting to get very very tired of hearing and reading.

I suppose it doesn't matter since one of these days not any of this will matter at all. All that will matter is what to find to eat and where to find some shelter.

Airdale-who canned enough green beans and tomatoes and put up enough corn to last thru two years....see real work....real stuff...

"Therefore my choices are one and only one: In disgust to not vote at all."

Take heart, my good friend. You can always write-in a vote for Jimmy Carter or Ron Paul.

Airdale,I always lean to the words of Robert Heinlein when presented with the usual 'selections' of the lesser of 2 evils.That is to vote "no" on as many items that get my attention.As far as the "choice"we are given this year,I think you and I both know that our lives will be shaped more by the actions in the world these days...like storms and wars than what each politician will mumble about

Luck to you

Why is this such a large blow to you? Do you seriously think that there will be a major difference between what the candidates would do in office? These people are mostly front men - their main role is PR. This is why Reagan was so effective, as he was the only recent president to have direct experience and training in the job he was performing. It didn't matter if what he said was obviously, factually incorrect, he looked good and played the role well. You are falling for the whole masquerade and circus that these elections are. Sure, there are different individual people trying to maneuver to get the best position of power they can, and there are internecine squabbles about who gets the spoils, but behind them the real money and power interests are largely the same.

The real forces that drive what happens are what we discuss here on TOD all the time. The history of the world is full of petty warlords and kings who gained power for some brief moment, only to be swept away by the next big thing. And behind them are the multitudes of regular people who got caught up in it, both true believers and those just trying to get along. So try this mental exercise: take one of those kings and change his name. Or have some other ambitious ass take his place. There - now would anything really be any different? On a local basis, some different decisions would have been made, but long term it wouldn't matter.

If either candidate wins, or if something happens and their VP ends up running things, it will be of little consequence. Kind of like switching from one "news" station to another - you get a different face and a different 'doo, but it's otherwise the same crap.

Do you think the 1960s would have been no different if Richard Nixon had won in 1960?

The prejudices which determine who our front men will be are revealing of the entire nature of inequality and injustice. When JFK broke the bar on Catholics he unopened a Pandora's Box of oppressed and ignored groups who had kept their heads low during the McCarthy witch hunts. He did not intend to do that, but it became bigger than him.

This time around, it isn't just that these groups have been re-suppressed by a white capitalist establishment that otherwise runs things pretty well. This time that establishment has run the planet into a looming disaster, and we need as much dissent by as many troublemakers as possible to break us out of our Reaganite hypnosis. We need people who don't look like us to save us from ourselves.

Good luck with that. Your looming disaster ain't gonna get better when the Evil White Devils aren't on top-try tasting the air in a major Chinese city to get a preview of the future. If you are concerned about a shortage of Catholics in the USA, don't worry-you will have enough on those down the road.

There has been a struggle between the royalists and populists (perhaps those are not the best descriptors) since the founding of the country. But ultimately the tool of the corporate super-citizen prevailed by injecting unlimited money into the political and governing process. There is no tension now, no alternate vision, there is only the generic corporatocracy serving it's owners. This consolidation of power is what we've been watching the last couple of decades. It culminated in the coup of 2000, and the switch to overt, in-your-face projection of power we've seen since then has been possible because there is now little for them to fear internally (combined with a growing understanding of the impacts of PO, etc.).

In the 60's this process was far from complete, and there were still genuine differences between the parties. It still mattered who won. I think that even in 2000 it would have mattered some, but the pace of change has been rapid.

I see Obama as the perfect decoy. You can tell he represents change - look, there's a sign in front of him that says "change", so it must be true. He must be different, 'cause, uh, he looks different. Don't bother to notice what he says, or how he's voted, or what nation's flag that was pinned to his lapel, or where the financing is coming from. No need to wonder how a nobody junior Senator from Illinois got this far. Chant the slogans and feel good about how we're changing the world. Gonna be a lot of disappointed people when nothing really changes.

The system cannot be changed from within, or by participating in the charade of false choices presented. It will only change due to external forces - certainly things like FF depletion, climate change, and economic collapse are enough to accomplish that, but it is unlikely to be pretty or easy or quick. The existing ruling class has consolidated a tremendous amount of power and will not willingly give it up.

Better to keep in mind what forces will really shape our future, and focus on those issues and how to best prepare for that future. No reason to cry about which spokesmodel has been selected, or which faction of thieves is getting the booty now. It won't make much difference anyway.

You have pretty much nailed it twilight,however The powers that have consolidated their grip on Americas controls....little problem though.

Go back a ways to the time of the writing of the Tao Teh king.They Had already figured out that as soon as a societal structure gained total ,complete control the seeds of the destruction of the structure had been sown inside the structure itself.Mayhaps its part of mankinds nature.

Its pretty clear to me from the information from "The automatic earth"and other financial reads that we are well and truly screwed.Lots of people who think they are wealthy elites....are not.How this tsunami that is hitting us slow-motion as we speak will play out is the 64$ question.That is if the war Bush and Cheney are trying to start in the middle east doesn't make it all a moot point.

I bought another 35 raspberry plants to set out tommorow.I have decided to do my spring plowing a little early,and cover w/a ground cloth to stop weeds.This is how I deal with the information I get that upsets my stomach,and thought process.....work on my food machine.It calms me more than anything I can think of...

I hope McCain wins since I got the impression that he is far more for free trade then Obama. This is selfish since free trade is very important for Sweden where I live. We have since before industrialization been a resource exporter and now we mostly export refined and value added physical resources. If our trade gets bogged down in global protectionism we will get an economical slow down, a smaller export surplus and it will be harder for us to import stuff that we need. This would be realy bad in a scenario dominated by peak oil since we need to do lots of investments and other countries need our resources and the output of our industries. Most of our companies and manny institutions also have lean legal and even lean sale staffs, we are in general no good at greasing ugly markets or working around tariffs etc and tend to concentrate on engineering and production to get a competitive edge. This is great for both us and our customers in a low transaction cost environment and thus we benefit from a competently run free trade pax americana globalised world. (And you could do a better job, we are large enough to help some with it but far to small to matter in the grand scale. )

To me, this smacks of some of the foolishnes of McCain.

Supposedly, this is to court all the Hillary women.

Yet Palin is staunchly antiabortion.

No inroads here.

There seems to be a lot of talk here of experience differences. In addition to points made by Oillearner upthread, I see no evidence she can manage the heat of national media exposure, something Obama has managed expertly for a year. Or campaign. Or speak to crowds constantly without putting her foot in her mouth.

Romney would have been such a better pick for the Repubs. He speaks to the base, and offers assurance and stability if McCain should pass. Which I think the electorate will demand this fall. They want a Daddy figure reassuring them all is alright, we'll win and you will be fine.

McCain is trading up 1.40 on Intrade. Obama is up 0.60 (Obama at about 60, McCain at 40).

The "market" seems to like the pick, I guess.

PS, Hillary still trading at 1.50

**McCain now up 2.30**

Q & A from Gregg Erickson - Columnist and Reporter, Anchorage Daily News and Editor at Large, Alaska Budget Report

Palin the VP Choice

Arlington, Va.: A couple of questions: Where does Gov. Palin stand on allowing oil drilling in ANWR? What is her overall stance on environmental issues? What is the latest on the investigation into the firing of her ex-brother-in-law who was a state trooper in Alaska?

Gregg Erickson: Palin, like about 60 percent of Alaska voters, favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her environmental credentials are, at best, mixed. She favors what we in Alaska call "predator control," including, if necessary, the hunting of wolves from the air. Just recently her Dept. of Fish and Game pulled some wolf cubs from their den and shot them as part of a program to improve moose survival.

She also opposes the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species.

From the interview:

Gregg Erickson: The only way I can figure that it (selecting Palin) makes sense for McCain is he believes his campaign is in big trouble, and hopes this very unconventional choice will give his candidacy much needed appeal women voters and those from the religous right who have been not quite comfortable with his credentials as a social conservative.

More on State Trooper investigation (I am surprised the McCain picked Palin with this investigation open):


This pick smacks of desperation to me also. IMO, if the McCain camp had been serious about Palin as a VP pick, they would have announced her two weeks or a month ago to make Obama's side react to their pick. Having waited for Obama to choose first, it seems to me that they are on the defensive and trying to pick up disgruntled Clinton supporters. This may prove to be a wise strategy but McCain's biggest strength vis à vis Obama is that Obama represents a relatively unknown quantity. McCain has now introduced his own unknown quantity who has a better than 13% of becoming POTUS!

I joke about the choice of Biden as VP saying, "Well it's good to bring in Deleware's many electoral college votes." I get double duty out of this joke as it applies equally well to Palin.

"This pick smacks of desperation to me also. IMO, if the McCain camp had been serious about Palin as a VP pick, they would have announced her two weeks or a month ago to make Obama's side react to their pick. "

On the contrary, it was as shrewd a move as I've seen lately.
Instead of everybody basking in the glow of Barrys speech last night and marvelling at his oratory, everybody is talking PALIN.

As for your link WT, did you ever try getting a state cop fired? And a rogue one at that?
You'd have to be a Governor to do it.
That guy sounds as dangerous and looney as they get too, the last kinda guy you'd want carrying a badge and a gun... or married to your sister.

she seems like kind of a bimbo.

i think it is those big not very intelligent eyes.

Hey...why do you think Precious Moments figurines are so popular (with some I guess).

Does this dog & pony show of an election really even matter?

no it doesn't. not when mcain's advisor's and campaign managers make bush look like gandi.
With obama looking like bush the third.

Hello AlanFBE & fellow TODers,

Who is good at googling Michael Lee White of Houston, birthdate 1967?

Putin as quoted in the WAPO article...

"A small, victorious war is needed," Putin said. "And if you don't succeed, it's possible to shift the blame on us, turn us into the enemy against the backdrop of rah-rah patriotism to rally the country again around certain political forces. I am surprised that you are surprised at what I say. It's obvious."

The flaw in Putin's analysis is that both parties are tripping over themselves to demonize the Russians. The idea is not so much to rally support for one party over the other as it is to to rally support for the idea that America needs to impose its will pretty much everywhere, even and especially at the borders of any country that could challenge America. Both parties are fully on board with that agenda.

I think the flaw is in your logic: Both *parties* may support that agenda, but most Dems won't vote based on it. Reps will.


most Dems won't vote based on it

Nonsense. Most Dems will line up and vote as they're told. Have you not seen the Democratic reactions to Obama's & Biden's speeches outlining exactly the American Imperialist platform?

On the other hand, if what you mean is that some Democrats won't vote for them, then I have to agree (I count myself in that group). That might even be enough Democrats to cost Obama the election.

So, would you rather that Richard Milhous Nixon was in the bunker in October 1962, with all his advisers telling him to attack Cuba? JFK ran to the right of Nixon on Cold War policy in 1960, but now we know the differences between the two men as thinking beings. JFK slowly learned he was wrong about the utility of violence, hard lesson after hard lesson. Some say it was when he realized he was wrong about Vietnam that he signed his death warrant.

McCain has finished with learning anything new. We've gotten used to Presidents who are finished with learning anything new. We've even come to regard learning as a sign of weakness. I'll take my chances on the guy who taught in law school as being trainable by the likes of us at TOD.

different era.
today there is no difference between the two party's.

btw jfk did step on some pretty big toes by speaking against the military-industrial-congressional-complex.
toes belonging to people who were earning millions if not billions in a war that had stratitigys not to win but to stay in a stalemate..

McCain [72 yrs old] has finished with learning anything new. We've gotten used to Presidents who are finished with learning anything new. We've even come to regard learning as a sign of weakness. I'll take my chances on the guy who taught in law school as being trainable by the likes of us at TOD.

Much as old geezers (including myself) hate to admit it, the brain's ability to learn new material slows with age.

We all have self-denial games on this because we are all getting older and all constantly losing our ability to learn anything new.

McCain will probably never understand why his vision of the world no longer applies:

*1. He was born in the 1940's prior to the Baby Boom and rode on the front crest of that tsunami
*2. He was educated to believe in the perpetual progress of mankind (GE's beautiful tomorrow being just around the corner)
*3. He graduated near the bottom of his naval class and thinks that's a good thing
*4. He thinks we can simply rotate the dial back to the good old days (Happy Days)

Insert "less Dems than Reps" if you wish. Makes little material difference to the point I made, and I stand by the post.


...the idea that America needs to impose its will pretty much everywhere...

Sometimes I wish I had grown up in a slacker nation like Jamaica. They don't seem to bother anybody and they also smoke a lot of weed.


Generalize and stereotype much? The vast majority of the globe's nearly 200 countries don't "bother anybody", so why pick out Jamaica? Sounds like a personal problem to me.

By the way, I'd rather be a "slacker" than a murderer.

"why pick out Jamaica?"

Cuz they are a bunch of stoners who run faster than anybody else in the world.

Eire, Mon

Did you think that was funny?

No, but Usain Bolt did.

The flaw in Putin's analysis is that both parties are tripping over themselves to demonize the Russians.

The Bush administration clearly knew that the Georgians were going to attack and they apparently encouraged them to do so. The planning of a division scale armored assault on the South Ossetia capital by a small army that we were advising, training and equipping could not have happened without us knowing it. We also knew that the Russians were deploying to launch a major counter offensive and we either did not tell the Georgians or we advised them that they could get away with it. Think about how suspect the timing was, right before the two US political conventions. Imagine the triumphalism at next week's convention if it had worked and the Russians had not intervened.

Now the Republicans are still playing a winning hand of cold war mongering and the Democrats are struggling to keep up. McCain is winning on this issue and the Democrats are helping them sabotage the good progress we had made of bringing Russia into the international system and we are now pushing Russia into the arms of Iran.

Think what would have happened if Serbia had launched an armor led division scale assault on Kosovo, planned and instigated by Putin. Do you think we would have been as restrained as the Russians?

A great interview with William Catton, author of "Overshoot"

Overshoot is exactly what Garret Hardin feared; the response to Hardin linked up top totally misses the planet-scaled example of humans failing to cooperatively and sanely manage a commons, namely planetary overpopulation.

Now we have a person who is a heartbeat away from leading our country who believes it's every person's right to have 5, 6, 7 babies- you know, however many God desires in His Infinite Wisdom. We are sooo screwed.

Canadian Airline Folds Up Over High Operating Cost


Zoom Air ceases operations.

Just saw these articles popping up next to each other on Google news:


Oil pressured by strong dollar after storm support


Dollar slips amid higher oil prices

So the oil price is reponding to the dollar and the dollar is... responding to the oil price.

I guess the analysts, having got fed up with having to come up with new reasons for every random jitter in the prices, have now moved to a completely self contained model which has the benefit of no longer requiring any kind of external influence at all. Instead we have a perfect dance between two compliant partners, each responding to the others leading. A beautiful symmetry.

By the way, if you must be distracted by the political machine that is starting to engulf the nation at this point, please at least put it all in perspective by watching Jon Stewart's coverage of the conventions. Friggin' hilarious!!

This has been my favorite bit so far but the one below had me laughing almost as much. I can't wait until the RNC coverage begins.

Healing Clinton Supporters

Barack Obama: He Completes Us

EDIT: Oops, wrong top clip, corrected now!

Ya...saw it last night...loved the whole Pangea morphing into the Obama face. Jon is the highlight of every election season.

As everyone loves the 'ohhh Iran will get attacked' posts:

Your mileage may vary. Grain of salt. Etc.
AMSTERDAM - The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has conducted an ultrasecret operation in Iran with the purpose of infiltrating and sabotaging the weapons industry in the islamic republic.
The operation, deemed extremely succesfull, has recently been cancelled because of an imminent aerial attack on Iran. Targets include sites that are connected to the Dutch spying.

I would just like to say; that even though there can be fairly heated arguments and contrary views there is not a community I would rather be with than you people.

It is so good to be able to discuss all of this stuff with you all. Be it global warming, black stuff, spinning big things with low pressure, economic poilicies, peak gloup.

Dog&CCPo you keepin it real for da warmin masses.
Westtex, you is da peak export guru.
Darwin you need to get down with lovin life more!

God/Allah/Krishna bless you all.

Leanan: you rock.

Marco (the agnostic; but still I recognise all of you)


TOD definitely has it's moments. It's a bit a sanity for insane times. It keeps ya coming back for more and it is a community...virtual as it is...but still a pretty decent set of folks.

Um.. thanks... And here I thought I was just pissing everybody off...


When I saw mention of the Tragedy of the Commons "myth" on Drum Beat 8/29, I ignored it as one of the bits of nonsense that occasionally appear. But when I saw it again on The Energy Bulletin, with staff comments that were very surprising to me--"it's a flimsy basis" for a lot of reports--I felt compelled to say something. Are these folks really unaware of what we are doing to the commons of the atmosphere and oceans? If they want to restrict the concept to land, are they really unaware of the many case histories of population crashes of deer, and numerous other wild animals? or of how America's western public lands (commons) are being abused? Come now.

If you read the entire post at MR-Zine, Howard, I think you'll see what the problem is with "Tragedy of the Commons."

Hardin's essay makes a gross generalization about human societies, with little evidence to back it up. His background was in biology and it shows; he sees the problem as one of population and resources.

He is pretty weak when it comes to anthropology and history (those were not his fields, after all). When I discussed the paper with a friend who is an archaeologist/anthropologist, he was shocked. He pointed out that different groups have handled the commons in very different ways.

I've seen other criticisms of Hardin from social scientists - Ian Angus is not the first by any means.

From my point of view, Hardin's work is an interesting place to start. Population and resources are the overall framework in which the drama is played out. The next step is to examine how different social systems and cultures have dealt with the problem. That's what I find lacking in Hardin.

Bart / EB


This link leads to many articles that Garrett Hardin wrote, including "The Tragedy of the Commons." These are well worth reading. I am not so sure about the linked article in the Drumbeat, which seems to use the classic 'strawman' tactics. It is a shame that what was obviously a metaphor in Hardin's classic article is taken as gospel truth and 'debunked.'

Does this modern author not notice that the air we breathe often has a dirty flavor?

NoLogos: "Does this modern author not notice that the air we breathe often has a dirty flavor?"

NoLogos, Ian Angus in The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons was not denying envrionmental problems. Angus is editor of a climate website, so he is certainly aware of those issues.

This is a more complicated argument than appears at first, and one that all too easily becomes polarized. I updated the post at Energy Bulletin to try to clarify it, as follows:

The issue here is NOT whether the oceans, atmosphere, etc. are in trouble now. Many people agree on that point, me included. Hardin's claim is much more specific and controversial. He asserts that the Commons by its very nature is doomed to fail, and that this is true across cultures and time periods -- a sweeping generalization which requires evidence from history and social science. (By the way, the controversy over Hardin dates back to 1968 when he first published "Tragedy of the Commons.")

One problem for Hardin is that his background was in biology, whereas here he was dealing with social systems. The reaction of an anthropologist/archaeologist friend of mine is typical: (paraphrasing) "The generalization doesn't make sense. Different cultures have handled the Commons in different ways, some wisely, some not."

Hardin's thesis is not satisfying for me because it discourages looking closely at other cultures for clues about living sustainably. For example, the Chinese have had a continuous civilization for several thousand years - how did they do it? One way: recycling wastes in agriculture (Farmers_of_Forty_Centuries). Or consider Japan's sustainable society in the Edo period (1603-1867). The point is that all cultures have both trends that weaken the Commons and counter-trends that preserve it.

Hardin's thesis is also not very helpful for understanding how the Commons are under attack now. Leftists point out the deleterious effects of consumerism and capitalism. I think the problem is more general - due to industrialism, cheap fuel, and the societies that arise as a result of them. Opinions can differ, but it I think it's a dead end to ascribe our problems to "human nature" and stop further investigation.

A second problem with Hardin is that his work has been used to justify highly political projects, such as privatization. Hardin himself advocated Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor.

Energy Bulletin

Looks like Vladimir Putin has been reading my comments over in the Georgia thread ;-)

Putin Suggests U.S. Provocation in Georgia Clash

MOSCOW — As Russia struggled to rally international support for its military action in Georgia, Vladimir V. Putin, the country’s paramount leader, lashed out at the United States on Thursday, contending that the White House may have orchestrated the conflict to benefit one of the candidates in the American presidential election.

Was just doing a Google search on "Gustav discussions" and found this insightful little bit from a University of Kansas blog...

Happy Katrina Anniversary

Obama dealt with the aftermath of Katrina head-on last night, saying:

"I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. … I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores."

The Republican response to Katrina is … to consider postponing their convention because another hurricane may hit New Orleans while the Bush administration continues its inaction:

Republican officials said yesterday that they are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane early next week.

The threat is serious enough that White House officials are also debating whether President Bush should cancel his scheduled convention appearance on Monday, the first day of the convention, according to administration officials and others familiar with the discussion.

For Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Gustav threatens to provide an untimely reminder of Hurricane Katrina. A new major storm along the Gulf Coast would renew memories of one of the low points of the Bush administration, while pulling public attention away from McCain's formal coronation as the GOP presidential nominee.

Senior Republicans said images of political celebration in the Twin Cities while thousands of Americans flee a hurricane could be dubious.

Hey, Alan...Obama was talking about you there (see above in italics).

Found some interesting charts from economicpicdata:

However, much of the imported petrol and diesel [to China] has been stockpiled rather than consumed. “The state refiners’ stockpiles are so full that they have been reselling the stuff,” FPCC said.

Have you considered that the increase in machinery orders might be largely driven by oil equipment?

Hello TODers,

Recall my previous postings whereby Russia could raise I-NPK export pricing so that it would be easier for them to internally stockpile as they go postPeak.

Russia could triple fertiliser export duties -Ifax
Since Russia is a huge exporter, the money raised from these duties could, over time, pay for a lot of storage buildings to store their I-NPK hoard and maybe also help kickstart O-NPK recycling infrastructure.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

It would be a good start if the Russians built decent sewage plants. Sweden has spent millions trying to make it easy for them to start doing it since it would benefit the Baltic sea.