DrumBeat: September 25, 2008

Nigeria threatens to halt energy firms' LNG schemes

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria could suspend the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects of foreign energy firms unless they submit a detailed plan by the end of October to supply gas for domestic power generation, the gas minister said.

Nigeria's power crisis is one of the biggest brakes on growth in Africa's most populous nation. President Umaru Yar'Adua's administration has repeatedly warned that it could penalise energy firms if they do not meet domestic requirements.

"Federal government's policy and regulations on gas supply to the domestic market are not up for discussions or negotiations any more," Gas Minister Emmanuel Odusina was quoted as saying in a statement by state-run oil firm NNPC on Thursday.

"The minister warned that if by the end of October 2008 there is no evidence of cooperation, the government will have no choice but to consider further measures it deems necessary, including but not limited to putting a stop or suspension of all LNG projects targeting export of gas," the statement said.

Wharton: The Upside of Global Energy Scarcity

Rising energy demand from China and India has unleashed a worldwide race to secure access to scarce fossil fuel resources, a more difficult proposition with the emergence of national oil companies in the resource-owning countries. While Western companies will likely feel the pain of increasing energy costs, there is a potential upside to global energy scarcity, according to experts from Wharton and The Boston Consulting Group: Renewable and nuclear energy present huge opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, underscored by concern over a global stalemate surrounding curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions.

Food shortage catastrophe creeping up on the world

The second major new demand factor is the significant push for biofuels in response to climate change and fears of peak oil. As an example, the US ethanol industry alone will use 104 million tonnes of corn next year to produce ethanol. That is 100% of average annual world coarse grain trade and 6.4% of global cereal grain production.

The factors we have described have been discussed by many people, but what will happen has not been fully grasped by anybody. What this means is that demand for cereals is accelerating away from us in a different way — so the global food supply will be significantly different.

Gas Thieves Suspected in U-Haul Explosion

RIVERSIDE -- Authorities believe gasoline thieves are behind an explosion at a U-Haul lot in Cathedral City.

The blast was reported just before 1 p.m. Tuesday at 68075 Ramon Road. Four trucks were destroyed and a nearby storage facility was charred. Damage was estimated at $120,000.

Firefighters found telltale signs of gas siphoning, which included cut-off sections of garden hoses that were left in the tanks of three trucks, according to Cathedral City Fire Chief Mike Hatfield. Gas caps had also been removed from six other trucks - all of which had been drained of fuel, Hatfield added.

Shell sees bulk of US offshore fields back in 2 wks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shell Oil, the largest oil producer in the storm-battered Gulf of Mexico, said on Thursday it expects the bulk of its offshore fields back on line within two weeks.

The Gulf of Mexico, home to a quarter of U.S. crude oil production and 15 percent of its natural gas output, has been virtually shut down since late August by back to back hurricanes, Gustav and Ike.

Troubled South taps New Haven gas

For a couple of hours on Monday, a New Haven gasoline terminal was empty.

"It happens from time to time," said Eugene Guilford Jr., executive director of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, of a huge gasoline storage tank at the harbor running dry.

Usually it's because of a late barge delivery, and a fuel dealer said that was the primary cause this time, too. But Guilford said the inconvenience at the terminal -- some fuel trucks had to go to another terminal to pick up product and wait in longer lines -- was also partially the result of fuel being diverted to Southern states still recovering from Hurricane Ike. No gasoline stations went without fuel, he said.

Simple device which uses electrical field could boost gas efficiency

With the high cost of gasoline and diesel fuel impacting costs for automobiles, trucks, buses and the overall economy, a Temple University physics professor has developed a simple device which could dramatically improve fuel efficiency as much as 20 percent.

According to Rongjia Tao, Chair of Temple's Physics Department, the small device consists of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector. With the use of a power supply from the vehicle's battery, the device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector, he says.

Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile showed that the device increased highway fuel from 32 miles per gallon to 38 mpg, a 20 percent boost, and a 12-15 percent gain in city driving.

OPEC exports to jump 540,000 bpd to Oct.11 - analyst

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - OPEC oil exports, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will jump by 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Oct. 11, on strong Asian demand and seasonal factors, an analyst who tracks future flows said on Thursday.

Seaborne crude exports from 11 OPEC members, including Iraq, will leap to 24.75 million bpd from 24.21 million bpd in the period to Sept. 13, British consultancy Oil Movements reported.

The head of the consultancy, Roy Mason, said there was no evidence in the latest figures that OPEC had reined in output to comply with a Sept. 10 decision to trim output back to official targets.

"Everything is going East and it's a much bigger increase than we would expect at this time of year. The rise to Asia is at a record high for September," he said.

IEA says no need to send emergency gasoline to U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even though U.S. gasoline inventories are the lowest since 1967 because of disruptions caused by the recent hurricanes, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Thursday there still was no need for IEA members to release emergency fuel supplies to the U.S. market.

"We don't have to mobilize," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka told Reuters in an interview. "The market is now taking care of the current situation," he said.

Enbridge lifts force majeure on two Gulf gas lines

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc's U.S. unit said it lifted force majeure effective late Thursday on its Manta Ray offshore gathering system in the Gulf of Mexico and on its Nautilus pipeline following outages in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Valero says Port Arthur, Tex refinery in prelim restart

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp's 295,000 barrel per day Port Arthur, Texas, refinery was in the preliminary stages of a multi-day restart, the company said Thursday.

"The plant has power and steam, and has secured supplies of fresh water," it said in a press release.

Gulfport resumes partial production after Ike

Gulfport Energy Corp. said Thursday its coastal Louisiana facilities suffered no major structural damage during Hurricane Ike and that partial production has been restored at two of its facilities.

Peak Oil, Power & Potatoes: Balancing Old & New, Big & Small As Money & Energy Decline

To conclude: we are stuck with some difficult and surprising contradictions. Like it or lump it we need concentrated resources - such as lots of money - to do useful things, even though it is quite clear that we so often use such resources for bad things, such as wars and other forms of violence. At the same time, because we are reaching the limits to growth, have exceeded Earthly carrying capacity, and are tipping over peak oil into petroleum decline, we also now need rather urgently to rebuild a system of distributed generation of food, fuel and other vital needs. So we need some big and a lot small, and currently the big gets in the way of the small.

John Michael Greer - Rx: Depression

Counterintuitive though it may seem, furthermore, a serious depression right now may just be the best thing that could happen to the United States. I don’t say this by way of passing judgment, or in the spirit of schadenfreude that seems to surround so many predictions of social catastrophe. Rather, a good many of the dysfunctions that are dragging America to ruin will be immediately unsustainable in a time of depression, and a certain amount of economic suffering now could spare the American people a far worse experience later on. Here are some examples.

Writers discuss covering the peak oil story, in Sacramento

If you had been able to attend the first afternoon of the ASPO-USA conference in Sacramento yesterday, you could have listened to six writers, most of them working as print journalists today, sharing their insights as to how members of the media cover the peak oil story. The two panels didn’t offer breaking news but rather some modest wisdom for attendees. Some take-aways...

Federal agency opposes open-loop LNG for Gulf

MOBILE, Ala. -- Federal fisheries officials have recommended that the Coast Guard deny a company permission for an open-loop liquefied natural gas terminal in the Gulf of Mexico, about 63 miles south of Fort Morgan on the Alabama coast, citing potential threats to marine life.

Coal, a Tough Habit to Kick

COAL, the “dark fuel,” may be the most visible villain of global warming, but its use is up and projected to go higher.

“In the short run, demand for coal is going to increase,” said Joel Darmstadter, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, a nonprofit foundation in Washington. “Demand for electricity is increasing, and there are really no alternatives.”

Pickens: Natural gas, Warren Buffett could ease nation's woes

(CNN) -- Billionaire hedge fund manager T. Boone Pickens spoke about the beleaguered U.S. economy, a prospective bailout and natural gas Thursday, a day after reports that his energy-related hedge funds lost $1 billion this year.

GM to sell Hummer and French factory

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp.'s treasurer said Wednesday that the automaker is planning to put its Strasbourg, France, manufacturing operation and its Hummer truck brand up for sale, and it may announce more asset sales later this year.

A green credit crunch?

If Wall Street’s implosion can feel remote on the West Coast, where green tech startups largely rely on Silicon Valley venture capital, there may be no escaping the fallout from the credit crunch.

Earth Friendly Cooking Without Spending a Bundle

Food cut into bite-size pieces cooks more quickly than large chunks. During a fuel shortage 3,000 years ago, the Chinese learned that food cooked very quickly if they cut it into bite-size pieces. They also learned that cooking in a pot shaped in a half sphere was especially fast.

Here are a dozen ways to save water and energy by changing the way you cook.

Why Climate Change Could Wither Santa Barbara Agriculture

The problem Givens and other regional farmers face is that in a climate that’s already golden, change is unwelcome. Unfortunately, a new report by the federal government says change is coming regardless. In The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States, a 203-page review of existing studies issued last May, a team of scientists working for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) warn that global warming is going to seriously upset American agricultural production, damaging the Western states most.

Areva, Duke Energy To Jointly Develop Biomass US Pwr Plants

PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French nuclear operator Areva (CEI.FR) and U.S. energy company Duke Energy Corp (DUK) Thursday announced the creation of a joint venture, called Adage, dedicated to the development of green biopower energy solutions for U.S. customers.

Ban Near on Diverting Water From Great Lakes

The House began debate Monday on a sweeping bill that would ban almost any diversion of water from the Great Lakes’ natural basin to places outside the region.

The measure is intended to put to rest longstanding fears that parched states or even foreign countries could do long-term damage to the basin by tapping into its tremendous body of fresh water.

...“People realized that Great Lakes water is a finite resource and that death by a thousand straws is a real threat,” said Jordan Lubetkin, a spokesman for the National Wildlife Federation. “There is a perception that because the Great Lakes are so vast, they are immune from harm. That is not the case.”

Post-Ike gas shortage may take weeks to end: The current gas crisis is worse than the 2005 shortages after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, say some experts.

Atlanta - The effects of hurricane Ike largely emptied two critical gasoline pipelines that feed much of the South, leading to widespread panic-buying, shuttered pumps, and even some fistfights as motorists vied for precious drops of gas from Anniston, Ala., to Asheville, N.C.

Although public officials called for calm, promising quick relief, experts such as Atlanta gasoline distributor Tex Pitfield said it could actually take another two weeks for supplies to ramp up.

That's because the widespread flooding and power outages that shut down 15 Houston-area refineries are not the only reasons why some 75 percent of gas stations in the region have plastic bags over their pump handles.

Getting supplies back on track has been made more difficult by more perennial problems – a shortage of regional refineries, an energy policy that demands nearly 200 boutique fuels to meet air quality standards, and a tangled middleman distribution system of gasoline "jobbers" seen as a weak link in the government's ability to control the economy's critical fuel link.

Government officials can’t ease fuel shortage

Local governments on Wednesday said they had no immediate plans to limit the price of gasoline or the amount being sold. State law allows for such action only during an emergency.

The federal government can’t step in because the shortage is not a nationwide problem. Gas rationing under mandate from the federal government was common during the oil embargo in the 1970s.

The shortage in Western North Carolina and other pockets of the South isn’t a threat to public safety, government leaders said.

Gas woes may linger into October

Relief could come to the region when the South Carolina terminal gets a shipment of gas today and suppliers start trucking in fuel from other locations.

But with the main pipeline supplying the region still operating at a reduced flow for at least another week, local and state officials said outages and long lines are likely to persist into October, though they may not be as severe as they have been.

North Carolina Drivers Pour Into Tennessee

With stations in North Carolina and Tennessee running out of gas between deliveries, drivers are hunting for stations where they can get a fill up. A high volume of cars are even making the trip from North Carolina to the Tri-Cities in search of gasoline.

First in flight, but apparently last to get gas. Tarheels are running on ‘E’.

Some N. Texas Gas Stations Running On Empty

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Some gas stations in North Texas have run out of gas because of tight supplies, but suppliers said the shortage will be only be temporary.

..."That's really, really scary for no gas," one woman said. "What would we do? We wouldn't be able to do anything. We couldn't go to work, we couldn't do anything."

EPA Waiver Allowed Gas, But Supply Was Quickly Depleted

Gov. Phil Bredesen took advantage of a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency, allowing middle Tennessee to start using a winter blend a couple weeks earlier than normal, yet the gas supply was still being quickly depleted.

We, gas hogs, are a big part of shortfall

Blame Mother Nature and hurricanes Ike and Gustav for Atlanta’s long lines at the gas pump. Throw in an angry word for the governor’s office for not acting sooner to ease the shortage.

But be sure to flip down the sun visor in your car and take a good look in the vanity mirror, too. Stories abound of panicky metro Atlanta motorists topping off tanks for good measure, or failing to abide by limits imposed by service stations to keep enough gas on hand for everybody. Distributors say there’s enough gas provided motorists take what they need and leave some for everyone else. Atlantans also need to drive less to save fuel.

Gas shortages reportedly critical in western N.C.

Hundreds of cars lined streets this morning as motorists in the Charlotte metro region tried to cope with an ever-worsening gasoline shortage situation.

Some motorists waited up to five hours, and fights were reported as people accused other customers of cutting in line.

Some gas stations that opened this morning with what they thought were ample supplies ran out within a few hours.

Gas lines lengthen overnight in western Carolinas

"I was just hoping to get to South Carolina and get it a little cheaper," said Jim Cook, a North Carolina furniture salesman passing through town on his way to Columbia.

Instead, Cook and dozens of others drove away empty-handed, hoping for a better result at the next station. The Petro Express ran out of gas early Tuesday and an employee wasn't sure when supplies would be replenished.

The shortages were acute in the Asheville area, where some schools have closed today because of the lack of fuel.

Scarce gas sends commuters to buses and train

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - One result of the gasoline shortage that had Nashville-area drivers scrambling for fuel has more people taking public transit.

US House lifts 27-year ban on coastal drilling

The figures could be misleading. Nicholas Pardi of the US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service notes that much of the area under moratorium hasn't been surveyed since the 1970s, when sub-seafloor detection technology was still in its infancy. "We estimated there were 9 billion barrels in the Gulf [of Mexico] in 1987 and now estimate 45 billion barrels there. With better technology we're able to see reserves that we weren't able to before."

Analysis: Democrats absorb a defeat on drilling

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Democratic leaders, it's a striking defeat as they agree to allow expanded offshore drilling in waters they once called sacrosanct, giving Republicans a rare victory on energy policy six weeks before the election.

In a matter of months, Republicans turned offshore oil drilling from a non-issue — even one feared as a political liability by many Republicans in Congress — into political gold as anger over high gasoline prices made voters receptive to calls for more domestic energy production.

The Plan by Edwin Black: reviewed

Only read The Plan by Edwin Black if you want to understand the energy crisis and find a solution. Ignore it if you wish to remain ignorant and support America-hating petroleum producers like Iran and Venezuela.

Yes on Prop. 10: Speed the transfer to cleaner-burning vehicles

Each year, we send more than $700 billion overseas on imported oil to power outdated vehicles that are pouring toxic, asthma and cancer-causing chemicals into our air every day. As gasoline prices rise and our need for clean and renewable sources of energy rises, the politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., continue to do nothing about our energy future.

This November, we have the opportunity to take action and make the most aggressive investment of public funds in clean and renewable sources of energy in our nation's history. Proposition 10 will provide $5 billion to move us forward toward our energy future.

Why Prop. 10 is a boondoggle

The bulk of the bond proceeds would be doled out as subsidies for vehicle buyers. A high-mileage, gas-burning hybrid would mean a $2,000 subsidy for a buyer, even though these cars are already selling briskly. The measure would sweeten the deal to $10,000 for a car powered by natural gas and up to $50,000 for a long-haul truck.

These may sound like smart inducements. But why single out natural gas for special favors when other technologies are in their infancy? These fields are drawing private investors who haven't asked for a Pickens-sized bond measure.

Solar Projects Draw New Opposition

WHAT’S not to like about solar power? Sunlight is clean, quiet and abundant. If enough of it were harnessed and turned into electricity, it could be the solution to the energy crisis. But surprisingly, solar power projects are running into mounting opposition — and not from hard-nosed, coal-fired naysayers, but from environmentalists.

The opposition is particularly strong in Southern California. Aside from abundant sunshine and virtually cloudless skies, the California desert has altitude, so there is less atmospheric interference for the sun’s rays, as well as broad swaths of level land for installing equipment, and proximity to large, electricity-hungry cities.

But it is also home to the Mojave ground squirrel, the desert tortoise and the burrowing owl, and to human residents who describe themselves as desert survivors and who are unhappy about the proliferation of solar projects planned for their home turf.

Casual Dining Feels Oil Bounce Pressure, Says Dr. Joe Duarte

One of the most reliable relationships in the stock market is the inverse interaction of crude oil prices and restaurant stocks. When crude rises, the restaurant sector usually falls.

The logic is pretty simple. People have to make choices about disposable income. If they have to spend more on gasoline, they are less likely to drive to restaurants. And restaurants, which are also feeling the pinch of higher fuel prices embedded into commodities, are also raising prices.

Transportation news: Major steps are needed to remedy oil and gas situation

Another option for reducing fuel costs and conservation is increasing productivity within truck fleets by trucks with multiple trailers up to 330,000 pounds 525 feet long, according to Tim Radbourne, President of Radbourne Consulting in Adrian, Mich.

“This is the silver bullet we have, if there is the political will to do it,” commented Radbourne. “It would substantially cut the rates shippers pay for loads. If you have one truck pulling two trailers, theoretically the rate per pallet or truck load would be about half as much. Shippers would stand to benefit, as they are the ones paying a huge amount in the form of fuel surcharges.

Oil makes the world go ‘round—and ‘round

“There is a continuous energy crisis of the 21st century,” Economides stated. “I am the guy who predicted $100 a barrel oil three years ago. And it did go below $100 but it won’t go far below $100.” However, he pointed out the price does not have to be that high. “Headlines rule. You can’t rationalize (the price). It should be selling for $60.

“One reason for this is many have lost control,” he stated. “OPEC likes $100 oil. Venezuela is a basket case—50 years behind the times. Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries. Iraq has stabilized but we are paying Al-Qaeda's allies—the Sunnis. If we took all that oil (from Iraq), it would take 100 years to pay for the war. China has gone berserk—no country has ever increased their oil consumption by 20%. And Saudi Arabia has emerged as the world’s regulator.

“When in 1984 President Reagan put pressure on the Saudis, that brought prices down, Russia collapsed,” he continued. If they [Saudis] were to over-produce now, it would bring oil down to $70. And with oil at that price, Iran and Venezuela would be reduced from 800-lb gorillas to monkeys. The key is to push Saudi Arabia to increase and sustain oil production; that would enable history to repeat itself (removing Iran and Venezuela as menace states).”

Russia wants to influence global oil price - minister

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia (Reuters) - Russia wants to influence global oil prices through output forecasts and mothballing deposits for future development, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Thursday.

Shmatko said Russia's policy would not involve coordinated action with OPEC states, although he said Russia admired OPEC's influence on prices and should do its part to smooth the oil price "roller coaster ride" of recent months.

"We think that since we have such a significant position in the high society of world oil, a Russian factor should appear. We want to formulate our approach," Shmatko told reporters.

"We think we should be more actively engaged in the market ... From the point of view of forecasts we could express our view, perhaps even actively engage in that in a practical way," Shmatko said. "The idea of mothballing oilfields seems very interesting to me."

Mexico curbs oil output, cites US refinery damage

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's state oil company said it is temporarily reducing oil production because U.S. refineries damaged by Hurricane Ike have canceled or delayed shipment orders.

Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it lowered output by 250,000 barrels a day on Tuesday. But the company said Wednesday that it expects production to be back to normal by the end of the week as refining capacity along the Texas Gulf Coast recovers.

Pemex produced an average of 2.75 million barrels a day in August, the latest available output figure.

The reduction comes as Pemex is already struggling with sagging production. Falling output helped cut exports to 1.43 million barrels a day during the first eight months of 2008, down 16 percent from the year-ago period.

Oil income makes up about 40 percent of Mexico's annual budget.

House votes to end offshore drilling ban

WASHINGTON - The House, responding to growing public demand for more domestic energy, voted Wednesday to end a quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, giving Republicans a major victory on energy policy.

An extension of the ban for another year was left off a $630 billion-plus stopgap government spending bill that President Bush had threatened to veto — possibly shutting down the government — if the anti-drilling measure were included.

The bill was approved 370-58 and now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be approved within the next few days, also without the drilling ban.

Shell Shuts Gasoline Unit at Pernis Refinery on Fault

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc was forced to shut a gasoline-making unit at Pernis, Europe's largest oil refinery, after a fault occurred last night, pushing up prices of the motor fuel.

A so-called catalytic cracker ``tripped because of a mechanical fault and went offline,'' Shell spokesman Wim van de Wiel said today by telephone from The Hague, where the company is based. Production of gasoline and its components has been halted, he added, without saying when the unit would resume output.

Chavez says has enough oil for all customers

BEIJING: Venezuela's plans to triple oil shipments to China over the next several years will not mean a cut in supplies to the United States and other countries, President Hugo Chavez said Thursday.

Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to the Chinese capital where he signed deals for increased energy cooperation and to buy military jets, Chavez said Venezuela had enough oil capacity to meet everyone's needs.

Nine oil companies invest in Colombia oil exploration

BOGOTA (AFP) - Colombia has signed contracts with nine oil companies worth 500 billion dollars to explore for oil near the border with Venezuela, the National Oil and Gas Agency has announced.

The companies include oil giants Shell and Exxon Mobil, Australian mining and primary resources company BHP Billiton, and the Korean National Oil Company, as well as companies from Canada and Peru.

StatoilHydro Plans to Spend $8 Million on Oil-Sands Research

(Bloomberg) -- StatoilHydro ASA, Norway's largest oil company, will spend 45 million kroner ($8 million) during the next five years to research more environmentally-friendly ways of exploiting oil sands.

``We are working with heavy oil in several places around the world and this is an important issue for us,'' company spokesman Kai Nielsen said today by phone from London. ``We want to do it in the best possible way for the environment.''

Is Eni Becoming Gazprom's European Twin?

Italian oil and gas major Eni (E) (30% state-owned golden share) has recently given clear signals it is aiming to become a European sibling to Russia's Gazprom (OGZPY.PK). Actually, some consider the Italian company to be Gazprom's Trojan Horse in Europe. Given the recent developments, this seems to be true. In fact, Eni has concentrated most of its business and acquisitions in the gas sector recently.

Hurricanes Ike, Gustav take toll on Gulf of Mexico output, Nexen says

Nexen Inc. said it expects significantly lower production volumes from its Gulf of Mexico operations for the rest of the third quarter, due to damages caused by Hurricane Ike.

The Klare Choice: Michael T. Klare argues for energy independence.

What do you think of Barack Obama's and John McCain's energy policies?

Neither is adequate because neither of them addresses the fact that we need a radical change in our energy behavior both to deal with the fact that we're reaching the end of the petroleum age and we're facing the catastrophic heating of the planet.

That said, Barack Obama will do a lot more than John McCain will do, so I favor Obama over McCain for that reason.

When the Betting Goes Bad: review of Kevin Phillips' Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Crisis of American Capitalism

Compounding these problems, Phillips contends, are the perils of petro-dependency. He believes that peak oil is real and that its consequences are dire. Rising demand for fuel and skyrocketing oil prices, he argues, expose the weakness of the oil-linked U.S. dollar, deepen the economic woes brought on by speculative finance, and threaten to embroil the country in increasingly messy geopolitical confrontations.

Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

"If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration," Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause.

EU lawmakers snub big carmakers over carbon curbs

BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers rejected a bid to delay planned limits on carbon dioxide emissions from cars in a surprise backlash on Thursday against the motor industry's efforts to ease its burden in the fight against climate change.

"This was a big surprise," German Green group member Rebecca Harms said. "There was a big fight with industry and governments, and the Germans and French were adding a lot of pressure."

Global carbon emissions rising rapidly - study

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Global carbon emissions rose rapidly in 2007, an annual study says, with developing nations such as China and India now producing more than half of mankind's output of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming.

The Global Carbon Project said in its report carbon dioxide emissions from mankind are growing about four times faster since 2000 than during the 1990s, despite efforts by a number of nations to rein in emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

UN: Reducing climate change can lead to more jobs

Efforts to reduce climate change could lead to millions more jobs worldwide, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.N.

The global market for environmental services and products is projected to double from $1.37 trillion to $2.74 trillion by 2020, according to a study cited in the U.N. Environmental Program report.

Colorful study probes climate change, fall foliage

UNDERHILL, Vt. - Could climate change dull the blazing palette of New England's fall foliage? The answer could have serious implications for one of the region's signature attractions, which draws thousands of "leaf peepers" every autumn.

Biologists at the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center will do some leaf peeping of their own to find out — studying how temperature affects the development of autumn colors and whether the warming climate could mute them, prolong the foliage viewing season or delay it.

WHO says climate change poses health risks

MANILA (AFP) - The World Health Organization on Wednesday warned Asia Pacific countries that they could be vulnerable to health risks and food shortages as a result of climate change.

Climate change is among the topics being discussed in a regional WHO conference being held in Manila, and governments are being pushed to put health issues in their national climate change mitigation plans, officials said.

EU must keep climate plans despite economic crisis: Brussels

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Europe must not water down its plans to tackle global warming despite the current financial crisis, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said on Wednesday.

"There is an economic crisis, a financial crisis, an energy crisis and there is a climate crisis," Dimas told reporters after talks with Poland's environment minister.

"The climate crisis is permanent. All the other crises today, tomorrow, I hope will pass but the climate crisis is a permanent threat for the globe.

Re: Russia wants to influence global oil price (linked uptop)

Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko: "The idea of mothballing oilfields seems very interesting to me."

Net Oil Exports and the "Iron Triangle"
July 13, 2007

If one resides in the oil industry leg of the Iron Triangle, and if one has concluded that Peak Oil is upon us, or extremely close, does one say, "We cannot increase our production," and thereby encourage massive conservation and alternative energy efforts, or does one say "We choose not to increase production and/or we are temporarily unable to increase production for the following reasons (fill in the blank)?"

Is there any reason why a country should not say in order to maximise our income over a longer period we are going to reduce our output?

No, but the question is to what extent the reduced output is voluntary. Here are the actual EIA total liquids net export numbers for Saudi Arabia and my estimate for 2008:

2005: 9.1 mbpd
2006: 8.5
2007: 7.9
2008: 8.4*


The conventional wisdom is that almost all of this decline is voluntary. My contention is that most of the decline was involuntary. In any case, sometime next year, the cumulative shortfall between what Saudi Arabia would have exported at the 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd and what they actually have exported will almost certainly exceed a billion barrels of oil.

So how much of a reduction would be needed to double the price? I would guess a reduction of less than half.

Ace found this article at the Saudi Aramco web site. Their web site is one of those that doesn't let you link directly to articles, so I liberated it:

Ghawar's Magnificent Five


Whats the deal? You repeatedly took down posts of mine yesterday and today. Has the dynamic here at TOD changed so greatly? Al Gore is definately on topic and fair game. He is advocating civil disobedience/anarchy and the subject should be up for debate. When did TOD start censoring? The rating system turns into a popularity contest and liberal bias. I am dissapointed right now. matt

TOD cannot censor. Censorship is something the government does. However, we reserve the right to delete posts or even block users altogether. If you have a better idea of how to run things, feel free to set up your own blog.

Al Gore is not off-topic. You may have noticed that many others posted comments about him today, many quite critical. They were not deleted.

Please review our guidelines. In particular, #4. The problem wasn't what you said about Al Gore. It was the disrespect you showed to those who disagreed with your opinion of him.

We believe that civility matters. If you cannot be civil and respectful to your fellow posters, then this is not the web site for you.

And if your post is deleted, do not post complaining about it. If you really can't figure out why it was deleted, e-mail me and I will explain it.

"Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor. The rationale for censorship is different for various types of data censored:"

"Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to halt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light. Privately owned corporations in the business of reporting the news also sometimes refuse to distribute information due to the potential loss of advertiser revenue or shareholder value which adverse publicity may bring."


I was not disrespectful that I can recall, I was called a troll though.

Well, we really can't suppress material, can we? Anyone with an Internet connection can set up a free blog at Blogger (which is how this site started) and say what they want.

Yes but the beauty of TOD is there is a diverse group of people discussing topics. If one side is suppressed discussions become speeches or rants like on the Daily Kos. Over there, only extremely liberal thought is allowed. I like to think of myself as center of the road, but to many here probably disagree.

I repeat...the problem was not Gore. This has nothing to do with liberal vs. conservative.

Good gravy, like that's even going to matter in the age of peak oil.

conserve your energy man, it will be needed later. i agree that censorship is bad. i like your style but move forward we must.

A few pictures from ASPO 2008:

A Couple of Your TOD Editors Kicking Back at ASPO 2008

Kyle Holding M. King Hubbert Award Given to TOD

Me With Some Random Peak Oil Prankster :-)

I had intended to get a picture taken with Westexas (Jeffrey Brown), whom I did meet, but I never had my camera with me when I saw him. I met quite a few TOD posters. We should have taken a group photo. I won't name names because I don't want to forget someone, but I had a chance to visit with quite a few of the regulars here.

I was trying to stay away from Robert--because of the roving hit squads from Iowa and Nebraska that were after him.

For those of us readers who did not make it (the vast majority) can we please have names for all the photos.

The names are in the photos' file names. (Click on them, and you'll see them on the top bar.) That's Prof. Goose and Heading Out in the first pic. Prof. Goose in the second. And Robert Rapier and Jim Kunstler in the third.

I always wondered where the 'Goose' part came from, but damn if he doesn't look like Anthony Edwards circa 1986.

Since I'm a Nebraska resident - I'm curious - were these
squads of the ethanol persuasion ?

Yeah, there were mutterings of "Death to the Ethanol Heretic" among the corn disciples, because of Robert's tendency to tell the truth about corn based ethanol.

I didn't realize there were Nebraskans on this site. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my awareness, concerns and preparation for peak oil in this state in the middle of America.

What part of Nebraska are you from?

Hey! You forgot Illinois! I work at grain elevators now, my final leg in the ELP. Oh, I the stories I wish I could tell.

Robert I had never seen a pic of you before, you look like the dad from Back to the Future.

World's Top Chevrolet Dealership Closing

The credit crisis and record high gas prices have teamed up to drive the world's largest Chevrolet dealer out of business. Bill Heard Enterprises is closing all 13 of its stores today.

The Bill Heard dealerships relied heavily on the sale of pickups, which have slumped drastically since gas prices hit historic highs over the last several months. A pullback in dealer financing by GMAC also influenced the decision, reports said.

Bill Heard moved massive amounts of vehicles, and I had dealings with them years back handling refund checks of GAAP insurance and other such things. It's amazing to me that they are folding, given their size, but at the same time not surprising, given GM's state of affairs. It's been also more difficult for dealers to move cars, as leases are no longer offered by GMAC.

It could not happen to a better dealership. Bill Heard is a Sheister and a crook.

$2.3 Billion yearly revenue in that 13 store dealership just evaporated. GM sighs with relief. Only 4,000 more dealership to go to be competitive with Toyota and Honda.

3,000 jobs lost also, I have heard. Wonder what happens to all the cars? The dealership in Sanford Fl is truly massive. A thousand cars there if there is one.


Less than 24 hours after Bill Heard announced it was shutting its doors, the Courtesy Collision Pontiac, Buick, GMC dealership in Longwood is closing, Local 6 News reported.

Another one bites the dust...

Bill Heard is a Sheister and a crook.

Yes, and that was his primary problem, the word got out that he was shyster and a crook. He had hundreds of lawsuits filed against him in every city where he had a dealership. I have a grandson who is a mechanic in Huntsville, Alabama where he has a dealership. He said none of the shops would buy parts from Bill Heard because his parts people were such so arrogant. He said if they did not have a needed part in stock, they refused to order it for them. All the other shops in town got their GM parts from the Pontiac dealership.

He was already hanging on by his fingernails when the downturn in SUVs and pickups came along. That was the straw that broke his back. And you are right, thousands cheered when it happened. In short, they were so big they thought they could do just about anything and get by with it. The arrogance of power has been the downfall of politicians and businessmen alike.

A small suggestion for you guys. My lawyer informed me one time that one can say pretty much what one wants to, as long as it is as expressed as an opinion. For example, you can write/say, "In my opinion, John Doe is a crook," but if you write/say "John Doe is a crook," it opens you up to civil libel/slander charges.

I am sure that you guys meant to express your opinion about Bill Heard, et al.

No...I meant it HE IS A CROOK. My transmission went bad at 36031 miles and they would not even split the dif with me.

jeffrey, at least I got something out of what you wrote.

In my opinion. ;-)

Coincidentally, I just read an item about a law firm that specializes in suing people for defamation, in regard to blog postings.

Dictionary: crook1 (krʊk)

An implement or tool, such as a bishop's crosier or a shepherd's staff, with a bent or curved part.
A part that is curved or bent like a hook.
A curve or bend; a turn: a crook in the path.
Informal. One who makes a living by dishonest methods.

Im gonna go with the last definition as the one I intended. Bill Heard is a crook. The hundreds of lawsuits support me.


"Bill Heard is a Sheister and a crook."

Should have asked the FED for a bailout loan !!

Triff ..

"If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration," Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause.

Even coal plants that have carbon sequestration cause massive environmental damage via the process of mining the coal. If you've ever seen a coal mine, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Sure, coal mining provides jobs, but so could wind and solar farms, or massive installs on top of buildings and homes. (Why sacrifice land to solar when you can just use roofs?)

You're correct about the environmental damage from the strip mines. I've spent time in Wyoning and have seen it first hand. Total destruction of the local habitat. One the other hand, I've also walked across reclaimed strip mines: very lovely rolling hills with lots of content pronghorns and blooming sage. The initial destruction is complete but it's also temporary these days. Decades ago mining companies abandoned mines without reclamation. Current regs do not allow it.

I'm all for the alts. But until folks in the US agree, en mass, to pay more for alt energy then coal energy, there will be more and more coal plants built as PO effects become more pronounced. Sadly, Americans would probably still go the coal route even if it meant permanent destruction of those lands. Self interest will always dominate the process...like it or not.

A pity the $1T we're spending this week can't go for renewables. What would that buy, given current prices, maybe 500GW of wind power?

Or probably all of Alan's electric train conversion?

Coal is not cheaper than renewables. It is currently priced less because many of the costs associated with coal are paid using taxes on labor.

If coal companies had to pay all the costs associated with their product (and then pass those costs along to the consumer) all of a sudden renewables would look pretty cheap.

This is even more true of the oil companies. We would completely off imported oil already if the costs associated with oil were not socialized.

I love free markets, you just have to price in "externalities" to make them work properly.

If coal companies had to pay all the costs associated with their product (and then pass those costs along to the consumer) all of a sudden renewables would look pretty cheap.

But they don't. And there is the problem. It puts the lie to the notion of a "free market."

That old "Golden Rule" -- whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

I hate to constantly beat this drum (I have been called "brain-dead" by more than one poster) and "pollyanna" is not my nature --


Can we possibly stop using conversation stoppers like "Self interest will always dominate the process...like it or not."?

The only way our human society will ever get past its self-destructive ways is to constantly oppose the instincts that evolutionarily speaking, were originally protective, but which have now become mal-adaptive-- that are referred to in posts like that. If "we" will "never" get any better, then there is no point in trying. The fact that we really don't believe that is evidenced by the passion with which TOD is maintained.

Self-preservation on the small scale seems to become socially destructive on the large scale, but that doesn't mean -- to me, anyway -- that we have to give in to the lowest common denominator. We can set Congress as the nadir. The actions of that group set an objective standard for improvement.

Hear, hear!

Personally, I rarely buy the argument anyway. It's so easy to sound unchallengable when one posts the most negative and petty characterizations of what motivates people, when it seems to me that a great many actions around us are done for others, done for ideals (admirable or otherwise), done for country, company, kids or community at considerable personal expense. The selfishness argument seems about as tenable as any other pure 'ism'.

(Why sacrifice land to solar when you can just use roofs?)

That really is the bottom-line question. Why do we do any of the dreadful things we do to the planet when we know perfectly well how to do them differently in ways that would be more productive, less destructive and healthier for everyone?

Not being a particularly deep thinker, I suppose it is simply the chase for short term profits -- what else could it be? Why invest in something that might be profitable in the future when you already own something (like a coal mine) that is profitable now?

I imagine that BP Solar will start covering rooftops with solar panels when the market is right. It obviously takes a lot of energy to make solar cells, but at the moment, there is more profit in burning up the oil than in using it in some intermediate step in energy conversion.

And perhaps the final question, will anyone be left --after the resource wars-- to even care about solar panels on rooftops?

A good amount of energy goes into making solar panels, but depending upon the panel, the EROEI can be as low as 2 years, (such as the Evergreen Solar panels I own) but typically between 3-5 years.

I think it's brilliant that greens are standing in the way of switching to renewable energy. Confirms what I have always thought about them.

It might validate your world view but it is not unexpected. The "greens" are not a monolithic community with a fixed ideology. They are a loose coalition of people who share many of the same sentiments while different factions may have opposing views on some issues.

The most cost effective form of solar power is concentrated solar power (CSP). CSP uses mirrors which track the sun to heat a fluid which is then used to heat a boiler which then runs a steam engine driven generator. The hot fluid can be cheaply stored for use when the sun don't shine. These are utility scale projects and don't fit very well on anyone's roof.

While PVs are simple devices they need synchronous inverters to be grid connected and batteries if you want storage. While PVs have been coming down in cost (demand has kept price high) the cost of inverters and batteries aren't.

I've come to see that the most energy bang for the buck is to simply have a white roof. If done on a large scale together with white pavement it would change the albedo of urban areas significantly and reduce the demands on air conditioning systems two ways. First is less solar radiation is absorbed by buildings and secondly it cuts the urban heat island effect. Less coal then needs to be burned to power A/C systems which decreases CO2 input.

Looking forward to a creative judge sentencing those arrested for their 'civil disobedience' to house arrest with no electricity, sentence to be served during the last weeks of July.

If you simply mean no grid-connected electricity, I would be just fine, but not everybody gets their power from their own solar panels... ;)

curious? will Gore be the first to attack the line of men in riot gear or is he sugesting i lead the charge? what kind of civil disobedience does he have in mind?

Why dont we protest his mansion....its powered by like two coal plants?

Isn't Gore fat also?
I know civil disobedience makes everyone a bit uneasy, as it crosses the line most are willing to take, but historically it is often the most effective response. I do it on a regular basis, give it a try! It will empower you, and one less rope will be holding you to a failed system. You get gassed occasionally, and have a few legal issues, but that just makes thing clearer your and the system's intention.

You draw the 'Troll' card today? What a tired and hackneyed distraction argument, even if it weren't as exaggerated as you chose to put it. Two Coal Plants.. ok

He's an ex-vice President and Ex-Senator! To compare his home with the national average is dishonest from the get-go. He's wealthy and from the priviledged class. He makes no secret of this, and he has used this access and position for a very positive purpose. They have installed Solar (after an unusual fight to get zoning approved), and buy GreenPower at a premium. Both he and Tipper use the home for their offices, as well.



In February ('07), a conservative think tank criticized Gore for using an average of 16,000 kilowatt hours a month for an average monthly bill of $1,206 in 2006. The typical Nashville home uses about 1,300 kilowatt hours a month.

Gore has said the criticism was unfair because the 10,000-square-foot mansion was undergoing extensive remodeling. He said this week that "global warming denier" groups were trying to discredit him because they don't like the attention he has given to climate change.

"You're going to have people try to attack the messenger in order to get at the message. They have not been able to succeed," Gore told CNN from Norway, where he picked up the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work.

"The only way to solve this crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives," he said.


Al Gore, who was criticized for high electric bills at his Tennessee mansion, has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation's most environmentally friendly.

The former vice president has installed solar panels, a rainwater-collection system and geothermal heating. He also replaced all incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs.

"Short of tearing it down and staring anew, I don't know how it could have been rated any higher," said Kim Shinn of the U.S. Green Building Council, which gave the house its second-highest rating for sustainable design.

Gore is a celebrity fraud - a pretender - who got into government because of his family's history and money. I love how he goes renewable at home AFTER he gets heat from the press - a pretender, not a leader.

If you so desperately need a Celebrity Mascot, at least pick one who is not a fraud. Try Ed Begely Jr. or something.

A lot of people get into politics by 'learning the family business'. That doesn't make him a fraud OR prevent him from being one.

His movie and his speaking engagements do not say "I am the ideal of Low-carbon living".. he says "We have to reduce our consumption, our emissions, take care of our world, educate ourselves, find alternatives."

What is fraudulent about it?

Sorry he gets you so worked up.. but that's no excuse not to back up your claims.


"You can't save the planet, unless you are willing to make other people sacrifice." Dogbert

So the corrective, conservative measure is to tell them to go Shopping and make them live in perpetual debt. Very wise.

EDIT: ps. He hasn't MADE anyone sacrifice.. only asked them to. It seems, in fact, that those who have revulsed and rallied against the messages that implored for self-restraint and reduction are the ones that have created the perfect conditions for 'Forced Sacrifice' onto an impossible number of people who are completely unprepared for it. Good Going!

But........by asking people to break the law in protest of coal plants he is potentially MAKING young naive people throw away potential futures due to a criminal record. He is MAKING people loss money in their business of generating electricity. And Gore would MAKE people do a lot more if he had the power. A little self righteous. Don't get me wrong I am for renewables and nuke all the way and switching all coal to liquification for the aircraft and the military. Burning it in place to make something that is less transportable is a travesty. My point is the hypocrisy of Gore. Have Jenna Jameson speak to school girls about chastity.

'Throwing away potential futures because of their (Activist) criminal records..'

Boy, I'm glad you weren't Rosa Parks' advisor. Sure, I guess political activism is probably just a 'gateway misdemeanor' that can only lead one to hardened criminal activity.

If you want to point out Self-Righteous Hypocrisy in America, and your poster-boy is Al Gore, I'd say you are editing the list pretty heavily.

Really.. tell me this isn't sour grapes. Guy gets an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. It's gotta be a conspiracy!

(and RE: Chastity.. you don't need Jenna to mess that one up. The whole abstinence push ended up with kids taking more 'oral exams', if you will, because maybe they figured that wasn't really sex.

A long-term study at Yale (where GWB went..) and Columbia compared teens who took virginity pledges with those who did not. They found that nearly 9 out of 10 of those taking the pledge ended up having sex before marriage. The pledgers generally began having genital sex several months later than the non-pledgers, and they had fewer partners before marrying. But before losing their technical virginity, they were six times more likely than their non-pledging peers to engage in risky practices such as unprotected or*l and an*l s*x.

Im not advocating chastity
I am saying its hypocritical if JJ speaks about it. Just like Albert

It's just a superfluous charge.

It's like slamming an overweight person for having the audacity to try to work on the Hunger Problem. We all start where we start, and it takes all sorts of work to figure out how to change things. Beating on the messenger is just a form of denial.

If there is a level of hypocrisy in it, then it's the same hypocrisy that's simply endemic in our society. We've been born into it at various levels, and people who are working to create systemic-level and sweeping adjustments aren't going to be 'picture-perfect ideals' of the final goal.. It's as if someone says let's get ourselves out of this mud, and then he gets discredited because he's still got that mud on him, just like the rest of us.

We've got some real and dangerous Hypocrites out there. To some of you, Gore is simply an irritant.. why not put your energy against the ones who are actually lying to our faces, and doing real harm?

It's 11:23 pm. Do you know where your Constitution is?

"It's like slamming an overweight person for having the audacity to try to work on the Hunger Problem"

No its like slamming an overweight person for telling people to cut back on their eating. Exactly like that.

Gore is a pretender, a fraud.

He talks, but he does as little as possible - just enough to maintain credibility with the gullible and the press.

His token home RE was a Very Late After-thought - something he was forced to do out of humiliation by those wacky "global warming denier" groups.

Gore is only concerned about his Celebrity Cause to the extent that he personally is not inconvienenced.

And you Jok, have got to be out of your tiny mind if you think he gets a pass on being an ENERGY PIG simply because "He's an ex-vice President and Ex-Senator! ....He's wealthy and from the priviledged class.

Al craves celebrity. And he has apparently found the perfect audience.

Gore is a celebrity fraud - a pretender - who got into government because of his family's history and money. I love how he goes renewable at home AFTER he gets heat from the press - a pretender, not a leader.

If you so desperately need a Celebrity Mascot, at least pick one who is not a fraud. Try Ed Begely Jr. or something.

And you are a propagandist.

"Better to be thought a fool...


Sooner than I thought.


>>Homes could be plunged into darkness this winter as the nation faces the shocking prospect of power cuts.
The warning, following the release of grim industry figures yesterday, will dredge up memories of the last electricity crisis in 1974.
Then, households had to manage with candles, factories were put on short-time and TV broadcasts ended at 10.30pm<<

So who is to blame?

In order of time.

1. The Tories for selling off the CEGB
2. The dash for Gas
3. The Greens and the anti nuke , pro-warmist nonsense
4. New Labour: 12 years wasted.

Best hopes for no Dalton Type Minima....

Saint Al has a very cunning plan. More cunning than a fox that has just been made professor of cunning at the University of Oxford.

Now that these people have been let off a criminal damage charge:


He can now advocate direct civil disobedience. (amongst the young of course - all that sitting around being fire-hosed is ok if you are young and poor)

As the disobedience becomes become less civil, the Saint can then step in and offer world-saving , saintly solutions:


In the form of carbon cap ‘n’ trade

Formerly known as Papal Indulgences

By which time we will be in the next Dalton type minima and the planet will be cooling. Thus proving that Al and associates were right all along.

Ergo: Cap n Trade works. (and you can make money)

You know, if I were looking for people to chain their heads with a bike lock to new coal plants, I'd say that far more effective than getting a bunch of 20 year olds arrested would be Al Gore, former US VP and famed climate activist.

I'm all for civil disobedience - have my own fond memories of getting jailed, and will do it again. But this strikes me as cheap and easy on Gore's part. Al, I'm not that young anymore - 36 years old, and getting arrested is a lot more inconvenient now that I have to get a sitter (although calling your husband to bail you out is more fun than calling your Dad at 16 ;-)), but heck, I'll do it, and bring some of the teenagers in my life, if you'll get your rich ass out there too.


jewishfarmer, funny thread today. made me laugh.

"I'm not that young anymore - 36 years old, and getting arrested is a lot more inconvenient now"

Unfortunately, it took me until I was about 52 to get arrested. Much more convenient than when I was a kid...my father told me, during the Free Speech Movement, that I could sit in if I was willing to pay my own bills. That wasn't terribly convenient, but, at 52, it wasn't even a consideration.

If you find the cause, Just Do It.


There are already plants with carbon sequestration?

I thought "clean coal" was still in the research stage.

demo plants are running

I'd be interested to know where. I seem to remember the US cancelling the demo FutureGen back in February/March this year.

Interesting datapoint on impact of oil price on western nation GDP:

How oil greases our wheels

A look at the Canadian economy in 2009 under different commodity price scenarios*
				 $60	$80	$100	$120	$140
Real GDP, % growth		0.1%	0.3%	0.5%	0.8%	1.0%
CPI,% inflation	0.9%		1.3%	1.8%	2.4%	2.9%
Terms of trade, % change	-10.5%	-6.7%	-2.8%	1.0%	4.9%
Nominal GDP, % growth		-3.1%	-1.0%	1.1%	3.4%	5.5%
Corp. profits, % change		-26.4%	-17.8%	-9.1%	0.1%	8.6%
Budget balance, $billions	-$15.5	-$11.4	-$7.3	-$2.7	$1.4

*Assumes broader commodity complex moves in line with the oil price

Source is behind a paywall. Hope the numbers remain aligned.

I fixed it for you. Use the <pre> tags, rather than <blockquote>, when you want to preserve formatting.

Please explain. Is that because higher oil prices allow profit to be made from oil sands?

That same set of figures would not seem to characterize an oil-importing nation.

Thanks Leanan!


First, I am not sure to what degree this data could be generalized across any group of countries. The projections are specific to Canada and Canada has both conventional exports from east coast offshore and also the tar sands exports you mention. Neither of these two production streams were broken out from the top level view.

I was struck by the degree to which the oil price impacted other economic figures; this reinforces the centrality of energy in general (and the FF industry in particular) to a modern western economy. I was also struck by the negative impacts of a decline from the $140 a bbl price. Although they do not realize it, Canadians have a significant vested interest in oil at $140 a bbl even if it costs them a few nickles more at the pump.

Having tried to avoid broad generalization let me add some speculation. To what degree does this CDN interest in $140 a bbl oil reflect the interests of a petro-state such as KSA? KSA has much less of a mixed economy than Canada, is totally dependent on FF exports, and imports almost everything else including both food and labour. I have seen reports that KSA would be fine with oil at $40 a bbl but I suspect this is an overly low estimate. Given the KSA attempt to develop their economy, with the consequent diversion of FF from exports to internal use as their internal economy grows, I suspect they may be sensitive to oil prices below $100 a bbl but cannot verify this.

Second line of inquiry is the fiscal impact on an import reliant state. If you construct a similar table for the USA my hunch is it would show the same approximate ratios - just flip the positive and negative signs. Since it takes some period of time ( up to a year or more ) for price effects to cascade through an economy the full impact of recent per bbl prices is still to be felt.

A third, much more speculative thought, is that it may be possible to construct similar tables for a range of countries and begin to forecast major shifts in future economic power. Such shifts may also presage global realignments of international relations. I do not have the econometric skills to construct such a set of tables but there may be another TOD member who is up to such a challenge.


It is not just oil sands. Canada has a good bit of conventional oil, as well as natural gas and other resources. Note the footnote to the graph: "*Assumes broader commodity complex moves in line with the oil price."

Zimbabwe cash crisis forces parents to pay school fees in livestock

The crippling cash crisis has turned many ordinary Zimbabweans into masters of survival. Many businesses are now charging for goods in foreign currency or fuel coupons.

But the majority of Zimbabweans don’t have access to forex creating major problems for many because of the severe shortage of local cash.

They have massive inflation...but also a cash shortage, because the banks have withdrawal limits.

So, it's cash & barter, a glimpse of our future?

maybe so -- but just try to pay your taxes in corn or cattle. IRS will take your farm first.

I dunno...maybe they'd prefer it. The government will probably be feeding a lot of hungry, unemployed people.

According to Tainter, this is why Rome had to pass laws forcing the sons of farmers to be farmers, too. Taxes (paid in food produced) were so high that it was easier to get food in the city than on the farm.

This begs the question -- when will we have regressed so much that "money" once again becomes real commodities, and not just some representation of them?

So far, the money boys seem to continue to have the upper hand.

Congress and the New York Times, etc., are successfully manufacturing consent. The "bailout" is nearly a done deal. Oil will continue to flow to paper money for a while.

RE: the MPG confusion? good article over at realclimate.org

I don't normally link to climate change stuff(see my complaints from yesterday!) but this is actually an interesting article/question. I though it would be good discussion over here.



It's been posted here before. Here's a NY Times version, for those who don't want to darken the doorway of RealClimate.

IMO, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the MPG illusion is that it hides the limits of improving mileage. The more fuel efficient a car is, the less difference improving MPG can make. It's low-hanging fruit on wheels. But put in terms of MPG, it's hard to see that. Going from 34 mpg to 54 mpg sounds good, and the fact that it's less than half the savings of going from 18 mpg to 28 mpg is not intuitively obvious.

In Europe it's litres consumed on 100 kilometres way (as you will know.)
That makes it a little more transparent, .. maybe.

There is an easy formula to compare both with each other, it is the number 236 divided through mpg to get litres/100km, or the other way round (divide 236 through litres/100km to get miles per gallon.)

Pakistan 'fires on Nato aircraft'

Nato forces in eastern Afghanistan say their helicopters have been fired upon by a Pakistani military checkpoint.

The Western alliance said its aircraft had not crossed into Pakistani airspace when they came under fire in Khost province, news agency AP reports.

The incident comes amid growing tension over a number of recent incidents at the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Pakistan worries me a lot more than Iran or Russia.

Pakistan worries me a lot more than Iran or Russia.

Shoulda listened to Ghandi!

Pakistan has been talking about defending its sovereignty against U.S. incursions. Too bad they weren't as interested in defending their sovereignty against the Taliban.

I think you will find it went the other way, the Taliban movement was started in Pakistan by their secret service, and exported to to Afghanistan with help from the CIA, in order to kick the Russians in the teeth in the 1980's. The Sunni ideological underpinnings came from and were funded via Saudi Arabia, and before that, the basic ideas came from Egypt in the 1950s or even earlier.

Most of the Taliban ARE pakistani. although they put religious allegiance above national.

Rewards looking at again-- The Power of Nightmares

Allowing the US to attack the Taliban inside Pakistan would be deeply unpopular within Pakistan. Thus the Pakistani government have to show they are "doing something" to try and prevent this, e.g. firing on planes. If the US decides it is going to leave Afghanistan soonish then it does not need to attack the Taliban, i.e. the Taliban only need to be attacked if the US is intent on staying in Afghanistan long term. If they are, then when are they starting conscription? because I don't think they have enough grunts.

At least we know for sure that Pakistan has nukes.

Yes, and as a client state of the US in the 1970s and 1980s our leaders knew every step of the way that Pakistan was developing nukes, but they kept quiet.

Leanan -

Me too.

If the US 'loses' Pakistan in the same way that it 'lost' Iran in 1979, then I think our big adventure in central Asia is over. Kaput.

Without the logistical supply lines from Pakistan the only way our forces in Afghanistan can be supplied with fuel and vital materiel is either through Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.

Given our steadily deteriorating relations with Russia, and given Russia's recent willingness to put the hurt on some of its former soviet republics, it would not be very difficult at all for Russia to choke off anything getting to US forces from any of its former 'stans'.

While airlifting can be used as a short-term emergency measure to relieve stranded forces, it is simply not a practicable alternative over the long haul, given the size and scope of our operations in Afghanistan. Besides, whose air space would we be allowed to fly over if things break down completely between the US and Pakistan? Time to pack up and go home.


I've wondered about this same issue, particularly in the very-hot weeks immediately after Sept. 11 when it was clear that we were heading to Afghanistan but not at all clear how we would get there, and whether Pakistan was going to give us a pass.

This is pure speculation, but I've wondered about the option of forcibly establishing and maintaining a supply route through the deserts of southwestern Pakistan in the event of Pakistan imploding. The province in question, Balochistan, is a relatively sparsely populated region, with some 6% of the country's population scattered over nearly half of Pakistan's land area. Again, pure speculation, but you can bet that some folks in the Pentagon have been through the same thought process.

stclair -

I supose it is theoretically possible to try to establish a sort of beachead in Baluchistan, but trying to secure that logistical supply line (several hundred miles to the Afghan border) would be very tenuous and extremely costly over the long term.

Remember that not only does Pakistan have a very large army, but it also has nukes. If control of Pakistan falls into the hands of Islamic radicals, who knows to what degree they would escalate things to keep the Americans out of their country.

All in all, I'd have to say that the Baluchistan option is probably not tenable. If the US tried it, they could very well find their forces stranded in Afghanistan. Then what?

Then Alexander the Great's army limps through the desert in Baluchistan back to present-day Iraq, Alexander dies and the empire collapses into smaller waring states.

history does hold models for empires guilty of overreach

I think it is time to reassess the Western presence in Afganistan.The place has been a disaster for the West and Russia for a long time.This present adventure began post 9/11.It failed for various reasons and it is doubtful if it had real geopolitical significance even then,let alone now.

Most counter-insurgency operations have two major problems - The difficulty of separating the insurgents from the civilian population so going after the insurgents,as must be done,will inevitably cause civilian casualties.This alienates the civilians and they cease to support the local govermment and refuse intelligence on insurgent movements.
If there is a neighbouring country which is providing support and safe harbour to the insurgents and this support can't be shut down then the war really becomes unwinable except at enormous cost.

I doubt whether the USA,NATO or Australia are prepared to meet that cost.Best to shut it down now and cut losses.

thirra -

Indeed, since the time of Alexander the Great, Afghanistan has always been a very painful experience for the West.

The terrain is impossible, the people are tough as nails and love to fight, and carrying on large prolonged operations can be a logistical nightmare.

Reminds me of a little ditty by Rudyard Kipling that goes something like this:

"If you're wounded on the Afghan plains,

And when their women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll over on your rifle and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier."

Doesn't strike me as it ever was a great place to practice Western colonialism.

an optimistic view of the bailout

My analysis suggests that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (a former investment banker, no less, not a trader) may pull off the mother of all trades, which could net a trillion dollars and maybe as much as $2.2 trillion -- yes, with a "t" -- for the United States Treasury.


Another peace dividend?

"I have great, great confidence in our capital markets and in our financial institutions. Our financial institutions, banks and investment banks, are strong. Our capital markets are resilient. They're efficient. They're flexible."
-- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, March 16, 2008

"Our policy in this administration -- laws shouldn't bail out lenders, laws shouldn't help speculators."
-- President Bush, May 19, 2008

"Our economy has continued growing, consumers are spending, business are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy...I think the system basically is sound. I truly do."
-- President Bush, July 15, 2008


"We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis... Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the house decline, and the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger."
-- President Bush, September 24, 2008

Would you trust your money with these gentlemen?

I always figured the USA would end up like Argentina but I didn't think it would progress this rapidly.

Anything can progress rapidly...

Ed McMahon turns gangsta rapper

Ed McMahon has an unexpected new job title: rapper.

The 85-year-old former "Tonight Show" sidekick will star in two viral rap videos for FreeCreditReport.com, a financial Web site owned by credit bureau Experian.

The videos feature McMahon wearing a tracksuit, being chauffeured around Los Angeles in a Cadillac Escalade golf cart and waxing lyrical about his very public financial troubles.

McMahon raps:

When I retired, I was famous
I had money and glory
I bought a house for 6 mill
I thought nothing could touch me
Until my credit went south, and debt started to crunch me
Next thing I know, instead of playing gin rummy
I was scrambling just to make ends meet
It wasn't funny

Got a bump from the media chumps, but that was temporary
Wife with bad credit was scary, so I got wise
I may have fallen, but I got back up
Now I'm back on the attack, like a ninja swinging nunchucks
I told the haters, 'Go on, take a hike'
It's my show now, and I can do what I like.

The videos will appear online in October.


Youtube link

The best rebuttal to this latest wave of spin:

Latest Bailout Plan Spin: Its a Money Maker!

The reason I bring this up today is due to the latest sales pitch from various people, aggressively pushing the bailout plan. The newest spin on the massively expensive plan is "Hey, its a jumbo money maker!"

The spin reminds me of the classic retail stock jockey. The guy has buried his clients in a series of bad trades, bad judgment, poor risk management -- all motivated by his self-interested, commission-generating trades. The only way out of the money losing mess, pitches the broker, is a big, Hail Mary trade.


Naked Capitalism also has a very informative post dealing more with the nuts and bolts of why this bailout will never make the taxpayers money:

[The treasury] is going to pay above, in fact considerably above, current market prices for the illiquid (frankly, often dud) assets. There is no point to this exercise otherwise. The banks are free to sell now at market price, but they aren't willing to. Hence the government is stepping in, paying over the mark.

This is a feature of the program, not a bug. The financial firms most assuredly do not want price discovery at current levels, and paying above market serves as a back door recapitalization of the banking system. But the operation is badly flawed, since it's the companies with a high proportion of assets for which the Treasury overpays most who benefit most.

...So with book values in some cases above where the market would really be, banks having an incentive to offload their most mis-marked paper, and prices of risky credit instruments just about certain to fall further, the odds of Treasury showing a profit look to be sheer fantasy.


Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavour.

That's not an optimistic view, it's complete fantasy. Nobody know how to assess the "value" of these bad papers that nobody wants, banks have every incentive to sell above market value therefore guaranteeing a loss for the tax payers.

"Give us your gold, man!!!!" :)

Weekly NG storage report:

Working gas in storage was 3,023 Bcf as of Friday, September 19, 2008, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 51 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 162 Bcf less than last year at this time and 35 Bcf above the 5-year average of 2,988 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 69 Bcf above the 5-year average following net injections of 33 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 46 Bcf below the 5-year average of 854 Bcf after a net injection of 6 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 12 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net addition of 12 Bcf. At 3,023 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

How come that NG storage keeps rising despite the hurricanes?

I can answer that.

April and September are the big injection months for NG. No one is heating their house and the weather has cooled enough to reduce cooling demand, which in the summer, is the near exclusive domain of NG fired peaker power plants.

However, in mid September, one should be seeing much larger injections. "The implied net injection of 51 Bcf into working gas was 26 Bcf less than the 5-year average net injection of 77 Bcf" http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/ngw/ngupdate.asp

Also, with power still out and refineries not consuming vast quantities of NG, there seems to be an obvious shortfall relative to the norm.

Hope this helps. The link I posted is one of the better government reports, in my opinion.

Technical Analysis (TA) – 12th Post

On the Cobert Report last night, Steven asked a guest why we should do the bailout. The guest replied, “Because this is their only plan, they don't have anything else.” I have heard this many times from different touts of the plan. This is not good logic! First, there is always something else to do, there are always alternatives. We are not being shown the alternatives, and we are not seriously being given a good look at doing nothing. This logic is simply justification for a desired outcome. Anyway, it looks like “$500 billion more needed” http://www.cnbc.com/id/26885559 It looks like “they” do have another plan, “throwing good money after bad.” The goal must be to completely hock the country – our great, great grandkids could still be paying for this. All of this is bullish in the long term for oil, because the dollar will be toast.

Another beat of the war drum: Peres: U.S. has no choice but to save world from Ahmadinejad http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1024426.html Also useful for war: U.S. Plans to Sell Israel 1,000 Bunker-Buster Bombs http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=5805098 I would say that this is VERY bullish for oil, but it is likely to be a “surprise.” And, a war would be perfect to help get people's minds turned off again, which would be good for the bailout.

Oil and gas inventories were much worse than we expected, and the price went down. I see this as a message from the Smart Money (SM). They are letting us know that at this time, they are not allowing the price to go above a certain amount. It is said that reduced demand is the cause, but yet again, no numbers are given to support this worldwide. And, as usual, the projections are for at least a small increase in demand, while supply problems are ignored: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/forecasting.html This would seem to be bearish for oil in the short term, but in the long term, this could be very bullish.

This morning, oil and gold are down, and the dollar (vs EURO) is up a bit. This appears to be a bit bearish.

As far as my TA on OmniTrader is concerned, for USO, I am only getting unfiltered (“unconfirmed”) signals. I am getting a long signal (74/99) signal from my volume strategy, a strong (99/99) long signal from my all systems strategy and weak short (26/99) signal from the unfiltered reversal strategy, and a strong (5/5) long recognized “trend line break” pattern. The overall vote is “buy,” but it also looks like it could go either way. Given that oil is down today, this might change the overall vote when I run the program at the end of the day. USO is working on a short term down trend (from a line hand-drawn).

There are some buy signals, but they are from the unfiltered strategies and may be bad signals. On the other hand, I am really a major oil bull, and I feel a strong pull to buy on even the most flimsy of excuses. But, if this is a trading range enforced by the SM, the short term USO price could bounce around the 46 to 54 range for a while the SM “wears them out.” I may buy some USO to start a war insurance policy.

(For my TA, I am using OmniTrader (20-day backtested, end-of-day [EOD]) with the pattern recognition module (short, med, and long), and I trade USO as a proxy for oil, and UGA as a proxy for gasoline. I am using the standard strategies for breakout, trending, and reversal (all filtered and non-optimized), one that I created with all 75 systems, another one I created with only the volume systems (both optimized and unfiltered), and an unfiltered version of the reversal strategy. Once again I have put myself out as a fortune teller – a sure way to end up looking like a fool. I am not an expert at TA, I am a beginner (sometimes a badly hungover beginner). This is in no way to be considered to be investment advice, I'm the one who needs investment advice. Please add to this analysis, and don't feel shy about flaming me if I said something dumb. I definitely want to stay out of the group of the “stupid people losing money.”)


Oil and gas inventories were much worse than we expected, and the price went down. I see this as a message from the Smart Money (SM). They are letting us know that at this time, they are not allowing the price to go above a certain amount.

Or could it be that many futures contracts cashed out to cover other extraneous losses and/or sitting on sidelines until bailout SHTF? Any trading volume stats Moe?

That is a very good point. I guess that without an honest interview with the trader in question, it would be difficult to know their motivation. Or, do you know of a way that this can be determined using volume stats?

With my limited knowledge, I am enjoying blaming everything on manipulation by the SM. Of course that couldn't really be the case, and I have no way to determine real motivations. It may just be that it is the most interesting way for me to keep a focus on the market.

A lot of the TA proponents say that it doesn't matter what the motivations area, what matters is the movement of the price and volume. I am attempting to get there, but for now it is more fun to give some additional "personality" to the market.

I recall when "throwing good money after bad" was reserved for welfare mothers and the needs of other poor folks. What we have here is welfare for the rich in the most obvious way ever and people are pissed off. Make these bankers live on food stamps for a few months before letting them inside the doors of another bank again. Freeze their assets and take away their credit cards so they can't cheat.

Re: Gas shortages in WNC linked up top.

My wife and I traveled into Asheville yesterday to bring a friend a few gallons of gas from our town. We waited thirty minutes before our turn at the gas pump, even though we were only four cars back in the line. The line moved slowly, people were patient, and the hose only trickled a gallon every five minutes.

Our friend's vehicle sat with an empty tank in a parking lot a few miles from where he works. A single father with a two year old, he can't wait for three hours in line to maybe get some fuel. We met him at his parked car and added our gas. He, like many, can't handle this for much longer. I tell him that it'll be another week or two before sense of normalcy resumes.

All over town, stations are empty. Those stations that receive gas are packed with long lines of cars, up to fifty cars in length. See this short set of clips from yesterday here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fVDTlTD9XA . This phenomenon where we saw it appeared orderly and slow. We've only heard about fights and other various problems over this shortage. Many bicycles and riders moved with a dignified air along the highways.

We returned home late last night, passing the same small station we had pumped from earlier in the day. Its lights were on, but bags now covered the handles. Out of gas until the next time it isn't.

Can someone explain why we have gas shortages in the Southeast U.S. when the hurricanes hit Texas and Louisiana? Here in southeast Texas we are still trying to pull things together after Ike - and it is a big deal, let me tell you - but there is no shortage of gas.

One other comment on gas usage. Because many of the stoplights here are still down or without power, intersections are acting as four-way stops. This causes much more traffic congestion than normal. I believe this is driving gas usage up higher than normal at the moment.

The Southeast is toward the end of the pipeline, with virtually no nearby product refineries. Even prior to the hurricanes, some areas in the Dakotas, at the end of a pipeline, were experiencing spot shortages.

As others have noted, the threats of prosecution for "price gouging" have resulted in lower prices than what we should have seen and therefore not much price incentive for getting more fuel to this area--also, the suppressed price has encouraged consumption.

EIA map of US refineries (note that the sole Georgia refinery is an asphalt facility):

There's some discussion in Gail's inventory thread.

The people on the fringes of the region are better off, because gasoline can be diverted from neighboring areas without too much difficulty.

The central southeast doesn't have the ports that coastal areas have, and it's not as easy to divert fuel trucks there. Basically, the places suffering from shortages are the ones that are critically dependent on the Colonial pipeline.

I suspect that many folks in the country also don't appreciate how mountaneous parts of this region are. A while ago I drove back and forth across them more than a few times and trying to highball a bunch of tankers through there would be rather difficult and slow. I don't have the numbers but I suspect there is relatively low storage in much of the region. Usually when p/l's are the primary delivery system folks keep storage to a minimum thanks the general reliability of p/l's. This may serve as a lesson: develop a storage depot in the region to increase supply security. As bad as it is for folks now imagine if it were the middle of a very cold winter. Deaths could be unavoidable.

I live in Asheville NC. One thing that may have happened is the Southeast has experienced a lot of population growth from people moving from FL and the Midwest. I am one of them. They may have not developed additional fuel storage for the increasing population growth these last few years. The difficulty of installing pipelines in our granite bedrock would be expensive. Land is at a premium due to the terrain. Permitting would take forever.

Human beings insist they are the smartest creatures on the planet. However is this really a true statement? How smart are we if we sit and fight over gas in a line? How smart are we if we are faced with energy and financial difficulties yet continue to squat in denial? How smart is it to consume and acquire things that we just really do not need? How smart is it for us to build weapons to kill each other?

We have really wasted what intelligence we do have.

We haven't wasted our intelligence, we expend it as efficiently as we can. The problem is that on an individual level, there are, by orders of magnitude, far more things to deal with in the world than a single mind can effectively comprehend.

This theme has run through here before. It's called "unmanageable complexity".

Once upon a time, and in some places still on this planet, humans were capable of living in sustainable dynamic equilibrium with their environment.

Glenn Beck thinks we're at "Defconomy 2"

In the weeks following that DEFCONOMY column, I moved from thinking this meltdown scenario was a frightening possibility to realizing it was a near inevitability.

While it took the people in power far too long to recognize it, they are now understanding the same sad truth. This bailout plan is not a good idea -- it's an absolutely terrible idea. It's just the only idea we have left.

Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt
(This won't surprise anyone who has actually dealt with a credit card issuer.)

New home sales fall to 17-year low

Sales pace of new homes lowest since January 1991 as prices hit a four-year low and inventory continues to rise.

Democrats claim Wall St. bailout breakthrough

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Rep. Barney Frank said on Wednesday Democrats had reached an agreement to stem one of the worst U.S. financial disasters in decades, and that there would be enough votes to pass the measure and send it to President George W. Bush to sign into law.

Denninger is urging people to call their Congress critters:

The script is simple:

"If you vote for this bill, or abstain, I will vote for your opponent. No other issue is going to change my mind. Either defeat this bill or lose your job."

Pick up the phone now. Its your job, your nation, and your responsibility.

Does anyone have any tea we can throw in the harbor?
I long for the good old days.

How about some tar and some feathers?

LOL ..

How about some Bankers and Congress critters ??

Triff ..

musashi - Thanks for the link. For me, it was simply reinforcing how I already felt, but the detail behind their analysis was impressive. The next two dominoes to fall, credit cards and car loans will really put a lot of people at risk of hunger, homelessness, and unemployment - can't afford the car to get to work, can't pay the rent, and can't use the bridge often provided by credit cards.

Makes me glad not to owe anybody, and fearful for the small amount of savings I have accumulated.

I heard on CNBC a while ago that Washington Mutual was seized by FDIC prior to transfer of deposits from WaMu to JP Morgan Chase.

FDIC held what the commentators said was an unusual 9pm meeting on Thurs. night.

Some questioned the unusual timing and when speculating on a reason for the odd timing and FDIC seizure the consensus was that it was done to address the possibility of a run on the bank...

Don't worry though, it's all "contained"... to planet Earth.

You know they are desperate when a seizure does not happen late Friday or over the weekend.

WaMu...may you rest in peace. Please take a moment and bow your head...sniff.

That's exactly what the commentators were saying - the one guy couldn't ever remember the FDIC doing this on a day other than a Friday (since he pointed out that they like to have the banks closed for the couple days over the weekend to circumvent any immediate "panic").

Overall though the mood seemed to be more along the lines of resignation rather than panic among the hosts. Still, one could definitely tell that they interpreted this as yet another disturbing turn of events.

Having participated in the closure of a long scheduled S&L closure by the RTC, a three day weekend is MUCH preferred due to the immense amount of work required. Two 18 hour days and a 14 hour day on the Monday. And this is with months of preparation under RTC management.

I cannot imagine a GIANT like WaMU in a single night (and not even starting promptly at 3 PM, the close of the business day).


It's on the FDIC web site. Christ on a crutch. It's not Friday. This can't be good.

Leanan, when you use an oath like "Christ on a crutch", it's time to worry.

With Walmu going belly up, the US political machine careening off the rails, the Asian money people pulling in their dough, and the financial markets clamoring for a bailout, tomorrow may not be pretty.

Don McLean's American pie came to mind:

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

Yeah, I usually prefer "Christ on a cracker!" ;-)

Reminds me of my favourite courtesy of Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed the Rump Parliament,

"Remember, gentlemen. By the bowels of Christ, remember. You may be mistaken."

On second thought, that line nicely sums up what's happening tonight :-)

Sidecar and popsicle stick are my favorites.

Maybe it was a deliberate strategy to further frighten Congress into approving the bailout, as they knew the vote would be tomorrow, Friday.

I think CSNY's A Long time gone comes very close.

It's been a long time comin'
It's goin' to be a long time gone.
Appears to be a long time,
Yes, a long, long, log time
Before the dawn.
Turn, turn any corner.
Hear, you must hear what the people say,
You know there's something that's goin' on here,
That surely, surely, surely won't stand the light of day.
And it appears to be a long,
Such a long, long, long time before the dawn.
Speak out, you got to speak out against
The madness, you got to speak your mind,
If you dare.
But don't try to get you rself elected.
If you do you had better cut your hair.
'Cause it appears to be a long time,
Before the dawn.
It's been a long time comin',
It's been a long time gone.
But you know, the darkest hour,
Is always just before the dawn.
And it appears to be a long time,
Such a long, long, long time before the dawn.

Beautiful song.


I know. They couldn't keep the bank together ONE MORE DAY? Now that is serious.

If you guys really want to be scared,remember that the FDIC doesn't have the capital to bail out all these banks in trouble-the premise is that if they need more they will get it from the federal government to protect depositors up to $100,000. What if the federal government decides not to cover? I know it sounds crazy but they didn't cover in Argentina-the depositors ate it-by that time all the politicos and connected had their money offshore. Now you can have some good nightmares tonight.

Maybe this had something to do with it.

"BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday."

Then again, maybe not

"The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on Thursday denied a newspaper report that it had told Chinese banks to stop lending to U.S. banks in the interbank market. A spokesman for the regulator strongly codemned the article in Thursday's South China Morning Post, calling it irresponsible.

"The CBRC has never, through any channel, issued a statement or told domestic commercial banks not to lend to or borrow from U.S. financial institutions," the spokesman said in a statement on the agency's website. (Reporting by Langi Chiang and Zhou Xin; Writing by Alan Wheatley; Editing by Ken Wills)"

Yeah, but that seems like par for the course for the way the Chinese government operates. When they want to send a message, they have some anonymous government official leak something to the press. Then they issue an "official" denial. But everyone recognizes the warning.

Sheila Blair, head of the FDIC, just said on Bloomberg: "This failure should be seen as a confidence enhancing event."

I am not making this up.

On Duke and Areva...I just spent a couple of days at the Biopower South 2008 conference in Raleigh, NC. While declaring the Southeast states "the Saudi Arabia" of biomass resources, there was also a realization that smaller,decentralized, ditributed operations were to become the norm if this is the route that was eventually funded.

While there was a certain amount of cheerleading (and one person that claimed gasoline was definitely negative in it's EROEI, while ALL alcohol production schemes were positive), everyone uniformly ignored the two gorillas in the room: the amount of energy consumed (and therefore imported, no one talked seriously about conservation and the sort of numbers we ought to be looking at) or the peaking of oil, gas, and coal supplies (although there was an acknowledgement by several speakers that growth in the face of years reserve based upon current use would shorten, in some cases significantly, the actual number of years "left"). I am currently preparing a summary for staff and may give a short presentation at a "brown-bag" lunch in the near future.

Sorry for the off-topic post, but I'm hoping someone here can help me. I need an estimate for EROEI on some form, any form of coal (and maybe biomass burning). I've checked the older threads on TOD but am not having much luck getting a physical estimate. Does anybody know where I might find one? I need it for my class, the students like it if they have some concrete number they can use to rank things (it's okay if there's a high uncertainty, or a large range). Thanks!

I've collected some ranges for conventional oil, ethanol from various sources, tar sands and oil shales but the solids are proving more challenging. The closest I've come is energy content, or price per BTU.

This may help. Good article by Kurt Cobb:


Eureka! Thanks so much!!

The number seen most often here is about 80. This is a mouth-of-the-mine figure from a fairly complete Cutler Cleaveland paper and is seen in the Charlie Hall's baloon graph here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3786#more

Transporting coal also takes energy. I've relied on some nuclear industry numbers here to look at the value when it gets to your toaster: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2008/01/eroie.html
It is down to around 14 at that point. 80->(transportation?)40->(conversion)16


From Digby blog--

It's official. Bush and Congress, along with Obama and McCain, have decided America should pay for its own economic rape kit.

They're having trouble raising money for the victims of Ike and Gustav.

For the small Mennonite Disaster Service, which depends almost exclusively on individual donations, the difference between the support it received after Katrina and the response to Gustav and Ike could hardly be more dramatic. Since early August, the organization has received about $7,000 in donations, compared to the $8 million that poured in shortly after Katrina hit.

They don't blame the bad economy. At least, not directly. It's the lack of media coverage. People are too busy following the presidential election and the financial crisis to pay attention the hurricanes.

As of this morning, a half million folks still w/o power in Houston and surrounding areas (Centerpoint energy). Jamie Lynn Spears is getting more press coverage than Ike victims right now.

The scale of the damage is order(s) of magnitude less as well for Gustav/Ike.



People aren't too busy. It's because Ike damage isn't being covered as widely as Katrina. I think there has been an effort to keep this story out of the national media for the most part. The government did not want any reminders of Katrina right before an election.

It's the same kind of lesson they learned during Vietnam and applied during the Iraq war. If they can control the media coverage, they can influence peoples' opinions of events.

I second this analysis---
There has been successful program to suppress the damage of Ike.

Katrina >> Ike + Gustav


Alan, what is the purpose of your post? You are beginning to annoy me with your constant references to Katrina being worse than anything. It happened. Get over it. Today is a new day and your constant dribble reminds me of how useless it is to continue pointing at the puddle of pee the dog left.

I guess unless any catastrophe is bigger and worse than Katrina, it just doesn't count.

This thread started when someone "complained" or commented that Gustav & Ike were not getting the press of Katrina. I pointed out that, as smaller disasters, that was entirely reasonable. Northridge earthquake got press, but in 30 more years it will be forgotten. The same cannot not be said of the San Francisco earthquake.

The Twin Towers on 9/11
Texas City explosion
Floods of 1928
San Francisco Earthquake
Galveston Hurricane of 1900
Johnstown Flood (?)

These are the major natural and man-made disasters in American History (perhaps I missed one or two). The Northridge earthquake was a disaster, but SF earthquake >> Northridge (and not just in seismic energy)

Get over it.

New Orleans is still far from recovered from Katrina. When the city I love is "over it" and recovered fully, so will I (except for some bitter memories).

Galveston, a much smaller city than New Orleans, had significant damage behind the seawall, but they will also recover.


Be Happy with 20%

The Wall street bail out deal looks like it may go through. Save the elite at any cost. What the average Joe needed was a helping hand. Looks like all we will be given is just one finger, the middle one :(


And oil is up $2 on the "good" news.

Asia Needs Deal to Prevent Panic Selling of U.S. Debt, Yu Says

(Bloomberg) -- Japan, China and other holders of U.S. government debt must quickly reach an agreement to prevent panic sales leading to a global financial collapse, said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to the Chinese central bank.

``We are in the same boat, we must cooperate,'' Yu said in an interview in Beijing on Sept. 23. ``If there's no selling in a panicked way, then China willingly can continue to provide our financial support by continuing to hold U.S. assets.''

Ooooops... the rent's coming due on all of those big screen TVs.

So it would seem....

China banks told to halt lending to US banks-SCMP

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.

Is this not, like, a REALLY BIG DEAL considering this bailout plan has to pawn off the debt on somebody? Who else is gonna buy it?

George W. Bush would be stupid enough to want to buy that bad paper, as long he was using someone else's money and he had their word that he was getting a good deal. I think they told Bama that this was a once in a lifetime deal and he would have to act quick before supplies of bad mortgages ran out. Then Congress was contacted by K Street lobbyists that the nation's fate was dependent on their buying these tainted securities. IF they did not act quick, Wall Street might go under.

The cost is over $2,300. for every man woman and child in America. It does not bail out the numerous banks reporting troubles, or help people who can make mortgage payments. It will not reduce the cost of food or gasoline.

Yes, yes, I understand.

However, it was my understanding that we are financing this $700b by issuing treasuries which are bought mostly by China, Japan and others. If they aren't buying, what happens?

Are there any other options before monetizing the debt and hyperinflation?

How about selling Alaska back to the Russians for 700 billion? We have used most of the good stuff anyway, and who needs all that wilderness. It's beautiful, but there is nothing there, as James Watt pointed out.
Simple Sarah could get rid of that Bridge to No Where issue also, and prove Alaska and Russia do have relations.

Simple Sarah. I like that.

How about, Sarah, Plain and Stupid.

U.S. Mint suspends Buffalo gold coins after depletion

NEW YORK - The U.S Mint said Thursday it was temporarily suspending sales of American Buffalo 24-karat gold one-ounce bullion coins because strong demand depleted its inventory.

"Demand has exceeded supply for American Buffalo 24-karat gold one-ounce bullion coins, and our inventories have been depleted. We are, therefore, temporarily suspending sales of these coins," the Mint said in a memorandum to authorized American Buffalo dealers.

They earlier suspended sales of Eagles. And the Canadian and South African mints have also temporarily suspended sales of their one-ounce buillion coins due to depletion of inventory. The spot price of gold, even after its dramatic run up, probably doesn't reflect the street price for physical gold.

The mint often 'runs out' of bullion coins toward the end of the year in anticipation of demand for coins with the new year stamped on them. But the dealers I've talked to say that it has never happened before Thanksgiving before. If one-ounce buillion coins are not available for sale by the third week of January then we'll know that gold hoarding has begun in earnest.

Happy exploring for folks still willing to part with their precious metals.

-- Jon

In related news, the futures price for Gold plummetted on this news as analysts expect the suspension will lessen demand (possible financial news headline).

The quest to establish ethanol as a preferred renewable energy has consumed a very large tonnage of corn each year. Corn ethanol production was scheduled to increase as the mandated caps have not been reached. The situation may be cause for concern.

United States year end corn stocks are forecast to reach 1 billion bushels. That is 550 million fewer bushels than last year. (Chicago Tribune 9/13/08)


Those who raised cattle, hogs, chickens, turkeys, or eggs were concerned over rising feed costs.

Wow. They're back - Again!

Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

Sorry if I missed mention of it over the last couple days.. but I tossed this in because the persistence of the ID/Creationist camp with this century-old appeal struck me in an energy and science context today.

The way the NPR story described Intelligent Design just now gave me the impression that the message behind it might not, in fact be some kind of 'Meekness before the Glory of God' '..and how His hand wrought the subtle complexities of, say the functions of the Eye', (yada, yada).. in other words, a story that would seem to advocate for Our Meekness next to His Power, but instead an assumption that only a Human form of intelligence could be at the heart of creation, in other words insisting that WE somehow share credit for creation, and that 'our kind of intelligence' is the pinnacle upon which it all rests.

It just keeps appearing to me that the parts of modern religions that are the most threatened by Science, which in it's industrial outgrowth has achieved (or at least leveraged) such fantastic, almost mythic degrees of power, that they try to adopt the language of Science to -in one way- gain access to that power, while denouncing it at the same time.

Ultimately, this argument grew into fury at a time when we started getting access to this massive level of energy which was not OURS, and so it made us simultaneously face being both extremely powerful and powerless at the same time. Millions of energy slaves at the yoke for us, and which didn't have a moral cost that we could see.. and yet they also dwarfed the abilities of our muscles to such a degree that we became much smaller by comparison.

When your spiritual message lets you tap the Universe, to 'See the universe in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour' .. it's a very powerful thing.. but as soon as you try to put your Metaphor into a Materialistic Tugging Match with a Steam-tractor, you might get the impression that it has been shown up.


At first, reading the article, I agreed with "respecting" the view of creationists in the classroom, but it seems The Royal Society is just trying to get it's foot in the door of science classes.

The comments are very entertaining and nothing like what they'd be if this was an American issue/article.

In fact many of the posters expressed sentiments of "Please don't let this country turn into America."

It is no wonder that American youth are behind the rest of the developed world in math & science.

The artificial heart, Intel chip, Microsoft Windows, horizontal drilling, seismic oil prospecting, airplane, T.V., electronic calculator etc. were invented in the United States, not in Norway or Sweden even though grades may be high there.

Creationism is not taught in U.S. public schools. There are some who because of their religious bias might hold creationist (i.e. the myth of Adam and Eve) and there are guidelines not to bully such people. One has a right to one's own opinion, but should not suffer violence for it.

One would think it is much worse in Afghanistan where the Taliban banned libraries. Ignorance reigned. People suffered great confusion and blew themselves and others to pieces.

Yea, but the code you are using in your browser was developed in switzerland, and there is a strong possibility that the server you are accessing this site on was developed in Finland.

"..should not Suffer Violence for this.."

.. but What violence? There is another strong theme that is persistent among some fairly aggressive conservative Christians that insists that it is being violently persecuted, when it is simply being questioned and criticized. A martyrdom complex is understandable.. but that doesn't make it right.

The main challenge, I would say, is in which classroom the issue may best be approached..

from the above article..

Still, Father Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Florida, told Reuters in the wake of a Vatican meeting on evolution and creationism in 2006 that the conclusion that God created the world is not a scientific position, but a philosophical one.

"There's a controversy in the United States because there is a lack of awareness of a thing called philosophy,” Fessio said. “Evangelicals and creationists generally lack it and Catholics have it.”

And they do discuss how the question needn't be anathema entirely in a science class, simply that the teacher can describe "why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis." Which sounds honest, yet still considerate of others' perspectives to my ear.

Television was invented in England by a Scot. Broadcasts by the BBC began in 1939 before the war. The camera Baird invented was a dead-end, but radio transmission of moving images is British. The electronic component (charged coupled device) used in digital cameras and videos was invented at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern in the 1970s when my dad was working there. They also developed FLIR radar and cheap night vision goggles and many other technologies. Oh and we also invented the computer :)

Every country on earth claims far too many inventions. Many of the people given the credit steal the ideas from other people. Most modern technologies evolve over time with no one person being critical to the flow.

Broadcasts by the BBC began in 1939 before the war.

Even earlier than that.


Mechanically scanned, 30-line television broadcasts by John Logie Baird began in 1929, using the BBC transmitter in London, and by 1930 a regular schedule of programmes was transmitted from the BBC antenna in Brookmans Park. Television production was switched from Baird's company to what is now known as BBC One on August 2, 1932, and continued until September 1935. Regularly scheduled electronically scanned television began from Alexandra Palace in London on 2 November 1936, to just a few hundred viewers in the immediate area. It was reaching an estimated 25,000-40,000 homes before the outbreak of the Second World War caused the service to be suspended in September 1939. The VHF broadcasts would have provided an ideal radio beacon for German bombers homing in on London, and the engineers and technicians of the service would be needed for the war effort, in particular the RADAR programme.

All those things were invented before the Christians took over here. Check out Republican Kevin Phillips' book "American Theocracy" on how brilliant societies lobotomized themselves with religion as they tried to hold on to dying empires.

America is not the same country that it was 40 years ago, or apparently even eight days ago when the bailout was demanded.

Earth friendly cooking

This is an area that could be explored. For example you can microwave meat but it still looks and tastes like hot rubber. But you can then baste it and flame seal it over a wood stove that is also being using for cooking liquids. However you need an outdoor cookout area that won't trigger fire alarms plus a couple of types of wood or charcoal stoves.

On TV cooking shows you see maybe 4000 watts of appliances all blazing away at once. Maybe those TV chefs should turn their attention to low energy cooking. Also how to make different interesting meals out of basic gut fillers like beans, potato, corn, pumpkin and tomato.

Last time i checked, cooking meat was not very earth friendly at all; maybe that's too eurocentric.
Basting and flame sealing the fat of wall street over a wood stove is another story altogether.

Here in Vermont at least, the energy used in cooking is very small relative to the energy used to keep the house warm. (And in the winter the cooking heat just helps warm the house.)

The energy used to drive to the supermarket is also significant. As is the energy used to grow, process, pack and ship the food.

Someone once told me that a lot of traditional cooking methods are influenced by fuel scarcity. Not just the Chinese stir-fry, but the Japanese tradition of eating fish and other foods uncooked, and using acidic liquids to "cook" as with ceviche.

Pretty sobering, really. We tend not to even consider the energy cost of cooking.

Funny thing about the Japanese. They'll eat their fish raw, but are disgusted by the idea of raw vegetables. I put raw carrots and broccoli on a salad and my wife refused to eat it.

Pickle it, and they'll love it.

I wonder if there are historical reasons for that.

EB has some articles about old Edo, one of which mentions that tenants and landlords fought over the ownership of the "night soil" produced by the tenants. It was sold to farmers, and so had value.

But you gotta figure that eating raw vegetables grown with that kind of fertilizer might not be terribly healthy.

Leanan you never cease to amaze me.

Yes, In Edo Japan night soil was extremely valuable. There was a whole industry involved with carrying all the crap from the cities to the countryside on your back.

That could very well be the explanation. My grandfather told me as a child they never ate raw veggies cause they fertilized the fields with manure.

Pickle it, and they'll love it.

and with good reason. Not on;y does it taste good (kimchi, sourkraut), but such foods have antiviral properties. Google it if you want to know more. Try something like kinchi/kimchee and bird flu.


Way off topic:
I'm trying to get to Chris Martenson's Crash Course (http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse) -- last time I checked he'd finished 19 of his scheduled 20 series topics -- and I haven't been able to get to it. I keep getting a login request. I'm not registered and never needed to be before (and have no way of registering now) so I'm wondering whaz up? Is it something I'm doing/not doing incorrectly? Any clues out there oh internet guru's of all things oil? His presentation to date has been excellent and I'm jonesing for his final installment... which had to do with solutions. Thanks in advance for any help on this one.

This is the message I got:

Seems to be just temporary.

Looks like they are just updating their server. Try again tomorrow.

"America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold," Bush said. "More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically."

Thanks George, but you're a little late. Why didn't you say that in 2001 after Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings? Or in 2005/6 when pundits where screaming "BUBBLE!!!" at the tops of their lungs?

Americans, hold on. You're about to experience a screwover of epic proportions.

Final question: Now that he's broken the ice, will our president finally get in front of us to talk about the real energy issues we face?


JPMorgan Chase buys Washington Mutual
The nation's largest thrift is seized by federal regulators and immediately sold.

Washington Mutual Bank, the country's largest savings and loan, was seized late today by federal regulators and immediately sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co., the New York banking giant that has long coveted the thrift's California and Florida branches.

With assets of $307 billion and deposits of $188 billion, Washington Mutual is the largest bank to fail in U.S. history.

...As news of the bank's deteriorating condition spread, nervous Washington Mutual depositors withdrew $16.5 billion of their money in the last 10 days, prompting the seizure by regulators.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.”
- President Bush, September 25, 2008

From the New York Times:

The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, warnings from an angry president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.


In the next few days, the US government will own much of the American financial system.

So, thinking about Bush today. What the heck did he say to McCain and Obama when he summoned them to the Whitehouse?

Any guestimates on the conversation?

Do we know if the debates will go on tomorrow? Not really like I give a damn about the VP debates, but we would miss an awesome opportunity for Jon Stewart to tear the debate apart. I think McCain said it depended on whether the bailout package passed or not.

Friday should be ELECTRIC with Fed Gov panic. I may perhaps savor it for a day and then realize what it truly means for us.

There may indeed be plenty of panic. But it won't be panic about collapse of the US or anything so scary. It would be panic about the end of an independent Wall Street.

The $700 billion is an attempt to preserve Wall Street from a direct government takeover.

In a perverse way, by scrapping the bailout the government may save money because it might be able to own many of the major banks for free in a few days because they would have failed. But the damage to US prestige would be immense.

But the damage to US prestige would be immense.

I nominate this for the under-statement of the century award :-)

And, unfortunately, prestige was all we ever really had. Now it is blown away along with any faux confidence the world used to have in us. Bush took a gamble. He thought the USA brand would carry us through no matter what. But when people find out that the brand is all you have, with nothing to back it up, you are screwed. Bush has lost his bet. He lost it big.

Bush et al thought they'd pull this thing in just under the wire and drop the whole steaming pile on the next unfortunate sucker in the White House. Then they'd just hope the world would forget as they slinked off to Paraguay.

They had the pedal to floor and could see the checkered flag being waved and the people in the grandstand cheering. All they had to do was keep the economy running on fumes for a few more months.

Unfortunately for them they blew a tire in turn four and hit the wall at 200+ mph.

OK, I'm going to partially answer my own question about what happened with they boyz at the WH today. It appears McCain did a bit of hollering at El Presidente.

Angry W. House meeting roils Wall St bailout talks

The White House meeting -- attended by McCain, Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, President George W. Bush and lawmakers from both parties -- "devolved into a contentious shouting match," according to a statement from the McCain campaign.

"At today's cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan," the statement said.

Senior Democrats said they came away from the afternoon White House session with the impression that McCain was backing an entirely new Wall Street rescue plan, one differing markedly from a Bush administration proposal under discussion for days.


"It seems like (McCain) embraced Jeb Hensarling's position ... It's a completely different approach," Waxman said. "It's hard to imagine where we go from here."

Do I smell a bit of disagreement in the Grand Old Party? I think the years of getting slapped around by Bushie are starting to grate on John's nerves.

Interesting. Kudos to McCain if he actually has the nads to stand against this. And double points if he actually did yell at Dubya.

I'm not sure about the alternate plan he may or may not be supporting:

The plan calls for the U.S. government to offer insurance coverage for the roughly half of all mortgage-backed securities that it does not already insure. The Treasury Department would charge premiums to holders of the securities, under the plan.

It also called for temporary tax cuts and regulatory relief for businesses. In addition, financial institutions participating in the proposed program would have to disclose more about their mortgage asset holdings.

But anything's got to be better than Bush's plan.

As it stands, I can't make sense of that plan. Many of the currently uninsured mortgage assets are currently only worth a fraction of their face value. How do you insure that?

Kudos to McCain if he actually has the nads to stand against this.

Hardly. Notice he said virtually nothing? This strikes me as being more like how some fellow POWs describe his refusal to return when offered the chance. They say he had collaborated, so got a sweetheart offer. (Apparently those that did accept the offer were in the same boat and are reviled by fellow POWs, with McCain very loud in his denunciation. Video linked on TOD Europe, h/t to whatreallyhappened.) McCain, however, couldn't, as an admiral's son with military career aspirations/political dreams, accept the offer and remain viable with regard to those future plans.

McCain can't back a plan he should - if he's reading the news - know is not acceptable to the taxpayers. And opposing Bush now only ups his cred as a maverick. AND, acting all cool in the meeting when he's known to be a hothead is nothing more than posturing to shore him up from his, "I'd fire the head of the SEC!" stupidity.


Notice he said virtually nothing?

The talking heads on CNN pointed out that he can't say too much in public. He can't appear to be dictating to his party.

I think that everyone - McCain, Obama, and almost every other congress critter - is hoping they can vote against it, but it still passes. Because if we do get Great Depression II, failure to pass this bailout will be blamed, and those who voted against it will take the heat.

IMO, this is true about Iraq as well. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, it would still be on the table. Some elements of the country would still be pushing for it. (Remember the "energy dividend" Bush promised us at the pumps? Think that wouldn't be tempting now?) It's all very well to say Iraq was a huge mistake...but if we hadn't done it, the general public wouldn't know that.

There is a huge rift in the Republican party-they have a few guys with as much integrity as any USA politician can have, and they also have the real scumbags. Apparently the public is overwhelmingly opposed to Paulson's plan, which makes it more difficult for even the real scumbags to go along.

Apparently Senator Shelby (Republican from Alabama), who's been an outspoken critic of the Paulson / Bush plan since it was introduced, repeatedly refered to a letter to Congress from Ivy League economists urging them not to go along with the plan - that it would be a HUGE mistake. Shelby also kept using the letter as ammunition vs. the bailout cheerleaders on CNBC earlier today.

He has stood strong and I really admire him for that - and that's coming from a liberal Yankee ;)

This is what Shelby was waving around.
A list of prominent economists opposed to quickly embracing the plan.

The story is here:

Hundreds of Economists Urge Congress Not to Rush on Rescue Plan

More than 150 prominent U.S. economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, urged Congress to hold off on passing a $700 billion financial market rescue plan until it can be studied more closely.

In a letter yesterday to congressional leaders, 166 academic economists said they oppose Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan because it's a ``subsidy'' for business, it's ambiguous and it may have adverse market consequences in the long term. They also expressed alarm at the haste of lawmakers and the Bush administration to pass legislation.

That does carry a lot of weight. Certainly the suggestion that we all stop, take a deep breath, and think this through more carefully and deliberately is good advice.

As for Bush today, What the heck did he say to McCain and Obama?

Bush: My friends. I appreciates ya all could come and meet 'n confer at this crucial moment while them that hates our freedoms is attacking us. I communed with the Higher Father today and he assured me the fundamentals are strong.

McCain: Yes, not only are the fundamentals strong, they are resilient and robust. I have great faith in America and in the Supreme Being that guides us through troubling times such as these.

Obama: What kind of fairy dust have you homies been snorting? You're shittin me, right?

McCain (whispering): Not at all, bro. See, when I was a POW in Hotel Hanoi, I learned to snort shit as dust. It kept me strong and resolute in times of need.

Bush (secretive tone): Same here. When I was AWOL from the National Guard, I got so drunk I didn't remember what shit I snorted and which I ingested rectally. It didn't matter. I still became President. This is a great country.

Obama: Oh Man! I was obviously a damn fool to go to Harvard, get on Law Review and study my ass off. I could of been hanging with you homies and learning how to become a great leader the old fashioned way.

McCain: Hey Barry, look down. Your shoes are on fire, ha ha ha.

Bush: Zip it fellas. The press is coming into the room. Time to put on our game faces again. Uh, (cough cough) WHY YES, we all appreciates the grave dangers that our country faces in trying times such as these. ...
Advertising voice over: This great moment in history was brought to you by Wa Mu Securities. Woo hoo! Wa Mu Securities. We're with you for the long haul. Wa Mu Securities. We're the ones wha your Mom said to trust.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.”
- President Bush, September 25, 2008

There's a joke for Jon Stewart in there somewhere...

Sorry folks, I'm going to laugh while I still can ;-)

What is his next line-"I guess I picked a bad day to quit amphetamines"?

I really hope this 'bailout' isn't just 'spray on tan' to cover up the bluing skin caused by oil suffocation.

(Also, I need my head examined. I placed an offer on a house in Silicon Valley today. I feel like Indiana Jones diving under the sliding stone door.)

Yeah, I'd hold off on that.

J. P. Morgan just released their assumptions about the housing market a couple of hours ago.

At the very least, they expect another 10% fall in California prices. If there is a severe recession, they expect a another 25% decline for a total peak-to-trough decline of 58%. (page 17 of pdf below)


Well, on the other hand I'm essentially trading some equities for real estate (Paper for Dirt with houses on it.) We're not going into debt for it.

I can deal with 10% when I'm buying a house that could be our retirement home -- single story, bike or electric cart distance from stores, near (but not on) bus lines, etc.

This is a place where you can live 8 months out of the year without heat, and you don't really need air conditioning, and its just down the tracks from one of the most fertile farming areas in the world. To me it's as good a place as any to hang when TSHTF.

Congrats on your "Home Sweet Home". Seriously, may it truly be a place of rest and comfort.

How quickly can you move? B/c I think TSHTF might be starting real soon, like tonight on the Asian and European markets.

My advice for people tomorrow: do something pleasant and enjoyable. Forecast says "stormy weather ahead."

I agree. You need to live somewhere and I hope this house is both a comfort and provides additional space for gardening and a south facing roof to place the panels on.

I'm adding battery backup to my grid tie system. It's a fun project I've been wanting to do for a while. It's going to have it's own solar array for charging in addition to a separate inverter.

Also, I got an email today saying my Hymotion Prius plug conversion is shipping next week. I'm going to charge it off the battery backup system giving me a solar powered plug-in hybrid. My daughter has a lot of medical equipment and generators won't help if there is no gas.

Yes, it's all quite expensive, but at this point, converting US dollars into tangible assets that should last me for most of the rest of my life makes for a pleasant and enjoyable time. Besides, I went short via QID and when the 10year hit 3.30 I shorted treasuries via TBT, so I'm having a nice year.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothing.

Hang in there everybody.

To me it's as good a place as any to hang when TSHTF.

Hee hee. But you have to compare your assumptions with J P Morgans. You are talking about living without heat and eating food grown down the road.

If you fed those assumptions into J. P. Morgans computer, it would probably say you could soon buy that house for 10% of it's current value and that you should plop your assets in cash and gold in the meantime!!!

Either way, given the previous declines, I'd say that we're in very bad shape.

This sucker could go down. Just like SS Titanic. Except this time they've just punctured holes in the lifeboats. Whoops!

..And who's to say that even if the money IS loosened up, that it CAN patch the ship?

"A Boat: A hole in the water lined with boards, that you throw money into"

More juicy details on the meeting via Krugman:

Madness on Pennsylvania Avenue

A beleaguered President Bush had to struggle to maintain order and reassert himself. And when Democrats left after the meeting to caucus in the Roosevelt Room, Paulson pursued them, begging that they not “blow up” the legislation.

The former Goldman Sachs CEO even went down on one knee as if genuflecting, to which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) is said to have joked, “I didn’t know you were Catholic.”

All things considered, the futures markets aren't being hit all that much by this. The expectation likely is that everybody calms down and comes to their senses overnight and things look a little rosier tomorrow morning.

WTF, House republicans scupper the bailout deal.


I may have to rethink my whole reality, Kudos to them, and if you know me I would be the last one ever to say that.

Don in Maine

Interesting comment in this article-calls to the politician's aide are running 90-1 against Paulson's scheme-then the article says both Obama and Mccain need to come out in favor of a bailout. IMO if one of the two Presidential candidates backs a scheme in any way similar to Paulson's and the other candidate says no way, the candidate saying publicly no deal will have won the election right there-if Obama doesn't realize that he is stupider than Palin (it is clear than Mccain realizes it).

Yeah. I was just thinking McCain might have revived his campaign overnight with this move.

God bless Amavericka

I actually think McCain might do OK as president as long as he doesn't forget to take his defibrilator/dialis machine around with him.

Seriously though if he's got any sense he wont be copying the bush doctrine any time soon.


Dems suggest McCain's behavior 'erratic'

. . . McCain's attempt to shift the argument from the economy to character has, perversely, given Democrats an opening to question his own fitness to lead. Spur-of-the-moment decisions – from his choice of a running mate he hardly knew to his request that the first debate be delayed – reflect an impetuousness he's tried to associate with Obama's youth, his critics say, while undercutting his argument that he's a cool, tested old hand capable of coping with presidential pressure.

Just got off the phone with my father and said the same thing "I can't believe that it's the house Republicans who are actually derailing this nasty thing!"

I guess "small government" actually still means something to a few of the GOP...

I'll take it from anybody who will stop the bleeding at this point

Market is going to be really interesting in the morning - WAMU gone and no deal...Oh Lord, Black Friday is already taken...

although - the 1869 Black Friday is quite an interesting one (WIKI):

"Black Friday, September 24 1869, also known as the Fisk-Gould Scandal, was a financial panic in the United States caused by two speculators' efforts to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange. It was one of several scandals that rocked the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. During the American Civil War, the United States government issued a large amount of money that was backed by nothing but credit. After the war ended, people commonly believed that the U.S. Government would buy back the "greenbacks" with gold. In 1869, a group of speculators, headed by James Fisk and Jay Gould, sought to profit off this by cornering the gold market."

"BACKED BY NOTHING BUT CREDIT"!!!!! haha - oh man we never learn!

Atmosphere borders on panic as bailout falters

Bailout deal breaks down; Paulson back to Capitol

...They gave up after 10 p.m. EDT, more than an hour after the lone House Republican involved, Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, left the room.

Talks were to resume Friday morning on the effort to bail out failing financial institutions and restart the flow of credit that has begun to starve the national economy.

The PARTY IS OVER [Heinberg]--even Bacchus* of ancient fame went home as he couldn't handle it anymore.

*The Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysus. The Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE. Bacchus is also identified with the old-Italian god Liber.

What is interesting about the whole Paulson scam is that it shows clearly that 700 billion taxpayer dollars can be spent almost immediately as long as the scheme isn't totally ridiculous. So the question remains: why isn't it being done, like right now? Government support of say 400 billion for nuclear, 200 billion for wind, 100 billion for solar. This wouldn't cause some immediate hiring and stimulate the economy? I haven't run the numbers but wouldn't this position the USA as the king of the non fossil fuel energy world? (And Paulson's scheme was just 700 billion to start-some estimated it would total as much as 7 trillion).

Sense everyone seems to have a bailout plan,here's one that sure looks good on paper.

I didn't write this up and it was done for the AIG bailout, but sense we're going to have to print the money for the bailout anyway, might just as well try this.

It's called the Birk Plan;

OK.....here's a plan I could live with. When you hear $85 billion, it doesn't mean much to the average person until you break it down like this...
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.
So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife team has $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting
back. And, of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ("vote buy") economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.
Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
We Deserve It Dividend more than do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .

And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

The fellow who wrote this gave permission for re-printing.

85 Billion divided by 200 million Americans is $425 apiece, not $425000 apiece (for that you need 85 trillion doled out).

I'm really amazed at how widespread this is. Google "birk plan" and there's a ton of links. All of them have comments immediately noticing that the math is way screwed. But it's still being posted and forwarded all over the place.

I think the math there is rather suspect.

However, I was thinking along similar lines when the bailout was first proposed. CNN interviewed people on the street, and one woman said, "Why not wipe out all my debt instead? Wipe out all the normal people's debt. Let us start fresh."

Of course, that's grossly unfair to those who have worked hard to stay out of debt, or worked hard to pay off their debt.

They say this bailout will cost every household in America $10,000. What if you just gave every household $10,000 instead? It would go a long way toward ameliorating the effects of this supposed crisis. If companies can't make payroll, people would have a cushion. If they can't borrow to buy a car, they'd have cash to at least get a used one.

We've tried trickle down. It didn't work. Why not try trickle up?

What if you just gave every household $10,000 instead? It would go a long way toward ameliorating the effects of this supposed crisis.

Good point. $700 billion buys a long sequence of stimulus packages that would prop up what academics call the "real" as opposed to the financial economy.

But to do it all in one shot would be hugely inflationary. They would have to wait until the recession started to bite more to avoid that.

Hello Leanan,

Your Quote: "We've tried trickle down. It didn't work. Why not try trickle up?"

Recall my earlier posting on the govt changing slot machine odds so that there are more winners than losers. A subtle way to meter over time in a controlled fashion huge quantities of money to fight deflation. These winners will eventually want to spend their gains through purchases which then forces a general trickle up throughout the whole economy.

Additionally, once the word starts getting out: tourists the world over will start flocking in like vultures to a kill. This will help strengthen the dollar as they will cheaply sell their currencies in their mad dash to get to the one-arm bandits.

Changing the slot software should be even easier than changing the software on a Diebold voting machine.

glad to see the bailout plan has stalled, cuz makes the self serving politicians spincther tighten up to factor of ten. but what if it does pass? most everyone is tapped out anyway, so in addition to more taxes, which further exacerbates the situation, not many people are going to borrow money anyway in the future. most american credit is tapped out. so go ahead and pass the bailout, we the yanks are broke already. hardly anyone will buy anything, except necessities. so the situation can only get worse. again, in the next few months. but another bailout will not fix it. we cannot continue bailout after bailout.

if you want to really make it worse, pull your money out of the banks in the morning. hell, even close the account. unless you have direct deposit. and pay cash or use money orders on all purchases. banks cannot exist without your money. thats how they make their money. so pull your cash out, close out your cd's. buy only what you need.

watch this house of cards will crumble in less than a week.
Geez, watching the politicians scrambled like a bunch of wounded ducks is so entertaing, now if only someone could super impose that merrie melodies tune while it playing.

it appears that the game is over!

There is entirely too much gloom and doom at the moment IMO. While we are witnessing the collapse of the Wall Street financial fantasy, there are large sections of the population that are doing just fine, thank you.

For every house that was bought at a high price there was someone who sold. I sold my house in Minneapolis in 2001 for about 8 times what I paid for it in 1967. I still have most of the money. There are a lot of people like me.

There are large areas of the country that never really participated in the real estate craziness. It was mostly the east and west coasts that went nuts. They are still nuts as witness the Washington's behavior the last couple of days.

While the collapse of the ponzi banks and the liar loan mortgages may eventually reach the Midwest, for the moment things are looking pretty good. Grain prices are still relatively high and farm land values have doubled over the last couple of years. They are still going up as cash rich farmers outbid each other for limited land.

Ethanol plants are still opening up despite the slow down and all the anti ethanol propaganda.

Here in north Iowa one small new wind farm with only 10 turbines is up and running. And the adjacent vastly larger Crystal Lake (Phase One) is nearing completion. There are now a row of 18 giant 1.5 megawatt turbines stretching for 3 miles just across the fence.

They stand motionless but anxious to run quivering in the breeze. They are just part of well over one hundred turbines that cover an area of about 50 square miles. Looking out the window all one sees on the horizon are giant wind turbines with tiny building sites beneath.

The animal feeders, mostly hogs and chickens, who complain that ethanol increases their costs refuse to cut back. Another new hog factory has just been built a short distance away much to my dismay.

Meanwhile, Christensen Farms giant feed mill to help mix feed for it's 150,000 sow herd is nearing completion. A representative stopped by to say they would be buying corn beginning Nov. 3 and would have a good bid. It don't understand how they can do it. I fear their checks will bounce.

And chicken manure from Golden Egg's giant factory is being piled in bean fields awaiting spreading after soybean combining. White feathers blow around the piles of chicken shit while giant wind turbines watch over the scene. No sign of crises here.

Oil shale development gains hope as a ban on oil shale development expires:


Democrats threaten to pass new legislation banning oil shale development.

Yep, unfortunately in this economic climate we will "burn it all" and earth be damned.

They can only ban shale oil development on Federal lands. More than 80% of the shale oil play is under private lands. Lack of Federal leases hasn't hinder development...it's the lack of profit potential.

VeraSun Ethanol is trying to sell its assets after posting a large loss in futures trading:


The price of corn dropped from about $8.00 a bushel to $5.57 bushel (Dec. Corn 9/25). The price of corn reached a low of $1.635 on October 18, 2005. Mandatory ethanol use was enacted in 2005.

Anyone watch The Daily Show last night? Jon Stewart had a devastating side by side comparison of Bush's 2003 speech on Iraq to his speech this week on the $700 billion bailout plan.

Here's a partial clip:


The full video is available on www.thedailyshow.com (Clusterf#@k to the Poor House)

Apologies if this has already been posted by someone else...

Naomi Klein was interviewed on Democracy Now, discussed the Paulson plan to impose more of the Shock Doctrine on the USA, and discussed the two presidential candidates' likely actions whoeever attains the presidency:

So, in the case of McCain, I think—if he’s the president, then I think we know what he’ll do, because we know he wants to privatize Social Security, which is something that Wall Street’s been wanting for a long time, another bubble. We know he has said in the next—in the first 100 days of his administration he’ll look at every program and either reform it or shut it down. This is really a recipe for economic shock therapy. So, while you have all of these trivial issues being discussed in the election season, I think what we could—what we’re really—you know, under the surface, they’re actually being quite clear. They’re going to take—if they take power, it will be in the midst of an economic emergency. They’ll invoke that emergency to push through very, very radical changes. So, you know, what I’ve been saying is, this is not four more years of Bush; it’s much, much worse in the case of another Republican administration.

But there’s huge problems for Democrats, as well, if they win this election, because, you know, we need to only think back to the situation in which Clinton took power, where he ran an election on an economic populist platform, promising to renegotiate NAFTA. Then there was an economic crisis. Clinton came under intense lobbying by people like Robert Rubin, who’s also advising Obama right now, and by the time he took office, he had embraced economic austerity.

So, people need to understand these tactics, need to put pressure on the candidates, the parties, and reject this tactic. And I’ve actually been really heartened, Amy, that people are onto these shock tactics and aren’t falling for it. And, you know, to the extent that we’re seeing a little bit of spine from the Democrats, it is only, as Chris Dodd said, because they are hearing it from their constituents. So people need to keep up this pressure right now.

What outcome is Ms. Klein hoping for?

The way I see it, there's no way to avoid an awful lot of "austerity." Bailout or no bailout, President Obama or President McCain...I see a lot of economic agony in our future.

Lots of people want to believe in the mythical Saint Obama, solver of all Republican-created ills, totally ignorant of the role the Democrats have played in this farce since the early 20th century by embracing destructive policies of their own. If Obama gets elected, I actually feel sorry for him. No matter what he does, no matter how good it is, Obama cannot possibly live up to the expectations awaiting him. And the Democrats will still blame the Republicans even if they control Congress! Just like now Pelosi should have the votes to ignore the Republican minority if she wants to pass this bailout plan yet she is instead blaming the Republican MINORITY for obstructionism. (Note that I oppose the bailout plan but that's not the point here - Pelosi is the majority and if she cannot muster her own party's votes then she should shut up about the opposition.)

Heck, the Dems could have ever seat in Congress and they would still blame the Republicans. And Democratic faithful voters will eat this BS up and blame the Republicans as well.

Now note that I am no fan of the Republicans and will vote third party yet again this election. And the Republicans practice the same sort of slash-and-burn hate speech against the Democrats. But I find the behavior of Democrats, talking down at other people with differing views, looking down their noses in a smug superior way, all the while never acknowledging their own complicity in this mess over the last century, to be laughable in the extreme.

Vote for Obama? He's just McCain's other half and will do exactly what his corporate owners tell him to do, just as McCain would. If people want real change then they need to start to break the stranglehold that the two major parties have on our political system. Voting for Obama, the lesser of two evils, won't solve a damned thing.

And yet here we are, with fools like Naomi Klein sounding off as though she really believes Obama will make a difference. Really? Just like Bill Clinton made a difference? Give me a break.

And yes, I agree that we are likely looking at severe economic pain for a while after this, peak oil or not. This is a financial implosion and we are going to pay for it one way or another - either by massively higher taxes impoverishing the majority or bankruptcies impoverishing the majority.

I think your bashing of the present Democratic Congress is a bit off base. While I don't necessarily support what the Democrats have tried to do, it's clear that there are still enough Republicans to block an override vote of a Bush veto. It takes 60 percent of the votes to override, as I recall.

For a while, I thought that maybe the U.S. would be better off if Obama should lose the election. My thinking was that the Republicans would make things so bad that that even Joe SixPack would come to the realization that their philosophy was wrong and then the Reagan Revolution would die. With the recent financial crisis, maybe the Republican Free Market fools are going to go out of business sooner than I thought, with the Invisible Hand slapping them back down onto the road to nowhere.

Of course, the trouble with that notion is that the aftereffects could be so negative that there wouldn't be another election to put the Democrats into a position such that they could undo the bad decisions since Reagan. Then too, the Democrats hold to the same sort of growth oriented economics as the Republicans, it's only that they do tend to be more responsive to the grass roots, from which the solutions to our problems must come. Government can't mandate change in a democracy unless the people will agree to the changes.

EDIT - Case in point:

U.S. Senate fails to pass $56.2 bln stimulus package
By Wallace Witkowski
Last update: 12:42 p.m. EDT Sept. 26, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- A $56.2 billion economic stimulus package failed to pass in the U.S. Senate Friday. The package was meant to extend unemployment benefits, increase food aid and fund new construction projects. Democrats failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move the bill forward. A similar bill is in the works in the House, and President Bush has vowed to veto the bills.

E. Swanson

George Bush is a real piece of work-he is vowing to veto 56 billion dollar bills to help Joe Sixpack, while demanding that his old frat buddies get 700 billion (for starters).

What's bad is the pork that passed in the budget package while everybody was watching the bailouts. This $56B, like most, seems to be base pandering with little purposeful substance.

Regulation that focuses on clarity and transparency, not control or ownership; and funding that supports a simple but clear agenda of energy independence and infrastructure replacement would be much better, in any denomination.

If you think Naomi Klein is a fool you are sadly misinformed.

Agree completely with Leanan here. And really we're past social security -- it's DOA for any meaningful fraction of the populace. What's on the line and fading fast is 401Ks. You ain't seen nothing yet -- the baby boomers haven't even started their run on that bank. It can, and probably will, get a whole lot worse. It's not even really "bad" yet -- still single-digit inflation, single-digit unemployment, single-digit bank failures, and low double-digit house value declines.

Each of us can see bias, except in the mirror. Those who see either party as a savior and other that the root of all evils have a strong level of faith, but a lesser level of perception.