DrumBeat: October 24, 2008

Heating Oil Distributors Fear Tough Winter Amid Credit Freeze

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--The tight credit market is forcing weak links in the heating oil supply chain, from wholesale suppliers to homeowners, into the cold.

Borrowed cash infuses nearly every step of the supply networks that bring heating oil from refiners to individual homeowners and businesses. For wholesale suppliers and door-to-door distributors, loans cover the weeks or months between when fuel is purchased and when it is sold to the next step on the chain.

Most companies managed to secure fresh loans to carry them into winter, despite the global credit crisis that has made it difficult for even solid businesses to borrow. But evidence is emerging that not every company succeeded.

"A lot are starting to bounce checks," said a trader at a wholesale heating oil supplier, who requested anonymity to protect the supplier's standing in the physical fuel market. "Credit lines are definitely strained."

Higher expenses, uncollectible accounts push Exelon earnings down

"Our third-quarter earnings reflected certain unusual events, including several related to the nation's economic turmoil," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John W. Rowe.

Among other things, Rowe said, the weakening economy has caused a rise in the number of customers who can't pay their bills to Exelon's Com Ed and Peco Energy utility units. Exelon's generating business had to establish an accounts-receivable reserve to cover potential losses related to the recent bankruptcy filing of New York investment-banking giant Lehman Brothers Holdings.

White House terms OPEC output cut 'anti-market'

WASHINGTON: The White House on Friday denounced what it called OPEC's "anti-market" decision to cut petroleum production and underlined that high oil prices were a drag on the global economy.

"It has always been our view that the value of commodities, including oil, should be determined in open, competitive markets, and not by these kinds of anti-market production decisions," said spokesman Tony Fratto.

Iraqis have money but lack know-how in spending it

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's government has an unusual money problem as much of the world grapples with a credit crunch - it can't spend its oil riches fast enough.

Venezuela oil price tumbles, Chavez pressured

CARACAS (Reuters) - The price of Venezuelan oil fell more than 10 percent this week, boosting financial pressure on the government of leftist President Hugo Chavez whose popularity depends on oil-financed social programs.

Analysts said Chavez could survive a large oil price drop in the short term due to abundant government funds, but the socialist stalwart could face a larger-than-expected 2009 fiscal deficit amid the global financial crisis.

Iran's president under pressure amid poor health rumours

Iran's hardline president is under mounting political pressure as plummeting oil prices damage the national economy and persistent reports suggest that he may be in poor health.

OPEC waits, watches, worries after price fall: Kuwait

VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC is concerned about a fall in oil prices after it cut output by 1.5 million barrels per day but it will take time to determine whether the reduction is deep enough, Kuwait's oil minister said on Friday.

Wyoming Carbon Capture Threatened by Wall Street Credit Seizure

Capturing carbon dioxide, pumping it underground and storing it there forever may be key to curbing the greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The problem for Surdam in Wyoming, which supplies 39 percent of U.S. coal and relies on the fuel for about 20 percent of annual revenue, is that already tight research funding may be squeezed further by the global financial crisis.

Militants killed in Nigeria's oil region

Lagos - Nigerian troops killed two militants in a river clash with insurgents in the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta, an army spokesperson said on Friday.

Wal-Mart's New Push to Green China

As the world economy sags, the world's largest retailer is looking for new ways of reducing both costs and environmental impact—and arguing that the two can go hand-in-hand. At its "Sustainability Summit" in Beijing Wednesday, Wal-Mart announced the launch of a new set of stringent environmental standards, energy reduction targets and ethical compliance procedures that will apply initially to its thousands of suppliers in China and eventually to all suppliers.

British soldier denies charges he spied for Iran

LONDON — A British army interpreter suspected of spying for Iran said today that he sent coded messages as part of an attempt to set up a possible gas deal, not because he was stealing secrets.

Prosecutors accuse Cpl. Daniel James of espionage while he worked in Afghanistan in 2006 as a translator to Gen. David Richards, who was then NATO commander and due to take command of Britain's army in 2009. On Thursday, James told the court he was a voodoo priest and had used black magic to protect Richards from the Taliban.

Who says Americans won't ride mass transit?

The rise in mass transit ridership should be great news. Not since the OPEC oil embargo and energy crisis in the '70s have famously car-centric Americans been so eager to shell out for a bus fare or a train ticket and leave the polluter in the driveway. Automobile transportation is one of the largest chunks of the country's carbon footprint, so the more that Americans opt for trains and buses, the more that footprint could shrink.

But the news isn't all that sunny. In fact, the mini-exodus from driving has exposed significant cracks in the country's mass transit systems, which are struggling to accommodate new riders. Having spent decades forsaking the bus and the train for the convenience and privacy of cars, Americans are now finding that the buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains that they left behind are strapped for cash, if they still exist at all.

...To make matters worse, the increase in bus and train ridership is taking place during hard economic times, when transit funding is under the gun. For example, BART has lost $111 million in state funding since 2000, including $37 million in the most recent California budget. "It's the equivalent of ripping millions of seats right out from under our passengers," says Luna Salaver, a public information officer for BART.

Depressed economy wallops states

Staggered by turbulent financial markets and anxious about a rapidly slumping economy, many state governments are slashing their budgets, frantically trying to stay afloat.

After two years free of major fiscal worries, state policymakers in 2008 were hit by a triple-whammy: a Wall Street meltdown that made it more difficult and costly to borrow; a record number of home foreclosures that took a big bite out of tax revenues; and soaring oil and gas prices that squeezed budgets of all but the energy-producing states.

Oil Options at $50 Soar After OPEC Cut Fails to Support Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Oil options contracts to sell crude at $50 by December almost tripled today after an OPEC decision to slash production failed to allay concerns that the global economic slump is hurting demand.

The cost of the $50 December 2008 put option, which gives the holder the right to sell oil futures at $50 a barrel, rose as much as 142 percent to $1.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, compared with 62 cents yesterday, according to exchange data.

Saudi's Naimi Says OPEC Output Cut Was `One Quick Decision'

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC's move to cut 1.5 million barrels a day of oil production from next month was described as ``one quick decision'' by Saudi Arabia's oil minister.

``Demand is significantly less than what is being supplied, that is the reason the cut was taken,'' Ali al-Naimi told reporters after today's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna. ``There is a mismatch between supply and demand and inventories are rising.''

OPEC Cut Could Still Work

LONDON - The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries was never going to reverse the slide in oil prices in just one day, especially not during Friday's pan-European stock sell-off. But the cartel's announced 1.5 million-barrel cut in production could have an effect later this year, as its members look for a way to set a floor for the price of crude.

Turkish Petroleum Eyes Iraq-Japan Oil Deal By Year-End

State-run Turkish Petroleum Corp. is seeking to ink a deal with Japanese companies to form a consortium by year-end to apply for the first round of bidding for contracts to develop vast oil fields in Iraq, the company's chairman, Mehmet Uysal, said Thursday.

MMS Updates on Evacuated Platforms, Gulf Production Shut-Ins

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT today, personnel are evacuated from a total of 72 production platforms, equivalent to 10.4% of the 694 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. There are no longer any evacuated rigs in the Gulf.

From the operators' reports, it is estimated that approximately 32.3% of the oil production in the Gulf is shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is 1.3 million barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 34.5% of the natural gas production in the Gulf is shut-in.

Canadian Dollar Heads for Worst Month Since 1950; Bonds Rally

(Bloomberg) -- Canada's currency is headed for its worst monthly fall since at least 1950 and the yield on the two- year bond touched the lowest in almost two decades on speculation the economic slump will deepen and oil will decline further.

US Intensifies Anti-Iran Measures

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US Treasury said Wednesday it had imposed sanctions on the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI), alleging the bank helped with the Islamic republic's civilian nuclear program.

Credit crunch ensnares India

NEW DELHI: The showroom at Uppal Motors, a Honda motorcycle dealership not far from here in an upscale satellite city of India's capital, is usually packed with customers this time of year. It is the week before the Hindu festival of Diwali, a time when many Indians traditionally purchase gifts and more costly items.

But only a comparative trickle of customers have shown up. Sales are down 10 percent, said Virender Uppal, the dealership's owner, and the reason is that India, like many other countries, is going through its own credit crunch, too.

UN Says N. Korea Food Shortage Dire

World Food Program country director in the North Korean capital, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, says rising world prices for rice and basic grains, compounded with flooding last year, put many at risk in North Korea - or, as it is known, the DPRK.

...About a million North Koreans are believed to have died from hunger-related causes in the mid 1990s during a famine brought about by North Korea's self-imposed isolation and economic mismanagement. Periodic flooding takes a much worse toll on farmland in the North than in South Korea, because rainwater flows faster down mountains stripped bare by impoverished North Koreans.

De Margerie says unusually heavy floods last year, and the severe shortages that followed, appear to have made North Korea more cooperative with the United Nations.

UK: Soil health 'threatens farming'

Some areas of England may not be fit for productive agriculture in future because of deteriorating soil quality, a new report warns.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England is worried that too much is being asked of the land in places.

The society said heavy machinery, drier summers and changing growing seasons are all taking their toll on the soil.

UK's ancient woodland being lost 'faster than Amazon'

Ancient woodland in Britain is being felled at a rate even faster than the Amazon rainforest, according to new research today. It shows that almost half of all woods in the UK that are more than 400 years old have been lost in the past 80 years and more than 600 ancient woods are now threatened by new roads, electricity pylons, housing, and airport expansion.

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Diet

Why is the world’s foremost environmental crusader not a vegetarian?

Ethanol no longer seen as big driver of food price

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Heavy demand for corn from ethanol makers was seen as a key driver of corn futures to record highs in June, but since then the sharp decline of corn along with other commodities shows that belief was mistaken.

Corn is down about 50 percent from its record high in June, even as the amount of the grain used to produce the renewable fuel in the United States remained the same.

Rising water in Florida's Everglades threatens wildlife

The Everglades are drowning.

Canals along Alligator Alley have spilled over banks into roadside swales. Deer have been driven from flooded-out tree islands to strips of dry ground - mostly canal levees, but a few have even been spotted on the porches of empty hunting cabins.

The Matrix Overloaded: Clean Energy Will Depend on a New, 'Smart' Grid

Wind turbines and solar panels have become the icons of renewable energy. But renewable energy is only as effective as the infrastructure that moves it around: the electrical grid.

Cool devices to harness pollution-free energy won't do much to lessen the country's fossil-fuel dependence unless aging and unsophisticated infrastructure is vastly updated to transmit it.

Partying helps power a Dutch nightclub

ROTTERDAM: If you felt that the atmosphere in the new, hip Club Watt was somehow electric, you would be right: Watt has a new type of dance floor that harvests the energy generated by jumps and gyrations and transforms it into electricity. It is one of a handful of energy-generating floors in the world, most still experimental.

With its human engineering, Watt partly powers itself: The better the music, the more people dance, the more electricity comes out of the floor.

Nuclear Power May Be in Early Stages of a Revival

WASHINGTON — After three decades without starting a single new plant, the American nuclear power industry is getting ready to build again.

When the industry first said several years ago that it would resume building plants, deep skepticism greeted the claim. Not since 1973 had anybody in the United States ordered a nuclear plant that was actually built, and the obstacles to a new generation of plants seemed daunting.

But now, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 21 companies say they will seek permission to build 34 power plants, from New York to Texas. Factories are springing up in Indiana and Louisiana to build reactor parts. Workers are clearing a site in Georgia to put in reactors. Starting in January, millions of electric customers in Florida will be billed several dollars a month to finance four new reactors.

This is much more than a hiccup

I took a bet this week that the oil price would reach $20 before it reached $100. I am not sure I will win it, but I certainly do not expect to lose it. Either way it opens up the debate. Do bubbles reinflate?

Can OPEC Stem the Downward trend?

The farther the oil price falls the greater the likelihood OPEC members might cheat on their quotas to maximize revenues as occured in the 80s and 90s. Deeper production cuts might be needed for a real price increase which would be difficult for producers and an oil price much higher than current levels could exacerbate the economic crisis and delay the expansion and thus demand for its commodity.

Canada - Diesel shortage bad news: trucker

A province-wide shortage of diesel fuel will mean fewer jobs and higher grocery prices if it continues, one local trucker says.

"Wait two months and we'll be down to a standstill here," said Dave Deering, adding he has already heard of truckers being laid off because of the diesel shortage.

"You see trucks parked all over because they can't get fuel," he said. "And if you can't get fuel for the school buses, the kids are going to have to walk."

Cuba's claims of 20B barrels in offshore oil raise eyebrows

HAVANA - Cuba's announcement last week that its still untapped offshore oil fields may hold more than 20 billion barrels of oil has raised eyebrows among outside oil experts who say the big number is hard to believe but not out of the realm of possibility.

They said Cuba has excellent geologists, but they would like to see the findings verified by independent experts who have no stake in the Caribbean island's oil future.

UK: Piracy threatens Christmas product supply

Shoppers could face shortages of products such as clothing and fuel unless action is taken to stop pirates hijacking ships off the coast of Somalia.

The effects of the hijackings could come to the fore in the run-up to Christmas, according to the British Chamber of Shipping.

Pakistan: People burn power bills in protest against breakdowns

PESHAWAR: Taking cue from their countrymen in other major cities, the enraged dwellers of provincial capital also staged a protest demonstration and burnt down their electricity bills to show their anger over the unscheduled loadshedding in Gunj area on Thursday.

Staging a rally on Gunj Road, the protesters torched power bills, burnt tyres and blocked the busy Gunj Road for all kinds of traffic for one and half hour. The emotionally charged residents were chanting slogans against the government and Pesco authorities.

Jamaica: Cheaper gas coming with E10 rollout

Jamaica has been caught in the worldwide energy crisis sparked by unstable oil prices.

According to Mullings, Jamaica has the capacity to produce enough ethanol to fuel motor vehicles and the E10 blend is just the first stage of the implementation.

The Ministry of Energy expects that by 2010, Jamaica will be able to produce some 70 million litres of ethanol from one million tonne of sugar cane.

'Clean' coal is a fraud

You've probably noticed the term "clean coal" bandied about a lot lately. It's a great-sounding phrase, evoking images of plentiful, cheap energy generated by squeaky-clean power plants emitting a thin wisp of smoke that smells like a cross between a field of daisies and freshly baked bread. If that's what you're thinking, here's some bad news for you: there's no such thing as clean coal.

You're being subtly manipulated by those who would like coal to remain the centerpiece of United States energy policy for centuries to come. They have plenty of good reasons for that. Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel, so it's cheap. There's enough of the stuff in the U.S. to last us 154 more years or longer. In the U.S., 49% of our electricity generation comes from burning coal. And new coal plants are more efficient than their predecessors, burning about a third less coal.

Green IT must reach beyond the datacenter

As Ted has noted many times in his blog, green IT goes beyond the datacenter to supply-chain optimization, effective telecommuting, desktop power conservation, and more. Contributor Betsy Harter's important article, "Tech's looming battle against rising energy costs," argued that IT has a unique potential to green entire organizations, from aiding in HVAC efficiency to optimizing truck routes.

This broader view must take root now because we're at a crossroads. On the one hand, the recent drop in energy costs (although no doubt temporary) could cause the green issue to fall off the table once again. On the other, we have both presidential candidates declaring that investment in green technology should be a part of our economic recovery.

Oil price slide is an emergency for OPEC nations

It was only a few years ago that OPEC was managing oil production to keep prices in the range of $20 to $30 a barrel. Go much higher, its own economists advised them, and there was a risk of choking off demand. Let it go too low and oil revenues would be insufficient.

Then the unexpected happened: speculators began betting that the inevitability of limited supply and rising demand would lead oil prices in only one direction, and that was up. By mid-July, a barrel of crude had reached $147 and economists were predicting $200 oil was just around the corner.

"That's when OPEC members started to realize two very important things," said Simmons, an investment banker who wrote the bestselling book Twilight In The Desert, which argues production from some major Middle East oil reserves is declining faster than most people realize.

"They realized everything they'd been told by the economists, that $40 oil would cause a recession and bring on alternatives, just wasn't true. And they realized that for the first time they had enough money to create a sustainable society in the Middle East."

Crude Reality: OPEC Cuts Probably Won’t Stop Oil’s Slide

Why has oil fallen? The Oil Drum posits a cocktail of explanations, including softening demand from the U.S. to Asia; financial factors, like the credit crunch and a rebounding dollar; and technical factors, such as hedge funds unwinding crude positions and computerized trades that move like lemmings. None of those can be fixed in the short term by OPEC standing on the hose. OPEC officials now acknowledge that a 1 million barrel per day cut will likely be ignored by the market.

Canada's annual inflation rate at 3.4 per cent in September

OTTAWA - Canada's annual rate of inflation was 3.4 per cent in September from 3.5 per cent the previous month, as higher food and gasoline prices kept consumer costs near a five-year high, Statistics Canada said Friday.

On a monthly basis, the consumer price index was up 0.1 per cent from August, with prices at the gas pumps rising 26.5 per cent in September, the federal agency said.

Eco-horror films shocking us into action

CNN -- There's a new wave of horror films stalking the box office.

You can forget the torture porn of "Saw" and "Hostel" - in fact these new films are marked by a distinct lack of blood and guts. But there is no doubting their ability to chill audiences to the core: Welcome to the world of eco-horror.

Unlike most horror films these movies aren't fiction, they are serious documentaries tackling the big issues of our time. But the message is still: Be afraid.

DVRPC Study Shows Pervasive Trend In Suburbanization

DVRPC Transportation Planner Brett J. Fusco said the actual shape regional development takes in the coming decades will vary according to how much recentralization (i.e. repopulation of dense communities) or sprawl (i.e. development of open space) occurs. But if the present drift persists, a wide range of economic and environmental concerns stand to be impacted.

One major quality-of-life change many could see is a greater amount of time spent driving, since many of the newly developed, once-rural areas neither possess transit stops nor accommodate pedestrian travel. This is likely to bring more vehicles out onto the region's roads.

America can’t afford a distraction from alternative energy

The oil bubble has burst in spectacular fashion.

Will that also shatter America’s burgeoning dreams of developing alternative energy technologies ranging from electric cars to wind power?

Range of policies needed on climate change, study says

OTTAWA — A new study on the economy and the environment recommends that the federal government combat climate change with a “silver buckshot” of policies rather than a single silver bullet.

No one policy is adequate to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, concludes a report released Friday by the Pembina Institute.

The 120-page report, commissioned by the TD Bank, says governments should instead consider a range of options when crafting environmental policy.

Those options could include a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, a fund for offsets, tougher regulations, targeted financial incentives, investments in infrastructure and technology and a national emissions target for 2020.

OPEC output cut by 1.5M

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices fell to their lowest point since May 2007 Friday after the world's largest oil cartel slashed production targets by a smaller-than-expected amount.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, whose member nations control about 40% of the world's oil, said it would cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day starting in November.

U.S. crude for December delivery fell $4.02 to $63.82 a barrel in electronic trading. Oil fell nearly $5 to $63.05 when the news first broke at about 5:10 a.m. ET. It was the lowest level for oil prices in more than 17 months.

O'Brien says OPEC's output cut "disappointing"

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC's decision to cut output by 1.5 million barrels per day is "disappointing," Energy Minister Mike O'Brien said on Friday, but warned energy firms in the country not to use it as an excuse to raise fuel prices.

"This is a disappointing decision but it appears to be aimed at steadying the price fall rather than increasing it, so I don't want to see it being used as an excuse for increased retail prices," O'Brien told Reuters by email.

"On the contrary we want to see the lower drop in oil prices that we've seen since July fed through to consumers and to help the economy more generally."

Mexican Senate Passes Bills to Reform Oil Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico's Senate agreed to allow state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos to hire private companies to explore and drill for oil, casting its vote as riot police dealt with protesters blocking streets outside.

Lawmakers passed all seven bills based on an initiative proposed by President Felipe Calderon. The lower house of Congress plans to vote on the measures Oct. 28, Emilio Gamboa Patron, leader for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party in the chamber, said in a statement.

Fallout of US-India nuke deal

Washington – China's agreement to help Pakistan build two nuclear power plants is prompting warnings that the new US-India civilian nuclear deal is already pushing other countries to pursue their own nuclear relationships.

The concern among South Asia experts and nonproliferation advocates is that the American deal allowing India to pursue an expanded civilian nuclear program with limited safeguards is prompting other countries in a volatile region to seek a similar deal – something the US had said would not happen.

"You can't help but hear about China supplying Pakistan with nuclear power plants and see it as a reaction to the US-India deal," says Michael Krepon, a South Asia nuclear proliferation expert at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington. "Pakistan is desperate for energy, as is India, but there are lower-cost and shorter-timeline options for producing it, so there is something else going on here and in the Middle East."

EPA weakens new lead rule after White House objects

WASHINGTON — After the White House intervened, the Environmental Protection Agency last week weakened a rule on airborne lead standards at the last minute so that fewer known polluters would have their emissions monitored.

EU forces CO2 caps on airlines

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) – EU nations on Friday agreed to bring airlines into the fight against global warming from 2012, though promising their contribution won't be too damaging economically to the fragile sector.

From January 2012 all airline companies operating in or out of an EU country, including non-European carriers, will have to limit emissions to 97 percent of 2005 levels.

From 2013 that figure will dip to 95 percent with further reductions envisaged later.

Potent greenhouse gas more common than estimated: study

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A potent greenhouse gas many thousands of times more effective at warming the world's atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) is four times more prevalent than previously thought, according to a study released Thursday.

Researchers using a new NASA-funded measurement network discovered there was 4,200 metric tons of the gas nitrogen trifluoride in the atmosphere in 2006, not 1,200 tons as previously estimated for that year.

I put the DrumBeat up a little early because there's a lot to talk about this morning.

Like this:

S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq Futures Reach `Limit Down' Level

(Bloomberg) -- Trading in futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq 100 Index was limited until U.S. markets open to stop the contracts from extending losses of more than 6 percent today.

This is grim-both Presidential candidates are controlled by the guys that caused this mess. I guess the solution is to cut Hank a blank cheque for 1 or 2 trillion.

Denninger is in fine form this morning.

Absent something extraordinary, we are going to crash this morning in the stock market.

For real.

No, what you saw earlier this month wasn't a crash.

This is a crash.

I expect some sort of intervention will be attempted. It won't work for long, if at all.

I need a drink, and its 5:30 in the morning.

Denningers lets the corrupt Senators and Congressmen have it, but what is most disheartening is Barack Obama. Here is a guy that has the potential to get public support behind proper public policy, and it appears that all he aspires to is to be Robert Rubin someday-bummer. I realize you predicted this one.

yep, looks like today is going to be one for the books. Perhaps obama think Rubin et. al. have all the answers for this situation. However, it looks like it is going to come down so hard that his skills as a community organizer are going to be more valuable, because this thing looks like we might be living like the cubans in a year or so.

Yeah. Obama is a disappointment. He not only voted for the bailout, he was reportedly instrumental in ramming it through, calling up his fellow congress critters and twisting their arms. Ditto for McCain, despite his initial resistance.

Meanwhile, Roubini is predicting a market shutdown.

Hundreds of hedge funds will fail and policy makers may need to shut financial markets for a week or more as the crisis forces investors to dump assets, New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini said.

``We've reached a situation of sheer panic,'' Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis in 2006, told a conference of hedge-fund managers in London today. ``There will be massive dumping of assets'' and ``hundreds of hedge funds are going to go bust,'' he said.

No mainstream candidate rocks the boat up to an election. The test comes with how whoever wins behaves afterwards.

I don't buy it.

"Not rocking the boat" would be voting yes. Twisting other people's arms (probably by promising pork if elected) is an extra step above "not rocking the boat."

I agree with this and I think we will be surprised by Obama when he gets sworn in. He may be the last hope to pull something out of this mess. No matter what you think about what he has done in the past, he is the only choice that has the personality and mass appeal to get people to go along with it.

In terms of getting elected, if he had proposed something drastically different than what the "experts" proposed, he would have never gotten elected. Now, he can blame the experts (under Bush's watch) for anything that did not work.

he is the only choice that has the personality and mass appeal to get people to go along with it.

That's only a good thing if you think he'll lead us in the right direction.

Pardon my frankness, but who are you and what have you done with Leanan?

You're not usually this filled with doom and gloom (and the market isn't Crashing! - at least, not yet - *only* down ~350).

Did Dave Robert's article on Obama and energy policy strike the wrong chord yesterday?

To my old eyes, you get some good and some bad when you get involved with politicians - even if their name is Obama or Clinton.

History has tried hard to teach us that we can't have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn't be wise.

- Mark Twain, letter to "New York Herald"

You're not usually this filled with doom and gloom

The world has changed in the past month or so, and so has my outlook for the immediate future.

Did Dave Robert's article on Obama and energy policy strike the wrong chord yesterday?

No, because I didn't read it.

Four years ago, I was a political junkie. Now...I don't care. I don't think national level politics matters in the crisis we're facing. Many of the issues that loomed so large for me four years ago just don't matter any more.

I find myself in pretty much the same boat. I too was fascinated by Washington politics until I realized it was all just window dressing concealing a very nasty machine. But I think Dmitry Orlov gives the best advice on how to handle this:

Please don't send me to Washington: it's not the place to go to get anything useful accomplished. Centralized, political efforts are about as likely to succeed as Gorbachev's Perestroika. There, there was the one Communist party, which killed all private initiative and entrepreneurship. Here, we have the two Capitalist parties, which kill all public initiatives that impinge on the prerogatives of private capital or the free market. This makes just about any good proposal politically impossible. The best thing to do about national politicians is to completely ignore them and wait until they go away. This approach worked really well with the Communists in Russia.

Four years ago, I was a political junkie. Now...I don't care. I don't think national level politics matters in the crisis we're facing. Many of the issues that loomed so large for me four years ago just don't matter any more.

I understand your sentiment. At times, I entertain the same thoughts.

The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.

- Mark Twain, "Mark Twain in Eruption"

My thoughts are similar, only it was the coup of 2000 that finalized my opinion. However, I guess I'm hoping that Obama wins - if not, then all those who cling to the belief that he would have really changed things will persist in this delusion. If he wins, then he'll have the chance to show us just what kind of change a candidate financed by the establishment and surrounded by decades long DC insiders can bring.

No, really; all these folks have just been waiting until the right time - nevermind their entire voting history to date - they're really radical populists and are just gonna go nuts and pull out all the stops. Really. Only they can't say that now, because then they'd never get elected.

We'll need to move past the illusion the the existing system can respond in the interests of the populace, and this cannot happen while people still believe in fairy tales.

Even after 2000, I thought working within the system was possible. After all, look at the great changes we saw in the 20th century. There are people alive now who were born before the 19th amendment allowed women to vote. We have a Democratic senator who used to be a member of the KKK. There's a black guy running for president, and he's likely to win. Gay marriage is legal in parts of the U.S., when only 40 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal in some states.

But sometime after 2000, I started realizing we were running out of time. By the time the primaries begun, I had almost no interest. And this financial crisis has been the nail in the coffin. It's going to tie the hands of the new president, whoever he is.

Someday you might actually have a woman as President! It is quite shocking that after 232 years this will the first time an African American has come this close to becoming President. For that alone I support Obama. It shows us in the rest of the world that the USA is getting rid of bigotry even if slowly.

It is even more shocking that no woman has been President of the USA this long. Consider that Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India have all had women Prime Ministers just 30-40 years after independence (the chief executive) and it shows that something is wrong with the political system in the USA.


I agree and disagree with Leanan. Disagree in that there's no choice in this election, whatever differences there are favor Obama. But agree that Obama is also a spear carrier for the elite, although a somewhat different faction.

The reason I think it's important for Obama to win is that there is one thing he won't do that is very important: he won't (or will find it difficult to) spew or incite ethnic and religious hatred in the way the other side will. And that's what TPTB need in order to pursue their agenda, which will be wider war and crushing domestic opposition.

Third party candidates are for the moment irrelevant. There's no mass movement behing them. We NEED a third party, an anti-war, pro-people party that tells people the truth (or at least debates) about PO and other critical issues and guides and supports them onto the path of survival, i.e retrenchment, relocalization, etc, but allows everyone to survive on the down slope.

The idea that we can somehow keep everyone in their McMansions cum SUV in the burbs is totally nuts. But we can survive in dense, walkable, bikeable towns, that go up several floors, with shared bathrooms, laundry facilities, common kitchens, etc, near agriculture -- that's totally feasible except for the issue of profitability. There has to be a reasonable trajectory toward this goal, that allows everyone to survive and have a role.

Instead, we'll have starvation, suicide, mass unemployment and misery, and even greater inequality.

But the people who want to change things for the better are still within the Democratic party, not in a third party. This has to be recognized. There is no way to get to where we want or should want to go other than thru politics.

I will vote for Obama, but with few illusions (I hope).

dave...I agree with your assessment of the situation. Obama is in the "system", but will at least make the appearances of being fair and rational and not derogatory. Plus, I believe he will at least treat other nations (in public) better than we have seen in the last 8 years. He is not exactly what the world will need to survive, but he is better than going full tilt with guns raised like McCain would.

Third party candidates are for the moment irrelevant. There's no mass movement behing them. We NEED a third party, an anti-war, pro-people party that tells people the truth (or at least debates) about PO and other critical issues and guides and supports them onto the path of survival, i.e retrenchment, relocalization, etc, but allows everyone to survive on the down slope.

third party's are not real party's, though no one told them that. they are allowed to do what they do because there mere presence no matter how small is used as a example to discredit people who correctly point out the nature of the so called two major party's.

IF any one of those parties steps out of line and gains more then a token following(not from the media because they are ignoring them) they will share the same fate as left leaning parties in Europe during the cold war. that is they will be infiltrated by the fbi, their job is to factionalize the party. Basically causing it to fall apart into smaller and smaller party's all hostile to each other. If that doesn't work or maybe to make sure it fails, at the same time the cia will carry out stuff like bombings and other acts to frame said party.

Think there is another reason Obama decided to wait it out in Hawaii becides "Toot"?

Sorry but I cant seem to undo the chin strap on this damn tin foil hat.

No. Hawaii's a pretty terrible place to wait out a crisis. The supply lines are long and fragile, and being in a convenient re-fueling spot in the middle of the Pacific, is a tempting target. (See Dec. 7, 1941.) The feelings of isolation and panic were palpable in the days after 9/11, when all air traffic was grounded.

However, I am wondering if Obama's going to Hawaii is bad for the world. No, I'm not talking about the carbon emissions. I mean, in August, he went to Hawaii on a family vacation, and Russia invaded Georgia. Now, he's back to see his tutu, and the markets are falling off a cliff.

Cause and effect.

WoW maybe he IS the second comming.

You are disheartened by the ticket of Wall Street Barry and Bankruptcy Bill Joe? The only reason for that is you forgot to pay attention to what he was saying and the names of his advisors from the beginning - or you were so desparate for "hope" and "change" that you refused to. There are lots of people in that boat with you; it's entirely human, but false hope is a terrible thing - a theological terrible thing. Obama did have the potential to run away from Wall Street. He chose not to do that. Instead, he takes every opportunity to snuggle up to McCain - the hotelling rule of politics. Welcoming Powell as an "advisor", official or not, is only yesterday's example.

There will be a huge downside to an Obama victory - all those people who bought into the false hope are going to end up sidelined and quiet - if not supportive - while he firmly accelerates us over the cliff. He'll be throwing the parachutes out the window - after all, why does a car need parachutes?

cfm in Gray, ME

I plead guilty on this one-ossibly Obama is even more dangerous because he is very smooth.

well, would obama be worse than bush ? i seriously doubt it. would he be worse than mccain ? i doubt that too.

we will have to live(or die) with the president we get, not the one we would like to have.

Would X be worse than Y?

"I may have cancer, but at least I don't have AIDS!"

or more like, we survived 8 yrs of cancer and are soon to be cured and we dont know what other diseases we may get in the future.

Alas, I fear this cancer is incurable. The only question is whether it's better to go quickly, or die a long, slow, lingering death.



In particular, I was referring Edward Abbey's well-known quote: "Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Neither Obama nor McCain want to cure this cancer. They don't even see it as a problem; instead, they're in favor of it, and want to encourage it, just as much as Bush.

oh, pardon moi, i thought the "cancer" was the looting of the treasury.

No, that's just a symptom. A particularly annoying one, but just a symptom.

Weeds grow fast as they produce no fruit.

Talk is easy, actions more difficult.

It is not wise to expect much too from Obama, he is not the Messiah. One may need to pay off one's own debts, increase one's own savings, and to help others while doing so.

Obama will be just as bad as McCain. Income redistribution will mean taxing those who still manage to have income and increasing welfare in an Obama-world. It'll mean more money for business and big agriculture and the military in McCain's world. Both will spend more at a time when we have nothing more to borrow.

Inflation, and then T-bill defaults seem to be the common future path for both men.

Currently those getting out of the stock market may have parked cash in treasuries funds; that allows the government to finance its debt without causing inflation.

I like Obama, yet am skeptical as he voted for the bailout then blamed the Republicans for wanting to bailout failed investment bankers.

Suppose he lacks some credence in a coherent energy policy after he blamed oil companies for getting free handouts, but praised biofuels, solar, and wind. Solar and advanced biofuels are more expensive forms of energy driving up costs for the rich, poor, and middle class. Since ethanol producers get free handouts in the form of subsidies and only provides 70% of the energy of gasoline while driving up corn feed costs, it is not likely to have solved the energy crises nor the problem of high food costs. Oil companies paid taxes, royalties, and paychecks for many Americans. The deep offshore drilling rate was low so the government offered a free royalty program to get companies to drill in deep waters, the government then reneged and started charging high royalties, the drilling slowed down as there were better prospects elsewhere and day rates for rigs are very high.

Changes in the tax code have made the rich richer while making others poorer. It is the worst wealth distribution since the great depression. Giving government entitlements to the rich has not solved problems of wasteful spending on war, biofuels speculation (after Bush inspired energy policy), or rapidly increasing government debt. Those wanting the war in Iraq did not properly consider the costs, nor were they giving us accurate information. No bid contracts to Haliburton to develop oilfields free of charge for Iraqi Islamicists was a no win deal. Minority religion has suffered a cruel fate in Iraq since the invasion. Powell told the nation that Iraq was supporting Al Qaeda, had an anthrax program, and a weapons of mass destruction capability. It turns out the anthrax was not from a secret lab in Iraq, but from a U.S. Army facility investigating a vaccine to prevent anthrax fatalities. Al Qaeda was a Saudi dominated orginization and some of the funding for the Taliban movement was more likely to have come from within Saudi Arabia than Iraq. Most of the 9/11 highjackers were of Saudi national origin, including a Saudi air force officer who participated in the attack.

I was not calling Obama a weed, but was upset over peoples' naive line of reasoning that all we need to do is vote for Obama and everything will be all right. The stock market crash is likely to be swift, the recovery long. The savings rate turned negative for the first time since the great depression before this mess ensued. People may need to build savings instead of rely on a pyramiding of revolving credit facilities. Money injected into the economy was a quick fix, a patch that might not solve the long term problem and places us at risk for inflation.

Obama has impressed people with some of his wit and knowledge. He stated some of his reasons for not voting for the war in Iraq and if he was telling the truth, he was on the right road with that issue. It is right to help people in the United States rather than emphasize the finance expensive foreign war that was started without just cause.

You are mistaken about solar pushing up costs. Present adoption of solar is insignificant. At the end of 2007, Germany probably had 0.7% of its generation in solar and they are in the lead. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany (up to 2006) http://www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Solar/2007_data.htm#table5 (and 2007 addition) This has essentially no impact on the cost of electricity. By 2015, solar is expected to be cheaper than coal generation. At a 50% annual growth rate, Germany will see 12% of its generation from solar in 2015. But, it can go to 30% without any big issues in terms of storage, so it can get the remaining 18% at a cost lower than coal generation. Further, Germany is trying to maintain a technological lead in solar so that it may have access to cheaper solar sooner than 2015 so that an even greater fraction will be less expensive than coal. Currently, the US is in the lead in thin film solar and the current lowest retail price for this kind of technology is $3.27/Wp http://www.solarbuzz.com/
Since the retail price is paying for current rapid expansion of manufacturing capacity in addition to the cost of production, This suggests that the cost of production is approaching the $1/Wp level anticipated for 2015 in one technology already. And, a number of thin film manufacturers have hinted that they are close. So, the 2015 target looks as though it will be met handily. One expects solar to be pretty much cost neutral as it avoids the need for grid upgrades through 2015 and then to bring the cost of electricity down from about 2015 on.


Nader is on the ballot in enough states (45) to win. There are other choices.


what is the probability that nader will win even one (1) state ? your opinion please .

Obama seems to be heading for a landslide, as they usually put it. I mentioned this because the ballot effort is impressive and people we complaining about both McCain and Obama. Nader does not seem to be in anyone's pocket.


Nader was asked the difference between Democrat and republican. Nader said depends which one faster drops to their knees for corporate money. they have always been in the pockets of corporate america. more so now. corporates run this country. the democrat machine is run and supported by corporate. as well as interests beyond our borders. i can't prove the overseas payments, but my gut says so. and hopefully it will come out in the future.

The man's been essentially censored. Ron Paul and the Greens likewise.

This isn't a Presidential Election campaign, but an orchestrated selection.

The debates were invalidated by their (continued) exclusion of all but the predetermined top dogs.

Most people don't even KNOW there are other candidates running.

Your Stalag bunk can look pretty if you decorate it with a lot of 'Freedom' Posters.

Here's a gentleman I'd vote for... The guy who said these quotes:

"The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, the public debt should be reduced and the arrogance of public officials should be controlled."

"If you can't stand a little sacrifice and you can't stand a trip across the desert with limited water, we're never going to straighten this country out."

"A weak currency is the sign of a weak economy, and a weak economy leads to a weak nation."

So, who is this guy? H. Ross Perot.

Too bad it ain't 1992... I have a feeling that if he could have run this time, he *may* have actually won.

"The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt."

Cicero on Rome, Perot was updating?


I would ask a different question. What is the probability that Nader would even be close to winning a single state? My guess is that he won't even break 5% in any particular state.

Which is why we need to break out of the ONE PARTY rule we have been suffering under. It might take a generation for change to take hold, but we need to start this year by voting 3rd party. Once we can get 3rd party percentages up past 10%, then they won't be able to exclude from debates, then real ideas must come forth. I know I'm labeled a dreamer but we have to start somewhere and voting Dem. or Rep. will NEVER CHANGE ANYTHING.

I would argue that the political system that we currently have is does not have any stable solutions with more than two political parties. Eventually one will wither and die, and then we are left with two again. In fact we may be in one of those periods right now - the moderate Republicans are either going to have to retake control of their party from the religious zealots and the brownshirts, or they are going to have to go out and form a new party.

The parliamentary system that they have in many other parts of the world is much better at accommodating 3rd parties.

I reject your assertion that we have one-party rule here. They may be too close to each other for your liking, but there are distinct differences.

The number of parties over 2 doesn't need to be stable.. it is largely there to DE-stabilize the kind of political impasse we now find ourselves in. Your body doesn't stay at a stable 98.6 degrees, it is constantly being pushed up and down with various mechanisms which check and balance each other. But that is lots of Little corrections. If you interfere in the natural process, you run the risk of seeing some BIG corrections, which might play out as High Fevers or Hypothermia.

The Left/Right stability we've seen since 2000, with these 50/50 poll numbers between the majors is, to me anyway, a very worrying sign about the paralysis of the political system. It's getting well past the time to rebreak this table.

That's not the question at all. The answer to that has been preordained for you, and so is hardly worth asking.

My questions are..

'Do you want any other ideas/perspectives to crash this party, or are you willing to be given these pitiful and pared-down options and let it go at that?'

'Will you take real action against this, or just growl about it on blogs?'

'How afraid is the DNC that people might think there's a higher calling involved in 'Voting your Conscience'?'

Don't let them define the conversation for us. The Political Parties and Corps who are the Kings of the Hill do not want the electorate to even know that this box has an outside.

"A managed democracy is a wonderful thing.. for the managers." Robert Heinlein, 1966

What kind of odds will you give me if we were going to put a bet down on this? What do you think the odds are that Nader will win? I would put it at ~1.0e-09 or so, and that's being generous.

I would quote odds from intrade, but they don't even bother to have a betting category for a Nader win.

If you really want to make a difference, work on your local elected officials, and don't waste your time trying to get Nader elected president. Local officials can make a much greater difference, and when you get enough of them that agree with you, they can advance to the next level. In short, you have a much better chance of trying to move one of the existing parties in the direction you want it to go rather than casting protest votes.

If you only vote for who you think will win without regard to the candidate's character and policies, then your vote is preselected by the corporate controlled media. Do not allow them to think for you.

"If you only vote for who you think will win..."

how bout if you vote for who you think can win ?

obamma is far from perfect. only one man is alledged to have walked on water. does a starving man demand caviar ?

and no candidate is going to turn this country around overnight, this mess didnt happen overnight either.

What a Nader candidacy and that of Ron Paul and the other 'hopeless cases' does is light a fire under the Democrats, and you can see how hard they have been working to keep him OFF the ballots, and to keep certain issues (that the public wants to hear about) out of the debates.

"In short, you have a much better chance of trying to move one of the existing parties in the direction you want it to go rather than casting protest votes."

I have absolutely NO confidence in that idea. Look at the Senate this year. They've got a friken Subpoena and a Court Order to put Rove and Meyers in front of a Congressional hearing, and they're sitting on their hands. You have to hit them where they live (Votes) to get any kind of recognition of your intent as a voter. If they think they have all the left votes tied up, they'll KEEP walking all over us, and ignoring the issues that the people say they want addressed.

Advocating for Nader is no waste of time, and I am ALSO working on my local gov't races, thanks.

Everybody was so busy Bashing Bush that they forget to take a really close look at Obama. Forgetting conviently that he had zero real experience. And I won't go into the race issue.

Sadly McCain really stepped in it when he chose Palin. He did this simply to 'game' the system and it will likely cause him the election.

I know. I bring up both the sex issue and the color issue. Naughty me.

Bush is clearly a very bad leader. He has allowed this country to fall into a real emergency and now we have no real candidates to elect.

A youngster from Chicago with no credentials.
A worn out old workhorse.

Neither was born in this country. McCain got the law changed so he could qualify.

Obama refuses to clear the issue with his birth country. He refuses to let his birth certificate(if one ever existed) from Hawaii be shown.

Its now down to mere days to the polls open and both candidates have shown severe lack of leadership qualities, based on how they have performed in the runup.

We are now totally screwed. All the cards are falling down and we are looking at chaos in the political arena as well.

Talk about 'network collapse'?

Airdale-I fear for my country..I am beginning to fear for much more.
This country is rapidly coming apart at the seams.
Yesterday I watched as hard rain fell on 10,ooo bushels of soybeans out in the open. I tried to deal with youngsters with IQs of dead gerbils to try to rescue it. I finally went home in disgust and opened a new bottle of Evan Williams and Four Roses. A possible loss of $150,000. Hopefully the blowers can save it,maybe. If its gone then one farmer will work for a year for nothing. No profit.

Stupidity,modern childrearing culture, very bad educational systems,
(yes the economy profs as well),and no desire to excel has created most of what we are now suffering from. Throw in governmental interference and laws as well. Throw in welfare systems that reward sloth and indifference as well.

Solutions are not to be found.Ipods in your ears mean nothing as far as learning anything of value. Body tattoos do not make the man. Buzz cuts don't increase knowledge. Sloppy fitting clothes means you just look like a jerk and can't work efficiently on the jobsite.

Don't worry-Robert Rubin has tons of experience and he is WHITE which is really important to you. I understand Robert was BORN IN THE USA so everything will be peachy. Go shoot some possum.

Guy, you freaking out isn't going to solve anything

cheer up, enjoy life while you've got it. There is nothing so broke it cannot be fixed, and if you're so unenthused about the tickets, then why don't you run?

stop being such a gloomy gus and have a good time!!


"We are now totally screwed"

I appreciate a lot your farmers'inside stories. Keep 'm coming please.

But we were screwed all along, isn't it?

Umm, the 'born in this country' thing only applies to people born before 1776. There aren't many of those left. It's ored with 'born a citizen'. The born outside the country thing was cleared up in 1968 when George Romney (Mitt Romney's dad) ran. He was born in Mexico of US parents.

You got it backwards. The constitution says people who were born in other countries before 1789 and had lived in the USA for 20 years could be president. After that point you had to be a natural born citizen but left the definition of natural born to Congress. People who had one parent who was a citizen are considered natural born no matter where that happened. Foreign women had sex with American soldiers in the 20th century wars in the hope of getting into America as the mother of a US citizen.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

I just pulled that off of archives.gov I do recall seeing the bit about born in the territory, but I'm not about to argue with the National Archives.

I've always understood that anyone with a citizen parent always had the chance to choose US citizenship, no matter where born or what the citizenship of the other parent. I find it barely possible but highly unlikely that such a situation could be construed as naturalization instead of citizen by birth. No one has questioned that Obama's mother was a US citizen. And as for McCain, I simply cannot imagine the law ever stating that a child of a US serviceman born overseas because his father was stationed there was not a natural born US citizen. That one does not pass the laugh test.

Oh yeah. Aging hippie here. Computer programmer for a living. Sex, drugs and too tone deaf for rock and roll. And taking no sh*t about who's the better American.

...Obama refuses to clear the issue with his birth country. He refuses to let his birth certificate(if one ever existed) from Hawaii be shown.


Here ya go:


But why would any bright, sane man or woman want to be the Prez? I'd much rather be a senator from some backwater state, living the life.

Ok,,I could be wrong.

I believe in the truth so if its true I withdraw my comments.
However what does it say about McCain then? Did the law get altered later or not?

I spent 4 years in Hawaii. I was sitting on the carousel bar on the beach at Waikiki when Hawaii became a state.

I then asked a lot of folks and many natives about what they thought and almost every one said they were opposed to statehood. That it was a cooked deal.

One whole island (privately owned and almost all native Hawaiian) voted against it. It was thougt to be a deal made by businessmen with the government.

Of course once again..I could be wrong but I was there and thats what I formed my opinion on.

Back then Oahu was indeed still almost a paradise. I look at it now and don't recognize anything. I doubt of PCT is still there with the monkey bar. Back then you couldn't drive around the whole island unless you had a jeep. Which I did have.

Back then there was a very active agriculture with cane and pineapples. I believe thats all changed and I told my wife that once I wanted for us to take a vacation and fly back..but after seeing and hearing how it had changed so much I nixed the idea. I prefer my memories and the photos I took, the hiking , mountain climbing and fishing I did. As well as good surf.


My parents were kids when Hawaii achieved statehood. They remember it as something that was very much wanted by ordinary people - something the locals had long fought for. They were thrilled when they could write "State of Hawaii" instead of "Territory" on their school papers.

The ones who opposed it were the rich businessmen - the plantation owners. They did not want to be subject to U.S. labor laws, and had fought statehood for decades for that reason.

On the mainland, the opposition to Hawaii statehood was from supporters of segregation. They feared having two more senators from an area where, even back in the '50s, one out of four marriages crossed racial lines.

Question, were they actually living in Hawaii then?

This is directly the opposite of what I was told when I asked residents.

I used to go with a Filipino girl. She was of the same opinion.
They felt is was the rich business types that was pushing it.

If statehood was so good then where did the base of agriculture go to?

Did it mean that they all wanted to work serving the tourist industry then?

Most locals did not like the tourists. Also the military was a huge presence and in the exchanges and other base businesses most all the employees were natives or various mixs. A lot were oriental or mixtures.

The way I recall it was that the Chinese owned most everything,the Japanese ran it for them, the Filipinos did all the work. The haole roundeyes from the mainland put down the money to purchase the trinkets like fake leis, hula dolls for the dashboard,junk like that.

Then of course one JUST had to go see the hula dancers and the nonsense with the flaming cane knives.

I preferred to sit in Davy Jones locker in the underground parking below the Ala Moana and watch the honeymooners thru the large plate glass window behind the bar that was hidden under the water of the topside pool. Better than what was showing at the local flicks.

I do recall that when Coed time rolled around one could not find a space to spread your mat and sunbath on Wakiki beach. Mainland coeds in bikinis as far as the eye could see.


Question, were they actually living in Hawaii then?

Yes. They were born in Hawaii.

If statehood was so good then where did the base of agriculture go to?

Basically, the same place all of agriculture went. Where the cheap labor is.

Hawaii had a system of indentured servitude that would be considered slavery now. It wasn't quite slavery, since the kids were not owned by the plantation, but it would not have been legal on the mainland.

Did it mean that they all wanted to work serving the tourist industry then?

I think they preferred that to indentured servitude as a field laborer and "owing their souls to the company store," yes.

Said by Airdale:
However what does it say about McCain then? Did the law get altered later or not?

The issue of McCain's citizenship is not settled. He did not alter the law because a Constitutional amendment is needed to clearly define "natural born citizen." McCain's birth certificate was issued by the Republic of Panama. He is a citizen of the USA at birth by 8 USC 1401(c) and as of sometime in the 1950's by 8 USC 1403. In my opinion neither of these statues make him a "natural born citizen." He is a naturalized citizen at birth. If McCain is elected, there will be a lawsuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court will decide. I know of two lawsuits that have already been filed but were dismissed because he is not prohibited from being a candidate. If McCain is elected and disqualified, then there will be a court battle over whether Palin or the runner-up in the election (likely Obama) would become president. If McCain wins, it will be a mess that could have been avoided if the pathetic American media had not downplayed his failure to qualify.

The Supreme Court has weighed in upon more significant matters in the past, and this would appear to be a fairly routine clarification. It would be nice to have an amendment though, because maybe at the same point that we determined that a child born to American parents living abroad (certainly to deployed service men!), we could also deny citizenship to immigrant parents who happened to be here.

Hey, airdale.

Wise old Ben Franklin said, in response to a question about what type of government the Constitutional Convention had given us:

"A republic. . . IF YOU CAN KEEP IT"

We can all bash the politicians, but where do they come from, and who put them there? Ultimately, one way or another, we are going to end up with a government that is no better than WE THE PEOPLE are. If the populace is rotten, then the government will be also.

The education system in this country has been a global laughingstock for at least four decades now. That has got to be taking its toll. Your post suggests just one of the many ways that we are seeing this. The mass media in its many forms isn't helping either. You mentioned the iPods in the ears - GIGO.

We don't talk so much about this here, but this is the fundamental thing that really has me so depressed and pessimistic. I just don't see much evidence to think that the American people, by and large, really have what it takes to sustain a great democracy and economic powerhouse any more. The country continues out of shear inertia, in the same way that the big old tree out back continues to stand in spite of being hollow on the inside. The tree stands until a storm comes that knocks it down. I'm afraid that a lot of what we talk about here - oil & energy, food, finances - is just the brewing storm on the horizon, the one that will knock the decayed and rotten US down for good.

It does look like the Senator from Illinois is going to win this one. I, too, sincerely doubt that he will prove able to part the waters and lead us through the wilderness. More likely he'll be passing water in a crisis and be every bit as lost and clueless as everyone else. We'll hear some good speeches, though, I guess.

How much longer, though, will we even be continuing to have elections like this?

Yeah WNC,,I recall the feelings of the native N.Carolinians when I lived there back in the late 70s and the early 80s.

They were mostly democrats but were very conserative.

Still back away from Raleigh and Charlotte you find the real folks.
Hardworking people. Salt of the earth.

I have pulled over Black Mountain many many times. I wanted to stay and retire there but my company had different ideas.

What are they teaching in our schools then that leave us with such uninterested youth? Seeming lack of ambition? Don't know what Pi is?
Can figure the circumference of a circle knowing the diameter or radius?

Can't even formulate what 5.65 inches is in 16ths or 32nds of an inch?

My daughter has a masters in Instructional Technology. Meaning she writes , or is supposed to , lesson guides. She doesn't , she just teaches and says that the systems is totally screwed. Has been for some time.


Airdale, what is the "race" issue? What specifically are you trying to say?

Ran Prieur has written a very interesting essay about Obama.

I think it't too early to be so pessimistic about Obama. I think that we have already shifted into a new paradigm in which Obama is already operating in.

As my husband said when he saw the pictures of Obama vacationing in Hawaii, "He looks like he doesn't have a care in the world. I get more upset trying to run a little business."

Where as Bush/Cheney et al. operate from a level of consciousness of fear/lack/separateness, Obama seems to operate from a level of consciousness of love/abundance/oneness. That "hope" that he talks about isn't based on wishful thinking on his part but on what he knows the world can be.

Maybe I am naive but I believe that a lot of what we are experiencing is a falling away of the systems that are rooted in fear and what will emerge are systems based on the opposite of fear, love? It sounds so hokey though, especially for this audience.

George Bush took more vacation time than any President in history-as he wrecked the USA, it was amazing how unflappable his confidence was-absolutely the last thing the USA needs is another guy that acts like his bloodstream is 98% liquid Prozac (I still prefer Obama to Mccain but all this Deepak Chopra crap isn't needed at this point IMO).

When he was "vacationing" in Hawaii, he was in fact visiting his dying grandmother, whom he hadn't seen for a long time.

No, he was vacationing. There was a vacation in Hawaii earlier this year. About the time Russia invaded Georgia, IIRC.

Yup, you got it right. Wishful thinking. Naive. Hard audience.

Good luck tho!

"Obama seems to operate from a level of consciousness of love/abundance/oneness"

- the strangest description of a _lawyer_ I've ever seen...

I prefer him to McPalin, but I am not going to vote for anybody who voted for the Robbery (aka Bailout).

I don't pretend to know how he thinks, but he doesn't seem to be easily rattled, and it seems like he keeps his mind on what he's doing and isn't easily distracted. These are good things, it means he might be thinking about things beforehand, as opposed to our current administration who just reacts in whichever way their knee happens to jerk without any kind of thought for the consequences of that action.

I think all these warm motivations attributed to him are really because he doesn't let on much about what's going on inside his head and because of that, people tend to see what they want to see in him. So far he's been benefiting from this, the Republicans have tried to play this behavior up as "we don't know him much" but that doesn't stick too well with Palin on the ticket.

"Naomi Klein Slams Robert Rubin's Economic Policy"


"Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, says it was not only Alan Greenspan who fought economic regulation, but also Robert Rubin.

Klein says Rubin advised Clinton against regulation in 1992 and contributed greatly to the current economic crisis."


I agree 100% with you that Obama is one of what Daniel Yankelovich calls "the engineers of consent."

But I think this thing has now gone way beyond what Obama or any of his Wall Street backers can control.

Former Washington Post editor Barry Sussman wrote that politicians regard public opinion as "the great gorilla in the political jungle, a beast that must be kept calm." Is this economic collapse finally enough to awaken the gorilla from his long, multi-decade slumber?

Bill Moyers did a great interview with Jon Stewrt last year that touches on this subject. He was talking about the Iraq war, but the dynamic is the same:

So, there's a disconnect there between — you're telling me this is fight of our generation, and you're going to increase troops by 10 percent. And that's gonna do it. I'm sure what he would like to do is send 400,000 more troops there, but he can't, because he doesn't have them. And the way to get that would be to institute a draft. And the minute you do that, suddenly the country's not so damn busy anymore. And then they really fight back, and then the whole thing falls apart. So, they have a really delicate balance to walk between keeping us relatively fearful, but not so fearful that we stop what we're doing and really examine how it is that they've been waging this.


Clearly Paulson, Obama, Bush, McCain, etc. wanted to scare us sufficiently into giving a thumbs up to a $700 billion gift, and other largess, to their benefactors. But they clearly underestimated how bad the situation really is.

Will Obama rise to the occasion as FDR did?

Tumultuous times form the crucible for great men, so time will tell.

A closing note from Robert Hughes, tallking about history, but nevertheless germane to our conversation about Obama:

The need for absolute goodies and absolute baddies runs deep in us, but it drags history into propaganda and denies the humanity of the dead: their sins, their virtues, their efforts, their failures. To preserve complexity, and not flatten it under the weight of anachronistic moralizing, is part of the historian's task.

Robert Hughes, Culture of Complaint

I wonder. Did Paulson, Obama, Bush, McCain, etc., really underestimate the situation that much? Was their primary motivation really to pay off their benefactors?

It just seems awfully stupid and short-sighted, even for them.

Maybe the benefactors they are really trying to pay off are our Chinese (and Japanese, and Indian, etc.) overlords.

Of course, they can't keep it up forever, but maybe they just hoped to keep all the balls in the air until after the election. After all, it's in no incumbent's interest to see global economic collapse right before Election Day.

We have to take a close look at what happened.

At the time they approved the $700 billion bailout, the intent was to buy toxic waste off of the balance sheets of the banks at greatly inflated prices. This really was a gift, and it was the worst of all possible scenarios for the taxpayer. We were going to spend $700 billion and get what in return? $700 billion of securities that were worth little or nothing?

But three things happened:

1) The stock market did not get the boost they had anticipated. Instead, it continued to slide rather precipitously.

2) The credit markets did not unfreeze as they had anticipated. They did just the opposite and continued to lock up, and the financial "apocalypse" they had invoked to scare us into approving the $700 billion gift, all of a sudden, became a real possibility.

3) British and European lawmakers and public opinion demanded, and got, a much better deal from their banks--equity, interest on the money advanced, and control.

So Bush and Paulson were forced by events, and shamed by Europe, into giving the American taxpayer a little bit, or at least the appearance of a little bit, better deal. They did not do this of their own volition.

As the plan now stands it is still a much worse deal than what European taxpayers got, but it is still a better deal (perhaps ever so little) than what they wanted to give us. As I understand it, we at least now will get something for our $700 billion that might actually stand a chance of being worth something some day--equity in the banks. We will earn 5% on our equity infusion (far less than the 10% Warren Buffet got). But, unlike the Europeans, we got absolutely no control. This is a crime, but it is not as egregious a crime as our illustrious politicians and financiers at first had planned for us.

As Willilam Buiter explains:

In the case of the Fortunate Nine, the injection of capital is through (non-voting) preference shares yielding a ridiculously low interest rate (5 percent as opposed to the 10 percent obtained by Warren Buffett for his capital injectcion into Goldman Sachs). Without voting shares, the government has no voice in the running of these banks. It also has no seats on their boards. By contrast, in the Netherlands, the injection of €10bn worth of subordinated debt into ING bank comes with a price tag that includes two government directors on the board and a government veto over all strategic decisions by the bank.

In addition, in the the case of the Fortunate Nine, there are no attractively valued warrants (options to convert, at some future time, the preference shares into ordinary shares at a set price or at a price determined by some known formula). Quite the opposite, the preference shares purchased by the US state, can be repurchased after three years, at the banks’ discretion, on terms that are highly attractive to the banks. The US tax payer is not only getting a lousy deal compared to private US investors like Buffett, (s)he is also doing much worse than the British tax payer in the UK version of Paulson’s capital injection (£37 bn so far out of provisional budget of £50bn). The UK preference shares have a 12 percent yield and come with government-appointed board members.


Do these sound like the mahcinations of policy makers that have the best interest of rank and file Americans at heart?

I think they knew it wouldn't work. At best, it was a "Hail Mary" - a real long shot at having any beneficial effect. How could they not know, when hundreds of economists and several articles in papers like the NY Times and Washington Post were saying so?

It managed to pay out 70 billion in bonuses so I guess their cronies wouldn't call it a total failure. Not so much a "Hail Mary" as the coaching staff making big bets against their team, so that the cash cushions the pain of defeat.


I suppose it depends on what you mean when you say "wouldn't work."

By "wouldn't work," do you mean it wouldn't do anything to mend a broken financial system?

Or by "wouldn't work," do you mean it couldn't be snuck past a dormant and uninformed public?


Kind of like shooting off the distress rockets on the Titanic. They are not going to change the final outcome, but at least it gives the appearance of doing SOMETHING.

How can anyone still hope to get a yield of 12% or 10% or even 5%?
Growth at 1% gives a doubling time of 70 iterations. Double everything in 70 years?
I grow nauseous contemplating the implications.
The only way to perpetuate growth is to inject more and more energy into the system.
Where do we get that energy from, and how do we not kill ourselves in the process?

The European electorates are being hoodwinked their governments, as much as America's.
The Chinese & the Russians & the Brazilians & practically all governments are doing the same thing: ensuring 'stable' growth.

To infinity, and beyond!

I think Obama will win, because the powers that be have probably decided that the populace need to be reassured and calmed by feeling part of a 'revolution' of 'hope'.
The rest is history. We are all sitting ducks

It is easy to gain 12% per year. . . if you can succeed in making a counterparty LOSE 12% per year!

voting for Obama is like the chickens voting for Col. Sanders.

The failure to purchase control with the equity infusion makes the bailout worse than you are portraying.

Banks Hoard Money Meant to Boost Economy, Lender Says, Bloomberg, Jody Shenn, Oct. 23, 2008

Treasury Secretary Paulson claims he wants the banks to use the equity to increase "... lending and investing to prevent the economic slowdown from getting worse." Incredulously, he hands them, the same executives who created the economic mess, money without any rules or control. Dutifully, in the service of their greed, they hoard it.

My guess is the banks want the economy to collapse from tight credit allowing them to purchase the assets of the bankrupt companies for a tiny fraction of their worth. We (the world) are witness to and the U.S. taxpayers are the enablers of a taxpayer funded creation of a monopolistic banking cartel. Either that, or the funds will go into a black hole of collapsing debt. Government and executives do not have our best interests in mind.

Well, many will disagree with me on this but I tend to believe that these folks -- Paulson included -- are doing what they believe is the right thing -- the thing that will save the system and allow AIG execs to continue getting back rubs. Problem is that, smart and knowledgeable as they are, they're knowledge is still of an inferior kind. They simply don't have the big picture. I really believe that.

The most knowledgeable people on this site have argued for years as to KSA's true oil reserves. The bottom line is that we still don't know what they are. Paulson and Co. are in the same boat -- which is reason a'plenty for being scared.

What about this guy gives you such confidence in his integrity? It cannot possibly be his track record.

Oh, I don't have any confidence in his integrity Brian. I expect Paulson and the others hew pretty closely to the belief that when the rich are doing well, everyone does well. We should all know better. I just have a hard time believing as some do, that the world's financial troubles are part of a grand plan to consolidate wealth and kill off a few billion of the proles.

When this thing really gets going, no one is going to be safe. Dick Fuld's punch in the nose was just a foreshadowing. That's why I think these guys are sincere in their efforts to stabilize the world economy. They're scared too. The problem is that all of these things are beyond their control (translation: you and yours are on your own).

You are the only one mentioning grand plans to kill "proles"-guys like Fuld are focused-they are not concerned in the least about the world's problems or "proles"-that is how they manage to accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars while making it seem like an insignificant side effect of providing value. If the ball had bounced differently, Dick Fuld would be the Treasury Secretary and you would be telling me what his motivations are. These guys are very very skilled at taking care of themselves.

Integrity is consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles. Depth and breadth of a value system may also be significant factors due to their congruence with a wider range of observations. People are said to have integrity to the extent that they behave according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold. One's value system may evolve over time while retaining integrity if inconsistencies are accounted for and resolved.

Integrity is in the eye of the beholder. When there is no value system, as with the Nitwits in Washington ( Do you think anyone there reads this site? ) then anything goes. We see on a daily basis, the total lack of any value system in Washington, and your government in general. Their "value system", is only based on the Allmighty Dollar. C_A

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. But not so for most inside the Beltway. For the rank and file it's moral hazard and the "Personal Responsibility Crusade." For bankers, financiers and corporate titans it's government bailouts and golden parachutes.

A few, like Ron Paul, are more honest. However, as sincere as is his belief in his philosophy, his philosophy is nevertheless flawed. I borrowed this from a commenter on another blog, for it provides a concise and cogent critiqe of libertarianism:

Libertarianism (at least the natural rights variant) is based on the unjustified assumption that the right to private property and the right of contract somehow are absolute and must trump all other considerations. Furthermore, there is the additional unjustified assumption that externalities either do not exist or are so insignificant as to be safely ignored.

None of these premises are able to withstand a moment's scrutiny, which is why serious political philosophers don't spend much time responding to libertarians.

With regard to private property, if one follows an entitlement theory of justice, ala Nozick, one always ends up with the question of how to justify the initial acquisition of land and other unproduced natural resources. There is no solution to this problem, despite libertarians' attempts to fudge it with counterfactual, post-hoc rationalizations like labor-mixing and homesteading.

With regard to contracts, any attempt at developing a moral system based on voluntary contract has to not only answer the question of why contracts should be ENFORCED (i.e., why individuals shouldn't be permitted to exit agreements as easily as they enter them when either circumstances or their opinions change) but also must consider 1) the bargaining power of each party entering into the contract and 2) the information available to each party upon entry. Libertarians' excepting of "force" and "fraud" from all agreements is just a simple-minded attempt at punting on the issue of bargaining power and information.

With regard to externalities, libertarianism relies on the unjustified assumption that all human activities can be divided into voluntary action and force (false dichotomy fallacy) and thus rules out the fact that the actions of individuals can indirectly but significantly affect other individuals without their consent. Every man is an island in libertopia. Outside of libertopia, the daily actions of individuals living in society do, in many cases, affect others.

IMO, the commentator is a wee bit disoriented. Libertarians do not start with the premise that life is fair. Rather that the belief that life where there is no responsibility can never be fair.

Nobody living can atone for the abomination of slavery. If someone believes that they are responsible for circumstances they were not a party to ... they are welcome to do so. The same can be said for hereditary wealth. Ted Kennedy would be a better man IMO if he had ever in his adult life had been forced by necessity to find gainful employment. That does not invalidate the option of property ownership as a potentially liberating aspect of life.

Property ownership as an individual right provides a mechanism for economic success. Without it all societal advancement by an individual is based on what Ayn Rand referred to as "the aristocracy or the pull" [as opposed to the "aristocracy of money"]. Personally I find almost all congress critters and most state legislators to be somewhere between misguided and despicable. If you believe that the general welfare is promoted by ceding power to that bunch [or maybe a shadowy bunch pulling their strings if you are inclined toward conspiracies] or a liberating messiah of a dictator ... good luck ... but to the extent feasible, count me out.

( Do you think anyone there reads this site? )

Back in 2004 my wife had a website named changetheregime.org selling bumper stickers, the lead saying "Regime Change Begins at Home". It got a daily hit from Justice.gov. Betcha TOD gets 25 intimidation hits and 2500 hits from home accounts of the same beaurocrats.

I bet Roscoe Bartlett's office peeks in here now and then.

Maybe the benefactors they are really trying to pay off are our Chinese (and Japanese, and Indian, etc.) overlords.

That part of your question has been bugging me all day long. Even though these countries have huge cash reserves, they nevertheless have their own problems. If this thing gets really bad, they may need all their available cash just to take care of their own domestic problems. So why would they continue to lend money to us?

And what makes it all that more puzzling is something Brad Setser said the other day:

One irony of the past year is that the US was borrowing far more from China that it was buying from China. Campaign rhetoric that the US was paying for Saudi oil with funds borrowed from China isn’t far off – though it leaves out the fact that the US also borrows from Saudi Arabia to pay for Venezuelan, Mexican and Nigerian oil.


Setser also said that the deficits to the U.S. current account in 2005, 2006 and 2007 were largely offset by investments these countries made directly in U.S. banks. I suppose these investments could have taken two forms:

1) By buying U.S. banking products, such as MBSs, CDOs, etc.

2) By loaning U.S. banks money

Now if the U.S. government is injecting money into U.S. banks in the form of equity, could the U.S. banks not then use that money to pay back the loans the Chinese government made to the banks back in 2005, 2006 and 2007? The Chinese government could then loan the money back to the U.S. government, who then infuses it back into the banks, who then pay off more debt to the Chinese. Rinse and repeat.

The net result is that the Chinese swap debt that was guaranteed by U.S. banks for debt guaranteed by the U.S. government. Or, as Setser puts it, "what looked to be private lending turned out to be public spending."

If the Chinese were to stop loaning us money and the U.S. was put on a cash and carry basis, this would create huge hardship for the country. Could it be that our government is jumping through all these hoops in an effort to try to keep our lines of credit open from China and others?

But when we want to borrow money for something where the Chinese aren't improving their financial posture, like a stimulus package, will they go for it?

It's a disturbing question, and in his talk yesterday Roubini also raised the spectre of these countries cutting us off.

Of course this still doesn't answer the question as to why the U.S. taxpayers got such a bad deal for saving these banks.

Even though these countries have huge cash reserves, they nevertheless have their own problems. If this thing gets really bad, they may need all their available cash just to take care of their own domestic problems. So why would they continue to lend money to us?

There's Nate's theory: any attempt to cut us off will result in war.

Of course this still doesn't answer the question as to why the U.S. taxpayers got such a bad deal for saving these banks.

My theory is that Paulson didn't want Congress meddling with his distribution plans. Trying to explain to the average man on the street why we were using taxpayers' money to make good the losses of China, Japan, etc., just wouldn't go over well. And he might find himself in that position, if we had a Swedish-style bailout.

Yves just put up a post featuring this Reuters article:

U.S. has plundered world wealth with dlr -China paper

"The grim reality has led people, amidst the panic, to realise that the United States has used the U.S. dollar's hegemony to plunder the world's wealth," said the commentator, Shi Jianxun, a professor at Shanghai's Tongji University.



Like I said...I think they knew it wouldn't work for long. They're just hoping to keep it all from going splat! before the election.

There was one article - I think it was in the NY Times - that said China had expressed their displeasure, and that influenced at least the timing of Paulson's request for the big bailout. Otherwise, they may have tried to wait until after the election.

I wonder if that's what's going on too. If what we are seeing is all the real players holding it together for the election to try to get McCain elected. What happens when Obama gets elected and they stop trying to hold it together so much? That is one scary thought. If what we've seen this fall... the financial carnage, the panic...is occurring with the players trying their best to hold it all together, what the hell is everything going to look like come New Year's Eve this year? Obama has been elected. The Republicans have given up. Bernanke and Paulson stop trying to inject liquidity. The holiday retail season is a total bust.

It's going to be a different kind of New Year's Eve party this year.

I don't think they really care that much about whether McCain or Obama wins. Both the Democrats and the Republicans voted for the bailout...the Democrats more than the Republicans, who led the revolt that defeated the bill the first time. Obama was reportedly so angry at McCain for not supporting the bailout at first that he yelled at him in that closed-door meeting.

Leanan, the reign of the banksters dates back to 1913. The cumulative abuses have been piling up for more than the time required for the youngest living people at the time of an event to have come of age and by an large died off removing the event from living history. [The term for this period escapes me at the moment.] The fact that the slope of line describing a descent into an unsustainable posture is increasing merely means that the point at which the entire enchilada becomes unsustainable becomes more temporally proximate.

With that sort of a historical context, a month or so makes no difference. Of late, the Japanese and IMO to a lesser extent the Chinese have been longer term oriented. How deeply do the Chinese car about the American election cycle. My hunch is very little.

"Money" that serves only one of its three acknowledged longstanding functions is on life at best. [The U.S. dollar is neither a store of value nor a measure of value beyond the current moment -- it still is a medium of exchange ... but for how much longer?] The end game visualized by the Chinese? I really don't know, but I doubt the welfare of the American middle class has anything bearing in their thought processes.

How deeply do the Chinese car about the American election cycle. My hunch is very little.


The Chinese turned the screws on us when they did, not because they give a rat's rear who wins the election, but because they were in danger of losing their investment. They demanded that something be done immediately - not because they were looking at the election, but because they were looking at their money circling the drain.

I'm with you Leanan...just broke my rule and fixed a second cup of expresso. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see if the suspension really does much to stem the stampede. Given how volatile the market has been acting it's hard to imagine it doing much good. Good thing for Greenspan he already gave his testimony to Congress. He might not have made it out with all his old wrinkled skin if he were there this afternoon. I don't think his "I was just partially wrong" defense would stand up very well today...not that it did all that well yesterday.

Suddenly being almost all in cash earning less than 2% looks really good at the moment. It sounds like it going to be a truly depressing weekend for 100’s of million folks around the globe.

There's still a lot of 'economical with the truth' information - today the BBC said that the Nikkei was down below levels last seen 5 years ago, this is true, but it is also below levels last seen in 1982, 26 years ago!

Watch and learn Boomers - when you want to raise any money from your pension plan investments there has to be more money going into the market than coming out or your long term investment returns will end up like those in Japan - the inescapable demographic result of too many pensioners and too few saving workers.

Yeah, that pesky supply-demand problem applied to stocks. Too many suppliers (retirees) and to few demanders (young workers) and the price goes down in the long term.

Thanks for the insight. I'm 30 and, based on this observation, I will be exiting the stock market.

It's been one of my favorite things to try to explain to people: no matter how you fund social security or, in fact, any retirement plan, private or public, it is and must be a pay as you go system. Investing in the stock market and then living off the earnings still leaves you dependent on all the people still working to create the wealth and value that you need to buy to live (ie food, clothing, shelter, etc). Money and price are not real things, not absolute things, and adjust their value to current conditions. So, whether you take the worker's money now and use it now to pay for stuff for retired people, or whether you saved your own money in the past and use it now to pay for (take) what the workers produce now - you are still dependent on a pay-as-you-go dynamic, as your saved money is only worth as much as inflation allows it to be worth.

And if there aren't enough workers to support you, then no amount of money saved or money taxed will let you buy their food before they eat it themselves.

With news like this, taking my morning Joe in Irish style.
Happy times are here again.

This morning I'm placing my order for freeze-dried food that I will have to live off of after the grocery store shelves go bare! (Hopefully kidding on the bare shelves, but I am ordering food right after posting this.)

I'm waiting on a Chest Freezer delivery this morning.. we've got 20 chickens, and a summer's worth of berries, tomatoes etc.. to pack in there..

Last month my girlfriend taught me to shoot and this past weekend we went elk hunting and got one...then she taught me to gut, skin, and butcher. I'm glad I met her.

So ... cooking is next ? If so, bon appetit !

I'm pretty sure I've got some space left..

Congrats on a good hunt!


Thanks....Up this weekend is final trimming of the meat and making burgers and steaks. Then into the deep freeze. It was an exciting and satisfying experience. Never thought I would like shooting and hunting...it certainly gives one self-confidence. Peak oil and the collapse of global ponzi couldn't have been further from my mind when sitting in the stand listening to the silence and watching the sun rise.

Two days ago I finally got my corn sheller going (manual) and shelled my open pollen yellow corn. Stored two five gal buckets full in the barn. Still got the white corn to go but now I feel much better.

I am going to be going full wood heat this winter. Have 4 big red oaks to saw up and haul and put under tarps. Found all my seed packets and stored them away. Putting my potatoes in a makeshift root cellar.

Lead is becoming harder to find so I picked up 200 lbs at the last auction.

All things I fear will soon becoming more scarce. This is the time to be storing up.


Airdale writes: "Lead is becoming harder to find so I picked up 200 lbs at the last auction." Some lead can be gotten for free from service stations and tire stores. Anywhere they balance tires you may be able to get old wheel weights for free.

Mhhh I understand that wheel weights have a lot of antimony making it harder than need be. Also that lead is filthy and has lots of grit in it.

That said some of what I bid in was wheel weights but I also got a lot of ingots as well as another melting pot and ladle. I already had purchased a lot of lead before this.

SO this winter I will try some casting.

Before anybody says...poison fumes!!..I understand it only 'gases out' at way beyond melting temps. I will research it throughtly before hand though.

IMO lead will become scarce..already is on it way. Lead shot is over $1 per lb. already. I have been getting it for about $.10 / lb.

I have never dabbled in lead but in the future ammo for hunting may be hard to find, so for my shotgun I have always reloaded my shells when I had time. Easy to do and works good for turkey,geese and ducks plus squirrel. Lots and lots of turkeys around here. They are very profilic. Sometimes I see flocks of over 50 birds..once I had to stop and wait on all of them to cross the road.

Wild turkey breast is very good. I will save the possums for BrianT.


The other day I mentioned that the lead standard would be better than the gold standard. First you can use it in guns. It is also used in batteries. Lead coins would be bigger than gold coins and therefore more useful for small purchases.

BTW Do you know how to make black powder and how to get the ingredients?

Historically, many of the ingredients come from fertilizers: just another reason to hug your bag of NPK today.

Black powder is a granular mixture of:

a nitrate—typically potassium nitrate (KNO3)—which supplies oxygen for the reaction;

charcoal, which provides fuel for the reaction in the form of carbon (C);

sulfur (S), which, while also a fuel, lowers the temperature of ignition and increases the speed of combustion.

Potassium nitrate is the most important ingredient in terms of both bulk and function because the combustion process releases oxygen from the potassium nitrate, promoting the rapid burning of the other ingredients.[4]

Old car batteries?

( I do not know the practicality of this, but I will run this idea up the flagpole to see what comments I might get from those more in the know...)

I hope you have lots of insulation in your house. If so, a couple of cords of wood should do you well, as long as it is dry. Oak is said to require quite a bit of time to dry out.

I've been trying to cut up an oak that blew over in my neighbor's yard last Winter and have sawed some of it into stove length. I've just purchased a wood splitter, after trying to do the splitting maul/wedge routine on the green wood. I'm not a big strong guy, so the maul would simply bounce back from the cut sections last summer. It's a bit dryer now and the wood splitter makes short work of it. Although I haven't installed the pipe for my wood stove yet, I expect that by next year I will have lots of dry wood to supplement my solar heating system. And, my neighbors will be able to use the splitter a couple of days in Fall too, which adds to my efforts to maintain neighborhood goodwill.

E. Swanson

The thing about oak,in my experience , is that if you block it out(crosscut segments stove length) properly with good square ends and at the right time take a double-bit axe to it that it splits very very easily. Easier than hoisting it to a splitter.

I hit it just right and can split out 7 or 8 stovewood sized pieces without even knocking the block over. Sometimes you might need to prop it up in an old tire.

All European stok markets are down 7-9 % so far, with 1.5 hours of trading left.

I guess the Big Boyz work the weekend over. Again.

Looks like we will wake up in another world next Monday. Again.

Time to get more beans, rice and cans of tuna and peeled tomatoes. And booze. I'm going to pour me a fine French brandy now.

No crash at 11:49 AM EST. There is the usual volatility though.

I know I've been away for awhile, but I find all the hand-wringing and bickering in this thread rather amusing, but also dumbfounding.

Of any public discussion board I would expect that this group would have reached the understanding that it is not the personalities involved in governance that will make change. A little more cynicism about the veneer of democracy in the U.S. would do wonders. You do not "rise" to the level of nominee for president of one of the two major parties without being completely a part of the underlying system that built those parties.

As for the cliff..., yes, it will be painful, but it will surely move us forward toward where we need to be far better than any mere election.

Obama fought tooth and nail with the backing of a lot of people power to secure the D nomination which was, remember, Clinton's for the taking. I think that Clinton and McCain are two sides of one coin, but the Obama operation is something different. Organizing large numbers of people to accomplish something positive that skeptics said could not happen. Doing it over and over again. That's how people will make it through challenging times.

You sound like a true believer - more power to you!

Your post made me shudder because it made me realize again just how close she was to getting the nomination then becoming President. The two we are faced with are bad enough, but...

I received the "post turtle" email from a friend of mine in regard to Palin. Absolutely true in regard to Palin but just as true in regard to Obama. We know amazingly little about the man.

If you assess the man based on campaign rhetoric rather than his limited voting record, or his occasional gaffe on the record when he thought otherwise he might he pass fas a moderate or someone who will be a uniter. Based on everything I have seen, it just ain't so.

Maybe America needs a big "C" socialist with a veto proof band of big "D" socialists in the congress. We are about to find out. Time will tell.

I've been receiving that email about one candidate or the other since I opened my first email account (15 years ago or so?)

I think some folks have taken the idea to a much better angle, with the likes of Jon Stewart, SNL, and web sites like http://www.toostupidtobepresident.com/ and http://www.whitehouse.org/


Sad but true.

The bankers and financiers, buoyed by the high priests of neoliberalism, libertarianism, neoconservatism and economic objectivism, have pulled off a coup.

Don't believe it? Take a look at this:

Wall Street's bonus binge
CNN's Brian Todd reports on Wall Street's top banks paying $70-billion in bonuses despite getting a government bailout.


These people live in a parrallel universe, completely disconnected from this world. And once the bankers and their ideological enablers get in control of a nation, history has shown time and time again that there is no reprieve.

Granted that you are the clearing house of the world, [but] are you entirely beyond anxiety as to the performance of your great position?...Banking is not the creator of our prosperity, but is the creation of it. It is not the cause of our wealth, but it is the consequence of our wealth.

Joseph Chamberlain, British colonial secretary, statement to bankers in 1904

Seems traders expect to hit an initial half-hour trading halt on the Dow quite quickly this morning from watching Bloomberg. A drop of 1,100 points will trigger the initial suspension. I'm sure you can bet on the timing somewhere...

Or not. As of around noon, it looks more like a run-of-the-mill bad day (at least run-of-the-mill for the last month) than a big one day collapse.

Yen Rises to 13-Year High Versus Dollar as Carry Trade Unwinds

(Bloomberg) -- The yen climbed to a 13-year high against the dollar as the plunge in U.S. stock-index futures reached allowed limits, encouraging investors to dump higher- yielding assets funded by low-cost loans in Japan.

Japan's currency surged to the strongest in six years against the euro, posting its biggest gain ever, as the prospect of a deepening global recession prompted the unwinding of carry trades. The pound fell below $1.53 in its biggest drop in at least 37 years after the U.K. economy shrank more than forecast in the third quarter, bringing it to the brink of recession.

``I've never seen this before in terms of global financial market carnage,'' said Alan Ruskin, head of international currency strategy in North America at RBS Greenwich Capital Markets Inc. in Greenwich, Connecticut. ``Those who haven't got out of the yen carry trade will have to watch it collapse.''

US Home Sales Rise 5.5%, Signaling a Possible Bottom


I think you're getting ahead of the market, TAD.


Rubbish. Look at this graph and compare September sales from this year to September sales from last year. From that would you say that September 2008 was unusually good or September 2007 was unusually bad?

You need to look at the data from the perspective of the National Association of Realtors. More sales mean more commissions. However, they need to do a bit more math. Volume is up 5.5%, but prices are down 9%. Net result is 4% less in total sales dollars, and at least that much less in commissions. But the NAR is all about cheering buyers on as opposed to realtors.

Uh, higher volume with lower prices signals seller capitulation, doesn't it? If a seller can wait no longer, or he believes the market is only getting worse, he will sell for whatever he can get today, and drive volumes up and values down.

Up volume AND up prices marks a rally....even flat prices might indicate a bottom....dropping prices means the churn continues. How much further til CA houses are 3x wages? Another 30-50%?

Interesting- Hard for your average idiot 16-28 year old to disseminate. If you know anyone aged 16-28 who is utterly clueless about energy in the US please forward this blog: http://teslaverde.blogspot.com/

It won't completely turn them off (ok, it still might)- and over the next year I'm going to teach them nearly everything the fine folks here at the oildrum and in every book I've read have taught me.


Muchas Nachos!

The economic news is like a bad movie wherein corrupt so-called capitalists take down the whole economy while proclaiming how great they are and how great the unregulated free market is.

What is more disturbing to me is this: these same folks have divorced our human economy ("Household") from the environmental economy. The Environmental Economy is the real one, and the devastation we have wrought in this real economy will dwarf the massive implosion of our corrupt crony corporatist economy.

We cannot simply limit today's environmental devastation when we think "Ooops! That looks pretty bad! Let's just put a limit on the environmental devastation until trading resumes later today..."

The Big Bad News is eclipsing the Bigger, Badder News.

Have a nice day, though! The sun is coming up here where I live. It is misty outside. I will be changing out storm screens, washing windows, and putting up storm windows in a big house for a lawyer I know. Pulling a pretty huge branch off of their garage roof and cutting that up, too. The people who pay me to work in their homes all look pretty grim when I talk with them about the market, politics, and yes, even when we talk about the environment.

Interestingly, the environment seems like too much to handle for many people right now. It is like too big of a problem to consider on top of watching a lifetime of retirement planning get turned to shambles.

My retirement plan is to work as long as I can and get by on as little as possible. I do not expect Social Security, 401k, or any government medical insurance like Medicare or Medicaid. When I am unable to find food or medicine that I need, I will die. It really is that simple.

Most of us my age -- around 50 -- will likely not see any kind of retirement investments pan out. One can even horde gold, silver, guns, ammo, alcohol, toilet paper -- whatever.

Eventually these stashes will run out or be rendered meaningless by the chaos in the environment, let alone by the violence we people will initiate amoung ourselves at multiple levels.

I guess we plan as best we can, and then we change plans when our world radically alters around us. It's what we do!

Couldn't find a web picture of Reagan statue coming down. So this will have to do.
Voodoo economics meets its day of wreck'nin'

Begger,I am a structural steel building inspector,for money,now..I am pretty much working on jobs that consist of stuff that was started 2 years ago.When this work is done I see myself going down to maybe 20 hrs a week,inspecting small re-modeling jobs ect.,in a much smaller company....providing I make it thru the layoffs.I have started developing my "new job" myself...small-scale ag...chickens,rabbits,nearly 200 fruit trees,kiwi fruit

Yesterday I had a long discussion with my doctor[he is a MD who leans toward preventive medicine],about my plan of growing medicinal herbs...the place where medicine started.He was very attentive,as he can forsee a time when his supply lines are not there..[hes a very sharp guy].In my heart of hearts ,I am hoping this kind of re-structuring is going on in many more places...

Our society is going thru a phase change.It will hurt.We will all get to see the dark side of bone crushing poverty ,soon

But we can hope to be coming out on the other side poorer,but wiser

I am hoping the trials of the Wallstreet types start soon.Those who like to refer to them selves as the "Masters of the Universe"..should be happy we are civilized now,and have retired "Madam Guillotine"...

I expect "Investigations"into the cause of the current emergency will be the most highly rated tv on the plant.The rest of the world is close to freezing us out of everything...we,and our"investment opportunities" are the cause of their problems.I think they will want some serious house cleaning before we are seen as anything besides a deadbeat..

I find it highly ironic that Islam, which has been painted with the wide brush of "Global Terrorist Threat", whose banking rules prohibit usury, gambling, etc. is the one economic/ financial arena to be least affected.

Whereas the US seems to be the main culprit in creating Massive Global Economic Meltdown that will literally kill millions.


Usury is proscribed in the jewish and christian religion as well, but it seems they had some more centuries time than islam to get used to all kinds of fine excuses.
In fact there are (were?) a few western banks offering fancy financial products specific to muslim customers.

I grew up in Michigan. There was and probably still is a financial product there called a "land contract" which meets the requirements of Islamic (and original Christian) law. The bank equivalent buys the land, and after a specific number of payments of a specific amount are made the title is transferred to the buyer.

Guess what. This actually is worse than a (usurious) mortgage. If you can't meet the payments, you is SOL. With a mortgage, you get forclosed on, and if the property is worth the mortgage you get any extra back. With the land contract, you get nothing even if you're only short by $1.98 on 100 grand.

Example. I own a house worth $100k with a $50k mortgage. I get fired and can't pay. The bank forecloses, and the house sells for $75k at auction. The bank gets $50k and I get $25k. Under the Islamic/land contract terms, the bank sells the land for $75k and pockets the whole thing.

Shades of gray lads, shades of gray.

It could be no worse than renting. Depends on how it's set up. Who pays the property taxes and insurance, who is responsible if repairs need to be made, etc. Renting may be throwing your money away, but it doesn't destroy your wealth like a mortgage gone bad can.

I was reading in Kunstler's "Long Emergency" that oil money from arab sources was invested in the US to the tune of about $1 trillion.(going on memory here) If this is the case - in what were they investing? I have read nothing about upset in arab finance other that what is caused by low oil prices. I wonder why, if indeed they had invested so much in the US?

I also believe Kunstler wrote that arab oil dollars were heavily invested in europe - the same question then applies. Where did they put all that money and not get hurt?

I don't know enough about the 'markets' to even hazard a guess.


Where did they put all that money and not get hurt?

Kuweit f.e. holds 7,6 percent shares of automaker Daimler, as well as 6 percent shares of Citigroup.

this looks like a cut that nobody likes. the drop in oil price can be explained because traders were expecting a bigger cut, i suppose.

and the stock markets ? they must have expected a smaller cut.

or did something happen in the last 13 hrs outside opec that would explain this ?

Deleveraging panic.

going from 40:1 to 10:1. For starters.

DJIA marks:

7400. 6400. 5400. 4800. 3500.

AgLand will be sold soon. For whatever.

The fake paper did well at something around 8 cents or so on the dollar. I wonder if much of the oil price drop has to do with its real value; perhaps it's being sold because it's one of the few items of real value that can be sold. More liquid than ag land and the same parties probably don't hold the land. Given the vast selloffs of the winddown, oil is holding up rather well.

cfm in Gray, ME

deleveraging panic happened within the last 13 hrs ?

Dow down 4%, yawn

Here is another example of the ways that Wall St. got its tentacles into unexpected places in the economy.

Credit Crisis May Force Metro to Pay Millions

Metro and 30 other transit agencies across the country may have to pay billions of dollars to large banks as years-old financing deals unravel, potentially hurting service for millions of bus and train riders, transit officials said yesterday.

Profit-making businesses are allowed to shelter income from taxes based on the declining value -- or depreciation -- of such equipment as rail cars. But transit agencies don't pay federal taxes, so they sold their rail cars and other equipment to banks, allowing the banks to shelter income while "their" rail cars depreciated. Then the transit agencies leased the cars back from the banks at a discount that effectively split the value of the tax break with the bank. Metro said it used the money for capital improvements, including buying rail cars.

Even from just your quote, those transit agencies invited the tentacles in, because they wanted to provide more of what underlies this whole mess: Something For Nothing. Oh, well. Perish the thought that any red-blooded American should pay for what he or she consumes, be it a subway ride or a 5000 sq. ft. cardboard palace, rather than simply seize it from that prize chump, the general taxpayer.

"Perish the thought that any red-blooded American should pay for what he or she consumes, be it a subway ride or a 5000 sq. ft. cardboard palace, rather than simply seize it from that prize chump, the general taxpayer."

Like the highway system, for instance.

I'm a firm believer that public services should be funded by taxpayer capital, but operations should be user-supported. But public transit always faces a non-level playing field.

Hold on to your hats everyone! It is gonna be an interesting day! I work an over night job where I get to sit in front of the internet all night. Lucky me! I got to read bloomberg all night and watch the asian and euro markets get pummeled. It feels like watching a tidal wave or hurricane hit island after island knowing it will make land fall on my house. Maybe it will be safe if I draw the curtains, get a pint of Ben & Jerrys and crawl under the covers.

One thing I am curious about. Have we restarted filling the SPR yet? If not then why not? Just another reason our lawmakers should stop listening to the sheeple when they cry about high energy prices. We need to be raising taxes on fuel while funneling supplies to the reserve until it is topped off. Oh well.

I suppose the good news is that we put off a global geologic peaking of oil supplies by another 3-5 years.

Good luck and God's speed to you all.

Brothers share wife to secure family land

They practice what is known as fraternal polyandry -- where the brothers of one family marry the same woman. Why? Tradition and economics.

Life is hard here. The village is precariously perched on the side of a very steep hill about 6,000ft up. Most of the villagers survive off tiny plots of cropland.

In this difficult terrain there isn't enough land to go around. So, instead of finding separate wives and splitting up their inherited property, the brothers marry the same woman and keep their land together.

Anthropologists believe that one reason for this pattern is to limit population growth.

sounds like the plot of "east of eden".

Collapse now. The Greatest Event in your life begins now.

Good Luck.


Once one understands the three simple energy principles outlined in this paper, then one understands that the only way our society could be actually be "sustainable", would be to continuously reduce our aggregate energy footprint. Put differently, energy laws will force us to continuously reduce our aggregate footprint whether we choose to or not.

Once one understands human nature as outlined in this paper, then one also understands that continued social stability requires us to continuously INCREASE energy use, which we now know is impossible! It should not come as a surprise that we have been pre-programmed to overshoot and crash just like other animals http://www.dieoff.org/page80.htm .

There are absolutely no humane solutions available to the ruling elite because it is impossible to solve the problem of human corruption (i.e., the genetic pre-program to violate norms and seek advantage). Unfortunately, the best the poor can hope for is a painless death.

Since human nature is so terribly difficult to understand (I needed about five years), I am willing to participate in a moderated discussion group to explain the contents of this paper -- providing enough people are interested -- and someone volunteers to do the moderating. There will be no "political" discussions on the list. Go somewhere else if you want to talk politics.

It will be a few weeks before I can get the list started. Send a note to me at j@qmail.com if you are interested. Be sure the word "farewell" is in the title of your email so I won't delete it as spam. (I use a "white list" spam filter.)

Farewell and good luck,

"Logan's Run". 1970's movie where people lived until 18 years old, then zap.

Actually it was 30

It was 30 in the movie, because they couldn't find enough young actors.

In the books, it was 21. The crystal on your palm changed color every seven years, until you turned 21, and it started blinking, and it was time to check out.

The crystal on your palm changed color every seven years, until you turned 21, and it started blinking, and it was time to check out.

Nowadays they send you to Iraq. (Hey, a generation ago it was Vietnam) The powers that be want to get *some* value from your life... If your death can secure more precious oil, great (or, in the case of Vietnam, help defeat communism, same thing)

And, if they don't take your life, they'll take your sanity...

Iraq vets and post-traumatic stress: No easy answers

"There started to be a lot of murders in Sadr City. I was a 19-year-old kid taking pictures of mutilated men, women and boys and little girls. Those are the type of images that never really go away," he recalled....

...Violence and physical fights became a regular part of going out with friends.

He remembers choking someone into unconsciousness at a party. "Without saying a word, without warning, I wrapped my arms around this kid's neck and I choked him until he stopped breathing....

"I was covered in my blood and his from rolling around in broken glass as I was strangling him. And I mean that's not who I was before I deployed." Goldsmith's personal life was spinning out of control.

And why should we believe that you have been gifted with the knowledge of what "human nature" actually is? (took you five years? wow, has taken the rest of humanity since the dawn of humanity and we still haven't figured it out.)

(Putting aside the question of whether or not there really is any such thing as "human nature.")

Jay Hanson has been working on a series of videos that explain the human crisis we are facing. Go to www.warsocialism.com and click on any of the links at the top of the page.

Crash and burn Baby??

I've said it before and I'll say it again--
'Firing squads'.



Can anyone tell me what the point is of cutting the interest rate further? The US barely has any rate left after previous cuts and as far as any interbank lending is concerned surely a base rate cut make lending LESS likely (after all what is the point for such small reward).

If the various banks are going to ignore the cut to sustain margin, as they seem to be doing, then all a rate cut seem to do is depress the currency and since no company can grow in this environment, make imports more expensive.

Surely the smart move would be to raise rates and use other tools to attempt to manage the economy, maybe some central energy efficiency implementation (cf new deal)?

The US must raise interest rates immediately.

Using a 0% rate to get unlimited money will only get us WWIII.

Right now the US Government is doing everything to hold the market up.
The worst possible thing it could do.

CNBC's Mary just said from the floor that traders are frustrated
that they can't trade. what more proof is necessary.

I'm not sure WWIII can be avoided at this point. Roubini's latest comments and all.

Since WWIII means nuclear, then we must avoid it.

Complete de centralization of the US. Russia, China, India
et al taking over their spheres of influence.

Eastern Europe must be stabilized.

Ever read the novel 1984?

The world is controlled by three functionally similar totalitarian super-states engaged in perpetual war with each other:

Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc or English Socialism) comprises Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Polynesia, Southern Africa, and the Americas.
Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism) comprises continental Europe and northern Asia.
Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, usually rendered as "Death worship") comprises China, Japan, Korea, and Northern India.


Yes I've read the book, can't stop buying duplicate copies of 1984 or The Catcher in the Rye. People have remarked to me about my strange obsession. I always reply....

"I would rather you tell me the books are true and don't follow reality, than tell me, the books are fiction and fit reality with perfection."

It was only a few years ago that OPEC was managing oil production to keep prices in the range of $20 to $30 a barrel.

I would argue that this is OPEC's most useful role as we face declines of oil production. OPEC should be saying clearly what it expects to be able to produce in that price band into the future and consumers should plan acordingly to reduce consumption.

As the lead consumer, the US can be persuasive that this should be OPEC's role by cutting consumption by 20% wrt. peak consumption in 2009. We have a stand-by rationing plan that could be put into effect by executive order. It is time to make lemonade: low oil prices for our transition off of oil!


Just a quick update on my quest to reduce our fuel oil consumption...

Our tank was filled earlier this morning and in the 178 days since our last top up, we used a total of 152.2 litres (40.2 U.S. gallons) for an average of 0.86 litres per day. That's down from an average of 1.07/lpd over roughly the same time period last year, but the results are not quite as good as I had hoped. About a month and a half after our previous fill, we installed a small, 120-volt/1.5 kW water heater to pre-heat the feed supply to our DHW tank, and my expectation at the time was that this would eliminate most, if not all, of our boiler demand during the summer months. That hasn't been quite the case largely due to higher than expected standby losses; in addition, the electric water heater was inadvertently left unplugged for about a week when the outlet was used for other purposes (*** head smack ***). Adjusting for the delay in getting the electric tank in place and the temporary loss of service, it appears our baseline consumption is about 0.5/lpd (< 50 gallons/year) with respect to our DHW needs. Our backup space heating requirements perhaps add another 150 litres to the mix, depending upon the severity of the winter.

In terms of its economic performance, it appears the electric water heater adds about 2.5 kWh to our daily consumption (altogether, with limited use of the heat pump, we're currently averaging between 18 and 20 kWh/day). Our net dollar savings, given the relative spread in the cost of these two fuels, is about $200.00 a year.


I live in a building in Manhattan with 54 units (cube shaped, 7 floors,8 units per floor. Built in 1930). Last January the building used 6000 gallons of oil (3 2000 gal. deliveries,1 every 10 days). Not a misprint. This is actually not that unusual ,I am told by the oil guys I chat with.


Hi Matt,

Six thousand gallons divided over fifty-four units works out to be a little more than 110 gallons per suite, per year; unless you meant to include an extra zero, that doesn't seem unreasonable. Assuming your DHW is heated by oil, it would be interesting to determine what percentage of overall usage is hot water related. Low-flow showerheads and front load washers (if there's a central laundry room) could presumably put a pretty big dent in that demand.

For larger apartment buildings and condominium complexes with both high hot water consumption and a/c requirements, a commercial heat pump water heater could be another good option. If you're air conditioning common areas six to ten months of the year, why not generate "free" hot water in the process?

See: http://www.energy.wsu.edu/documents/engineering/comm_water_htrs.pdf

Edit: Sorry, I re-read your message and see that was 6,000 gallons for the month of January alone. OK, I think you have a serious problem on your hands. Depending upon the efficiency of your boiler, that's roughly 6,000 to 6,500 kWh of heat demand per day.


We're doing nuclear power this past week in my class. I thought I'd post some stuff we've been looking at:

EPA issues radiation exposure rules for Yucca dump
September 30, 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) — No one knows what the Earth will be like in a million years. But a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada must be designed to ensure that people living near it then are exposed to no more than 100 millirems of radiation annually — equivalent to about a half-dozen X-rays.

And over the next 10,000 years, radiation exposure to the waste dump's neighbors may be no more than 15 millirems a year, which is about what people get from an ordinary X-ray. People receive about 350 millirems a year of radiation on average from all background sources.

For those who aren't following whats going on at Yucca, in 2004 DOE applied to the EPA for a permit for Yucca and it was granted. They were then sued successfully because the court ruled that the then 10,000 year rule for safe radiation limits were not sufficient because it didn't correspond to the peak radiation coming from the site, somewhere in the 100,000 to 300,000 year range. The court ruled that one million years was appropriate, and the NRC declined to appeal the ruling.

So, the next thing that needed to happen is that EPA needed to come up with a safety guideline for acceptable radiation for one million years. They just did that just a few weeks ago, that's what the above article is. Now DOE needs to see if they can assure that the site will meet these new guidelines and reapply for a permit and (probably) get sued again.

Corresponding to this, the weather channel for some reason has a nice summary of the two presidential candidate's energy positions:

McCain and Obama's Energy Proposals

Republican John McCain:

–Favors building 45 nuclear power reactors by 2030. Proposes no federal spending to help build the plants, but use of government loan guarantees in existing law. Calls for opening Yucca Mountain for reactor waste and for reviving nuclear waste reprocessing, which was ended because of nuclear proliferation concerns. Argues nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases, will help deal with climate change.

For copyright reasons I'm only posting the nuclear part, but it's interesting that we're going to build 45 new reactors according to McCain when we don't currently have a waste repository for the one's we've got.

We have 121 reactors in this country producing 20 tons of high level waste a year. Over their 30 year lifespans they'll generate ~73k tons of waste, of which 58k is already generated. There's some other high level waste that needs to be stored in Yucca too, so IIRC the number is something like 135k tons total. Yucca will only hold 77k, so it's already full and it's not even built yet.

There's nothing listed about nuclear for Obama, but I'm guessing unless he's going to take a stand and try and stop nuclear power, the plans currently in review will go ahead (~9 new power generating facilities under review, about ~16 in some stage of planning, some of which have been there since three mile island happened). I'm also guessing that new plants will come on-line under Obama as well, but he won't be as vocal about it. But that's just my speculation....

The elephant in the room is the financing for these plants. Right now people are starting to have trouble getting even wind turbines financed. A nuclear plant? Fuggetaboutit.

Interesting point. I was just thinking about the lifespan of these plants. I said above 30 year lifespan, but three mile island was in 1979, 29 years ago, and every plant we have was built before that. They must be using these plants longer than that, but at some point you have to decommission the old ones which has a cost attached to it too, but hopefully the operators of these plants have a fund for that.

In fact, the effects of the market on decommissioning funds is pretty bad. http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/10/10/financial-fallout-m...

Since a lot of this money will be needed soon, it really should not have been in the market at all. This is just the same principle as switching from growth funds to annuities as retirement approaches.

Of course, some companies like Entergy don't even bother to contribute to the fund. But they are clowns. Look at their refueling procedure: http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=750994


In light of recent market events, substitute without reservation "tax payer" for finance. Finance is being read the last rites.

The government seems to have no problem pulling a trillion dollars out of the air pretty darn quick to help Wall St...

Also, this is where I think mininukes might have a role to play: Toshiba 4s, or Hyperion Power Generation concepts of inherently safe, small (<100MWt) units that run for multiple years on a single factory fuel load. When exhausted, the entire unit is sent back to the factor for refurbish / refuelling. These designs are factory manufactured and truck/train/ship transportable and inexpensive due to assembly line production and standardization. Small modular plants might have a niche given a poor financing environment for mega-projects. Small size and high energy output with intrinsic safety means they could be used for many purposes: process heat, hydrogen production, electriciy production, district heating, etc.

Small nukes are pretty interesting. I can see potential for using them in combination with CSP plants. They could use the same steam cycle with thermal storage so the plant could support base-load and load following abilities.

Also the possibility of using small nuclear reactors to quickly retrofit existing coal power stations is interesting. http://www.coal2nuclear.com/

As someone here said a while ago the best thing to do is electrify transport, switch to heat pumps and generate as much non fossil electricity as possible. Only use fossil fuels in CHP applications.

Paying for it all is the problem.....

Obama has major support from the nuclear power industry. They find him malleable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqhISssMxnY

If you parse his rhetoric, you'll see he is promising to ram through Yucca Mountain over Harry Reid's objections.


Talking about permanent disposal of spent fuel is nuts. Its a boondoggle.

Spent nuclear fuel is a RESOURCE. There is enough energy available in all spent fuel in storage and depleted U stockpiles to power the USA for centuries.

JUST LET THAT FACT SINK IN... and think about what we are ignoring.

Fission products would be the only waste product from a complete fuel burn. Besides being 1% in volume per unit energy delivered, they also have a much shorter half life so the waste is harmless after a few centuries. No waste disposal problem, and effectively no resource limits either when you can get up to a 100-fold boost in energy delivered per pound of U. Our supposed 100 year Uranium resource limit would be pushed out to 10,000 years.

Start reprocessing it and get busy building Gen IV reactors, such as the IFR (Clinton killed it because "it wasn't needed", supposedly, but that's another story, even after the reactor proved itself in a "Chernobyl" test to prove intrinsic safety in event of complete coolant failure). Then over the coming decades, our spent fuel disposal questions will become moot.

The core of our long-term energy future lies with advanced nuclear power. The sooner we get on with it the better.

[Before flaming away, please google up "integral fast reactor" and do some reading first... Thanks!]

We will be reprocessing our spent fuel like the Japanese, for several reasons:

1) Storage. As you mentioned above, there will be no place to store spent fuel.
2) Uranium limits. As with oil, there is a limited amount of Uranium economically extactable from the ground. We will have Peak Uranium. And, since >90% of the Uranium that get put in the reactors come back out, this will be the only way to fuel future reactors. And, yes, folks, there will be future reactors... I know the environmentalists hate to hear this, but we will need something to power the grid when Coal is either banned due to global warming concerns or due to running out of high grade coal. The other fossil fuels (natural gas in particular) also have problems...
3) Economics. The energy density of Uranium is about 1,000,000 times that of oil (A pound of oil has 2.4 x 10^7 Joules of energy, and A pound of Uranium-235 3.7 x 10^13). One cubic foot of uranium has the same energy content as 1.7 million tons of coal, 7.2 million barrels of oil, or 32 billion cubic feet of natural gas. (http://library.thinkquest.org/22361/energy/reactor.htm) Would you bury 7.2 million barrels of oil? I don't think so.

So, there's our answer... Yucca Mountain will be used for that <10% of the spent fuel that is NOT Uranium, and should suffice nicely for a while.

Thank goodness Sen. Benson was able to help us get the site in Texas off the table. The gov. wanted to put all that "harmless" nuclear waste under the Texas panhandle's primary water source. John

Expecting humans to be around for 10,000 years speaks volumes to the arrogance of our species.

TV news segment last night showed a company in California that "cleans up" foreclosed houses so that they can be resold.

Basically, they just park a dumpster in the driveway and throw all the household belongings into it.

People leave behind an amazing amount of personal belongings - flat screen TVs, computers, good furniture, clothes, childrens' toys, family photo albums, birth certificates, etc.

The cleanup guys said that it was not a matter of time pressure - people had days or weeks to remove their stuff.

One of them said that he thinks that when people receive the foreclosure notice they just give up and go into a state of deep depression. They literally walk out of the house leaving food in the fridge and clothes in the closets.

There are going to be a lot of "broken" people out there before this is over.

It's a repeat. Westexas linked to a video of that a couple of weeks ago, but I can't find it.

It puts a real face on events!

Here you go:

Foreclosure Alley
by Lisa Ling & SoCal Connected


i once looked at a forclosed house for sale at auction. it appeared that the inhabitants just got up from the breakfast table and left.

and upstairs laying on the floor of a bedroom was a very large seafoam green bra. i have been searching for the cinderella that fit that one ever since.

Interestingly, this is a strange echo of a phenomenon back from frontier homesteading days. Sometimes, it would all be too much for some families, so they would just give up and leave the cabin immediately for who-knows-where, with the house left pretty much as is - dishes on the table, etc.

I assume that this means that the things they remove from the homes goes in the trash. You would think that they would let Goodwill have a crack at the place first to remove anything that would be of value to anyone else. The lender might even get a tax writeoff on the value of the stuff donated..

The problem is that there's so much stuff. They don't have time to wait around for Goodwill.

A friend of mine bought some new dining room furniture, and needed to get rid of the old. It was still almost new, perfectly good, and cost over $1,000 new. He and his wife just wanted a bigger table to go with their bigger dining room in their bigger house. He called Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and both wanted the furniture, but could not pick it up for 2-3 weeks. He needed to get rid of it that day, to make room for the new set being delivered. So he just put it out on the lawn that morning. It was gone by the time he got home that night.

I wonder if any of us / the editors here have considered the possibility that we caused the oil price bubble. What if the commodities market got wind of this site, knowing fine well there is no finer info out there about oil production than here? - It's almost a dead cert that production is near it's limit but this isn't neccesarily a good thing for everyone to know considering there are people ready to try and make a quick buck on the back of that info.

Just some idle musings.


My kids are only 4 and 7 years old. To me, it doesn't matter how bumpy the short term is, it matters that they will live in a place that is different than now! I don't even want to explain it to them (not that they would understand), I just want to buy them an ice cream. At least they can remember a nice childhood.

Ok, my favorite new story so far:


Gotta keep cheerful - so it is bad, but not quite as bad as expected, so that's good, right?



I read your blog this morning. Great article!

Anyone want to brush up on your Marx? Capital is quite a read.
While a Obama regime would be different on women's, workplace, environmental issues, he is in goose step with the same suicide economy of the past, one based on the delusion of infinite expansion in a finite system. He is a Chicago Boy, and I'm afraid my friends, we will need to sort this out on the other side of the wall we are about to crash into.
Open minds and imaginations will be required, and clinging to failed social and economic models will assure extinction.
Disclaimer: I do not see Marxism as a solution, but Marx provides the best analysis of capitalism.

Obama is most definitely not a "Chicago boy." His economic views are mainly Keynesian.

Marx is of limited value today, because the data he was using was mostly England in the early 1800s, and his theories about capitalism reflect that data. I don't think Marx ever envisioned welfare capitalism, which is what we have now--a very mixed economy. If he could have imagined it, he would have hated it and written another book on the bad things about it.

It is still worthwhile studying Marx, just as it is worthwhile studying Adam Smith and Thomas Robert Malthus, but they were all describing or criticizing much simpler worlds than we are in now.

Obama's main economic advisor is Austan Goolsbee, who is indeed a "Chicago Boy".
I agree Obama embraces some Keynesian views, and is pliable, but still stuck in a economic model based on superstition.
Marx's view of capitalism has remained remarkable resilient, and, in my opinion, would be laughing in amazement of the accuracy of his analysis.
But let's be honest- Malthus is the one who had the correct vision.


Actually there is a heterodox school of economics that has for decades toiled in obscurity, trying to do exactly what you say.

However, the libertarian/neoclassical/neocon/objectivist phalanx that controls the American, and European to a lesser extent, academies doesn't brook much dissent, or much independent thinking as far as that's concerned. What it values is conformity and blind obedience to its ideology.

Christopher Hayes did a fascinating piece for The Nation last year that describes the dismal state of economics instruction in the American acamdemy. "It's a mafia," one of the heterodox academics intones. It's a rather long article, but worth the read, as Hayes goes into great detail to describe the code of omerta that exists within the discipline.


Hayes demonstrates that, for the economists who embrace the orthodox brand of economics--that is the one preferred by the bankers and financiers--there's all sorts of perks: scholarships, tenured professorships, publication in academic journals, Nobel prizes, research grants, fame and recognition, not to mention lavish receptons with "chicken satay skewers" and an "open bar." For the heterodox economists its a career in obscurity, "cheese cubes" and "$6 drinks."

But the Goebbels method (generous subsidies for that which is officially approved) of control was not sufficently severe for the libertarian/neoclassical/neocon/objectivist true believers. So the tactics of Rosenberg (punishment for that not offically approved) had to be deployed. Hayes describes the purge (could we call it an academic "Night of the Long Knives"?) that was carried out at Notre Dame to cleanse the heretics from its economics department.

I think most people are unaware just how fanatical most economists are. But this article goes a long way in exposing the ultraist priesthood that dominates the discipline.

I am quite familiar with the fanaticism of the orthodox economists. In my dissertation proposal I twice defended a thesis that questioned economic axioms (having to do with the assumption of rationality). Twice I was failed. Never did get a Ph.D. Kept my integrity, though.

Just as the devout Christians of the Spanish Inquisition rooted out heretics, so also do the inquisitions of orthodox economists root out economic heresies. Burning at the stake is no longer in fashion, but the economic orthodoxy is fanatically sincere about its monopoly of absolute truth and has no questions about suppressing dangerous (sinful?) heresies.

Don, I think Downsouth misses his own point. I am pretty much an agnostic, but if "orthodox" economists are a bunch of goof ball fanatics, what in the wide wide world of sports are Marxists?

The Marxist / Leninnist true believer of the 1920s could be excused for persisting in his beliefs because of a lack of data on just how ugly the "socialist" phase in progressing toward the postulated whithering of the state could be. To continue to believe in that superstition in 2008 is not rational. [In the words of Stevie Wonder, "when you believe in things that you don't understand and you suffer --- superstition is to blame.] :<)

I advocate a Natural Capital based system.


But then I guess Geologist would replace economist. AAAAAAAAaaaaa!

Could I become a talking head on CNBC?

The saying going around Russia these days: "Everything Marx told us about Communism is false, while everything Marx told us about Capitalism is true!"

I would say that sums it up in one sentence.

Could we say everything Friedman told us about capitalism is false and everything he told us about communism true?

You could say that, but it would not be true. Friedman didn't write about Communism, he wrote about capitalism and how it might be made to work better, for example, with a negative income tax and with vouchers for education. Friedman was flat-out wrong about some things; for example, he thought at first that the velocity of money was a constant, then modified his theory to say that it was a stable fuction of other variables.

However, Friedman was right about a lot of things, such as that when government get gets too big and bloated it is both ineffiecent and a danger in that it tends to take away our freedoms. Wonder if he ever invisioned the Patriot act, which is a logical extension of Big Brother government. Also the bank bailout is directly contrary to what Friedman recommended--yet another logical extension of big government. Friedman believed in competition and in letting the losers fail. To deal with poverty he recommended a negative income tax administered by the IRS.

Paul Krugman wrote a thoughtful essay on Martin Friedman that, if you haven't already read it, you might find enlightening:


It's rather long, but here's an excerpt:

In his 1965 review of Friedman and Schwartz's Monetary History, the late Yale economist and Nobel laureate James Tobin gently chided the authors for going too far. "Consider the following three propositions," he wrote. "Money does not matter. It does too matter. Money is all that matters. It is all too easy to slip from the second proposition to the third." And he added that "in their zeal and exuberance" Friedman and his followers had too often done just that.

A similar sequence seems to have happened in Milton Friedman's advocacy of laissez-faire. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, there were many people saying that markets can never work. Friedman had the intellectual courage to say that markets can too work, and his showman's flair combined with his ability to marshal evidence made him the best spokesman for the virtues of free markets since Adam Smith. But he slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It's extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.

Friedman's laissez-faire absolutism contributed to an intellectual climate in which faith in markets and disdain for government often trumps the evidence. Developing countries rushed to open up their capital markets, despite warnings that this might expose them to financial crises; then, when the crises duly arrived, many observers blamed the countries' governments, not the instability of international capital flows. Electricity deregulation proceeded despite clear warnings that monopoly power might be a problem; in fact, even as the California electricity crisis was happening, most commentators dismissed concerns about price-rigging as wild conspiracy theories. Conservatives continue to insist that the free market is the answer to the health care crisis, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Paul Krugman is my favorite living economist. Nevertheless, he has presented a caricature of Friedman's views rather than a characterization of them. For example, Milton Friedman strongly advocated a negative income tax as a way to redistribute income and do away with inefficient government welfare bureaucracies. That is a long, long way from laissez-faire.

He also advocated government-financed education vouchers for primary and secondary students as a way to improve the quality of education and to improve public schools. He admired public universities. All this is as far away from pure laissez-faire as you can get.

It is true that Friedman sometimes made mistakes of excess enthusiasm in promoting his ideas; for example he did say (in writing) that the velocity of money was a constant. Of course that is quite wrong, and he later acknowledged his error.

Well, Freidman and Hayek were flying back to London after slashing health care to the unwashed masses to improve their survival skills, when the pilot came on and said that the plane had lost a engine, and would be delayed, but not to worry, as the aircraft had two.
Friedman said to Hayek "I hope we don't lose the other engine , or we will never get down".
Spoken like a true monetarist.

"Everything Marx told us about Communism ... "

Everything Ronald Reagan told us about evil empires was also about us.

Mr. Paulson, tear down that wall (street)!

A little bit of history:

"But apparently nothing bothers our liberal friends. ... They warned that when our [Reaganomics] tax program passed, America would face runaway inflation, record interest rates, and a collapse of confidence. Well, ... Our program passed, and we witnessed ... a new surge of confidence in stocks and bonds.

They warned that decontrolling the price of oil would send the cost of gas at the pumps skyrocketing. We decontrolled, and the price [of oil] is lower today than it was three years ago when we decontrolled.

And then they said that recovery couldn't come, or would be too feeble to notice. Well, from strong growth in housing to autos, construction, and high technology, from a rebirth of productivity to the fastest drop in unemployment in over 30 years, we have one of the strongest recoveries in decades. And we'll keep it strong if they'll get out of the way."

This from a 1984 Reagan speech. Whole speech can be seen here. More speeches here.

Quote from Ronnie Raygun:

They warned that decontrolling the price of oil would send the cost of gas at the pumps skyrocketing. We decontrolled, and the price [of oil] is lower today than it was three years ago when we decontrolled.

Since oil is priced on the world market (which was also true in the 1980's), price controls in just one country would have little impact overall. As we've seen the past few months, oil has a very steep price/supply curve, which in economic speak means that oil is a very inelastic commodity. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, world prices increased sharply. Sure enough, demand destruction soon set in and during the early 1980's, the world price of oil tanked. Ol' Ronnie's decontrol rap failed to mention the results of people trying to conserve oil use thru purchases of smaller, more fuel efficient cars and adopting other energy conservation measures.

We've recently seen an oil price spike, which was followed by an even sharper price collapse. There weren't any price controls in the U.S. although some other countries have decontrolled their market prices by killing subsidies. Indonesia and China have price controls, as I recall. So, as these countries have loosened their fuel subsidies, local prices have climbed and demand destruction has set in. the resulting drop in oil prices is said to be restricting efforts to develop more oil production and OPEC wants to cut production to support higher prices. I don't think that's what Ol' Ronnie had in mind.

Happy motoring!

E. Swanson

I have a question about Coal to Liquid (CTL). In the future as the price of oil rises higher and higher, will importing countries with coal reserves like the US and China build massive CTL plants.
I have seen past comments here that CTL is prohibitively expensive; but maybe with $200 oil and unsecure supplies CTL becomes economic?
I think this question is of fundamental importance to global warming. If we replace oil with coal, the planet is cooked; but if the coal stays in the ground as petroleum runs out, there is hope.

Any coal that has economic value will be used.

I just got back from a meeting on coal-to-liquids (and coal-to-chemicals) in China. The Chinese are unlikely to build beyond the two plants they have on the way now. It's not just a matter of cost (rivaling tar sands in cost per 100,000 b/d, and these costs would likely continue to rise as oil prices rise, since the process is very energy intensive), but it is resource intensive (5 tonnes of raw Chinese coal for one tonne of liquid, and China does have coal extraction limits), and extremely water intensive (10 tonnes of water per tonne of output, and China has the next to lowest water availability per capita in the world). It is also double the CO2 emissions of conventional petroleum. I don't think CTL is scalable.

Thanks, Sparaxis,

I'm wondering if you might expand this and possibly (even) write it up as an article.
Your conclusion seems important.

Chrysler to cut 25 percent of salaried work force


Why don't the 'Big Three' just get it over and merge to become the 'Big One'?

What If the U.S. Auto Makers Don’t Survive?

The question of whether all three Detroit auto makers will survive is out there, based largely on the inability of the debt-laden companies to get access to funding. General Motors is desperate enough for cash to consider merging with Chrysler. On Oct. 6, Fitch downgraded Ford Motor and Ford Motor Credit to CCC, the lowest junk rating. Deutsche Bank’s Rod Lache wrote Sunday that the auto industry may survive because of federal bailouts and restructuring. But, he wrote, “based on our belief that at least two of the U.S. Big Three automakers could reach minimum cash levels within the next 12 months, we continue to assess the risks to our universe.”

A couple of days ago, the Asashi Shinbun had a headline "Mushi no iki (Big 3 US carmakers)". Mushi no iki means the "breath of a bug"---i.e. barely alive, one's breath is so tiny, like a bug's.

But Toyota's sales declines are making people fearful here that soon it will be Toyota with "mushi no iki". Actually the export surplus plunged too--sales abroad way down and imports of energy continuing to cost money. There is a lot of bad news here and a feeling things will get a lot worse. That is why the Nikkei is tanking so fast.

A lot of department stores have sharply lower sales.

Near me there are more and more bankrupt used auto dealerships, "tenant wanted" signs in vacant store windows, suddenly closed shops. It is starting to feel like a depression.

The Big Three will hem and haw until they get some sort of gov't deal that relieves them of their pension liabilities.

If the US auto makers don't survive, we'll become a nation of railways again.

We're STILL making locomotives and rail cars. Now we'll get the deploy them.

In order to be economically viable, Detroit collectively will need to extinguish debt and the crushing obligations [also at some definitional lever debt] of pensions and retiree health care.

The sins of collective bargaining agreements inked in the 1950s through the 1980s are coming home to roost. Since the big three thought they were competing with themselves a cost that was going to show up as a cash drain in the far distant future [aka "now] and show up on the entire universe of competitors [the other companies in the big three] did not seem like such a large concession to make for peace with the unions.

From small short term issues, might bankruptcies grow.

GM and GE were the "Big 2" US locomotive makers (Brookville makes small locos and specialty locos). But GM sold their EMD division. Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway bought half of the EMD spin-off.

When US railroads were leaving steam locos, GM said that any railroad that electrified instead of going to diesel would be blackballed by GM and their supplier shipments.


Isn't that what the Brits did back in the 70s? Merging two sick companies will not create one healthy company.

New numbers out on miles driven in the US.....

For August (latest month available) vehicle miles traveled was down 5.6% from August of last year.


And don't blame it on Gustav. It didn't make landfall until September 1. And don't blame it on the leadup to Gustav before taking a look at what happened with Katrina. Katrina hit in late August 2005. Gasoline consumption hit an all-time high that month (which has never been surpassed) and miles-traveled rose from August the year before.

This is why I slammed Gail for ignoring the historic change in trends we are seeing when she wrote her piece on oil prices a few days back.

In fact she outright denied anything big was happening with respect to oil demand in the US.

Here's a chart from Calculated Risk showing some historical perspective...


I should add that in a few days, the EIA will release its final statistic on August's oil consumption. It's quite possible that it will show that demand was down a full 10% from its Aug 2005 peak.

Suncor Cuts 2009 Budget, Delays Oil-Sands Project (Update1)

By Joe Carroll

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc., the world's second-largest oil-sands producer, trimmed its 2009 capital budget by 33 percent and slowed construction at its Voyageur project in response to tumbling crude prices.

Suncor plans to spend C$6 billion ($4.8 billion) next year, down from a September estimate of C$9 billion, and expects to maintain budgets of about C$6 billion a year through 2012, the Calgary-based company said today in a PR Newswire statement. Suncor is spending an estimated C$7.5 billion this year.

``Our aim is to ensure we are living within our means during a time of market uncertainty, while also making the strategic spending decisions that will allow us to continue on our growth path,'' Chief Executive Officer Rick George said in the statement.

Oil producers are cutting drilling and construction budgets to cope with a 54 percent drop in crude prices from the record $147.27 a barrel in July and the collapse of global credit markets. Petro-Canada and UTS Energy Corp., both of Calgary, today said they may postpone plans to build an oil-sands processing facility near Edmonton.

Suncor's $20.6 billion Voyageur plant that will process tar-like crude from northern Alberta into synthetic crude will open a year later than originally planned, George said today during a conference call with investors and analysts.

me buying 2012 CL options.

All this delayed investment is a good thing. It means more oil in the future --- say 20-30 years from now -- when we will really need it. (much more than in 2012)

Provided you have something left to cook the sands with. I wonder what the tar sands projects would look like if they were 100% solar powered? They could operate, what, maybe 3 months out of the year?

Here in Wisconsin we recently received a 4-foot, cross-state oil pipeline courtesy Enbridge designed to take tar oil to Chicago for refining. I wonder what else we can use the pipe for? Perhaps little pod vehicles shooting retirees "up north" like those pneumatic tubes at the bank? Pigs in a pig.

Data: What is your point? The USA economy has taken a severe kick to the groin YOY since last August-if it gets pummelled even harder over the next year gasoline consumption will decline because the residents won't have the money. If you are talking about some sort of behavioural shift you would have to see conservation without economic depression.

Oil demand can plummet. When planning for future do not assume ever-spiraling prices.

In addition, the fact that demand can fall sharply is a good thing. It's adaptation, even if it means becoming a little poorer.

There is a point at which I'm not willing to cheer falling demand. But unemployment has to go north of 10%.

As an environmentalist, I believe that at this point the economy is very much an enemy of the planet. So I'm inclined to cheer stagnation and recessions (not depressions). I flatly do not believe that the economy has to be in good shape in order to adjust to peak oil. Most of the adjustment will come from becoming less rich and decadent. It takes high prices and bad times to change us. Bring it on.

Additional info:

The Wall Street Journal says that this decline in driving is the largest on record.

The decline — which extends the monthly fall in driving to 10 months — is the largest year-on-year decline recorded, the DOT said.


Jeez I wonder if the biggest USA housing collapse on record has something to do with it-probably just a coincidence.

That is August data, when gas prices were around $1 a gallon higher. October 2008 miles driven data will be interesting to see - we are now below October 2007 prices.


I'm not sure that we should be "slamming" anyone, but thanks for sharing this information. I do agree, by the way, that history is being made, and VMT is one of many indicators. People do seem to be responding to higher gasoline prices and, of course, increasing economic hardship in the United States. Welcome to "Oil Shock 2008" (now where's that CNN banner?). I look at that chart, and imagine a barograph trace: Major storm underway.

I find it interesting that the 1970s oil shocks were due to embargoes, which entailed certain OPEC countries cutting back on supply by several mmbd. Now, OPEC is talking about production cuts that are approaching the 1970s reductions in absolute terms, but for somewhat different reasons (we'll see if the cuts materialize). If OPEC production is indeed lowered, then here's a case where history doesn't repeat exactly, but it rhymes.



Higher gas prices??? Holy sh$t! It's $2.19 in my city. High gas prices are history for now. I think it's more a lack of any discretionary money that keeps people off the roads this days (i.e. lack of employment).

I'm inclined to agree... However, the VMT chart concludes in August, when prices were still quite high, hence my "high-prices" statement.

Wow, gas is cheap down in the 'States. Here in Vancouver, BC, we're still paying about $Can 1.10 a liter. Which is about $Can 4.16. At a recent exchange rate I overheard, 0.79 Can to 1.00 USD, that's about $US 3.29/gal.



By the way, the problem was that I wasn't writing an article about the subject Datamunger was interested in. My article was about other issues affecting oil prices, besides what we normally consider supply and demand. He thought I should be addressing his issues.

This graph illustrates that reductions in VMT are primarily due to rapid price rises as occurred in 1974, 1980 and now in 2008, and not due to recessions. More importantly is that this will probably lead to a big increase in fleet mpg over the next 10 years, as occurred in 1982-92.

The delayed increase in average vehicle mpg will cause a permanent reduction in demand, even if VMT begin to increase again. However, if the average mpg has increased before the next price shock, prices will go higher before they have the same impact on reducing VMT. In a more extreme case, if we have significant PHEV's by then, those drivers will probably not change VMT because of the much smaller impact of gasoline prices. If we all have PHEV's, prices could go to $20 a gallon and PHEV drivers would hardly notice.

"May you live in interesting times" Ancient Chinese curse

Calpers mulls raising rates if it posts loss

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The largest U.S. public pension fund may need to tap California's public employers for more money if it does not reverse its steep investment losses of recent months, a fund spokesman said on Thursday.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, best known as Calpers, has seen its assets decline by more than 20 percent, or around $50 billion, from the beginning of this fiscal year through Oct. 10 to stand at $190 billion.


Will the federal government be able to prop up state economies, retirement trusts, failed banks the big 3 automakers, Medicare and Social Security all while fighting 2 wars and maintaining hundreds of military bases worldwide? If this isn't the end of empire then I'm a Monkey's Uncle.



There could be a contribution to this:

1. To cut the remaining 2 weeks of holidays per year for US workers to ZERO.
2. To increase pension age to 70 years.
3. to cut pension payments by 50%.

These measures would improve productivity strongly as well as to save the current pension schemes.

The public won't like it, but I think, it could pass. Just to save the so called American dream (which means to get as rich as possible).

Wait! I got an idea. How about we nationalize...everything. If most of us are going to be poor and miserable in this new universe I don't believe it would be fair to burden us further with envy of those who still have all of their stuff.

"Misery loves company" Irish proverb


What about the rich taking a big hit instead? I'm sick of suggestions it is those at the bottom's fault for our economic troubles. We didn't do all that creative accounting that paid brokers big commissions while manufacturers kept laying off honest hard workers. Some of America's economic problems may be because we have been too productive for the amount of compensation working families got. Even using the phoney inflation stats American workers have suffered through pay cuts for the last 30 years. Things were much better for most Americans when taxes on the rich were much higher back in the 50s and 60s. Pensions and Social Security are so low in America that large numbers of elderly keep working just to pay for uninsured medical expenses. This makes it harder for young workers who lack the experience of the elderly. If Costa Rica can afford universal health care then so can we.

We Americans can put up with a lot of hurt if it is seen to be equitable. We threw equity out the window long ago on the false promises of trickle down economics. Almost all the economic growth of the last several decades has gone to the rich (upper 2%). A little went to the upper middle class but for the majority it has only brought more hurt. This has gone on far too long because the poor have failed to vote against the GOP. Things might change big time on November 4 since it finally looks like one of our own might win.

I expect we will be seeing a good deal of similar headlines to this one - the subject of my next post will be "Peak Science?", as it deals with some related issues to this news release:

STILLWATER* -- "It can't get any worse," that's what one Oklahoma State Regent said Tuesday morning, after getting another dose of bad news regarding funds earmarked for OSU athletics.
Yesterday all indications were that OSU Regents were reportedly told Friday afternoon that a large portion of the Boone Pickens donation in the BP Capital hedge fund was virtually wiped out by margin calls on the funds investments in the third quarter.
Today the news was a little more grim, as officials were told that actually, the entire $ 165 million donation, and the earnings, which once inflated the gift to over $ 300 million, had recently been eliminated by margin calls due to drastically falling oil prices.
As of Monday OSU's gift had flat-lined completely and was declared 'gone.'
Ironically Pickens will become both the hero and the goat in the drama of high stakes energy gambling, and of fortunes won, lost and regained. Pickens made his historic gift in 2005, declaring "I'm tired of losing," when asked why he donated the huge amount to OSU athletics.
But the gift came with a stipulation, as Pickens insisted that he and appointee Mike Holder, who he later named Athletics Director, be given total authority over how the funds were to be spent, and by whom.
And the move appeared to be a stroke of genius as oil prices soared in a post Katrina economic climate, swelling the initial gift to over $ 300 million. That was before things began to turn in 2007, as international demand for oil failed to meet projections, causing the fund to come to a sudden standstill, and then dropping on mistakes made, and repeated by fund managers, managed by Pickens.
As oil prices started to slide in early 2008 Pickens increasingly found himself on the wrong side of the volatile oil futures game, betting 'short' as prices rose to $ 100, and then long as they began to fall, wiping out much of the two year gain in just four months, and causing AD Holder to announce that OSU's future 'Athletic Village' facility expansion had been put on hold in July.
Now the project looks like it will be shelved, as O-State Regents try to just keep their heads above water while swimming in debt.
The school had borrowed almost all funds used in the celebrated stadium expansion, using the almost $ 300 million balance in BP Capital as collateral.
Some OSU Regents are livid that their pragmatic warnings were not heeded when the fund was flush with cash.
Pickens and Holder apparently both resisted pleas by some OSU Regents to bank a good deal of the balance out of the fund when it exceeded $ 300 million, just 14 months ago. Instead both endorsed a plan of borrowing almost $ 200 million needed to expand and renovate Boone Pickens Stadium on the Stillwater campus.
Ironically, the stadium had been re-named after Pickens following his generous donation in 2005. But now that stadium sits as a drain of over $ 1 million per month in interest payments alone, on an already strapped athletic budget, which annually ranks between 8th and 9th in the Big XII conference.
Today, the problem is how to fund the surprise interest that is expected to top $ 13 million annually, when just months ago the school was going full steam ahead on an aggressive expansion of facilities that it believed were already paid for.

That's harsh. But at least OSU is having a good season. It would be worse to have all of the above AND a season like the Aggies are having.

Jeez. Can't Pickens make it good? I'm sure he can afford it, despite his losses.

Big-time college athletics is so intrinsically trivial anyhow that I think this fate is simply well-deserved.

Big sports are in trouble all over:

Automakers Apply Brakes to NASCAR

But with the Big Three U.S. automakers struggling to survive, they have begun to dramatically scale back their financial involvement in NASCAR, threatening the economic model that has driven the sport's popularity. Other corporate sponsors that helped transform stock-car racing from a workingman's pastime into the country's dominant form of auto racing also are scaling back their investment as a result of the sagging economy. Some companies may not renew their commitments -- many of which run more than $10 million -- when current contracts expire.

It isn't just NASCAR. All major league sports are suffering. Sponsors are cutting back, and fans can't afford expensive tickets. NASCAR has the disadvantage that fans must travel hundreds of miles to get to the track. Other sports tend to be urban and have fans that are local. So maybe the fans will watch at home or in a bar.

Amazing story, Nate. I'm going to cut n paste it around a little bit. With attribution of course.

You know things are desperate when land grant university admins are having to refocus on academics.

OSU is denying it, of course...

Oklahoma State University Issues Statement in Regards to T. Boone Pickens Investment

STILLWATER, Okla., Oct 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Oklahoma State University is issuing the following statement through spokesperson Gary Shutt in response to erroneous and anonymous blog postings concerning the status of the funds donated by Boone Pickens and reinvested in BP Capital, as well as the future of the west end zone project.

Rumors circulating that the funds generously donated by Boone Pickens to Oklahoma State University's athletic program have been completely depleted and the massive west end zone project will not be finished are, without question, false. They are simply not true.

That was before things began to turn in 2007, as international demand for oil failed to meet projections...

As oil prices started to slide in early 2008....

Did anyone notice the factual misstatements? AFAIK, demand was strong in 2007. The price of crude oil did not start to slide until July 2008 which is not "early 2008." With such obviously false statements, the accuracy of the article is uncertain. Here is a reminder:

Calculated Risks has a post on VMT

Source: http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/10/dot-us-vehicles-miles-driven-...

This graph shows the annual change in the rolling 12 month average of U.S. vehicles miles driven. Note: the rolling 12 month average is used to remove seasonality.

By this measure, vehicle miles driven are off 2.6% YoY, and the decline in miles driven is worse than during the early '70s oil crisis - and almost as bad as the 1979-1980 decline.

Larger image here

Yesterday there was a post on the TOD Drumbeat concerning a women who claimed she was attacked. I made a jockular stab at discrediting the bizarre claims.
I may have even offended a few TODers. The article drew out my suspicions from the get go. The "B" carved into the womens face was superficial and BACKWARDS, like a person carving a letter into their cheek in a mirror would appear.

I made, what I thought, were some hilarious jokes concerning the article. The routine fell like a brick, or much like political jokes bomb on Jay Lenos crowd.

Turns out the women was lying. WHAT you say !
Your Shockkkked...totally Shocked ?


My fictional account, found on yesterdays Drumbeat was as accurate yesterday as it is today.

More campaign news:

Palin stylist draws higher pay than policy adviser

Of course, the stylist seems to be doing a better job.

Any news out of Iceland?

It's kind of eery how yesterday's news is yesterday's news.

Iceland to get £1.3bn IMF loan

The Icelandic Government has become the first Western country for 30 years to take an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund by accepting a £1.3bn bail-out.

Wow! a source of funds in case we get hit with a Price-Anderson liability! Hope nobody lost their place in the refueling checklist the other day: http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Node=B1&Id=750994


Seems rather paltry amount. I bet AIG spills more in champaign for their prostitutes on that every month.

Hmmm. Wonder what happened to the much discussed Russian bailout plan.

Just heard the words "Peak Oil", yeah, one right after the other, on a BBC World News TV broadcast! They were followed by a definition that went something like this, "the point at which world oil production starts to decline". The reporter went on to explain that, the reduction in demand caused by the current recession will probably delay the peak.

I did not catch the name and title of the person whom he went on to interviewed, who said that after the next ten years we'll probably look back and say, oh well, that was when it was the highest. The person being interviewed was warning that if oil prices remained too low, too long, there would be a lack of investment and we'd end up a few years down the road with severe shortages. Sort of sounded like the kind of thing Colin Campbell would say.

Did anybody else catch this?

Edit: Again in the first five minutes of the hourly news roundup, the story was about the OPEC production cut. the person interviewed was Tony Scanlan, of the British Institute of Energy Economics. My phone rang as the Peak Oil bit was coming on but it seemed to have been edited to remove the reference to Peak Oil.

Alan from the islands

Hello TODers,

China's Great Railway Expansion
Beijing is ramping up its shipping and passenger network--but may need to cede control to attract investors

...China is now undertaking the world's biggest railway expansion since the U.S. laid its transcontinental line in the 1860s. Beijing plans to spend $248 billion through 2020 on 75,000 miles of new track, for both freight and high-speed passenger lines. At that point, China's high-speed passenger network will likely be the biggest on earth.

Jeez-all that for 248 billion-that doesn't even cover Paulson's first expense voucher.

Hello BrianT,

I am interested to see if China builds out narrow-gauge SpiderWebRiding Networks after getting the standard-gauge RR & TOD mostly installed. The 'ribcages' to the Chinese 'spine & limbs'. Then, the use of wheelbarrows & bicycles for the 'last mile' of dispersive O-NPK recycling and the initial accumulation of goods to go back in the other direction to the permaculture centers.


Recall that the ancient Chinese considered rickshaws and wheelbarrows secret weaponry that made them the unquestioned kings of logistics.

I apologize to TODers-- my favorite weblinked photo of 50,000 or more wheelbarrow workers is:

Page not found
We’re sorry, the page you have requested is not available.

This has happened before. Tinfoil hat time: maybe TPTB don't want me spreading that photo link all over the WWWeb?

I am not a computer guru. Does anyone know how to retrieve a permanent copy that could be stored and accessed on the TOD computers? Leanan? SuperGoose?

If the page is in Google's cache, you should be able to download the image from there. I do not know how to upload an image to TOD. You may have to upload it to another site and use an img tag to display it here.

Student loan fugitives

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Carl, a Florida native now living overseas, is afraid to move back to the United States. That's because he can't afford to pay his student loans.

Carl (who doesn't want his last name used) stopped making his $450 monthly payments after his family incurred some unexpected medical expenses, and his $55,000 private loans went into default. That's when the phone calls from debt collectors started, and Carl decided not to come back.

"It was made clear that if I ever came home, I'm screwed," says Carl.

Then there's this guy:

Chris left the country to help pay his debt, not to avoid it. But when that didn't work out, he saw his foreign address as the only way to escape.

Chris (who doesn't want his last name used) graduated with about $160,000 in student loan debt with a master's degree in music.

"At the time I thought I could handle it. I thought the most I'd be paying was $600 a month," he says.

But his payments were $2,400 a month.

Good grief. How on earth did he expect to pay off $160,000 with a master's degree in music?

"Good grief. How on earth did he expect to pay off $160,000 with a master's degree in music?"

Good question. Perhaps equally important: how did the fools who loaned him the money expect him to ever pay it back? Yin and yang, hand in hand: foolish creditors, foolish debtors. The accounts are coming due, in the form of a season of dashed expectations.

How on earth did he expect to pay off $160,000 with a master's degree in music?

Indeed and, of course, another interesting question is how did the lender expect him to pay it off?

But, since they know he can't beat the rap through bankruptcy, they lend. Exile or $2400 a month. I'll bet the number crunchers took that scenario in consideration. They are betting most won't choose exile.

"...can't beat the rap through bankruptcy..."

Actually, student loans can be discharged through bankruptcy. The problem is, it's much harder to accomplish compared to credit card debt, and will cost much more in lawyer fees (with an uncertain outcome). A person has to show "undue hardship", which is somewhat of an obscure term and up to the judge.

See: U.S. student loan failures grow.

In a relentless 20-year depression, as per Don Sailorman, there would likely be a growing number of people who could legitimately claim "undue hardship". At that point, who knows what might happen: Will the judges get more stringent in their interpretation, will the bankruptcy law change yet again, or will more people choose exile (if they can scrape up the funds to escape), none of the above, all of the above.



Friday Bank Failure Time!

Stearns Bank, National Association Acquires the Insured Deposits of Alpha Bank & Trust, Alpharetta, GA

Alpha Bank and Trust, Alpharetta, Georgia, was closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named receiver.
As of September 30, 2008, Alpha Bank & Trust had total assets of $354.1 million and total deposits of $346.2 million. Stearns Bank did not pay the FDIC a premium for the right to assume the failed bank's insured deposits.

At the time of closing, there were approximately $3.1 million in uninsured deposits held in approximately 59 accounts that potentially exceeded the insurance limits.

OK, the NY Stock Exchange is closed, and the "Great Crash" of 1000 plus points on the Dow didn't materialize. Why not? What happened? Is it still to come early next week?

Gee yeah, it "only" lost 300+ points today, a good day! Maybe we're near the end of the rapid crashes for awhile?

IMHO we're years from captitualtion. The stock indexes are still way way too high. When the Dow Jones Industrial Average gets down near 2000, then we'll see capitulation, perhaps three years from now.

So far as the ballgame of economic decline goes, we're still in the first third of the first inning.

For comparison, look at the Crash of 1929 and how many years the stock market took to find a bottom--about ninety percent below its high. So, take the high in the Dow, subtract ninety percent, and you get down into the low two thousands. Of course, I may be too optimistic here.

Don, I've been mean to ask you something...it was a couple years ago on this board that people were trying to puzzle out if we were headed right into a serious inflationary scenario, or if there would instead be an irresistible downdraft of deflation. I remember you reminding everyone in a somewhat cryptic fashion that Bernanke has a lot of arrows in his quiver when it comes to preventing deflation, well beyond merely tinkering with inter-bank lending rates, and he would not be shy about using them. It sure looks now like the deflationary argument is winning the day. You were quite prescient in your earlier calls on how this would unfold. So, my question is...is Bernanke now as irrelevant as Bush to how events unfold from here out?

If Ben Bernanke is unchecked he pretty well has the ability to destroy the country so I wouldn't exactly call him irrelevant.

Exactly how, though? I mean a frinstance. Of course we all know that he has made close study of the depression, and has vowed no such thing will happen on his watch...and he sees the carnage on Wall St and his bailout evaporating...so suppose he determines that we simply cannot afford to hemorrhage another trillion dollars without entering the vortex...what does he do at this point? Yes, I know, a pithy answer about the helicopters, but seriously, how much control does he have over M1 at this point?

Contrary to popular myth, the USA does not have a store of limitless wealth which can be extracted and given to the connected in gigantic sums with no consequence to the economy. It appears that way currently (much like the ridiculous housing bubble appeared sustainable) because of the current strength of the US dollar. Trillions of dollars have been taken from the wealth of the country without notice, as the dollar remains strong. In the same way, housing prices kept rising until the scheme broke totally. There was an article linked on here stating that China will spend 248 billion to build the #1 railway system in the world. Bernanke and Paulson's actions have convinced the public that 248 billion is a pittance, that it can be taken and given to the connected with no consequence-there is plenty more where that came from. This is insanity-the way things are going the USA will definitely enter the "Vortex" as you put it-his job is to make sure his tribe doesn't.

Hat eto be redundant, but opportunity cost does exist, whether or not Ben has convinced you otherwise. As an example, your fearless leaders said to the public-instead of building the #1 railway system on the planet for the USA people (and economy), we are going to cut a cheque to Hank Paulson's club. That is exactly what happened-the public is bissfully unaware to a cetain extent because of MSM spin.

2000 in real terms. In nominal dollars, the DJIA will never go that low.

Don, I know you know a lot about all this and probably a lot on the inside. So, that said, you saying what you just said, makes me want another glass of wine. Sigh, welcome back. Keep enlightening us.

Russia's stock exchanges sink, suspend trading

MOSCOW: Both Russian stock exchanges fell dramatically on Friday, with blue chips Sberbank and Gazprom down heavily over growing fears of a recession. The exchanges shut down early and said they won't resume trading until Tuesday.

Here's an interesting link for those who believe that all people who share a certain characteristic are monolithic in their support of political candidates (especially Republican candidates): http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&mode=printer_frien.... As this article points out, facts and evidence about a certain segment of the American population differ from some assertions I have recently read...

For those who have beaten me up quite often in the past(mostly Eric Blair) I am posting this event which just popped up lately.

BLP 50 kW reactor validated by Rowan University

The site is: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/hydrino/

Yes Mr. Blair I understand your hesitation about BLP but any sliver of hope is worthy of at least some interest.

I have followed BLP for many many months. Always expecting something to come of it. Whether this will be disproven or not I will continue to hope for some breakthru somewhere. Someone to finally develop a good source of cheap energy. Such that this world doesn't have to face what seems to be its coming future. I believe in technology. I plan for the worse but hope for the best. I still work in technology be it rather lowkey(GPS,Semi-truck ECUs,combine computer controllers,ham radio,etc).

Randell Mills seems to be very unconcerned about his detractors. Enough so that to me it seems he is not a charlatan but does indeed have something going on. He also has a goodly number of contributors and members. Many who have seen his results and do believe in it.

Airdale-I could be wrong...I have been wrong before.

Airdale, you're an optimist at heart!


Thanks for the update !

This sort of potential breakthrough in Physics has been an interest of mine since my epiphany while setting in US Air Force basic electronics training in '78.

In '95 at a conference I was told about Keelynet. I listened in often on their boards in the ensuing years. At the same conference I spoke with Tom Valone who has championed Zero Point Energy for many years. I've read most every book written about Tesla.

A 'Theory of Everything' has yet to be developed. One cannot stress that enough.

But, I don't believe for a minute that this will become a 'solution' at the societal level . It won't get to that level unless the powers that be can hijack the technology to their benefit. Since we are still well entrenched in this monetary paradigm a successful hijack will simply mean the more things change the more they will stay the same.

For those who do not know the acronym, BLP = BlackLight Power = Cold Fusion advocated by Randell L. Mills whose company is named BlackLight Power, Inc.

Hello to any newbie TODers,

I-NPK: industrial or inorganic or synthetic or chemical fertilizer
O-NPK: organic fertilizer--mulch, composts, manures, etc

NPK: ELEMENTS [N]itrogen, [P]hosphorus, [K]Potassium--the big three for photosynthesis. Found in various ratios in both types of NPK.

A short 4-page PDF intro [Please see if you know the answers to the brief 9 question quiz at the text bottom]:

“This is a basic problem, to feed 6.6 billion people. Without
chemical fertilizer, forget it. The game is over.”

Dr. Norman Borlaug | Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Garage Sales on Rise With Economic Downturn

MANTECA, Calif. — As the classified ads put it, everything must go. Socks. Christmas ornaments. Microwave ovens. Three-year-old Marita Duarte’s tricycle, sold by her mother, Beatriz, to a stranger for $3 even as her daughter was riding it.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the link-- "Everything must Go". Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum:

Investors Are Selling Their Mutual Funds at Record Speed
Since the author, Karen Dolan, CFA, doesn't mention 'Peak Everything', and the possible ramifications in her article anywhere, I would assume that she is less informed than many of those investors who are selling.

Most fridays I try to cruise the countryside looking for yard sale signs.
If your there early you get the best of the stuff.

This way you can usually buy American(Murkhan) and at a very very low price. I have brought bikes,cooking stuff , hifi systems,,and a whole lot of stuff that was very nice.

Auctions are my favorite though. The old Made in USA stuff is incredibily cheap to procure. Plus its fun to stand behind someone who is bidding and keep upping his bid..he never seems to catch on to who is bidding against him ..and sometimes he thinks he is. A lot of good times out in AhhMurkhaLand.

Last week I got crazy and bid in a good anvil at $265...then found they were now selling at $4/lb on the net. I paid $2/lb.

Airdale..always stay til the last at an auction..most have left and whats there goes dirt cheap plus many are out of money

I remember reading Kunstler's prediction that there would be huge numbers of garage sales as people desperately try to raise cash.

Mr. Kunstler, at least, is smarter than yeast!!!!

With credit gone, the return of an alternative...

From the Wall Street Journal

Layaway Is Making a Comeback

Layaway, a payment practice that was made popular during the Great Depression but nearly became extinct due to the instant gratification of credit cards, is back in fashion thanks to the credit crunch.

Only a handful of national retailers still let consumers put purchases aside until they have paid for them in full. Many of those companies -- which include TJX Cos., parent of TJ Maxx and Marshalls; Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp.; and Kmart, part of Sears Holdings Corp. -- report that demand for layaway is stronger than it has been
in years.


A commercial came on and said they had layaway.

I tried to explain this to my wife from Taiwan funny as hell.

She kept asking well why don't you just save the money and pay cash ?

I assure it sounds really stupid when you have to explain why Americans use layaway.

I suppose it might make sense if the item is something that might be sold out before you can save up the money for it. My mom used to put stuff on layaway for that reason.

I divided 1.5 million barrels by 86 million barrels of liquids and got about a 1.7% cut in worldwide liquids production.

U.S total net imports are close to where they were last year about this time:

Total Net Imports 12,113(2008) 11,896(2007)

There is yet GOM production offline and a large inventory build with lower gasoline consumption and lower distillate consumption than last year. The typical winter drawdowns of distillates might occur as the cold weather gets colder.

A 1.7% cut is not much. There have been numerous reports after the Sept. OPEC cuts ranging from 300,000 - 900,000 barrels of lost OPEC production.

Venezuela wants to develop its oil sands. Saudi Arabia has a 1 million barrel a day project due to be completed in 2009. Other OPEC was increasing capacity. Iraq wants to develop more than 80% of its fields. Ecuador wanted OPEC cuts, but has no quota itself, neither does Angola or Iraq. A forecast for non-OPEC production growth through 2009, and an IEA report that OECD stocks shrank a small amount in August.

As West Texas has warned, the oil producing nations have been increasing domestic consumption making less exported oil available. With oil profits cut in half or more, these nations might be finding their own pain in loss of purchase power.

Hello TODers,

The USGS Sulfur Report is out for July, '08 [5-page PDF Warning]:

..U.S. sulfur consumption, calculated as shipments minus
exports plus imports, was 940,000 tons in July 2008. This was 9%
higher than that of June 2008 and 14% higher than that of July

..Reported prices continued to increase through July as supplies
remained tight globally. The average customs value of elemental
sulfur imported into the United States in July 2008 was $322 per
ton. This was 28% higher than that of June 2008 and nearly 13
times what it was in July 2007.

Here is one forecast that expects sulfur prices to fall:

First Impression of Potash Corp.'s 3Q | 10-23-08

..Phosphate prices have begun to slide as well, but Potash Corp. believes that input costs--mainly sulfur--will fall faster..
Recall that it can take approx 2 tons of sulfur to make one ton of beneficiated high potency phosphate. Also, as the ore % decreases: it takes even more energy to remove the silt plus more sulfur to get the phosphoric acid. Moore's Law does not apply to I-NPK manufacturing.

EDIT: recall from earlier links that the P & K cartels are being proactive on this issue; they have already slammed shut the factory doors before inventories get too high.

Oct 2: Mosaic intends to reduce planned phosphate concentrates production by 500,000 to one million tonnes over the next several months, in response to high inventory levels.

Inventories for phosphate producers increased from the low levels of a year ago; however, phosphate fundamentals remain positive and demand is expected to rebound once inventory levels are normalized. Momentum has slowed in the Phosphates business near-term due to the combined effects of soft seasonal demand, higher customer inventory levels and falling raw material costs. We remain optimistic about the second half outlook for phosphates and will be well positioned to capitalize on that outlook."
What will be interesting to see is how the credit crisis plays into this over the next year. If the goods aren't moved in a timely manner: some markets may have I-NPK cheap [relatively speaking], while others might have price spikes and/or outright shortages if they haven't prepaid early to guarantee accurate timeframe delivery. Time will tell.

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