DrumBeat: January 3, 2009

Russia oil output falls for first time in a decade

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil production fell by around one percent in 2008, official data showed on Friday, the country's first annual decline in a decade after large increases in previous years and a sign of things to come.

The decline is widely expected to continue because of ageing reserves and plunging oil prices, which combine with heavy taxation to leave producers with limited cash to invest in maintaining production and opening new fields.

Russia gas row disruption spreads

Russian gas flows to four European Union countries were below normal levels on Saturday after Moscow cut off supplies to Ukraine in a pricing row, and there were no talks in sight to resolve the dispute.

Temperatures were below zero overnight in Europe, and Bulgaria's Bulgargaz joined energy firms in Poland, Romania and Hungary in saying they had noted falls in supply, though flows to Europe's biggest economy, Germany, were not affected.

The carbon footprint of nuclear war

Almost 700m tonnes of CO2 would be released into the Earth's atmosphere by even the smallest nuclear conflict, according to a US study that compares the environmental costs of developing various power sources.

Lester R. Brown: Planting Trees And Managing Soils To Sequester Carbon

As of 2007, the shrinking forests in the tropical regions were releasing 2.2 billion tons of carbon per year. Meanwhile, expanding forests in the temperate regions were absorbing 0.7 billion tons of carbon annually. On balance, a net of some 1.5 billion tons of carbon were being released into the atmosphere each year, contributing to global warming.

Obama sketches out recovery plan

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday offered the most detailed statement yet of his economic recovery plan, sketching out broad-based spending proposals and tax incentives aimed at reviving an economy mired in recession.

In his weekly radio and video address describing what he called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, Obama spelled out five main goals. He said his plan proposes to:

● double renewable energy production and make public buildings more energy efficient;

● rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and schools; computerize the health care system; modernize classrooms, labs and libraries;

● and provide tax breaks to American workers.

Aramco, Dow seek cost cuts

JEDDAH - Saudi Aramco and the US Dow Chemical are approaching contractors to gauge their interest in bidding for work on the Ras Tanura integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex on a build-own-operate basis in an effort to minimize cost exposure.

Pakistan: Gas crisis hits over 2500 factories

KARACHI: Gas crisis in the country continued unabated, as the supply and demand gap has widened up to 700mmcfd (million, million cubic feet per day).

The intensifying shortage of gas supply has now hit over 2500 industrial units in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and other cities/towns, whose supplies remain severed for the last several days and were forced to lockout, which has severely hit the production process resulting difficulties in meeting the export orders deadline and rendering the workers to unemployment in large numbers.

Govt acts after riots, orders end to gas cuts

ISLAMABAD: As violent energy riots raged in various cities and towns, President Asif Ali Zardari here on Friday ordered an immediate end to gas load-shedding for domestic consumers and elimination of circular debt in the power sector that has bulged to Rs400 billion, crippling the power generation system, in six months.

Volatile Fuel Prices Shift Off-shore Drilling Debate

The past year's volatile gas prices are impacting the ongoing debate on whether to drill for oil off the coasts of Virginia and California. Spencer Michels reports on how the price swings and new technology are affecting the controversy.

Iran welcomes OPEC emergency meeting in February

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Mohammad Ali Khatibi said here on Sunday that Iran welcomed OPEC emergency meeting in February, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

EU resists participating in Russia-Ukraine dispute

PRAGUE (Reuters) - European Union president the Czech Republic said on Saturday it did not intend to become a participant or mediator in gas contract disputes between Russia and Ukraine, but urged both sides to reach an agreement soon.

Nigeria military: Oil pipeline blown up in south

WARRI, Nigeria — An oil pipeline was blown up with dynamite in Nigeria's restive south, a military official said Saturday.

Regional army chief Brig. Gen. Wuyep Rimtip said he did not know how severe the damage was or if there were any casualties as a result of the blast late Friday in Delta State in Nigeria's restive south. Officials from the pipeline's owner Agip — a subsidiary of Italian energy giant Eni SpA — were not immediately available for comment.

Bosses lay off thousands of workers throughout Mexico

With 80 percent of its exports dependent on a rapidly contracting U.S. market, Mexico has been hard hit by a series of factory closings and layoffs. Mexico is Latin America’s second largest economy after Brazil.

Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Nissan Mexicana, and Volkswagen de México have all announced they are closing factories across Mexico for the next month or more—the first time they have ever done so. Honda and Toyota have said they do not plan to suspend production at this point.

Ford sees sharp drop in U.S. sales

DEARBORN, Mich (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) expects industry-wide December U.S. auto sales to drop by some 35 percent from a year earlier with no sign of a turnaround in the first quarter of this year.

Ford, the No. 2 U.S. automaker, expects that full-year sales of light vehicles in the world's largest market will drop to near 13.2 million for 2008, down from near 16.2 million in 2007, Ford's chief sales analyst George Pipas said on Friday.

Fighting the tide

IMAGINE your home is slowly sinking into the sea, and then consider Australia's Pacific neighbours who do not have to use their imagination.

A climate change seminar in Sydney heard that scientists are starting to recognise the 52 island nations of the South Pacific as the mine canaries of climate change.

But that is little consolation for the people whose homes and ancestral lands are in danger of disappearing beneath the waves.

California greening

Masdar’s green city is soon to rise from the sands of Abu Dhabi. Green buildings are being designed and created across the UAE. And a rapidly increasing number of private and commercial homes around the world are going off-grid.

More and more blueprints show this could be the dawning of a new sustainable age in architecture and design.

Robert Bryce - Obama, Vilsack and Salazar: The Ethanol Scammers’ Dream Team

Barack Obama promised to deliver “the change we need.”

Alas, the president-elect cannot seem to change his thinking about the ethanol scam. Over the past few weeks, Obama’s delusions about ethanol have become even more pronounced. On December 16, Stephen Power of the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s transition team has been talking to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) -- the trade group funded by the corn ethanol producers -- about a bailout for the ethanol industry. Two days later, Obama announced that the former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, would be the next Secretary of Agriculture and that Colorado Senator Ken Salazar would be the next Secretary of Interior. Announcing the selection, Obama said Vilsack and Salazar would be part of the “team we need” to strengthen rural America, create “green jobs” and “to free our nation from its dependence on oil.”

The fact that Obama continues to repeat this line about “dependence on oil” shows a near-complete ignorance of the scale of America’s energy needs. The U.S. currently has about 251 million registered motor vehicles, 8,200 commercial aircraft, 224,000 general aviation aircraft, and 12.7 million recreational boats. And nearly every one of those machines runs on oil.

Michael T. Klare: Time to Kill the Oil Beast - America's overreliance on petroleum is the source of all its energy problems.

If the recent Presidential campaign demonstrated anything, it was that Americans want and expect the next president to make dramatic changes in U.S. energy policy. Americans want to see a substantial reduction in their country's reliance on imported oil— especially from hostile countries or those perceived as posing a significant security threat, such as the nations of the Middle East or Russia and Venezuela. With concern over global warming growing, Americans also want to see a large increase in reliance on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. And they want any progress on the energy front to create jobs and economic opportunities at home, rather than in foreign countries.

The Ghost of Crude Oil Futures

Matthew Simmons, who I quoted in last week's article in his recent interview with Fortune, believes that demand has not fallen to the extent that prices are reflecting. Furthermore, he states that $40 oil (much less $30 oil) is so devastating to oil-based economies, that OPEC will actually continue to make supply cuts as necessary. On top of this, companies in the oil and gas industry are cutting production (and hence supply) for the very same reason.

Here is the problem: there is no way of collecting precise, reliable demand data in such a short period of time. So, we are essentially guessing in terms of where we think demand actually is and how this should affect prices.

Uganda Government News: Workers appeal to government over fuel crisis

Workers under their umbrella organizations, National Organization of Trade Unions have appealed to the government of Uganda to intervene in the fuel market to stop an already bad situation from getting worse.

NOTU says many workers and other Ugandans are reeling from the bad effects of escalating fuel prices which have got worse in recent days.

Toyota's Solar Concept Might Not Be a Car At All

It seemed fitting that the first viable solar car would come from the Land of the Rising Sun, but a chorus of online skeptics have begun dismissing reports that Toyota's "top secret" solar concept would ever see the light of day.

Global Warming Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The Cold War shaped world politics for half a century. But global warming may shape the patterns of global conflict for much longer than that -- and help spark clashes that will be, in every sense of the word, hot wars.

We're used to thinking of climate change as an environmental problem, not a military one, but it's long past time to alter that mindset. Climate change may mean changes in Western lifestyles, but in some parts of the world, it will mean far more. Living in Washington, I may respond to global warming by buying a Prius, planting a tree or lowering my thermostat. But elsewhere, people will respond to climate change by building bomb shelters and buying guns.

In Obama’s Team, 2 Camps on Climate

WASHINGTON — In the fall of 1997, when the Clinton administration was forming its position for the Kyoto climate treaty talks, Lawrence H. Summers argued that the United States would risk damaging the domestic economy if it set overly ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions.

Mr. Summers, then the deputy Treasury secretary, said at the time that there was a compelling scientific case for action on global warming but that a too-rapid move against emissions of greenhouse gases risked dire and unknowable economic consequences.

His view prevailed over those of officials arguing for tougher standards, among them Carol M. Browner, then the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and her mentor, Al Gore, then the vice president.

Mass. launches effort to protect coast residents

Massachusetts is kicking off an innovative pilot program to defend the state's 78 coastal communities against rising sea levels and fiercer storms brought on by global warming.

Opposition claims Perth needs flood gates for the Swan

Western Australia's Opposition Climate Change spokeswoman Alannah MacTiernan wants the State Government to consider installing flood gates along the Swan River.

Ms MacTiernan says sea levels are rising more rapidly as a result of climate change and putting Perth at risk of regular flooding.

New bill would cut greenhouse gases emitted from Texas refineries

HOUSTON—If Texas were a country, the refineries lining the Gulf would make it the eighth-largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world.

“Texas is a major emitter of carbon, in part because we fuel the rest of the country,” State Sen. Rodney Ellis said.

Ellis wants the state to lead the way in cutting back. He’s filed a bill to give state regulators the authority to force energy companies to slash their greenhouse gas production.

Can we remake Ireland's future?

THE COLLAPSE OF THE BANKING system is not just a short-term glitch. It is a symptom of the much larger set of epochal shifts that are now unfolding - the end of the American hyper-power and the rise of a new multi-polar world; peak oil and the beginning of the end of the energy economy that was created in the 19th century; global warming and the need for a fundamental and rapid shift in the nature of our economies; the collapse of free-market ideology and the realisation that the pursuit of short-term growth for its own sake creates more problems than it solves.

A year after $100, oil prices cut in half

HOUSTON – Exactly one year after crude eclipsed $100 a barrel for the first time, 2009 trading began Friday with prices roughly half their year-ago levels, and some believe oil could be headed even lower.

From peak to plenty - oil's tumultuous journey through 2008

(MENAFN - Arab News) And what an extraordinary year 2008 has been! From peak to plenty, the energy world has covered an exceptionally long - rather tumultuous - distance over a period of less than six months. As 2008 began, global energy markets crossed the Rubicon - the $100 mark - for the first time in history. And then it continued and continued registering one peak after the other, touching the $147 a barrel mark on July the 11th to be exact.

And precisely at that moment, there were discussions all along of oil going even beyond the $200 mark. Those were the days it were the proponents of the peak oil theory who were reigning. Mat Simmons and Co. had a mesmerized audience before them.

The 'permabear' keeps on growling in 2009

What set Mr. Prechter's call for 2008 apart from some other strategists such as Eric Sprott who got the popping of the credit bubble right, is Mr. Prechter didn't call for an associated runup in commodity prices as investors fled to hard assets.

He's been calling for oil to go as low as $10 (U.S.) a barrel for a long time, even as oil surged toward $150 six months ago.

"It sounded crazy at the time," he says. "Not so much now. We counted about 60 'peak oil' books published from 2005 to 2008, all very popular. People can burn them this winter to keep warm if they went broke buying oil futures."

Georgia reduces gas tax as prices dip even lower

ATLANTA -- Georgians can celebrate a reduction in the state's gasoline tax as they welcome in the New Year. But it will mean less revenue for transportation projects.

The state tax was lowered by 4 cents per gallon to 14.6 cents starting Thursday. Georgia's gas tax is adjusted twice a year based on the average price of gas. When that average price dips - as it has in recent months - the tax goes down as well. Gov. Sonny Perdue rescinded an executive order he issued in June that froze the tax as prices skyrocketed over the summer.

Gazprom official says Ukraine stealing gas for Europe

PRAGUE (AFP) – The deputy head of Russia's Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, accused Ukraine Saturday of stealing 35 million cubic metres of Russian gas a day intended for Europe, saying Kiev would have to pay for it.

Ukraine is sending its own gas to EU states, Kiev says

Kiev/Brussels - Ukraine is sending gas from its own reserves to EU states Romania and Hungary to compensate for a fall in supply from Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Ukraine's gas company said Saturday.

Russian Gas Exports to Bulgaria Fall by 15 Per Cent

Bulgaria is receiving 15% less natural gas from Russia due to the dispute between Gazprom and the Ukranian government, state-owned gas provider Bulgargaz reported, quoted by Reuters on Saturday.

Russia said to be awaiting Ukraine response to talks offer

Negotiations over disputed gas contracts cannot resume because there has been no relevant response from the Ukrainian side, Gazprom's export head Alexander Medvedev said in Prague on Saturday.

Oman says to trim 2009 spending if sub-$45 oil

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Oman will cut public spending this year if the average oil price slips below the $45 per barrel it budgeted for 2009, the economy minister said on Saturday.

The curse of Nigerian oil

Attacks on oil industry facilities and kidnappings for ransom are frequent in the creeks of the Niger Delta, which is home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.

The BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts argues that Nigeria's "black gold" has brought wealth to a few but fuels greed and corruption on a grand scale.

6 Reasons Why Nuclear Power Can't Save Us

1. Length of time to come on stream

Commissioning and building new plants is a time-consuming business (at least twenty years), so they would have little or no impact on cutting emissions over the next twenty years, nor build any resilience in the face of peak oil.

2. Insurance

The insurance industry refuses to underwrite nuclear power, a gap it looks like the government will have to fill, resulting in a huge invisible subsidy for nuclear power.

Happy (Motoring) Days Are Here Again

Ed "We don't have to worry about Peak Oil for at least 50 years" Wallace, who runs a local auto industry supported and focused talk show in the Dallas/Fort Worth DFW) area, had a roundtable of auto dealers this morning. It appears that most dealers in the DFW area ran out of large SUV's and trucks at the end of the year, and--drumroll please--the Hummer guy had his best sales month of the year in December. Oh happy days!

I'm starting to see Hummers on the street again. For awhile, they were pretty scarce. No more.

Apparently the wholesale price of large truck/SUV's has risen by about $2,500 to $5,000 in past four months, while used hybrid prices have fallen by about the same range.

In purely economic terms, I suppose the prices make sense--of course assuming that fossil fuel resources are virtually infinite.

Apparently the wholesale price of large truck/SUV's has risen by about $2,500 to $5,000 in past four months, while used hybrid prices have fallen by about the same range.

Should be a good time to trade in a truck/SUV for a hybrid. It is usually a good investment strategy to go against the crowd, and once oil rebounds, this situation could reverse in a hurry.

When the gas prices head up again, these same people will be screaming for a bail out, including elimination of the gas tax. Meanwhile, they are having a cornucopiagasm. Notice the Georgians' gas taxes are going down in a time of low gas prices. What boneheads. No doubt they will be getting money from the Fed to repair/build those roads that can't be done with their low gas taxes.

So much for the ridiculous theory that we have seen a permanent change in Americans' taste for the kinds of autos they buy.

It's hopeless. Screw it. I am now firmly in the doomer camp for 2009. So much for my resolve to give Obama a chance. Until I see specific policies proposed and passed to stop this nonsense, it's doomer time all the way.

Happy Freaking Doomer New Year!!!

That's a good point. It triggers a great idea: receipt of stimulus money for road infrastructure should be contingent on setting a minimum state gasoline tax.

Happy Freaking Doomer New Year back at ya.


tstreet, You have a great sense of doomer :-)

And yet, today's NYT Business Section lead article is "Desperate Retailers Try Frantic Discounts and Giveaways". Buy one a 2008 Ram and get another car free. Plus all kinds of other amazing stuff.

Also big articles in NYT, WSJ, and FT about manufacturing around the world dropping off a cliff.

And there's an article in the NYT about creditors actually easing up on delinquent accounts -- better a partial payback than none.

The new trucks and SUV's were marked down to sell in the DFW area in December, but they did sell. Dealers were determined to reduce their inventory. Probably a lot of regional differences. The prices of used trucks and SUV's have increased because there was virtually no market for them this past summer.

The dealers also talked about an increased gas tax. One dealer said that there was no alternative to large vehicles and cheap gas for most Americans. He said that we might ultimately transition to more walkable communities, with mass transit and small European style cars, but he basically said that for now, the American Suburban Way of Life is non-negotiable.

Aren't there occasions when not to negotiate, is to negotiate poorly?

Not that we could convince the rank-and-file Bubbas to take another course... Texas would probably secede first ;-)

My apologies if this has already been posted:

Ford hoping to attract enthusiasts with '10 Shelby

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is looking to appeal to muscle car enthusiasts with its 2010 Ford Shelby GT500.
Although the Shelby is a high-end specialty car, Ford hopes that the pumped up design — racing stripes that adorn the seats — and performance help show off the company's commitment to high performance and quality.
Consumers unable to buy a Shelby may go to Ford showrooms and end up purchasing a new Mustang with a V6 or V8 engine, Hall said.
The 2010 model also improves its highway mileage performance by two miles per gallon with an estimated 22 mpg on highways and 14 mpg in the city.


"If Texas were a country, the refineries lining the Gulf would make it the eighth-largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world."

Alberta has been getting the same kind of heat for its oilsands operations. Various strategies are being proposed.

Re: Global Warming Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

When one reads this story from the Washington Post, one again sees the massive problem we all face. Efforts to solve the climate change problem will most surely impact the economy in negative ways. The Cap-and-Trade proposals are directed at just the industrial side of the economy and don't directly address the individual consumers, who are the "source" of most of the CO2 emissions. This is especially true for petroleum, which fuels almost all transport.

Nowhere is there any mention of the other side of the problem, which is Peak Oil. As oil production peaks and begins to decline, we must expect that the average man on the street will not be satisfied with limits on his/her CO2 emissions, especially as coal or tar sands or oil shale would be the most likely alternatives for BAU.

In reality, life is only today. Planning for the future is pointless when today's world will always try to maximize income and the hell with tomorrow. The future looks very bleak. I would be temped to crawl back into a cave on some island (remember Pitcairn Island?), except I doubt that such a move would be worth the effort...

E. Swanson

Jared Diamond sees Pitcairn Island as a warning:

Just as the collapse of the Polynesian society on Easter Island warns us that environmental mismanagement can destroy those guilty of it, the fates of the people who lived on Pitcairn and Henderson warn us that societies can also be annihilated by the environmental mistakes of others.

Sea levels are predicted to rise anywhere from a foot per year to thousands of feet in a century, or maybe tomorrow. Who has a link to a scientifically accurate site that has world-wide sea level measurements (probably there must be thousands of locations being monitored, based up the immense and imminent size of problem which forecasters are confident will result in the complete and utter demise of the earth) for the last 100 years? Especially showing the last 10 years as a guide for extrapolation (how many feet or meters did it rise in these past ten years; how many thousands of coastal sqaure miles have been lost in the US?). Maybe the US invaded Iraq to obtain more land mass as we are daily losing ours. How many people living now inland have taken out flood insurance and do you think I should? (I live in Oklahoma, but am only 900 feet above the current sea level.)

I've tested about 50 of these. look at Osolo, N and Galveston pier 21 for starters. Kind of like the out-liers.

Notice any shift in the recent trends? I think its mostly subsidance and the effect of the loss of the ice sheets in the higher latitudes.

Sea levels are predicted to rise anywhere from a foot per year to thousands of feet in a century, or maybe tomorrow.

You must be watching Sci-Fi. The climate modelers only have something like 2-4 feet for the entire century. Even if ALL the ice on the planet were melted, sea level would only rise by a couple of hundred feet. The real danger is to very low lying areas with very small slopes.

And TODAY areas formerly protected by sea ice...:


Sea levels are predicted to rise anywhere from a foot per year to thousands of feet in a century, or maybe tomorrow.

Strawmen are rarely effective... and when constructed such that that don't even look like a "man", even less so.

Sea Level is a complex topic (of course!)... what after all is "sea level." There are many discussions on this topic online, if one is willing to look.

In recent decades sea level has rise has increased to an average of around 3mm/yr. The IPCC and other conservative collectives estimate sea level rise by 2100 of around a couple of feet, most of that coming from thermal expansion of water already in the sea. More aggressive estimates that include greater ice melt are that by 2100 several feet of rise could be possible.

Some sites to check:
From the UK: http://www.pol.ac.uk/psmsl/
From Aus: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/

And some articles that highlight the developing research:
2001: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v415/n6871/abs/415512a.html
2007: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7198/abs/nature07080.html
2008: http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnL15778750.html

I think you guys missed the sarconol.

Nope - jblunt pretends to be a contrarian. More of a troll tho.

Not to venture a guess about the question of sea level rise, BUT, the IPCC report and other related scientific studies do not include the effects of any feedbacks, period. We "seem" to be seeing the impacts in the methane releases in Siberia, in the accelerated melting of Artic Polar ice, and glaciers receeding at speeds not predictable ro predicted. Each of these events has its own set of impacts, but the melting events are masking the heating by providing an offsetting cooling, which itself will not be repeated when the persistent ice has disappeared - the temperature impact is mitigated by the dispersal of the cooling as it melts. For the disparate world population which is impacted by the rises, the oceans which are becoming increasingly acidic due to near-full absorption with CO2, and the changing global temperature patterns impacting agriculture and changing the homeostasis many species depend upon, even the few mm's per year is too much.

Right. The most dramatic impacts of AGW are shifting wind, current, and rainfall patterns. A few degrees on average, or a few centimeter (it'll probably be several meters, though) aren't as scary as long-used agricultural areas becoming dustbowls, while perhaps some former deserts just wash away in a grand-canyon sort of thing.

i asked that question a few weeks ago(the cooling effect of polar ice melt) and was assured that no such effect existed, or was so minor as to not be noticable.

i have noticed that local weatherpersons are frequently over estimating daytime highs, probably based on their gen x,y or z experience and their beloved models. a local gen-y weatheratti told us that the model for yesterday showed a 32 degree high, but he was going with 36, actual was 30.

this may be a colder than normal winter, possibly much colder. i'm looking for a spike in ng prices, about monday. another arctic blast is headed for the ne us.

gas drilling rig counts(early december) have dropped to a level which was previously able to support production about 7 bcf/d less than the july '08 high.

Any given day, week, month of weather is not going to tell you anything about changing climate, so obsessing about how accurate your weatherman is is pretty pointless. This is even more true when you consider that weather models are not the same as climate models.

Do bear in mind the climate models have been accurate... except for UNDERstating the reality. Anyway...

There has been a shift in wind patterns in the Arctic which bring more warm air in from the Pacific, I believe it is.

Consider: if cold air is being displaced by a general change in wind patterns,does it not make sense there might be some of that heading south into the US?



Exactly, which is why I dislike "Global Warming".

Many are complaining about a particularly bad winter in the Northern Hemisphere and say "Bring on Global Warming!"

At the risk of being simplistic, if large arctic air masses are flooding Canada and the northern US, that cold mass must be replaced by something else, presumably from a lower latitude, and hence warmer.

The cold (lack of heat) that might have ordinarily remained in the Arctic region would keep the area colder, longer, and delayed the heating cycle in spring. Some of this may be cyclical but each year we are finding greater sea ice melting at a faster rate and higher ambient temperature in a distinct trend, as has been predicted (except at a lower rate).

Thus, IMO, people freezing their tushies off in NA are experiencing climate change, just not what they were expecting.

Exactly, which is why I dislike "Global Warming".

Think we can get everyone switched over to Anthropogenically-driven Climate Chaos (ACC)?


I'm in!! Let's spread the word unless someone other than P-P has a serious objection. :-P

Cheers back at ya

Well, climate change, ironically, came out of the BuCheney administration's attempt to make Global Warming sound less scary. Maybe we just throw a mind warp on Obama and - viola! - done!

Don't know any telepaths, do you?



From the link (emphasis mine):

Many centuries ago, immigrants came to a fertile land blessed with apparently inexhaustible natural resources. It lacked a few raw materials that were important for industry, but they were readily obtained by overseas trade. For a time, the land and its neighbors prospered, and their people multiplied.

But the population of the rich land grew too large for even its abundant resources. As its forests were stripped and its soils eroded, the land could no longer nourish even its own population, let alone grow food for export. Then, as trade declined, the imported raw materials began to run short. A kaleidoscopically changing succession of local military leaders overthrew established political institutions, and civil war spread. To survive, the starving populace turned to cannibalism. The fate of their former overseas trading partners was even worse: deprived of the imports on which they had depended, they ravaged their own environments until no one was left alive.

The modern day equivalents of Pitcairn Island are nations like Japan and Taiwan. These densely populated countries will eventually be "deprived of the imports on which they had depended" - namely, fossil fuels.

There is a crucial difference, however: the original Pitcairn Islanders weren't armed with ICBMs.

Cannibalism will work until the last cannibal dies of starvation!!!

So, two cannibals are sitting around eating a comedian. One cannibal says to the other, "does this taste funny to you?"


... The good news is that we have a choice, which the ancient Polynesians never had. We now know, as they could not, of the fates that environmental mismanagement visited upon past societies.

I don't know that ICBMs will make a difference one way or the other. Perhaps for a while, but we are so far into overshoot now that Diamond's summation looks like giddy optimism.

The other factoid worth mentioning about Pitcairn has been demonstrated by the mutineers — the island is probably to small to support a long-term viable human population. In Polynesian times they also depended on long distance trade to keep the gene pool stirred.


"Now people with gross incomes of 185 percent of the federal poverty level, up from 130 percent, are eligible for the program. That's $3,269 a month for a family of four. And people will no longer have to spend down their savings for their children's college education or their retirement to qualify.

"That's still lower income, but when you take away the onus of being the poorest of the poor, people realize, 'This is for me!'" said Renée Richardson, the director of the program.

"3Squares VT is more than just a renamed Food Stamp program," Douglas declared. "It is an expanded supplemental nutrition assistance program that can help more hard-working Vermonters than ever put three square meals on their table. Calling the program by a more accurate name can help mit-igate some of the embarrassment or stigma some applicants might associate with the program."

I think this is an important story - food stamps are now normative, a food subsidy that applies to a significant portion of the population. With 1 in 9 nationally, and 1 in 6 in Michigan, DC and a few other areas, and this same transition occurring, I think we are now moving officially into the area of admitting that food is not affordable to average American families, removing the stigma from food stamps, and moving into an era of universal or near universal food subsidy.

I wonder how the rest of the world will view America's increasingly universal food subsidy? The US has pushed hard on poorer nations to reduce food subsidies.

On a purely personal level, it is a bit shocking to realize that my family would qualify for food stamps in VT! Thankfully not even remotely needed!



I'm reminded of Iraq, where it was relatively easy to set up a voter registration system because everyone was already registered with the government - to get their food ration cards.

We may eventually end up in eco-villages, but I have a feeling we're going to pass through 1984 first.

but I have a feeling we're going to pass through 1984 first.

Will Sarah Palin be "Big Sister"? My greatest fear about Obama being elected is that we haven’t hit bottom yet , he will get blamed for everything, and the result will be the election of a right wing reactionary candidate in 2012. I would have rather seen McCain take the fall.

If Obama continues on the road he has embarked upon (business as usual regarding the economy, patronage appointments like Geithener and Summers that are bought-and-paid-for-by-the-finance-industry) and the economy continues on its downward trajectory through 2012 (so that the economy remains the most salient issue), we might see a replay of a couple of phenomena that have previously manifested themselves in U.S. presedential politics:

(1) The emergence of an extremely successful third-party populist candidate like William Jennings Bryan or Huey Long, or

(2) The Republican Party throw the finance industry overboard and take a populist slant a la Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt.

Obama may indeed get "blamed for everything," and much of that blame might be well deserved.

My first reaction was to think Obama is really wasting an opportunity. He could push for real change, between his mandate and the terrible situation we're in.

But then, it might be that just electing Obama was as much change as some sectors can take. He probably feels he needs to reassure people by being as conventional as possible.

The rank-and-file Repubs lost a gambit opportunity when they sided with the bailouts. I think a populist message now would include:
1) Heads rolling. No-fault is a bit of a stretch. Lots of investigations, some convictions, and changing of the guard at Fed and Treasury
2) Tracking the money. Everybody wants to know the details, mundane and salacious, of where the billions have gone. Rules get changed every day -- would be funny to flip on the accounting lights and watch the roaches scurry.
3) Making examples -- a few big companies, including finance, need to be dissolved with every senior exec in court to claw back pay and bonuses.
4) Give some relief to the working, saving, current-on-their-bills middle class.
5) Tighten banking laws, especially for high finance.

It's going to be a hard next couple of years. The party that successfully gets in front of "it's really bad, and we're going to punish the guilty, reign in abuse, and help you out" would soar to power in 2 years.

We really don't know what's going to happen with the economy. It could recover by 2012, and Obama winds up the big hero.

But it could also take a turn for the worse (This is my prediction, hoping I'm wrong, and humbled by the fact of just how incredibly wrong my predictions have been over the past 12 months--I believed we would never see oil below $100/barrel again).

Whichever way the economy goes is how the "masters of the universe" will be viewed by the majority. In the past, pragmatism has prevailed in American politics. Frederick Lewis Allen explains:

For the rich and powerful could maintain their prestige only by giving the general public what it wanted. It wanted prosperity, economic expansion. It had always been ready to forgive all manner of deficiencies in the Henry Fords who actually produced the goods, whether or not they made millions in the process. But it was not disposed to sympathize unduly with people who failed to produce the goods..

Frederick Lewis Allen, Since Yesterday

It appears that Obama, at least where the economy is concerned, has thrown in his lot with the masters of the universe. Roosevelt also started out his presidency by doing the same thing. Unknown is Obama's political acumen. Can he rise to the challenge like Roosevelt did, throwing the masters of the universe overboard as the economy continued to sour, so that he stays one step ahead of the Father Coughlins and Huey Longs of the world?

Great strife and turmoil make for great leaders. I think Obama is going to have the opportunity to show his stuff. If the economy continues downward, and if he fails to rise to the challenge, I can already hear the swish of the guillotine.

World War II helped make the U.S. the economic engine of the world with a dominant manufacturing base.. With the right combination of stimulus and some luck, they were able to get the economy going again. Throw in some new techniques of consumer manipulation, and they were on their way.

Things are different now, including the fact that our manufacturing base has been hollowed out and we can not compete with the likes of China. Our previous bubble was based primarily on housing and finance. And what are we doing now? We are desperately trying to resuscitate those sectors as we are left with few alternatives.

Alternative energy? Other than installation jobs, I cannot see how we compete in the manufacturing arena in those areas either. If we are able to compete, it will be after a radical reduction of wages. In short, we will be able to compete by making most of us poorer.

Frankly, no one, including Obama, will be able to restore what Americans consider their rightful place in the world. We will continue to try to cling to our military superiority while our economy continues to go down the tubes. Any recovery will be a short lived one because our economy is fundamentally unsound and we will not be able to compete on a long lived basis.

The American empire is so over. It is time we made alternative arrangements. But then, most of the people frequenting this site already know that.

Does the U.S. now find itself in the same position as 17th-century Spain, 18th-century Holland or 19th-century England: a great empire in its twilight years? Or are we in a period like those that followed the American Gilded Age or the Roaring Twenties, which were mere roadbumps to even greater glory and prosperity?

If it's the former, I'd like to respond to your comment with a couple of historical observations made by Kevin Phillips:

[W]ars, especially ones with bold new dimensions of geography, expense, and technology, have played critical negative roles in the ebb of the previous leading world economic powers.

Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy


Beyond proposals for wealth taxes and curbs on corporate salaries...potential radicalism could respond to several peculiarly American situations. To begin with, high taxes on the assets, incomes, or consumption patterns of the rich--or all three--could be used in the twenty-first century to fund the late-twentieth-century promises of entitlements like Social Secutiry and Medicare. Inheritance taxation, rather than being ended, could be rearranged to diminish wealth concentration in a new way: by taxing individuals on their cumulative inheritances over a certain amount rather than collecting from decendents' estates... In Britain, changes that seemed impossible in 1902 or 1904 became serious discussions in 1909, law in 1913, and were supplanted by even tougher statutes in 1919 or 1938...

As the twenty-first century gets underway, the imbalance of wealth and democracy in the United States is unsustainable, at least by traditional yardsticks. Market theology and unelected leadership have been displacing politics and elections. Either democracy must be renewed, with politics brought back to life, or wealth is likely to cement a new and less democratic regime--plutocracy by some other name.


Thus far, Americans' boundless hope in the possibility of future riches has kept down any serious attempts to redistribute income. After all, we could all win the lottery tomorrow. At some point, though, perhaps there will be an awakening that things simply aren't going to get any better for the vast majority of Americans and they will begin to challenge the arguments of the rich that redistribution is not in the interests of the general welfare. In the past, we have had near confiscatory marginal income taxes. The death of trickle down theory could bring us back to those times.

The biggest argument against high taxes is that they kill incentive. While I think this argument has always been overstated, I have not found it persuasive because it is irrelevant in the context of zero growth. Even if one stipulates that high tax rates retard growth, I think that is an argument in their favor.

Anyway, the idea of zero or negative growth may not be a policy choice but something imposed upon us because of our inability to grow due to energy, resource constraints, and feedbacks from climate change in the agricultural area.

At the end of the day, regardless of what one feels about the efficacy of the financial bailout, we are bailing out the rich. To what extent is not known because of the lack of transparency, that fact being a good cause for suspicion. The lack of outrage would indicate that perhaps Americans are permancently comatose. Is it the drugs? TV? Cell phones? Ipods? What is it?

An argument *for* high taxes that I saw the other day went like this:

When taxes are low, people tend to focus on short-term gain, which oftentimes leads to things like speculation and flipping. While people can make a lot of money with these sorts of activities, in the broader scheme they are unproductive and can lead to speculative bubbles.

When taxes are high (perhaps I should qualify this as taxes on short-term gains), then the focus shifts to long-term growth.

I haven't come up with a counter argument to argue against this...

I disagree with the general premise. A lot of people would like to save for their retirements and kids education. The gov't has also proven to be a very poor steward of long term savings. The fact that social security and medicare funding is such a mess are just two examples.

I agree. Optimism springs eternal. But you and I are certainly contrarians, and certainly in the minority. And we could be wrong. Just how far from the mainstream are we? It came home to me when I heard over the holidays that Obama thus far has an 82% approval rating. Almost everybody loves him. Almost everybody is optimistic that the country can right its economic ship.

So how did we (the nation) get here? Even the classical liberal economists recognized the limits of growth:

In a country which has acquired that full complement of riches which the nature of its soil and climate, and its situation with respect to other countries, allowed it to acquire, which could therefore advance no further, and which was not going backward, both the wages of labor and the profits of stock would probably be very low.

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

I'm about halfway through Nicolas Taleb's The Black Swan. He treats extensively on the subject of how people forecast and make predictions--"that great anticipation machine" he calls it. It's human nature to predict, and for a variety of reasons, people tend to think linearly. For over two centuries it's been upwards and onwards for the U.S. People--neoclassical economists and financial "experts" being some of the most committed to this theory--project that upward trendline indefinitely into the future.

But there's a falacy in that sort of linear thinking. Taleb uses the metaphor of the turkey. He gets fed for 1000 days running. And on day 1001 it's the axe. So his 1000 days of experience, and his belief that day 1001 would be just like days 1 to 1000, fails him.

Kevin Phillips rounds out the picture, delving more into the motives of those who promoted the "money-cuture ethics":

In the 1980s, as befitting an age of knowledge industries and communications, the selling of a new political economics was mounted through a well-financed network of foundations, societies, journals, and theories. Broadly, their efforts were designed to uphold corporations, profits, consumption, wealth, and upper-brakcet tax reduction and to undercut government and regulation. Some of those involved antedated the 1970s, most noatably University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman and the "Chicago School" of free market economics. All together, they would give self-interest--critics substituted selfishness and greed--another philosophic era in the sun...

[B]y 2000 the conservative restatement of old-market theology, antiregulatory shibboleths, God-wants-you-to-be-rich theology, and Darwinism had built up the greatest momentum since the days of Herbert Spencer and William Graham Summner.

Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy

But it was Reinhold Niebuhr who was perhaps most clairvoyant:

For, from the later Puritans to the present day we have variously attributed American prosperity to our superior diligence, our greater skill or (more recently) to our more fervent devoton to the ideals of freedom. We thereby have complicated our spiritual problem for the days of adversity which we are bound to experience. We have forgotten to what degree the wealth of our natural resources and the fortuitous circumstance that we conquered a continent just when the advancement of technics made it possible to organize that continent into a single political and economic unit, lay at the foundation of our prosperity.

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

Another important point is the USA drained it's own oil fields to achieve this supremacy in War and Post War production. The USA coasted on this industrial base and it's oil until 1970's and now the jig is up.

A radical reduction of wages coupled with a collapse of the dollar plus hefty domestic energy production should be a "workable" solution.......if only we can get there.

The past 20 years of artificial dollar strength supported by borrowing has hamstrung the manufacturing base while benefiting high finance, and the current bailouts prevented the nascent rebirth of export growth from gaining traction. We ARE going to crash, but we MIGHT be able to claw out the other side, but only if we have energy to power the re-growth. To me, that is critical.

I listen to "conservative" talk radio. A lot of the callers said they were voting for Obama because they thought GWB had screwed things up so badly that they wanted a Democrat there to take the blame. They figured that four years of it going all to sh*t would usher in 16 years of Republicans, hopefully conservative ones this time.

What is the vision the "conservatives" of talk radio project? I can't bear to listen to them, so I would appreciate someone filling me in.

Certainly, government "bailout" of the "free market" is hardly a conservative notion -- even if the cause of it was all those teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs who bought McMansions knowing full well they could never pay their mortgages.

So, does Rush have a philosophy of conservative thought? Or is he really just a mouthpiece for the current holders of wealth? And will he change when the guard changes? Can we expect "Hail to the Chief" from these guys in 2009?

I'm confused.

Well, they run the gamut.

The big things are:

1. Global Warming is made up. They all agree on this point. Its a big conspiracy by the greedy scientists to get more funding, and the people who hate business.

2. Taxes are bad. So are poor people.

3. Most importantly for our purposes here, they all believe that there are unlimited amounts of easily extractable hydrocarbons in the Good Ole' USA that we could get to, if the Sierra Club (apparently the most influential lobbying group) would just get out of the way (see #1 above).

I don't hear Rush much, as he is on during the middle of the day, but he is primarily partisan, not much of a conservative idealogue. He is also probably the most entertaining of the bunch.

Sean Hannity is super-partisan, and doesn't hesitate to jettison his conservative principles if it benefits a Republican.

Mark Levin is just a nutjob, always screaming at people, and xenophobe? (he always sneers "Jon Leeee...ibowitz" when talking about Jon Stewart (despite Levin being Jewish himself) and never failing to use Obama's middle name.

Our local guys (Minnesota) are a little better. Jason Lewis can actually intelligently discuss monetary policy, and spends more time talking bad about Republicans who have "Sold Out" than Democrats. Chris Baker is just funny, and also conservative.

What are conservatives trying to conserve? It sure isn't the environment. It certainly isn't civil liberties since they oppose reproductive rights for women and the burning of a flag bought and paid for by the burner. It isn't separation of church and state since they promote school prayer and deification of the pledge of alliegance. It isn't fiscal responsibility since their favorite president (Reagan) doubled the national debt. Law and order? They are the ones who cut government spending by firing employees of regulatory agencies like the Office of Thrift Supervision, SEC, EPA, OSHA, local police departments,etc. Conservatives are opposed to regulation of business no matter how harmful the business activity is to not just the environment and other people's economic well being but also the right to sue a business for those very torts.

The bush administration has not proven to be fiscally conservative, a conservative steward of the US Constitution
or conservative in their use of the military. People that say bush is conservative don't know the meaning of the word.

We may eventually end up in eco-villages, but I have a feeling we're going to pass through 1984 first.

And I have a feeling that the history of 'eco-villages' look more like peasantry than Jeffersonian free farmers. Some light reading I was doing yesterday:

Thanks, Ron.

The problem with villages is that the first thing any smart wants to do is to get out of them and move to the nearest city. An 'eco-village' is just a village with the modifier 'eco' in front of it.

Well, if CO is thanking me, I must have done something wrong! ;-)

America has a strong history of 'free farmers,' village democracy (think New England), and independent ranchers (think High Plains) to draw upon. It's just that with a relatively high urbanization, most of our population does not understand 'self-sufficiency.' Any emergency govt mandated 'back to the farms' project is not going to be able to follow a Jefferson/New England model. If govt collapses completely, any urban refugees are going to be treated more like serfs than citizens.

Sorry, Carolus, at this point in the game, in a collapse scenario, I'd rather have my hands in the soil growing food than holding the gun protecting the tax collector who is going to haul it off to the nearest city or even sit in an office cube planning the daily food distribution routes. Ideally, I'd plant your 'city-zen' under the compost pile. Too many people want to play Chief - we need more Indians. And I have a sneaky feeling (possibly unfounded) that you'd make a terrible Chief and an unproductive Indian.

I have a sneaky feeling (possibly unfounded) that you'd make a terrible Chief and an unproductive Indian.

Thanks Ron - you flatter me. I'm quite happy to accept some intermediate post, such as inspector of farm worker productivity under the new dispensation. Don't mind getting a bit of fresh air occasionally before I return to my office for some mouse-and-keyboard work.

America has a strong history of 'free farmers,' village democracy (think New England), and independent ranchers (think High Plains) to draw upon.

At the time the country's population was less than 10% of what it is today. This return-to-the-soil stuff doesn't scale up to 300 million. Your village will have to become an independent statelet or gated community designed to keep the others out. Pretty simple calculations: agricultural surface divided by total population = mass starvation (unless all we grow is cereals).

But given that I stipulated a collapse scenario, its not like there are a lot of choices. Let's enumerate:

Eat the wildlife
Eat other peoples food
Eat your own food
Eat each other

Fast collapse scenarios have a low probability of occurring. But if they do occur, what can you do to improve your chances? Does preparing for such an event incur unacceptable costs? For me, survival gardening is a hobby that improves my life now and improves my chances down the road. There is no real downside. I have to invest some time learning and exercising new skills. I have to invest some money in obtaining tools and materials. But as a hobby, these are not out of line. I don't need to sell everything and move to survivalist camp in order to harden my lifestyle. What I need to do is to turn away from the suburban attitude that the 1/2 acre plot is of value only as a child's playground or a status symbol by expensive landscaping.

Along the same lines, I am auditing my household, looking at the inputs and outputs, seeing where I can become more self-sufficient both in the short term (storm knocks out power, blizzard locks down transportation) and the med-long term (electricity becomes unreliable, natural gas quadruples in price). These should be common sense attitudes for home-owners, but are actually rather rare.

And by challenging conventional, complacent wisdom as to how we should live on our land, I find the eco-villagers are addressing issues and finding solutions that are of interest to me now. Vermiculture, home composting, raised beds, intensive gardening, olla watering, suburban fruit, nut, and berry trees. They are pioneering skills that we might all be drawing on in the future. Compare that attitude with "the problem is too big, we are all going to die" crowd, or worse, "the nothing to see here, move along, shop more" crowd. I'll share a beer with the eco-villagers any day.

Hmmmm ....

You've almost converted me, since your logic is pretty impeccable.

Perhaps I could eventually become some kind of consultant on these matters if I get a little bit of practice --- you know, something like 'Survival Gardening Tips and Tricks from Uncle Carolus', downloadable on Kindle for a mere $1.99 ....

... but will there be a Kindle after TEOTWAWKI and TSHTF?

Ron Broberg, excellent summary of now. CO, I believe you have just defined your next career. While you are consulting (after you have spent a few weeks training at a permaculture institute) you could be working on the solution for the mid term preservation of the internet/telecommunications that are generally a low energy solution. The latest Dell PowerEdgeTM Servers consume up to 25% less energy than previous generations.

Not that TBTB, aforementioned conservatives and others simply not paying attention care, but what are the top 10 institutions to preserve as we proceed through energy descent? How about:

1 - medical care
2 - water supply
3 - police-fire
4 - telecommunications
6 - food supply
7 - knowledge centers
8 - civil justice
9 - civilian chain of command
10- warriors

This return-to-the-soil stuff doesn't scale up to 300 million. Your village will have to become an independent statelet or gated community designed to keep the others out. Pretty simple calculations: agricultural surface divided by total population = mass starvation (unless all we grow is cereals).

Support this.

Nevermind, I'll un-support it for you. There are 407.5 million acres of arable land currently for 310 million people. If we grow enough food for export now, we can using natural farming, permaculture, intensive bio-farming, etc. (In fact, I'd go so far as to say we've a surplus of at least 1/3.) To claim otherwise is an untenable position supported by supposition and bias rather than facts and science.

This is especially true when we consider the successes using permaculture to reclaim previously non-arable land. (See Mollison, etc.)


Soylent Green here we come...

Have you ever gone to a riverboat casino?

I have. I saw what I judged to be poor people at the tables and pulling out $100 bills constantly.

Myself I took just $200 and lost that before the boat even reached midcurrent.

I wondered about what I saw. Its usually the poor and middle class in trouble who buy all those lotto tickets at the gas stations.

So then they get food stamps and use what they would have paid out of their own wages for gambling.

Its rather rampant along the Mississippi and now Ky has it feeding their budget so they now can't stop it and likely never will but it kills peoples lives.

My mother of 90 has gambled away most of her assests. She is addicted and would not go there at her age but the casinos send a bus to pick them up.

Its madness and its huge. So food stamps and multiple, many ,many welfare programs exist to supply those who gamble instead of feeding their children whom they brought into this world.

I am sure the devil is delighted.Yesterday at the tobacco where I sometimes go to bs with the owner and maybe play chess I watched a farm worker I knew well sit and gamble on a machine. His teeth were rotted into stubs from meth. His wife leaves him but always comes back since they have 5 small children who lead miserable lives while he gambles constantly.

I don't go to that shop much anymore since the poker machines were installed. I get pissed when I have to wait to pay for my gas when someone at the counter is busy rubbing away on lotto tickets.

Sometimes I get rash and tell them to get out of the way.

gambling money = school breakfasts+foodstamps+wic+............


Actually Lotto tickets are a boon to states, the primary means of retrieving their food stamp money. States call it Lotto I call it stupid tax.

The lottery: a tax on people who are bad at math.

But even gambling seems to be suffering in this economy. That conventional wisdom was that "vices" do well in depression - booze, gambling, entertainment. That may not hold true this time. Those seem to be suffering just as much as everything else. Just ask Las Vegas.

I think Vegas' problems have more to do with the fact that you have to get there first. It's the $1000 upfront cost before you play a hand of blackjack or watch a stripper that's deterring people.

How are state Lotto operations doing? The parking lot of the bar by me is packed full.

How about a slot machine gas tax, the pump has three reels on it each with 1-5 on them. After you have pumped your gas it displays the price, somewhere between $1.11 and $5.55.

Here's anecdotal evidence of the role the main stream media plays in keeping the dream of beating the odds alive:

A British woman uses her last five pounds for a lottery card and wins a million.


I have a friend who helped set up the Ca. lottery.

He says "you have as much chance of winning the lottery whether you buy a ticket or not"

Here's a fascinating contrarian viewpoint on the pros and cons of food stamps:

1) The poor don't need more food. Obesity is a problem for the poor in America; except for people who are too screwed up to get food stamps (because they don't have an address), food insufficiency is not.

2) Food stamps only imperfectly translate into increased cash income, meaning that the poor will spend . . . more money on food.


5) The economy doesn't need a food sector more distorted by daft government programs than it already is. If you want to give money to the poor, give it to them. Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.


The poor may not need more food, but they do need higher quality food. Junk food is cheap. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat are expensive. If people eat more expensive fresh food and less cheap junk food, they'd probably be healthier.

This would argue for increasing the denomination of food stamps, rather than increased eligibility.

Remember this year when several members of congress tried to live for a week on the food stamp allowance ($21/week)? They said it was pretty tough.

After a friend in the local foods movement in Tulsa told me he and his family tried the food stamp limitations on their family, and a dollar a meal per person per day was doable, but they had to include too much in the way of starches, my wife and I tried it. We used principally bulk foods and did get a good ration daily of fresh foods, but not everyone is willing to essentially cook from scratch as we did. No falling off the wagon for four weeks, and we did keep accurate records. IIRC, the average cost per day for each of us was in the range of $2.25, and we kept separate records. It does take more time, however, and would not many people's lifestyles. Plus, I don't know of any Whole Foods markets located in low income areas, or farmer's markets either. Also, I did not take into account the travel needed to maintain our stock of bulk foods. With our inadequate public transportation, most people in Oklahoma would not have been able to replicate our experiences.

Of course, we could have grown our own produce, as most of the recipients of food stamps could do as well. That would add to the time burden we were laced with, however, and our experiment was far different from living with the need to have both a full belly and nutrition, expecially with young kids.

I am glad it was just an experiment. I don't generally eat at fast food places, but I do enjoy a decent dose of Mexican food, which I went without for those four weeks.

My family spends under $20 per adult per week on food in Los Angeles County without trying too hard. We buy $1 bread and 6/$1 bagels at Big Lots, and 40% off day-old bread at Wal-Mart. We never shop at the "Caucasian" supermarket chains. The "Asian" chains have far cheaper, fresher vegetables, because they don't spray them with water.

It's not yet expensive to eat, even in expensive areas of America, if you use your wits.

It is the corn based, including corn syrup laced, food that is the cheapest. Those of us who choose the healthy fruit and vegetables, which are not subsidized, are penalized for our healthy food choices. The appointment of Vilsack to the USDA was a sign that none of this will change. Arguably, our agricultural policy is subsidizing the killing of people through obesity and diseases like diabetes. It is a crime against the poor and the uninformed and, frankly, I understand why poor people make bad food choices.

Personally, I think real hunger (which is on the rise in the US - not "food insecurity" but actual, go to bed hungry and malnutrition hunger) is more real than McCardle admits. It is still a small issue, but every sign suggests it is growing, from kids hoarding their school lunches to take home to the signs of malnutrition in poor children whose family are spending their food budget on heating bills.

But more importantly, I actually think that food stamps are potentially a very useful tool - they reallocate wealth to the poorest people, and as Leanan often points out, they get money of sort moving into the economy. They are the opposite of the bailouts - so as long as we are throwing money around, they are a superb way of allocating it. If states were smart, they'd do as Michael Pollan suggests and double their value at farmer's markets, keeping more money in the states themselves and pushing low income small farmers up out of poverty as well, besides reinforcing local food security.

But most importantly, food stamp universality can and should be seen as the proof that the industrial food system's single virtue - its cheapness - is no longer a virtue. And a system with no virtues, well, that's ripe for change. More on this: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/01/03/universal-food-stamps/



The Boston Globe had an article on the "heat or eat" problem the poor face.

I've also seen articles about babies who die of "water intoxication" because their parents can't buy a full month's worth of formula with their WIC allotment, and so water it down to try and stretch it.

And you believe the Boston Globe? Unbelievable!!

It was a national news story.

"The poor don't need more food. "

You are correct that they do not need more calories, but it is not true that they do not need more food. Agriculture subsides in the US have made high calorie (mostly corn) foods cheap. Unsubsidized vegetables and whole grains are expensive for poor families.

According to Michael Pollan, A University of Washington study showed that energy-dense snack foods cost on average $1.76 per 1,000 calories, compared with $18.16 per 1,000 calories for low-energy but nutritious foods.

Moreover, low-calorie foods were more likely to increase in price, increasing 19.5 % over the two-year study period. During the same period, high-calorie foods dropped in price by 1.8 %

A 2,000-calorie diet would cost just $3.52 a day if it consisted of junk food, compared with $36.32 a day for a diet of low-energy dense foods.

In addition, Megan McArdle consistently demonstrates her idiocy while writing about a wide range of topics of which she has no clue (IMHO although Economist Brad DeLong seems to agree. )

It is actually perfectly medically possible (and not that uncommon) to be suffering simultaneously from obesity and undernutrition.


Sharon - off topic

I had an epiphany that I had to share with you. It's for the title for your next book. At the University of Wisconsin, they had a class called "From Shtetl to Suburb". There was also a 1996 book by Irving Cutler called "The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb".

I think you should call your next book "From Suburb to Shtetl"

Unsubsidized vegetables and whole grains are expensive for poor families.

From a strictly ecological perspective, all food is subsidized by the drawdown of 'ancient sunshine' whose energy is stored in fossil fuels.

An aside: vegetables may be more 'nutritious' than cereals but the calorie input-output ratio is enormous -- as is indicated by their horrendous market prices, which roughly correspond to the quantity of energy required to produce them.

If you want to 'save the planet', grow cereals or potatoes, not fruit and vegetables.

Could you source that $36.32 per day? Is that for one person? My wife and I have an extremely high grocery bill but not near that high. We eat all organic fruits and vegetables plus other non meat foods like tofu, beans, and rice.


klee apparently copy-pasted most of his posting from an article in the NYT:


Ok. It was accurately quoted. But I still think there is something wrong with those numbers.

I used to follow that Well blog, and remember the debate. I think that the $36 number basically consists of carrots, tomatoes and such. Of course, nobody eats that. As was pointed out by many posters, beans and rice delivers a pretty good healthy calorie bang for the buck.

Still, $3 per day is pretty tough to eat off.

I would agree, considering there are a great many $9.00 all you can eat buffet restaurants in the USA where you could eat 5 pounds of vegetables daily if that is your preference.

That may indeed be the source I used for my ag policy lecture in Environmental Politics, although my notes cite Pollan so he might have referred to the same study. However my point was not that smart shoppers could not get around the expense of healthy food but that there is an explanation for the correlation between poverty and obesity and that US ag policy adds to the problem.

There is a narrative circulating that poverty doesn't really exist because after all, look at all those fat poor people.

There is a narrative circulating that poverty doesn't really exist because after all, look at all those fat poor people.

The narrative is that poverty is to some extent a social construction --- at any rate that the problems of low-earning lardbutts are trivial compared with those of the starving peoples of the third world. It's a question of proportion and of distinguishing between absolute and relative poverty.

The Murcan fatsos are relatively poor. In absolute terms, they are actually quite well off. Perhaps they would be somewhat better off without food stamps, though.

More unfunded government liabilities



By Louis Porter and DANIEL BARLOW Vermont Press Bureau - Published: January 3, 2009

MONTPELIER — By now it is probably no surprise to most Vermonters that the upcoming legislative session will likely be dominated by money. Or more accurately lack of it. . . .

From economic growth to telecommunications infrastructure to health care changes — with expected help from the federal government — the state can make progress, Shumlin said.


Help from the Federal Government = help from the working, productive members of society through higher taxes and or inflation. Do Americans really believe there is a separate economic sphere called government that has productive assets? Take out your wallet and brand it "Government". I can hardly wait for the multi-billion dollar bailout for California (and Wisconsin, Massachusetts, NY, etc.)

"I think we are now moving officially into the area of admitting that food is not affordable to average American families, removing the stigma from food stamps, and moving into an era of universal or near universal food subsidy."

Removing stigma from food stamps? Why not, stigma has been removed from bankruptcy. We are supposed to feel sorry for persons who have "tricked" into excessive debt by "greedy" creditors.

Paul in Nevada

I wonder who pays for this.

If you ask the question, it means you probably pay.

"the ethanol scam"

I agree that ethanol is a boondoggle but have recently changed my way of thinking about it because it increases the price of feed corn and makes it more difficult for feedlots to operate.

Beef is cheap today in more ways than one. Feedlots are not farming; they are factories where cattle are warehoused and stuffed full of corn and other grains, not to mention antibiotics to keep the diseases under control in such dense populations. Factory beef is relatively new, mostly since the post-WW2 era, so people don't realize it doesn't have to be that way. It depends on cheap oil to ship cattle from cow-calf operators to feedlots several provinces or states away where the animals are "finished" by stuffing them full before slaughter.

My father was a livestock veterinarian in central Alberta who kept several hundred Charolais and Hereford on the side. This was strictly a rangeland operation; the cattle spent their entire lives out on the range until the day they went to the packing plant. We fed them extra hay in winter, but never grain. When feedlots started to spread in the 1960s, Dad held them in contempt; it was no way to treat an animal.

I am hoping that Peak Oil will contribute to the destruction of the feedlot system, although I don't think it will happen in my lifetime.

Agree. Absurdity has a way of collapsing on itself eventually. A pity that so many people and animals have to suffer before we figure it out.

Dale - if you have expertise in this area and can tie in energy, this would be very interesting topic for Campfire series or in general - email to campfire@theoildrum.com. I often wonder how much energy we would save, system wide if we adopted different eating habits (both source and sink question - source being meat inputs, sink being how/if our health would improve)

"I often wonder how much energy we would save, system wide if we adopted different eating habits (both source and sink question - source being meat inputs, sink being how/if our health would improve)"

For me to find all the data, convert to a common kilojoules standard, and write it up would probably take me weeks of research, which I really don't want to do. However, on a qualitative basis, I can make some additional points about rangeland beef versus feedlot beef.

Water use: Our range cattle got their water from a dugout replenished by rainfall (central Alberta has a mesophytic climate), and because they only ate grass, had less of a demand for water. (Grain makes animals thirsty.) Feedlot cattle have water piped to them. In those feedlots, thousands of cattle are cramped into pens in a small area, concentrating a high water demand also into that area.

Manure: Our range cattle automatically fertilized the pasture they lived on. In the area where I grew up, I have personally seen two rivers (Medicine River, Blindman River) turn from clear water in the early 1960s to tea-coloured water by the middle 1970s because of the feedlots upstream.

Petroleum use: Feedlot cattle are grain-fed, usually corn in the USA. This crop growing requires vast direct inputs of oil for tractors and farm machinery, and indirectly for fertilizer and pesticides. Feedlot cattle are commonly bought from cow-calf operations who pasture their animals until sale, then ship them hundreds of kilometres by cattleliner truck to the feedlot. Most people do not realize how integrated the North American cattle market is. The beef you ate for dinner in New York City was probably born on an Alberta or North Dakota ranch, shipped to a Kansas feedlot for finishing, and sent to an Oklahoma slaughterhouse.

Antibiotics: Rangeland cattle only get antibiotics if they need it. Feedlot cattle get it because they must, living as they do shoulder-to-shoulder in pens.

Beef: The beef cuts are shipped hither and yon by reefer trucks and by air to foreign countries. Japan is one of North America's best customers for beef. Of course they can't feed themselves, but if North America had oil shortages and permanent $200 oil (not just a spike), neither could we in the style to which we have become accustomed.

Having grass fed beef tonight (Humboldt County origin). Stay away from that feedlot, corn fed toxic, industrial ADM corporate poison.

New EU President: Climate Change Is A Myth
London Times | David Charter | January 3, 2009 at 09:39 AM

The European Union's new figurehead believes that climate change is a dangerous myth and has compared the union to a Communist state.

The views of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, 67, have left the government of Mirek Topolanek, his bitter opponent, determined to keep him as far away as possible from the EU presidency, which it took over from France yesterday.

Luck this is a ceremonial position with no power. But this guy does have a future with the State Government in Oklahoma or Texas.

He does not fit in OK. We have a pretty conscientious group in State Government. Of course, we did re-elect tne NATIONAL embarassment to the Senate. It looks as if we will get an energy bill this coming session which includes some green energy components. We do have a decent version of Demand Side Management adopted by the Corporation Commission, with some workable provisions, but it was produced by the political process, so it ain't perfect.

I do think that OK went so RED in the last election because our economy is / was doing good, largely on the back of the oil and gas industries, but the politicians at the State level are not so bad as on the National level.

Oklahoma Vo Tech's have had a good track record training good workers for industry, and we hope that we will see them tking the lead on educating and training / retraining folks for green jobs - energy audits, weatherization for homes and businesses, and manufacturing and installing renewable energy products. Oklahoma has been in the lead in ground source heat pumps and the climate and environment are ideal for them. And, the people who work in the State are hard workers, it is the ones in Washington who need to have an opportunity to be retrained.

"Toyota's Solar Concept Might Not Be A Car At All"

The article links to another here: http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/12/toyota-goes-ele.html

Within which one finds this quote: "Our view is that oil production will peak in the near future. We need to develop power train(s) for alternative energy sources," company president Katsuaki Watanabe

So the President of Toyota is talking PO. I have been predicting massive electric car production/substitution. Gasoline cars will rapidly become a smaller and smaller % of new vehicles. How the financial meltdown affects this is beyond me, but from a perspective of how it should be, Toyota seems to get it. Why can't everybody?

Recall that Peter Wells consults to Toyota and his model shows PO in the next decade:

World Liquid Balance

For it to arrive that late, however, the following needs to be true:

  • Iraq production must almost treble
  • Saudi production must not decline at all

Wells-Iraq Production

OPEC Crude Oil

Hello Got2surf,

Thxs for the info. I hope Toyota is working on ripping the guts out of a Prius to power lots of regenerative braking, narrow gauge minitrains. It could be a huge global market much larger than standard-gauge rail.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Japan's great advantage in this is that it is an island nation with virtually zero natural resources.

They have no choice but to take it seriously, iow. I'm quite certain the anti-AGW crowd there is tiny and virtually silent. Just a guess, but if the Japanese have done even the most basic risk analysis, then they'll be going "green" much more quickly than the avg.


NASA scientists: over 2 trillion tons of ice has melted since 2003
01/02/2009 @ 9:17 pm

New satellite data presented by NASA scientists shows the loss of an estimated 2 trillion tons of ice from Greenland, the Antarctic and the North Poll: proof positive of global warming's dramatic effects, they claimed.

"'More than half of the loss of landlocked ice in the past five years has occurred in Greenland, based on measurements of ice weight by NASA's GRACE satellite,' said NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke, in a report by the Environmental News Network.

The Greenland melting, added Luthcke, appears to be accelerating.

That's about 5 mm of sea level rise. is that for 1 year or 5 years?

That's about 5 mm of sea level rise. is that for 1 year or 5 years?

I would think for 5years. Sea level rise is currently in the 4mm/year range, and about half is from thermal expansion (average temperature of sea water increasing).

I have been looking at some EV articles.. thinking about how 'hard' GM is working to make the Volt go 40 miles on a charge with Lithium.

Are they just praying that people won't look at what other EV's are capable of, and how long some NiMh batteries have been lasting?

Caption under Top Picture..

The Toyota RAV4 EV uses a NiMH battery pack. Some of these vehicles are more than ten years old and have accumulated more than 100,000 miles without needing new batteries. So why are car companies telling us that battery technology is 'not there yet?'

In the comments section.. FWIW

In the mid to late 1990s, Solectria's Force sedan with NiMH achieved about 200 miles per charge at highway speeds in a Tour De Sol rally and the Solectria Sunrise over 350 miles per charge in the same conditions. The GM EV1 with NiMH regularly achieved real world ranges of about 150 miles, and one example did 225 miles range pussyfooting it in a Tour De Sol Rally. The Toyota RAV4 EV, about 100 miles real world range, on a 26 kWh pack.

Nickel based batteries tend to have a shelf life in decades, as evidenced by members of the EV list with 30+ year old sets of functioning NiCds, Edison's NiFe batteries that are still operational in Jay Leno's antique EV, and even 10 year old sets of Panasonic NiMH in some of the oldest operational RAV4 EVs.

The most senior vehicles in the RAV4 EV fleet are over 150,000 miles with little to no range loss so far. Southern California Edison had something like 6 module failures in over 3 million miles of fleet use.

2 Comments by Doug Korthof..

To paraphrase one Ford VP, '...those NiMH, you just can't break the d*** things...', reported at the 2000 CARB BTA workshop which eliminated the argument that the cost of the battery was an unfair burden on the auto makers.

Performance cars, like the Tesla, don't calculate the cost per mile. A $25K Lithium pack that lasts only 60,000 miles costs over $2 per mile to drive, while a $10K NiMH back that lasts 200,000 miles cost only 5 cents per mile.

.. and to be fair, I think they've only testified to 100,000 and 150,000 miles.. which makes it 7.5 to 10 cents/mile.

I am still waiting to hear what the downsides are technically to Nimh batteries. They're not as Light as Lithium, and that is a significant difference.. but durability and recyclability makes up for a lot.


Hi Bob,

I don't follow this industry closely, but I was a little curious as to why Panasonic recently acquired Sanyo. One reason might be that they want to expand their battery business (Sanyo is the world's largest manufacturer of Ni-MH batteries and this product line generates some $4 billion in revenues for the company each year).

The merger/takeover press release can be found at: http://sanyo.com/news/2008/12/19-1en.html

In the news:

Sanyo also leads in rechargeable batteries, widely used in laptops and mobile phones. Their uses are expected to grow in cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles, as emissions standards tighten. Panasonic makes batteries for Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles, but picking up Sanyo would be key because it supplies batteries for Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co.

Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20081119a3.html

Sanyo has a long history of technical achievements in this field. The company introduced their first nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries nearly fifty years ago, developed the world's first lithium batteries back in 1975 and began production of Ni-MH batteries for hybrid vehicles in 1999.

BTW, their newest generation of Ni-MH batteries are impressive performers (see: http://www.eneloop.info/)


Eneloops are the best thing since sliced bread.

Toyota has warrantied the NiMH in the Prius for 150,000miles, I assume they have good data backing up their confidence. But of course the battery is heavy for the amount of energy stored, 55pounds for 1.3KWhr, IIRC. The demonstrator plugins they made used two of these batteries, but the electric range was supposedly only seven or eight miles. Thats why the big push for LiIon, the storgae density is considerably higher. I think today to get good range, with proven to last battery technology, the size and weight of batteries is considered excessive.

'I think today to get good range, with proven to last battery technology, the size and weight of batteries is considered excessive.'

Well sure. Batteries ARE the 700 pound gorilla in the room.. but look at what EV's are actually doing out there, both in Miles/Charge and Lifetime miles.. this 40 mile goal has already been far outpaced by the Nimh's that are on the road now.

Korthof has two Rav4's, running ostensibly off the production of his rooftop PV. (He actually grid tied them, and charges at night.. also getting the benefit of Time-of-Use rates, I think.)

Doug Korthof, (Clearly an EV- Nimh fan.. but he shows you why)

The RAV4-EV, for example, a small SUV, can be measured on any day to hold at most 28 kWh. On that power, it goes 80 miles at 80 mph (high wind resistance), 100 miles at 65 mph, 120 miles at 55 mph, and up to 150 miles at 35 mph. Thus, from 3 miles per kWh up to 6 miles per kWh. The EV1, much more aerodynamic, went 4 to 6 miles per kWh.

.. (EDIT) Notice the EV efficiencies of slow intown travel, too.. which hugely counteract the most INefficient driving done today with ICE cars, those slow ~30mph local trips which are pulled by an engine that is trying to warm up to it's spec temp range, but is shut off again before it ever gets there..

So why are car companies telling us that battery technology is 'not there yet?'

I think it's car companies' code for WAAAH! WE DON'T WANNA CHANGE OUR BUSINESS MODEL! (could you loan us a couple hundred billion to get through the next quarter?)

Or to steal from TAE:

Re: Robert Bryce and the ethanol scammers dream team. Up top.

I hereby declare that since ethanol opponents feel free call ethanol a scam, it is time to declare the basis for ethanol opposition, EROEI, a fraud which it clearly is.

Energy is nothing more than an abstract concept for forms of energy. It does not exist in the real world separate from it's forms. It is analogous to grain, metal and money. An abstract concept can not be the basis for decisions in the real world.

If money return on money invested, for example, were to use dollars for investment input and yen for the output, it is obvious that fraud is involved. Money does not exist except in it's forms in the real world.

Yet EROEI does this fraudulent slight of hand every time that the form of energy produced is different from the form of energy invested. This is an invalid comparison of apples and oranges as I have pointed out many times to little effect on those who think like Bryce and RR. They are perpetrating a fraud on the Peak Oil community. Eventually when it becomes more obvious that EROEI is a fraud, there will be a backlash.

A backlash against the of fraud of CDO's has resulted in the meltdown of banks that bought into the concept. And the Ponzi scheme fraud of Bernie Madoff has resulted in a backlash against hedge funds in general.

Peak Oil is already suffering a backlash against it because it turns out the the price rises brought on as speculators anticipate the approach of demand exceeding supply causes the economy to collapse into recession/depression thereby solving temporarily the Peak Oil conundrum until the next cycle.

Now if it turns out that the fraud of EROEI delays or stops steps to develop viable alternatives like corn ethanol, there will be another backlash against the Peak Oil concept with which EROEI has become associated because of the likes of Bryce and RR.

They are playing a dangerous game promoting the fraudulent EROEI slight of hand. Nearly every fraud has a slight of hand switch in it somewhere. With the securitization of mortgages, it was slipping in the the bad mortgages with the good thereby making the whole thing worthless because no one knows which is which.

In the Madoff Ponzi scheme it was the slight of hand of paying old investors from the new investments. That is the way fraud is done.

Something is passed off as something else. EROEI passes off an abstract concept for forms of energy as the same thing as the forms of energy themselves. This will not work.

Grain can not be passed off as a form of grain like corn or soybeans. No one will buy it. The fraud is obvious. Nor can metal be passed off a form of metal like iron or gold. It is preposterous.

Yet this is what is happening with EROEI. It is a fraud and it will be found out in the end. Obama and the ethanol "scammers" dream team know EROEI is a fraud. Obama is doing nothing more than fullfilling election promises with appointments who will pursue alternative forms of energy despite the outrageous claims of opponents.

Opponents are being ignored and should be ignored. At least until they come up with a valid arguments.

You are delusional, and/or heavily invested in the ethanol scam. EROEI is based on this little thing called thermodynamics. Nobody's comparing apples and oranges, or calling passing off "metal" as "gold". We're comparing BTU's - energy content. This is the currency. If you spend a barrel of oil to make a barrel of ethanol, you have left the path of wisdom.

Thermodynamics - it's not just a good idea. It's the law.

Since EROEI is a scam and we cannot compare ethanol and gasoline, I conclude we have no basis upon which to determine that ethanol makes sense as a replacement for gasoline. In the absence of a sound basis to compare the two, we do not have a rationale to invest billions of dollars of taxpayers money to subsidize the ethanol industry.

Since you have eliminated EROEI has a tool to evaluate different sources of energy, the burden is on you to explain why anyone should use ethanol, especially in those cases where it is more expensive at the pump than gasoline, not even considering the energy content of ethanol. And don't use octane comparisons as octane is just as abstract as energy. If you use octane, you are just trying to compare two sources of energy, which according to you, cannot be done.

I am not even sure that you exist in the real world as your posts seem to be generated by an autobot.

I will be more than willing to support ethanol as soon as the ethanol producers and the relevant corn farmers agree to run their operations on ethanol. Given its superiority, in your view, I would think you would be willing to forego further subsidies. And why don't ethanol producers run their operations on ethanol? Could it be the relative costs of fuels like natural gas and coal vs ethanol? And how do they make those comparisons since energy is abstract and as you say "an abstract concept can not be the basis for decisions in the real world."

tstreet, you ask a legitimate question, and let me attempt to give a fair, but abbreviated answer.

You Should Not purchase ethanol if it raises your cost of transportation (your cost/mile.) This Will vary according to the car you drive. If you have an older, lower-compression engine you will need at least a twenty, to twenty-five percent discount to make it worth your while.

If you have a more modern engine (2003 >) you will pretty much "break-even" on a twenty to thirty percent mixture (due to a quirk of blending practices, however, you will still be a small loser on E10) but will still need a fifteen to twenty percent discount to justify E85.

If you were to buy the new Chevy Cruze 1.4l FF (11:1 compression ratio, VVT, Direct Injection, Turbo) when it comes out in the spring I would suspect you would break even with a 10% discount.

Eventually, when there are enough stations selling E-85 there will probably be Ethanol-Optimized engines that have Compression Ratios in the 15:1 - 19:1 range that will get better mileage than the best gasoline engines. It's ALL about the Engine (especially, the Compression Ratio.

In the meantime we subsidize PHEVs, and Ethanol. Right now, with PHEVs propelling a couple of hundred thousand cars, and ethanol powering the equivalent of almost 20 Million it looks like ethanol might be the most scalable. Then again, maybe not. We'll see.

Source for PHEVs propelling a couple of hundred thousand cars? Anyway, I don't think PHEVs make sense from a totally energy consumed perspective vs hybrids. They certainly don't make sense from a monetary standpoint. And btw, these subsidies are just starting, not decades like ethanol.

However, a big part of the rationale for PHEVs is it helps one get off oil, with the caveat, of course, is that you don't want to simply substitute oil for coal ( at least I don't). Ethanol is scalable to a point and then we run out of corn crop and/or impacting other crops is corn displaces them.

I think subsidies can make sense if they are relatively short term and actually encourage improvement in the efficiency and cost of the thing subsidized. At some point, one pulls the plug. Well, we have been subsidizing ethanol long enough that it is time to cut the cord. Once that happens, and the producers know this, it is the end of the industry.

With respect to hybrids, the subsidies have already expired and a fairly decent market was established during that time frame. Honda is already to the point where their next hybrid will be almost as cheap as their conventional civic. Toyota has made a lot of progress in the same direction; in any event its subsidy is long gone.

But the ethanol folks will never get off the teat barring divine intervention.

There are other reasons to subsidize but none of those apply to ethanol.

Yikes, I kept typing PHEV when I meant, "HEV." Oh, well.

And why don't ethanol producers run their operations on ethanol?

For the same reason oil refiners don't run their refineries on gasoline.

As for the farmers: All the big tractors are diesel. You can't run ethanol in a diesel tractor. Many ARE using biodiesel, to the extent that they can get it.

Of course they don't run on Gasoline, they both run on the same thing NG or crude products. Try running an ethanol plant on the raw product: Corn.


Google Corn Plus, Winnebago, Mn.

They partially power (50%) their plant on the syrup. They, also, pelletize their ddgs. Other plants are starting to pelletize their ddgs (approx. 8,400 btu/lb) 17 lbs per bu. = 142,800 btus This gives you 100,000 btus to process a bushel of corn, plus about 1/3 of your ddgs to put back into the soil, or feed to the livestock, or burn to provide electricity.

Obviously, the route you choose will depend on the price of Nat Gas vs that of corn.

I understand the "old-timers" say it takes 30 yrs for a Plant to "Get Smart." This nascent technology is just starting to "learn how" to get efficient. Give it a little time.

Well, we have been subsidizing ethanol long enough that it is time to cut the cord.

Yeah, and we'll pull our troops out of the Mideast while we're at it, Okay?

Besides, the subsidy (blenders' credit) goes to the "blender" (oil company.)

Your rite either the ethanol would have to sell 50 cents cheaper or the e-10 would be 50 cents more expensive.

Makes no difference who receives the subsidy it server the same purpose, however it looks much better politicaly to give it to the blender. Thanks be to the corn growers/ethanol lobby.

Neither can operate at a loss.

In other words, you can't produce enough power with straight gasoline (84.5 Octane) to push a 69' Mustang to 252 MPH; but you can with 115 Octane Ethanol.

Comparing BTUS without Considering Octane is fallacious.

Some edting to make the post more accurate:

the fraud of . . . alternatives like corn ethanol

The Fraud that will power approx. 20 Million Cars this year.

Yes but: you could also run the 20 million on the diesel that could be saved by burning the corn in corn burners directly for home heating, and still have the NG to make Fertilizer.

Is it more distasteful to burn food for heat than driving a vehicle?

It's not food that we're burning in our cars, Dipchip. It's just the starch. The world is full of it, and we can grow all we want.

Everyone's starting to take the Oil out of the corn, now, which means that instead of having distillers grains you have ddgs meal. It's better for the animals, and we can utilize it, ourselves, more easily. Of course, the Corn Oil can be used for cooking, or biodiesel.

Many dairy farms, and feed lots are starting to process the manure from our corn-fed animals through anaerobic digesters, thus recapturing the nat gas. This, of course, would replace the nat gas used in fertilizer production.

I doubt if homes should be heated with liquid fuel. Electricity would probably be better, but you run into the problem that the homes already have liquid fuel boilers. I say that's a problem; I really don't know anything about boilers, so I don't know if it's a "problem" or not.

All I know is that making ethanol out of corn works pretty good. Whether it would be better to heat homes with it I'll let the market figure out.

Why not remove the ethanol subsidy and let the market figure it out.

Dip, nothing much would change if they did (except the oil companies would be out about $5 Billion this year. It's the Mandates that's "driving the bus," not the tax credit.

Well, I guess One Thing would change. Those station-owners that ponied up to put in E85 pumps would take one in the shorts. That's probably less than 1/2 of 1%, though; so, nothing much would change in the broader scheme of things.

Look, the thinking is going something like this: Oil will soon be declining. Rather than face this thing in "crisis" mode 5 or 10 years from now, let's do what we've been accused of "Not" doing. Form a "Strategy" for transitioning. The Only alternative that can possibly ramp fast enough is ethanol/biodiesel. All the structure is "in place," and we know how to do it, and it works.

Now, the Oil Companies are going to "Hate" this. And, they're Rich, Powerful, and control the distribution infrastructure. They're not going to do it without Mandates. Give'em a little something to take the sting out. "The Tax Credit."

The Tax Credit, also, helps to get the e85 infrastructure up, and running. We want that for the long term. In the long term gasoline prices are probably going to have to be somewhere in the $2.75 to $3.00/gal range for e85 to "work" without the tax credit. With the tax credit e85 works with gasoline in the $2.25/gal range.

In fact, the Tax Credit fell to $0.46, the 1st. It'll probably be, mostly, gone in a few years. Look at it this way. The tax credit doesn't really cost all that much, and it's kind of like a Private Security Guard for life of the "newborn babe with big enemies." It'll be a good investment, and save us a lot of money in the "long run." We hope. :)

"It's the Mandates that's "driving the bus," not the tax credit."

Mandates are non-sense: The government more or less mandated a home loan for everyone a few years ago and look how that turned out.

It seems next years corn crop will be smaller again for the second year, due to current corn prices. IMO it now seems that ethanol production will flatline around 700k Brl's/d. Oct production was the same as Aug 647K with Sept at 640k (EIA). With out the subsidy gasoline prices would simply be 50 cents higher. You simply cannot sell a product at a loss. Refiners have been selling gas at zero margin now for a year.

Over the past 3 years no one has come back and told me I was wrong about telling them not to invest in new Ethanol production.

'..At least until they come up with valid arguments'

You can say that again.. and again and again.. and you do. So please Pony up yourself.

Your Dollars to Yen is a fine way to DISprove your point, not to support it. Different currencies have clear (but movable) exchange rates. Noone doing an EROEI evaluation is doing them without applying the units, Joules- Watthours- BTU's- Barrels of Oil Equivalent .. they all have exchange rates, some of them also movable depending on the assumptions attached.

Your argument never moves past this point.. you get our rebuttals, but then you vanish. FINISH the argument, if you have any way to. The fact that you never take it past this is what makes it more of a 'Braying' complaint like the fabulous Phototaxis marathon yesterday, and not a content-driven debate.


It looks like X is giving Phototaxi a run for his money for the monthly TOD Dirty Sock Award.

Bob, etc -- time to give x the 'dynamic silence' treatment whenever he presses his I-love-ethanol button.

Or perhaps what is needed is a TOD FAQ file, to which one can refer the x- and PhotoTaxis community whenever they repeat themselves (e.g. see FAQ, Argument ETHANOL_14, or something like that).

Point taken.
Generally I agree.. and with X, I've just kept a glimmer of hope that he steps up to the plate on this one. I don't doubt his sincerity/conviction.

In NYC I once saw a comic polishing up their act on the subway.. TOTALLY unresponsive audience. These kind of dreadful arguments sort of feel like sparring practise against the Dragon of Peak Oil itself.. you have to keep going, no matter how hopeless it seems.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

(In my emo phase today)

Nobody complains when Westexas, among others, posts the same thing over, and over, and over. Indeed, it's kind of "comforting" in a familiar hymn on Sunday type of way, isn't it.

Imminent Peak Oil, Global Warming, and Malthusianistic Limits of Growth are Theories, folks. They shouldn't be turned into Religion. Scientists should be eager to have access to dissenting opinion. It furthers (sometimes) the knowledge base.

That's because Westexas offers, you know, like, numbers and explanation and discussion and mixes it up with anyone who wants to legitimately debate. Unlike X screaming "EROEI is a fraud" with nothing else to say. As X might say, comparing X and WT is nonsensical.

It's not that X has a dissenting opinion, it's that all he says is EROEI is bullshit, over and over, without a shred of sensible explanation or data. It is bizarre and demented.

TOD is not religious about anything - there's all kinds of dissent, discussion, debate, lively argument. We went through this whole thing yesterday with P_P.

Whenever some crackpot gets called a crackpot, or a troll gets called out, somebody comes along with the same "groupthink" accusations, and whatnot. It's just ridiculous.

Nobody complains when Westexas, among others, posts the same thing over, and over, and over.

Oh, yes they do. And if you haven't noticed, you haven't been paying attention.

Well, yeah, I noticed comments to that effect; but, I don't recall anyone recommending the Mute button be imposed on him.

BTW, Westexas, don't get me wrong. I enjoy every one of your comments. Even the ones that are rote repetitions. Some people haven't read them before; and I think it's good they get a chance to read them for the first time. Other times you add a little something that I find very instructive.

I AM NOT complaining about your posts. I wuz merely stating a fact. Trying to "make a point" as it were.

Oh, some have. And Westexas' posts have occasionally been deleted for being too repetitive. (Though usually not by me.)

But here's a tip: if you modify your style of posting when the staff suggests it, you are unlikely to get muted.

There's something to be said for the fact that WT's repetitions have been tolerated and even enjoyable to you personally. Do you notice anything he has done differently than X? (I do.. and I have no real cross to bear for or against ELM) RR has had a rigorous debate with WT over his claims.. but in their debate, both remained engaged and creative in their interchange. They listened to the points being used against them, and took them on in detail. Brought in new or reevaluated data.. They played hard, but respectful.. in that vein, RR has practically begged X (nee:Practical) to offer up a good argument, but the challenge was never taken up in good sport. It's not an 'opposing position' until you truly make a real case for it.

I think that is where it has fallen apart with the posters who finally get called 'trollish' or whatever.. they fail to keep an argument engaged with the opponent, and ultimately others feel they are being talked AT and not WITH. I think this is really the heart of the issue, as I think back on how these have cascaded before.

Well, since you put it That Way: Let's just Slit the Dirty Bugger's Throat, and Be Done With Him, Then!!!


Hello TODers,

I am still willing to be Nike/Tiger Woods postPeak financial and marketing advisor:

A tough course ahead for golf clubs

..But participation is highest among men over 50, an age bracket whose retirement funds have tumbled right along with the stock market.

"The prime demographic for golf courses has been really clobbered," said David Pratt, a real estate agent specializing in golf course properties.

A growing aversion to pricey golf memberships is evident at online golf forums, where "people are selling their memberships valued at 80K, and asking about 25 or 30K for them," Mr. Pratt said.

In the United States, golf courses were hurting even before the recession. A recent National Golf Foundation [NGF] study found that 10 to 15 per cent of U.S. private clubs were in poor financial health. For 2008, the NGF estimates that more courses will have closed than opened for the third year in a row...
Tiger Tools for permaculture/gardening? Or are we going to beat each other to death with golf clubs when food shortages really get dire?

I think you could farm some of the areas of a golf course with a standard penalty if you ball lands in the designated growing areas, plus an additional 2 hours weeding. Perhaps growing switchgrass in the areas of rough would make it live up to its name. The land could also be suitible for wind turbines, fish farming in the water hazards.

You could farm a golf course after a decade or three to let the hideously toxic chemicals work their way out of the soil.

Don in Maine had mentioned in a previous Drumbeat that he had been without electrical service for sixty (non-consecutive?) hours as a result of the severe weather we've been experiencing lately on the east coast. We lost power on three separate occasions over the Christmas holidays due to extreme weather and I was damn surprised we didn't lose again New Year's Day when heavy snows and gale force winds blew through again. Not so lucky, the folks in the eastern part of the province, including Cape Breton Island.

See: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5g-nFJm__Up3...

Additional coverage here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/01/02/atlantic-storm.html?ref=rss

This is shaping up to be one of the wildest winters I can recall (on Christmas Day, the highest winds in the province clocked in at a rip-the-paint-right-off-the-shingles 194 km/hr).


Hey Paul..


I'm just sayin...

Why The Windside Wind Turbines are the best on the market?

Quite simply Windside Wind Turbines work when others don’t ! In the gentlest of summer breezes and in violent winter storms. When others fail due to frost, ice, snow or high winds Windside Wind Turbines continue to produce. Windside Wind Turbines will produce at least 50 % more electricity in a year than traditional propeller models. Many things make the Windside Wind Turbines extraordinary and their total life cost make them the best value for money.


Windside Wind Turbines are constructed of high quality durable materials to ensure free production of electricity for many years even in the harshest of environments. Their design ensures a minimum requirement for maintenance. When other turbines have failed Windside Wind Turbines continue to produce. A Windside Wind Turbine will probably still be working long after the purchaser.

(I have no stake in this company.. but I should tell them how many times I toss their link around)

As things heat up in Gaza with the Israeli ground offensive it's worth reading the following analysis by Stephen Zunes

America's Hidden Role in Hamas's Rise to Power

Editor’s note: In the U.S., the claim that the actions of Hamas forced Israel to launch a massive assault on the impoverished population of Gaza is almost universally accepted. But, as scholar Stephen Zunes explains below, the picture of Hamas as an organization of wide-eyed radicalism without electoral legitimacy or the support of a significant portion of the Palestinian population is simplistic. In this important piece, Zunes examines the ways in which Israeli and American policy-makers encouraged the rise of the conservative religious group Hamas in an effort to marginalize secular and leftist elements within the Occupied Territories.

The United States bears much of the blame for the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and nearby parts of Israel. Indeed, were it not for misguided Israeli and American policies, Hamas would not be in control of the territory in the first place.

It should also be noted that the following comment by Alexei Sayle, at the protest outside the Israeli embassy in London today, is representative of a substantial body of Jewish opinion worldwide - although one which the Israeli government would rather not hear.

European protesters urge end to offensive on Gaza

"As a Jew, it's very moving to see so many people who are so outraged at Israel's actions," Sayle said. "Israel is a democratic country that is behaving like a terrorist organization."

Israel is well aware of the coming facts and fates of 2009. With Obama in office and the US failing to maintain stability, Israel knows that now is the time to finish the job in Gaza before January 20. IMO Israel will take all of Gaza soon, and then knock out Iran's nuke plants.

“… knock out Iran's nuke plants.” – I don’t think they have the guts now. Meantime thousands of centrifuges keep spinning in Iran whilst internal political pressure is rising as well. Low oil prices are doing their part. So many young people there are bored, uneducated, poor, frustrated, unemployed, brainwashed and full of hatred and once one gets to a point where there ain’t anything to loose, things turn mighty fast. By the way, Mohamed guaranties you 7 virgins if martyred. IMO, as soon as the first critical masses come together, they will be packed into a nice little warhead and installed on top of a missile with greetings to Tel Aviv. – Bang! – Upon delivery, the Israeli Air Force will be airborne with compliments back and an impressive Energy Return of Energy Invested. Guess ole Mohamed will have headaches for rounding up all that many virgins by than. – Peak Virgins?

The Israelis have elections of their own coming up in February, I believe. There's likely a domestic component to this as well. It's not all on W.

not quite. israel looks like to me they believe their own propaganda that hamas is a physical arm of teran. they are trying to provoke iran by attacking what they believe is a political party controlled by them. they won't stop until iran does something that they can use to send their bombers into Iranian airspace to bomb anything that remotely looks like a nuke plant.

This in sharp contrast to the very real reasons to start this operation regardless of any Iran connections.

Israel's southern towns are constantly bombarded for years, and Israel has been biting its lips and trying diplomatic solutions. Rockets fired on one's civilian population are reason enough for a military operation, regardless of any tie to Iran.

If you think the Hamas rocket bombardment is nothing, please see here:


Why indeed was nobody standing up and urging Hamas from firing Kassam rockets into Israel? Let’s see: What if poor, bored, uneducated, unemployed, frustrated German neo-Nazis were spending there time by home-building missiles and just firing them into France, maybe because they think it was not fair that the “Third Reich” was defeated. Do you think France would tolerate that kind of aggression if their country and families were hit? Or Britain, or Russia? America was hit on 9/11 and we are still fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. A truce or peace must be respected from both sides of a border and it was NOT Israel braking the truce! ! – A flower power mentality will not protect any country against the fanatic terrorists of the Islam.

Does it matter who broke the truce?

No matter whose side you are on, does any peak oiler believe that Israel is sustainable in world of scarce energy? How will the Jewish minority control the Arab majority without fuel for their tanks and helicopter gunships? They're also downstream of everyone, and are planning to meet their growing water needs with natural gas powered desalination plants.

The way I see it, peak oil means that Israel is doomed.

“Does it matter who broke the truce?”

Does it matter who destroyed WTC or our Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor? – To me it does, but that’s personal. I got to agree with you that PO will be a considerable problem for armies. Hence, don’t forget that Israel has quite a bit of high-tech manufacturing going on and the neighbors don’t. The one who runs out of gas first is the one who can no longer pay for it.

The problem I see with Israel's military actions now is that I don't see any reasonable way for them to win - that is, achieve their objectives.

What happens if they "win"? The Palestinians will still be there, and still the majority. Gas or no gas. They cannot be absorbed into Israel, without it being the defacto end of the Jewish state.

And eventually, the Israelis will also run out of gas, and then they'll be on equal terms with their enemies...and vastly outnumbered.

I don't believe that there is any reasonable way to deal with religious fanatisme except extinction, and that is not an option - at least for now. All they can do is to stop that lousy being shelled - at least for a while.

I don't believe that there is any reasonable way to deal with religious fanatisme except extinction

And therein lies the end of the world.

I don't think there's really any religious fanaticism involved. The problem is not religion. It's occupation. You and I would likely react similarly, if our countries were similarly occupied. Suicide bombing started with the secular Tamil Tigers.

You are probably right that the only solution is extinction. I fear that is what will happen in the Middle East. And I don't expect Israel to come out on top.


unfortunately I am afraid that you end up being right here: Peak Virgins, as stated above, and for Israel: sorry, it's really hard to find you guys a spot on this world to live your lives in peace.

I'm just hoping they don't take the rest of the world with them when they go.

Some people worry about Russia, or China, or North Korea. Me, I think if there's a nuclear war, it will start in the Middle East. Israel? India? Pakistan? Too many powderkegs with short fuses there.

Jews are free to come here, an area quite peaceful when compared to Israel/Palestine. But, they would rather try to infiltrate the west bank, already home to millions of arabs. They earlier left gaza because occupation was untenable... There will be no hope of peace until they give up their attempt to possess and occupy the west bank. Probably many years, and lives, away. No matter, most of the lives lost will be arab.

Rumor is they are thinking of returning with tanks. Some of the tanks will stay there.

the government of Israel is zionist a form of jewdisim that it's their divine right from their version of the solar hero to have in their possession the 'biblical lands of the great ancient Israel. despite the facts that the greek, egyption, and hitite empires of the time in that area which knew of each other never knew of this supposed 'great nation of Israel' known by looking through their vast tomes of written text.

In short they won't stop until everyone is dead that stands in their way to have the land that their 'god' decreed to them. sound familiar?

Of course there is the minor problem of archeological evidence. But hey, let's not let science get in the way of our ideologies.

nice straw man.
I was referring to how the cristian and jewish bible states the state of Israel was 'a great nation known through out the land' hence the term i used 'great israel'. which is further backed up by the fact that i posted that those three empires at the time never made reference to such a state, something that their writings of each other show they would make great pains to do. actual on the ground evidence supports the following. israel at that time was a small state of polytheistic tribes who worshiped many gods. in fact the bull a symbol of baal among other gods was widely worshiped, this was until one tribe with a war like solar god yaweh(or how ever the spelling is.) united the tribes and forcefully stopped the polytheistic worship. they then mashed up the various story's of the various tribes into what is now considered the talmond/jewish bible and the old testimate in the cristian one. There are also similarity's between them and their southern neighbors the Egyptians.

Lets get our facts straight. Zionism is a *secular* movement - even opposed by some fanatic jews. It was established to help solve the 'Jewish Problem' - that of jews living in Europe and elsewhere, and suffering extreme persecution (although Zionizm was established before the Holocaust as an aftermath of the Kishinev Pogroms [1], it was a big driver of it).

Israel has on of the largest secular portion of citizens in the world [2]. Therefore trying to portray it as a religious war is besides the facts. Only one side has displayed religious fanaticism, and Israel isn't it.

Finally, to address the suggestions that all Isrealis just move out to some other part of the world, it overlooks two points:
1. The same problems would arise anywhere, simply look at how immigrants are treated in any culture.
2. There's really no reason to turn the Israelis, which have Invested a few generations in building their country, into refugees, thereby abandoning generations of construction and an industrialized and scientific society which has contributed to your own well-being and comfort much more than all oil-states combined, and will continue to do so when oil runs out.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishinev_pogrom
[2] http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

Per Wikipedia (2006 data), Gaza Strip has a population growth rate of 3.4%, and West Bank 2.2% (other articles say it leveling off now, though, and that the Palestinian Authority overstates population). Still, with such high growth rates in such small areas, there can probably never be peaceful coexistence for long. In 1948 there were approx. 1.3M Arab Palestinians, and about 2.5-3x that number today.

Any "resettlement" of Palestinians will become increasingly difficult as the raw number of people grows, and as the relative wealth of other potential destination countries falls. Existence in situ will become increasingly difficult as well, as outside aid becomes relatively harder to supply and internal resources decline.

Yet another increasingly unsustainable situation.

Well, and in 1948 there were only about 600,000 jews in Israel. Now: almost 6,000,000. Growth predictions must take into account the immigration of jews from countries where they're originally persecurted. Notably lately there's been a rise in Jewish immigration to Israel from France after a rise in antisemitic activity there.

And not much resettlement of anyone has to be done: only getting Isreali settlers out of the West bank. No Palestinian has to be resettled.

It appears your house sits on occupied Native American land.
Surely you will have no problem when HONA (Hamas of Native America) starts shelling your house with long range rockets. After all, you had it coming you dirty "occupier".

BTW, the cromagnums are upset that we sapiens have "occupied" their planet

It's not going to happen. That's what I meant when I said the only solution to occupation is extinction. The only question in the Middle East is which side will end up a tiny fragment of their former numbers, living on reservations.

Leanan, peace was achieved in the past in heterogenous population zones - mostly by seperating the populations and defining clear borders. This has happened with Czech Germans, is considered with Greek/Turkish Cyprus, and elsewhere. This is also one of the directions in Israel/Palestine negotiations. Sadly the controlling body in Gaza is oposing the Palestinian Authority and blocking this kind of solution.

The UN Human rights envoy says that Israel broke the truce. He's Jewish and an American. His name is Richard Falk. He further says that Israels policy violates international law..."Can't be defended morally, legally, or politically."

Heres a video of Richard Falk saying all this and more. The video was made by an American Jew.

Homosapiens, I won't go tit for tat and mention the USS Liberty or the AIPAC spies or hundreds of thousands of other crimes by Israeli gov. The deflection you try to use is pathetic. I will use 100% Israeli and American gov/ media sources too show without ambiguity who's at fault.

video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1kt8qi0M-M

Every Human rights group in the entire world, without exception, including every Jewish human rights group, including Desmond Tutu, the Vatican, the human rights arm of the United Nations, says israel is the aggressor, Israel is committing war crimes, Israel uses innocent Palestinian children as human shields and force them to march before invading IDF troops as documented and charged and found guilty by ISRAELI COURTS.





Can the whole world be anti semitic ? Can all these human rights orgs be wrong ? Can so many Jews be self hating ? Or can a society thats been persicuted, turn into persicutors ? Could a child who wittnessed his father beat his mother, turn into a wife beater also ?

Facts are facts, Israel is not the David and Palestinians are no Goliath. The amount of rhetorical gymastics needed to nail that landing defy physics in the known universe. Its the Palestinains that are occupied and oppressed and attacked, not the other way around......Ive got 613 mitzvos to recite while I rent my sack cloths after reading the propaganda thats prevalent everywhere. Now I see why ccpo blows his lid all the time.

He also is a 9/11 conspiracy fruitcake.

A job at the UN is no indicator of authority over anything.

Apuleius ;
Could you please NOT be so brief ? Could you further character assassinate Jimmy Carter who is a former American president and Nobel peace prize winner and negotiated peace between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, a peace thats lasted 30 years with not one word broken.

Could you continue and and character assassinate dozens of Nobel prize winners, world reknown Jewish academics such as Noam Chomsky, Steven Walt, John Mearsheimer. Can you expand and attack every human rights group in the entire world without exception, including every Jewish human rights group ?

Apuleius, please elaborate and character assassinate every country on earth who belongs too the United Nations. Don't be shy, just call Desmund Tutu an idiot also, say how he wouldn't know apartheid from shine-ola.

Apuleius, even the USA says Israel is the aggressor and is building illegal settlements in Palestine, heck, even the Israeli courts have deamed its true.

Heres what happens when Palestinians protest peacefully (according to an American Jewish news source) http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/1/israeli_troops_kill_two_palestinian...

Israel is the chosen people of God. IMO They will never be on equal terms with anyone.
Their only objective is to remain in power in Israel.
They plan to knock out the rocket capability in Gaza and stop the rocker launches.
Which they will do this week, and then it will be over for Gaza, and on to Iran.
They must get it all done by January 20, because US support will be in question after that date.
Also, Israel will be the first counrty to go to electric cars.
When the Arabs run out of oil, Israel will rule the Middle East.
They have committed no crimes, they are just protecting what was their's since King David.

There was never a place called Israel, ever. The place was always called Palestine, always. The most holy writ in all of Judaism is called the....get ready...."Palestinain Talmud".

I won't bother responding to your remarks about religious superiorty, seems to me anyone who proposes that God told them to kill men, women and children and take their land, because its okay when God tells you too and after all, he's God, is a religious fanatic and supports and endorses religious fundamental terrorism.

On your remarks that "Israel has committed no crimes"
Every war has war crimes, every war has two camps of peoples, one camp says war crimes were committed, one camp says war crimes werent committed.

Guess which camp is always proved wrong Nowhere. Why you would take such an indefensible position is beyond me, maybe the remarks you made were sarcasim and it was misinterpreted by me. I really can't believe a person could make such absurd comments.

My point is that Israel is a man's name, not a place. Israel's descendants are the people of God, and will outlast any others who try to overtake them even when the US is gone. The Palistinians have no way to take away what God gave to the People of Israel. Moses left Egypt with the people (who were slaves in bondage) and they were delivered to the promised land according to the word. And yes, David slayed thousands of Philistines in self defense - another people who tried to take over. Muslims are not of God, they are of Mohammed, a man. Muslims go after other countries that were not given by God to them. God always trumps man.

Just for clarification are you claiming that Jews are the master race, destined to dominate the world and that the final solution will involve the forced eviction (or extermination if that fails) of the inferior people from the land they now occupy?

Because it looks to me that's what you are saying in your recent sequence of posts.

Also if Muslim's are "not of God, they are of Mohammed, a man." - what are Christians in your opinion? How do your views on this fit with Jesus being one of the most revered prophets in Islam?

IMO, religious arguments are silly in this particular case. Muslims, Christians, and Jews are branches from the same root. Trying to claim one as the "real" chosen people makes about as much sense as Jenna and Barbara Bush arguing about which one of them is the real daughter of Laura and George W. Bush.

Jews are NOT the "master race". They are not a race at all. They genetically descend from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons who formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Note that Abraham, and Isaac had other sons who are not considered Jews. Jews are the chosen people of God, and have learned to defend themselves from invaders and terrorists. They do not seek to force any eviction, but will not allow someone to fire rockets on them, and kill their people. God dominates the world, and His people will have His blessings. According to the Bible, all Jews will join God in heaven, but not all others will go to heaven.
Jesus was not a prophet, He is the Son of God who came to earth in human form to save the non-Jews.
Christians (who are not descendants of Jacob, Israel) go to heaven because of Jesus Christ.

They do not seek to force any eviction

Ah! So THAT'S why Palestinians are constantly displaced by Israelis! And why they have no right of return!!

Goodness, I was **so** confused before!


Yes, ladies and gents, above you have a perfect example of why it is highly unlikely we will avoid the inevitable collapse. Collapse always comes. The questions are when and how, all facilitated by the utter inability to think beyond our own narrow frames of reference.


Israel's descendants are the people of God

I suppose a dozen or so lines of "Bwah-ha-ha's!" would be out of line here, Leanan?

I was under the impression the "people of god" are those that follow god. After all, who would want to follow an arse who played favorites? I've come to the conclusion that, if a god exists, he/she sure as hell is nothing like the twits portrayed by the world's "great" religions.

I think any god would have to be like the best parent one could imagine. Dan Fogelberg's "thundering velvet hand" always comes to mind when I think on this.


Sorry, no. There are two 'Talmuds': The Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylon Talmus, which is currently the primary Jewish legal text (and basis for most of christian legal text). However this is beside the point, as this isn't a religious war.

"No matter whose side you are on, does any peak oiler believe that Israel is sustainable in world of scarce energy?"

Hardly anything we got today is sustainable in the world of scarce energy. But yeah, Israel will have an especially hard time in the ME, even more so when USA stops worrying about it. OTOH, rational or not, they are going to fight.

FWIW, I simply don't care for Israel or Palestinians. I can't do anything about it anyway.

I don't share your pessimism. Israel is also a powerhouse of solar energy research and usage: most Isreali homes have solar water heating at least, the largest and most used solar plants in the world were and are installed by Israeli companies and Israel is in the process of building several new solar plants and has initiated one of the world's few solar-PV subsidy plans.

There's also nothing to say that a hybrid-electric tank, APC or any other armoured vehicle can't be developed. In fact, the basic mode of operation in tank warfare is a start-stop mode, very good for hybrids (disclosure: I've been a tank driver and commander myself).

Therefore, it certainly is important who broke the truce, because peak oil or not, both Palestine and Israel are here for many years more.

And finally, regarding the 'Arab majority': The population is pretty clearly divided such that within the Green Line there are about 6,000,000 jews and 1.5M arabs. Behind the Green Line somewhat more Palestinians (3-4M in the west-bank and Gaza strip together), but still there's a jewish majority in the area. Yet it must be stressed that Israel does not want to control these areas, and in fact you must remember that Israel pulled out of Gaza and parts of the west bank in 2005 - expecting to generate Palestinian cooperation to further withdrawals, and getting rockets in return.

As a UK citizen, had the UK, in response to IRA terrorism, bombed Catholic areas of Northern Ireland and specifically targetted the homes of prominent members of Sinn Fein, I'd have been as horrified then as I am now by the actions of Israel.

For the record I do not support, in the slightest, the rocketing of Israel.

Got into Belfast late one night, not much open but one kind of off color pub by the bus station. Quite a crowd and they got very quiet when we walked in. Took a room for the night, and not hard to guess what the rooms were usually used for. My wife refused to take her clothes off. Headed for Dublin the next morning. Found a B&B there, just in time to catch the news that a large bomb had taken that pub and some adjacent buildings out. The bed we slept on just hours before no longer existed, Scary stuff. And I agree, nowhere near a reason for missiles, aerial bombing, tanks and ground troops.

Don in Maine

Gaza electing Hamas does not legitimize Hamas, but instead implicates the populace.

The populace is implicated with a fervent desire for self-determination, something fatah has never been able to deliver because israel never was willing to grant it. IMO a long term peace will only occur when israel gives up the west bank and returns to the 1947 green line, or something like that... those that agree with that position will not be so sure that hamas methods are less effective than fatah's.

On the contrary. The largest strides to palestinian independence have been made during the 1993-1998 era, with Yasser Arafat as head of the PLO and Fatah, by a bilateral agreement with Israel.

It seems that the elections in 2005 really focused more on the corrupt and autocratic regime of the Fatah as the controlling body of the Palestinian Authorithy; sadly for them, it turned out that the alternative they elected was much worse on these criteria, and in addition was constantly war mongering with Israel. Sad, but I wouldn't blame them - they don;t have Israel's democratic tradition and still need to learn a thing or two about how to work it.

Hmmm.... Guess that means we're all war criminals, then, and war profiteers... and election fraudsters... and torturers.


Hello TODers,

Interesting. Now when I plug fertilizer into the Google news-search engine, then hit return, at the bottom of the results page:
Searches related to: fertilizer

nitrogen potash corp agrium
corn urea dead
It would be interesting to know what software programmer became alarmed enough to alter the software algorithm to bring **Dead** into the search engine results.

Maybe Google is slowly moving in the direction of home webpage posting my speculative 'Unlucky' button-->that automatically takes the mouse-clicker to Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene opus maximus of Dieoff.org? As posted much earlier: this single change could do much to boost full-on Peak Outreach for Optimal Overshoot Decline.

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

Heh, when I followed the 'dead' link, this was the first article to turn up:
Reunited Grateful Dead to launch tour in spring

It's the new Google "we're so big we don't care any more" feature.

Looks like the Yellowstone earthquakes have come to an end.


Tomorrow is the First Quarter of the lunar cycle, so we are a week away from the Full Moon. Just now, the vectors of the tidal forces from the Moon and Sun are about 90 degrees apart in the equatorial plane. Next week, they will be in opposition, so one might be on the alert for more activity next weekend.

I sincerely hope this is just more "Doomer Porn"...

E. Swanson

I was wondering why the cluster stopped so abruptly - interesting on the tidal forces - so are you expecting the quakes to start up again next week? Or just too little info to tell?

Since these quakes are not on known fault lines, it's pretty indicative of magma on the move isn't it Black?

And don't I recall quake clusters like this in the Mammoth Cali. area before?

And don't I recall quake clusters like this in the Mammoth Cali. area before?

Lots and lots of them. Every active volcano has them at times. Almost always it has to do with magma moving about. I doubt tidal forces have much to do with this swarm.

Imagine, if you will a jigsaw puzzle in which you push on any give place. The rest moves. Now, imagine a lump of clay in a bag. Push on any given place, only the immediate area will likely move. That's how I see the magma chamber and tidal forces.

Not saying they can't have an affect, but how much does the center of a continent deform from tidal forces? It's got to be much less than at plate margins, no?