DrumBeat: January 13, 2009

Analysis: Global power demand to languish in 2009

The outlook for energy commodities this year remains grim, says a new report from Merril Lynch. Neither cold winter temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere nor a steep fall in the price of energy have provided much support to the demand for oil, natural gas or coal.

In part, the low price elasticity of demand has prevented a recovery in consumption even after a collapse in energy prices. More broadly, as global economic activity continues to deteriorate, the risks to our energy forecasts remain skewed to the downside.

Jim Rogers sees oil at US$200 as world is running out of reserves

Investor Jim Rogers is bullish on oil as crude prices collapsed to four-year lows and the world is running out of known oil reserves.

Rogers said he is the world's worst market timer and a horrible short-term trader, but a sharp sell-off in oil prices suggested a bottom.

Rogers, who remains bullish on commodities, estimated known world oil reserves at today's consumption rate are about 16 years, which indicates crude prices will again trend higher.

"Oil Reserves are dropping 7% a year and these drop in reserves will cause serious supply problems in the near future."

"We're going to see US$200 oil at some point, it may be by 2013. It's a sad fact but the world is running out of known oil. Oil will make a big comeback," he said"

US audit of Iraq's rebuilding has a familiar ring

WASHINGTON: A $722 million project to restore Iraq's oil production facilities was undermined by weak management, contractor mistakes and Iraqi neglect, U.S. auditors say in a new report similar to many others examining the country's reconstruction.

Released Tuesday, the report from the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction points to security concerns, postwar looting and the shoddy shape of the oil network as primary contributors to the cost of the contract awarded to KBR Inc. in January 2004.

As if this were not a challenging enough climate, the effort, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was hampered by a lack of direction, the report says. Cost overruns and frequent contract changes led to work being delayed or canceled.

Tesla Roadster

The problem is, though, that really and honestly, the US-made Tesla works only at dinner parties. Tell someone you have one and in minutes you will be having sex. But as a device for moving you and your things around, it is about as much use as a bag of muddy spinach.

Chevron gives UC Davis $2.5M for endowed chair in energy

Chevron Corp. is paying $2.5 million for an endowed chair in energy efficiency at the University of California, Davis.

San Ramon-based Chevron is giving the money for a permanent position as head of the university’s energy efficiency center. UC Davis set up the center in 2006 to study energy technology used in agriculture, buildings and transport.

Canada: Renters not sold on smart meters

The Ontario government's energy-saving plan to install so-called smart meters in every home by 2010 is in full swing, but landlords and tenants are already arguing over the cost of electricity.

Jimmy Carter’s bike stolen from Carter Center

If you see our nation’s 39th president hoofing around the center that bears his name, feel sorry for the guy. Someone snatched his bike.

Jimmy Carter’s bicycle was stolen earlier this month from the Carter Center in Atlanta. The bad guy(s) also made off with former first lady Rosalynn Carter’s cruiser, too.

In the unhealed Jewish heart, Arabs became Nazis

I have been reading him for about three years; he has (equipped with the work of Nouriel Roubini, Nassim Taleb, peak oil theorists and others) been extraordinarily prophetic about the meltdown and much else. His vision of the future is dark, but he has written an optimistic bestselling novel (World Made By Hand) about how we might live in the ruins of the industrial economies.

This background makes it hard for me to accept that he is a Zionist moonbat. His arrogant, unruffled pose masks a deep fear that the dislocation he has been predicting for years will have a pronounced antisemitic hue, but of course mindsets like his invite rather than repel such an outcome.

U.S. trade deficit narrows as oil and Chinese imports drop

Skidding oil prices helped push the United States trade deficit to its lowest point in five years in November, as the country imported less goods amid a sharp economic slowdown.

The gap between the value of imports and exports narrowed to $40.4 billion in November, from $56.7 billion a month earlier, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. That marked a 28.7 percent decline in one month.

The trade deficit shrank as American consumers clipped their demand for foreign-made consumer goods, and tumbling energy prices slashed the value of imported oil and gas. Petroleum imports dropped 36.5 percent to $23.6 billion.

Russia Quickens Ruble Defense as Oil Drops, MDM Says

(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s central bank sold about $7 billion to stem the ruble’s decline against the dollar and the euro yesterday, the most since it started devaluing the currency in November, according to Moscow’s MDM Bank.

Sunoco closing Texas factory

Sunoco Inc. said Tuesday it will close its polypropylene manufacturing facility in Bayport, Texas, no later than April 30 because the plant is no longer financially viable.

Poland aiming at own nuclear power by 2020

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland's prime minister says the ongoing natural gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine is pushing his government to speed up plans to build nuclear power plants.

Donald Tusk said his Cabinet decided Tuesday to step up construction of its first-ever nuclear power plants, and that he expects them to produce power by 2020.

Steven Chu Eases Up on the Gas Price Pedal

Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate scientist who is President-elect Obama’s choice to be energy secretary, said in testimony prepared for his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that high oil prices were a threat to the economy, backing away slightly from statements made in his last job, as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, that gasoline prices should be higher.

Obama energy pick says will fight global warming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming threatens the future and the incoming Obama administration will take steps to address the problem, Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be U.S. energy secretary, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Climate change is a growing and pressing problem. It is now clear that if we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic, disruptive changes to our climate in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren," Chu said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Quadrangle’s Rattner Said to Be Candidate for ‘Car Czar’ Post

(Bloomberg) -- Steven Rattner, co-founder of private-equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC, may be named by President-elect Barack Obama to oversee the bailout of the U.S. auto industry, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Capitalism Freezes in Worldwide Winter of Discontent

(Bloomberg) -- As capitalism staggers through its first globalized economic crisis, the costs won’t be measured only in dollars and cents.

From newly rich Russia to eternally impoverished sub- Saharan Africa, social strains are threatening the established political order, putting some countries’ very survival at risk.

In the past month, Nigerian rebels threatened renewed warfare against foreign oil producers, Russia sent riot police from Moscow to quell an anti-tax protest in Siberia and China’s communist leadership warned of social agitation as the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre looms.

The disillusionment and spillover effects of the global recession “are not only likely to spark existing conflicts in the world and fuel terrorism, but also jeopardize global security in general,” says Louis Michel, 61, the European Union’s development aid commissioner in Brussels.

Cash crunch slows high-speed rail project

Sacramento -- Just months after Californians voted to invest nearly $10 billion in a statewide high-speed rail system, the agency charged with getting it built is running out of money.

The California High Speed Rail Authority's budget for the current fiscal year, which ends in June, included $29 million from the sales of high-speed rail bonds authorized by voters in November. But because of the state budget crisis, the credit crisis and the poor market for bonds, the state treasurer has not sold any of the rail bonds.

Henry Kissinger: The Chance for a New World Order

Every country will have to reassess its own contribution to the prevailing crisis. Each will seek to make itself independent, to the greatest possible degree, of the conditions that produced the collapse; at the same time, each will be obliged to face the reality that its dilemmas can be mastered only by common action.

Even the most affluent countries will confront shrinking resources. Each will have to redefine its national priorities. An international order will emerge if a system of compatible priorities comes into being. It will fragment disastrously if the various priorities cannot be reconciled.

Mayo Energy Audit (review)

This fascinating and well-researched document builds on the concept of the Energy Descent Action Plan and presents a detailed and professional report on the energy resources of County Mayo in the West of Ireland.

Ever since I read the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan I realised that the next step would be a detailed accounting of energy consumption for a town or region, and an analysis of potential local renewable supplies. The Mayo Energy Audit does all this and more and represents an important next step in the energy descent process.

The 2009 economy and your wallet

Your strategy if you're young: The U.S. economy is probably going to need fewer investment bankers and mortgage brokers for a long while. Younger people can invest in very different kinds of skills. If Obama's New Deal 2.0 takes root, this would be a good time to be studying civil engineering or green building design. Health care and education were always relatively recession-proof; Obama's plan would help to keep them that way.

Your strategy if you're mid-career: Your way ahead is tougher. You can't just quit your marketing job and start installing solar panels. But it certainly makes sense to look out for new kinds of business opportunities you can bring to your employer or perhaps new fields you can become the in-house expert on. For example, if you're in finance, you might start learning about public works financing or what's happening in the alternative-energy sector.

Senate panel considers Chu for energy secretary

WASHINGTON - Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to be his energy secretary, faces questioning Tuesday before a Senate committee that is expected to endorse his selection.

The six-hour work day solves the problem

Technological efficiency is the root of the economic crisis, and over-production can be solved by sharing the remaining work.

More oil is put into storage, waiting for prices to rise

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Oil producers, refiners and investors have put a record amount of crude oil into storage at a key delivery point as they try to profit from an unusual form of "super contango" that indicates the market expects prices to rise sharply by summer.

Inventories in Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, have jumped more than 40% in the month ended Jan. 2 to the highest level since at least April, 2004, when the government started collecting Cushing data.

Investment banks hoarding oil (transcript and audio)

Fifty million barrels of oil are just sitting around on supertankers. They're not getting unloaded because investors are waiting for the price of oil to go up. Mitchell Hartman explains.

Post Carbon Institute Proposes "Real New Deal For Energy, Economic And Environmental Recovery" To Incoming Obama Administration - Plan Endorsed by Bill McKibben, Michael Moore, Randy Udall, Lester Brown

SEBASTOPOL, CA, January 13, 2009 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- Post Carbon Institute today announced the release of "The Real New Deal: Energy Scarcity and the Path to Energy, Economic, and Environmental Recovery," a proposal to the incoming Obama Administration.

The plan calls for responding to the current economic crisis with a massive policy and investment shift towards a fossil fuel-independent economy. Noting the urgency to address global fossil fuel depletion and climate change, the "Real New Deal" calls for a series of bold measures to electrify the transportation system, rebuild the electricity grid, relocalize the food system, and retrofit the nation's building stock for both energy efficiency and energy production.

The plan's lead author is Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, author of "The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies" and an internationally recognized expert on fossil fuel depletion. Heinberg said, "While there are many 'new deal' plans being offered to President-elect Obama, our plan recognizes that declining fossil fuel supplies and rising greenhouse gas emissions put us at tremendous and immediate risk. Building more roads and bridges as a stimulus for jobs is the wrong tactic. We must re-engineer our country now to deal with the end of cheap energy and to stop catastrophic climate change."

Kenya: Oil sector crisis deepens

Accusations and Counter accusations continue to emerge in the Oil sector with the latest allegations of grand corruption at the Kenya Pipeline.

Major Oil Marketers says the latest scenario of artificial fuel shortage is only a tip of the ice berg saying the Kenyan oil industry has suffered gross malpractices since 2004 with loses hitting at billions of shillings.

War strains Gazans' survival skills

In Khaled al-Dali's two-room shack in the Shati refugee camp, 21 people — half of them relatives who fled the fighting — take turns sleeping because there aren't enough mattresses to go around. Without fuel, the family cooks on fires made from trash. He has sold most of his furniture to buy food.

Lobster business fishes for a lifeline

Because of a gloomy economy, the price of lobsters sank from October through Christmas, the peak fishing period.

In the 15 years Dexter, 40, has been in the business, things have never been worse. The "boat price" that lobstermen get fell to $2.25 a pound this season, the lowest they've been in 20 years — at the same time that the costs of fuel, bait and insurance are going up.

UK: Wind farm plans scrapped as economic crisis takes its toll

AN AMBITIOUS scheme which aimed to establish the UK’s first rural sector power company has been closed after the economic crisis threw the plans into disarray.

Volt, Prius lead another day of fuel-efficient focus

DETROIT (MarketWatch) -- Two years removed from its high-profile unveiling, the Chevrolet Volt is still stealing headlines at the North American International Auto Show, thanks to a committed marketing push and great timing.

In fact, the electric future overall has been just about the only product-related news at the big Detroit show that has drawn attention away from the struggles of the broader industry.

'Green coal' to get a tryout: Charred wood shows promise as renewable option but challenges remain

North Carolina is about to become the nation's test case for what marketers call "green coal" -- wood that has been baked into charcoal.

If successful, the experiment -- a partnership of sorts between Progress Energy, N.C. State University and an Asheville start-up -- could mark the end of the state's reliance on dirty coal.

Firewood demand soars in Vermont

A Vermont firewood program is getting more interest than it has in decades, as people look for more affordable and renewable fuel sources.

In fact, the "wood warms" program may have to rely on a lottery system this year, since demand for wood is expected to exceed supply.

Americans seeing the light on carbon tax

A carbon tax is beginning to win supporters south of the border and is gaining favour from some unexpected corners as a better alternative to the kind of (watered down) carbon cap-and-trade system Harper supports.

Reality Report: Bill McKibben (audio)

The Reality Report talks to Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future and co-founder of the climate change group 350.org.

Over the past year or so, much of the thinking about the severity and timeline of climate change has undergone a major shift. In the fall of2007, a report titled The Big Melt came out that reviewed the rapid loss of polar ice and the likely implications. In December 2007 James Hansen presented a paper at the American Geophysical Union in which it was argued that safe levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were at least below350 parts per million, and in fact may be less than 300 ppm. For anyone familiar with climate science and policy this was a stunning conclusion because current levels of SO2 are over 385 ppm. During the winter of 2008 anew report titled Climate Code Red was released that greatly expanded upon The Big Melt and delved into the socio-political implications of the new scientific information, essentially framing the issue in terms of survival requirements on a damaged spaceship Earth. Soon afterwards, a climate activist group called 350.org was formed by Bill McKibben and friends to spread the message that policy targets need to reflect the scientific imperative.

Oil falls below $37 on gloomy demand outlook

Oil prices fell below $37 a barrel Tuesday on expectations crude demand will weaken amid a severe global economic slowdown.

By midday in Europe, light, sweet crude for February delivery was down 91 cents at $36.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

An Economic Prediction That Actually Came True

Roughly a year ago, as 2007 came to a close, someone I knew asked for my prediction as to “Who or what will be making headlines in 2008?” for her newsletter. My response — which seems prescient now, but looked more wrong than the Dow at 36,000 halfway through the year — was “The low price of oil.”

Why (and How) We May Survive Peak Oil

Peak oil implies not just high prices (which would provide unambiguous price signals to innovate) but extreme price volatility: wild swings in energy prices as the marginal cost of producing an additional unit of energy skyrockets, and the resulting super-spike in prices stalls economic growth.

In such a volatile environment of spikes followed by recessions, investment in new technologies actually slows due to a tightening of capital markets and the increased risk of soft or unreliable demand.

Business, civil society urge EU to slash oil dependency

Europe must reduce its oil demand by over half within the next forty years to tackle climate change and address growing difficulties in securing access to fossil fuels, an EU consultative body argued last week.

Bush asserts U.S. sea power over Arctic straits

OTTAWA — In his final days in power, President George W. Bush asserted U.S. military "sea power" over the oil-rich Arctic on Monday, in another forceful rebuttal of Canada's claims of sovereignty over the Northwest Passage.

The White House formally released the text of a sweeping new directive on the Arctic, two years in the making, just eight days before Barack Obama is to be sworn in as the 44th U.S. president.

Europe gas halted as Russia-Ukraine deal falters

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia's natural gas supplies bound for a freezing Europe were halted on Tuesday only a few hours after starting again as an EU-brokered accord between Russia and transit state Ukraine broke down.

Ukraine state gas company Naftogaz said it was blocking transit of the gas through its territory because Russian energy giant Gazprom was imposing "unacceptable" conditions for the transit.

Saudi Arabia Will Pump Less Oil Than Quota in Feb.

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will produce less than its agreed quota of oil in February as the country takes the lead among exporters trying to halt a six-month slide in oil prices, the country’s Oil Minister said.

February production “is lower than the target,” Ali al-Naimi said as he arrived at his hotel in New Delhi today. “We are working hard to bring the market in balance. We will do what it takes to bring the market in balance.”

Unconventional wisdom

With most of the world's 'easy' oil now held beyond the grasp of Western explorers in inhospitable Opec states, and speculation over whether the world has passed 'peak oil' (beyond which global production enters terminal decline), attention has in recent years turned to 'unconventional' hydrocarbons. These are oil and gas resources that can't be recovered by conventional well techniques and instead require more innovative recovery approaches.

Nine Surprises to Expect in 2009

6. After hiding out for months during the Energy Bear market, Matt Simmons is finally located in Carthage, Illinois and beaten by a crowd of angry peak oil enthusiasts. He is quoted as being “flabbergasted” by his treatment by the mob.

More seek heating-bill help with low-income energy assistance

With unemployment soaring, a record number of people are seeking federal assistance to pay energy bills this winter, a survey set to be released Tuesday indicates.

About 7.3 million households, 1.5 million more than last year, will likely receive $5.1 billion in subsidies from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association says.

Nigeria: Airlines Operators Decry High Cost of Aviation Fuel

Abuja — Airline operators yesterday protested the increasing cost of aviation fuel in the country and warned that the situation could lead to collapse of aviation businesses.

The operators lamented that despite the crash in the price of crude oil in the international market, the cost of aviation fuel had continued to rise at an alarming rate.

Chinese automakers test waters in Detroit

DETROIT — Chinese automakers looking to make the jump to the U.S. market are facing increasingly strong headwinds, including a global financial crisis that has slowed growth where they already sell cars and sapped the potential for partnerships that would ease their expansion.

But BYD Auto Co. and Brilliance Auto are making China's most prominent appearance yet at this year's North American International Auto Show, sandwiched between displays by General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. instead of tucked away in the basement or outside the main exhibits. And they remain interested in eventually selling in the U.S., although that looks to be years away.

Carmakers lean toward higher gas tax to fuel small-car sales

DETROIT — The auto industry is warming up to the idea of higher taxes on gasoline to force buyers to keep considering fuel-efficient and small cars.

Automakers have shifted dramatically to production of small cars and expensive fuel-saving technologies partly to meet looming stricter government fuel-economy regulations.

The carmakers acknowledge that raising the gas tax is an unpopular idea, but they also saw how fast consumer preference shifted toward small cars when gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon last summer. Without that economic incentive, the tide is turning back to bigger cars, crossovers and trucks.

Gulf Oil States Seeking a Lead in Clean Energy

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — With one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in the world, these oil-rich emirates would seem an unlikely place for a green revolution.

Gasoline sells for 45 cents a gallon. There is little public transportation and no recycling. Residents drive between air-conditioned apartments and air-conditioned malls, which are lighted 24/7.

Still, the region’s leaders know energy and money, having built their wealth on oil. They understand that oil is a finite resource, vulnerable to competition from new energy sources.

Alternative-Energy Companies Grow Even as Others Falter

While many small businesses continue to struggle with tight credit and declining sales, one fledgling industry is seeing a boom in investment and sales growth: alternative energy.

Prices for rooftop solar systems fall as supply grows

Here's a bright spot in an overcast economy: Solar panel prices are tumbling.

Prices for rooftop solar systems, including installation, already have fallen 8% to 10% since October and are expected to drop another 15% to 20% this year.

Fueling the trend are an oversupply of worldwide manufacturing capacity and lower demand, especially in Spain and Germany, which have been growth engines for the industry.

Stanford creates 100 mln dlr energy research center

SAN FRANCISCO, (AFP) – Stanford University is creating a 100-million-dollar research institute that will focus on energy issues, including the search for ways to reduce global warming, officials said.

Eyeing uranium supply, India to back Kazakh bid for WTO

NEW DELHI: State-owned Nuclear Power Corporation and Kazakh national atomic firm Kazatomprom are working on a uranium supply deal that may eventually see India's sole N-power firm set up its first overseas plant in joint venture in Central Asia's fastest-growing economy.

A team of Kazatomprom executives is coming to India for advanced negotiations. The two sides will try and sew up talks so that a deal may be signed when Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev visits India as the Republic Day chief guest. The talks will first focus on getting nuclear supplies from Kazakhstan and could later move to setting up reactors in joint venture.

A nuclear Iran: live and let live, or die another day?

What would it take to eliminate Iran's uranium enrichment effort?

To begin with, it would entail a diplomatic package that offered Iran access to nuclear energy but not physical control over nuclear materials. Economic sanctions hurting Iran's troubled economy could be eased. Security assurances could be provided to Iran and normal diplomatic relations between it and the US and others established.

There is no guarantee Iran would accept such an offer. But it might, especially now the price of oil has fallen below $50 a barrel, a level that leaves Iran's inefficient economy in worse shape than ever.

Removing species from sub-Antarctic island 'caused disaster'

PARIS (AFP) – Efforts to remove an invasive species from a sub-Antarctic island that has been named a World Heritage site accidentally triggered an environmental catastrophe, a study to be published on Tuesday says.

The eradication programme on Macquarie Island, lying halfway between Australia and Antarctica, is a cautionary tale about the complex web of ecosystems, its authors say.

Greenpeace buys land to foil London runway plans

LONDON – Greenpeace says it bought a small plot of land within a site proposed for a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport in hopes of blocking the project.

The earth's magnetic field impacts climate: Danish study

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – The earth's climate has been significantly affected by the planet's magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming.

"Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth's magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics," one of the two Danish geophysicists behind the study, Mads Faurschou Knudsen of the geology department at Aarhus University in western Denmark, told the Videnskab journal.

New report identifies hard landing for China, collapse in asset prices, gaps in global governance and climate change as key risk

A report released today by the World Economic Forum warns of challenging risks to the global economy in 2009.

Global Risks 2009 identifies deteriorating fiscal positions, a hard landing in China, a collapse in asset prices, gaps in global governance and issues relating to natural resources and climate as the pivotal risks facing the world this year.

Food Production Chaos Looms in Africa as Soil Quality Worsens

(Bloomberg) -- African farmers and climate change are combining to damage soil at a rate that may plunge the continent, home to about 1 billion people, into chaos as food production declines.

“The situation is very severe and soil fertility is declining rapidly,” Jeroen Huising, a scientist who studies soils at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, said today in an interview. “Many countries like Kenya already don’t have enough food to feed their population and soil degradation is worsening an already critical situation.”

I'm sure y'all will appreciate this idea:

Demolition as Stimulus

Denninger is calling for people to move their money to local credit unions and save it, not spend it.

"Some people want to think that our debt situation has improved given all the wealth destruction but it has actually gotten worse,
...many consumers are already tapped out and have more and more of their disposable income going to service current debt.

Mentally, people need to gear up. Debt levels are still extremely high so we can expect more deleveraging in 2009. Home prices will still fall lower. "


Pay off your homestead first or walk away now.

Then start putting $ in your credit union.

Moved my accounts to my credit union several years ago. My only business with a bank is to maintain a safe deposit box.

Save it, not spend it? Yeah, trying as best as I can, and have been for most of my life, too.

You might want to reconsider the safe deposit box. There is, of course, a risk if the bank goes bankrupt that you will find it difficult to get into your box. But the larger risk is from the gov't, that it will order seizures of wealth, ordering the banks to deny access to the box until it can assess values.


This has happened before!

Home safes are relatively inexpensive. Do a little research and you can find one right for you. It should be both a theft and fire safe, preferably one that can be bolted to the floor. You can get a smaller one for around $300 that is probably larger than your bank box.

Your estimate of my personal financial situation is greatly exagerated! I have nothing in my bank safe deposit box that I would need immediate access to, and not much of anything that I expect the government would be interested in confiscating.

I am tempted, though, to place some rude, anti-government joke in the box just so there will be something there to reward them for their efforts, if it comes to that!

I would only recommend a safe that has to be placed with a crane or one made for encasing in concrete.

What is the reasoning for movement of funds to Credit Unions?

I still have an active credit union account in Raleigh but only keep a small amount there to keep it open. I may rethink that very soon if there is a reasonable excuse for doing so.

Hows the weather down yonder?

Airdale-bout to run out of sourwood honey. Is it getting a bit pricy now? Last I picked up at Farmers Market on my last trip through Asheville was about $12 /qt.

Hi, airdale.

Weather OK, but about to turn really cold. I've been working off my own honey supply so haven't had to by any for a while. Summer 2008 wasn't a good sourwood flow year, but on the other hand Fall 2008 wasn't a good tourism season, so prices might not be much different.

My reasons for moving to the credit union are mostly ideological. I am just super fed up with Corporate America, and am very much more favorably inclined to cooperatives of whatever form when and where I can find them. Credit Unions are essentially a financial cooperative, the depositors (that includes ME) own them, and they are supposed to operate on behalf of US rather than raking in big profits for fat cat CEOS and investors. I am sure they are not perfect, and some credit unions are better than others. But I have had it with "banksters" (to revive a very fitting depression-era term) and other big corporations, and am actively seeking to detach myself,and especially my money, from their grasp wherever I can.

I wish there were more co-ops around for all sorts of things. Thirty years ago I belonged to an HMO that was actually set up as a co-op, and it was wonderful. Then someone had the bright idea of changing it and selling it to some corporation, and that was that. I envy the few folks that have REMC and telephone co-op service, instead of having to pay these big corporate leaches wired into our houses.

My wife and I were just talking about the loss of co-ops the other day. Back in the seventies/early eighties I belonged to several different food coops. And co-ops for different things seemed to be popping up all over. And then they just started disappearing. Now I can't even find a food co-op on our area, only those "buyers clubs" that give you little to no choice about what you get each week.

What happened to the co-op movement?

i was on the board of our little, local food coop. The usual practice was to have a once a month buy; everyone would go through the food list, prepay and the truck would show up one Saturday morning and the food would be picked up.

This worked fine for a number of years...until the members wanted a real store. Ugh! That meant renting a small building, actual inventory, having a paid manager, buying equipment, electric bills, phone bills and everything that goes along with a business. It was open six days a week with the board members working a Saturday now and then.

It was a disaster and was eventually sold to a couple who turned it into a real "organic" store at a bigger location which is still in business 20 years later. Why did the members want the change? I could never really figure it out. Perhaps, it was because they actually didn't do anything to make it happen except raise their hand during the vote. Yes, there was a wider selection of stuff and they didn't have to come up with the money all at once for a month's worth of food. But, they wrecked something that was good for the community. FWIW, I voted against it.


I'm on the board of the food coop here. It was a buyer's club until we got a generous, but modest loan from an anonymous donor.

We have a very small store and getting it up a going was a chore. We've been open for almost a year now and are doing okay.

No disrespect to our wonderful volunteers, but for the most part people don't care enough to commit any time to it.

As long as we can keep our overhead low and the Whole Foods down the road is still "delayed" we should be able to survive.

A retail store selling anything is a pretty challenging enterprise. Most of them are started by individuals, and most of them don't last for more than a year or so. You are right, there are a lot of things involved in setting them up and running a store.

Most food co-ops seem to thrive best where there is a certain "critical mass" of people that will patronize them. You are more likely to find that in big cities and in college towns than you are in small towns. To be safe, a buying club probably should continue operating as a buying club until they are well above the number of patrons needed to make a store work.

There are some intermediate steps that buying clubs could take. They could start renting someplace that is other than prime retail space but that has space for storage and processing and distributing orders. The days and times when food is available for pickup could be extended. Non-perishable items could be purchased in larger quantities, stored, and distributed over multiple months (with some arrangement made for enough funds to be built up to cover the inventory being carried). Buying clubs should try these smaller intermediate steps first before committing to taking the retail store plunge; if they have trouble making these little things work, then they certainly won't find that running a full retail operation is easier.

shaman - obviously they did not work or they would still be there. Why don't you start one?

Hi TtheD, Todd, Shaman and all,

Here's a link to the national co-op grocers' association.

They do quite a bit to help establish co-ops, from what I've heard, and also help (no extra charge), in all kinds of ways for co-ops already in existence, including financial consulting, etc.

I gave a short presentation on "peak" the other day to the Board of our local food co-op.

Two out of 6 members had heard about "peak oil"; the rest had no idea what it meant.

I was asked by one member to return with more specifics about how "peak" relates, and what they should do.

Any suggestions? I'm working on a list.

What I'd really appreciate some help on: this co-op is doing well, financially, and they want to expand. Specifically, they want to purchase a building, whereas, at the present time, they're paying rent.

I tried to tell them that my view is the housing market has not stopped falling, and the commercial real estate market will soon follow.

They don't seem to believe me. Is there any way you can think of I might make the case?

Also, speaking of the organization above, for a long time I've had the thought that ideally, ASPO or TOD or Bob Shaw or someone (?) should do "targeted" outreach. Of course, my few efforts at same have gone largely unrewarded.

I think the best you can do is show them quotes/vids from the people who keep getting it right and what their current guesses are for the future.

Meredith Whitney - she has the most cred with regular folks, ie - not seen as a nut.

Peter Schiff - now seen as prescient, but people still think his future picks are wrong.

The Automatic Earth

And show them the graphs floating around with more mortgage resets coming the through 2011. Finally, the many articles on the expected, and in-progress crash in retail real estate.

That's all got!


EDIT: Here's a nice piece via The Automatic Earth


Edit 2: This is the one you need: http://www.financialweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090112/REG/901...

Yes, buying commercial real estate right now would probably be a really bad move.

You could show this this from Calculated Risk:


With that sort of collapse, there will be lots more real estate available soon. If they buy now they are almost certainly going to take a significant loss.

PO issues relevant to a food co-op - a partial, off the top of my head, list:

- Transport of foodstuffs will eventually become more expensive, and may be subject to disruption. It is important that food co-ops actively seek out and patronize sources of supply for all goods that are located as close as possible. There may be a trade off between short-term cost savings and long-term food security (which could be achieved through long-term contracts with local suppliers); the patrons need to be educated and this issue needs to be discussed thoroughly.

- You might also give some thought to inventory management for food security. What if you can't get deliveries for items supplied from outside your local area for a month or two? What non-perishable but essential foodstuffs (like grains and legumes, for example) should be stocked and stored in larger quantities to assure that your patrons can still eat? What type of storage facilities might you need to build or acquire to store these larger quantities safe from rodents, insects, spoilage, theft?

- Energy to operate the food co-op building will eventually become more expensive. Electricity may become more unreliable and subject to increasingly frequent and prolongued blackouts. The food co-op might want to consider investing in DC-powered refrigerators and freezers, a battery bank, and rooftop solar panels to assure that losses of perishable stock are minimized. A passive solar heated store would be a wonderful long-term goal; at the very least, you might need to have a wood stove or two and lay in a supply of wood. You need to have a plan for operating without grid electricity for up to a week or more.

- How are your patrons going to get to the co-op to get their food? While some might live within walking distance, many will not. Motor fuel will become more expensive, and your area might experience supply disruptions lasting several weeks or more (as my area did this past September). You might want to give some thought to maintaining a good database of member contact records, and developing communications systems, so that you can develop one or more ways for members living near each other to link up and cooperate together to get to and from the co-op. Perhaps neighbors could take turns doing shopping for a group of neighbors, for example. Maybe there are other ways the co-op and its members could work together, perhaps in cooperation with local transport systems, to solve the transport system - research and discuss!

- The US is likely to be experiencing a very long period of economic decline. The good news is that this is likely to increase the number of people interested in becoming co-op patrons - IF the food co-op focuses on helping households to stretch their food budgets. You need to anticipate this growth in patronage and plan for it. The bad news is that more and more people are going to be experiencing severe economic difficulty. There will be people in your community that should be co-op members, and would greatly benefit from being co-op members, but can't afford the initial membership. You might want to consider raising donations for some sort of need-based grant program to cover these people. It is also likely that many patrons will have to cut back on their food budget. Expensive items that used to sell well might start sitting on the shelf, while you might find yourself wiped out of inexpensive but nourishing foods. You need to have a system to keep close track of changing purchase patterns, and be able to shift your stocking patterns quickly. You are also likely to have increasing numbers of patrons who no longer have enough money to buy what they need. What are you going to do about this? The time to think this through and decide what to do is before the problem gets too severe.

Besides the ideological reasons (which I share), I am also under the impression that credit unions do not (are not allowed to) engage in the "fractional reserve lending" game that is putting banks at peril if a small percentage of their loans go sour. But I have not been able to find good solid info on the reserve requirements for credit unions (in the USA). Does anybody have such?


Try it. You'll like it.

Remember to POWER DOWN.

I can't find there an answer to my question?

Hint, Hint,

Look in the "Regulations" section. PDF

I did.

I am wondering if any Credit Unions have gone bankrupt or had runs on them.

Just how safe are they.

Yes CA...I checked the regulations. Its rather disparate and ..well its seems like a lot of 'wordsmanship' and lawyer natter.

What is the real bottom line,,if you know the answer. I get a statement monthly and have had an account for about 30 yrs there,yet never a real clue as to how well they are run,,,and the name keeps changing. Now my previous employers name is nowhere in the paperwork or letterhead or anywhere visible , to me that means they have morphed quite a bit into something else. Just what I am not sure for I have only enough in it for a credit card and good fees on that and enough to keep an acct open.


Thanks WNC,

Good luck for this years honey flow. I had hoped to start building my own supers this winter but its cold out there in the pole barn. Maybe I can hammer out at least one and get a freebie hive from a neighbor.

I was thinking of a Nuc Hive.

As to CUs. Do they do fractional banking?

I guess I need to study up on this before moving funds.

I have a 90 yr old mother with some substantial funds that my son is letting take a big dive on Vanguard S@P 500 investments.

I want to pull it all out and put it away in safe keeping since we are in a deflation spiral. Then make some wise small investments.

Thanks for the idea,
Airdale in collllldddddd WKY...

http://www.snowpeakapiaries.com/Home/VYCAGE.html works fine.

You can find some good queen rearing books at Google.


My understanding is that CUs make loans to members, and it is the money that members have deposited that is loaned out. That, by definition, is fractional reserve banking.

It is not possible to earn interest on savings without the financial institution being able to lend your moeny out to someone that will pay them interest. If one doesn't like that, then there really isn't much point in having money on deposit with ANY financial institution. Put it in a bank safe deposit box, maybe, or buy a safe. Or there is always the Bank of Matress.

I do think that because CUs just do business with their own members, that fences them in quite a bit and severely limits the amount of monkey business they can get themselves into. Because they only lend to members, they already know their customer. They tend not to get into things like commercial real estate loans, that can be very risky.


Be careful about using those "freebe hives", unless you are able to get it fumigated. Too many diseases and things these days.

A Nuc is the best way to go until you've already got several hives in your apiary. Once you have several, you can do splits to make more for yourself. On the other hand, if money is really tight, you can always team up with a more experienced beekeeper that is on the call list for swarm capture. If you supply the woodenware and volunteer to do much of the hard work of getting to the bees, they might help you capture a free colony for yourself.

I have had a credit union account for years. It is a minor nuisance at times, but the absence of fees that regular banks charge make it all worthwhile..

Thanks for the link Leanan. I always have trouble finding Denniger's new stuff. Even starting from HTTP://market-ticker.denninger.net/ I can't find the latest stuff. Where would one go to see a current listing of his most recent publications?


move their money to local credit union

Now I could do that for the teachers union (What with my dues card for the 1 class I teach every 1.5/2 years) but the local credit union I wanted to open an IRA.

Get this.

They wanted 3 years of my tax returns for me to open up an IRA.

I told 'em to go pound sand - they claimed it was so they could comply with 'know your customer' laws.

NYT, Meet James Kunstler! What will save the suburbs?

So what to do with the abandoned houses, the houses that were never completed or the land that was razed for building and now sits empty?

The houses within them are big, but not generally as big as, say, Victorian mansions in San Francisco that can be subdivided into apartments. So they’re not great candidates for transformation into multi-family rental housing.
I did visit a housing development last year that offered “quartets,” McMansions subdivided into four units with four separate entrances. These promised potential buyers the status of a McMansion with the convenience of a condominium, but the concept felt like it was created more to preserve the property values of larger neighboring homes than to serve the needs of the community’s residents.

There has been a nationwide shift toward de-construction (led by companies like Planet Reuse and Buffalo Reuse, the surgical taking-apart of homes to salvage the building materials for reuse, but often the building materials used in these developments aren’t of good enough quality to warrant salvaging.
Part of President-elect Obama’s proposed massive public works program, for example, is to be dedicated to clean tech infrastructure. Included in this is the intent to weatherize (that is, make energy-efficient) one million low-income homes a year.

One can already see how those in the construction industry can begin to make the shift from new construction to home retrofitting.
. . .it’s often the case that fixing leaks and insulation are just as effective in reducing the carbon footprint of single-family homes (which account for about 18 percent of the country’s carbon footprint).

As people increasingly stay put — and re-sell homes less — this retrofit strategy makes sense. Millions of homes, not just low-income ones, are in need of the sort of weatherization the Obama plan describes.
And after decades of renovation-obsession that has simply gotten out of hand, it seems a prudent time to swap Viking ranges for double-paned windows and high-efficiency furnaces. It’s the perfect moment to fix what we’ve got.

If this writer had bothered to read Kunstler or spend a bit of time over here on TOD, they would have discovered that we've been talking about all of these things for a while, now.

This seems to be a different take than what Kunstler would opine. I think JHK would see the suburbs as a hopeless enterprise, even with splitting up McMansions, etc. Again, part of the difficulty here is defining suburb. And really, whether an area is considered a suburb or not, it should be defined by its characteristics like accessibility, walkability, proximity to jobs,etc. The key is how the area is positioned and structured.

There are places, of course, on the extreme end, where people routinely commute 60 or more miles from work that are and should be abandoned. The housing crisis is assisting this trend and the latest gas prices not so much. However, the government is feverishly trying to prop up these housing prices through very low mortgages which might just help perpetuate living arrangements that are not in the long term interests of the inhabitants, the communities, or the nation.

A major problem is that incomes have not kept up with housing prices. Now that the prices are finally coming down, especially in places like California, there are moves afoot to prop them up again. This is an area that the market should be allowed to rule.

Owning one's own home is a sacred tenet of American life. Should it be? Should consideration be given to eliminating the interest and property tax deductions? Getting people closer to work might be better served by severing the tether of home ownership.

Property ownership(personal housing) IMO is a basic tenet of our country.

At least property ownership is.

In the long ago many storied structures for the low income folks,like Pruitt Igloe in St. Louis they rapidly were destroyed and turned into
very bad crime ridden areas. Pruitt Igloe was so bad they dynamited it down as I seem to recall. I knew some police and burglar alarm employees (my br.in law) who refused to go there.

The idea then was to allow them to buy cheap houses and give them a sense of property ownership.

Will it be different next time around?


Property ownership(personal housing) IMO is a basic tenet of our country.

May be, but we never made it anywhere close to 100%. It looks like we've probably peaked as far as the owner-occupied vs. renter-occupied ratio is concerned.

I don't know if there ever has been a society where 100% of housing is owner-occupied. It has to be extremely rare if it has ever existed at all.

What is bad is when less than 50% is owner-occupied. That is a pretty good indication that the majority of people are not much better than serfs or slaves, under the thumb of a powerful rentier class.

What about the people living in multi-family dwelling in cities? There is a way that these can be owner-occupied as well - make them into condos or co-ops. It is hard to make that happen when the residents are poor, but maybe we need to make it a priority as a society to make it possible for them.

Well, if this was the best that we can do, perhaps we should revisit the idea of property ownership in general. (I know, heresy!)

Out here in my part of the country many farmers own paid off farms. They also may rent others that is also paid off.

Our banks love to make loans here if they are backed by land. For they can always forclose on REAL assets and not just promises.

So I own my land and building. My friends mostly do as well. Those who do not here are not from here and are youth mostly. Ones who do menial jobs or move on.

So real land ownership is something of very great value. It gives one a good feeling to own their own land with no mortgages at all.

You can easily leverage your land though until you can go bankrupt.When farming takes a really big hit..then the land goes to usually another farmer who was wiser.

Airdale-my father owned three nice farms , each of 100 ac or more and lost every single one...never gave me a chance to buy in..the old coot.

We are at Peak Suburbs. JHK would certainly agree with that, it sounds like the author of this article would to.

Different suburbs will take different pathways. Some probably will end up being totally abandoned, stripped, and torched ghost towns. Others might be able to navigate some sort of transition, some doing better at it than others.

From where I stand, house prices are still sky-high...I am renting a 2-year old house and cannot, even with the current interest rates (I have a 800+ credit score), get Principal/Interest/Tax monthly payments anywhere near my rent. Add to this the 20% down requirement, and the idea that housing prices in Albuquerque are drifting down more (they haven't yet crashed like CA and AZ), and buying makes no sense to me...and I make low 6-figures. That shows how absurdly prices have risen the last decade. When PIT(I) is so far above rent levels (which track what people can actually pay with cash), then our housing market is out of whack. On top of this, there will be 400M of us come ~2047!

If I knew my house owners would outlive me ans that they would never sell out from under me, then I would be happy to rent until I died. Let them fix the flat roof (a really really bad, if historic design) next time it leaks.

At one time my wife and I joked about living out of a RV and touring America (esp. National parks) after the kids gradutated college and flew the coop, but that idea is shot.

As for homes...

1) Insulate.
2) Replace the windows with energy efficient ones.
3) Replace the conventional A/C and heating units with Geothermal- Geothermal units are about 3 times as efficient, and coupled with Nuclear or other renewables removes the need for fossil fuels to heat homes.
4) If the home is near a heat source (i.e. power plant or heavy industrial plant) take advantage of cogeneration.
5) Replace your damn bulbs with Compact Fluorescents! There's no reason to use incandescent lighting anymore!
6) Replace the old appliances with energy efficient ones, such as your washer, dryer, refrigerator, etc...
7) If you live somewhere that you spend much of the year with A/C on, tear off that black tar roof (that just makes your house hotter) and put on a white roof that will COOL DOWN your house.
8) New construction should be Passuvhaus standard.
9) Use renewable sources where it makes sense (Solar panels, solar water heating, etc.)
10) And finally... build more multiunit buildings (condos, apartments, etc) and fewer single family dwellings. It is much more efficient to have one 60 unit apartment to heat and cool, than 60 individual homes spread out over 60 acres.

RE your #3: Geothermal heat pumps are OK, but another option that should be on the table is district heating. There are efficiencies that are possible by scaling up to a neighborhood level, especially wrt geothermal. For example, I could see great possibilities in the combination of a neighborhood park with a lake and a district heating plant that uses coils in the lake for geothermal.

Of course, I am only talking about the heating end of things here, and not cooling. I'm afraid that we're probably at Peak A/C too, and more people are going to simply have to learn to live without a/c. Maybe we can continue to produce enough power so they can at least have fans.

If you only have to worry about heating and not cooling, then district heating can work very well. This implies an end to forced air central HVAC, and return to steam heat piped to radiators in each room. I grew up with that type of heat, and survived just fine. There are many people around the room that still live that way. We could too.

Uh ? About the only points that aren't ill thought out is 1) 3) and 7) and even that has conditions.
1) depends on costs of install and current insulation levels plus climate
2) embedded energy costs, capital costs = stupid payback time on both counts
3) I assume you mean GSHP ? Lots of moving parts in that compressor and of course you have to either dig up your whole garden or bore a serious hole ... air source is better
4) oh, ok - I'll just knock and ask
5) unless you have a dislike of low CRIs and mercury - we're almost there but not quite so it's more correct to say 'there is increasingly no need to use incandescent'
6) emebedded energy costs again - how about 'minimise use of your dryer'
7) passive measures like overhangs, window shades and shading trees work very well but replacing a roof ? how about paint it ?
8) too extreme for now - we haven't really figured out mass construction of these - how does everyone's house face south ?
9) great except for most of the west neither of those do make sense. solar hot water is the funniest here in the UK - payback times can exceed 40 years ignoring maintenance and cost of capital.
10) we have lots of multiple unit buildings rotting in the UK - no-one wants them, period.

A lot of these more extreme green measures only compute if you buy at TODAY'S energy costs and save on doomsday TOMORROW'S energy costs. Never a risk to do that, is it ?

At 2). BS. Double glass makes sense and lasts a lifetime.

BS yourself ... do research before being so rude. dg windows in a typical 3 bed semi would be 4000 for an annual saving of 20% max or about 120 ie payback on just the capital ignoring maintenance and financing costs over 30 years. And the mean lifetime is 30 for uPVC or 50 for wood. Maybe you'll get a payback, most likely you won't.
Choose uPVC and you have a 3GJ embodied energy per unit typically, triple that of timber but then you have to paint timber every 5 years or so.
Then there's the energy cost of ripping the things out and installing them ... and disposing of or recycling the old.
Unless your windows are actually falling out with rot then the only sensible thing to do is draught proof or install secondary storm windows if noise bothers you. Otherwise your off down the road of aesthetics rather than function.

A big question about GeoThermal HPs is whether they are ground loops or run off wells. Costs vary. Capital outlay and running costs.

Digging a well ect...yet you can run off a well but you should have a return that sends the output water back down into the aquifer.


It is strange that the NYTimes writer uses the example of Buffalo Reuse because it doesn't fit the headline of the article at all. Buffalo Reuse deconstructs houses in the city of Buffalo not the suburbs. The suburbs of Buffalo have been growing for decades while the city has been shrinking.

Brief Report from DC

Presented paper yesterday at TRB. Presentation videotaped


Had two hour talk with Senior Fellow of New America Foundation, he has "feeler" from Washington Post about their new "video editorials" and ^IF* it goes through, he would like me to have a slot.

Attended "Energy Conversation" last night, talked to committee chairman staff aide and speaker (from Natural Resource Defense Council, old Washington hand) who seemed interested in new ideas/approaches.

Collected over dozen business cards with promises to send them info.

MARC train back to free bed in Baltimore was victim of budget cuts (new schedule 1/12/09) and got back "home" at midnight.

Tired, invite by Chairman of Energy Committee of TRB to attend afternoon session today.

Best Hopes,


Keep up the great work, Alan. We're here supporting you from afar (in my case, the other side of the country).

Yes, thanks, Alan.

This is great.

Will the presentation be available as well?

What kind of popular support would be most helpful for this, do you think? Is there any legislation in progress? Or, what?

Quite frankly, I am NOT sure yet to any of your excellent qyestions.

I feel like a chimp that climbed into a space capsule, I have been pushing buttons and pulling levers for quite some time now.

And I now hear a distant roar and the capsule is vibrating.


The EU is getting what it richly deserves by coddling that maggot Yuschenko. WTF, process gas is a part of the transit contract. After first trying to rip up the 2006 transit agreements up on January 6th, 2009, Ukraine is now making up the excuse that it should get process gas for free in whatever quantities it claims it needs. Until the Stockholm Arbitration Court rules that the 2006 transit contracts are null and void, Ukraine is bound to them. BTW, Gazprom never broke its commitments since it was Ukraine that cut off the four transit pipelines on January 6th and 7th (not as the western media spin would have it). Gazprom has not stopped shipping via the pipeline running to Poland via Belorus and the pipeline to Turkey (in fact it has increased the flow rate).

Gazprom accused Ukraine of diverting some of the restored supplies for its own domestic use and shutting down an export corridor.

“The door is closed as before,” Medvedev said. “We did not close the door. We are doing our utmost to resume flows to our customers. Unfortunately we can’t transit gas physically through Ukraine.”

The Ukrainians may be “dancing to the music which is being orchestrated not in Kiev but outside the country,” Medvedev said, referring to the U.S."


Ukrainian opposition calls for impeachment of Yushchenko

Ukraine's biggest opposition faction started on Tuesday procedures to impeach President Viktor Yushchenko, and also called for the dismissal of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government.

"We demand the immediate resignation of the government and the start of procedures to impeach the president," Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of Regions, said, addressing an extraordinary session of parliament devoted to the current gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. He was supported by the Ukrainian Communist Party.

Yushchenko, whose popularity has slumped to 2.4% according to the results of a poll published on Monday, did not attend the Supreme Rada session. Tymoshenko was, however, present.


I bet It's really cold in Vienna right now.

I think there's going to a key post on the Russia-Ukraine situation soon. You might want to save your links and comments for that thread.

Gazprom has tens of billions of dollars worth of debt on their books. It is not as if building gas wells, processing facilities, and miles of pipelines was for free. Some foreigners bought Gazprom bonds to finance gas sales to Europe and they need to be paid interest whether Ukraine wants to pay or not.

There is also a danger of a monopoly overcharging at a time when oil production is declining and the EU signed away its right to burn much coal in the form of buying carbon credits. I suppose more conservation is necessary. Switching to green energy might increase the poverty rates in Europe. Conversion of food to fuel might create a catastrophe worse than the ocean rising an inch in a decade. Ethanol reduced ozone haze, but was a net source of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The post glacial rate of sea level rise was previously greatly accelerated compared to the past few thousand years as there was a huge area of continental ice sheet melting. Most of the ice cover has already melted. This sea level rise will not be stopped by carbon credits and China burning up its coal. Eventually with carbon credits it gets burned anyway.


Pretty weird oil price spreads. Brent, which I believe usually trades at a discount to WTI, is about $5 to $6 higher than WTI, and then the average WTI price for 2009, excluding February, is around $54. I think that some refinery outages are contributing to the supply build at Cushing, but in any case, pretty strange prices.

Isn't part of this hording because of the contango as stated in one of the above articles?

Not really: it's the lack of hoarding that allows such differences between various prices to build up in the first place.
The sovereigns are the only ones (that we know of) hoarding large amounts of oil.

Unnatural Declines

Venezuela has informed joint venture partners they are required to cut production in line with previously announced OPEC quotas. This has caused some job losses in Venzuela.


Iran was asking for more OPEC cuts, an emergency meeting in FEbruary ahead of the regualr March meeting, and filling super tankers with crude betting oil prices will go up:


Libya ordered OPEC cuts in December:


Kuwait will cut oil exports to Europe and the United States by 10 percent:


UAE to cut off more oil than required by OPEC quotas:


OPEC nations, almost total compliance with oil cuts up to December, Algeria announced compliance with new cuts:


etc, etc, etc

Yet Oil Movements (according to the January 2nd Bloomberg piece) and the EIA (in the STEO released today) believe otherwise.
The market does not seem to be pricing deep cuts either.

The bit about the Iranian tankers is news to me. Thanks for that.

This fellow Mr Kjus, a Norwegian oil analyst, today claims (in DN-web site, norwegian text), that WTI should be abandoned as a global oil benchmark or referanse oil quality.

Reason why ? well, there is only traded some 250.000 b/d of WTI and it is only available in a tiny local portion of the US marked. This delusions the rest of the market (other qualities benchmarks) in WTIs direction, e.g price down.

... of course 'a good' Norwegian doesn't like this kind of a developement :-)

"A similar situation was also observed in April and May 2007, when crude stocks in Cushing climbed to a record 28 million barrels, which resulted in the WTI 1st Mth/Brent 1st Mth spread widening to -$7.90 per barrel."

Cushing stocks were above 32 mbs earlier this month and the current spread is a bit higher percentage-wise. So it's not that strange.

New pipeline(Enbridge) to midwest from Can should relieve some of the dumping of syncrude oil at Cushing.Remember, Cushing is a oneway terminal(once it's there it has to be used by the local refineries).Syncrude was at a $4 discount to WTI around Christmas(should be a $4 prem).Mars was at a $1 prem to WTI.Strange indeed!

Here is another farm family enterprise that is doing quite well.
I know for this is where I buy my bacon, sausage and hams at. Have two of their hams sitting in my icebox right now.

This is in Muhlenberg county and when tobacco went into decline many farmers who did not have land that lended to rowcropping had to find niche farming. This is one that works IMO.

Scott ships his products everywhere. I can attest that this is country cured ham about as good as it gets. The bacon is not your usual Wally Mart type. It doesn't cure up and shrink. A slab will last a long time. Of course one must cut the rind off ifn your a city type. I save the rind for seasoning when cooking beans.

His farm is in very rolling land. Right close to where the coal mining stripping is going on and its good for cattle and hogs if the coal company hasn't hauled it away.

Airdale-"Father won't you take me back to Muhlenburg County,down by the Green River.....so on"...John Prine song don't cha know.

In the acidic environment of the stomach, sodium nitrite reacts with amines - the products of partial protein digestion - to produce a class of compounds called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogenic and are the primary cause of colon cancer. If you're going to eat meat at all, you'd do well to avoid nitrite cured meat products such as bacon, ham & sausage.

A nice reply laced with acidic comments via scientific terms.

But do you know whether Farmer Scott is using nitrates in his curing?

You might want to ring him up and ask.

My self I have eaten cured meat quite a bit both when young and now.
I did have renal cancer but my brother never ate cured meat and died of colorectal cancer.

Yes I know nitrates are in some curing recipes. I do believe though that salt and hickory smoke are the usual method.

I would prefer home cured pork and day over storebrought. Besides I am too old to change and really a little goes a long way. And the enormous list of ingredients on the stores labels tend to make me hesitant as to the efficacy of their products

Airdale-I could be wrong, you could be wrong..I will try to find out though but personally I don't tend to worry overmuch about it..what I worry about is that rooster spunk in my eggs of a morning..

I remember when my dad would use bacon rinds as disc lube. wrap the rind around the disc axel then bolt the axel bearing clamps back on the disc.

A disc is a row of sharp 16 to 24" steel plates pulled thu a field to chop up corn stocks or other previous crops before planting wheat, oats, rye, or barley.

Is this the place?



And if you will not right on the home page Farmer Scott says NO Nitrates.

Airdale-I was not wrong on this one,,but I do miss on ocassion

The John Prine is great, but I see real rough times at best for these family farms you and WT mention. Very, very few will be able to afford products at those prices, and even less will pay it over the cheaper alternatives in the grocery store.

We pulled sheep into our operation 6 years ago, primarily to help in our pasture rotations. Sold pasture raised, no grain or antibiotic lamb. Buyers dropped out like flies last fall. In the snowiest winter in many decades, we have an overflowing barn and fond hopes for an early spring. Local sale barn prices fell to $15/head.

Cattle prices dropped like a rock also. Many are living on hope, waiting for a loan, like our lessee. Doubt we'll see that money, but it's become more important to try and plan ahead...

I'm so sorry to hear that. Locally, it seems the more popular CSAs are still doing well, and Boulderites value quality local food enough to pay $6 for a loaf of bread made with traditional methods (most delicious, I must say).

My interest is in relocalizing the food supply, and I strongly believe that we are paying too little for "food" - much of which turns out to be various levels of toxic. I see the major push now as developing regional "food security" reports, listing grocery stores and farms, and resolving to support local farms financially at the local government level, because they provide security in case the fossil-fuel based food system fails.

A discussion with a local food activist brought out the point that being able to spend less on food than one used to is another symptom of the decrease of purchasing power for the "middle class", so not just a choice brought about by the availability of cheap frankenfoods.

That said, people will be buying less meat overall when money is scarce, and perhaps growing some of their own vegetables, so family farms that focus on beef and bacon may continue to be in trouble unless they have enough of a captive audience.

I don't see many reporting on what's happening rural, esp regarding livestock. Too much pain elsewhere I guess. And I'm a little too depressed to write or read about it.

Saw tip and bottom roast beef at 1.99/lb. in our never has a sale grocery store. Like oil and nat gas, extreme volatility. It's how do you make it to the next high.

Did notice one story leanan pulled while back on horse problem, which was noted here locally a year ago. Sale barn won't take horses without deposit for fear of getting stuck with them. This winter we had over 8 feet cumulative snow from Thanksgiving to the Jan thaw. And alot of horses have been "freed". Just shoved out in the forest or rangeland to graze. Sheriff often gets the call, I'm hearing of groups of 20 or more being rounded up, trying to get organizations or hay to carry them....Silly, write about horses when that's such an inconsequential problem.

Wish I had a few mules to put up for when times get bad.
They are more hardy than horses. Not much for riding though.

Times get a tad better I might just get a few and buy some tack.

I think we will later regret losing all those horses.


Yes,,John Prine's music defines my life to a great degree. His style is 'Bob Dylan for country boys'.

About stock. I think the wise man will cut back and go into full sustainable mode and wait for the new age coming. Bartertown in full color without the bad guys. Just people who need 'food and fiber'.

Cattle are down but have you tried to eat whats on the shelves? Gristle and bone particles. Almost unedible. I went to a Ponderosa and wouldn't have fed that trash to my dogs. The steak was a waste of flesh.

Whatever they are cutting its not worth spit.


Now the spread between Brent and WTI is $11


Wow. The spread between the two spot prices is about equal to the total price of oil back in the 1998 time frame.

Don't trust random websites... I believe you're looking at the April Brent contract.

HFat, you are absolutely correct.
All Brent contract lengths here : http://www.dn.no/energi/borsdata/oljepris.do?list=BRN

That makes a little more sense. The average WTI price for 2009, excluding February, is in the mid-fifties.

Good show: Big Boo Boo on my part. usually use this web site to check prices.


Systemic problems in the Danish scientific community? GCR is the least sensitive of the charged particle precipitation types (the others are solar protons and electrons) to the magnetic field since the energy of GCR particles (mostly protons) is in the GeV range. GCR induced ionization does maximize over the geomagnetic polar caps but there is ionization in the tropics. The GCR ionization rate peaks around 13 km and is less than 50 ion pairs per cc per second. Below 6 km there is less than 5 ion pairs/cc/sec. The peak value would not increase if the Earth's magnetic filed were to shut off and instead the GCR bombardment would be basically homogeneous from pole to pole, leading to a peak value of less than 25 ion pairs /cc/sec.

The ionization by GCR leads to the production of positive and negative ions and in particular water clusters. The major problem in the whole analysis is that water clusters (the most dominant are proton hydrates) at tropospheric and lower stratospheric temperatures are small. For temperatures over 200 K the peak number of ligands is less than six. To form effective condensation nuclei you need about 21 ligands when the proton hydrate develops a spherical cage structure instead of the branch morphology. This happens at temperatures around 130 K. The coldest temperatures in the cloud formation regions in the tropics (below 16 km) are over 200 K. There are values as low as 185 K in the "cold trap" around 18 km in the tropics in some regions. But the relevance at 18 km would be for visible and sub-visible cirrus cloud formation and subsequent sedimentation. If you want to affect the cloud-mediated radiative budget of the troposphere you need to worry about lower altitude clouds. In fact, the high altitude clouds are good infrared traps and it is the low altitude clouds that act to as a negative feedback on warming and these are not affected by GCR.

Correlation studies are typically dubious. You do not have all relevant variables identified and as has happened on many occasions in the past, the analysis itself can be incompetent. The onus is on the "skeptics" to provide *mechanisms* for their claims.

Good news: the text of the article is free: http://geology.gsapubs.org/cgi/content/full/37/1/71

God, what an inane paper. The oxygen isotope data is tracking the solar insolation since there is an actual physical mechanism involved. The magnetic moment with its huge error bars happens to have undergone a dip within the last 9000 years. Where are are the error bars on the oxygen 18 curve? They should be increasing as one gets further out into the past. Figure 1 says it all.

I have noticed that the climate change research community publishes all sorts of stuff from skeptics that turn out to be really poorly done papers. I am not sure why so, but probably so nobody can seriously charge "censorship," to give peers a chance to rebutt in a formal setting, and because publications have massively proliferated and so there's plenty of journal space available.

Trouble is: The press and many bloggers don't know how to distinguish the grain from the chaff, and every published paper gets the veneer of respectability over it.

I usually check backgrounds. Can't find anything that makes these guys "deniers." As of now, it's best to take this paper at face value unless or until a skeleton comes screaming out of the closet.


A few notes:

Two curves with positive trends modulated by sufficiently small random noise relative to the trend will correlate really well. That robustness tests are omitted in the paper is problematic. I also know of many tropical speleothem records. Why were these two in particular selected, since it's not like they were corrected by the authors?

Error bars on delta O-18 are small now, 0.05 per mill and are not limited by anything to do with age per se but by sample size for counting statistics. Stratigraphic smearing is not an issue here, because records of this type often have annual resolution. (Hence all the windowing.) The error bars on the dipole are shown and are one issue.

The authors can be whoever they like. It's the science that matters, but there are few "sociological" clues in the paper itself that are interesting. First, the submission of this work to Geology is weird. The authors probably wanted a US journal, since previous magnetic field-climate work has been published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters with limited impact in this country. But if I had research like this, I'd submit it to Geophysical Research Letters, which has an audience of geologists, climate scientists, and space physicists among others. Whereas Geology is a primarily geological journal. And GRL isn't biased. It published a very interesting paper last year about how magnetic field variations affect the solubility of CO2 in the ocean. But the experiments in that paper appear somewhat more careful than this analysis. Submitting to Geology may be a ploy to avoid problematic reviews.

I confirm this hypothesis by noting that Vincent Courtillot is acknowledged as a reviewer. Second to Henrik Svensmark, he's the principal proponent of GCRs and the Earth's magnetic field modulating climate rather than greenhouse gases. Note this critique of Courtillot's work by Ray Pierrehumbert. . Just searching Courtillot on Real Climate gets you the perspective of the "true believers" or mainstream climate community or whatever you want to call them.

So are the authors known contrarians? No. But one of their reviewers is, and even if he weren't, he's still a big proponent of the hypothesis they're testing. Such a reviewer really should be counter-balanced by someone skeptical. The other reviewer is an expert in paleomagnetics (an allied set of expertise to Courtillot), about whom I can't find anything particularly striking.

Every time a press conference about Gaza includes some hypothetical about how we'd feel with Canada lobbing missiles at us, I want to scream about how daft this comparison is.. and then we hear about Bush claiming the Sea Power over Arctic Straits.. and I wonder instead if we've been getting 'prepped' for a new relationship with the RCMP?

I would wonder what the *HELL* we had done to the Canadians to make them so angry !


The answer would be that you fail to recognize our arctic territorial waters, continue with the undemocratic encroachment of the SPP, and flood our airwaves with "krapkulture."

Yanqui Go Home!!

And if you cannot go home because it is REO then please ponder the economic structure created for you by your elite and wonder why on earth anyone else in the world would want to follow your example.

My problem is, why on earth do so many want to follow America's example when it clearly is based on non-reproducible conditions? We stole a continent. Canadians, Australians and Russians should therefore act a lot like Americans - although the Russians seem to limit it to bullying, weapons accumulation and inane boasting. The rest of the world's current peoples have only stolen very small corners of the world relative to their populations, and as we know here at The Oil Drum, this limits one's sustainable options. Costa Rica, now that's a realistic model.

Canada had a series of securities investment frauds including Bre-x a company that faked assay results for a gold mining project in Indonesia causing investors to lose a billion dollars while founders of the company went away exceedingly wealthy.

Will have to admit the murder rate is much lower north of the border and there must be some good people in Canada for them to have such good neighborhoods without spending more than any other nation for weapons.


The United States spent nearly half as much money on weapons as the entire world spent on weapons. It is bad, and the domestic GDP is taxed to the max for all these mercenary firms like Blackwater. It is a heavy burden like the colonials had with quartering British Red Coat troops at their own expense.

And every time I see all this stuff, the question keeps forming in my own mind: "Why don't we (the US) just butt out and mind our own business, and let these maniacs fight it out amongst themselves?"

I agree we could butt out even more, but isn't this pretty much what is happening?

but isn't this pretty much what is happening

So I guess providing Israel with arms is a "hands off" policy. Stop the arms flow. Deport Israel's intelligence officers and lobbyists. We've supported them long enough.

We have military facilities in 130 countries.

Nobody talks about them.

The country is going broke, we're losing the corporations that built our way of life, everything is being questioned except for those stupid military bases.

Now I understand why voters are so cynical in protecting domestic military bases in their districts; that's simple greed. The foreign bases hemorrhage our cash to their local economies. $1 spent on even the most worthless base in the continental US will produce several $ of American GNP. $1 spent on a radar station in Tonga?

Either average folks have no idea that these bases are so extensive and expensive, or they fear to question the high priests of American Empire, because they still function from the delusion that the Empire exists for their benefit.

Of course, once we pull our forces out of those countries, it will be entertaining to see how many of their governments are no longer being protected from uprisings by their own wretched citizens.

We have military facilities in 130 countries.
Nobody talks about them.

Yea, that damned no body Ron Paul.

The Military-Industrial-Political-Political complex is long victories in inculcating militarism as a non-negotiable American staple. Mom, apple pie, Chevrolet (oops, scratch that?) and GI Joe, great American hero.

When I joined, I was a Reagan Republican from a family of mostly Democrats...10 years later, I woke up, and now today I see that all is in ruins...no one dares question any amount of military spending or force application, or the nitwit zombies will bury you alive under mountains of yellow 'Support the Troops' magnets. And the vast majority of these people know next to nothing about military strategy, tactics, how weapons work, or geography, geology, politics, etc. The easily propagandized sheeple blithely write blank checks every year and the DoD has LOST over one trillion dollars over the last twenty years. ALL military organizations, down to the smallest units, operate under 'use it or lose it' budgets...that is why at the end of every year (last 3 weeks of September, Fiscal Year ends 30 Sep) they go shopping for new furniture made my Unicor (formerly FPI, Federal prison Industries)and other goodies using 'Fallout Money'.

How much good could we have done with even half of those $500-700B+/yr 'defense' budgets?

DOD my arse...it has been the 'Department of Empire and War Profiteering'.

Make War...No More.

I see an immense irony in the fact that the person that coined the phrase "Military-Industrial Complex" was not some wild eyed hippie/communist/anarchist wearing an aluminum foil hat, ranting about the powers that be.

It was the President of the United States.


he coined the phrase, and he may have been sincere, but niether he nor the 8 presidents since have done or even appear to have wanted to do much about it. reagan plunged the country into debt that has only been exceeded by the current waster in chief.

Too true.

It was WWII that launched the USA into the international spotlight. After it was over, they were then a creditor nation, had vast resources and virtually no damage to their infrastructure.

I think this power was just too tempting.

Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe in the phrase: "We the people", and was basing his parting address on that. With all the profits from the war, the industrialists figured out that it was a pretty good gig, so Ike's warning was probably too late, even back then.

Once the meme of "American Exceptionalism" took hold, confidence became hubris and the result is sadly obvious.

Make War...No More.

One can only hope. Alas, as long as one party has 'more' than others, or the 'leadership' class can extract tribute from others - there shall be 'the enemy' that needs 'a good war'n'.

Yeah, ask yourself that as US made F16s drop US made cluster bombs and the pilot has a Brooklyn accent.
Always a proxy to save the blushes, eh ?

"Why don't we (the US) just butt out and mind our own business, and let these maniacs fight it out amongst themselves?"

Because virtually every member of congress is scared to death of AIPAC. Get on their wrong side, you will be labeled as an anti-semite, and your political career is kaput.

labeled as an anti-semite

Words are interesting, no?

A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.

Most congress-kritters seem to not care about the plight of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Artifacts from the time of Babylon in Iraq have not been well treated by US government empowered agents. Few make any noise to the Ottoman empire over the Aramean holocaust. And being Anti-Arab - I'm sure there is some Arab defamation league who's tracking what grows in THAT fertile soil.

Looks like that 'anti-semite' label just needs marketing is all. Is that what AIPAC does? Point out how badly CongressKritters treat the semite list?

All right people. The rest of the hard working all star Blues Brothers are gonna be out here in a minute, including my little brother Jake. But right now, I'd like to talk a little bit about this tune you're hearing. This is ofcourse the Green Onions tune. It was a very big hit in the early sixties in this country. And ofcourse it was composed and recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, right here in the United States Of America. You know, people, I believe that this tune can be acquinted with the great classical music around the world.
Now you go to Germany, you've got your Bach, your Beethoven, your Brahms... Here in America you've got your Fred McDowell, your Irving Berlin, your Glenn Miller, and your Booker T & The MG's, people. Another example of the great contributions in music and culture that this country has made around the world. And as you look around the world today, you see this country spurned.
You see backs turned on this country. Well people, I'm gonna tell you something, this continent, North America, is the stronghold! This is where we're gonna make our stand in this decade! Yeah, people, I've got something to say to the State Department. I say Take that archaic Monroe Doctrine, and that Marshall Plan that says we're supposed to police force the world, and throw 'em out! Let's stay home for the next ten years people! Right here in North America and enjoy the music and culture that is ours. Yeah, I got one more thing to say.
I'm just talking about the music, people, and what it does to me. And that is, as you look around the world, you go to the Soviet Union or Great Britain or France, you name it, any country... Everybody is doing flips and twists just to get into a genuine pair of American blue jeans! And to hear this music and we got it all here in America, the land of the Chrysler 440 cubic inch engine!

Dan (Elwood Blues) Aykroyd - born, 1 July 1952, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

OK, OK.. it's a couple decades late.. the 440 is off the list.. bluejeans are hardly made here anymore.. but we've still got Green Onions.. and a lot of expat Canadians!

Cosmic joke:

The conservative on Fox News says, "The popularity of our culture around the world is proof that we are the greatest people on Earth!"

What is so popular to the world?

Black hip-hop (and previously jazz and the blues)
Hollywood liberals (all the way back to socialist Chaplin)
Stoner flicks
South Park
Making fun of Bush
Sex & violence
Video games

Everything that the GOP wants to ban.

Maybe there was always more than one America - the one with the power is not the good one.

Gambling and entertainment, traditionally recession-proof...

In recession, many see lottery worth the gamble

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In these tough times, many people appear willing to gamble a few precious dollars in the hope of winning instant deliverance from their economic woes.

More than half of all states with lotteries have reported rising sales over the past six months, and some researchers say financial insecurity might be driving people to risk more of their money than usual on $1 and $5 instant scratch-offs and other daily games in hopes of a big payoff.

DTV: It's the antenna, stupid

The truth is more people should consider getting their TV over the free airwaves. Cutting out pay TV can easily save a household $1,000 a year, and it’s probably the single easiest way to find extra money for the monthly budget. Also, many electronics aficionados will tell you that over-the-air HD channels are higher quality than their pay TV counterparts, because the signal is not compressed as much in delivery. And when you do get your digital TV working correctly, you'll be pleased at the extra offerings you'll discover. Because of extra bandwidth available, many local network stations broadcast multiple channels, sometimes called “sub” channels. Those new to over-the-air digital might find a channel 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3. NBC, for example, has made good use of its extra bandwidth in the digital TV world, adding a 24-hour sports channel called Universal Sports to its lineup. Each local station makes its own decision on what to broadcast.

But getting digital television to work with over-the-air sets is going to be a lot harder than most people realize.

It takes some effort...but with the economy the way it is, people might go for it.

This article has a good U-Tube link on how to build an antenna.


I'm working on one now.

In recession, many see lottery worth the gamble

Sex offender wins $500,000 Alaska lottery

An Alaska lottery held to raise money for a group that helps sexual abuse victims had a surprise winner: a convicted sex offender.

Proceeds of the lottery help Standing Together Against Rape in Anchorage, a nonprofit group that offers support to sexual assault victims among other services.

"It's not how we had envisioned the story going," Nancy Haag, the group's executive director, told CNN Radio.

Hey... Sometimes it works. What can you say?

Oh good, now he has enough money to go to Thailand or some other place to get his pleasures.

LOL even Alanis would be able to spot that irony.
We call them vermillionaires over here ...

Over-the-air DTV is a great option for you urban flatlanders. For those of us here in the mountains, we are lucky if we can get a signal from a couple of repeater stations. Without cable or sat, there wouldn't be much point in even having a TV, digital or analog.

I don't get over the air TV, either. At least, I don't with analog.

I'm pretty sure that before cable, people here must have gotten TV via antenna, but it's impossible now. The only thing I can figure is that there must have been a change in infrastructure, either on the broadcasting end or the receiving end.

It's possible that the analog transmissions are being reduced in wattage prior to their termination. Digital simulcasts originally began at very low wattages, but the FCC required that they be increased over time to reach an area comparable to analog. With electricity getting more expensive, and generators limited in power, the stations may just have diverted power from one transmitter to the other.

The TVs of the 1950s-70s had multiple RF amplifier stages which became redundant in the cable-satellite age. They were able to get good reception of any station within 70 miles. While station at Great Lakes Naval Base in 1972 we watched the Olympics getting the best signal from a station on the opposite side of Lake Michigan over 100 miles away.

Are you sure that what you are attributing to multi RF stages is not a function of the strong b/w signal and the funky chroma keying method to make b/w and color backwards compatible?

What are your basic cable rates? Here in Houston basic is getting dirt cheap but I still won't buy it.

By the way, low-power analog TV broadcasting will apparently be allowed to revert to savagery. Is anything being done to create low-power stations with political agendas different than the corporate goulash?

Here in WNC we must pay $20/mo now just for basic, and they keep taking away chanels. A few months ago they took away C-Span2, which I think was strange considering that they keep bragging that it is "paid for by the cable industry", so if it is already paid for then this couldn't be a cost saving move. I believe that they are just trying to make basic as crappy as possible to pressure as many people into buying the full meal deal. Of course, they bait people with something under $40/mo for the first few months, then switch up to about $70/mo. That is a lot of money - too much money for what is on offer, IMHO.

I have had poor luck with these things, but it seems like I oftentimes end up living in a place where I am in the shadow of a hill or a large building of some sort. I get lots of static until I get sufficiently annoyed that I turn the thing off. I even have an old HDTV tuner that I was going to sell on Craigslist because it is just in the way and gathering dust.

If you go to www.antennaweb.org, there is a tool there you can use to help you aim the antenna. They tell you the compass heading of all of the nearby transmitters, and give you a rough idea of the signal strength.

The problem I see with over-the-air is the limited programming. The major networks have programs that I simply can't stand as they are all seem to be entirely empty and meaningless. Just filler for people who are bored.

Maybe the real answer is to just watch less TV. But I married a sports nut, so going without TV will be unlikely anytime soon.

Maybe the real answer is to just watch less TV.

I last watched TV in 1976. My wife & I were preparing for a journey to Alaska so I sold our TV to her brother, and haven't watched TV since. I currently have a TV but it is only hooked to a VCR/DVD player and we only use it to watch the occasional movie. Our children have grown up without TV and I attribute their success in school to the absence of the pernicious influence of TV programming. At work a colleague will bring up something they saw on "Discovery" or some such program and I will invariably know more about the topic from reading than they learned from watching the program. It's as if TV programming intentionally dumbs down content to the lowest common intellectual denominator. Give up TV. You won't miss it. All it's good for is keeping you vapid, in appetence of commercials. Free your attention from it. The intent of TV programming isn't to benefit you in any way but is to part you from your $$$ to the benefit of advertisers, rather.

er, I think you'll find more crap on the internet so why don't you give that up as well ? Bye.

I gave up the land line and internet at home back in August.

And with your post I rest my case.

I hear you. All the time I was in school I never watched much TV at all. There are all those old programs and actors that I have never even heard of.

My brother only has very basic cable - major networks+CNN. Mainly to keep the kids from watching too much. And yet when the kids go to Grandma's house, the first thing they do is run back in the bedroom to watch, because Grandma has regular cable (which wasn't really my Mom's idea, but the building where they live has a common wiring, and the majority of the residents voted for cable instead of a big roof antenna).

One of the things I have made a mental note to do is to about a year from now read the annual reports for the satellite & cable companies and try and get a sense how many customers they have lost.

I agree with you Darwinsdog. I'm a recent convert to "Live free of TV." The first month or two, it seemed like "Life without TV." As time progressed, I noticed such a difference in my thinking and analytical ability. My reading improved and increased and now, like you, I find that I understand topics that I research much more than anyone who watches a hour or two of discovery channel. What's more, my reading speed has increased to the point where I can learn more in that hour or two by reading, than by watching any documentary.

In response to the first comment you got about the internet being more full of advertising etc. than TV:

Television is sequentially laid out. If you don't want to miss any of your program, you don't really have a choice but to watch some advertising. The internet, like most newspapers can be viewed at like RAM. I can choose what to read, how long to read and I don't have to wait and sit through advertising just to read an article. (Normally, sometimes they have nusance ads, but then I switch to a differnt source.) The point is that I'm in control of my learning and reading. If I don't like a program, I have to wait for it to finish and re-inject my attention into the stream at a later time. It's not that way with the internet or written media.


The sterling quality of the local news makes keeping a TV worthwhile for me.

Pre-Katrina they were better than any other local news I saw visiting (other local news often made me wince). Better than national news.

Post-K, they stepped up their game :-)


Give up TV

Thumbs up for you, thumbs up! I agree with you 100%! We don’t have TV either and we never had. Instead we have positive, interesting communication within our family. Coming home from work, I enjoy cooking a delicious dinner. It’s life you are talking about dd and you are so damn right!!!!!!!!!!

Take Manufacturing back home to the USA!


Went cold turkey from TV back in early 2005 and only fell off the wagon twice since, once to see the 2006 World Soccer Cup and then to see Michael Phelps win his golds at Beijing.
Yes, I do spend time on the internet but I have a lot more control over what content I expose myself to here than the constant drivel that is bombarding the average TV viewer who unthikingly sits in front of the boob tube.

Could I get programing like this on commercial television? I don't think so!


Anyways I also still spend a great amount of time out in the real world, my greatest pleasure was recently hearing my thirteen year old, whom I had taken scuba diving for the first time say:

"Wow! this is like being inside a 3D IMAX movie but even better".

Here is the one I like:

Finished the first antenna, works great in my mom's attic, starting on another.

A poster named Red Dog asked for the url of websites that farmers use.

This is one of some I use most frequently. Its also quite active and many farmers indicate their locations. It has three very active subareas which is :
Crop Talk,Forum Talk and Market Talk.


Red Dog why don't you flash me your email address if you so desire and tell me what you think.Check my bio for my address.


I am not a farmer but I find the comments section at www.agweb.com fascinating. For most of the growing season farmers write in saying this is looking to be the worst year ever, and then at the end they write in saying they are shocked that their crop was so good.

I don't know why but I love it.

This month's issue of the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook is just out. They are predicting a further drop in US energy consumption, down over 1.5 mb/d from 2007.

From table 3a of the above report, consumption in millions of barrels per day.

               2006    2007     2008    2009 (predicted)
OECD          49.56    49.12    47.71   46.41
US            20.69    20.68    19.51   19.12

Notice also that OECD consumption will be down over 3 million barrels per day from 2006 levels. That, dear hearts, is what is driving down oil prices.

Ron Patterson


And the EIA also revised its projection of non-OPEC oil production to a 340,000 barrel per day drop in '08 (down 30k) and slow 180kb/d and 90kb/d increases in '09 and '10. If their projections play out like it did last year, we may see non-OPEC production down 1 Mbd each year. Or have they learned their lesson and now they provide more conservative growth estimates?

Some good news in the numbers is a prediction that US carbon emissions will fall another significant chunk in 2009... See my synopsis at:


The OECD is not the center of the universe. The EIA is also reporting that in December 2008 global production was 4 million barrels per day less than demand. Looks like the oil market is highly distorted by western trading floors and speculators.

In fact, the "wood warms" program may have to rely on a lottery system this year, since demand for wood is expected to exceed supply.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a wood lottery here. I put in my name for two cords but wasn't chosen. So again this year all the wood we're burning has come from the property. We're on track to burn four cords. My son & I have been cutting next year's fuelwood supply, as we burn what we cut last year. There isn't a great variety of species on the property - mostly Siberian elm & Russian olive - so I'd like to get some juniper from the BLM. Gambel's oak would be even better. I guess that at some point I'm going to have to buy a permit, since my luck with lotteries isn't very good.

The cats were all killed in 2000, but myxamotosis had failed to do the same to the rabbits. Without their feline predators, the rabbit population surged anew and in just half a dozen years has inflicted enormous damage, in some places stripping the ground bare.

In ecologists' terms, this is an example of "trophic cascades" -- when a species' abundance is significantly reduced or increased, the change resonates along the food chain.

Pelagic ecosystems tend to be "top down" regulated. In other words, top predators regulate population sizes at lower trophic levels of the food chain. Removal of top pelagic predators dysregulates the entire ecosystem. This is why, besides the fact that they're loaded with Hg, people shouldn't eat tuna or billfish.

DD, I think you should have said what your comment is referring to - the toplink re: "Removing species from sub-Antarctic island". Another link to that story: Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island. Let this be a warning tale (amongst many) to would-be "geoengineers".

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.

But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover...

Yup, that ubiquitous phrase: "seemed like a good idea at the time".

Yes, I should have referenced the article I was commenting on. Sorry.

Removing cats from Macquarie is a "good idea." But they should have gotten all the rabbits first. Not easy to accomplish, perhaps, but they should have known to leave the cats alone until they were sure they'd eliminated rabbits.

But nary a word about the dipsticks who brought the cats and rabbits to the island?
I'm confident that the rabbits will be eliminated eventually.I don't know whether Callisi virus has been released on Macquarie.It would no doubt take care of a few more of the bunnies but,like all biological controls,enough individuals will have reistance to enable survival of the species.
As the island is fairly small the eradication effort will finally come down to getting humans out on the ground using firearms,chemical and mechanical means. Same as the methods used on the moggies.

The system seemed to have achieved some kind of stability and the authories have to go in with all guns blazing (metaphorically speaking). Sometimes things need to be left alone.

Sometimes things need to be left alone.

I agree. But the time to have left Macquarie alone was BEFORE the introduction of exotic felids & lagomorphs.

Bernanke Urges ‘Strong Measures’ to Stabilize Banks

“Fiscal actions are unlikely to promote a lasting recovery unless they are accompanied by strong measures to further stabilize and strengthen the financial system,” Bernanke said in a speech today at the London School of Economics. “More capital injections and guarantees may become necessary to ensure stability and the normalization of credit markets.”

...Bernanke “is waking up to the reality that it is worse than he thought,” said Janet Tavakoli, president and founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance in Chicago. “We don’t have any investment banks that are doing just fine. The whole situation is very tenuous.”

Einstein's quote about insanity comes to mind...

Try this bit of insanity. I thought it was some kind of joke, but the guy's actually serious.

This recession demands that we employ logic and spend our way out of it

A recession is a situation in which output, spending and income are all below normal or below potential. If output and income are to go up then someone must spend more. There is simply no other way. As a matter of logic. The only sensible debate is about who should spend more, on what, and how they can be persuaded to do so.

Humpty Dumpty is broken, all we can do is try and put him back together again. I can't wait to see what plan 'B' is.

Ahhh! Atleast insanity will never peak :-) It's limitless! To infinity and beyond.

Whats insane about it. It's classical Keynsianism,though Bootle seems loth to call it that. The state acts as the spender of last resort.

Whats insane about it. It's classical Keynsianism,though Bootle seems loth to call it that. The state acts as the spender of last resort.

That about sums up current economic thinking. Of course if we make the government be the spender, we can cheat, and have it spent on long lived infrastructure instead of consumer goods. If we are smart we will have the government spend on things that will generate future government revenues, then we won't have to deal with a buildup of government debt (i.e. the investment pays for itself).

The efficient market thesis, that the private economy would be investing if it made sense, doesn't apply during this crisis. Also the government benefits, via tax revenues of people directly or indirectly employed by the stimulus, so its profit/loss calculus is much more favorable then for private investors.

Hi Burgundy

The naive person here wonders: after reading a couple of Denninger articles about how injecting more liquidity only makes matters worse and "they" know this - (But then, someone told me - not necessarily, that it makes a difference what you spend the money on? ...anyway)

*Do* "they" know it? For example, does the President-elect know this and/or read Denninger? Or what?

Just curious.

Ben's asking for money again...

Bernanke: More bank bailouts needed
Fed chairman endorses economic stimulus, but also says more help for banks is needed to fix the economy.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that President-elect Barack Obama's proposed fiscal stimulus package could help the economy, but he added that additional bailouts of financial institutions may also be needed to bring about a sustained economic recovery.

Bernanke, speaking in London, said in his prepared remarks that the nearly $800 billion plan being discussed by the incoming Obama administration and the newly elected Congress "could provide a significant boost to economic activity." He did not comment on or endorse any specifics of the nearly $800 billion.

But Bernanke cautioned that the plan is "unlikely to promote a lasting recovery unless they are accompanied by strong measures to further stabilize and strengthen the financial system."

The Fed chairman also said that "removing troubled assets from institutions' balance sheets, as was initially proposed for the U.S. financial rescue plan," might also be needed to supplement any further investments in banks.

There's always more money to help the bankers...With the amount that world governments are pouring into banks and the status quo, we could've had a huge push for alternatives, public transport, actually eliminating world poverty, funding research into high yield GM crops and algae growing oil, solar and wind, thorium nuclear reactors etc.

8.5 trillion in support for the US alone, 500 billion pounds in the UK, 600 billion USD in China, trillion dollar deficits in Japan, I can't remember how much Europe spent.

The fact is that the people in charge are either 1) clueless (Idea courtesy of Mish Shedlock) or 2) trying to cover gambling losses with more and more gambling as they are addicted to power and gambling with people's lives (idea courtesy of Ilargi) or 3) Super intelligent and aware of peak oil and are setting about demolishing the world economy in unison to avoid conflict (idea courtesy of Mike Ruppert)

The EIA's new International Petroleum Monthly is just out with the latest data for October for production and September for demand. Total world C+C production was up just over one million barrels per day in October, mostly from the US recovering from the hurricanes and Norway recovering from maintenance.

Not much else of note except us consumption (demand) in September was the lowest this decade at 17,796,000 barrels per day. That is 2,618,000 barrels per day below our consumption in September of 2007.

Ron Patterson

Also of note, all "record breaking production" values that exceeded May 2005 have been revised to less than the May 2005 level except July 2008.

It has fallen by 300,000 BPD since the initial estimate but it's still 600,000 BPD higher than May 2005.

It looks like 2008 annual production is likely to be the same as 2005.

Rounding off to the nearest one mbpd, as you noted the annual world C+C data will probably look like this (subject to revision, generally downward, and I have added the annual rate of change in US oil prices):

2005: 74 (+31%/year)
2006: 73 (+15%/year)
2007: 73 (+9%/year)
2008: 74 (+32%/year)

And of course, we have almost certainly seen three year of net oil exports below the 2005 rate.

The decline of Non OPEC production is increasing as the Russian production declines accelerate, Saudi has recently announced that it will pump below its quota in an effort to stabilise prices.
Do you think this decision is being made for them by geology? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aO4lTPOvFAHk&refer=a...

I have expressed an opinion on the subject "a few times."

Pretty big jump Sept to Oct (17.8 to 19.6)

maybe becasue people are buying big cars again!:

“We can’t sell small cars right now,” Lutz said. “People are buying trucks again.”



Sometimes I've had the thought that the psychology behind people buying trucks - (on the part of those, perhaps the majority of purchasers?, who don't actually use them to haul heavy loads) - has something to do with wanting security...as an expression of the need for security. And also the ownership of a truck functions as some kind of balm for a generally feeling of "unease".

And... the purchasers simply don't see the fuel requirements as external to the machine. Just don't see it. Sure, the price of fuel may go up, but in all the ads, the truck just "goes."

Hello TODers,

Farming Our Way to Famine

A tale of three farms reveals how American agriculture is following in the footsteps of doomed agricultural industries.

Why Global Warming Portends a Food Crisis
Again, I hope Obama & his Cabinet are taking a good, hard look at full-on O-NPK recycling by SpiderWebRiding, strategic reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows, and minimal water usage strategies. I don't think our children and/or grandchildren will be happy if they are forced to resort to carrying firewood, water, and manure on their heads Zimbabwe-style.

Pretty good story today in FT's Alphaville on Fertiliser.

Fertilising profits.


Again, the press needs to look away as Obama and family pee in the White House organic garden. All toilets need to be changed out to compost toilets. Turn the White House into a CSA to provide some extra income for the stimulus package. All rain water from the White House roof needs to be collected in a cistern for organic gardening watering. I hope he stays at the White House most of the time so as to not waste all those fossil fuels driving all those Suburbans around on White House trips. Cut out the usual, wasteful entourage by learning to travel coach incognito.

Put the White House press to work also doing some planting, hoeing, and picking. Gives them something to do as they mostly just stand around spreading rumors or waiting for the next press conference.

Super-Predators: Humans Force Rapid Evolution of Animals

..The pace of changes we're seeing supercedes by a long shot what we've observed in natural systems, and even in systems that have been rapidly modified by humans in other ways," Darimont said. The study found the changes outpace by 50 percent those brought on by pollution and human introduction of alien species.

"As predators, humans are a dominant evolutionary force, he said.

Others agree the problem is serious. Columbia University biologist Don Melnick recently said trophy hunting is akin to selective breeding and is "highly likely to result in the end of a species."
I am not an expert, but I am more inclined to go with extinction and habitat decimation than real evolution.

"The pace of changes we're seeing supercedes by a long shot what we've observed in natural systems, and even in systems that have been rapidly modified by humans in other ways,"

This is the type of thinking that generates the very problem this fellow is observing, that humans are somehow apart or above "natural systems".
Try not breathing for 10 minutes or so to see what I mean.
Yet it is the dominant theme of our history and perhaps a common trait all peoples share.
Maybe Erich von Daniken had it right after all because even as the "dominant evolutionary force" on this Earth, we sure don't treat it as home.

A question: If our good friends the Feds are determined to "jump start" the economy with new lending, wouldn't it be easier just to lend directly to businesses, rather than pouring borrowed money into failing banks?

That's what I think. But that's a little too much socialism for some people. They want a facade of capitalism on top of their socialism.

Why that's too much common sense! Common sense is absurd in this day and age, the FED uses Computable General Equilibrium models to determine policy actions.


A CGE model consists of (a) equations describing model variables and (b) a database (usually very detailed) consistent with the model equations. The equations tend to be neo-classical in spirit, often assuming cost-minimizing behaviour by producers, average-cost pricing, and household demands based on optimizing behaviour. However, most CGE models conform only loosely to the theoretical general equilibrium paradigm. For example, they may allow for:
non-market clearing, especially for labour (unemployment) or for commodities (inventories)
imperfect competition (eg, monopoly pricing)
demands not influenced by price (eg, government demands)
a range of taxes
externalities, such as pollution

wouldn't it be easier just to lend directly to businesses

That question WT I have been wondering about since the beginning of the mess. Small businesses account for somewhere around 80% of all new jobs created in the USA, I recently rode. There was an interesting article today on CNN.


Take Manufacturing back home to the USA!


Stop wondering. Ben Bernanke does not work for you at all, in any way. His sole responsibility is to do his best to strengthen the position of certain financial interests, which is what he has been doing. Yes, 8 trillion dollars would have jumpstarted any economy in this universe-it doesn't jumpstart anything when you pour it down a few black holes and into a few pockets.

Kansas Wheat crop planting smallest since 1957. From todays Wichita Eagle print edition. Sorry no story on web version

Kansas wheat farmers planted the smallest crop since 1957 this fall down 600,000 acres to 9.0 million acres mainly due to lower prices and higher imput costs. The 2009 crop was down 1.7 million acres from the 2007 crop year in which 10.7 million acres were planted. I have also read that fertilizer applications on this years crop usually 50/50 fall/spring were only 20% of normal for the entire winter wheat crop. My conversations with the farmers have confirmed that they are not planting due to poor prices that present very limited profits. Downside of lower fertilizer applications lower yields and lower protiens. Good wheat acreage within 30 miles of Wichita now available for around $1500/acre in 40 to 320 acre increments.
Also noted in the article total U.S. winter wheat (bread wheat) U.S. was down 4%, Soft red winter wheat (cracker wheat) down 26%.
IMO all the commodity deflation is setting up a real cluster down the calendar whether its grains, cotton, protiens, petroleum, base metals, uranium you name it. The pipelines are on DRAIN and re-stocking is not going to keep up. For those amongst us that are long term deflationists I think your day in the sun is limited to 3-12 months. After that all hell could break out. As I and others have mentioned before your best investments very well could be food and other consumables. If you can afford it stock up if not... stock up anyway.
Don't know how many of you read Peggy Noonan's weekend column in the WSJ. This week she was discussing the countries current malaise and indicated her own worst fear was a breakdown in the U.S. food distribution system. She indicated she had 2 months of food and was scared of our continuing ability to supply ourselves due to our ignorance of how to feed (grow food) ourselves and the frailty of the system. Not typically her discussion universe footprint so I was a bit taken back by the candor of her confession.

Soft red winter wheat is 'cracker wheat'?

Shut your mouth!!

Its makes fine biscuits and pie crusts. Pretty good yeast rolls.
We use good ole Martha White and Nunn Better...pretty good wheat.

And that's what we grow here.

I can live on biscuits, gravy and some good bacon and fried potatoes.

Course I make capelline and such on my pasta machine but I think I might try our wheat and see what I can do.

Shheeesssh cracker wheat!


LOL Hey Airdale I meant cracker as in Triscit, Ritz etc. Soft red is low protein wheat and typically used for wheat based foods that don't give you much chew. Biscuits and pie crusts don't have much chew so yes. Crackers, Biscuits and pie crusts would all be functional products for Soft red wheat.

I've enjoyed reading Kunstler for a couple of years but I've learned to avoid any of his ranting about poor innocent Israel. He really has a cog loose on that subject.

Anyone objective at all should be able to see that both sides of that cat fight are at the mercy of merciless nut case religionists.

The Hebrews have every reason to be extremely paranoid about the rest of the world especially the Iranians, Hamas and Hezbollah. Sure they are not 100% correct in everything they do but I believe they have made progress with Jordan and Egypt because they hold up their end of the treaties.
I have no issues with JHK's feelings on Israel and frankly find the Drumbeat's posting of this article approaching poor taste. The vulgar anti-semitic tone of the crackpots posting on his website chills my blood. Where I do take issue with JHK is his constant putdown of certain regions of the U.S.. His own prejudices are a bit rabid at times no matter how well written and on target they may be.

The Hebrews have every reason to be extremely paranoid about the rest of the world especially the Iranians

Iran has Jews serving in it's Majlis, it's legislature. They have been there since the days of Esther.

Only India can rival Iran for a long history lacking in antisemitism.


I have the feeling that Iran is the current Immanuel Goldstein, so to speak. (!@) --Cyclops Smiley

There seems to be an ocean of disinformation, layer after layer.. about Iran these days. Of course I have also suspected that the strange, eccentric and perpetual imbalance of Israel and its neighbors has been a convenient game to keep in play for those who would rather not see that region become as powerful as it might have, were peace to ever be attained.

Divide and keep conquered..


I'm sorry your misinformed about that. The Jewish population of Iran is a small fraction of what it once was and this decline is largely a result of the oppression of Jews there. These has been especially pronounced since the Revolution.


The Hebrews have every reason to be extremely paranoid about the rest of the world especially the Iranians, Hamas and Hezbollah.

1) extreme paranoia is a medical condition. Perhaps something for their water?
(ya know unless ppl are really out to get ya)

2) Like how the Czar of Russia was paying for Lenin, how the IRA had British funding, how Osama was on the US gov. payroll at one time - was not Hamas a creation of the Israel state at one time to counteract the PLO?
(Reaping what one sows comes to mind....)

I have no issues with JHK's feelings on Israel

And that is fine - but its not like the state of Israel has clean hands in a very nasty mess so you'll understand if others are more of a 'pox on both your houses' view. Alotta crap has happened to the He brews, but then again the Aztecs got a raw deal, so did the Cherokee, so did the Armeans and I've heard tell the Neaderthals didn't fare to well in the 'fairness and charitability to others' lotto. Somewhere along the line might should stop making right, lest the eye for and eye leaves you blind too.

His putdowns of other regions?

Yes he seems to hate southerners.

Ok..let him stay in New Yawk.


The Hebrews have every reason to be extremely paranoid about the rest of the world

Substitute Israelis for Hebrews, and that is unfortunately true. That doesn't mean that their present actions make any sense in terms of advancing their own security. The current actions (similarly the 06 Lebanon misadventure), only serve to further radicalize the Islamic world. And our near knee-jerk approval of nearly everything they do (rare Kudos for GWB for diallowing their request for overflight rights to attack Iran), simply couple the hatred back towards ourselves. The combination of Israeli abuse of Palestinians (and Al Jazeera showing it over and over again, until the average person in the Arab world thinks things are a thousand times worse than reality), plus our support of dictatorial regimes in the ME, generates blowback -such as 9-11. Then we respond stupidly (like invading Iraq, and instituting extraordinary renditions) etc). This of course simply amplifies the radicalization of the Islamic world, which we take as reason to treat them even worse.

Anyone with half a brain can see a viscious positive feedback going on. But, it seems to be almost impossible for us humans to do anything, but dig the hole we are stuck in harder and harder. So The US, Israel, Palestinians, and the Islamic world are all hopelessly foolish, and can only do things that make the situation worse. This sort of stuff is why I hold our species in such high disregard.

To my way of thinking, it would make absolutely no difference if the Israelis were Zoroastrians and the Palestinians were Druids. IMHO it would be extremely helpful if everyone here in the US would assume exactly the same attitude - it would help everyone see things very clearly.

What would they then see? Two peoples, each wanting the same land - all of it - and wishing the others would just go away (to put it very mildly). They can't possibly both have their own way. Either they both compromise, or they both continue fighting until one or the other loses completely (which might never happen, meaning they continue fighting until home sapiens goes extinct.

This is a problem that anyone outside of Israel/Palestine really can't "solve", unless you consider taking one side against the other to constitute a "solution".

Why should the US take sides in any conflict outside the US between people A and people B? And why is it "anti-semitic" (or anti-muslim, or anti-zoroastrian, or anti-druid, or anti-shinto, or anti-whatever) to insist on being even-handed and neutral and refuse to take sides?

The *ONE* way out that I can see is based upon their mutual religions.

Seek Justice above self interest.

Have religious leaders charged with first doing justice in small ways, advocating just policies. And get into the habit of doing justice.

Best Hopes for Seeking Justice (an ideal that will truly never be reached),


Mexico's oil production forecasts for 2009 were probably wrong:


From the article:

Mexican exports will dry up in less than seven years if current decline rates continue.

Actually, assuming about one mbpd in net exports for 2008, they will be lucky to be a net exporter in 2012, in three years.


Lots of anecdotal chatter lately about a rapid decline of manufacturing activity in Mexico recently. Have you seen any quantitative info which might allow your specualtion on reduced internal consumption? But even if reduced consumption might lower the gov't subsidy expenses, reduced economic activity would increase the demands on the social safety net.

I am assuming flat consumption in 2008, and declining consumption in 2009, but we need to keep in mind what kind of reductions they would have to show in order to maintain flat net exports.

I think that Mexico is going to show about a -10%/year overall production decline rate in 2008, which will probably bring their net exports down to about 1.0 mbpd in 2008. In order to maintain net exports of 1.0 mbpd with a -10%/year production decline rate, over the next four years they would have to reduce their consumption at about -16%/year (cutting consumption in half every 4.5 years).

Tesla Roadster

Funny fellow that Clarkson.
Glad to see some serious critique of the "great white hope for the world’s green movement" that is based on some real world driving instead of the wishful parroting by some.
Of course his own denialism surfaces with his last paragraph:
"Because while Tesla fiddles about with batteries, Honda and Ford are surging onwards with hydrogen cars, which don’t need charging, can be fuelled normally and are completely green. The biggest problem, then, with the Tesla is not that it doesn’t work. It’s that even if it did, it would be driving down the wrong road."

I seriously doubt he'll ever have the chance to write about his experience driving production versions of those vehicles.

He's a bit funny, but it seems that being a 'Non-pc Crank' is kind of his schtick, no?

It's not the hardest comedy act to use for whipping up some easy applause.. The jocular iconoclast, where have I seen that before?

Regardless, you couldn't GIVE me a Tesla.. the thing just smells like trouble. I'll take a converted Pickup anytime, though.