DrumBeat: January 29, 2009

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Stimulus

This would seem to leave little doubt that the President understands what could turn out to be the two biggest problems of coming decades - dependence on oil and global warming. There is much in the current stimulus plan and other administration initiatives that seem to make sense - increasing renewable fuels, $31 billion towards improving the electric grid, $37 billion to weatherize government buildings and low-income homes, $10 billion to improve public transit and railroads. All this of course is only a small fraction of the $900 billion proposal. The rest seems to be directed towards offsetting the effects of the economic down turn, helping the unemployed and hopefully stimulating what some believe will be an economic rebound. Some parts of the bill, however, such as the $31 billion for repairing and building roads seem downright wasteful given that vehicular traffic has no place to go but down.

Venezuela's Citgo resumes heating oil donations

Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. has resumed shipments of free heating oil to poor Americans, making its first delivery since the program's rumored end.

Citgo president Alejandro Granado says the Houston-based company is "making a huge effort" to maintain donations despite falling oil prices and the world economic crisis.

Imperial Oil boosts spending 60% despite profit fall

CALGARY, Alta. -- Imperial Oil Ltd's fourth-quarter profit fell 26% as crude prices sank, but Canada's biggest oil producer and refiner announced a rare increase in capital spending, partly to advance an oil sands project.

Clearing the air on California emissions

The president may let the state regulate greenhouse gases - and effectively raise gas mileage standards. Is that the smartest way to go?

Uncle Sam wants you to buy a car

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With auto sales at crisis levels, Washington is trying to figure out how to get Americans buying cars again.

Several ideas are on the table, but two of them are really making the industry pay attention. One plan is to make new car costs tax deductible. The other is to give rebates to Americans with old cars so they can better afford to buy new ones, a program otherwise known as "cash for clunkers."

H&P idles rigs in PDVSA dispute

US oil driller Helmerich & Payne said Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA owed it nearly $100 million and that it had begun to idle drilling, sending shares down 10%.

That move comes two days after Venezuela seized a rig owned by Ensco International after the US company halted operations because of unpaid bills.

So far, two of Helmerich & Payne's 11 rigs in the Opec member's oilfields have ceased operations, and that number would rise to five by the end of February as the current work contracts expire, said a Reuters report.

Q+A: Bremmer and Roubini on protectionism, oil price

In the short run, the demand destruction in the global demand for oil will keep prices low and hurt a bunch of unstable petro-states. These petro-states should become less aggressive facing fiscal and financial pressures; but some may be tempted to convert the domestic anger triggered by economic malaise into an aggressive foreign policy stance. Over the medium term, oil prices will sharply rise again once the global economy recovers. The return to potential growth will imply rapidly rising demand from urbanizing and industrializing China, India and other emerging markets. Meanwhile, the supply response will be much slower as low prices in the short-run lead to less investment in new capacity. In addition, as peak oil factors take hold, unstable petro-states won't invest enough in new capacity and even Middle East states will decide it is better to keep more of the limited and finite reserves of oil in the ground for future generations. This suggests the importance -- for oil importing countries -- to invest in alternative and renewable technologies as a new oil shock looms.

Arctic's thaw brings security risks for NATO

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — NATO will need a military presence in the Arctic as global warming melts frozen sea routes and major powers rush to lay claim to lucrative energy reserves, the military bloc's chief said Thursday.

NATO commanders and lawmakers meeting in Iceland's capital said the Arctic thaw is bringing the prospect of new standoffs between powerful nations.

"I would be the last one to expect military conflict — but there will be a military presence," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters. "It should be a military presence that is not overdone, and there is a need for political cooperation and economic cooperation."

The opening up of Arctic sea routes once navigable only by icebreakers threatens to complicate delicate relations between countries with competing claims to Arctic territory — particularly as exploration for oil and natural gas becomes possible in once inaccessible areas.

The Oil Card

Norman’s theory is that the U.S. government, via its various levers in both public and private sectors, does, indeed, set, or at least strongly influence, oil prices. Why would Uncle Sam do this? Because, Norman believes, it is economic muscle that can either punish, or reward, Russia and China, who are, of course, the main strategic rivals to the U.S.

As a major oil exporter, Russia benefits from high prices. China, on the other hand, which imports oil to feed its thirsty industrial machine, is hurt by high oil prices.

Exxon Mobil Net Tumbles as Tillerson Plans $30 Billion Spending

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., coming off its worst share drop in 27 years, may be heading for its steepest profit decline since the 1999 merger that created the company. For Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson, it’s time to expand.

Tillerson, starting his fourth year leading the world’s largest company by market value, said last month that he may increase capital spending by 20 percent this year to $30 billion. The increase will mark his biggest push to discover oil fields and boost fuel and chemicals production.

Petro-Canada "hunkers down" as oil sector sags

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Petro-Canada will keep its multibillion-dollar oil sands venture and other major projects on ice until oil and financial markets improve, its chief executive said on Thursday after the company reported a fourth-quarter loss.

Canada's No. 4 oil producer and refiner also reduced its 2009 production target and warned that weak oil and gas prices could force it to cut spending more than it already has.

Shell Says Canadian Oil-Sands Production Costs Rise

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, said the cost of producing Canadian oil sands rose to about $38 a barrel last year, including fuel expenses.

Shell’s oil-sands production in Canada last year was 80,000 barrels a day, Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said today on an analyst call. Costs averaged $29 a barrel in 2007, when Shell produced 87,000 barrels a day, he said.

Shell Declines to Comment on Reports of Possible Bid for Nexus

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser declined to comment on reports of a possible bid for Nexus Energy Ltd., the developer of the proposed Crux natural gas liquids venture off northern Australia.

“We do not comment on any M&A transactions,” Voser told reporters today on a conference call. “We do also not comment on what discussions or negotiations we have with a very specific company.”

Piracy off Nigeria delays oil projects

ABUJA (Reuters) - A wave of piracy off Nigeria's southern coast is delaying offshore energy projects in the world's eighth-biggest oil exporter, industry and security officials said.

Piracy and kidnappings in the waterways of the Niger Delta, one of the most dangerous areas for shipping in the world, have spiked in recent weeks with at least 10 attacks on vessels reported this year.

Steelworkers to Reject Shell Offer, Strike Looms

(Bloomberg) -- The United Steelworkers union said it plans to reject the third contract offer from Royal Dutch Shell Plc covering workers at refineries with about two-thirds of the country’s capacity. The current agreement expires Feb. 1.

Massive Corporate Layoffs Announced - Where Will New Jobs Come From?

As more and more workers fill the unemployment rolls, it’s time to ask: where will future jobs come from? While government and corporate bigshots plan yet another “economic stimulus” and bailout of the banks, what long-term jobs can we realistically create right now?

Lots of answers present themselves if we look through the lens of peak oil, and start replacing our oil-based economy with a people-based economy. Instead of relying on greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels, we can tap into the power of human labor, which happens to be our greatest renewable resource.

Florida stores zero natural gas, yet critically depends on it

The fact that Florida imports nearly 100 percent of its natural gas isn't helping matters, either. Add to that the constant threat of hurricanes shutting down production and damaging transportation pipelines, and not only are Floridians paying a lot for their natural gas, we've also become increasingly vulnerable to the risk of running out of fuel. That's especially true on summer days, when the pipelines are full and cannot meet the peak demand.

Peak Middle Class

If you believe Sharon Astyk, the middle class bears on a substantial economic foundation of newly-industrialized third world workers. Some of the middle class live off the rich or other middle class workers, but by and large it is the huge numbers of new buyers at the bottom that raise the pyramid of wealth for everyone. If enough of those workers lose their jobs, return to subsistence agriculture, or fall prey to some political disaster, there will be fewer customers to support the global middle class.

So the paradox is that a large middle class is a contented, reliable population for a nation, but a danger to the entire planet's health and prosperity. Even more than general population reduction, I expect to see a reduction in middle class populations worldwide.

Over the Cliff for Natural Gas in North America?

The recent crash in North American natural gas prices has been welcome news for industrial, commercial and residential gas consumers. The reason behind the decline in prices, however, is not so welcome, namely, an economy fallen into a deep and still developing recession, one that some believe will ultimately fit the frightening, but rather vague definition of an economic depression.

But there is reason for North American natural gas consumers to fear the bargain basement prices they are now getting. For the time being, demand is plummeting while supply remains more than ample. New supply is still streaming in due to increased drilling activity in the wake of the fantastic runup in natural gas prices last year to around $14 per thousand cubic feet. But today's low price of around $4.75 is causing drillers increasingly to lay down their drills and await higher prices. Just last year at this time combined natural gas rig counts for Canada and the United States were 1,753 for the week ending January 18, 2008. Today, the comparable count is 1,472, a decline of 16 percent.

Saudi could pump less oil despite budget, gas issues

DUBAI (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may cut output more, as it seeks to put a floor under oil prices, in spite of the challenges that would pose to domestic energy supply and to its budget. The kingdom plans to pump in February below its OPEC target of 8.05 million barrels per day (bpd), undershooting what was already a record OPEC supply cut agreed in December.

"The Saudis know that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures," said David Kirsch of Washington-based PFC Energy.

Vital to have stronger Arab voice in America – official

KUWAIT CITY: There must be a stronger Arab voice in America for there to be a better informed electorate who can influence American foreign policies, says a former senior US army official. The official, along with a former American diplomat, was talking to the Arab Times Wednesday, during a business visit to Kuwait. The official was answering a question on the influences of Israeli lobby on US policies, saying there are many lobbies and interest groups in America, all of who have their own sphere of influence. The former diplomat denied that America’s foreign policies are a result of lobbying in the corridors of power. “If that was true, America wouldn’t be having any relations with Turkey, because there are many groups that are against Turkey in America.

Total Meets An Alberta Clipper

CALGARY, TORONTO, ROME -- Energy giant Total SA has stirred up Alberta's oil patch with its hostile bid for UTS Energy Corp., moving to boost its growing presence in the oil sands in the belief crude prices will recover and allow it to profit from projects now stalled.

Observers called French company's late Tuesday bid for the junior oil player a lowball offer that could need to be raised or stoke a bidding war.

Five Facts about Canada's Oil Sands

Total SA launched a C$617 million ($510 million) unsolicited takeover bid late Tuesday for UTS Energy Corp, a Canadian oil sands firm whose major asset is a 20 percent stake in Petro-Canada's planned Fort Hills project.

Following are five facts about Canada's oil sands:

Calderon to Meet Oil Companies as Mexico Revises Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon said he will meet with the heads of major energy companies at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as Mexico prepares to offer the first oil exploration contracts to foreign companies in 70 years.

China Oil Giant to Spend $7B on E&P with Focus on Offshore Pipelines

The China National Offshore Oil Corp. plans this year to invest US $6.76 billion, or about 610 billion yen, in oil field development and exploration for securing rights to crude oil and natural gas.

The figure is up 18.9% from the 2008 estimate. Seeing a long-term increase in Chinese demand, the state-owned entity will continue with investment aimed at boosting its production capacity at a time when the OPEC has reduced its own output.

Baker Hughes Waiting On Rig To Start $460 Million Pemex Contract

MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) and BJ Services Co. (BJS) are waiting for Petroleos Mexicanos (PEM.YY) to secure an offshore oil rig to begin a $460 million drilling services contract with Petroleos Mexicanos, said Baker Hughes Chief Executive Chad Deaton in a Wednesday conference call.

Baker Hughes and BJ Services originally won two-year contract last May, but Pemex has delayed drilling has due to the lack of equipment. Baker Hughes controls two-thirds of the contract, while BJ Services is responsible for the rest.

FACTBOX - Global energy investment hit by financial crisis

Reuters) - The deepening of the global financial crisis and the sharp drop in energy prices have forced companies to scale back spending and delay projects, with expensive ventures in the Canadian oil sands hardest hit.

Below is a list of projects that have been delayed or scaled back in recent months, as well as other related news.

Obama's Interior Secretary Voices Openness for Offshore Drilling

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar indicated Tuesday that the Obama Administration could be open to expanded offshore drilling and is considering doing away with a controversial program that allows oil companies to pay in kind for oil and natural gas taken from public lands.

First Offshore Fabrication Facility Opened

Dammam, Saudi Arabia -- A major new development is taking shape at Dammam's King Abdulaziz Port. Saudi Aramco's Offshore Projects Division recently celebrated the beginning of fabrication activities for four offshore platforms at the newly constructed STAR Fabrication Facility.

It is Saudi Arabia's first in Kingdom's offshore facilities fabrication yard and the centerpiece of the new long-term agreement (LTA) contract awarded to a consortium between Snamprogetti Saudi Arabia Ltd.; and Saipem, TAQA Al-Rushaid Fabrications Company Ltd. (STAR).

ExxonMobil Gets Go-Ahead for Point Thomson Drilling Campaign

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources recently reversed its previous ruling, allowing ExxonMobil to drill two wells on two permits in the Point Thomson, North Slope area of Alaska.

In a release from the governmental office on Jan. 27, 2009, Commissioner Tim Irwin "conditionally reinstated" two leases, reserving his rulings on the remaining leases. The reinstatement of the leases is dependent on ExxonMobil commencing drilling operations during the winter season, completing the wells by 2010 and starting up production on the project by 2014.

Chile electric sector profits surge in 2008

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Profits soared for Chilean power companies in 2008 as higher electricity prices helped offset the building global financial crisis and oil prices that spiked for much of the year.

Leading electricity generator Endesa Chile END.SN saw profit double in 2008 from 2007 and Enersis ENE.SN, the Chile-based, Latin American arm of Endesa Spain, saw its profit nearly triple.

The perils of interconnectedness

The report, entitled “Severe Space Weather Events -- Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts,” details concerns about what might happen to our modern, high-tech society if the sun burps one of its “super solar flares,” followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm.

And the problem begins with the electric power grid and its growing interconnectedness.

The Ultimate Alternative Energy

Nuclear power as we know it today is obsolete. Current light water reactors use uranium-235. This fuel is not only expensive, but its byproducts create problems. They are difficult politically to handle and can be used to create nuclear weapons.

Those byproducts are, ironically, the reason we initially adopted uranium-235. America needed the materials for nuclear weapons. Power plants using uranium-235 provided them. Regulators, naturally, favored the technology despite the fact that there were superior fuels - especially thorium.

Thorium is not only far more abundant than uranium-235, but thorium reactors do not produce waste materials useful in nuclear weapons. In fact, the wastes are far less hazardous and much cheaper to deal with. Thorium reactors are safer in general to operate, producing little radioactive threat outside their shielding. They cannot, in fact, experience a catastrophic meltdown.

Nations turn to barter deals to secure food

Countries struggling to secure credit have resorted to barter and secretive government-to-government deals to buy food, with some contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a striking example of how the global financial crisis and high food prices have strained the finances of poor and middle-income nations, countries including Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Morocco say they have signed or are discussing inter-government and barter deals to import commodities from rice to vegetable oil.

OPEC warns of further oil cuts: sec gen

DAVOS, Switzerland (AFP) – OPEC members need an oil price above 50 dollars a barrel to make exports worthwhile, the head of the cartel said Thursday, adding that more production cuts were possible later this year.

"We are not happy with 40 even 50 dollars a barrel," OPEC Secretary General Abdallah Salem El-Badri told a panel discussing energy security at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Even 50 dollars did not guarantee a "decent income for our countries," he said, adding: "I hope that the price will pick up... a 50-dollar price will not permit us to invest."

Ruble takes a big hit as oil slides below $42

MOSCOW – The ruble dropped sharply in early afternoon trading Thursday as oil prices dipped below $42 a barrel and officials forecast a further devaluation of the Russian currency.

Saudi Arabia Seeks New Role in Global Economy, More Foreign Investment

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Saudi Arabia's business and political elite have come to the World Economic Forum on a mission to drum up investor interest, as the kingdom feels the strain from falling oil prices and the global financial crisis.

They also hope to gain a greater understanding of the impact the downturn will have at home -- and of what role Saudi Arabia can play in any possible solution.

Shell posts $2.8 bln loss on tumbling oil prices

LONDON (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday it made a net loss of 2.81 billion dollars (2.15 billion euros) in the final quarter of 2008 as plunging oil prices slashed the value of inventories.

The loss compared with a net profit of 8.47 billion dollars during the fourth quarter of 2007 when crude prices were far higher, Europe's largest oil company said in a statement.

Shell remains bullish on long-term energy prices

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) expects energy to be expensive in the long term as the world tries to meet growing demand without harming the environment, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Shell says all major projects on track

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said all its major projects currently under construction were on track, despite concerns its U.S. refinery expansion programme was losing steam.

Occidental profit falls 69 percent on lower prices

Occidental Petroleum says its fourth-quarter profit fell 69 percent from a year ago as results were hammered by lower oil and gas prices.

The Los Angeles-based oil and gas producer said Thursday net income in the October-December period amounted to $443 million, or 55 cents a share, versus $1.45 billion, or $1.74 a share, a year ago.

Petro-Canada posts full-year profit

CALGARY–Petro-Canada said Thursday that its fiscal 2008 profits rose 15 per cent from year-earlier levels despite reporting a $691 million loss in the fourth quarter.

Ford reports $5.9 billion fourth-quarter loss

DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it lost $5.9 billion in the fourth quarter as auto sales slumped, but it has no plans to seek federal aid unless economic conditions worsen.

The second-largest U.S. automaker said it burned through $5.5 billion in the quarter, less than the $7.7 billion it used in the third quarter.

Jim Puplava - Oil Rises, Oil Falls: The History of Oil Meets the Perfect Energy Trifecta

We began 2008 with oil prices close to $100 a barrel. Oil prices rose rapidly during the first half of last year eventually setting a record high at $147 a barrel during the first week of July, a price very few thought was possible. In a single year the price of energy rose nearly 50%, than collapsed by 74% during the final quarter of the year. From reaching a low of $10 a barrel in 1998 until the apex in July of 2008, oil prices rose nearly fifteen-fold in only 10 years. From a record low to a record high, oil's price advance continued to confound the experts throughout its historic price run. A litany of excuses and scapegoats were given to explain its meteoric ascent. They ranged from the second Gulf War, to terrorist attacks, to weather, to the falling value of the dollar, to everyone's favorite—"speculators." The most common explanation given for oil's thespian rise was that it was due to speculators entering the market and driving the price up. Six months later, this still seems to be the common perception held by today's mainstream media from CBS's 60 Minutes to FoxNews' The O'Reilly Factor.

However, it is clear from reviewing a chart of oil prices over the last decade (above) that something else was occurring beneath the surface. The real price driver was largely due to fundamental supply and demand factors. The demand for oil was growing faster than the supply. What was driving demand was that the world economy expanded at its fastest pace in decades, led by explosive growth in emerging market countries. From 2004 to 2007 world economies grew by close to 5% per year with a concomitant growth in oil consumption of 3.9% per year (Interagency Task Force on Commodity Markets, "Interim Report on Crude Oil," July 2008, p 3).

Petrobras May Have Found More Gas in Bolivia, Valor Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA may have found a “new and large” natural-gas deposit at a depth of 5,100 meters (16,700 feet) in Bolivia, Valor Economico reported, citing a Brazilian government official who refused to be named.

Energy Loan Program With No Projects May Get More U.S. Funds

(Bloomberg) -- Congress is planning to direct at least $10 billion in economic stimulus funding to an Energy Department loan guarantee program that hasn’t backed any projects since it began in 2005.

Offshore Calif. drilling deal could be scuttled

LOS ANGELES – An agreement paving the way for the first oil drilling off the California coast in nearly 40 years has run into unexpected opposition that may sink it altogether Thursday.

Interior secretary to clean up after oil-sex scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will take action to clean up the Interior Department which was tarnished by sex, drug and gift-taking scandals between some employees and workers at energy companies they regulated, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday.

Salazar told White House reporters that he will "make sure that scandals that have occurred in the past are properly dealt with and that the problems that we uncover are fixed so that they don't occur again."

IT industry joins energy efficiency push

LONDON (Reuters) - The IT industry is joining the push toward energy efficiency by developing new power management technology to curb the sector's harmful contribution to climate change, operators say.

The global computing industry has recently been criticized for the high carbon dioxide emissions of its data centers and energy consumption.

The sector contributes 2 percent of global carbon emissions, equaling that of the aviation industry, according to U.S. research firm Gartner.

Indonesian NGO backs villagers in fight against palm oil

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AFP) – Deep in the forests of Indonesian Borneo, a small environmental group is using education and common sense to arm villagers against the devastating onslaught of palm plantations.

Pew: Almost half of Americans want to live somewhere else

Living in Las Vegas appeals more to men than women. Affluent adults are twice as likely as poorer folks to want to live in Boston. Young people like big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. More Americans would rather live in a place with more McDonald's than one with more Starbucks.

Those are some of the findings of a Pew Research Center survey out today on where Americans would most like to live. Whether they favor cities, suburbs or the countryside, almost half wish they lived somewhere else, the report found. City dwellers are more likely to dream of living somewhere else, and men in rural areas are far happier living there than women.

Grid operator says CO2 controls will cost billions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PJM, the largest U.S. electricity grid operator, said on Wednesday that a study it commissioned indicates that Congressional proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants could boost power prices in its region by between $5.9 billion and $36 billion per year.

Carbon: a market we can't allow to fail

With market after market going into tailspin as a result of the credit crunch and global recession, it was almost inevitable that the carbon market would follow suit. The EU's emissions trading system, EUETS, is no exception to the trend. The price of EUETS allowances on the European carbon exchange has just sunk below €12, while certified emissions reductions – carbon-based securities that can be used by industrialised countries to meet their emissions reductions targets under the Kyoto protocol – are hovering at a little over €10.

Does this matter? Unfortunately, yes. It may not spoil your day to learn that carbon traders in the City of London have lost their shirts in recent weeks as their positions have fallen in value by millions of euros (EUETS allowances were at about €16 in November 2008). But rather more serious are the implications for long-term investment in the low-carbon technologies that will enable the world to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases, and bring about a second – and this time, green – industrial revolution.

"Interior secretary to clean up after oil-sex scandal"

Leanan, Do you realize how messy that sounds? :) :) :)

"This was NOT in my Job Description!"

This could be interpreted in at least 3 different ways...

And who says people here don't have a sense of humor :P

For someone who ran such a brilliant campaign, Obama seems to have all of a sudden developed a severe case of tone deafness:

Unfortunately, we are again asking the president to explain why exactly he announced, with great fanfare, new ethics rules if he had no intention of abiding by them.

The Obama administration is yet again asking for a waiver to its very own rules about hiring lobbyists.

This time, it is the new treasury secretary, Tim Geithner. He wants a former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs to be his top aide at the Treasury Department...

It's the hypocrisy and the double-talk that makes so many of us so cynical.


And Wall Street’s orgy on the taxpayer’s tab continues unbridled:

Despite crippling losses in 2008, financial employees in New York collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year


Meanwhile, the faith of the people in their government, quite understandably, continues to errode:

Zingales and Paola Sapienza, a professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, said a survey they conducted at the end of last month shows the degree to which many Americans appear to have lost faith in the financial system and the government's capacity to restore confidence in it.

[T]hose surveyed expressed little to no confidence that the government's efforts to intervene in the markets would help improve conditions. Some 80% of those responding said the government's methods made them less confident in the market.


"Economic woes at heart of French strike "


"There is a general feeling here of injustice, that the ordinary man on the street is paying for the greed of those in the financial sector"

So when people have "a general feeling here of injustice" in France they protest?

Whats up with that?

I think Michael Moore is right in this case.

Americans don't punish rich, greedy people because we all expect to one day be rich, greedy people.

I agree with MMs comment but I also think that Naomi Klein has a good point in her comments.

I’m paraphrasing;

"Research shows that mass protest always works all oround the world"

" it is illegal to effectively protest in America. You can stand on the side of the street or in the designated area but in order to effectively protest you need to disrupt BAU and get people to pay attention and this is now against the law and in fact is being enforced by US military on US soil”

“America was founded on disruptive protest.”

"Naomi Wolf at the Hudson Union Society"


I don't buy it. So what if it's illegal? It's illegal in the countries where people are protesting, too.

Was it legal to throw tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston Harbor?

A home, a job, credit cards and all the stuff. People don't want to risk it by protesting. Because if one is going to protest the system one has to break the system. That's why the NYPD report on "home-grown terrorism" included NOT having a mortgage, a job and so forth as a marker of potential terrorists. Every day now, there are more and more potential home-grown terrorists.

Protesting with signs, protesting in your congresscritters' office - those are pointless. The PTBs endure and go about their business. Seattle would have been pointless without the disruption in the streets; those who think those tactics went "too far" are in error.

cfm in Gray, ME

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" - J. Joplin

Actually Kris Kristofferson

No one remembers the songwriter - or the bassist.

On a more serious note, though - those lyrics are quite spot on. Employers fear people that aren't in debt or living paycheck to paycheck. Those in debt are much more motivated to hold onto their job because they'll be in such deep feces if they're out of work.

I agree with that. Just look at how protesters are treated by police in the US. They're intimidated, assaulted, and/or fenced off in some out of the way area.

For awhile now I've had the suspicion that most of the anti-France rhetoric you hear from the right wing is designed to cause their supporters to instinctively abhor certain ideas. Many people I know automatically discount the way things are done if France simply because it's French. They don't even think about it, they just reject it. I like that the French are willing to strike and protest things, and I think that really bothers the authoritarians here in the US.

The so called freedom we have in the USA is really just a facade. You only have to scratch the surface to see how thin it is.

If that's true then the pro-nuclear folks at this site are in for an awful disappointment.

As someone who speaks French, has been to France, and who knows a little about the country:

There is one huge difference between France and the US. In France, you have one overwhelmingly large city - Paris. All the others are insignificant and unimportant by comparison. Paris is the home of just about ALL the major corporations and ALL of the important financial institutions, as well as being the seat of government. Think of Washington and New York being combined together in one city, with nothing like LA, or Chicago, or Philladelphia, or Boston, or Detroit, or Houston, or Dallas, etc.

Also, understand that France may have ditched their monarchy in favor of a republic, but they did not change the fact that France is governed from the center as a unitary state. The French system is so different from the US that our federal system totally mystifies many people in France, just like their system would mystify many Americans. Just about EVERYTHING of any real importance in public policy is decided in Paris. The power of all local governments is trivial in comparison.

This being the case, there is only ONE place in France where protesters need to stage their protests - Paris. Furthermore, because that is the center of everything, protests can really be disruptive, and they can really get noticed. We simply don't have a situation like that in the US. Once in a very great while we have managed to get as many as a million or so protestors on the Mall in Washington, and then they at least get noticed. They also clog things up a bit for the day. The MLK March on Washington, and maybe one or two of the big Vietnam protests, might arguably have made a little bit of a difference. Other than those, I am hard pressed to think of any examples where such protests made any difference at all.

OK, you speak French and have "been" to France ..... but it seems to me you're still taking a theoretical, non-French position when you infer that the only place that counts is Paris.
Hmmmm ..... They dont feel that way in Marseilles, nor Toulouse where there are many actual working factories, etc. in my humble experience.
Nor I assure you where I live out in the sticks more or less ...... the power flows down from Paris/Sarcozy, but the "greve" flows up from the streets..... yes the streets all over the country and up and down the social/employment scale. check out

Give me a break: Obama is in office for just over a week. Where was this Campbell person when Bush and the bankers were busy destroying the country?
CNN was always looking the other way, finding fault with the democrats, sacking it's science team so it could spout some propaganda of the climate sceptics, and carrying out other mischief (lousy journalism on the banking system for one).

But, I'm afraid the economy is so broken that even the best and brightest may fail on this one. And that would be terrible for all.

As for the bankers, they still don't understand, and should be made to understand that they cannot continue the way they did.

I have no way of peering into Obama’s heart of hearts.

However, several years back Robert Hughes asserted that:

[T]here is no block in Congress or the Senate that truly represents the needs or opinions of people in the enormous central band of American life where workers and the middle class overlap...

--Robert Hughes, Culture of Complaint: A Passionate Look into the Ailing Heart of America

If one subscribes to that rather pessimistic view, then it is reasonable to assume that Obama has been put in power to remake the United States in the image of Mexico--the Mexico that Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa described when he called it a "perfect dictatorship.” It has all the appearances of a democracy—all the trappings--but is in reality an oligarchy ruled by a small handful of wealthy, powerful families.

I’m not so sure I’m as pessimistic as Hughes. Beginning in 1982 the incoming tide that has “raised all boats” has in fact been a sea of red ink:


What this sea of red ink has done is allowed the United States to put off the day of reckoning, to postpone what Niebuhr called “our spiritual problem for the days of adversity which we are bound to experience.” And for the past 25 years this has worked. The growing debt has allowed the American political class to serve two masters—those who want lower taxes, and those who want to maintain or expand the welfare state. Difficult choices, and the “class war and race war” that Yankelovich speaks of, have therefore been avoided, put off for some later date.

Is it possible that Obama sincerely believes that the imbalance in the current account, or even significantly greater ones, are sustainable? Does he believe that he can prevent, or at least postpone, Niall Ferguson’s “Chimerica” from being ripped asunder? Is he convinced there's enough money to continue rewarding both wealthy finance industry executives and the aged, poor and unemployed with massive government welfare? Does he perceive the current poltical and economic realities to be such that he has no other option but to try?

Nial Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money 06 Chimerica China America 5/5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92SpibM_L_o&feature=related

Maybe he does believe these things. And maybe he can succeed. By all appearances he believes the country can continue going down the same road it has been going down for the past 25 years. But I for one believe that it cannot. At some point in the not-so-distant future Obama will be forced to choose which master he wants to serve—the one who favors tax cuts and largess for the rich, or the one who favors the welfare state for the poor, working and lower-middle class. The tide to "raise all boats" will simply not exist in the future.

If Obama were to make the break on one single thing, America's global military empire, he could access all the cash he needed. Transfer half a billion dollars a year out of that into more productive activities. In 4 years that's two trillion dollars.

Now normally we think of military spending cuts as a loss of economic activity, but there's a number of possible changes in our spending that could help local economies.

1. Dollars must not leave the United States. If we send troops overseas, or contract for facilities overseas, dollars will go with them and not return. The troops will spend in the local economy, or they will become very unpopular over there. On the other hand, our nuclear Navy doesn't have to make foreign refueling stops and it can't allow foreign repairmen on board.

2. Troops can do things in the United States. This is less true than it used to be. The Halliburtonization of the military has cost soldiers their traditional labor tasks - tasks which existed for many good reasons. A soldier who doesn't know how to use a shovel is headed for trouble. However, if they must learn how to dig ditches and build roads for their own future survival, they can do it here. In some past armies, soldiers also grew their own crops, had their own blacksmiths, and built their own weapons. There are also more conventional tasks like guarding borders and airports.

So I'm not just talking about eliminating brigades, though we could lose a lot. I'm talking about domesticating our military in several senses of the word. An increasingly mercenary military, disconnected from actual Americans, regarding everyone outside their hierarchy as a possible enemy, is a threat to democracy.

3. Do we really need all these seperate military services? I know that Canada's attempt to unify its services was eroded by the loss of recruiting glamour, but I'm sure while the old uniforms have come back the upper administration is still more streamlined than ours. In 1947 the heads of our Navy, Army and Air Force created their own "treaty" to divide up the new super-weapons between them; the Army lost its own fixed-wing air support to the detriment of future soldiers. We should re-assess what combat organizations we need, and where different types of weapons are naturally grouped together in the same unit. I would like to see the return of the Army & National Guard to a domestic-based force, sent abroad only into global conflicts, and the return of the Marine Corps as our primary, small, intervention force. I think that USAF, a real budget hog, needs to be stripped of tactical air because it doesn't care about the troops it is supposed to support. I also think strategic nuclear bombers are obsolete, and that the Navy's SSBM force is as good a deterrent as the Air Force's ICBMs. So we really don't need USAF to have more than transports for those twice-in-a-century situations where the Army must be supported abroad. America's natural state is to have a strong permanent Navy and very little else.

So we'd have some budget cuts, but we'd also have a lot of money spent on redeployment and mothballing of equipment stateside. To finance the creation of a more useful military, we should begin the sale of war bonds - whatever we call them this time. These bonds will be specified for use in consolidation of stateside bases, for veterans' care, and for border defense, areas where I think a wedge can be driven between rank & file conservatives and the Military-Industrial/AIPAC elite. At the same time, environmental bonds will be sold to support the vast cost of new energy infrastructure, both big centralized projects and tax breaks for individuals to weatherize and install home generation systems. Let's pit liberals and conservatives in a bond-buying contest for their competing visions of patriotism. But in both cases, let the money be spent now to terminate the long-term costs of our bankrupt empire. And let's borrow the money from ourselves, not foreigners.

Much of the Clinton-era prosperity was due to the military downsizing - including closing domestic bases. Military spending is historically among the most inefficient at job creation, so it's not just an issue of bringing the dollars back home.

I am thinking much along your lines. Best to disengage and withdraw from the Eastern Hemisphere now, while we still can, rather than wait until we have suffered some sort of disaster overseas.

We really are very well positioned for defense. The only other country that we absolutely, positively MUST have an alliance with is Canada. As long as Canada is on our side, we can mount a maritime continental defense strategy, using mostly our navy to maintain a defensive perimeter in the Atlantic and Pacific. If we are going to maintain any alliances at all, the only countries that I would even consider are: in the Atlantic, the UK, Iceland, maybe Denmark (Greenland, actually, but we need to work through the Danes for now), Portugal (for basing rights in the Azores), and just possibly Norway (for access to Svalvard especially); and in the Pacific, Japan, Australia, and NZ. We really, truly don't need to have any involvement with anyone else.

I figure that if we pulled back to such a defensive posture, we could cut the Navy/Marines by at least 1/3, the Air Force by around half, and the Army by 2/3, for an overall DOD cut of around 50%. This is just the first round; once things had settled down, we could evaluate and consider additional cuts.

Under this scenario, the US could still have a couple of carrier groups on patrol in the Atlantic, a couple on patrol in the Pacific, with an equal number in port on rotation. We could maintain fighter-interceptor squadrons on standby all around the continental periphery. We could base a couple of army divisions near the Mexican border, and have several divisions based around the country as a strategic reserve; the bulk of the army would be in National Guard units dedicated for state rather than national service. We could maintain a tripartite strategic nuclear deterent.

What we couldn't do is escort oil tankers from and to the Persian Gulf or intervene in any troubles in that part of the world. Thus, the US would have to get very serious about "energy independence", and quickly. We had better figure out how we could get by without most of our oil imports. sooner rather than later.

I think there are some good ideas here, but I'm struggling to find a way to go much further. Personally I think that Mexico is not a military problem, but I would rather have the 4th Division spending its paychecks in El Paso than Baghdad and I know this approach would drive a wedge between the imperialist Right that's tied to big business and the populist Right, which gives it a chance in Congress.

I really can't see much use for either bombers or surface warships in our century. We've watched the lesson of Iraq; we know our Navy is scared of being exposed as an expensive fraud by Iran's Russian missiles; and no one can explain to me what the Strategic Air Command's job is.

My ideal strong Navy would be quite different. America would reduce its entire strategic missile arsenal to about the size of France's. I think France has an ideal nuclear arsenal. It's a pure deterrent force, wielded by a leadership that would shoot a missile at Moscow rather than endure another foreign occupation. It's basically some dozens of SSBMs. No one has ever gotten a shot off at a ballistic missile sub. Our other submarines are being reequipped with cruise missiles and drones. I've also often advocated US adoption of very long-range Russian wing-in-ground effect vehicles, which could carry the arsenal of a frigate and have a limited ability to cross over land. In fact I think the Marine Corps should be given such vehicles for combat and transport service, and be severed from the Navy. Until that is completed, we should retain the carrier groups as you suggested. Afterwards, the Navy would just consist of subs and fuel tankers for the Marine ground effect vehicles.

I think that the general idea of bombarding cities into submission has been rendered absurd by our failures. No one wages war that way anymore except us and the Israelis. We aren't winning anymore.

So I think my USAF cuts would be 80%.

I think that the US and Canada should leave NATO, but retain a legal alliance with it from the outside. The European countries that you mentioned have their own federation now, and I have no desire to keep seducing Britain and smaller European countries to our side (Rumsfeldism) just to keep Europe from developing its own foreign policy. The greatest threat to America's corporate elite would be an alternative social democratic power presented to the 3rd World, one that might one day have the guts to prosecute Americans for war crimes or even send troops to defend Evo Morales, so we keep Germany and France down to keep Europe dependent on US-run NATO. Well, Europe sure could use its own stimulus, consisting of defenses it really needs instead of finding its troops hijacked for our final colonial spasms in Central Asia.

It is very telling that the most vociferous supporters of NATO also are the ones most full of hatred for western Europe & Canada's social programs, strong unions, mass transit programs, alternative energy, gay rights, abortion rights, etc, etc, etc. Does that sound like we're there for their benefit?

I also think the USAF Academy at Colorado Springs needs to be shut down. There's a fascist cell just biding its time. With the Navy and Marines functioning as our overseas small-war establishment, Annapolis does everything we need. West Point would be a shame to lose but my idea of a domesticated Army would tie it more closely to ROTC. I think the kinds of officers you get from public universities, like Colin Powell, are more reflective of the citizenry, and thus form a safeguard against the Marine officer corps (which has a loopy fringe) going Francisco Franco on us in a future crisis. (Franco used his Spanish Foreign Legion troops as the core of his coup against democracy.)

In practice, modern officers get most of their education after they're commissioned, and I think in the future these schools will be interservice; Army/Reserve officers studying alongside Navy/Marine officers to keep them on the same page. The Secretaries of the Navy and Army will be replaced by offices of territorial and external security under the Defense Secretary.

And it would really help if the President would seize back the power Eisenhower briefly held, to write the entire DOD budget himself and force Congress to make a single vote on it. The Congressmen can't stop voting for pork barrel until they are stripped of the power to advocate for specific programs.

WNC & Super - Great work guys. This is just what I would most like to see happen. Thanks for fleshing it out a bit.

Best hopes for power down of Empire

@ Super:

Strategic Air Command (SAC) ceased to exist in 1992. I was there...as a SAC trained killer in the tradition of Curtis LeMay. SAC warriors and their war machines merged with Tactical Air Command (TAC-those pointy-jet fighter jocks) and the merged organization became Air Combat Command (ACC), based at Langley AFB, VA...the same place where TAC was headquartered. War-fighting control over what was then called 'strategic weapons' fell under the Unified Combatant Command called United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which stood up when SAC merged with TAC into ACC. The difference: USSTRATCOM is a 'Combatant Command', which takes control of war-fighting assets (planes, weapons, people) when required by the DoD/Congress/president. The forces, on a day-to-day basis, are organized, trained, and equipped by 'Force Provider' Commands from the Services...in the USAF, Air Combat Command O/T/Es the 'Combat Air Forces' (CAF). In sum, ACC provided fighters, bombers, and recon to USSTRATCOM when called upon. When soldier, sailor, marines, airmen fight a war, they are 'chopped' from their parent Services and belong to the Joint Forces Combatant Commander in charge: PACOM (Pacific Command); EUCOM (European Command); SOUTHCOM (Southern Command-Central and South America); AFRICOM; SOCOM (Special Ops Command...deployed globally; and as of a few years ago, NorthCOM (U.S.A). Of all these, the idea of NORTHCOM should scare you the most. Posse Comitatus, anyone?




It is interesting to note the military oath includes the directive to defend 'the Constitution' against 'domestic enemies':

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.


At any rate, I agree 100% with your prescription to halve the size/scope/cost of the U.S. military and spending the resources on domestic needs. Lots of luck with that...the tentacles of the military are intertwined everywhere...religion...pop culture...educational institutions...the science and research community...the medical community...the media...and local, state, and federal government (see Congress). The Lobbyists have a lock on Military-Industrial-Political BAU. If you protest the BAU of the military's BAU by disrupting the BAU, you are then a domestic enemy of the Constitution, QED (or ipso facto? or Res ipsa loquitur?). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we in/retired from the military call a 'self-licking ice cream cone.'

Half a billion X 4 = 2 BILLION not 2 trillion

Don't hold your breath waiting for Greenspan, Paulson, Rubin, Thain or any of these guys to end up broke and eating in a soup kitchen-these guys that "don't understand" understand how to get the money, which is enough to understand in the USA. "The Best and the Brightest"-classic.

But, I'm afraid the economy is so broken that even the best and brightest may fail on this one. And that would be terrible for all.

I don't know why you say "the economy is so broken." The economy is functioning exactly as it will when a small group of financiers act in a completely irresponsible way and then seek the rest of the world's citizens to bail them out and recover from the destructive path they have set us upon.

All of the economic turmoil, the job losses, the recession, the possible depression, arise because American financiers have created outstanding liabilities some ten times greater than world GDP. You do that and you will encounter a small hic-cup or two.

What is truly amazing is that you refer to these people as the "best and the brightest." How much smarts does it take to render both your employer and your nation insolvent? And after they do that how do you expect them to be able to fix the problem? It is like imploring the crook to arrest himself and sentence himself to hard time.

The problem you have is that the "best and brightest" who seek to correct the problem are the same caste that created the problem in the first place. Why do you allow your elites to pick your pockets so they may pay their mortgages and maintain their "non-negotiable" lifestyle? It sounds like people may soon be freezing to death in the wilds of Kentucky but who gives a damn about them?

You need to learn to speak French. Then you need to find the nearest street and a tumbril or two.

Interesting article.

He's the bog standard marxist academic.

Now there's a rebuttal if I ever saw one.

And why is this news? Anyone with enough wits behind their eyes knows that what any politician says during the election and what he/she does when they get elected are two different things. to put in bluntly they are part of the 'elite' caste of this country and do not care about anyone in the lower classes. meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Is the Stimulus Bill on the right track????

Here is a breakdown on the money to go to the State of Georgia:

State Budget Aid — $2 billion

Highways and Bridges — $1 billion

Schools Modernization — $614 million

Mass Transit — $121 million

Other Rail — $48 million

Wastewater Treatment and Sewers — $98 million

Low Income Energy Assistance — $10 million

Head Start — $20 million

Education Technology Grants — $33 million

The entire package for Georgia has a value of $4.716 billion, not including Medicaid, other health care funding and extended unemployment benefits.
This new money may provide jobs, BUT,
Looks like the only thing that moves us away from gas/oil/coal is the mass transit and rail money, which is a paltry $169 million. When are we going to start buying into new technology instead of wasting money on the old stuff? Where is the money for wind, solar, water power going to come from?

Only a tiny fraction of the stimulus is going to green energy.

The problem is that they want the money spent yesterday. That means it pretty much has to go to established programs. There isn't time to design new stuff. Even in the case of "old tech" like highways...nobody's going to be designing a new highway in the time Obama has given them. Instead, they will be dusting off old plans that were shelved due to lack of money, and doing "quickie" projects like filling potholes and installing guardrail, signs, etc.


Most post isn't taking today. Tried it three times already.

I'm deleting them. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Please reply in the thread where the discussion began, rather than bringing it over to a new DrumBeat.

Does anyone ever read through week-old archieves?

Those who are still interested in the old discussion do.

Alternatives: wait until the subject arises naturally again. It almost always does.

Or post a response in your own blog, linking to the original post.

Old tech highways are a waste of money at this point other than temp jobs.
This is the classic example of hurry up and saw down that tree with the dull saw!

No reason to saw it down, and no time to sharpen the saw!

The goal of the stimulus was to "create or save up to 4 million jobs"
Does a 6 month temp road repair job count?

The other part of this,

as I was reading about the stimulus bill, is that they are packaging up a lot of energy-related initiatives and putting them in the soon-to-be-announced, new and improved, forthcoming

Energy Bill

The Stimulus Plan: A tiny step towards relief - a huge step into debt.

Tom, Growth is not an option!

From looking at the NY Times' two pieces this morning it looks like the stimulus package is heavily weighted towards the welfare state and light on infrastructure:



From my point of view this is as it should be. I'm very skeptical that the stimulus plan can get "America’s economic engines humming again," but the way it is structured, it should at least help releive the suffering of a lot of people.

I know. Saying something is less worse than some other thing that is even worse is a poor excuse for justifying something, but you must admit that this money will help a heck of a lot more people, and a lot more people truly in need, than the $350 billion gift to bankers, and the other $350 billion soon to come:

In the last few weeks, the precipitous fall in bank share prices in the United States and the U.K. triggered much discussion in both countries about the idea of nationalizing banks and creating a new “bad bank” to take over their toxic assets...

There’s a consensus developing, that I can’t really evaluate, that we can’t have an economic recovery absent a $1 trillion gift to banks that made poor business decisions.

There are two ways we could make that kind of gift. One would be to just give them the gift, but to describe what we’re doing in a misleading way so as to try to minimize public outcry. Talk about the need to “get toxic assets of the balance sheet” will be prominent here. Another would be to seize control of the worthless, insolvent banks and then make the gift to what are now publicly-owned enterprises. Either approach would be costly, would be the kind of thing you’d normally avoid doing, and would run the risk that the government couldn’t adequately supervise the situation. But the former approach would preserve lots of free money for existing bank shareholders and cost the public extra. If Summers & Geithner have some completely different approach that they think will work, I think that would be an excellent idea. But nationalization, while not something I’m thrilled about, would be better than just forking money for no reason.


"Forking money for no reason" seems to be the route favored by Summers & Geithner.

Oh well, I suppose in the new administration there's to be "free money" for everybody.

So when is somebody gonna fork over some forking money to me? ;-)

Its about to get really hot in my backyard.

"OSU gets $6 million to develop "super hot" nuclear reactor"


"They operate at temperatures that may exceed 2,000 degrees – about three times as hot as existing reactors – but are also about 35 to 50 percent more energy-efficient, cost less to build and create 50 percent less radioactive waste. Because fuel is dispersed, they won’t melt down."

If they can beat the materials problems with containment this is a brilliant idea.

For those without the relevant background: heat engines are limited in their efficiency mostly by the difference in temperature between the heat source and the heat sink. Since the heat sink temperature is mostly determined by where you are and what time of year it is, the only controllable means to increase the efficiency beyond a certain point is to raise the source temperature.

Most power generation in the world is done by heat engines or by tapping energy from natural heat engines.

There's a slight adjustment needed in your description of conversion efficiency. The temperatures used in the ideal Carnot efficiency calculation are absolute values, where 0 C is actually 273 K, etc. Also, one reason steam cycles of the type typically used for electric power generation are not as efficient as the temperatures of combustion would indicate is that the pressures for steam rise rapidly as the temperature increases and materials lose strength as the temperature increases. With a gas cooled reactor, the pressures might be less, but there's the problem of extracting the energy. This project is tiny, only $6 Million over 5 years. I expect that they won't be building anything very large...

E. Swanson

It's certainly not very large, (uses no nuclear fuel, only electric heaters as simulators.) Still, should provide valuable input for a real design a decade or two from now.

I simply fail to understand why a press release on a scientific issue from a universsity would quote temperatures in Farenheight degrees instead of Celcius. At first I was very interested, because a 2,000 degC reactor would really be something interesting. However a 2,000 defF (1,093 degC) reactor is only moderately interesting, many (probably better) designs have targets to that range including Liquid-Fluoride Reactor and Pebble-Bed (PBR). Certainly the PBR design is at a far more advanced stage of development.

A 2,000C operating temp would certainly get MY attention! What would you make the pressure vessels and piping out of? Iridium? Cubic boron nitride? Even platinum or alumina melt ca. 1775C.
And then there's the little matter of neutron embrittlement....

You are absolutely correct about the scale. I figured that being too specific would obscure more than illuminate for the particular point I was making.

They are simulating the heat source with an electric heater. No nuclear material have been harmed in making this reactor. That means they are not irradiating their materials. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Is this work going to be done on campus, or at a remote site?

The UW in Seattle has (or maybe had now, I'm not sure) a small reactor on campus. It was a favorite site for protest groups back in my college days.

A new study backs up what I have long complained about. While it still makes the logic errors of EROEI and net energy, it recognizes the way that corn is now grown and ethanol is now produced.


Sooner or later EROEI and net energy will be recognized as the fraud that they are IMO. Logic matters. Numbers without logic are nonsense.

What do you mean, 'fraud'? Net energy is really all that matters, and it is a logical construct not a fraud per se. The means of calculating EROEI and net energy can certainly be skewed by error or fraud.

Accuracy and truth are good things. Are you saying that EROEI is without value, or simply that the current calculations are flawed?

Given discrepancies between 'pro' numbers and 'con' numbers for every technology it's hard to discern reality. I'm reminded of the Hummer vs Prius calculations and the cat converter mining wastes in particular. It seems you can't really trust anybody with money on the table to do sound calculations.

In the long term markets usually price in the externalities that have prices. Maybe we should worry less about precision and accuracy of the calculation and more about assessing costs to the externalities.


"Sooner or later EROEI and net energy will be recognized as the fraud ..."


You made it today! You posted the DUMBEST comment I ever rode on TOD! Congratulations! (My advice: don't drink corn etanol. That stuff is toxic and damages your brains. See what happens.)

Tom, Growth is not an option.

Why bother?

“Why Brother?”

Because of Thermodynamics and Mathematics. Those laws ain’t fraud, brother! You gotta put that many of the stuff in to get that many of it out.

Yes, he's a confirmed troll.

"Delta G equals delta H minus T delta S. It's not just a good idea - it's the LAW."

x -

I see that this study claims a much more favorable EROEI of 1.5 to 1.8, which is much better than that in older studies but still not all that great. Claimed greenhouse gas reduction compared to gasoline is quite substantial.

I also see that this study was funded by the USDA, the Northern Bioeconomy Consortium, the Ag Research Division of University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Center for Energy Science Research, and some Western governors association, among others.

Possible vested interests in promoting ethanol? Naw .... one would have to be a conspiracy nut to even entertain such a thought!

x, the study finds it worthwhile to mention EROEI as joule says it does, does that make EROEI a fraud?

Sorry, I can't follow your reasoning.

I think the new study by Pimentel will be more convincing and bad news for the biofuels lobby: http://www.springer-sbm.com/index.php?id=291&backPID=121&L=0&tx_tnc_news...

But, I haven't read the paper (not online yet).

Don't you know? Pimental is a commie subversive in the pay of the Taliban and the papists out to wreak the american way of life. What's more, he's a paid junk scientist who actually believes the world is round, when it is damn clear standing in the middle of X's subsidized corn field that this planet is most definitely flat.

I appreciate the data and information Pimental brings to the ethanol discussion and I directionaly believe his results I don't however consider him anymore of an objective resource than Kosla (whom I totally despise). Pimental is obsessed with driving the stake thru ethanol(not that that is all bad)to the point of being on a holy crusade. That level of obsession leans me towards a bit suspicious of objectivity

As many ethanol plants were going out of business the law requires 10 billion gallons of ethanol to be used, thus the law bumps up the price of something that is not economical, in an economy full of failed businesses. Global warming is a long term trend with or without carbon inputs. The oil companies are being sued for putting ethanol into gasoline and ruining boat engines, the Federal government should be sued for that, if anyone. If someone finds mechanics have a higher incidence of cancer from byproducts of ethanol combustion there might be more lawsuits from what the federal law requires must be used.

Natural gas inputs into ethanol production are less efficient than burning natural gas directly in cars, buses, and trucks. Natural gas causes the release of less carbon than gasoline, is cheaper than ethanol, and does not consume livestock feed or grain for humans. Natural gas as a fuel receives no subsidies.

There are huge offshore dead zones that might be created by clearing more land for ethanol production. The fertilizer used is non-renewable. It cuts off potential food for future generations. Due to higher feed prices, we get higher meat prices, and the consumption of meat has decreased. The mass conversion of grain to fuels is associated with hunger pains. If if was causing problems for striped minnows, the situation might be different. They tried to stop a dam to save brook minnows at the expense of losing habitat for lake bass and cheap hydroelectric renewable energy.

"The Dewey Decimal System - what a scam that was. Boy that Dewey guy really cleaned up on that deal."

Kramer, on Seinfeld

In a Bloomberg interview at Davos, Switzerland New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini stated the U.S. banking system is insolvent

Roubini and Schiller seen in the Bloomberg interview posted above had correctly predicted the banking system collapse last January at a conference in Davos, Switzerland. This year at Davos alternatives were discussed.

Roubini recommended taking over the bad banks and auctioning off their assets similar as to what was done during a bank collapse in Sweden. The crisis we face is the worse since the Great Depression. No other financial crisis has been as severe. 3.6 trillion dollars of credit paper may be junk. Roubini stated that if the wrong moves are made the nation could slip into a depression.

Not easy to do while the upper management of the companies behind this collapse still control Washington. Currently, Obama has the poltical capital to actually behave like the leader of the country but it doesn't look like he is that ambitious IMO.

Washington closed some banks and bailed out others. It is haphazard policy. There is yet no ban on the credit swaps that "gaurenteed" mortgages with holding any insurance reserve funds. People thought they had bought insurance policies on the mortgages and became bolder in issuing Ninja mortgages (no income, no assets, no questions).

The situation here in WKY has worsened. We are now being told a month before power is restored everywhere. Some might get it earlier but my Elec Coop is way off and most lines are thru wooded terrain.

The Judge Exec of the county is more inclined to the 2 month scenario.

Looking out as I drove to town for kerosene the destruction was mind numbing. Many are still blocked in and now the rescue and DES are running out of fuel and the generators are as well.

The country 911 has been running on a generator since Monday nite.

I have saved enough water to get me thru. I have no more kerosene and none is available anywhere. The nearest city is shut down as well. Even Louisville has outages a relative there said.

I am running my laptop at 14 percent. Unless I can find my auto inverter to recharge I will so go silent once my cell phone is dead.

Here is the problem. No power, can't pump gas, can't call for help. Some as asking 'where is FEMA'? Will not help much as food is going to have to be distributed to each home as many can't drive due to road conditions, their gas is questionable, they can't call out. Their water pipes have frozed and this Sunday as the temperature climbs then they get flooded when and if the power does come back as there is currently no pressure in the well storage tank.

To talk of everyday subjects and chat seems to be a waste when you are looking down the borescope of total destruction and ruin on a scale to boggle one's mind.

My only salvation is wood to heat with and cook. Others will suffer badly from the cold.

Medications? No way.

This is a trying time. We are looking IMO at what the future holds.

Rampant weather and the reliance on failing infrastrucuture.

Why is my ISP up? I am using EVDO on cell towers. Cellular seems to so far survived. It may not as the days go by but right now its all we have to communicate with.

People this is what can happen elsewhere in this country. Think about it.

Talking about other countries and silly stuff about politicians is now meaningless to us here when lives are at stake. We are trying to get thru this. I have to now take my chainsaw and try to cut my way into my uncles farm to see how they are.I have enough gas to run my saws but I am going to start hoarding shortly so I have enough to travel to get more ,when the do come back online.


Sounds just like our Oklahoma ice storm last year. I thought I was prepared, but like many quickly learned I was not. The total shut-down of infrastructure was the hard part for us. I was lucky -- power came on for me in just a day, but the town around me lumbered in darkness for days.

I wish I would have known KY was going to get hit so hard. I could have posted what we learned.
1) Get a one-month refill on all meds. Pick them up, too. The hardest situation to resolve is when the insurance company sees you have gotten a refill, but it's sitting at a pharmacy with no power and no people. They can and will waive refill dates for a looming emergency, so stock up even if you're not quite out.

2) Get fuel. Lots of kerosene and a kerosene heater. Propane too if you have a grill (you can cook ANYTHING on a grill with a little practice). Staying warm is the most important thing. Lights come next, then rechargeables.

3) Forget about a generator. Unless you bought it BEFORE the storm, you're SOL unless you drive for hundreds of miles. By the time they come in from out of town in enough quantity to be reasonably priced, the power is coming back too. If you get one ahead of time, you can leave it crated and return it. Don't open it, though. Buy a generator after the storm, when people need to have bucks for the electrician.

4) If your home service is torn out by a limb, call an electrician immediately and get put on the list. Home hook-ups are the slowest part of the recovery.

5) Food and water are critical, but only for a couple of days. You will soon find yourself going to work and shopping (perhaps at unusual stores), but sleeping in a dark cold house. At least in KY it'll warm up quickly -- roads won't be bad for long. The first 2 days are hardest.

6) Power recovery estimates are not accurate. First they're optimistic, they they're pessimistic, then progress happens in fits and starts. A lot depends on where the out of state crews come from, and how many problems they have "at home" to deal with. Your personal repair date will depend on where the breaks are between you and the substation, and how bad the grid damage is getting to your substation. Some will take hours; some will take weeks.

7) Be nice to the line crews. Giving them hot cocoa and snacks is a good thing. Shooting at them is a bad thing. The out of state crews can, and will, leave an area untouched if the people are threatening.

8) Check up on relatives and friends. Loan and borrow as needed. Most generators get lent to multiple people as power comes on in one spot, those generators move elsewhere. If you need one, let people know you need one, and maybe somebody will lend you theirs for a few hours during the day, or after their power comes back on.

9) Watch out for the "dryer plug" hook-up for generators. Cords and plugs will be in short supply for any proper hook-up, and lots of improper ones WILL get done. Make sure your house is not a liability for linemen.

Great list, Paleocon. Couple things I would like to add if I may, some of which are fairly obvious but sometimes easily forgotten:

1) stock up on candles, batteries, matches and BBQ lighters (you would be surprised how many folks lack even the most basic of supplies)

2) keep an ample supply of ready-to-eat foods, snacks, high energy bars, etc. -- you may not require them, but they do offer peace of mind

3) dress appropriately -- thermal underwear, hats, scarves, mittens, boots.... whatever it takes to stay warm and dry

4) drink lots of hot fluids -- tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soups, etc.

5) a battery operated radio can make a world of difference when you're trying to obtain critical information; if you lose TV, internet, cellular and telephone service, radio will help you cope with the isolation/sense of despair that often sets in when you are, for all intents and purposes, cut-off from the rest of the world

6) be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice, so keep important papers/passports, medication, basic first aid items, clothing, sundries, snack bars and whatever else you may need in one or more emergency kit bags that you quickly grab on your way out the door

7) if you operate a vehicle, try to keep your tank at least half full at all times and if you can safely store gasoline/diesel on site, you may wish to explore that option as well

8) invest in a car adaptor for your cell phone, laptop and any other critical battery operated/rechargeable equipment; there's a good chance this may be your only source of electrical power for days and weeks to come (and if you don't own a vehicle, you might be able to take advantage of a neighbour's)

9) if you're on city water, fill a couple containers with potable water in case there's a disruption in supply and if you're on a well, the time to do this is before you lose power

10) if a pending weather event is likely to result in a loss of power, turn your refrigerator to "MAX" to help build up additional coolth

11) if outside temperatures are below freezing, fill 2 litre plastic pop bottles with water to make ice; leave the caps off/loose to allow for expansion, then cap and transfer to your refrigerator, rotating them as required; this will help protect your refrigerator's contents from spoiling

12) if you or a friend/neighbour have a generator, consider wiring your boiler or furnace for generator power; a simple male to female plug/receptacle on the feed would allow you to easily disconnect your boiler from its normal supply and plug it into an extension cord (check local/state codes prior to making this change).

Those are some of the things that come to mind, but there's probably plenty more to consider.

Edit: Ah, yes, I knew I forgot something: hot water bottles, the kind grandma would have. If you have the means to heat water, fill one or more of these little babies, wrap in a towel and enjoy hours of comforting warmth.


These sell well at our store:

Powerpack 600

From the Duracell site:
The Duracell® Powerpack 600 is a stand-alone source of portable power for AC and DC-powered electronics such as a lamp, portable light, cordless or cell phone, GPS, small power tool, portable cooler, small appliance and more. Its rugged design and 600 watts of heavy duty AC power mean you can operate and charge electronics in various locations: at home during a power outage; in remote locations like a camp-site, beach or park; in your vehicle for road side emergencies; and at a work site when power is needed. Large batteries allow you to maximize your runtimes.
Other features include: jumper cables to boost your vehicle, boat or small RV's battery without needing another vehicle; an AM/FM radio so you can stay connected to news, weather and music during a power outage or when you're in a remote location; a digital alarm clock and built-in emergency light.
A good complement to a generator, the Duracell® Powerpack 600 provides quiet, safe indoor power for essential small devices during a power outage.

I have one plus some solar panels and LED lights.

That would be a welcome addition to any tool chest. If you have a desktop PC, you might consider a conventional UPS, if it can serve double duty as an emergency power source for cell phones, LED/CFL lighting, etc.

I would also recommend keeping a supply of non-toxic anti-freeze on hand to protect bathroom toilets, sink drains, your dishwasher and clothes washer and other plumbing from freezing (available at RV dealerships). If house temperatures fall critically low or if you must evacuate, shut off the main valve and drain your water lines, water heater and hot water heating system (and if you have the means to blow these lines and/or add non-toxic anti-freeze, so much the better).


Dear Aangel

Please can you post the details of your solar panel system: how many watts from the panels, whose make, etc? Are you running the panel output thru a voltage regulator before the powerpack? or do you recharge the powerpack off the mains?

Many thanks

It's great to get the details from someone who has a working system.

Hi, Paleobotanist.

Alas, you will have to search elsewhere for someone with a working system. Thus far I have the elements I mentioned but have not put them together...so far I have two battery units plugged in at all times (the Duracell and another UPS I am testing) for short blackouts, but the medium-term system is not yet figured out. Putting it all together is a project on the list.

Neat, but I built a few of my own.

One 1.5kw inverter/charger http://www.invertersrus.com/inv1500wc.html

4 Lifeline deep cycle agm batteries. http://www.invertersrus.com/gpl-27t.html
AGM batteries are sealed so the is no maint. and can easily be shipped by UPS.

Batteries stay topped up when the grid is up, switches automatically to batteries when the grid goes down.

Think of it as a UPS on steroids.

Don in Maine

Gel cells can still dry out, they're generally vented in some fashion. Some people resort to drilling holes in the top of them and adding some water rather than pitching them out.

One caveat to running your furnace on a generator. If it is a modern hi tech furnace, the dirty power from a generator can wipe out the electronic control components. My brother-in-law paid $700 for this lesson. It might be possible with a bit of electronics knowledge to isolate the electronic control system and run it off a battery while running the blower motors/pumps on the generator.

I'm glad you mentioned this, as the power supplied by inexpensive generators is notoriously dirty and, as you correctly point out, potentially lethal to sensitive electronics (my boiler is equipped with a Tekmar Control system, so I share your concern). If your budget permits, consider a generator with an integrated inverter, such as those offered by Yamaha and Honda -- you won't regret it.


Maybe have a spare UPS to place between the generator and the furnace?

Filtering generator power through a UPS may work if you have a boiler, as the gas/oil burner head and circulation pump(s) draw relatively little power, typically in the order of a few hundred watts. However, in the case of a forced air system, the blower fan draws significantly more power, particularly upon start-up -- I'm guessing most likely beyond what could be supplied by a typical residential grade UPS.


Has anyone here had any experience in running a forced air furnace off a PowerPack with a built-in inverter? I know it will have to be a big one to cope with the surge amperage when the fan starts (maybe just too big to do?) We're here in Saskatchewan and we're getting increasingly nervous about grid reliability in winter and would like a way to run the furnace in an emergency. If we stay here long term, we'll install a wood stove, but meanwhile we'd like backup. -40C is no joke.

For a forced air heating system, a generator is really your only option (for sizing information, see: http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outdoor/generator/sizing.aspx).

I have an oil-fired boiler, and the maximum power draw (burner, circulation pump and Tekmar control system) in this case is just 240-watts, so this generator fits my needs perfectly: http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outdoor/products/modelhome/442/0/home.aspx

To see this one in action, see: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=y6c3gLLagX8

Note that an oversized, gas guzzling generator can exhaust your onsite fuel supplies in a matter of hours/days, so opt for the smallest, most fuel efficient model that will meet your basic needs and manually rotate loads as required. This Yamaha automatically adjusts to changes in load (Smart Throttle) and I believe Honda has something called Eco Throttle that does the same thing. If you buy a generator, make sure it has this feature.


I think you all have to many toys.
A good down bag, and a alcohol stove, with no moving parts (if you are using dehydrated food), or a gas (not canister) backpacking stove if you need more heating time. A gallon of gas will last you 6 months.
A led headlamp, will supply light for a amazing time, and a handful of aaa's will give you months of light.
I have lived years at a time with kerosene as the only fuel, and no electricity.
If you need to charge a cell phone, a hand crank generator works fine, and also supplies light.
The idea of running a heating system off a generator is absurd.
Complexity will complicate and kill you.

The idea of running a heating system off a generator is absurd.

To each his own, but when it's -30C outside and the winds are howling at up to 195 km/hr (as they were in some parts of Nova Scotia when we lost power over the Christmas holidays), it doesn't take long for pipes to freeze regardless of how well you insulate and air seal your home. I've experienced first hand the damage that can be caused by a burst water pipe and, believe me, you don't ever want to go down this road. If you have a hot water heating system with pipes that run through exterior walls as I do, live in a cold climate and frequently lose power, in some case for up to days at a time, a portable generator is worth its weight in gold.


Ummm, "dirty" power?
Does a surge protector offer any protection?

No, unfortunately, it won't. For a bit more background on this, see: http://www.contractortoolsandsupplies.com/past/generators/CleanPower.htm


Thanks, sheesh just when you think you have something covered you gotta dig into it again.

Dear Halifax

Another question if i may? If I buy a cheapy Canadian Tire inverter that you plug into a car's cigarette lighter, can I safely charge a laptop or a cellphone off it using an AC/DC adaptor? If not can you recommend a better brand of inverter? I am a stats nerd paralyzed at the thought of not being able to program if power goes out for awhile....need laptop.....


Just to jump in, I have a little tripp-lite 125 watt inverter I used for just that purpose. I used to own a WISP (wireless internet service provider) and I used it constantly doing site surveys at client locations. Took a beating and still works great. I never could remember to be sure the work laptop was charged when I left the office, and the tripp-lite saved my butt more times than not.

I was quite surprised at the number of off-grid homes I ran into. Wireless high speed was their holy grail. Best success story was a google developer. Got the whole peak oil, climate thing and moved way the heck out in the woods with his family. Went as far away from the office as the continent allowed. Wrote code on his PV system and traveled into town once a week to upload it and take down new work.

I was perched on his roof and he was taking trees down to get line of sight to my tower. When we finally got usable signal, the whole family cheered. changed their life from that day forward.

Some days you just smile. We're still friends.

Don in Maine

Personally, I would be a little leery about using an inexpensive modified sine wave inverter. Without knowing much about your specific needs, the laptop option makes a lot sense. They use considerably less power and with an integrated battery, you can gracefully ride through most service interruptions without the risk of data loss/corruption (you don't want to lose power in the middle of a write operation). For recharging via your vehicle's 12-volt socket, a good quality DC to DC adapter is the way to go (e.g., http://www.lindelectronics.com/cgi-bin/store/shop.cgi/%21ORDERID%21/Spec...).

BTW, for additional background on power quality, see: http://www.jkovach.net/projects/powerquality/


Thanks! I'll take that route. Great background article. I'm after emergency running of a minimal subset of electronics, i.e. laptop, cell phone charger, AA, C, D battery charger, lanterns. Charging off a car or truck is also useful in fieldwork. Potentially could have to charge lots of cranky, expensive meters and monitoring equipment that will not take kindly to crappy sine waves. The expensive chargers are worth it to me. The heat problem, well you don't mess around with -50C in the prairies. I suspect I could hook up a bank of car batteries and an expensive inverter to run the forced-air furnace. But the expense might be such that it's equal to having a wood stove installed in the basement (professionally installed to keep the insurance people happy). Not much wood in the prairies though....

Good lessons. A few things I might add, based on our experience after several winter storms with multi-day power outages, Ivan in 2004 and the motor fuel shortages this past Sept:

2) Fuel:

-It is a very good idea to ALWAYS make sure that the fuel tanks for every vehicle you own are at least half full. Just make a habit of pulling them in for a refill whenever they hit that 1/2 mark.

-While not every disaster is forseeable, many of them are (ice storms, floods, hurricanes, etc.; stay alert, and top off as soon as anything nasty looks like it might be on the way.

-Keeping a spare can or two filled, with a few drops of StaBil, could be a real life saver - but don't store it in your house.

-If you have a propane furnace, water heater, and range, then even if you can't run the furnace and water heater, at least you can still run the range, both for cooking and to provide some heat. Having that big propane tank, at least partially filled, is a major asset; don't count on being able to buy grill-sized propane tanks, or kerosene, or Coleman fuel, or charcoal, for very long after the disaster hits.

-Keep a good stockpile of candles and matches; candles will do fine for light and will throw off a good bit of heat, but MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN GLASS CONTAINERS OR HURRICANE LAMPS!!! The LAST thing you need in a disaster is a house fire!

3) Generator:
-I'd agree on not bothering with the generator. Having an inverter that one could connect to the car and use to power a pump or recharge some things would be a more worthwhile investment.

5) Food & water:

- Unless your disaster is in the winter, like airdale is going through, very likely your immediate concern is with the food in your refrigerator and especially your freezer. Dry ice might be hard to come by, and in any case requires wasting precious motor fuel for daily trips to the grocery store. You are going to likely find yourself doing daily "food triage", saving what is most savable, pitching what has already gone bad, and eating what needs to be fixed that day. This could be a good opportunity to get together with neighbors to share, maybe doing a neighborhood BBQ. Keeping plenty of aluminum foil stockpiled is a good idea, especially for cooking meats that you wouldn't ordinarilly cook on a grill.

- Yes, water is likely to be distibuted after the first 48-72 hours, but the quantity will be limited, it might require driving some distance and wasting some fuel, and it might require a long wait in line. Having someway to supply oneself water in quantity and to filter it for safe consumption is very important.

6) Power company:

-ALWAYS call the power company immediately (or as soon as you possibly can) after your power goes out. You might think that it isn't necessary, but most of them do use the data to map outages and plan their response. Lots of people don't bother to call, thinking either that it is not necessary, or that they are somehow sparing the power company trouble by not overloading their phone lines (which may have been the case a half century ago, but not these days).

9) Generator hook-ups:


10) Additional items:

-It is very much worthwhile to have one of those crank-powered radios. In a disaster situation, radio becomes the ONLY mode of mass communication that is likely to remain up, and the ONLY way that governments, utility companies, etc. can get any information to the general public. Find the local station that does the best job of emergency communications and news, and KEEP THEM ON except when sleeping.

-The reason I suggested a crank-powered radio and not a battery powered one is that batteries are going to be one of the first things that the stores will be wiped out of. Even if you have a stockpile, or even if you have rechargeables and a solar charger, after a few days you'll be starting to wish you had crank-powered radios, flashlights, etc. Nevertheless, it IS a good idea to keep a good stockpile of batteries on hand.

-Airdale mentioned that the cellular system had stayed up, and this often proves to be the case. It is not invulnerable, though, and as people found out on 9/11, the system can be overwhelmed during the first hours of a crisis. Make sure that you are signed up to do text messaging from your cell phone, and learn how to use it, for text messages often get through when voice calls don't. I'd recommend having a spare cell phone battery, and some alternative method of recharging it. There are crank-powered devices available for this, sometimes built into crank-powered lanterns or radios.

-If all telephony systems are down in a disaster area and you need to get a message in or out to somebody, don't forget your local ham radio operator. They are very likely going to be set up to continue operating, at least on low power. Good people to know.

-As airdale's accounts indicate, getting around during and after a disaster can be extremely difficult, even if you do have plenty of fuel in your car. You would be well advised to be as well prepared as possible so that you can just stay home and limit your travels as much as possible. Being equipped and able to get around on foot is advisable, that could become your #1 mode of transport for a while.

The cell towers and many radio stations went dark during the Blackout of 2003. I still had phone service, because I still had a landline back then. But many of my neighbors were baffled because their cell phones wouldn't work.

After Charlie went through here in 2004 (eye passed directly over our house), cell phone coverage was spotty. Most of the towers had lost electricity and the maintenance on the battery backups was not what it should be. We couldn't get a connection at all at our house, but learned upon our first trip to the Home Depot that the connection there was fine.

"While not every disaster is forseeable, many of them are (ice storms, floods, hurricanes, etc.; stay alert, and top off as soon as anything nasty looks like it might be on the way."

Sorry there Bud, but this is absolutely the wrong advise to be giving anyone. Your post has so many wrongs, as do the others, it is sad. You do NOT wait until "anything nasty" comes along before a person gets off their butt and does something. By then, it is too late, you have already lost.

Yes, disaster is foreseeable, it is just that most people, do not plan to be in one. I work in this field daily, and I see over and over again, half baked, after the fact, ideas that make no sense, get people hurt, give them a false sense of security or try to fix a problem they created.. Oh, OK lets drive thru the ice storm to get a generator for my frozen White Castle Burgers...don't want to have to feed them to the dog...sheesh..

It's called a survival PLAN. An emergency preparedness plan that the local, county, and state are supposed to put together (and do)for the "well being and continuation of government services". The individual comes LAST in line. Did I mention you COME LAST? The state agencies are now in motion to do what they have planned. And they do have a plan for this type of thing. I would suggest you get on line to the local CERT, or FEMA site to get info. Also, any disaster preparedness listed for a particular county government.

In any preparedness plan, a person must be able to survive without help for an extended amount of time. NOT TWO DAYS! Two months at the minimum without the JUICE...I have 12 months food/six months water. Food and water....Medicine...Basics...Fuel..Batteries...etc....if you can't get prepared, change your lifestyle, move, get to a place you can. Sell the SUV. Do not depend on someone (FEMA) coming to rescue you because you were lazy and spent your money on Playboy TV pay per view. Every plan is a little different based on the individual, but every one has the same basic structure.

Stockpile "Aluminum foil"? WTF is that? Telling someone that "food and water will be availabe in a few days" only creates more problems when it is not there. Setting up a group of people with false hope, and then dashing their hopes, makes for very pissed off people. Generally, desperate people get violent when they are really pissed and have been lied to, either out of stupidity by local officials, or by misinformed (stupid) media.

I strongly suggest anyone at LEAST VISIT the FEMA site to get an outline of a plan. 1 week without electric (summer plan/winter plan) - 1 month without electric (summer plan/winter plan)...and more.


I agree with everything you say, and many other good advice posts here (and Gail's post presently above) but there is one aspect that I think has been omitted.

It's all very well and good to list what needs to be done, but a large portion of the population can not afford to go out and buy 12 months of food, particularly now. Any tech toys like solar panels, UPSs, inverters or generators are out of the question. People may be well aware of what needs to be done, and eager to do it but they have no means.

I buy in bulk, with a price tag of ~$1000 every time. This requires a truck and cash in the bank. I save a heck of a lot of money and eat better than most at the same time but, only because I had a grubstake. I then save more each time.

I cringe when I see someone doing fairly serious shopping at a so-called convenience store, getting bent over by ridiculous prices but it is within their walking distance. Further, their limited buying power makes taking a taxi a big cost of the purchases, probably more than the convenience store premium.

Sure, much if this is caused by innumeracy, poor education in the basics, and poor planning but that is the reality we have to factor in.

Even if someone is an aware consumer, it does cost a lot to be poor.

Sorry, seems to be a typical copout answer you have. I do not have much patience with the attitude of "can't afford it". I work with these kind people every day..I have heard every excuse in the book as to why a person cannot do a simple emergency plan. "I have a dog, I have a kid, I have a grandmother, I need my cig money, I can't give up my bowling night, I don't have room, I will just evac if I need to, the government will take care of it, I pay taxes so I don't need to plan, It never freezes here in Kentucky, Nuke plants are safe.......on and on and on.....

It is quite easy to live with a very diverse, and healthy diet in this country for $5.00 a day in food. Basics yes, so what. There is gov money available to anyone willing to ask. Darwin awards to so many,,,,look what happened in Texas from the last little blow we had. How many said, "I can ride it out", then call the gov to come wipe their butt when they get scared?

I don't mean to be snippy here, but I see it every day. People sit on their a$$, then cry and moan when it turns to Sh!!. Nothing, really is more important than your personal health and safety. So many spend a bundle on a big house with all the doodads, but when the juice goes off, it freezes just like a mobile home in a trailer park. The ones with the money are also usually the biggest whiners....


We seem to be at cross purposes here, or perhaps you missed the gist of my post, my fault.

First, for anyone that cares to listen, I am not a bleeding heart type. I am as fed up as you with people that make no effort to take personal responsibility on so many levels. Doing mountain rescue, I have dragged more that a few idiots out of the Rockies wearing high-tops and jeans in winter, so let me cut to the chase.

- There is no excuse for people that do not prepare, up to their financial capabilities.
- Much of what has been suggested here is not expensive, but there are some things IMO, that are beyond many people's means.
- Regardless of why anyone is cash strapped (drug habit or an idiotic McMansion), doesn't change the fact that it is part of the equation.

It was never my intention to make excuses for anyone, and if you re-read my post, I don't believe I did. All I'm saying is that a financial disaster is in progress, which impacts the ability of many to prepare for other disasters that could be more life threatening. I fail to see how that is a copout.

There is gov money available to anyone willing to ask.

Using your figures, a family of four for six months = a sunk cash outlay of $3652.50 for food, not counting the other basics you advise. Is that kind of money available from the government for the asking?

If that is the case, then perhaps we should just let Darwin do his work?

Ok, I understand. I just get sooooooo tired of listening to the whiners about their failures to plan.

Yes, we should let Dawrin do his work. The education about personal responsibility in this country is, to put it mildly, a joke. The idiots you dragged out of the Rockies, should be relieved of every peny to pay for your troubles and risk. I have been in your situation as well. After a while it becomes "what? another idiot out on the loose again"?

What I am saying is, no matter what a person has, there is a plan that fits their needs. Something, anything, is better than sitting on their hands. A week? One month? Start with a plan for a week even, it would be soooo much better than NOTHING. And yes, everyone needs a plan. Married, single, old and young. How many people even have a basic plan for their kid if they are seperated by an ice storm from school or work? OOPS...."Just call your mother" OOPS, the cel phone is down....OOPS.

Start with at least something.......anything.

The education about personal responsibility in this country is, to put it mildly, a joke.

IMO, there is none.

Personal responsibility threatens the size of government, the credit industry and consumerism. How can "Have it all and have it now!" play in Peoria if people exercise restraint, responsibility and delayed gratification?

Sir, it is that sort of dangerous thinking that will destroy the American economy!!!

Oops! Too late..... :-O

What disasters do you include in the "2 month" category? Having a solid Plan A for common disasters seems to make sense before spending the money for Plans B, C, and D, in decreasing likelihood but increasing impact.

Ask Airdale how long he thinks his juice will be off?

Then ask yourself if you could be in your house, if it were in the hard hit region, without juice for a month. Always plan for the worst case, and hope you have a cushion and never need it.

Two months is simply an idea, some will always be better prepared than others. And the others get the Darwin..


Line repair crews hate generators, If they hear generators in a neighborhood they might just drive on by rather than risk the dangers of someone backfeeding the lines. If you see repair trucks in the neighborhood, shut yours down and get all the neighbors to do the same. I'm speaking from experience after Charlie.

Best luck Airdale.

I would suggest a good book or two to curl up in front of the wood stove with in order to retain your sanity while everyone around you goes nuts in the absence of hi-tech. Gutenberg had a good thing going.


Thanks for the update, airdale. I was hoping for better news. Take good care of yourself and if you can pool whatever resources are available with your friends and neighbours, it might make things a little easier for all of you.


"The situation here in WKY has worsened"

What is "WKY"? and what situation are you referring to? I've missed something...

It is good to have a month's worth of food in such isolated areas. Might be able to charge a cell phone through a cigarette lighter in a vehicle, or use the car radio for local news. Probably good to check on the neighbors, if one has any.

West Kentucky. Ice storm damage this week.

Western Kentucky. Bad ice storms.

I think WKY is western Kentucky and he is referring to the Ice Storm which hammered that portion of the USA

Perhaps a good time to hunker down with a book. Might I suggest The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Sorry folks......FEMA and your worthless government will not be there to bail you out. Too bad so many have to suffer..

Told ya..


I'm in Evansville Indiana and we have power.

Where are you??

Our prayers are with you.


Airdale, prayers for you and your community. Check in when you can.



What a bummer! I'm glad you were pretty prepared. What this should point out to people is how fast things can go from normal to crisis. Some may laugh at those of us who are "prepped" but your situation proves its importance.



For what it's worth, I am holding a good thought for you. Please take good care of yourself, and let us know how you're doing.


Sounds like America needs to bring its Peace Corps home too. Every year there's some region-wide breakdown that leads to a humanitarian crisis, and we don't have tens of thousands of volunteers who can be spared to rush across the country since many are policemen and firemen.

Airdale, i am down in Logan County. lost power on Tuesday morning. power line snapped off the generator. i went outside as i heard tree limbs snapping off, sounds like lightning, but much smaller decibels. note to self: don't stand under trees during ice storms. called local power co, they are aware, yet busy. we still don't have power either as of now. all food in the freezer is melting. all of my harvest through the summer is most likely wasted. squash,zuchinni etc. done, gone,wasted! . must be thrown out. what a shame. all that gardening work. i do have a wind up radio/flashlight as well as the shake flashight. but thats not the end all be all. still need heat!
short of body heat and wood laying around, thats all i got.

I'd say come on down, but i am in the same boat: without power too. but then, my house is 175 yrs old, (80% original) and leaks like a siv. within 2 hours the temp in the house was very close to OAT (outside air temp). talk about instant stone-age with no power. i have plenty of wood, but not forever muchless every year.
then there is next winter, if i didn't burn it all through this mess. reminds me of how I really, really, really should get off the grid forever, shoulda, coulda, woulda! note to self: get off the grid.

but here we are in total darkness and silence, the silence i like. being out in the countryside surrounded by cornfields. absolute perfect. The darkness thing? no fun. talk about being in boyscouts, without the girls. somehow the wife doesn't like that camping BS. go figure. If only i could harness her hatred of camping into "USABLE" energy.

Thus I have vacated KY, and gone down to Texas at my other place.

Perfect example of what I was talking about.

No Plan...not a clue....

Best of luck to you...

Citizen, thank you for your condesending input. I now realize that i will make every effort to skip past any future posts you provide. since you seem to have the definitive answers, may i suggest you keep it to yourself. your judgements on all others is tiresome and old.

airdale thanks for this writing
Keep us updated when you can. Your post has gven us all a glimpse of what challenges await and spurred me to move my preparation program further along today.

There's a wonderful, upbeat story on CNN News this morning about a couple whose two children were diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. The couple put their household belongings up for auction on eBay to pay the medical costs, but nobody wants to buy. Instead, hundreds of people have contacted the couple to send money:

I've learned more in the last few weeks than I have...in the rest of my whole life. (said the father)

Family auctions all on eBay


Sometimes it might serve the doomers well to take a look at the brighter side of human nature.

you have no idea of scale now do you?

the example you gave is a isolated case of one family doing badly around of allot of people doing somewhat ok. this in turn is normal with human nature, when times are good you being charitable to the less well off is a advantage because you don't know if your roles will be reversed(of course assuming your not a greedy psychopath like most rich people). the badly named 'doomer' scenario is the opposite of your example. where the very rare family is doing well amid a sea of others in similar situations as the one described above for that family but with absolutely no way for them to get help. If you by sheer chance end up as one of the well to do family's when that comes to pass, you better hope your paying your armed guards well.

Who kicked your dog?

Television does a fantastic job of destroying people's sense of scale. We can't imagine 300 million people. So TV sells us a few lucky faces at a time, without any sense of how atypical they are. We see deserving folks on ABC being given free houses; how many millions more are just as deserving?

The Queen of England performs a ceremony around Easter time called Maundy; she is re-enacting Jesus' washing of the feet of the poor, though in her case I think it's more like dabbing some poor Britons' shoes with a sponge. But the ceremony served the purpose of making the monarch appear to care for all the poor, while only doing something for a few of them. A cheap way of staving off revolution. That's pretty much what I think of private charity in general.

During the Depression charities in the US valiantly tried to help those in need, but as the scale of the need rose while the donors reached "donor fatigue" it became clear that that's not the appropriate mechanism.

C_A et al:

How many scared ninnies will follow your advice and spend money they don't have or that could be spent for better uses to buy and hoard 12 months worth of food and other provisions waiting for your doomer porn scenarios? How many thousands of tons of food and batteries and other stuff will be wasted every year due to flooding (ocean, river, creek, or a broken water line while at work or on vacation), due to fire loss, due to spoilage, due to vermin/insect infestation, etc? Hell, even Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) go bad after a while.

How about this for a different approach: Donate your money to the Red Cross or other such disaster relief organizations on a regular basis, and be prepared to give surge donations of money and provisions when the community need arises. Also: Donate your time...get disaster relief training (first aid, CPR, rescue ropes, the whole deal) and be on call, and go when called. I was in the Civil Air Patrol for years...disaster response is one of its missions.

The stock up, hole up, go-to-ground and survive and laugh it up while 'Darwin takes its toll' approach smacks of the all-too-typical American 'screw you, I got mine' attitude. It would be a real achievement and a real benefit for most people to have provisions for a good week or two and to learn some basic survival, gardening, and first aid skills, but this End Times stock-up-for-a-year stuff is a waste of resources. If someone is that darn paranoid, move away from the beaches, out of the river valleys, and out of the forests that might burn, and away from the earthquake and volcanoes and away from extreme weather...in short, move to Albuquerque. Stand together, or fall apart.


gotta take care of u'rself to help others!

being that we are in that same ice storm with at one point over half of our close family/friends households w/o power, & temps headed to teens; i have respect for most precautions above & actually think this could overall be a godsend as prep for fuel shortages on top of this kind of crisis; not to mention food shortages eventually as we move into FF declines. u & murphy haven't gotten together at the right time yet i would guess.

we got all this power outages in sept. too; ike remnants + a local system. worse outages; both times in ky. history. they project we get power locally in about 10 days; 195,000 w/o in ky. one county -grayson- 95% w/o power. some brief boil water alerts too.

Yup screw you. I don't tolerate idiots well. No one is going to be there to take care of you.. Think that thru. I do six months food storage and have for the past 30 years. It's a wintertime thing, and has saved our butts any number of times. Job loss etc, not anything like whats to come. I have water, and a shelter that I can heat with my own work. I don't need a transportation system to assure that I can be warm, I don't need the grid. The grid is nice and I'll use it as long as it is there but I don't have to have it to live.

Maybe that's the thing, so many of you have no clue what living is about. The stars at night and the wind in the trees are reasons to live, not your blackberry. Pet the cat. Love your wife, or husband. Or (PC) any person you love, that is all good and what life is about.

I went to ground in the last really bad recession, never looked back. There is an honesty to this kind of life I don't see in other places. For you power freaks, this is a real position of power, humble to no man. Doesn't make you a great employee, when you can kiss idiots off as you like. The ability to provide for yourself gives you the ability to call an idiot an idiot. Walk away and you know you will be fine. It gives you the ability to take chances, done a bunch of different businesses, they were fun and made a bunch of money, but it was not something I had to do, it was more for fun. I can take chances because I know I can cover my basic needs, I am beholden to no man.

It makes me arrogant. I don't see that as a problem. I'm not better than anyone, I just see the signs and deal with them. I built the basics of what I have working at gas stations, washing dishes. When it really hits, I am a very rich man. I have friends, water, food and shelter.

Once my six months of burbon is gone, I figure I'll have my own still running.

If Darwin is going to take his toll, I'll be glad to see it, it means you will never post here again.

Don in Maine

Darwin may take his toll, but it's not happening yet. In the meantime, I'm asking you to be civil if you're going to post here. That goes for everyone. Ratchet it down a couple of notches, folks.

Hopefully, I can duck the spears as I avoid stepping on the land minds. :-)

I like to think there's a middle ground between blissful ignorance/complete lack of preparation and the "hunker bunker", which might be called basic prudence. By choice or necessity, I will never achieve complete independence/self-sufficiency in terms of food, energy and the other basic necessities of life, and stockpiling items that have a set shelf life, beyond what can be rotated out for normal, everyday use seems rather pointless. For me, it's a matter of keeping on hand enough food, fuel and whatever else we may need to see us through two or three weeks of being effectively cut-off from the world; anything beyond that, I'm basically kidding myself.

My first priority when we bought this home was to reduce our energy requirements to the greatest extent possible, so whereas the previous owners used an average of six tanks of fuel oil per year, we now use less than one (you can hardly consider yourself energy independent if the oil man tops up your tank every three to four weeks). Likewise, I didn't want to be dependent upon grid power -- four extended outages this past month alone -- so I purchased a small portable generator that allows us to run the boiler however long needed to keep the pipes from freezing. When we renovated the kitchen, we replaced the electric cooker with a propane cook top so that we can prepare meals and hot drinks without grid or generator power. I would have done much of this anyway (e.g., insulation and air sealing for increased comfort and cost savings), but it dovetails nicely with our desire to be better prepared for whatever crap life throws your way.


Hi, Paul. I think a balance is required, too, but heavily in favor of being prepared, per C_A's recommendation.

For one thing, people who live in California, Alaska, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and near the New Madrid fault between St. Louis and Memphis, have a very high chance of experiencing an earthquake. In CA, less than 5% have an disaster kit.

Crazy, no?

(P.S. I was one of them before I got wise to peak oil.)

Hi André,

I agree; most of us are woefully unprepared for any sort of natural disaster and its aftermath, and even those of us who think of ourselves a step or two ahead of the rest could do more to sharpen our game. I genuinely admire people like yourself, Don in Maine and others, and I've gained much from your collective wisdom and shared experiences. There are some things that don't apply to me as much as they would someone else and there are occasional differences in opinion, but I seldom go away empty handed.


Yeh, that will help...not talking about "stock up, hole up"...read my note..

You like so many others just do not have a clue. Civil Air patrol...government organization????

Have fun...

Details emerge on wind power's record US growth in 2008:

2 states pass 20% wind in their electric demand and the national average may pass 2% this Spring...

For details, see www.setenergy.org

Onwards to sustainability,

I need some advice about giving presentations and using web-obtained graphics. Over the past year I have given about 17 presentations to various groups, mainly health-oriented, regarding the issue of peak oil and health (or variations thereof). In giving these, I often use graphics obtained from various Peak Oil oriented websites/electronic publications, etc. obtained from the internet, and always give attribution when I use it. Sometimes these talks are taped and might end up on this or that website. My concern is (a) am I breaking copyright; (b) are most of the graphics posted here basically available to use for presentation, etc. I am not doing it to make money, but obviously some of the stuff here is really good educational material and, apart from the practical problems of reinventing the graphic myself, it seems a shame to not use what is out there.

I am sure that many of you have also given talks, and have used various graphics. What do you do? Is it always your own stuff.

What do you do if you are writing a position/research/educational paper for a community group, government report, etc?

I appreciate your replies.


Copyright is kind of a gray area. You might be able to claim "Fair Use" for educational purposes.

The graphics we post here are under a Creative Commons license that allows people to use them, as long as they credit TOD. (But be sure that it's actually our graphic. Some of our contributors "borrow" images from other sites that they do not own.)

We have actually been contacted by copyright holders and told to remove graphics or pay up. Usually, we remove the graphic, and that's that. (If you don't remove the graphic, then you can get into trouble. The DMCA means your web hoster could be cut off from the net if you don't comply. For that reason, they will take your site down in a flash if they get a complaint. No lawyers needed, just an e-mail. I've seen this happen even to sites hosted in places like Russia. The copyright holder can just keep going upstream until they find someone who will cut off the ISP. It usually doesn't take more than one or two levels.)

If I were you, I would ask permission to use the graphic. (You don't have to do that here, of course, since we have our CC license posted.) But if there's any doubt, just ask. If it's non-profit and for educational purposes, they will probably say yes. And it's the polite thing to do.

There is no gray area in Copyright laws. You are not allowed to use the original work of others without permission. You should make your own stuff if you truly want to be the author. It's the right thing to do.

However, there is tons of free stuff on the Internet. Search for "free clip art" plus a noun or verb describing what you need. This is the equivilent of making your own since you are essentially assembling it with permission. It's inconcievable that you wouldn't be able to find everything you need for free.

Use can also find plenty of free programs to organize pictures, and over time, you can assemble quite a collection of your own. And you'll never have to look over your shoulder.

You obviously want to do the right thing, so do it.

Good luck.

There's plenty of gray area in copyright. And frankly, everyone wants to keep it that way. The copyright holders don't want to risk losing and setting a precedent, the violators don't want to go to court against a big media company. So it's usually settled out of court.

(That's why the recent copyright trial with JK Rowling and the fan who wrote a concordance was so unusual. And it definitely was a gray area.)

The original poster doesn't want clip art. He wants to use things like charts and graphs related to peak oil. You can't just find those as clip art.

(Also, beware of those clip art sites. Many are run by people who stole the art they are offering for free.)


Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test... In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Forgot to add...images produced by the US government may be used as long as they are credited. This includes everything from EIA charts to NASA satellite images. We paid for them, so we can use them. :)

Your use of these graphics in a presentation to a group, if properly attributed is covered by "fair use."

However, if they are being recreated in print or on a website, you need to get permission from the copyright holder.

Leanan's response above is excellent.

Thanks to all. I really appreciate the comments. Now, I just have to start building a library of good oil graphics.


I pretty much make all my graphs myself (except the ones that are obviously EIA graphs).

Graphs that I have made are OK to use (but credit "The Oil Drum"). The graphs the EIA makes are also OK to use (but credit the EIA). Government agencies don't have a problem with people using their free data.

Now it's clear: the US is going over the cliff:
"Big Layoffs No Longer Help Boost a Company's Stock"


Pretty soon time to start.... We sheeple need to take some lessons in protesting from the French. A French citizen's attitude is "regularly randomly burn some stuff, keep the politicians scared of us".

I'm sure the opposite is true if CNBC is saying it.

Somali pirates hijack German LNG tanker

Somali pirates hijacked a German tanker loaded with liquefied petroleum gas Thursday off the Horn of Africa. The ship's 13-man crew was reported safe even though gunshots were heard over the ship's radio

Which is it, liquified natural gas or liquid petroleum gas aka propane? An example of the energy ignorance of English majors, and I don't mean British army officers.

Oops, my error: I edited the word "gas" in the article title to make it clearer, but put in "LNG" when I should have made it "LPG", if the quoted text is correct.

Recession lands immigrants in 'Devil's Cave'

PLAINFIELD, New Jersey (CNN) -- Enter the "Devil's Cave" by pulling aside the wooden grate beneath the porch of the abandoned suburban New Jersey home. Crawl inside to see the filthy, mismatched blankets and the garbage and empty soda and alcohol bottles strewn about. Catch your breath against the smell.

...For a group of Latin American men, the "Devil's Cave" was home for several months as they tried to find work in tough economic times. In it, they shared their misfortune and propped up one another's dignity.

DryShips in breach of some loan covenants

(Reuters) - DryShips Inc (DRYS.O) said two of its banks notified the Greek dry bulk carrier that it is in breach of certain financial covenants and it is currently in discussions with its lenders for waivers and amendments to loan covenants.

U.S. Economy: Sales of New Homes, Durable Goods Orders Tumble

(Bloomberg) -- Prospects for an economic recovery this year dimmed after reports today showed new-home sales collapsed, durable-goods orders slumped and a record number of Americans collected unemployment benefits.

“There really isn’t any hiding place in this economy,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.

A smattering of articles from today's NY Times.

Reports Underscore Weakness of Economy

Thursday brought a hat trick of grim economic news: New-home sales fell to their slowest pace on record, businesses cut their orders and jobless claims continued to rise.

Taken together, the three reports released by the government painted a picture of an economy that continued to slide as falling consumer spending and rising unemployment amplified the effects of a yearlong recession.

Worries About How U.S. Will Pay for Stimulus Spending

DAVOS, Switzerland — Even as Congress looks for ways to expand President Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package, the rest of the world is wondering how Washington will pay for it all.

Few people attending the World Economic Forum question the need to kick-start America’s economy, the world’s largest, with a package that could reach $1 trillion over two years. But the long-term fallout from increased borrowing by the federal government, and its potential to drive up inflation and interest rates around the world, seems to getting more attention here than in Washington.

“The U.S. needs to show some proof they have a plan to get out of the fiscal problem,” said Ernesto Zedillo, the former Mexican president who helped steer his country through a financial crisis in 1994. “We, as developing countries, need to know we won’t be crowded out of the capital markets, which is already happening.”

Lawsuit Filed in Northeast Carbon Trading Scheme

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon-trading system established by 10 Northeastern states and aimed at limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, is the subject of a lawsuit filed Thursday in a county court in New York.

The suit, brought by Indeck Energy, names Gov. David Paterson of New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York State Public Service Commission as defendants.

The suit challenges the legal authority of New York’s agencies to create the cap-and-trade system without legislation. New York, according to a statement released today by Indeck, “is the only state in R.G.G.I. to create its program by executive action, without legislative authority.” The company also challenges the R.G.G.I. states’ ability to take part in the multi-state program without Congressional legislation.

Sell-Off Erases Most of the Week’s Gains

Caution returned to Wall Street Thursday as weak earnings reports and record unemployment claims offered the latest evidence of the economy’s struggles.

Stocks fell sharply after soaring Wednesday on hopes the government will develop a way to remove bad debt from banks’ books. All the major indexes lost more than 1 percent Thursday. Some pullback was to be expected after the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index put up its first four-day advance since November.

Investors’ mood darkened after companies from Eastman Kodak to the chip maker Qualcomm reported that profits tumbled the final three months of 2008.

And the government said Thursday that the number of people drawing unemployment benefits reached a record this month. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 rose to a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records that go to 1967. As a proportion of the work force, the total is the highest since August 1983.


The problems with cap-and-trade are really starting to become more obvious.

In the main post the article "Carbon: a market we can't allow to fail" speaks volumes.

To paraphrase Markey (I think it was), if a market can't be allowed to fail, it shouldn't be allowed to exist."

Placing the future viability in the tender care of the now notoriously volatile and corrupt "free market" is about as sure a prescription for disaster as can be imagined, IMVHO.

"Worries About How U.S. Will Pay for Stimulus Spending".........there

Hello TODers,

Can someone help here: Denninger had a post this morning regarding China / Obama and I cannot retrieve it?


Try this LINK.


Good day for a small amount of levity. A local TV station is reporting that someone hacked into one or more electronic road signs in Austin, Texas, and caused them to read: "Zombies ahead, run for your lives!"

ROTFLMAO! Here's a report with video:


For those with access to CBC TV, tonight's eposide of The Nature of Things is entitled Supercar: Building the Car of the Future.

Additional info is available at: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With auto sales at crisis levels, Washington is trying to figure out how to get Americans buying cars again.

Several ideas are on the table, but two of them are really making the industry pay attention. One plan is to make new car costs tax deductible. The other is to give rebates to Americans with old cars so they can better afford to buy new ones, a program otherwise known as "cash for clunkers."

However can the Onion keep up these days?!

No, no, it all makes sense. Increase the demand for (gas-powered) cars, gasoline price goes up. Then, with prices at elevated levels, we can move to alternative fuels that much quicker. Right? ;)

Hell Nano. There's even a faster and more cost efefctive method available: put a match to the 32 million bbls of WTI stored at Cushing right now. Not only would it ramp up oil prices and thus acclerate the alts, the mid west could use a little more heat right now to take the chill off.

They better start buying them while they still can!
Obamas schizophrenic directive to the EPA should be just enough to push them over the edge.
Every state will now be able to weigh in on what they think emissions should be.
Try building a product line based on THAT variable.
We're not even talking about the potential for litigation, years of litigation.
If this passing of the buck indicates Obamas leadership quotient, God help us all.

Of course its just cars spewing the CO2.

Two points:

1) All the other manufacturers will be in the same boat.
2) States will have a vested interest in being reasonable, else they will have no cars.

CA can swing the rules, but VT and such cannot. Most smaller states will be along for the ride.

Manufacturers will of course plan to design one car that meets all needs, if at all possible. There may be more inputs to deal with, but it'll probably work out to be as predictable and 'fair' as the existing gov't/lobbyist approach.

Do you hear Toyota and Honda complaining much yet?

If only the govt could have a little more foresight & imagination!

It should set up a few "demonstration villages". No cars allowed. People can move there who are unemployed (maybe a lottery to choose). People must help each other and keep the village going, as self-sufficiently as possible. Obama could go and visit occasionally and pose for the cameras with the village residents. Other people would catch on soon enough!

It wouldn't cost that much compared to all the ghastly ineffectual bailouts and it would give people some way to experiemnt with new lifestyles since the govt would provide some funding for services like a small clinic, bus service or such. The idea is that it's experimental but safe since the govt is backing them up.

No large corporations allowed. No cars. No chain stores.

Of course it will never happen. As Nasim Taleb said "the system is taking us where it wants to go which is to crash".

Of course it will never happen

It will, but not with any incentive from the PTB. It will happen from the ground up out of pure necessity.


The Peak Oil Crisis: The Stimulus

This would seem to leave little doubt that the President understands what could turn out to be the two biggest problems of coming decades - dependence on oil and global warming.

H.R. 1, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, shows that Obama does not understand peak oil. A small amount of money is devoted to projects that mitigate peak oil whereas the bulk is directed at an ineffective attempt to stimulate the economy to regain BAU. His plan does not electrify our long distance freight railroads, nor combine wind, solar and high voltage power lines with such a project. His 3,000 miles of high voltage power lines will be built on land seized by eminent domain and accessed by liquid fueled vehicles traveling on asphalt, gravel and dirt roads. If they were built over the railroad easements, they could be accessed by electric trains without using fossil fuels. He does not see the big picture and therefore does not plan accordingly. Under former President Bush, the U.S. made all the wrong decisions. Under President Obama, the U.S. makes mostly wrong decisions.

One of the tax cuts is to increase the credit for three or more children which is an incentive to make more people. He shows no awareness of population overshoot.

When I tried to send Obama an electronic message today at Contact the White House, I discovered my 3,500 character message would not fit within the 500 character limit of the form. So much for Obama being accessible. If your argument can not be squeezed into a brief note, he does not want to hear from you.

Well maybe a picture can be worth a thousand words so I sent this message with a link to Chris Jordan's photography. I doubt it will be read, understood or acted upon.

BTW Chris' new piece titled "E. Pluribus Unum" is pretty cool too.

Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait


Denali Denial, 2006

Depicts 24,000 logos from the GMC Yukon Denali, equal to six weeks of sales of that model SUV in 2004.

Valve Caps, 2006
10x25 feet in five vertical panels

Depicts 3.6 million tire valve caps, one for each new SUV sold in the US in 2004.

It must be nice to be God and know all the right and wrong decisions.

And be able to over rule election results with email posts to the White House. There are over 300 million people in this country. We had an election last November and the victors are now in office for a whole 2 weeks.

We are a Republic not a democracy. In a Republic representatives are chosen to do the work of governing since a true democracy is unworkable for all practical purposes. It is also more subject to mass hysteria.

Maybe you should run for public office and use your revealed wisdom to save the world. I doubt you will get many votes.

Just too wild-the credit derivative department at AIG destroyed the giant insurance company-the USA taxpayer has to feed the gluttony of the corrupt-now AIG pays 450 million in retention bonuses to reward the "talent" http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2009/01/28/aig-set-to-pay-450-million-in-r...