DrumBeat: February 24, 2009

Japan may force utilities to buy surplus domestic solar power

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan plans to soon require electricity companies to buy surplus power generated by household solar panels at about twice the current price, a government official said Tuesday.

The scheme, to start as early as the fiscal year beginning in April, aims to promote solar power as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming, an industry ministry official said.

PG&E sets big solar program, will own generation

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co on Tuesday said it would develop up to 500 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic solar power projects over the next five years, up to half of which it will own directly.

The unit of PG&E Corp said it will pay $1.4 billion to own up to 250 MW of solar generation, its first direct investment in renewable generation in more than a decade. The program will add about 32 cents a month to the average residential utility bill, the company added.

A fierce thirst for oil

The United States produces 10 percent of the world's petroleum and consumes 24 percent. Surprisingly, only 16 percent of the imported crude oil and petroleum products came from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in 2006. Nearly half came from North, South and Central America.

A French Oil Giant's Gamble in Yemen

In a few months, Yemen will become the world's newest exporter of natural gas. Total, the French oil giant, has spent billions of dollars building this plant at the edge of the Gulf of Aden, which will export liquefied natural gas to Asia, Europe and the United States.

Nigeria optimistic on energy reform despite downturn

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's plans to transform its state oil firm NNPC into a profit-driven company able to raise capital independently are still on track despite the global economic downturn, senior energy officials said on Tuesday.

Africa's biggest energy producer wants to break up NNPC into around seven autonomous units able to operate like counterparts in Brazil, Malaysia or Saudi Arabia. The aim is partly to end funding shortfalls that have long hobbled the Nigerian industry.

Chevron’s Wheatstone, Iago to Supply Two LNG Plants

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the world’s fourth- largest energy company, said two offshore Australian natural-gas fields are large enough to justify building a pair of plants that will liquefy the fuel for export.

South Texas Oil adopts debt-restructuring plan

South Texas Oil Co. has reached two separate agreements to restructure $26.1 million of the company’s senior secured debt.

South Texas Oil Co. has agreed to sell the company’s interest in a Colorado oil field and drilling rig to The Longview Fund LP for $9.8 million. In exchange, The Longview Fund will cancel $9.8 million in debt owed to it by South Texas Oil.

Automakers go eyeball to eyeball in Washington

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Top executives from General Motors and Chrysler will meet with members of President Obama's auto team Thursday. To say the stakes couldn't be higher would be to understate the seriousness of the situation.

Steve LeVine: China Changes Calculus for Petro-Rulers

Much has been written on how low oil prices will help to reverse the fortunes of resource-strapped Big Oil – if not precisely jolly over their new penury, closed-armed petro-powers, it’s said, will now allow western oil companies at least to make a case why they should be permitted to conduct exploration and production. Atop the list of this ostensible new state of affairs have been Venezuela, Libya, and Russia.

But so far, the opposite appears to be happening — resource-rich countries are not opening up to new deals with western oil companies. One reason is that the analyses appear to have played down two factors – the depth of discomfort among the petro-powers with Big Oil; and the deep-pocketed willingness of China to step in.

Russian general says watching Arctic militarization

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it was watching the extent of militarization in the Arctic as global warming makes potentially valuable resources in the polar region more accessible and would plan its strategy accordingly.

Russia has already staked its claim to a majority of the Arctic waters, which it shares with four NATO countries and planted a Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole 18 months ago to reinforce its position.

Why America's Russia policy runs through Ireland

The cutoff of gas supplies to Ukraine by Russian gas giant Gazprom is not an acute crisis among embittered neighbours. Nor is Russia's heightened tensions with the United States a mere tiff in the history of their diplomatic relations. Rather, they more symptomatic of strained relations between a resurgent Russia and an energy-dependent West.

38 in line for Iraq second round

Iraq has received submissions from 38 international energy companies to qualify for a second round of bidding for contracts to work on some of its prized oil and gas fields, an Iraqi oil official said today.

Los Angeles wholesale gasoline jumps 5.5 cts:trade

HOUSTON (Reuters) - California gasoline jumped 5.5 cents on Tuesday in the Los Angeles wholesale market on news of a fire at BP Plc's Los Angeles area refinery, traders said.

Remarks of Frederick W. Smith Chairman, President, and CEO, FedEx Corporation Co-Chairman, Energy Security Leadership Council

The U.S. consumes 20 million barrels of petroleum a day. In 2008, that oil cost the nation nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars. Worse, about 60 percent of the oil we use is imported. Last year, we sent 350 billion dollars overseas to pay for oil. Our oil and gas imports, in fact, account for a larger portion of our trade deficit than any single country or regional trade partner.

The consequences of our dependence are real. There can be little doubt that a major part of the financial crisis that led to the current recession was the 2007 and 2008 run-up in oil prices. We saw an explosion in home ownership, with many purchases being made by people who had heretofore not qualified for mortgages. When the price of oil and the price of gasoline began to rise, and inflation on commodities began to take hold, and interest rates began to increase, you had a tremendous diminution in purchasing power and cash flow, which contributed to people having to walk away from their mortgages.

(Alan must have been sorely disappointed by this speech.)

Dems Cool On Climate Change As Economic Pressures Escalate

To environmentalists, there is no more urgent question than addressing global climate change. The new Democrat-led Congress has vowed to pass major cap-and-trade legislation in response.

Later this year. Maybe.

While President Obama said in Canada last week that climate change remains a priority, Congress appears in no hurry to act.

CERA - a peak oiler in the making?

CERA has over the years been extremely optimistic regarding future expansion of liquids capacity. They also have belittled and ridiculed those who disagreed, particularly with the notion that we will soon see a Peak Oil scenario. It is therefore with some surprise you read the various CERA reports in chronology and you realize that CERA is presently gliding away from previous strongly held beliefs and setting the stage for joining the Peak Oil community.

US Interior Sec to Review Oil Cos' Controversial Leases

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday that changes regarding oil companies' leases would likely be part of a comprehensive energy bill Congress is drafting.

Salazar, speaking to reporters, also said his department was considering how to recoup billions of dollars in revenues the government believes it's owed by oil companies because of controversial leases in the Gulf of Mexico that were signed in the late 1990s but omitted royalty price thresholds.

North American rig market driven by deepwater demand

After last year brought record oil prices, the offshore oil and gas industry could have been forgiven for an optimistic outlook. However, a worldwide economic crisis and oil prices slipping to less than US$50 per barrel have made 2009 a very different year.

While the market for semisubmersibles and drillships in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has remained fairly strong, the market for jackups has cratered. Facing jackup utilization of less than 60 percent, many drilling contractors are looking to move from the U.S. Gulf to Mexico to find work.

Total's Oil Sands Targets Slip Back 1-2 Years

Total SA envisions delays on its Canadian oil sands projects, pushing back the company's expectations for ramping up production, the company's CEO said Monday.

Total has estimated in the past that production will reach 250,000 barrels a day within a decade from its Surmont and Joslyn projects. While the French oil giant had hoped to reach that target by 2015 or 2016, that goal is no longer realistic, said Christophe de Margerie, Total's chief executive, in a media briefing in New York.

"If it is the next decade, it will be at the real end of the decade," he said. "I would not be surprised if the industry as a whole was delayed by one or two years.

De Margerie cited high production costs as an early source of delays, though those expenses are now dropping as work in the region has slackened with falling oil prices. But more-stringent environmental policies will likely force delays at new projects, he said.

"It's not just technical, it's technical and let's say, political," de Margerie said.

Nigeria needs to end fuel import dependence - min

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria needs to deregulate its energy sector to end its dependence on imported fuel, which is burdening government finances and stunting growth in the downstream sector, its junior oil minister said on Tuesday.

Africa's biggest oil producer, a country of 140 million people, is currently importing 85 percent of its petroleum product needs because of the shambolic state of its refineries.

BP reports fire at Carson refinery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BP Plc reported a fire late on Monday in a coke barn at its 265,000-barrel per day refinery in Carson, California, according to company filings with state environmental regulators.

One filing with the California Emergency Management Agency said "crews are responding to a refinery fire which is in the coke barn and tunnel, to extinguish the fire ..."

Peru Receives $1.13B in Energy Royalties, Production Up 43%

Peru received $1.13 billion in royalties from private energy production in 2008, up 43 percent from the previous year, the National Mining, Petroleum and Energy Society said Monday.

Ethiopian airlines reducing flights, marketing on CNN

As part of the contingency plan, bigger aircrafts are being also replaced by smaller ones requiring less fuel. Flights to countries like Cameroon are serviced by B757, as opposed to the previously used and bigger B767s. Ethiopian began to feel passenger and cargo contractions in November. But December was when the changes became noticeable to the award winning airline.

Kenya: Airlines could face fuel shortage due to supply hitche

Airlines face fuel shortage that might interfere with flight schedules after it emerged that the country risks running out of aviation fuel from this week.

Oil marketers are attributing the imminent jet fuel shortage to delay by marketer Gulf Energy in importing the commodity at a time when airlines have nearly consumed the strategic stocks contained in the Kenya Pipeline storage facilities.

The Dam Building Boom: Right Path to Clean Energy?

Led by China, the developing world is engaged in a flurry of dam construction, touting hydropower as renewable energy in an era of global warming. But critics point out that the human and environmental costs of dams remain high.

Paved With Renewable Mandates

And so the Senate may soon be leading us down the path trodden by California (the state with the $40 billion budget deficit) on its way to the California Electrical Shortage of 2000. Democrats have been historically feckless on energy, but apparently you ain't seen nothin' yet.

What is a renewable portfolio? Well, it's what we used to call an "unfunded mandate." The premise is that the government has perfect foresight on where our energy future is going and as good legislators it's their responsibility to hasten its arrival. Corporations and utilities, you see, are generally too greedy and stupid to perceive the future so they have to be prodded on their way. In their wisdom, the legislators will mandate that by 2000-whatever the state or nation shall derive XX percent of its electricity from "renewable sources." It's up to the utilities to do the job. California pioneered this strategy in the 1990s but 26 states have now followed suit, although four make it only voluntary.

Americans reach for small luxuries amid sour economy

Perkins says that if there's a silver lining in the downturn, it's the reminder of simpler — and perhaps happier — times.

"I have friends who make $100,000 a year and they're complaining that they can't do this, they can't do that anymore," she says. "We forgot that it's fun to play cards and dominos. Or how about just something simple like the joy of bubbles in a bath?"

A little bit here, a little bit there

Curtailing electricity and paper use are just two of the measures Medford campuses are employing to cut down on expenses. In spite of the penny-pinching, the district of about 12,000 pupils expects to cut 13.5 days from this school year to balance the budget, short about $7.5 million in state funding.

"It's starting to feel like the 1970s energy crisis when President Carter said to turn the lights out and wear sweaters," says Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long from his Monroe Street office, where he also worked by the sunlight from a window.

"Anything we do, even if it's small, accumulates and might even mean an extra day of school."

Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner

America's favorite food intellectual talks about ethanol, the carrot lobby, and secularizing food.

Federal officials debate placement of power grid

WASHINGTON – Democratic congressional leaders and the Obama administration indicated Monday that they will push for greater federal authority to locate electric transmission lines, saying the current power grid stands in the way of developing alternative energy sources.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will soon introduce legislation that gives federal regulators authority to override states on electric grid placement decisions as part of a package of energy proposals the Senate is expected to take up in the coming weeks.

Oil falls near $38, following stock markets down

VIENNA – Ten-year lows for U.S. stock indexes dragged oil prices to levels near $38 a barrel Tuesday as a loss of investor confidence in global economic recovery swept across markets.

Gas climbs nearly three cents in last two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. - The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices says the average national price of gasoline increased 2.6 cents in the past two weeks.

Oil industry analyst Trilby Lundberg says the average price of regular gasoline Friday was $1.94 a gallon. The price of mid-grade was $2.07 a gallon and the price of premium was $2.19 a gallon.

ANALYSIS - Sovereign wealth eyes move into commodities, oil

LONDON (Reuters) - Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) -- the investment arms of cash-rich nations such as China and Qatar -- are poised to raise their holdings of commodities and oil in a move that could have a huge impact on financial markets.

Sitting on up to $4 trillion in assets, much of it from selling oil and other raw materials, most SWFs have so far been conservative in their investment choices, holding dollars, treasuries and shares in large U.S. and European companies.

But they have been badly burned by the global financial and economic turmoil over the last 18 months and are now looking at new strategies to protect their interests, analysts say.

As these funds switch into commodities and oil those markets will be supported by the sheer weight of their purchases.

Reliance to partly shut 660,000bpd plant May-June-sources

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to partially shut its 660,000 barrels day (bpd) refinery for at least two weeks for routine maintenance in May-June, trade sources said on on Tuesday.

The firm is expected to shut a 325,000-bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) and a near 100,000-bpd diesel hydro desulphurisation unit for maintenance, a trade source familiar with the operations said.

Kuwaiti oil firm plans to add $300 mln investment in Indonesia

JAKARTA (Xinhua) -- The Kuwaiti oil and gas company KUPPEC, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, would invest another 200 to 300 million U.S. dollars in Indonesia within 2 to 3 years, a KUPPEC top official said here Tuesday.

Goldman Sachs Wins EU Approval for Constellation Energy Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the largest adviser on mergers and acquisitions, won European Union antitrust approval to buy overseas commodities-trading assets from U.S. power producer Constellation Energy Group Inc.

UK needs huge investment to secure power-study

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's power industry needs to invest at least 234 billion pounds ($341 billion) by 2025 to secure supply and meet its targets for carbon emissions and renewable energy, a study by Ernst & Young showed on Tuesday. Ernst & Young upgraded its estimates for the investment required for the UK energy sector from its previous study last June, which put the figure at 165 billion pounds by 2020.

Steve Jennings, partner and head of Ernst & Young's power and utilities team, told Reuters the big difference came from a jump in costs for renewable generation and the nuclear build programme, which was not included in its last study. 'The cost of renewable generation has increased significantly,' he said, adding the costs for offshore wind came up to over 2,600 pounds per kilowatt hour from 1,900 pounds because of component inflation and the weakening pound.

Gas prices fuel two-wheel frenzy

Fueled by painfully high gasoline prices, 2008 saw many consumers looking for new alternatives to big-bucks fill-ups at the pump, according to the editors of Consumer Reports. With rising interest in lower-priced two-wheelers that sip rather than guzzle gas and thousands of new riders on the road, CR tested small motor scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981.

Low oil prices seen stalling clean energy

Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore warned Monday against letting low oil prices lure consumers back into gas-guzzling cars, thereby stalling efforts to develop clean energy sources.

NDP race hearing some new ideas

While fossil fuels "will remain in the mix for some time", Pedersen argues we are now likely past peak oil (when demand outstrips supply), that we are enduring the massive price swings as a result, and perhaps now is the time to revisit farming practices. "There are people out there talking about the end of industrialized agriculture," he said, adding that if we are looking at electric cars, perhaps we should start looking at the viability of electric tractors.

Evolution, Global Warming, Doomsday and the Afterlife

Anyway, how can anyone get so traumatized by this latest series of existing and potential catastrophes, for in the 70's we muddled through the population bomb, limits to growth, potential nuclear winter, the Vietnam War, acid rain and two energy crises...and somehow recovered. In fact, nearly two decades after the Second Energy Crisis, crude oil in 1998 fell to the lowest on historical record ($15.52/barrel in 2008 dollars, even lower than the $18.29 of 1972), and there was nothing government, academics or politics did to orchestrate this drop. Further, another decade later the United States is now supremely unchallenged and oil is heading back to almost historic lows. Nuclear holocaust? Iran and North Korea will not precipitate a World War 3. Aside for this inconvenient economic collapse, things seem generally okay today.

Kunstler: The Abyss Stares Back

Among the questions that disturb the sleep of many casual observers is how come Mr. O doesn't get that the conventional process of economic growth -- based, as it was, on industrial expansion via revolving credit in a cheap-energy-resource era -- is over, and why does he keep invoking it at the podium? Dear Mr. President, you are presiding over an epochal contraction, not a pause in the growth epic. Your assignment is to manage that contraction in a way that does not lead to world war, civil disorder or both. Among other things, contraction means that all the activities of everyday life need to be downscaled including standards of living, ranges of commerce, and levels of governance.

"Consumerism" is dead. Revolving credit is dead -- at least at the scale that became normal the last thirty years. The wealth of several future generations has already been spent and there is no equity left there to re-finance.

Army Corps cracks down on flunking levees

WASHINGTON — More than 100 levees in 16 states flunked maintenance inspections in the last two years and are so neglected that they could fail to stem a major flood, records from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show.

The 114 levees received "unacceptable" maintenance ratings in corps inspections, meaning their deficiencies are so severe that it can be "reasonably foreseen" that they will not perform properly in a major flood, according to the records, which were requested by USA TODAY. As a result, the corps is advising state and local levee authorities that the levees no longer qualify for federal rehabilitation aid if damaged by floodwaters.

New study points to GM contamination of Mexican corn

PARIS (AFP) – Genes from genetically-engineered corn have been found in traditional crop strains in Mexico, according to a new study likely to reignite a bitter controversy over biotech maize.

NASA satellite mission to monitor carbon dioxide fails

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The launch of a satellite to monitor global carbon dioxide emissions flopped within minutes of liftoff from a California air base Tuesday after the module failed to separate from the rocket, NASA said.

"It appears that there were problems separating" and the satellite "did not achieve orbit," said NASA TV announcer George Diller.

Humans turning Indonesian rainforest into a tinderbox

Human activities have turned the world's third largest rainforest region into a tinderbox that climate change will ignite. So concludes a new study of fire in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.

Monbiot - China's growth is no figleaf for the real source of CO2 emissions: the UK

A new paper in Geophysical Research Letters shows that half the recent growth in emissions, and one-third of China's total carbon pollution, should, in fairness belong to other countries, as they have been produced while manufacturing goods for export. By closing down our manufacturing industries and moving production to China, we have dumped our emissions in another country.

'There will be blood'
The global crisis is far from over, has only just begun, and Canada is no exception, Mr. Ferguson said in an interview before delivering a presentation to public-policy think tank, Canada 2020.

Policy makers and forecasters who see a recovery next year are probably lying to boost public confidence, he said. And the crisis will eventually provoke political conflict, albeit not on the scale of a world war, but violent all the same.


Most of us didn’t get the opportunity to learn any of this in high school, or to connect all the dots if we did study it, so it comes as a bit of a shock to most when they realize the implications of the principles and the facts. But the principles are founded on good biology, good geology and good economics. The facts are available if any choose to peruse them.

“It will be in no one’s best interest to factually report the reality of the decline of fossil fuels once it begins in earnest.”

Perry Arnett

Some interesting stuff there. Like this:

The line is very clear from China. They've consistently made their position clear. They want the status quo. They do not want this thing to break down. They were kind of appalled when Geithner said the ‘m' word. And they took full advantage of Hillary Clinton's visit to smooth ruffled feathers and restate their commitment. It's a very good bilateral relation. That bilateral will is important here. The Chinese believe in Chimerica maybe even more than Americans do.

“They have nowhere else to go. They have no other strategy that they can adopt in time to cushion the blow. Their exports are contracting at a terrifying speed. They want at all costs to avoid any kind of big shift in policy. They want to keep, as far as possible, the U.S. importing Chinese goods. They want to keep currencies stable. They are still buying dollars … At least officially, Chimerica is intact. But I stress ‘officially' because there's considerable public disquiet.”

Also found the part about property ownership being a peculiarly Anglo/American obsession intriguing. I hadn't realized that the idea that everyone should own their home dated from only the 1930s. (Roughly the beginning of the Age of Oil, perhaps coincidentally.)

Big piece on China on Bloomberg today

Jailed Billionaires Show New Face of China as Markets Unravel

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- If China’s richest man knew he was about to become the most prominent casualty of the country’s love-hate relationship with capitalism, he didn’t show it this past August.

Huang Guangyu, a peasant’s son who became a billionaire by building Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. from scratch, outlined plans for continued expansion of the 800-store appliance chain.

...As of Feb. 23, Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong had plunged more than 60 percent from their peak in October 2007 compared with a 50 percent fall in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Some of the companies that have crashed the hardest are those built by billionaire highfliers such as Huang, whose 34 percent stake in Gome is now worth less than one fourth of the $2.8 billion it was valued at on Sept. 1.

Even in the good times, China’s new rich thrived only at the whim of an autocratic and still nominally communist regime. Now, collapsing global demand for its exports has plunged the world’s fastest-growing major economy into crisis, causing thousands of factory closings.

More than 20 million workers have lost their jobs, the government disclosed in February. A record 6 million students will leave universities this year unable to walk straight into the high-paying jobs that their predecessors took for granted. Strikes and mass protests occur daily.

...The outlook for Huang himself is bleaker. “The chances of Huang Guangyu coming out of captivity are pretty small,” Xiaokang/Caizhi, the party central committee magazine, wrote in its January issue. As the new rich become the newly poor in China’s seesawing economy, the one thing that seems constant is the power of the state.

Too bad we don't jail billionaires for "share manipulation."

With hedge funds, don't we make a trillion-dollar industry out of just that?

I can hear the complaints now...'Class Warfare!'...'Wealth Envy!'
I liked the story yesterday about real class warfare from the 16th century or so.

Hello Neon9,

It looks like that is exactly what is happening soon in Guadeloupe:

Watch the video if you can

The US is ripe for class warefare; as I keep maintaining, the little guys pays the lion's share of the taxes here in the Empire.

If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe the Christian Science Monitor on this:


But but the mantra says otherwise.

Welcome back Fleam.
One of those who came back from the mists.Like me.


Passive income from dividends or long term capital gains was taxed at a lower rate than interest income, rental income, business income, or earned income. There were also tax breaks for investing in some municiple bonds in order to encourage buying bonds for building schools, local roads, bridges, etc. During the Great Depression there were few defaults on these bonds. Ross Perot bought tax free bonds and had millions in tax free income, the towns got their building projects financed at low interest rates. The Federal system benefited from the infrastructure. Anyone may invest in muni-bonds including the secretary who had 30% of her income taxed. Buying them might lower her tax burden.

I often thought of you as TOD's author of 'Notes from the underground'

Welcome back

Yet just as jobs can be offshored, so can fortunes. Increases tax rates and the ultra rich will sail to foreign shores. Get rid of income tax altogether and just do sales.

By investing in foreign equities one might have a chance to diversify one's portfolio and bring healthy returns to one's hometown; if one can find a healthy economy to invest in. I read that the govt. was going after tax cheats with Swiss bank accounts. Some foreign banks might not fare well in the current liquidity crisis.

and some of the banks recieving bailouts operate subsidiaries catering to these very tax cheats. i think i saw that on cbs.

hoping we will see a lot more of this corruption exposed.

I hadn't realized that the idea that everyone should own their home dated from only the 1930s. (Roughly the beginning of the Age of Oil, perhaps coincidentally.)

Actually, I believe the idea of broad home ownership originated at the time of the "streetcar suburb." The streetcar lines went out to what were then the city limits and developers purchased cheap land out in the boonies and promoted home ownership. There is an interesting symbiotic relationship here as the owners of the streetcar lines, the property developers, and the nascent homeowner all benefited.

The real growth in the suburbs came post WWII with the building of Levittown on Long Island. AFAIK this was the first "automobile suburb." The same dynamics applied (cheap transport to cheap land and inexpensive housing).

Also with regard to your Sovereign Fund article upthread. China appears to posed to undertake two intiatives: 1) Invest their savings in hard assets either FF or agricultural resources; 2) Invest in T-bills to help rebuild and prolong Chimerica.

Don't forget the home ownership 'gives a person a stake' in 'the game'. The more skin one has in 'the game' - the less likely one is to complain or take any effort to organize or oppose 'the game'.

Tax law also supports home ownership with the exemption for property tax being one of the ways such is favored.

If you've not read it yet, you owe it to yourself to read The City as a Growth Machine: Toward a Political Economy of Place. Written over 30 years ago, but ever as relevant.

Not familiar with that one. Thank you. (will read later this week - gotta go teach today)

For the first couple of centuries of US history, if you wanted to own your own home, unless you were lucky enough to be the eldest (surviving) son and inherited one from your family, the main way you went about it was to travel out into the frontier and homestead. Free land, and free housing - free, that is, if you don't count your own hard work. Sweat equity. That wasn't just AN option back then, it was just about the ONLY option for most people.

For those who elected to stay in the cities and work in the factories, there was rental housing.

...travel out into the frontier and homestead. Free land, and free housing -

Whitey steals the land from the redman, for FREE !!

My sister (whose undergrad degree is in economics) once told me that a lot of the upheaval in the early part of the 20th century was due to the end of homesteading, which was a sort of pressure relief valve for the nation. While you could still homestead in some areas as recently as the 1980s, in practice, all the arable land was taken by about 1900. So you had people homesteading in marginal lands, which led to the Dust Bowl, and also the rise of labor unions, as people who could no longer homestead turned to factory work.

Out West you can still do a mining claim, where if you mine the land and "develop" it, after a certain amount of time it's yours.

So, you go and pan out a few flakes of gold, build a cabin, etc and there you are.

Only problem is, places where you can still do that tend to be remote, you *do* have to produce some precious metal (or I think at least copper) and of course you can't support yourself that way generally, so it's a long drive to/from town. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter, arid all the time, yuk.

The "safety valve" came into play in cyclical downturns. Urban unemployment (factory and otherwise) was high during these events, but radicalism was lower than in European counties. Frederick Jackson Turner argued that the low-skilled unemployed took to the countryside rather than sit around or agitate in the cities. It would be inaccurate to state that those who could not homestead in later periods "turned to factory work" as there was no factory work to be had.

Recent census analysis supports Turner's thesis (pdf warning):
Migration to the Frontier in Mid-Nineteenth Century America: A Re-Examination of Turner’s “Safety Valve”

Yes I think the idea of ownership goes back far further than the 30s, it goes right back to the founding of the country, the periods of homesteading, etc. And the suburbs date back to the teens and 20s, when the streetcar was big. The 1920s were a period of real estate speculation as bad as our own recent times, if not worse. There was a real estate bubble in Los Angeles around the early 1900s that was amazing, there's some hilarious stuff about it on the net. Suburbs were pushed by no less than Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison, who bought a McMansion (yep they had 'em then) in Florida to push sales of a development down there.

There are properties down in Florida that sold for more in 1920s dollars, than they could have ever brought in 2004-2005, NOT adjusted for inflation.

Yes I think the idea of ownership goes back far further than the 30s, it goes right back to the founding of the country, the periods of homesteading, etc.

I dunno. Remember the original Constitution allowed only land-owning men to vote. There was a lot of variation by region, and also a lot of disagreement among historians, but the consensus is maybe half of white men qualified. Rich white men were expected to own property, but I'm not sure the same was expected for the poor.

Voting Rights were set by the Several States, not the 1787 Constitution. Please consult The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, by Alexander Keyssar.

And I think it would be a good idea, in the context of this discussion, to distinguish between the ownership of land and "home ownership"

What about going back further? The Oklahoma land rush? Go west young man? America has always been about owning your own castle.

Property ownership has only been an obsession in the US for a while, but property consistency has been a human obsession for a long time - what ownership does for us is ensure a reasonably stabile domicile, near people we love, and an economic return from that stability. Homeownership has been presented as the one true way to get this - and policy has supported this. The urge represented by homeownership is old - but it used to be fulfillable in other ways, and could be again.


I wonder. I'm sure that's true for some people, but to me, Homo sapiens seems like a species that seeks novelty at least as much as stability. As hunter-gatherers, we expanded at remarkable speed. We tend to leave home as adolescents, no matter how comfortable mom and dad make it. Given our choice, we often settle far from our families. Perhaps our obsession with travel is a modern reflection of our peripatetic past.

People in USA seek novelty more frequently than Europeans. So it could be, that the reason for what you observe is pretty recent.

But given the omnipresent obsession with travel in Europe, maybe you're right. Europeans look down on US people, because only 15 percent of them actually have passports.

I have to admit, if I were born in USA, would I go anywhere? I don't like to travel much, so maybe I wouldn't posses a passport either.

Well, I imagine it is a little easier for Europeans to travel to another country when there are many countries packed into the European land area. Our easy choices on this side of the pond are: Canada, which is great for people who love nature, which unfortunately excludes many Americans, and Mexico, which many people equate with beach resorts and not with driving through the border war/drug zones and/or touring over-crowded, polluted Mexico City. Of course Eurpoeans travel to South America, Asia, and Australia/ New Zealand as well as to neighboring European countries...

I say the same about how some Europeans look down upon Americans due to our low numbers of people who speak languages other than English: The motivation to learn other languages is much greater when your country is surrounded or at least proximate to many other countries whose citizens speak languages other than your own. The U.S is vast and linguistically homogeneous...Canadians speak English (even the Quebecois), and We are adopting a certain amount of 'Spanglish' on each side of our southern border with Mexico. Add to that that English became the closest thing to a global language due to out-sized cultural and technological influences...

Just say'n

That 15% number is just a European urban legend. According to the State Dept., about 30% of Americans have passports.

Expect that number to be going down. International vacations will becoming less and less common. Except for Canada, I guess.

People are different. Some people move far away from home... others stick around their old neighborhoods.

Chinese goods,

If I pick up something I am looking for and I see the Made In China tag I promptly return it to the shelf. I might reconsider if its something I 'desperately' need and I cannot find it made somewhere else. I will buy Taiwan, Europe, S. America and others but I will NOT buy Chinese.

Why? They are communist. Period. I don't believe in their control of the population. Their beatings of the Falun Gong and many other reasons and not the least that I know men who died fighting them. I had squadron mates who died as we fought the Cold War against Communism.

My money and my choice.

I made a special trip to DC to speak to my congressman about the upcoming vote on closer trading ties to the Chinese,,back a bit before 9/11. He demurred and I replied that I would never vote for him again if he was in favor and do all I possibly could to tell others the same.

They didn't listen. This was during the Bush adminstration.

Now an example if you will. Harley Davidson nows sells mostly cheap chinese junk. No more 'Made in USA' labels. I own a HD made in the USA and its old enough to have been. But I was needing a pair of motorcycle boots. I tried those on at the HD dealer. The left boot fit and right didn't. Reordered and the same thing again. They wanted a bit over $150 for the pair.

I went to a Red Wing store and brought an excellent pair and far higher quality than the HD Chinese ones.

RedWing is made in Red Wing, Minnesota IIRC..and is a union shop.
So why is it that I can buy better and cheaper in a union made American product than the Chinese made?

I thing something is amiss here. Don't know what but that is part of why I by non-chinese. I support America. I don't wish to support the regime of the Communists.

Airdale--I also buy most of my stuff at yard sales and auctions. Most is made in the USA. If China I lay it down and don't bid or buy.

PS.If more of us did this perhaps our economy might not be a piece of garbage. Perhaps we might still have an industrial base. Someone played dirty.

Some items however, you'll be hard pressed to find anything that is made in the US. If you're lucky, it's made in Taiwan, Japan, or Mexico, such as electronics. I'm going to have to try out Red Wing boots, as the latest crop of boots I've been buying have disappointed me, and not lasted like my old pair of Wolverines (even though my new ones are Wolverines as well.)

By default I've found anything manufactured in a location besides China will likely be of a higher quality than the product made in China.

There are some things, however, that I will NOT buy an "American" vehicle under any circumstance. Cars, for instance. Sure, my Honda was built in the US, and it actually contains more US made parts than today's GM vehicles. I should know, I worked in the GM towers for a few years. I will admit that I might have a slight fetish for Japanese culture, but their work ethic shows when it comes to engineering and construction of vehicles.

I've owned Fords in the past, and would consider a Ford in the future when and if ever (a big IF) I'm in the market for a new car. I would never, ever consider buying any GM or Chrysler product. I am hard pressed to remember any of their products I've tried (and I've rented cars a lot over the years) that favorably impressed me.

I presently own a made-in-Canada (which is OK, we had a common market for automobiles going way back) Honda and a Subaru (which I need for AWD becasue I live in the mountains, and is the only non-SUV option for that). The Honda is 18 years old and still going strong, the Subaru is 14 years old and is also OK. Since we only put on about 5K miles per year on the two cars combined, we'll be holding on to them for quite a few more years, so that doesn't offer much hope for Ford, I'm afraid.

I am with you 100% on this.
I needed a new toaster. Could not find a new toaster that was not made in China. So I bought a used British made commercial toaster on EBAY - And am still using it many years later and expect it will outlast me.
Bought a new Laptop from Dell instead of Toshiba thinking I would be getting a Made in USA product. You guessed it. Made in China. No more Dell for me. At least Toshiba was probably? made in Japan.
I have also discovered that many of the cotton products (like sheets) coming from overseas have trash mixed in with the cotton that makes it scratchy and I suspect that they also have chemicals in it that don't wash out very easy as since I bought my last cotton sheets I had lots of allergy problems at night.
I now sleep on 100% polyester fleece sheets that are made in the USA and no longer have the allergy problems - And they are much more comfortable than the scratchy cotton flannel sheets from overseas.
Planning on going up to the Faribault Woolen Mills in Faribault MN this summer to get new no scratch merino wool blankets for the beds before next winter. More made in the USA stuff.
Its out there, you just have to look a little harder.
PS I have 3 pairs of Red Wing (made in USA) boots. 2 regular and 1 insulated for outdoor work in winter.

When I bought my "new" toaster, I opted for a 1930's, no-nonsense, Dodge Dart with vinyl bench seats, Reed & Cameron:

My "old" toaster, 1920's Hotpoint T12, is my emergency backup:


When my Wide Glide parts came in from Taiwan I about pissed my pants. I have a Kawasaki Concours now. I'm not anti-China, after all we seem to be killing as many people here as possible with Peanut Butter, but I am anti-faux-American.

The motorcycle is for sale. My next made in America bike is a tricycle. http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/ChariotTricycle.html

They're custom building one with a disabled child seat so that I can finally go riding with my daughter. No extra charge. There are some things I still like about this country despite all the current non-sense.

As a teenager,freshman, we drove Cushman motor scooters, no license, no insurance, and went where we pleased.Later working I drove a older HD one lunger. No license, no insurance, no speed limits in Mo. back then. Life was simple.

Next as a married dude I got a Honda Trail90,,went up ozark mtns with ease. Loved that little bike. Then to 2 cyl rice burners. Finally up to Honda CB 750..then finally to Yamaha Viragos. Owned three over time.

At last I went to a HD Lowrider and never looked back again. Still got it and then I went far off to pick up a 70s era Trail90 once more. Cost more used than new. Between all this was 3 wheel Big Red by Honda.

Now the HD I have is strickly Made In USA. I love that really great chrome job on them and the paint is first class.I do all my own mech work and have all three shop manuals.

Its time almost to pull the Lowrider out of the barn and dust off my leathers. Will be good to be back on the road with something that might turn the occasional chicks head. I will leave the cores in the Straight Thru's though.Else I get rocks thrown at me.

In my barn are 3 VW Bugs circa 1972. Waiting for warm weather, the torch and some serious work then back to when I got 32+ mpg with them.

I love to work on iron. Teenage years was building hotrods and drag racing.

My real love though was alwasys good horseflesh. Now that people are crying for someone to adopt their horse/s I might have to dust off my real saddle.

A trike. Good choice. See lots of them more and more.



It is still possible to buy more made in USA stuff than some might suppose, but it takes some effort. I have found that in many cases I have to search and buy over the internet; the stores - especially the big chain stores - just don't carry made in USA stuff.

I just bought a pair of Pointer blue jeans, made in USA. Perfectly good, as good as or better than any of the foreign junk sold in the stores. I probably could have gotten some foreign-junk jeans for a few dollars less, but the price I paid for these was not unreasonable. Glad to find out about them, I will be doing business with them again as I usually need to buy about one new pair of jeans per year as the old ones wear out.

There are some great USA brands still out there. TPTB are apparently going to be content to let foreign trade bleed our country white; they are getting theirs, and don't care about ordinary people like us. It will be up to us to take matters into our own hands and implement our own trade policy, favoring USA brands and shunning overseas junk.

It's all confusing to me... last week it was no expense to stimulate the economy... yesterday The President said that spending will have to be cut back for the new budget. I'm getting sea-sick with the sudden reversal of course.

Then yesterday I heard the econo-pundits say that the housing rescue and stimulus packages weren't thought out as well as they should have been... it scares me that these pundits made sense to me.

it scares me that these pundits made sense to me.

LOL...now that might turn out to be the quote of the day.

Maybe somebody hacked their teleprompter.

Like so?


While much of south Orange County worried about heavy rains over the weekend, a traffic sign was hacked into and changed to warn passing motorists of a zombie attack.

..last week it was no expense to stimulate the economy... yesterday The President said that spending will have to be cut back..

Speaking out both sides of his mouth: what politicians do best.

Having grown up in Illinois I suppose that I once held Lincoln in pretty high esteem. Lately I've been reading Howard Zinn's "People's History of the US" in the evenings, before I fall asleep. I just read how Lincoln delivered a strongly anti-slavery campaign speech in Chicago, then just a few days later said that he had no intention of freeing the slaves if elected, in a speech in southern Illinois. Obama is just emulating the example of "honest Abe," by saying whatever he thinks will go over best with any particular audience.

And then Abe abolished slavery. Sometimes the means justifies the ends.

And then Abe abolished slavery. Sometimes the means justifies the ends.

Let's see if I remember this correctly. Abe emancipated the slaves ONLY in the south, not anywhere else.

Correct. The Emancipation only freed slaves in occupied Confederate territory, not in Union occupied Confederate territory, or elsewhere in the Union/Empire.

Hmmm...seeing that the Confederacy was where most of the slaves were...

And seeing how slavery died out rapidly after the E.P. (not racism or discrimination, mind you, but slavery)

There seems to be some hair-splitting revisionism here.

The Emancipation Proclimation did what I described. The immediate and longer term effects are contested, with my studies revealing a wide variety of situations, from total freedom, to continued slavery. It's also obligatory to note that Blacks and Indians owned other Blacks and Indians. That the EP was a political expedient made under the Civil War's duress is agreed upon by most historians, myself included. What Lincoln would have accomplished during Reconstruction is of course unknown; it's very possible he would have been swayed to serve a third term (another of history's What Ifs?), and it's also possible he might have failed when one really gives the scope of Reconstruction some thought. Johnson failed, as did his enemies the Radical Republicans. The result was a national failure we have yet to make correct.

As for the Civil War, I've always been intrigued by the question: What if the South didn't fire a shot? IMO, there's a constitutional right to secession, and the USSC of that day would have agreed, just as they justified Dred Scott. Lincoln's goal was to maintain the territorial integrity of the US Empire; he succedded, and the EP was a tool he used to attain his goal.

Obama let us know a balanced budget is important to him after getting almost a trillion dollar deficit budget passed. An audit of his statements shows a lack of accountability. I recall Bush told us he was planning to reduce the deficit by the end of his term. His last year proved good intentions are not good enough.

A furniture store raised prices 100% to have a 50% off sale.

bush may have told us he planned to reduce the deficit for his 2nd term, but bush inherited a deficit(debt) that increased by $21 billion in clinton's last full fy. bush and the republican controlled congress waited to passed an increase in the debt until just after the '04 election and the debt increased by that same $21 billion in one day (11-23-04). a $21 billion debt increase is just an average day in the current fy.

to summarize: obama /=(not equal to) bush.

There is a difference in philosophy about wasteful spending between Dems and the GOP. The Dems see waste mostly as an issue of excess defense spending and see social and infrastructure spending as investments. For the GOP there never has been a single penny of waste in the Pentagon budget while social spending is rife with cheaters and infrastructure is best left to the local and state governments. Somehow planeloads of cash (possibly several billion dollars) shipped to Bagdad that nobody can account for wasn't waste while an unemployed family getting a few extra bucks in food stamps is wasteful.

For the GOP there never has been a single penny of waste in the Pentagon budget

Thats not quite true, as we saw from John McCain yesterday. If it is for an upgrade to the presidential helicopter for a democratic president, they are against it!

The latest official line is less for domestic consumption than it is for the Chinese and other big creditors. Reassure them that we have a plan in place to prevent the federal deficits from just expanding ad infinitum.

I very much enjoyed Ferguson's video series on economic history. There were some wonderful insights and lots of great snapshots from the past.

However, I think it is important to realize where Ferguson is coming from. He is a dyed-in-the-wool neoclassical economist, and his viewpoints are colored by a neo-liberal, Washington Consensus indoctrination. For instance, take this statement from his interview:

They were kind of appalled when Geithner said the ‘m' word. And they took full advantage of Hillary Clinton's visit to smooth ruffled feathers and restate their commitment. It's a very good bilateral relation. That bilateral will is important here. The Chinese believe in Chimerica maybe even more than Americans do.

I'm sure they do. This relationship, after all, might not be all as good for the United States as he cracks it up to be.

For a countervailing viewpoint, I recommend this post by Nate Hagens:

Now comes the problem. The IMF preaches free trade based on comparative advantage, and has done so for a long time. More recently the IMF has started preaching the gospel of globalization, which, in addition to free trade, means free capital mobility internationally—exactly what comparative advantage forbids! When confronted with this contradiction the IMF waves its hands, suggests that you might be a xenophobe, and changes the subject.

The IMF-WB-WTO ( Washington Consensus) contradict themselves in service to the interests of transnational corporations. International capital mobility, coupled with free trade, allows corporations to escape from national regulation in the public interest, playing one nation off against another. Since there is no global government they are in effect uncontrolled. The nearest thing we have to a global government (IMF-WB-WTO) has shown no interest in regulating transnational capital for the common good.


There's lots more. Even though Nate's post is a post from the past, it's well worth reading.

contradict themselves in service to the interests of transnational corporations.

DS: have not yet had a chance to go back and read Nate's post but these folks are not in service of transnational corporations but in service of themselves. I do not have the citation available but there is research showing that these folks are essentially stateless. They care little for any people, or any nation, they act in service of their own welfare. They enjoy a "revolving door" moving from employment in stateless world of the transnational to service in some governmental capacity, back to the world of the stateless transnational.

It is precisely because these folks have no concern for people, or nations, that we have the global mess we are entering. These people were not serving the interests of the American people, they were serving their own ambitions, their own aspirations, their own greed.

There have been comments on TOD regarding Obama's team being composed of precisely the people who created the grounds for financial collapse in the first place. This is another example of the same issue.

For in depth analysis see Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism


The reader reviews give a good sense of the book.


I haven't read that book but don't at all disagree with his conclusions. Democracy in the United States has suffered greatly at the hands of crony capitalism.

I finished reading Ferguson's interview and just want to point out a couple of other quotes that indicate his neoclassical predilection:

The truth about the crisis is that it is in large measure psychological. We're not dealing here with mathematics.

--Niall Ferguson

Yves Smith calls this "Tinker Bell" economics--just click your heels and "make a wish". Resource limitations have nothing to do with the financial crisis. Contrast this to comments by Herman Daly from the Nate Hagens post:

The neoclassical “steady state” (proportional growth of capital stock and population) takes tastes and technology as given and adapts by growth in biophysical dimensions, since it considers wants as unlimited, and technology as powerful enough to make the world effectively infinite. At a more profound level the classical view is that man is a creature who must ultimately adapt to the limits (finitude, entropy, ecological interdependence) of the Creation of which he is a part. The neoclassical view is that man, the creator, will surpass all limits and remake Creation to suit his subjective individualistic preferences, which are considered the root of all value. In the end economics is religion.


Here's another one:

“In the Ascent of Money, I argue that you can't really have a bubble if you don't have a monetary authority that has been excessively generous. From John Law in 1719 to Alan Greenspan in the late 90s, there's always a banker, there's always a central banker making credit too readily available. The second thing is, though, that regulation may not prevent that.”

--Niall Ferguson

Again, this is straight out of the neoclassical playbook--the bubble was caused by too generous monetary policy and regulation might not have prevented it.

Ferguson, like most adherents to the Austrian school, plays fast and free with the facts. For the truth is that, after a period of monetary easing following 9/11 attacks, Greenspan began decreasing the monetary base in 2003. He began increasing interest rates in 2005. But the money supply kept right on growing:


Where did all that money come from? It came from China and other foreign countries. Here's how it left the United States:


And here's how it came back:


As can be seen, it didn't come back as treasuries, it didn't come back as agency bonds (Fannie and Freddie), it came back as private bank bonds (can we say CDO or MBS?).

Of course to neoclassicists with their laissez faire, free-trade and free-capital-flow fundamentalisms, these charts offer direct refutation of their theories.

Thanks, DownSouth. Good comments.

The official barometer of fear in the markets is the VIX. It shot to unprecedented levels last year but has been quieting down this year. It seems to be at a critical technical turn point where we will go back to last year levels or continue an orderly trek back to normal:

Today is going to be an interesting on one on Wall Street. Yesterday's close was just a hair over or under the 11-year lows (depending on which exchange you look at, and whether you look at intra-day lows or closing lows). Yesterday Obama and crew made speeches and had meetings. Last night the rest of the world dropped a percent or two, and not much corp news came out, but most that did was negative.

Today the futures are up a bit. Will the psychological barrier of an 11-year low hold? Will the promise of gov't action -- any action -- spark another rally off this point? Will the rally fizzle and new lows be set? Will the market waffle until the gov't decides what to do about Citi, AIG, and BoA?

The futures are up, but I have a hard time seeing any significant rally based on what's in the news right now.

My guess: we'll get a dead-cat bounce today.

Normally I'd say that too, esp since the S&P didn't break the Nov intraday low. But dead-cats don't seem to bounce very well of late.

My wife bought back into ultra-shorts a couple of days ago, so you're probably right. :(

Edit: CPI and home-price index come out today, plus Bernanke will be speaking. Those will likely determine cat-bouncing abilities.

This is some what related..although not really. I just wanted to share:

I actually almost hurt my neck I did such a quick double take when I saw that Citi lowered their estimate for GM from $3 per share to 50 cents per share. Kettle, black, but still. Wow.

Not that they are wrong about GM. It's just fascinating to see this all implode the way it is. Sometimes I wish I didn't know as much as I do.

Well...this is the second day in a row that the dead cat bounce didn't last past lunch time.

With a new low on Case-Shiller and a much lower new low on CPI, plus the $60B AIG debacle, and poor earnings on other fronts, I'm amazed it's still up at all!

Probably some bargain hunters and short profit-takers are sorting things out, and then it'll drop?

I can't see Bernanke helping the situation any.

It bounced up again just as Bernanke started speaking. Whether it lasts is another question.

I give up...This thing is swinging faster that the bobble heads can make up a reason. I guess no unexpected news is good enough for a rally these days.

"Whether it lasts is another question."

Sounds like THE Perennial question..

Just give it time....we'll see how it looks at the close.

Edit: Gold is bouncing around too. Was up a percent or so, then down 3. Did somebody just dump a massive amount on the market, or is there a move to other equities?

My guess: we'll get a dead-cat bounce today.

Maybe it's a Shrodingers dead cat, fifty percent change it will fall through the floor, and fifty percent chance it will bounce. And not only we won't know which happened until we open the box (observe it), but the cat won't know either!

And not only we won't know which happened until we open the box (observe it), but the cat won't know either!

Which is precisely why I don't follow the market numbers on a daily basis ;-)

Yahoo seems to think this is the reason for the bounce:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has steadied Wall Street by telling Congress the recession might end this year. In his semiannual report to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke predicted the economy is likely to keep contracting in the first six months of 2009. But he also said "there is a reasonable prospect" the recession will end this year. He warns that a recovery will require getting credit and financial markets to operate normally.

Basically he said, "It's not ending until next year, soonest", while making it sound like it'll turn around mid-year. But of course he really doesn't know.

But of course he really doesn't know.

Nobody knows what the future will be ... so called 'experts' such as Bernanke definitely (and have already proved with a very, very, high degree of certainty!!) don't know ... there is always a reason for everything ... but mostly it's just 'noise', unkown cause ... the 'noise' is much bigger than most people realise.

To enhance your future life decisions take the long view of the data (at least a year), ignore the noise ... the picture actually becomes much more clear! As an example, get your computer to draw a smoothing line through EIA Excel oil data ... especially the 'net export' stuff.

Recession implies peak oil or ... it's equivalent ... peak oil implies recession ... you can't tell them apart, if you have one you must have the other ... the data says we have had peak oil for close on 5 years now, and is now in decline ... add in banking/credit collapse, commodities collapse, stock market collapse, housing deflation, peak phosporus, unchecked exponential population growth, massively unsustainable food production systems, undemocratic democracies ...

You can know with a high degree of probabilty many things that can't be in the future ... even in the next year or so ... what is left has a high probabilty of actually happening ... think! ... plan accordingly ... be flexible.

Maybe it's a Shrodingers dead cat, fifty percent change it will fall through the floor, and fifty percent chance it will bounce.

That dead cat is more lively (DOW now up 245 points) than a Super Ball(TM).

Looks like Leanan wins the market seer award for today!

JP Morgan cut its dividend last week and the stock is up 15%. Crazy. Lets buy more of what delivers less!! What was that line about the market remaining irrational longer than the investor can stay solvent?

Some of these banks were left for dead, but they are not zombies.

CNBC hairdos are all, "Is this the turn? Was yesterday the bottom?"

My guess: no.

The dead cat is in the air after the bounce right now. Methinks the cat turns into lead mid-air and crashes through the floor. I'm expecting Dow 6000 or so before the end of April.

Besides, Leanan, more important stuff starts tomorrow...spring training baseball games! I'm gonna work hard to enjoy this season because it may well end up being the last "normal" one.

Stoneleigh predicted that the market could recover - all the way to the levels of before the crash last fall. People will think the stiumulus is working and the recession is ending. Then it will crash to new lows and keep going down.

I'm gonna work hard to enjoy this season because it may well end up being the last "normal" one.

That thought has crossed my mind as well. The recession is already affecting sports, including baseball. This year could be a kind of sweet spot. They're nervous enough to be extra nice to fans, but not yet panicked enough to start cutting back on the experience.

Some banks remained profitable through this crisis. The reaally bad banks are what is going to cost us as the Feds want to help the big bad banks. What happens if a big bad bank grows bigger? What is the hazard in giving bonuses for losing the largest sums of money by deceptive and unsound management practice?

According to Bernanke, the more money they lose, the more money they will get from the guv. The Stress tests are to anticipate how much money they need. If you actually wanted to strengthen the USA banking sector and you were free from influence to do so, you would address the entire banking sector equally, so that the sound managers of capital succeed and attract more capital. Obama and Bernanke are doing the opposite.

Hope springs eternal, but reality always bats last.

Hello TODers,

It would be interesting to know the true details of this event where Russian gunboats fired lots of cannon shells upon a Chinese freighter:


Russia defends sinking cargo ship

Years ago Korean Airliner Flight 007 was shot down by the Russians after it accidentaly entered Soviet airspace. There was no warning given in advance. A Congressman critical of brutal Soviet policies was aboard the plane and perished with all the others onboard. Eventually the Russian Soviets closed their Gulag prison labor camps, reformed the country, and were moved off human rights watch lists that listed the worse offenders. Some Islamic and Communist nations remained on human rights watchlists.

Years ago the Soviet Union talked about how there were 2 Americas - one black the other white - an pointed out the segration in America.

Eventually the United States worked to address this complaint.

Yep we added to those, two Americas, one rich and one poor.

One of the most interesting outcomes of the Flight 007 incident was Reagan's decision to open up GPS for use by the general public.

Actually, the Russians repeatedly attempted to contact the airliner, but got no response. Since its flight course was taking it right over a Russian missile base, they shot it down, over Russian waters. If you were flying commercial airliners near the Russian coast during the Cold War, you did NOT "accidentally" change course and fly over a military target. They were probably testing for the Russians' response, to see what they would do, but didn't expect such a strong response. Testing air defenses of another country was often done by such maneuvers, although military planes were usually used. The Russians did it,too, but we weren't as paranoid about it as they were.

First I have to tell you that I am equally critical of the US and USSR. And my memory might be a bit rusty ...

... but your suggestion is laughable. Why use a commercial plane ? The military played tit for tat on both sides.


What is the ship Captain's excuse for running for 15 hours? Looks like some botched smuggling attempt. I wonder what was so precious that he resorted to this.

Have you ever posted anything on TOD that was not a direct defense of Russia?

He Has. You can click on his name to read all his posts to find out for yourself.

Sorry, I didn't know that feature had been fixed. It was broken for months.

Anyway, I checked his last 25 posts: 21 defenses of Russia, 1 US bashing, 1 west bashing and two technical criticisms of scientific papers.

Pretty seriously Johhny One-Note.

Obsess much?

The Kuwaiti oil and gas company KUPPEC, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, would invest another 200 to 300 million U.S. dollars in Indonesia within 2 to 3 years, a KUPPEC top official said here Tuesday.

As the IOC's gripe about the lack of access to Persian Gulf Oil Reserves, a Persian Gulf producer with a reserve to production ratio of 60 or more goes to Indonesia to invest in a 15,000 BOPD project???


Hello FF,

Good point! Once Kuwait goes postPeak belly up [sooner than we think?]: If I was a wealthy Kuwaiti soon to be broke, I would rather try to survival farm in tropical Indonesia versus trying to get the Kuwaiti desert dunes to blossom fruits and veggies.

Kunstler: The Abyss Stares Back

This is a provocative rant, but well off the mark.

Mr Kunstler asks:

Mr. O doesn't get that the conventional process of economic growth -- based, as it was, on industrial expansion via revolving credit in a cheap-energy-resource era--is over, and why does he keep invoking it at the podium? (emphasis mine)

Well. Duh. Could $38/barrel oil and $4/MCF natural gas have anything to do with it?

Then Kunstler avers:

No good, in fact, will come of a campaign to sustain the unsustainable...

But what about a campaign to sustain the sustainable? This is something that always seems to get lost in these orgys of defeatism and nihilism.

The reason I say this is that in reviewing Chesapeake Energy’s most recent financial statement, I realized that, applying the same measure of mark to market that the banks are subjected to, Chesapeake is in exactly the same condition as the banks—insolvent. The PV-10 of its current assets calculated at $4/MCF gas wouldn’t cover 50% of its debt, much less leave anything over for the shareholders.

So is it a fair question to ask: “Is the market all knowing?” A lot of people seem to believe it is.

But before we start wiping out companies like Chesapeake, and even though I as much as anyone would relish seeing poetic justice inflicted upon arrogant, homophobic little free-market-fundamentalist pricks like Aubrey McClendon, one must also consider that Chesapeake was an industry leader in developing resourse plays such as the gas shales. And again, Chesapeake surely is not alone in its financial predicament.

So Kunstler, like all the nihilists and self-defeatists, deals in distortions and half-truths. To get the whole picture we need to throw in a dash of Benoit Mandelbrot and a pinch of Herman Daly. That is, markets don’t always get it right, and we do need to make every attempt we can to determine what is sustainable, and to sustain that which is sustainable.

"But what about a campaign to sustain the sustainable?"

The sustainable things don't have a high enough profit margin. In today's culture very very few of the people with available resources are interested.

What I found interesting about this week's rant was that he was a lot less hopeful about Obama than he was just the week before. And Denninger, who was less enthusiastic to begin with, is holding Obama personally responsible for what may turn out to be the end of the nation.

The honeymoon is going to be short, I fear.

A few friends of mine who voted for Obama are now saying that they are disappointed.

Personally, I think he's moving too fast. It seems to me as if these proposed actions are just given a few day's time before coming up for a vote. At the minimum, these proposals - due to their potential impact - should be debated for at least a month before coming up to a vote... or that's my opinion (for whatever it's worth). For one, who works out the details?.. who even has time to work out the details?

The Obama administration knows that honeymoons are short. Already his supporters a griping. He must use his political capital now when he has it.

The Obama administration knows that honeymoons are short. Already his supporters a griping. He must use his political capital now when he has it.

In normal times that would be a big motivator of haste. Add in the fact that the economy is in freefall, and we can't dilly dally around (which he is doing wrt Nationalization) before pulling the rip-cord. The pressure to act quickly must be unbearable.

Personally, I think he's moving too fast.

Too fast?!? US troops still occupy Iraq, the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp still exists, millions of US citizens still don't have guaranteed health care... I voted (somewhat reluctantly) for him, but I'm fed up with him already.

us troops have been in iraq for oh lessee, about 5 yrs and $1 trillion ago. guantanamo bay has been open since '01. millions of americans havent had guaranteed health care for ..........well forever.

would you like some cheese with that whine ?

It's been one month, folks. One month.

What do you really expect here?

What do you really expect here?

I expect justice from the man I voted for, and I expect it now.

In a sharply worded response to the position taken by Obama’s Justice Department, Archive director Tom Balnton said, “President Obama on Day One ordered the government to become more transparent, but the Justice Department apparently never got the message, and that same day tried to dismiss the very litigation that has brought some accountability to the White House email system.”

Figures. Should've just stayed home election day, or voted for Nader... I hate feeling complicent in wrongdoing by elected officials.

Well sorry.. neither he nor anyone else in that chair could move the whole system that fast.

He's not Angel, he's not Devil.. he's a human being.. on a tightrope. You can sit on the sidelines and throw your rotten tomatoes at him, if that's the role you think is going to really suit you best.

IMO people are upset because they had such high hopes for the guy, because he is such an accomplished salesman. So far, again IMO he is doing about as well as Hillary would have done. Ironically, if he had lost the nomination to Clinton many Americans would remain convinced that he is the leader the country needs.

The polls released yesterday seem to still have Obama on a roll. They must not have called THe Oil Drum. And, that was before he had the widely covered Q & A with both sides, which impressed me. The Repubs who spoke failed to say that all they had to offer for recovery plan was more tax cuts. No wonder they felt left out.

I'm 64, never saw anything like what he put on yesterday. If you do not think that he is trying, go take a cold shower. That might wake you up.

I am not sure that he can succeed, but Obama is sure trying.

You don't have to convince anyone that this guy could sell ice to Eskimos.


Its all the Politicos who need to take a cold shower then wake TFU and start telling us the truth instead of playing these endless games.

They disgust me.

Now they are going to start changing the Constitution with giving DC a bunch of Capitol seats and tightening down on guncontrol (read Drudge) when they should be coming clean and stop with the garbage they call a representative form of government when they make it NOT ONE.THey defy the public. They preen their egos and do as they damn well like.

Obambi is no exception. In fact just smoother at it.

Its enough to make a buzzard puke.


"Its enough to make a buzzard puke. "

It's a darn shame that you don't live closer to Minnesota. It would be nice to have at least one person that somewhat agrees with me that I could go out and watch the Buzzards Puke with once in a while.
Although lately they must be Puking rather regularly. No wonder they are dying off?

What I see is the same attitude that got the U.S. into this mess in the first place, short attention span and instant gratification.

C'mon most people can't change their address in less than a month let alone a nation!

IMO it is a huge mistake to think of it in terms of Obamanos hunched over the steering wheel fighting the pull, pushing buttons, pulling switches.

The "team" is a bit constrained by Obama and his hope and change message but they are still doing what ever the hell they want.

Abject failure.

It's been one month, folks. One month.
What do you really expect here?

Most of us here on TOD and other forums were aware things were falling apart years ago. Obama had ample time to gather information and have a plan at hand were he to be elected. Further, he could have surrounded himself with people were not the old guard, many of whom, were involved with precipitating the crisis - of course he probably wouldn't have gotten donations from TPTB.

BTW, I voted for Nader.


Thanks for the Nader vote. Sincerely.
I gave Nader my money, but Obama my vote this time. Closest I could come to 'Instant Runoff Voting'..

"he could have surrounded himself with people were not the old guard.."

I doubt that. Not at first, anyway. As I've been saying (in not so many words), we're driving a broken truck down the side of a mountain with a live grenade in each hand. Almost anything the administration does right now will be in large part 'bull in china shop' actions.. it won't be pretty, it won't be comforting.

In terms of 'he had ample time..', I think that any suspicions that economy and business would tank the way they have since September has hit deeper with less respite than anyone in the 'Go-go' Wall street world (which includes Washington) was really willing to prepare for. They've been in a world which 'always bounced back'.. and as we talk about here every day, the possibility that the bounce just might not come this time is a nightmare that is almost assuredly as unspeakable in Senate Planning meetings as it is at the checkout line in the supermarket.

The question about Obama is not 'did he come from TPTB?' Of course he did. You see how a Nader or a Kucinich or a Ron Paul does in the overall election.. The question is 'can he adjust course as the facts on the ground change and reveal themselves? Is he the type to be willing to look AT the ground to find out?' ... And I remain hopeful that he is. AND,.. there's almost NO way to know the answer to that yet.

He came from Chitown. Home of machine politics.

Nuff said?


Enough said? No, not til the fat lady sings, Airdale.

Remember, only Nixon could go to China. You can't call the game in the first inning.

I voted for no one on the national ballot. Just locals. At least I can go see them and express my views.

The rest are totally out of control. I don't vote for scum.


It's only been a month. May I ask what you were expecting?

What expecting? Perhaps to have people hopes raised instead of bootlicking the Bankster/Gangsters.

Oh, what a burn! That should fix everything. You sure showed him. Nice job. I feel more employed already.

Truth is jteehan that I really never expected much but his rhetoric promised lots more.

So I expected Real Change. What I see is NO CHANGE.

Airdale-I said that I would give him a chance. I will bid my time a bit more..most bets are that the 'stimulus' will fail from what I garner. One hand gives and the other takes and gives that taken to banksters.

"....but I'm fed up with him already."

maybe obama was speaking directly to you.

"we are not quitters"


it sounds a little like a speach he may have given to sasha or malia.

He got the wheel of the ship of state turning in the general direction of doing good but it is a very big ship that was headed for the rocks at full speed with a strong tailwind when the last captain jumped overboard. The pundits are just making the perfect the enemy of the good enough. This isn't a time for slow deliberation about long term goals. Obama admits there are mistakes being made right now but in the future corrections in the precise course we are going can be made as we go along.

He's not even readying the lifeboats. He has no vision of reality.

Its all screeded out and screened. He needs to 'get out more'.

When he starts to go down IMO it will be stellar and extremely fast.
Like the glaciers.

The Wheel? You mean taking tax payers money and giving it to those who squander it?

Big Wheel turning.

Still headed for the submerged ice berg even thought the other portion is clearly visible on the bow and closing fast.


Where do you come up with this? What part of thi sis "good enough"? What part is "turning in the general direction of doing good"?

All I see is good money after bad, full speed ahead on to the rocks. The only saviors we can have is cheap alt energy and conservation, and those are so far down the funding list as to hardly matter.

I think some will find Greenwald's latest collection of facts on the Obama/Pundits/Bipartisan bologna of interest.

All Obama can do right now is try to get some cooperation from Repubs who only want tax cuts because they cannot get them. They think failure by Obama will be their salvation. They are the puppets of Rush Limburger and the "I hope he fails!" quote. That is one puppetmaster who doesn't even want America to come out of the financial problems so that the Repubs can get back in power, and cut taxes. It is almost like there ain't any more taxes left to cut. If things start looking better, either the Repubs will get off their collective ass or we will have a better than bullet proof Congress, absolutely dominated by Demos. I would prefer a group who would work together and maybe something positive can come out of this for the folks who are out of a job, out of their home, and out of luck. A tax cut would not help them anyway.

The Republicans have been making a fool out of Obama by trying to sabotage everything he does. My only hope for Obama is that he realizes that they are his enemies, and he should just go ahead without them. He's never going to get enough support from the people if he straddles the fence instead of standing on principle. But I guess he's a politician, isn't he?

It's what they do.

Here's a guy who is not disappointed in BO

I didn't understand a word of what you wrote.

"But what about a campaign to sustain the sustainable?"

I don't think CHK is sustainable, but I think you have a point. What we need to do is transition, and letting everything fail all at once doesn't strike me as the best way to do it.

I think right now, it's OK to try to get back to BAU lite, even if it's not sustainable, if it is done in order to ensure an orderly transition. The problem is that I don't think this is why it's being done, and if they do get BAU back, they will use it as an opportunity to squander more resources.

I suppose that the question as to whether Chesapeake and other companies that pursued the resource plays are sustainable boils down to whether the EROEI of those shale gas plays is great enough to make them sustainable or not.

I think that's a question that many of the more cynical types, like myself, here on TOD have been asking for some time. Some take it as a matter of faith that the EROEI of those shale plays is sufficient to justify their development. After all, if it weren't, why would those involved in those plays be doing it?

Here one gets into that whole realm that Daly explores, the gap between real wealth and abstract wealth. It seems to me a much surer approach to determine sustainability would be to do the research necessary to determine what the EROEI of those shale gas developments are, not to rely on bad science--that is the doctrine of neoclassical economics--to come up with some sort of reading. In other words, this is a job for physics and chemistry, not economics.

As to Kunstler, does he know whether these shale gas plays are sustainable? I think not. To me he's a tad dogmatic.


I hadn't thought in terms of sustainability in the shale gas plays but now that it's been put forth I'll offer my current view: Off hand, I can think of few ventures which are more sustainable. Now, I'm not talking about sustainable booms like we just saw the last couple of years. But long term: decades. The play is in severe retraction (at least our part: 18 rigs drilling to 3 in two months). We won’t be able to replace reserves as we would have before the crash but it seems these days the stock market isn’t to concerned about such matters. For the last 15 years I’ve seen one company after another make investments in marginally profitable projects for the sake of increasing y-o-y reserves. Market expectations HAD TO BE MET. The market now seems more interested in minimal debt and profitability… and survivability. The wells we drill in 2009 will likely be more profitable then the 2008 batch as a result of cheaper drilling/completion costs even with lower NG prices. While we all know about the initial rapid decline rates of such wells, they do represent a long term positive cash flow. Yes…significantly less then the net the first couple of years but relatively maintenance free for the next 10+ years. Equally important they also represent a fairly predictable ultimate recovery due pressure depletion drive. My current rough forecasting model doesn’t predict NG rates falling off a cliff as I once thought. More of a slow (18 months or so) leveling off followed by a decline rate similar to what we were seeing prior to 1/1/07.

Back to sustainability. As long as operators don’t extend their debt base beyond their ability to repay during low price periods, there no reason to not expect the play and players to last many decades into the future. At higher NG prices ($9/mcf 2008 prices) there are hundreds of thousands of viable locations. NG prices will recover and drilling will increase. But, IMHO, I’ll be surprised to see operators rush back in to levels we saw the last few years. Expansion phases will be more measured and cautious. When the economics go south again companies will retract and live on cash flow during the low decline rate phase. We’ll certainly spend decades trying ramp of alternatives. But some of those alternatives will generate increased NG consumption. And if coal ultimately succumbs to GHG emission concerns it’s difficult to not expect NG being offered as the prime alternative.

As far as EROEI, while it has significance in the big picture, it never has nor ever will be a consideration in drilling decisions. Such economics are based upon $’s and $’ out. Of course, there’s not a complete disconnect between the two but as long as an operator can make a low risk rate of return of 10% or better the shale gas wells will be drilled. The EROEI might be minimal but that parameter shows up nowhere in the annual reports.

Such economics are based upon $’s and $’ out. Of course, there’s not a complete disconnect between the two but as long as an operator can make a low risk rate of return of 10% or better the shale gas wells will be drilled. The EROEI might be minimal but that parameter shows up nowhere in the annual reports.

I agree.

But "$'s out" swings wildly as a function of gas price. At $4/MCF Chesapeake has a PV-10 that's less than 50% of its debt. At $6/MCF it's PV-10 about equals its debt. At $7/MCF and above it's back in the clover.

I don't think anybody is disputing that this is the way things are. The question I believe Daly poses, however, is: "Is this the way things ought to be?" Is there a paradigm other than that of neoclassical economics that might work better?

Such economics are based upon $’s and $’ out. Of course, there’s not a complete disconnect between the two but as long as an operator can make a low risk rate of return of 10% or better the shale gas wells will be drilled. The EROEI might be minimal but that parameter shows up nowhere in the annual reports.

The $in has to be at least the cost of some type of energy in. So EROEI can't get wildly less than on, or the $in would exceed the $out. Admittedly some forms of energy are priced differently than others, so it is possible to drill profitably with EROEI less than one. But, in that case, the market is saying that energy in the form of gas is more valuable than the form of energy used in the inputs.

Of course in $in is subsidized, things could in principle get seriously out of wack.

I don't think Daly argues subsidization. He argues nationalization:

8. Enclose the remaining commons of rival natural capital in public trusts, and price it, while freeing from private enclosure and prices the non rival commonwealth of knowledge and information. Stop treating the scarce as if it were non scarce, and the non scarce as if it were scarce.


As an oil & gas royalty owner, what Daly proposes almost certainly would not be in my best interest. However, I'm not prepared to pronounce his prescriptions DOA either.

What I fear most about this sort of regime is that it can easily degenerate into what we have here in Mexico. It's called statism, and PEMEX is completely corrupt and inefficient--out of control. Does it have to be that way? Could it be different in an environment of less goverment corruption? I don't have the answers to those questions.

See Stat Oil Hydro, 65% owned by the Kingdom of Norway and PetroBras, 51% (?) owned by the Republic of Brazil


True EOS...it can't get too out of wack. But a drilling company can cut it's day rate on a Deep Water rig from $750,000 to $250,000 in 6 months. A typical Deep Water well can take 120 TO 180 days. That saves an operator $60-90 million per well. That can put a lot of previously marginal prospects back into play.

On such a margin the drilling company might not ever payoff the $750 million it cost to build the rig but it would provide cash flow and interest payments. That's where EROEI can get way out of wack: companies ignore the sunk costs and focus strictly on cash flow. Not a good long term plan, of course, but many have no other option.


Thanks....I missed the "ought to be" part. Not that his point isn't valid but after 33 years of fighting those windmills in the oil patch I don't think in terms of "ought to be" anymore. It's gotten to be just how things are done and what's the best way to capitalize on any situation. Not much different then my attitude towards gov't these days. I don't begrudge folks their God given right to complain but conversations about how things should be done don't garner much interest. This is a rather enlightened group we have here and it's easy to begin to feel as those "in the know" might affect change. But I work daily with some of the dumbest sticks on the planet who are a fairly good cross section of the populace. Listen to their thoughts long enough and it's hard not to join the doomer club.

hi rockman,

i'm looking at spe paper 119897


that paper reviews 5 barnett shale wells, on production an average of 5yrs, and based on the data presented, it looks like the 4 hz wells will average an economic ultimate recovery(eur) of about 2.5 bcf/well.

and at the current price, these wells would return about $10 million gross revenue for a $6 million dollar well.

i am wondering if these figures are typical. and are you seeing the costs come down significantly ?

I'm wondering the same thing, elwoodelmore.

In looking at the Texas Railroad Commission Production Data Query, it looks like Chesapeake has 882 wells producing in the Barnett Shale with first production in June 2005. They've produced a cumulative of 387.9 BCF so far or an average of .44 BCF per well. In November 2008, they produced 14.2 BCF or an average of 536 MCFGPD per well.


With a well cost of $5 million, gas selling at $4/MCF with $2/MCF direct operating expense and a 25% royalty, payout is going to be a long, long time in coming.

DS - Too many variable there. The bulk of their drilling has been in the last couple of years since they had to ramp up after first pdn. They have also improved the techniques they use. New drilling really dropped of about 10/08, and they had to build a lot of infrastructure - compression, lines, water disposal facilities, etc. And, a lot of their leases were older acquired leases, with royalties as low as 1/8, but I don't know about overrides. To get those older leases, they had to take on a lot of older wells and upgrade everything, including doing some plugging.

Your analysis is lacking the personal observation aspect.

While I am not a huge fan of shale gas development, it has turned into a huge moneymaker. It also offers an opportunity to have continued cheap energy as we make a conversion to alternative energy is we don't p*** it all away, again.

A year ago O&G reporter did a more comprehensive review of Haynesville and Barnett shale plays and made the same determination. Producers were drilling uneconomic wells. So... many oil producers are dead men walking. They bet on the price of gas and lost. I didn't read anything about it here so I assumed it was wrong. Where's Stuart when you need him?

Cold Camel

Elwood -- That's sound like a pretty good average in general. Cost haven't dropped a great deal yet. But it's coming. Besides rig rates and frac services, the other big ticket item was steel. Some folks will try to hold their prices for a while but I suspect by summer business will be quit cutthroat. Maybe by year end we'll see wells cost down about 30% to 40% (WAG)

This is a really naive question: Ok, the drill rigs are laid down and the workers laid off. Do the workers return to the rigs when drilling is re-started or is it necessary to train new people? I know a lot of work doesn't require a college degree but considering that it is dangerous, it would seem new people would be a liability.

I'm approaching this from a chemical industry perspective where, yes, reactor operators need lots of experience but even utility men handling chemicals could cause a disaster.


Mostly they will have to start all over. The training they need in the drilling aspect is mostly related to personal safety, like do not stand on part of a chain while a cathead is getting ready to give it a tug, etc. There are a couple of tech schools I am aware of, one in Woodward, OK and one in Arkansas, which offer training. The guy who kicked off each of those schools had run one in Ohio, but it closed after the boom that ended in 1985.

I have a pumper in N. Texas whose wife works at a hospital in Denton, the closest one to a lot of the drilling activity up there, and they saw an average on one serious injury a day.

Also, next time, they probably will not have to pay as much to get the new folks, which won't draw any of the old hands back to work.

Do the workers return to the rigs when drilling is re-started or is it necessary to train new people?

Depends on the interval between stacking the rig and putting it back making hole and the availability of other work. A lot of folks in the industry have been badly burned by its cyclical nature. The boom is great, it is impossible to believe it could ever end, and then it does. BANG. And when it does you find yourself with a new mortgage, a new family, lots of new expensive toys and tastes, and no way to support it. So you move on into something with greater stability.

new people would be a liability.

New people are natural born killers. The problem is that they do not view themselves in this light.

even utility men handling chemicals could cause a disaster.

They can, they do, and they have. Not hard to kill a rig. There are drilling units and dead men scattered all over the oceans.

Thanks everyone for your input.



I think you (and the rest of us on TOD) need to re-think the meaning of the term "sustainable". In the short term, UNG may be net positive in terms of EROEI, or ROI, but, eventually, the gas runs out. Fossil fuel development is, by definition, NOT SUSTAINABLE from a long term ecological perspective!

E. Swanson

Pick your time frame Dog. Pick a long enough one and the Sun isn't sustainable. Thus solar technology won't sustain us either. But I get your point. But I'll bet you a nickle that 50 or 60 years from now there will be shale gas wells being drilled. I was talking about the play being sustainable from a the time perspective of our youngest participants here. In other words, a human life span.

Even if matters go very badly and we have a 50% die off the world will still need energy in the future. Right now both NG, coal, and to a lesser extent oil, are all sustainable as far as the general population and TPTB are concerned. You and I know that is BS but we don't control the future. The same folks who got us into our current pickle are still in charge. We have not been ruled by logic so far and I see no pending genetic mutation which could change that status.

But what about a campaign to sustain the sustainable? This is something that always seems to get lost in these orgys of defeatism and nihilism.

None of it is sustainable short of a massive reduction in human population. Dismiss this reality as an "orgy of defeatism and nihilism" if you will, but your opinion doesn't change the reality of the situation. False hope in some modified version of BAU labeled "sustainable" only makes matters worse, by motivating activity that prolongs the agony. To Cheney/Obama the horribly bloated American lifestyle may not be negotiable, but nature doesn't negotiate.

Anther way to say it is:

"You can't legislate the laws of NATURE"

or, maybe:

"One can't Pontificate the laws of NATURE"

E. Swanson

I heard something on the Science Network the other day that pretty well sums up my position on this:

Militant agnostic: I don't know and you don't either


Thanks for the link. Some smart people on that forum. I just watched Peter Turchin's presentation. I've followed Turchin & Ellner's series of papers in Am Nat re: stochasticity overlying determinant nonlinear dynamics. Altho the math is over my head, they present some interesting ideas, which I've discussed with Lev Ginsberg, who is Turchin's countryman and does understand the math. Not so sure I find this "cliodynamics" stuff as interesting as I do his work in theoretical ecology, tho.

And yea, we're all agnostics re: the supernatural, whether we admit it or not. Agnosticism is the only legitimate human philosophical stance, in this regard. People who claim gnosis of the supernatural - theists & atheists alike - are either sincerely self-deluded or are liars. In the presentation Turchin is correct in emphasizing the socially integrative aspect of religion over the supernatural aspect.

Yes, it's a wonderful series.

I haven't watched Turchin's presentation yet, but certainly intend to watch it as well as all the others.

Agnosticism is the only legitimate human philosophical stance, in this regard. People who claim gnosis of the supernatural - theists & atheists alike - are either sincerely self-deluded or are liars.

I would agree, and even take this further. You limit the discussion by using the words "gnosis" and "supernatural" - why not just use "to know"?

All we have is self-delusion and lies (although I suspect the negative connotations of the latter word are a bit strong). From a philosophical stance we are best off admitting this from the start and acknowledging that any intellectual edifice we create is just that, a human creation. This, for me, is actually a quite liberating position as it draws into question any correspondence theory of truth.

Exactly! And especially in these post-modernist times that we live in. It is getting to be more and more difficult to defend the "intellectual edifices" that we have creted.

If one watches enough of the presentations in that lecture series, plus the other two related series, one very much gets a sense of that. After all, if it was all just about describing and predicting the movement of tiny particles in space, how could those scientists get so hot and bothered?

Scientists can be extremely dogmatic. "Scientism" is the term I think John Michael Greer used to describe it in one of his posts a couple of weeks ago. Luckily scientists operate in an environment that, at least officially, eschews dogmatism. And when a scientist gets a little too dogmatic, which happened during those lectures, they were quickly called out on it by the other attendees.

quite liberating position as it draws into question any correspondence theory of truth.

And tends to generate a feeling of humility and awe in the face of all the manifold unknowns.

DD said:

"And yea, we're all agnostics re: the supernatural, whether we admit it or not. "

I am not. And I firmly believe the day will dawn when all one has left is to get down on your knees and utter some words to the Sky God, as those here on TOD label that entity.

I have already been there and done that. I want to play all my cards before 'lights out'. Maybe its not a biggie for most here. To me when I was facing death up close and personal a while back(cancer) it was the only card seemed I had left. When you walk thru the 'Valley of The Shadow' a lot of machismo seems to flee right off.

Bullets overhead in combat seemed to make many converts..or so I was told by some of those who heard the whine of those bullets in the foxholes. I used to play poker and eat fish with a bunch of old WWII vets out on the creek banks before they all passed on. Four or so years ago. I miss those old farts. They could play mean poker and cook catfish bettern any I knew.

We are not yet at the foxholes. Thats coming.

Airdale-I never saw or heard bullets but we were at the threshold of the knees stage quite often out in the middle of that cold dark Pacific and miles and miles to go on feathered props ,oft times. A place where if you ditched you had only 10 minutes to make your peace with the your maker. No one was coming. No one could come, not in time. We flew 7 aircraft aloft , 24 hours a day , 7 days a week for years.Some died. Most lived. We drank a lot. We played poker a lot.
We still get together sometimes and recall how lucky some were. Those days are fading but the memories remain, bittersweet.

Sorry for the rant.

Ya know airdale, I agree with you while taking the opposite position. And while it's impossible "to know" with 100% certainty about the existence of supernatural beings, there's no evidence to support their existence, which I take to mean they don't exist. The philosophy is backed by microbiology and its recent revelations of life's evolution. That life must have a "purpose" is a human construct. Is reproduction "purposeful" or "natural"? Perhaps it's naturally puposeful. But once you get into purposes, you open the sentiant(ance) issue that caused Lovelock and Gaia Theory so much trouble. And yes, this represents a part of my "belief system"--my personal philosophy--but it isn't prayed to or worshiped. The problem, IMO as I stated on Juan Cole's blog a few days ago, is tolerance of people(s) choosing to believe other philosophies while themselves observing tolerance for mine/your philosophies. That's called being civil and forms the basis for a civilized planet, which it's clear we do not yet enjoy.


If your looking for 'facts' to prove or disprove spirituality then I suggest that you won't find any. It doesn't work that way.

One who must have 'facts' will read material that deals with facts.

At my age I find facts to be difficult to deal with. I prefer to continue with what works for me. Others are free to go their own way and I don't try to preach but I will discuss.

Gaia? This is newworld speak. Something that I imagine those who pray to crystals are into. Or think they need to sleep under a pyramid shaped object.

I am tolerant of others. It might suprise you as it does some of my friends that I tend to hang with those you could call outlaws. Been into heavy drug use but they were able to break it. Some went to jail and learned a lesson. Some were violent but cooled that. Most don't ride bikes though.

Whereas the church types I find with rather 'locked down' minds. Able only to spout dogma endlessly and have little understanding of what they are spouting at that.

My best friend is dying. He has just lost his business. He has 200 acres of very prime land that he is being cheated out of. He will then die penniless but this man came to my bedside as I was being operated on and sit in a chair all nite by my bed and I didn't know him that well at the time. Now he is dying at age 55. I will be there for him outlaw or not. He is not a believer. I speak to him of it a bit but he lost hope long ago. He says I have had more influence on him than any other man in his life. I value that. My old preacher friend came and aided me as well. Helped to lay headstones with him in his business.

I do not give contributions in the collection plate when I do attend church but I will help someone cut the trees out of their road and did so 6 weeks ago. I fixed generators so others could keep their freezers going. I sometimes fix their computers for free.

Its my way. Not what some preacher says. But I do have faith,,and I keep it close. It allows me to keep on going.

I live by the oldtimers code that I was taught as all the young men and fathers were off dieing in WWII and I lived with that generation of oldtimers and learned their ways and codes.

Airdale-so maybe this answers Sgage's questions down below as well
IMO faith and illumination are no something many may wish to pursue.
That is their right and they can enjoy what fruits they may find here and perhaps hereafter. I really hate to argue religion. So I don't but I will discuss reasonably,with those with an open mind.

PS. I don't read the KJV bible much but I do read much of the Old Testament translating it from Hebrew and I find vast differences therein. Vast. I do not believe in the 'inerant word' of the KJV bible. It has errors and bad translations. This is where I try to find the truth. Not listening to some blow-dried preacher bleating about tithing or whatever this and that when he doesn't know a shema from a punchbowl.

Thanks for your reply airdale. I'm about as old as your dying friend and would almost qualify as one of your "outlaw" friends. I subscribe to the "each has to find their own way" school; but I'll chip-in answers when questions are asked. We're both comfortable with our selves and at peace with the universe. We just get to wrestle with life for a while and hopefully enjoy some degree of comfort and ease. If I'm lucky, I'll die at home very old and grey, like most of my kin. But odds are, like you, I'll be smitten with a cancer bug. My faith is that whatever will happen will happen as I cannot do anything about my past exposure to carcinogens.

I'll chime in here, a number of the posts struck me today. I was diagnosed close to 4 years ago now. It was the reason I sold my business, and set up another that my wife could run all by herself. My way of making sure she would be ok. The docs wanted a major slice and dice and as a result I would no longer function as a man. Linger on for a bit and then die.

Well I went a different way, I've always, from as long as I can remember, felt connected. Not god or religion. But the energies that flow around me. Kind of like the druids and the oak trees. What I did was set out to tap that energy for my own well-being. Chi or Prana, it's sometimes called and it is well documented throughout the ages. I set out on a real regimen of mediatation, and chi collection.
I also did the dietary thing, I purposely did the reduced caloric input thing. I got down to 97 pounds, eating just a small meal in the evening. Go into protect the body mode. Now I really worked at this, 6 hours a day and stringent about it, considering the other outcomes. There are reports of monks who live in the mountains of China, where no food grows existing on the chi of the mountains.

Once you learn to tap that energy, it becomes easier and easier. There are many things now that are becoming clearer as we step into quantum physics, the non local effect especially. Science is just now seeing the energy fields that mankind has actually known for years and always tried to tap into.
Martial arts do much here.

A huge amount of literature out there to support it. So I feel I don't have to have a religion, I understand that I am part, yes a very tiny part, of the flow of energy in this universe. It's comforting, the energy has always been there and always will be, and the I that I think of is just a ripple on the pond. Religion tried to make sense of all this, tried to put it in some sort of perspective, think a geek trying to explain to a CEO why you need to upgrade the servers.

I'm C free now, docs have no clue how. I have the stars at night and the wind in the trees.

I can split wood for a solid 6 hours a day, run rings around the younger folks who can't live without their bag of chips. At some point, it may even be soon, I'll be that little vortex of wind that just passes through. That one that makes you look up and say wow, way kewl.

Peace to you all

Don in Maine

Years ago when I was a student of the Hawaiian style of Shodokan Aikido, I ran into some senseiis who spoke of a Chinese method of life-energy expansion through meditation and orgasm, where the energy generated and released is immediately recaptured and reincorporated into the chi, which takes discipline. My personal experience leads me to think there's some benefit from the exercise, but there are no controlled tests or peer-reviewed studies I can cite. Lucas's idea of "The Force" emerged at a time when many people were looking for greater meaning in their lives. I always return to the fact that the body runs on chemical energy that isn't "lost" at death. Is it possible to focus your energy on your death--a la Obi Wan--and keep it intact upon leaving the body? Or what..... The body's chemical residue will generate new life....

Don, your story is invigorating.

Amazing story Don. Glad you spoke of it.

I have tried Tai Chi...so far no luck but I believe it has something going for it.

I am lately reading more on the Native Americans view on spirituality but the literature is very hard to find. I think I would have to learn their language in order to read further. They do not write much in English I suspect.

After realizing that my grandfather was largely Native American along with Slovenian I realized what I saw in him. He was laconic. Didn't waste words. Was the ruler of his household and family. Yet never showed anger. Could do things with his hands that amazed me.

Things I am finding out in my latter years that I wished someone had told me of. I spoke of this to my son. He said "I could care less."

I tried anyway.

I read a lot lately of Antoine de Saint Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands(Citadelle)..and a passage struck me more so than many of the others , but just starting this book......
"pauses to gaze at an old craftsman,maimed and groaning at his work,for he was full of years and the light of words had grown dim for him--nevertheless ever was he becoming more luminous,apter for the task he had made barter of himself,....Thus escaping by a miracle from his old, gnarled flesh,he was growing ever happier,more and more invulernable, more and more perishable. And dying, knew it not, his hands full of stars."

I can google for information, or find Wikis. I can read techical journals yet I prefer those books which speak to me of the inner man.
Not full of psychology but of philosophical gleanings.Of the search for 'meaning'.

My favorite is Prisig's 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence'.
For some its "Catcher in the Rye" but for me its ZMM.

I have had intimate relationships with some whose mind could not deal with modern culture and mores and had undergone electroshock therapy. As did Pirsig. Very close relationships and the one that bothers me the most is the one that never leaves my mind and finally who finally sucessfully committed suicide at 40 years of age. The other tried and failed. I was in love with both of them back seemingly ages ago at different times in mine and their lives.


I'm not sure what you're saying here. You are not agnostic? That is fine. So, just what is it that do you "know"? Where is your faith? Some sadistic, bloodthirsty genocidal Bronze Age sky god? Or his putative "son" ? Or some New Age goddess? or somewhere in between? Do you actually think that "someone" hears your prayers?

Many of us have been through some fairly shitty passages in our lives. Many of us have been terrified. I myself am currently living on borrowed time, medically speaking. But WTF? What else is there for an intelligent human besides agnosticism? Do you actually believe that you know something absolute like this?

What, we're rational until we get scared, and then we're believers? Get ahold of yourself, man. Yeah, no atheists in the foxhole, whatever.

See my reply up above. What do I belive in? A creator.
I have a bit of a problem with what others call his Son.

I guess I am more a Deist than anything.

What else is there for an intelligent human? Depends on your life's experiences and search for enlightment. I have been at it for some time. I don't have answers for others and while I listen I also judge for myself.

That is what I thought 'intelligent' humans did.

Something 'absolute'? I just have hope and faith in what "I" believe.

Not a good subject for TOD I am sure but neither is someone expounding that we are all atheists. I am not. Flat statements are always somewhat rounded. I tend to hardly ever take a 'flat' stmt at face value.

Where has science taken us to then in this timeline? Has it given us a longer more fruitful life? Has it cured us or just made us enrichen the pocketbooks of the 'medical industry'?

Rational until scared? No thats not how it works IMO either.

I merely replied to the atheist who included me in his viewpoint.
I disagreed so I felt it necessary to respond somewhat with my views as well. His is not stamped in concrete. I don't stamp mine there either , at least not for others. Only what I see and observe and think is valuable to me.

Hey this is TOD and mostly all about OPINIONS anyway.

Knowledge is fine. It takes knowledge and understanding of that knowledge to gain wisdom. I view wisdom as a form of enlightenment.
Some tread different paths to that goal. Some don't even start or try. Some just google away and read Wiki's and think this is knowlege. Its not ..its just information. I read a lot of that here.
Its not all there is to life. I don't believe that I have found any fount of wisdom but I am still trying. Is that not what human beings should also do? Maybe you disagree.Thats ok. Closed minds however is a waste of time. IMO of course...a disclaimer I use more on TOD that I have ever used in my whole life elsewhere.


Editted : Note that when I used atheist I should have said agnostic.
So agnostic is I thought meaning, Unsure. While atheist means sure of no God/Creator. I am neither of those two terms.

Any word on when we might see some more analysis on Simmons claim that Russian gas has peaked and that "Europe is toast - cold-toast"?

Reason I ask is I've been trying to make sense of all the available data and can come up with one possible suggestion that seems to fit what we know and what Simmons claims. However I am well aware I am missing pieces of the puzzle and don't want to postulate a load of nonsense which might be countered with some hard data just a short time later.

One hard fact we do know is that Russian gas production remains down well over 12% on a year ago. This is entirely due to Gazprom (down close to 18% on recent years reported winter production) - all other Russian gas producers appear to be up. Currently there is about 250mcm/day of gas production missing compared to the same time last year. In fact Russian production levels are now at the low levels normally reached when all storage has been filled in Europe for the winter ahead. All things being equal this would imply insufficient gas supply to refill European storage this summer.

Somewhat countering this is an increase in Norwegian gas production of about 60mcm/day due to new pipeline construction, a small amount of additional LNG imports and,of course an unknown amount of "demand destruction".

Now clearly it is not likely that Gazprom has an annual deline rate of 18% but we know that Gazprom is still not delivering contracted quantities of gas to Europe so what is really going on. Poland had to break ranks and admit the continued supply shortage because it is still having to restrict some large industrial users. Meanwhile storage everywhere in Europe continues to decline to record low levels at a record rate.

So before I speculate further is there any timescale for the keypost yet?

Jerome is on the road and only has dialup access, so it will probably be a few more days at least.


Total speculation which can hopefully be falsified.

Fact: On official figures, Gazprom (and Russia) show a recent peak in production in 2006 but with 2007 and 2008 close to level. Based on even the latest official Gazprom estimates (already revised down twice in the last two months!) total annual production will crash by about 10% this year.

Speculation: Gazprom is declining at around 5-6% per annum. This has been mostly covered up for the last two or three years by reporting storage withdrawals as production. The game failed this winter. Gazprom is now accurately reporting winter production and so the apparent huge annual fall just reflects them resynching with reality.

Declines at that rate would imply Russian export capability approaching zero before major production can come onstream from the Yamal peninsula. Such a decline rate cannot be compensated for by increasing Norwegian production or LNG imports. Something has to give.

I hope the above is wrong.

Daily Russian production figures are at http://www.riatec.ru/en/

Hello Leanan,

I enjoyed your toplink on CERA: A Peak Oiler in the Making?

I bet Yergin now is getting very good at swimming the 'backstroke'. He might even be faster than Michael Phelps in a race [even without Phelps taking a bong hit].

But not just yet, Yergin was on CNN Sunday. When Ali Velshi asked him about Peak Oil (after introducing the concept in a fractured, but unintelligible and clumsy way) Yergin pulled the canned 'peak oil has been predicted x times before' talking point, without addressing Velshi's actual (flawed) question. (Guys, it's all about the flows...)

Personally, I think this is like McCain calling the economy strong, on the day that the credit markets seized up.

Consumer confidence plummets

Index of consumer sentiment falls to an all-time low in February and signals more deterioration ahead.

Fed chief: U.S. suffering ‘severe contraction’

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the U.S. economy is suffering through a “severe contraction,” and will use all tools available to provide relief.

Stimulus: Can it feed the hungry?

The economic stimulus plan provides $150 million for food banks. Advocates for the hungry say it can't arrive soon enough.

Online relief for the recession-weary

(CNN) -- If finding a real job evades you, now may be the perfect time to just pretend you have one.

Fake employees, corporate seat-fillers, are reportedly being paid by New York advertising agencies to dress and act like they work in firms so prospective clients visiting the offices will be instilled with confidence.

Bad economy? Do what you love

Professionals are realizing the prescribed path of a college degree leading to a lucrative job may no longer exist, as the volatile economy takes a toll on some of the soundest professions, such as banking and law. Almost every day Fortune 500 companies announce more layoffs, leaving remaining workers left to fear they may be next.

Some small businesses owners say launching a new venture in tough times is better than doing nothing.

"It may not be as glamorous or as prestigious as what you had been doing before you lost your job, but it may well save you," says Walter Kerschbaum, a 63-year-old antique clock collector, who opened a shop called Scarsdale Antique Clocks in Hartsdale, New York, two years ago.

LOL Leanan!!!

One way to make a buck is to be a "slug", a person who rides along with a commuter so they can use the carpool lanes.

some commuters have used blow-up dolls, alledgedly.

From CNN's resident grumpy old man, Jack Cafferty: This is not your father's country anymore

At the end of the day, we are going to have to settle for less. Less money, smaller houses, smaller cars and smaller dreams.

This is not your father's country anymore. And we had better all start getting used to it.

My father has a small apartment and drives a very old small car. It's his dumb son who bought into the illusion of more. He never lived that way.

So I guess it is my father's country again.

Could the bad economy be good for your health?

Yet amid the ominous signs, there may be a silver lining, according to Christopher Ruhm, an economist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research links hard economic times, surprisingly, to lower death rates and better overall health.

For one thing, Ruhm says, when people tighten their belts, they tend to cut down on vices like smoking and drinking. They also get into fewer accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans are driving about 2 percent fewer miles than they did a year ago. They're also driving more carefully: the road fatality rate per mile traveled is down 6 percent.

But the good health trends aren't limited to fewer traffic accidents and less reliance on so-called vices. In a 2007 paper, "A Healthy Economy Can Break Your Heart," Ruhm calculated that a one-percent decrease in the unemployment rate corresponds to a 0.75 percent increase in deaths from coronary heart disease. That doesn't sound like a lot, but that adds up to an additional 3,900 deaths in the United States in a given year.

I would not be too quick to come to any conclusions here. It matters to your health whether you are unemployed for a short, or long time, whether many of your acquaintances are also unemployed, whether your benefits have run out or not yet. etc. etc... People who are voluntarily tightening their belts may cut down on vices (though other reports are that people are using chocolate or alcohol as "treats" to replace expensive vacations (also a weird concept, by the way...)), but people who are living under a lot of stress for a long time are usually found to have increased rates of smoking, overeating and problem drinking.

I thought it was interesting because it ties into some other studies that have found the death rate actually decreases in times of trouble. I'd assumed it was due to "caloric restriction" - the observation that animals that are half-starved live longer, perhaps because their energies go toward cell repair rather than reproduction. We know the death rate did not increase during the Great Depression, though the birth rate decreased.

Research protocols linking caloric reduction to longevity in rodents and nonhuman primates have been careful to limit only calories, while keeping intake of vitamins, minerals, essential amino & fatty acids, etc., at adequate levels. During times of famine, nutrient intake is liable to be reduced along with calories. Hence, it's not logical to extrapolate from these studies to times of actual want. Also, these caloric deprived laboratory animals have been kept warm. Caloric deprivation when one is wet, cold & vitamin deficient may well put a big dent in longevity, rather than extending it.

I realize all that. Nevertheless, the link remains, even outside the lab.

That Dutch study addresses breast cancer risk, not longevity per se.

It is a correlational study based on a "natural experiment" and as such fails to control for a host of potentially pertainent environmental variables. Also, one can't legitimately extrapolate from the consequences of acute caloric deprivation to those of chronic hunger.

Yes, I know. But that's just one example. There have been numerous other studies, historical and current, and I would bet it turns out that there's something to the caloric restriction/longevity link.

Which isn't to say the other mechanisms Ruhm and others are studying aren't valid, too.

Our bodies are at least evolved to take advantage of having extra food available, by giving us large appetites and allowing food to be stored as fat.

After millions of years of evolution with periodic food shortages, our bodies are likely evolved to expect periodic shortages of food, and may even be dependent on a periodic shortage for certain necessary processes to take place.

The paper starts out stating in general that caloric restriction results in longer lifespans in rodents.

Then it goes on to describe the Dutch famine as short and sharp. And, that women tended to "eat to make up for it" later.

It's well known that during famine, growth slows down or stops, and cancer cells, being new growth, often get "scavenged" or cannibalized by the body, in the same way the body will "scavenge" its fat and muscle, even bone, during famine.

Estrogen is well known to accelerate breast cancer, and fat cells aren't just passive - they actually product hormones, among them estrogen. Think about that the next time you see a typical American middle- aged guy with "man tits" go wobbling by!

So, if you can keep your bodyfat relatively low, at least within the healthy BMI standard, exercise (which stimulates growth hormone and testosterone in men *and* women) and follow general healthy-living guidelines, you're less likely to get cancer than otherwise.

So, no laying around all day and inhaling whole boxes of Twinkies!

During many times of semi-starvation in the 20th century, nutrition may have gone up for many through use of "new" foodstuffs, like greens growing in vacant lots, fishing, foraging, hunting (in Paris, pigeon and cat entered the menu, in England, starling) and I can say from my own experiences growing up, the times with the least food available from conventional sources were the times I put the most effort into finding new food sources - that being from the land and ocean, were pretty damn healthy.

I imagine pristine rural landscapes with villagers scavenging up fresh greens from the sides of little used dirt roads and think "yum yum"

I look out my window and see the organoponic vegetable garden in the middle of a city that only recently abandones leaded gasoline and think "hmmmm". I will have to research about which vegetables can be eated out of lead polluted soils.

I walk down the hallway of my apartment building and hear my neigbor reccomending pidgeon noodle soup as a cure for the common cold. I look out the window and see the greasy creatures pecking for food amongst the disposable diapers, beer cans and used condoms that fall amongst the weeds. The pidegeons occasionaly stop to ruffle through their feathers snaffling out parasites before flapping off amongst the thick black clouds of diesel exhaust. I think "I, like the rest of the population, must get out of the city fast...but where will we all go?"

My bet is that higher the concentration of people and polution the worse the chances of new food sources are.

According to Wikipedia, mustard greens (Brassica juncea) take up heavy metals. Grow some and dispose of the plants to help clean up the soil.

Dispose of them where? Everything comes from somewhere, and everything goes somewhere. This is "ecology".

Puhleease! Just get the lead off the farmland. It's a natural element. Go bury it in ground where it came from if that's what makes you happy.


Here in the outback there is still a small vestige of what once was. I can hear wild hoot owls three or four times each nite down in the nearby holler. You can once in a great while see a bobwhite quail. Observe majestic raptors swooping and flying.

But the woodlands and nature are fleeing fast from this country , at least where I live.

So its best to go there and see it before its gone completely and they rape the woods for ethanol or some such rot. Burn everything else to grow grains to feed the unruly ones in China or whereever they are starving.

See it before its all gone.Washed with acid rain. Beat to death by man's alterations of the atmosphere producing extreme weather systems. Before all the rivers are finally polluted and full of imported Asian Carp , worthless for nothing except sucking up food other native fish require.

If lucky you might find a live spring that is not full of nitrates and runoff of chemicals. Or a mountain top that has not been cut off for the coal to run the engines of yuppieism's conspicious consumption.

Hurry for its going fast.


Caloric deprivation has also been shown to reduce the ability to reproduce in a number of species.

Indeed, that may be the mechanism. The theory is that the body has to "choose" between reproduction and basic maintenance. If there's plenty of food, the body decides that now's your best chance for successful reproduction, and pours its resources into sex hormones and the reproductive system, neglecting cell repair. While if you're undernourished, it puts its resources into cell repair, so you'll still be in good shape to try for reproduction when times are better.

Of course, for many of us today, we could afford both: reproduction and cell repair. But our Stone Age bodies don't "know" that. In our usual well-fed state, they are churning out hormones like there's no tomorrow. Reproduce now, you may never get a better chance!

In our usual well-fed state, they are churning out hormones like there's no tomorrow. Reproduce now, you may never get a better chance!

Does this explain why males are always taking their new dates out for dinner?

LOL. I suspect demonstrating the ability to be a provider is relevant. :)

I used to read old Harlequin Romances in my misspent youth. (I read everything, even the dictionary and the backs of aspirin bottles.) A lot of them dated from the post-war years in Britain, and featured scenes where the wealthy, handsome hero swept the poor but pretty heroine off her feet by treating her to a lavish dinner. There would be long, detailed passages describing all the luxurious foods. I found it quite bizarre, until someone explained the post-war food shortages to me.

Wow. I looked down on hack written stuff like that as a kid, but long detailed passages about food sure would have interested me.

Although, much of my childhood and early adulthood was all about seeing how little I could get by on, and stoically ignoring hunger pangs. My self-discipline was strong enough that the books may have made no impression on me.

The problem with explaining the observed increase in longevity with progressive caloric restriction by the mechanism of differential allocation of metabolic energy to reproduction versus somatic maintenance under differing energetic regimes, is that neither of these variables scale smoothly with progressive caloric restriction. For instance, fertility in female mice declines little until a threshold of caloric intake is crossed, at which point it drops off abruptly. What does scale smoothly with progressive caloric restriction is body mass. This close proportional scaling holds true not just for adipose tissue but also for muscle and visceral organ mass except for the brain and the gonads. If energy allocation is optimized for the maximization of fitness, then why is so much metabolic energy invested in increased body mass rather than in fertility, as caloric intake increases? I think that the answer has to do with the maintenance of temperature homeostasis in homeothermic endotherms (mammals & birds). This hypothesis is consistent with the smooth scaling of progressive caloric restriction with body mass in both males & females, despite their radically differing reproductive strategies. Animals could be subjected to caloric restriction while maintained at cold temperatures, in order to test this hypothesis. If longevity (as a surrogate metric for energy allocation to somatic maintenance) continues to scale smoothly with caloric intake under these conditions, the hypothesis would be falsified.

I don't think scaling smoothly is necessary.

There have also been some more direct measures, like finding fertility and speed of wound healing or blood replacement are inversely related.

This study suggests that for humans, protein restriction is just as important as calorie restriction:
It makes sense that in hard times, when meat becomes relatively more expensive, people would shift toward more carbohydrates.

Time for some cutbacks at UNC-there is a pretty high correlation between wealth and longevity.

From the ecomonist magazine "Poverty is THE primary
threat to Human lifespan". Obviously the politicos don't understand that they are committing crimes against humanity when they screw up ability for willing to work to make a living.

I think they are fully aware of what they are doing. I think that what is obvious is that they don't care.

These folks have neither the money nor the connections to threaten the politicos - so in essence they are invisible to them. Economic collateral damage.

But some pockets are fatter - so life goes on.



More predictions of market trouble from MarketWatch:

What Henry Kaufman sees ahead:
Noted international economist says global regulation is necessary

E. Swanson

NASA just dumped a load of highly toxic & carcinogenic hydrazine rocket fuel into the southern ocean. Ironically, the failed satellite launch was intended to put a CO2 monitoring devise into orbit. A year ago the US contributed to the space debris swarm by taking out a defunct spy satellite with a rocket fired from a warship, ostensibly to prevent hydrazine contamination of the ocean. Of course, that was merely their rationalization; the real motive was to prevent espionage tech from falling into the hands of our "enemies." The US PTB could care less about oceanic pollution.

Imagine every rocket launched is a can of hair spray
and you've got it.

Forget Mars, we'll be lucky to have colonies on Earth in
100 years.

“Our study convinced us that current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet,” said Solomon, who is based at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

Watch argentina.

I don't approve of sending humans (or other animals) into space, of space-based military apps, or of spending the taxpayers' $$ on missions to gratify the curiosity of cosmologists. One of the few things pertaining to space I do approve of is Earth monitoring satellites. Too bad this one failed to achieve orbit, and too bad so many others do.

NASA just dumped a load of highly toxic & carcinogenic hydrazine rocket fuel into the southern ocean.

Based on what data? What exact data do you have at this time as the the size of 'the load'?

The US PTB could care less about oceanic pollution.

The trash gyre is a far bigger issue and shows the 'caring' is not just a PTB issue.
What with the plastic looking like food and absorbing PCBs at a rate of 20,000 times background.

Indeed, a bit of perspective is important here. The entire satellite was on the order of a half-ton in mass, and the propellant load, in rough numbers, was probably around a third of that, say 300 lb of hydrazine. Hydrazine is nasty stuff, with exposure limits typically in the 1-10 ppm range, but 300 lbs dumped somewhere in the southern ocean... just doesn't register as that big of a problem, when compared to the bigger issues.

The description of the failure sounds like the launch didn't achieve orbital velocity, but was still moving very fast when it came down. It's likely that the whole thing got very hot, maybe even burning out before it hit the ocean.

E. Swanson

Hydrazine is nasty stuff, with exposure limits typically in the 1-10 ppm range, but 300 lbs dumped somewhere in the southern ocean... just doesn't register as that big of a problem, when compared to the bigger issues.

"The solution to pollution is dilution," right? The illogic of "this may be bad but that's so much worse we needn't worry about this" never ceases to amaze me. This is the exact same nonsense I see parrotted by the supporters of wind turbines. "Yeah, turbines kill birds but mortality is miniscule compared to mortality due to cats, cars, plate glass windows... so don't worry about it." Precisely how does something worse justify something bad, I'd like to know?

Here's another old saw for you: "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good."

Is the release of a few hundred pounds of hydrazine above, or in, the southern ocean undesirable? Of course it is. Is the project of tracking CO2 levels worth some effort? I think the answer to that is also a resounding "yes", as additional scientific data will help to strengthen the case that we're making a mess of the atmosphere. However, getting this data for free isn't an option. Everything we do comes with attendant costs. Earth-monitoring satellites represent a particularly effective means of gathering information, and I think they are a worthwhile investment. Sadly, launching stuff into orbit is still a technically challenging endeavor, and sometimes things can and do go awry.

In round numbers, annual CO2 emissions from the US alone total around 2.2 billion metric tons. The hydrazine release is 10 orders of magnitude smaller. I realize that comparing CO2 to hydrazine is an apples-to-oranges affair, but scale is also important. For a bit more perspective, consider that ten orders of magnitude is the difference between one person... and the entire human population of the earth.

On a personal note, I would love to see the use of hydrazine in space propulsion become a thing of the past, not least because of its toxicity. It's a hassle to work around and makes ground testing of propulsion systems a lot dirtier and more difficult than necessary. One of my projects at work is developing a non-toxic alternative for in-space propulsion. It's not ready for prime time yet, but we have high hopes that we'll get it there.

Thanks for your well reasoned comments.

Earth-monitoring satellites... I think they are a worthwhile investment.

Agreed, but ONLY for Earth-monitoring & to a limited extent communications sats.

I realize that comparing CO2 to hydrazine is an apples-to-oranges affair, but scale is also important.

Yes, and.. yes. However, the relatively small scale of this pollution incident doesn't mitigate its consequences to the delicate ecology of Antarctic marine ecosystems. I'd rather not be ill than be even a "little bit" ill.

One of my projects at work is developing a non-toxic alternative for in-space propulsion.

What's wrong with LH2/LO2 propulsion? Water vapor may be a potent greenhouse gas but it isn't toxic and doesn't persist in the atmosphere very long.

"What's wrong with LH2/LO2 propulsion?"

LOX/LH2 (liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen) is a good propellant combo for launch vehicles, and is in fact used for the space shuttle main engines. It's non-toxic, and it's a great performer: it delivers better specific impulse (essentially, rocket miles-per-gallon) than any other conventional chemical propellant combination.

However, these propellants are also a bit of a hassle, because liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are difficult to store. Both are cryogenic liquids and, when exposed to heat from the ambient environment, they boil away, resulting in propellant losses. This is particularly bad in the case of liquid hydrogen. The normal boiling point of LH2 is around 20 K, meaning that it is so cold that it can condense and freeze the very air (nitrogen and oxygen) surrounding the tank. Because of this, insulation is required to reduce the heat load and keep boiloff losses to an acceptable rate. This insulation is, of course, what was responsible for the Columbia disaster, when a piece of foam insulation broke off during launch and damaged the leading edge of the wing.

This hassle factor associated with liquid cryogens presents a mostly-tolerable burden for launch propulsion systems. The cryogens only need to be maintained in the tank on the launch pad for hours, or perhaps a few days, and the tanks may be topped off up to within several minutes of the actual launch to make sure that they're full upon liftoff. However, what we're discussing isn't a launch propulsion system - it's the propulsion system that is used once the satellite is already on orbit. This propulsion system will be used over the duration of the satellite's useful life (several years) for attitude control, station-keeping, and perhaps the occasional slight change in orbital inclination.

For the in-space propulsion mission, liquid cryogens are a complete non-starter. Boiloff losses are unacceptable - you can't have a propellant that boils away in a few days or weeks. The options that exist for minimizing (superinsulation) or eliminating (onboard cryocoolers) boiloff losses either aren't good enough to change that fact, or are too heavy and power-intensive. You need a propellant which can be stored in near-thermal-equilibrium with the orbital environment. For the last 50 years or so, that has meant hydrazine. It can be stored for long durations as a liquid under moderate pressure, it's easy to ignite, and it has a lengthy flight history. Thus far, it remains the chemical propellant of choice for many satellites, despite the issues of toxicity and mediocre specific impulse.

However, what we're discussing isn't a launch propulsion system - it's the propulsion system that is used once the satellite is already on orbit.

Thank you for this clarification.

I just finished listening to the NASA news briefing about today's incident and in response to a question by the news media they said that all the Taurus stages had burnt and it was only the hydrazine in the satellite itself that went into the ocean. When asked what the ecological consequences of this might be the NASA official admitted that he didn't know.


You have your opinion that launches are only for Earth-monitoring satellites, and I and others have other opinions.

I will gladly direct some of my tax dollars to launch probes to Mars and the other planets and moons, and to loft space telescopes scanning the broad swath of electromagnetic radiation frequencies, perhaps one day soon detecting other habitable planets, an ocean under the icy crust of Europa, and more.

Why? Just to have the knowledge. That is enough for me. I think that gaining knowledge of the Universe, both at large scales, small scales, and every scale in-between, is a fundamental thing that differentiates us from the other animals on Earth. If there is no interest left in expanding knowledge, then to heck with it all.

You can fund my love of knowledge by writing your Congressman and the President and de-funding military space expenditures, and at least half of the total military budget while you are at it.

The illogic of "this may be bad but that's so much worse we needn't worry about this" never ceases to amaze me.

And me, I'm never dissapointed when people say 'a load of' and when challenged to show actual data don't bother to respond.

Hydrazine is nasty stuff,

Yes. It is Hydrogen and Nitrogen. Physically it is similar to water, but chemically it is reducing, decomposable, basic, and bifunctional. So once it is done being 'nasty' and decomposes it is not an issue like, say heavy metals. Or a chemical that can bioaccumulate in the food chain.

Now again Darwinsdog - I ask - Show what "a load" is in volume.

This is the exact same nonsense I see parrotted by the supporters of wind turbines.

And I believe the last time Wind Machine Bird/Bat deaths showed up I asked for actual data VS the flapping of terms like "a load".

Give your data as to WHY its bad VS "oh it is bad, trust me".

Hydrazine is also highly unstable. It won't stick around for long.

I saw him on CNBC this morning. The man does seem to "get" peak oil. He predicted prices would skyrocket when the economy recovered, if only because the increasing population of the world would increase demand.

Whether the economy will recover is whole different story, of course.

U.S. Interior Sec to Review Oil cos' Controversial Leases. Up top.

I have long complained about the double standard regarding subsidies for oil and ethanol. Sometimes I thought I might be overstating the case that oil is highly subsidized. Now I find out that I was probably understating the subsidies for oil in the form of RIK.

RIK (Royalty payment in kind) is a subsidy because it protects oil companies from price risk. If they were to pay royalties in cash they would have to sell the oil on the market, pay taxes on any gain and then pay the royalties. The additional oil on the market would likely depress prices somewhat. And since the oil market is unpredictable, RIK transfers risk is to the government.

Corn growers would love to have a deal like that. Lease land from the government and pay the rent in the form of ethanol that goes into a strategic ethanol reserve.

But on top of this, the article points out that leases signed in the late 90s resulted in tens of billions of dollars of lost royalty revenue. That lost revenue is a subsidy for oil IMO. When tens of billions are used to subsidize ethanol using the blenders credit which goes to the oil companies for the most part, it's the end of the world. But if oil companies steal tens of billions, no big deal.

I'm glad to see the administration doing something about the situation after oilman Bush sat on it for 8 years.

Leasing the land with the rent paid in kind is called sharecropping.


I think you're confused about the RIK clause with respect to federal leases. It does nothing to protect the oil companies from pricing risk. The royalty on a typical OCS lease is 1/8. The gov't can take that 1/8 in the form of physical oil and NG or they can have the operator sell that oil and receive 100% of that value. It's titled to the gov't the day it comes out of the well head....it's never a part of the operators taxable income.

As far as the lost revenue from those Deep Water leases allowed royalty relief, that was a gov't program to induce operators to venture out into those expensive plays. You can argue whether that was a good idea or not but the gov't made up the rules. The fact that the rules didn't put a limit on the royalty reduction in the case of booming oil/NG prices you can lay that off on the buffoons in Clinton's Congress. They wrote the rules. They later claimed it was a typo but you would think that with the many millions of $'s we pay for Congressional staff you think someone would have caught it.

Tata ready to start production of Nano, the world's cheapest car:


In the picture it appears to be a subcompact economy car, a four door version of the Smart Car that is not much larger. Slum dog upper middle class car.

AIG to post $60 billion loss this quarter. Then they can ask for $60 billion more to cover it.....
Some of the loss is probably made up so they can cash in while they have the opportunity.
Wish I could do that at my house.

I appreciated the Michael Pollan/Mother Jones Interview..


MJ: Ethanol producers have asked for part of the economic stimulus/bailout package.

MP: Can you believe it? They're only, like, two years old and they were started with subsidies and would not exist except for the fact that in 2006 President Bush began these mandates. Now, on top of that, they need a bailout. ...

He does say that the Weston Price people are pro-meat and anti-plant, which is maybe his experience, but it's not mine, but his conclusion on that topic I agree with, just the same..

there's another group, the Weston A. Price Foundation, who are fierce in their love of animal fat. And a lot of what they say is right, but they really don't like plants. People feel like they have to take sides on this plant/animal divide, and I don't think we do.

MJ: There's no dilemma?

MP: [Laughs.] No dilemma. And of course a lot of vegetarians were annoyed that I wasn't saying "all plants." It's a thicket. People have strong, quasi-religious views. Secularizing the issue is challenging.

I'm reading 'The 100 Year Lie', by Randall Fitzgerald, who makes a lot of connections between the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Energy Industries and our Depleted, Poisoned Food Supply. Fun Stuff!

p 84. "2005 - Breast Milk sampled from women in 18 states is found to contain traces of Perchlorate, a toxic component of Rocket Fuel. Texas Tech Univ. researchers report the source is likely to be food that was tainted from irrigation water that had collected the toxin in seepage from defense industry plants around the US. At levels found in the breast milk, a one-month old infant would absorb enough perchlorate to exceed safe levels set by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

Final thought from Pollan.. about AG Subsidies.

One of the problems is that the government supports unhealthy food and does very little to support healthy food. I mean, we subsidize high fructose corn syrup. We subsidize hydrogenated corn oil. We do not subsidize organic food. We subsidize four crops that are the building blocks of fast food.

Back in the 1970s a researcher was studying toxin loadings in industrial populations and wanted a control group. In the belief that the Inuit of the far north would be free of all industrial toxins they were chosen as the controls. The surprise came when they were found to have a higher degree of toxin loadings than people in the cities where the toxins were introduced to the atmosphere.


Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier speculative posting series on us 'counting down' our tool-using, exosomatic fingers to help curtail the drastically elevated habitat decimation and specie extinction rates that are occurring. Seems Nature has it own version:

Photo of Dede Koswara -- dubbed "Tree Man" because of the massive bark-like warts all over his body..
I am no expert on this disease [I feel very sorry for this man, too] but this could make a great bioweapon to limit our excessive activities.

"I never give up my SUV until you pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel."

"No problem-- with this wart-growing injection you soon won't even be able to feel nor grab the door handle, the steering wheel, or the car keys."

The rest of the world isn't waiting for the oil to run out:

Evergreen (ESLR) Close to Completing German Highway Tunnel Solar Plant

When it is completed, the 2.8 megawatt (MW) solar plant will be one of Germany’s largest and the first to be located on a public highway. Investment in the project will be around €11m.

E. Swanson

I expect this was reported before, because I never beat Leanan to news..;-) but:

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - Calgary-based
engineering firm, Vista Projects Limited, announced today that it has
been awarded the contract to provide Front End Engineering Design
(FEED) services to Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank")
for the well pad and pipeline package of Petrobank's May River
project. The northern Alberta venture will be a commercial application
of Petrobank's patented THAI(TM) (toe to heel air injection)
technology, aiming to produce 10,000 barrels of oil per day with no
net water use.

I am very interested in data/understanding how they could use zero water - does that mean from rivers? Clearly in situ they won't need the tailing ponds but what about the groundwater, etc? Anyone with specific knowledge on this please post links or email me. Thanks

I notice the words "aiming" and "net".

This post from Gail might be of use:



Can't speak to the THAI process with any intelligence, but I did come across a potential energy solution for the Oil Sands the other day. Just across the provincial border in northern BC there is a potential for 12 GW of wind power generation which could be connected to Ft. McMurray by HVDC using the recently constructed pipeline route as a right of way. Add to that the potential on the Alberta side and there should be enough capacity and energy to supply the area. I think a base load nuclear plant would still be required for voltage support, but the other three to five nuke plants would not be required.

Just a bit of a pipe dream to illustrate what can be achieved.

Good article about the growing rage in the UK-the author makes a good point-unlimited public funds for surveillance of citizens, and no interest in controlling financial fraud. IMHO Obama is just a facsimile of a leader, but the conditions are building for the emergence of an actual viable 3rd party in the USA led by an actual leader, not a facsimile http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1152876/JAMES-SLACK-Yes-raging...

Nine bits of strange economic history

In order to stop rising inflation and devaluation of the currency in third century Rome, Emperor Diocletian instituted fixed prices on most consumer goods. Anyone selling goods at prices higher than those of the emperor was put to death; this led to hoarding of goods.

A law was then passed that forbade the hoarding of goods. Penalty? Death. So people just closed their businesses, then another law was passed. You guessed it: shut down your business or fail to follow in your father's business? Death.

And then it says:

It's amazing the Roman Empire lasted as long as it did.

Well, these laws certainly promoted some discipline. Not very good for having good time there, but it sure made the country resilient. Unlike today.

It just goes to show the danger of over inflating the money supply. The emperor was debasing the coinage and then trying to stop the effects. Like governments in the 70's who did likewise and then tried wage and price controls, but without the death threats.

4 Auto dealerships in this locale have gone under in the last year. 3 of them in very recent times.
Not listed in the following article is the St Peter MN Ford dealership that went under last year and the location is still vacant.
So, 2 Ford dealerships, 2 GM dealerships down and everyone is just waiting for one of the Chrysler dealerships to close. Rumor has it that one of them only sold 2 cars in a whole month.
We live in interesting times. I have heard from relatives that some large dealerships in Florida have gone under. How many on this blog can report specific closings of car dealerships?

Nielsen Chevrolet in St. Peter to close

In November, Countryside Motors, a GM dealership in Waseca, announced it was closing.

Earlier this month, Dick Olson Motors of Madelia, another GM dealership, abruptly closed its doors. Owner Sherry Olson said that GM’s lending arm, GMAC, effectively made it impossible for the dealership to stay open even though sales in 2008 were up.


Car dealers struggle, cut staff, pay, dividends

Some 960 dealers went out of business last year, says Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association. About 30% of dealers are operating in the red, raising the prospect of more failures this year.

"There's a feeling in the dealer network (ranging from) mildly concerned to outright panic," says Paul Melville, a dealer restructuring expert for consultant Grant Thornton. Sometimes, closures are the only option. "A lot of these dealers are hard to restructure, because there are just too many of them. You just have to take capacity out of the market," he says.

Personally, I have not noticed any local dealerships go under, but then, I wouldn't. I don't go shopping very often, and certainly not for cars.

The last time I bought a car, I bought it online, and made them deliver it to my doorstep.

LOL Leanan!

I can do you one better though, I'm welcome to fix up and own any of the cars around this property, so in essence I can go "car shopping" without leaving the gate.

I'm waiting to see if any kind of cash flow that can support a car is possible first though. Until then I'll stick with my motorcycle.

Zangara Chrysler/Dodge, by far THE Chrysler dealership in Albuquerque, has been closed and dark for at least one week. The ABQ Journal said that the owner is seeking a buyer. ABQ has over 600K people. I feel sorry for the people who worked there and for the people who derived their income from building/supplying Chrysler products, but I am happy that all those monstrous Dodge RAM pickemup trucks are sitting there being guarded by the renta-cops and ABQ metro police. I don't think Zangara is coming back.

Maybe many folks who feel the need for a pickenup bed can return to the class of truck represented by the Chevy LUV and the original Mazda B2000. Maybe hybrid-powered and made from light, corrosion-resistant plastic/composite materials.

Yes. We just lost two here in Gilroy, a large Ford dealership and a large Chevy/GM one.

There go a bunch of jobs.

The Gilroy Dispatch is the local paper, their web site probably has all the details.

Also, with the cutoff for Federal water to farmers here, it was surmised on KSCO Radio that thousands of jobs will be lost, and land lost by farmers who depend on making a crop.

Incidentally enough, every dealership that closes out of financial problems is a benefit in some ways to GM/Ford/Chrysler, in the fashion that if a certain brand is killed off, they don't have to buy the franchise back from the franchisee. Of course, It's somewhat like being thankful that a car accident took off a leg that had gangrene and you otherwise would have to pay to have a chunk of leg cut out.

Gilroy? A big garlic farm.

Last time I saw it anyway. Way way back.

I grow my own garlic now.



DETROIT (Reuters) - The number of U.S. car dealerships closing is expected to increase into 2009 with as many as 3,800 dealerships at risk of closure because of dwindling sales and tighter credit, according to a newly released study by Grant Thornton LLP on Wednesday.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The national wave of auto dealership closures has come crashing down on thousands of people who are on the hook for used-car loans that dealers were supposed to absolve.

When a car buyer still owes money on a vehicle he is trading in, the dealer promises to pay off the outstanding loan, then resells the vehicle. But as more dealers go out of business, some are sticking consumers with the bill. Lenders can then go after the previous owner who thought the debt was paid, or repossess the car from the new owner who assumed it came with clear title.


07:59 PM PST on Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

A climate of dropping sales and tight credit continues to take its toll on Inland auto dealerships.

The latest in a string of recent closures is Superior Pontiac GMC Truck, located at 1356 Auto Center Drive in Ontario. The dealership will shut down around Dec. 1, and its franchise has been purchased by Mark Christopher Auto Center, also in Ontario, employees of both companies confirmed this week.

Looks like there are going to be a lot of dealerships going under - And a lot of car buyers getting stuck as a result!

Hi Jon,

I discovered last night that the Chrysler dealership in Toronto where I had purchased my last new vehicle has since closed (not sure when). It was a small, older dealership that no doubt found it difficult to compete with some of the larger players in what has to be one of the tougher new car markets. It's a shame, because they always took very good care of my vehicles; they were courteous, professional and always pleasant; and I never once questioned their integrity, unlike some of the other Chrysler dealers I've known over the years.


Bill Heard Chevrolet, formerly the largest Chevy dealer in the U.S. went bankrupt back in September.


They had a huge lot just a couple miles up the road from where I work. Last time I drove by, about three weeks ago, the lot was still full of cars just sitting there.

Car dealerships going down.

Think about what happens here in the rural areas when gas stations go out of business.

My town now has only 2 stations. We once had 4. One is just barely hanging on. If both go then its a far longer drive to where there is some.

We used to have 5 restaurants. Now just one.
We had a car dealership. No more.

We had a couple farm stores selling fertilizer and had milling operations. No more.

Small town Ahhmurkah will be the first to cycle down. Its already happening. Walmart helped kill it. Taxes just drove a friend of mine out of business and his trade slowed even though the taxes are not enacted as yet(state ,plus federal).

The shine of good times is fading fast. Many more are now out of work than just this time last year. Social services who I just contacted about my very aged mother said 'We have no money and you will just have to get on a waiting list'...How big I asked? ...No answer...

So where have the taxes gone then that was supposed to support them?
The state is way over budget,,taxes must go up. Whose to pay them if work is going away? No one answers.

This is the downside of the bubble.


The unemployment rate is yet low in the D.C. area, where you sent your taxes to.

Lots of stories today about 7-day/week workers. I like ol' Sulley's story best:

Sullenberger himself has started a consulting business to help make ends meet. Skiles added, "For the last six years, I have worked seven days a week between my two jobs just to maintain a middle class standard of living."

I'm in that mode myself, as are many.

The difference between Sulley and me is that I realize WHY it is this way, whereas he thinks it's a problem with deregulation and bankruptcies fueling mgmt/union issues.

Nobody will easily afford the lifestyle of 20 years ago, and those of us who work twice as hard will just not slide as fast in income terms, but we'll hit the deflation wall just as hard.

When I lose my present job or quit due to the BS, I'll be darned if I am going to work two lower-paying jobs to compensate. It will be my cue to kick back and relax and live more simply with fewer expenses. At some point one relishes getting off the rat-race treadmill. It's called 'living within one's means'.

Prepare Yourself for Higher Gas Prices

"If you're looking for a villain in this scenario, the refiners fit the bill; they have kept capacity idle in anticipation of the coming demand and hope to profit from the widening crack spread - or the difference in price between crude oil and refined products."

good discussion on options ..


Hi All-

I started a blog,Gas Holes, and wrote a bit today on Chimerica if anyone's interested (with an ELM plug). Also, if there are any topics anyone would like me to put something together for, let me know.

Thanks. (sorry for the plug leenan, I won't do again)

Iraq output declines

The corruption, political instability and the country inability to sign any meaningful oil contracts to boost production are starting to take a toll on production:

Pressure problems at two southern oilfields are the main reason for a decline of 250,000 barrels per day. That, on top of oil's $100 a barrel price collapse since July last year, has already forced Iraq to cut its budget twice.
Alarmed by the loss of output from its reliable southern oilfields, Baghdad sent a high-powered committee to investigate and devise a quick fix.

Full story:


High-powered committe? They sound armed and dangerous.

Alarmed by the loss of output from its reliable southern oilfields, Baghdad sent a high-powered committee to investigate and devise a quick fix.

About Iraq oil. How much oil does the US import from Iraq? I can't find a reference.



Probably 10% - 20% of comments on any given day relate to oil and gas. Why do I have to wade thru all of that oil and gas BS to get to the really important stuff like breast cancer, the banking system, politics, etc. Is there any way for the moderators to take the off topic oil and gas comments and put them in a separate place? If this site had anything to do with oil and gas or energy, then I could understand keeping such comments in with the mainstream. However, since it bears only a passing relationship to the topic, why not post those comments in a separate "off topic" thread? Just a suggestion.

Reasonable question, except that the 'Energy AND our future' is because we want to talk about the aspects of our societies that will be immensely affected by, or have a direct effect ON our energy situation.. so Politics is really not Off-Topic.. healthcare, consumer issues, economics, population.. sure, it sounds grandiose, but in actuality, it's hardly a stretch to see why all of these things are riding on the same wave of Petroleum, and will be run aground together if that tide goes out.

I still use oil, but why would I be looking for Oilfield info? To continue to convince myself that PO is real? I don't need more convincing, while I am glad there are those here following production and consumption, poised to deliver the coup-de-grace on that 'debate'.. I'm here to think about 'what comes next?'.. 'what preparations and issues have I not considered yet?' For me, it's ALL about the unexpected incidentals and side-effects.


This is the "off-topic" thread. You're the one who's out of place. Stay out of the DrumBeats, and everyone will be less annoyed.

Coup d'etat delivered.

Amen.But I sensed it was sacranol on his part. No?


This one has sure got me confused. Perhaps someone is pulling my leg? WTF is Petro Coal!
California attempts clean coal from petroleum

The petro coal is a byproduct made from residue from gasoline and other products from about 12 of the state's 21 oil refineries, Peevey said. About 90 percent of the state's petrol coal is exported to the Far East and burned in boilers without environmental controls, Peevey said.

The PUC initiative would dispose of the petro coal with a process that could sequester some of the carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, it would reduce the state's need for natural gas. And it would eliminate the environmental impact of transporting the petro coal to Asia, he said.

Peevey estimated the petro coal could produce 1,500 MW of electricity generation.

The co-op north of Lake Pontchartrain was 100% natural gas (perhaps 9% interest in one nuke ?). They recently completed a power plant that runs on petroleum coke (fl;uidized bed can alos run on coal).

Pet coke is the carbon left after the hydrogen has been stripped off.


My sis lives in Slidell in a RV and says most heat with propane there.

I'm still considering a move to NO, and I was asking her about her area.

Are you available to receive an email about the job environment ?

Wait till this weekend, when I return from family health issues.

Best Hopes,


Pet coke is the carbon left after the hydrogen has been stripped off.

I was under the impression that "coking units" were to be able to break up the heaviest grades, i.e. end up with more gasoline & diesel, and less asphalt. I thought they consumed coke. But, that might be wrong, as you probably have to add hydrogen -or remove carbon. In any case it sounds like this stuff was being exported.

First Solar just broke the $1 per watt cost barrier! This is a huge step toward making solar viable even as fossil fuel prices are below their mid-2008 highs.

For some details, see:




What has happened to the efficient thermo-electric convertion device ?

About 10 or 11 years ago an interesting article was published in the magazine:
It was about an electronic device capable of converting thermal energy
to electricity with an efficiency of 70 % of the Carnot cycle !!
The article stated that two english scientists
patented this device and showed a working model to the Patent Office which produced electricity
to run a small electric motor by exchanging heat from the ambient air and a piece of ice.
If that is true and if making such devices is not very expensive, this invention could be very helpful for conserving fossil fuels. (By taking advantage of low-grade heat)

If any reader of The Oil Drum knows something about this invention or has the old magazine that
mentions this invention, kindly let us know.

I don't know anything about what you write. If you are any good with search engines you should be able to find something.

This search indicates from the first return it's a British pub, which is consistent with
"english scientists". Does Britain allow for online patent searches like the US ?

There have been a few papers about better thermo-electric materials. I was under the impression that electric output might be 10 or 20% of the thermal input. Clearly not a world beating (or heat engine beating) technology. The current thermoelectric materials are mainly used for active cooling of electronic devices. If this new stuff becomes practical there will be many applications generating smallish amounts of power from waste heat. Add one of these babies to a hybrid vehicle, and waste heat going out the tailpipe could recharge the hybrid battery. Not revolutionary, but it might increase the mileage by several mpg. Haven't seen anything for a few months though. I think it is just a few materials scientists playing around at this point.

The Auto idea was tried in Germany, it seems..


Germany automakers Volkswagen and BMW have developed thermoelectric generators (TEG) that recover waste heat from a combustion engine.

According to a report by Prof. Rowe of the University of Wales in the International Thermoelectric Society, Volkswagen claims 600W output from the TEG under highway driving condition. The TEG-produced electricity meets around 30% of the car’s electrical requirements, resulting in a reduced mechanical load (alternator) and a reduction in fuel consumption of more than 5%.

BMW and DLR (German Aerospace) have also developed an exhaust powered thermoelectric generator that achieves 200 W maximum and has been used successfully for more than 12,000-km road use.

Space probes to the outer solar system make use of the effect in radioisotope thermoelectric generators for electrical power.

Some time back, I bought a surplus Peltier Junction to play with TEG and making a mini-cooler.. but haven't gotten to that project yet. (Low efficiency, so I hear) http://www.sciplus.com/search.cfm?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=search&...

The land grab (?) is not just the Arctic. Now China is setting up a base in the Antarctic to study geological anomalies
More reports out next week. It seems anybody can stake a claim and there is no deeds office.

Things could get interesting when the Antarctic treaty is up.

For those wishing to get a glimpse of our probable future TCM is airing Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

I always wondered why this film seemed so important to me.


Good news: Obama plans to withdrawal 'most troops' by 2010, in 19 months.

Bad news: That's three months longer than he initially promised, and the even worse news is that he plans to leave behind 30,000-50,000 troops as a 'stabilizing force' with a 'significant combat element'.

Even worse news: No end in our involvement in the Afghanistan quagmire in sight, and some previous tough talk about Pakistan.

That's why I steered my children away from following my military service: I made it clear that I think the military is being used by TPTB as pawns in their twisted 'Great Game'. Forget that jive.

I guess we would have to elect either Ralph Nader or Ron Paul or someone else not beholden to the Republicrat/Demican Parties to truly govern differently.

Change has come. Obama changing the promises he made before he was elected.

Yes it was once all about defending our country.
Now its about defending someone else's country.
And mayhap they might not care for our interference.

I say...quit using the military as sugar daddies when their goal is something else. Stomping down piles of hash in Afghanistan should not be there job.

There job is to protect and defend and not be used as power pawns by mad politicians.


Maybe Alan could direct his positive waves up to Virginia:


This is where a good portion of the stimulus money should go...this and renewable energy.

Oh, but the Rush Limbaugh dead-enders would scream about socialism corruption the holy perfection of the free market. Forget that noise; if we lived with totally free markets there would be Love Canals (and worse)all over the place...we would still be sucking down hideous amounts of lead from breathing lead-gasoline-polluted air, and on and on.

I have traveled to some third-world crap-holes in my life, and each time I was very very glad that we have our anti-pollution laws, as imperfect as they may be.

Someone needs to tell the brain-dead ditto-heads that Richard Nixon, for all his faults, created the EPA.