Drumbeat: August 15, 2009

Consumer inflation tumbles to zero

WASHINGTON — Consumer prices have fallen more in the past year than in any 12-month period in nearly six decades — a huge break for shoppers but also a reminder that prices are being restrained by weak spending that's likely to slow an economic recovery.

The recession and lower energy costs kept a lid on prices last month, causing consumer inflation to fall to zero. Most economists think prices are now in a sweet spot: ultra-low inflation without a serious risk of deflation, a destabilizing spiral of falling prices and wages.

Are we ready to recover?

Rubin is done with mincing words. “It became increasingly apparent long before I left that CIBC World Markets was not really the appropriate platform for the kind of research I was doing. It wasn’t something they wanted to be identified with in any shape or form, and that’s fine, because I really don’t want to be identified with CIBC in any shape or form. So it was a mutual divorce.”

Hey, that’s pretty harsh. It’s not like Rubin’s tough prophecies aren’t good news for his former specialty area, Canada’s oil patch. “We don’t talk now,” he says.

Wow. Rubin gets the big kiss-off even though he sees nothin’ but hefty oil prices ahead. But you can see why he’s unpopular when he explains that the costs of getting that oil out of the ground will just keep blowing up the global economy.

Much-reviled speculators a crucial part of market system

Speculators have been blamed for bringing volatility to the crude oil market in their quest for the quick dollar. But their supporters say they are a crucial part of the market system, and provide much in the way of insight to other investors.

FBI arrests energy firm's ex-leader in fraud case

The FBI has arrested a former chairman of the parent company of a Texas firm under investigation about petroleum products stolen from Mexican oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, that were smuggled and resold in the U.S.

Kamal Abdallah, 44, appeared briefly in federal court in San Antonio on Friday on stock-fraud charges out of New York alleging he was involved in a penny-stock scam, and is scheduled for a bail hearing Wednesday.

Russia, Venezuela moot oil joint venture

Russia and Venezuela envisioned on Saturday a joint venture to develop Venezuelan oil deposits, following bilateral talks that also touched on military contracts, Russian news agencies reported.

Japan should reduce energy consumption to make it less vulnerable to global crises

It may seem odd to take the opportunity on the anniversary of the end of World War II to insist that Japan should reduce energy consumption. However, it is indispensable for peace and safety in Japan.

It is impossible to completely eradicate the threats posed by climate change, uncertainties in the demand and supply of energy and potential food crises. However, Japan can at least make itself less vulnerable to these threats by transforming itself into a society that relies less on energy. By doing so, Japan can also extend assistance to developing countries faced with such global problems.

Nigeria's Power Output Suffers Following Pipeline Attack

Nigeria's energy company says electricity output fell dramatically Friday following an attack on a natural gas plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell in the restive Niger Delta.

Nigerian officials say unknown attackers blew up the Utorugu pipeline which supplies gas to the state-owned Nigerian Gas Company to feed power stations in Africa's most populous nation. The facility is jointly owned by Shell Nigeria and the Nigerian Gas Company.

Commentary on global exchange voluteer in the Upper East region, Bolgatanga on preparing for a peak oil stage

The economy of most countries in the 20th century was built on oil. For some, oil brought unprecedented wealth and power. For others it brought repression and new forms of economic colonialism. Few oil producing countries have used their wealth wisely. But in many countries oil has been a curse. But in the 21st century, we can see that our continued dependency on oil threatens the future of all of us, both rich and poor. As supplies fall further behind demand, the world faces economic crisis and western countries are scrambling to secure their access to the last reserves.

Make practical green fixes before going solar

Nothing screams "I'm saving the planet" like a gleaming set of rooftop solar panels. In our increasingly enviro-conscious world, there may be no greater status symbol for a homeowner wanting to project those cool enviro-friendly vibes. It's like driving a brand-new Prius.

For San Francisco architect Mark English, though, comparing driving a Prius to expensive "green" home improvements like solar panels is apt - especially if your 10-year-old Corolla still runs.

Transit center open for business

The Durango Regional Transit Center opened to great fanfare Friday, as the $5.1 million facility took its place as the heart of the local transportation system.

Durango Transit buses and trolleys, vans and bicyclists are expected to make heavy use of the facility at 250 W. Eighth Street.

Stop bike lane ticket blitz

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Borough President James P. Molinaro yesterday called for the elimination of the bicycle lane on Capodanno Boulevard after the Advance reported that police were aggressively ticketing motorists who encroached on the lane to make turns at Seaview Avenue.

"These bike lanes interfere with traffic flow," said Molinaro, noting that drivers are permitted to make a right-on-red at Capodanno and Seaview. "The point of right-on-red is to move traffic, but a bike lane in the right lane prevents that. This is not common sense."

Japan, U.S. eye clean energy development project

TOKYO — Japan and the United States aim to agree in November on a joint project to develop clean energy sources such as solar power and biofuels as part of their efforts to forge a new partnership in combating global warming, sources close to Japan-U.S. relations said Friday. The two countries are expected to push ahead with the envisaged joint project even if a change of government occurs in Japan after the Aug 30 House of Representatives election, according to the sources.

How tiny striped molluscs are muscling in on America's water supply

At the Hoover Dam there are sometimes 55,000 mussels per square foot in the intake towers, hampering the facility’s electricity-generating equipment.

Things are likely to get worse. “Over time, I would think eventually they’ll be almost around the [entire] country,” predicts Amy Benson, a fishery biologist with the US Geological Survey in Florida.

Kenya to Spend 24 Billion Shillings to Counter Drought Threats

(Bloomberg) -- Kenya announced a plan to tackle a drought which has hit food crop-growing regions, reduced hydro- electricity production and led to widespread water shortages.

The government will spend 24 billion shillings ($314 million) on “drought-crisis interventions” using contingency funds from the 2009-10 budget, borrowing and from “small” cuts to the budgets of various ministries.

“The nation is in a serious water, food and energy crisis,” Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in Parliament in Nairobi today, according to an e-mailed copy of his speech. “Thirst combined with hunger is taking a heavy toll on the lives and health of our people.”

Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought

In his wide-ranging and entertaining new book, James G. Workman follows the spread of dryness across continents and through time to outline a grim common destiny of climate change and permanent water scarcity.

"We don't govern water," he writes. "Water governs us," and the lack of it will tear us apart if we fail to learn from survivors of millennia in dry lands: people like the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert Game Reserve in Botswana, a small nation sandwiched between South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Hot Ice

In Marcel Theroux’s postcollapse ­novel, “Far North,” global warming has reduced civilization to largely pre­industrial levels of technology and made sparsely populated areas like the Siberian tundra safer than lawless cities. There’s a satisfying sadness and finality to Theroux’s vision, but the story’s true power comes from the hard-won victories of its remarkable narrator, Makepeace. “A person is always better than a book,” Makepeace claims, and the novel’s enduring achievement is to give us a protagonist who lives up to that claim.

"Veg Climate Alliance" Asserts: Major Shift To Plant-Based Diets Essential To Avert Water Catastrophe

The world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, widening water shortages, severe droughts and other environmental threats.It is essential that there be a major societal shift to plant-based diets because animal-based agriculture, involving over 60 billion farmed animals worldwide contributes significantly to global climate change, water scarcities and water pollution. A 2006 UN report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases in CO2 equivalents than all the cars, planes and other means of transportation combined. Hence, a shift to plant-based diet is essential to help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

It’s Too Late to Stop Global Warming

The last time world leaders talked about halting global warming, in Kyoto in 1997, they lacked a consensus. The U.S. Senate had spurned the talks by a vote of 95–0, eliminating any chance that the United States, then the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, would take a leadership role. And China, soon to become the biggest emitter, was exempt from having to make painful cuts. As we move toward new talks in December in Copenhagen, the key players seem to be engaged for the first time. In the United States, the Waxman—Markey bill, which aims to aggressively cap and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. The big worry now is that the planet may not adhere to the diplomatic timetable.

Carbon disaster

Don't worry about the risks of earthquakes or suffocation or water contamination. Carbon capture is good, really.

U.S. Military Holds War Games on Nigeria, Somalia

Among scenarios examined during the game were the possibility of direct American military intervention involving some 20,000 U.S. troops in order to "secure the oil," and the question of how to handle possible splits between factions within the Nigerian government. The game ended without military intervention because one of the rival factions executed a successful coup and formed a new government that sought stability.

...Thus, when General Ward appeared before the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, he cited America's growing dependence on African oil as a priority issue for Africom and went on to proclaim that combating terrorism would be "Africom's number one theater-wide goal." He barely mentioned development, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping or conflict resolution.

And in a presentation by Vice Admiral Moeller at an Africom conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008 and subsequently posted on the web by the Pentagon, he declared that protecting "the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market" was one of Africom's "guiding principles" and specifically cited "oil disruption," "terrorism," and the "growing influence" of China as major "challenges" to U.S. interests in Africa.

Oil, Gasoline Tumble After U.S. Consumer Confidence Declines

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell to a two-week low and gasoline tumbled after a report showed that confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly declined in August, bolstering skepticism that fuel demand will rebound this year.

Oil dropped 4.3 percent after the Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment decreased to 63.2 from 66 in July. Oil also slumped as the dollar gained against the euro, reducing the appeal of commodities to investors looking for an inflation hedge.

“Consumers are worried about the economy, and that’s raising concerns about demand,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest, a Chicago-based brokerage. “Just a few days ago people were worried about inflation. That’s no longer the case.”

The Saudi Arabia Next Door

When we think about the concept of ’Peak Oil’ today, we need to keep in mind what we’re talking about. The curves show oil output peaking in so many parts of the world. This phenomenon is quite real, as long as you understand that it’s the light, sweet, easy-flowing oil that is getting harder and harder to find, certainly in significant quantity.

But there are a lot of other hydrocarbon molecules out there. Most of those molecules are not light, sweet crude oil. Indeed, most of the hydrocarbon molecules that the world will use in the future will be ’heavy,’ with lots of carbon atoms and not so many hydrogen atoms.

Squeezing oil from sand

A long-term decline in the demand for oil could undermine the huge investments in Canadian tar sands, which have been heavily opposed by environmentalists, according to a report published last month.

George Soros Cut Petrobras Stake in Second Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire George Soros cut his stake in his biggest holding, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, in the second quarter while buying more shares of other energy producers.

Buffett sells energy, buys drugmaker stocks

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Investor guru Warren Buffett bought up millions of shares of health care and drugmaker stocks in recent months while shedding energy shares, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lester R. Brown: A Civilizational Tipping Point

In recent years there has been a growing concern over thresholds or tipping points in nature. For example, scientists worry about when the shrinking population of an endangered species will fall to a point from which it cannot recover. Marine biologists are concerned about the point where overfishing will trigger the collapse of a fishery.

We know there were social tipping points in earlier civilizations, points at which they were overwhelmed by the forces threatening them. For instance, at some point the irrigation-related salt buildup in their soil overwhelmed the capacity of the Sumerians to deal with it. With the Mayans, there came a time when the effects of cutting too many trees and the associated loss of topsoil were simply more than they could manage.

Beyond prices at peak oil: $20 per gallon

SUV plants shut down, the airline industry collapses, public transportation is revitalized and farms go local as gas prices skyrocket, predicts Forbes writer Christopher Steiner in a new book.

The end of globalization

According to Jeff Rubin, in his new book called Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, we are going to see the rebirth of communities of the past in the not-too-distant future.

The reason, says Mr. Rubin, is because of peak oil. Peak oil, for those who are unfamiliar with this term, refers to the fact that world oil reserves are running short, and may even peter out in our lifetime. This, of course, will lead to even higher prices for oil, and therefore higher prices for everything else, as so much of our culture is based on oil. Because of that, companies such as Wal-Mart will no longer find it cost-effective to import their goods from places such as China, which are so far away. As a result, those moth-balled factories and warehouses around us will be dusted off and put back into production, and the jobs that go along with them will be once more available. Of course, the goods we now buy so inexpensively will not be so cheap anymore, but don't we all have too much stuff anyway?

Manage your expectations, not the future

I believe that many people today have expectations that life is going to carry on pretty much as it has in the last few decades. This is a broad statement as the lives of billions of people have been utterly different, yet the overall global picture has been of increasingly liberal politics and societies, economic growth and increased real wealth for the middle and upper classes. The poor too have had increased access to goods and services, although their lives may be more crowded and polluted than those living in suburbia.

My fear is that when people’s expectations are not met, they are disappointed, and the level of disappointment is proportional to the difference between their expectations and the real outcome. We see this in service delivery complaints that have recently made news in South Africa, where the promises of the politicians have not been matched in the real world. I think a big challenge facing our society is that as energy supplies dwindle, our imagined future of abundance is not going to be realised.

Zenn Says Lithium Off the Table, Still Bets on EEStor

If Canadian electric vehicle maker Zenn Motor Co. once saw lithium-ion batteries as a possible alternative to devices from its controversial investment in ultracapacitor developer EEStor, the more standard technology is now officially out of the running for its future cars. According to Zenn’s third-quarter results release, out today, the company’s engineering group “re-evaluated a number of lithium-based power-packs for inclusion in its solutions” between April and the end of June. But those efforts, in the context of what Zenn calls “the progressed state of development” of EEStor’s technology, have brought the company to teh following conclusion: Lithium does not offer “an economically viable power source for its offerings.”

Seattle is front line in grocery bag fee fight

SEATTLE (AP) — Leaders of this famously green city last year passed the nation’s first grocery bag fee, and other cities around the nation quickly followed.

But the plastics industry has been fighting back, bringing lawsuits, aggressively lobbying lawmakers and bankrolling a referendum in Seattle to overturn the 20-cent charge. The measure goes before voters Tuesday, and polls show marginal support after the industry spent $1.4 million, outspending supporters about 15-to-1.

Gloomy Negotiators End Bonn Climate Talks

The latest round of preparatory talks for the U.N. climate conference concluded today with negotiators lamenting that the languid pace of talks could mean there won't be a deal on emissions in Copenhagen this December.

Beijing sets date for emissions cut

China’s carbon emissions will start falling by 2050, its top climate change policymaker said, the first time the world’s largest emitter has given such a time-frame.

NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July

The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998 according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880.

Oil lobby to fund campaign against Obama's climate change strategy

The US oil and gas lobby are planning to stage public events to give the appearance of a groundswell of public opinion against legislation that is key to Barack Obama's climate change strategy, according to campaigners.

A key lobbying group will bankroll and organise 20 ''energy citizen'' rallies in 20 states. In an email obtained by Greenpeace, Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), outlined what he called a "sensitive" plan to stage events during the August congressional recess to put a "human face" on opposition to climate and energy reform.

Who exactly are EEStor's biggest investors?

I have a feeling that they are getting most of their funding from the US DoD for advanced directed-energy weapons.

As I think Magnus Redin has said, there has to be an alternate "beginner" application that it could be practically used for, before it is used for electric cars.

I think they could get a lot of investor's money. Look at Steorn. They got millions in investor money - for a freakin' perpetual motion machine.

Friction. Now I believe I'm as bent as they come but, having falen from motorcycles, I do understand Friction. Something wrong with physics? Cosult Nassim Harremein and his event horizon.

But, but, but...I thought the Obama adminisration would stop the USG from being the lap-dog of "Big Oil" and the MIC.

WTF happened?

Could someone help me understand what the hell is going on?

We all had the chance to elect people such as Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich, but failed to take the step. Our two party winner-takes-all voting system assures us of receiving Demicans/Republicrats as long as this system stays in place.

If you believe what you see on TV, you may face disappointment in the future.

This health care thing has gotten a bit out of hand has it not? What is the big deal? Our UK NHS has served myself, family and friends and their friends friends well for our whole lives. Sure they can be slow for sceduled treatment but if you are bleeding on the street you get immediate help.
You'll get the odd whinge from someone who was in for a frontal labotomy and got an extra nipple sowed onto their right butt-cheek instead, but otherwise it's OK.

Hasn't turned us into communists yet. Sometimes I think you yanks are ****ing crazy.


Not all of are crazy, just some of us. Right now the crazies seem to concentrated in the Republican Party. They can't believe they lost the last election and it's driving them nuts.

The UK does not have 12 million illegal immigrants to provide health care for.
How do we pay for that cost?
I guess more taxes, which is the main reason the US broke away from England in the first place...
When the oil money runs out, the government goes bankrupt, health care will become a luxury anyway.
Only the rich will have good health care in the future.
That is why I am providing my own alternative health care which is much cheaper.

The UK does not have 12 million illegal immigrants to provide health care for.

You are right it does not have. But has a MUCH higher percentage of immigrants.

The UK now has around 10% population of immigrants. The US: 12/300*100 = 4% so we have 3 times the number of immigrants as a percentage of the whole population than you do.

........hmmm quick edit.....

You said illegal!! I'm talking cross purposed with you now...sorry!

I'll try again!!:


The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.

So apologies about previous calcs. You have about the same % of TOTAL immigrants (legal and illegal) as we do in the UK. But even on this basis I stand by my original assertion that we manage a health service OK.

I stand by my original assertion that we manage a health service OK.

I totally agree, world class health care FOR EVERBODY, illegal immigrant or not, free at the point of need is a humane policy. I have personally received health care worth several years tax, without delays, in the last six months. I suspect the immigrants contribute more than their fair share to the economy, often for little reward - our hospital system (for one) couldn't function without them.

If you live in a wealthy OECD country give thanks, you are one of the luckiest humans ever - sadly, as we use up all the non-renewables I fear health care will become unaffordable for almost everybody again as there will be other priorities.

It isn't FREE-everybody that pays tax in the USA will pay for it. The underclass (bottom 50%) pays little tax and the elite pay almost nil so that leaves the shmucks to pay the entire bill, which is increasing 15-20% per year. George Bush loved to say that "we" will pay ANY price to defeat terrorism, now it is ANY price for the sickness industry. They say this because their buddies (Bush or Obama) don't actually pay even close to their share for anything.

Despite the infantile ramblings, isn't the debate really about what system best rations health care?

No. The sickness industry in the USA is too expensive for the size of the overall economy, just like the military. One of the reasons is many (possibly including yourself) think all of it is FREE.

I don't think it's free at all. But I do think universal health care can work. Only thing is that the package of services within it have to be a lot less than other proponents want. Thus, tighter rationing of care may be needed, especially at the end of life. Of course, one should have the option of private care if she is willing to pay the price.

(I am not in favor of these mysterious Death Panels ;))

The reason it won't work is that it isn't intended to work. It isn't "health care" it is a sickness industry. The USA government can't even muster up the backbone or integrity to get corn syrup solids out of food for sale and the same gang is going to bring "health" to Americans through high tech? Seriously?

Spain has a Health System very similar to the NHS, an ENORMOUS immigrant population from South America -mostly legal-, North Africa, Black Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, China -all these mostly illegal- and the system copes well, with some of the best statistics in the world. We pay 16% into the social system [it covers State Pension, NHS, unemployment benefits] we also pay Income Tax (irpf), and also VAT.
Medicines are totally free in Spain for the old and chronic diseases and hospital treatments of any kind. We pay 2/3 of normal medicines and the price is severely controlled -the English system is different they pay a standard 8,5 pounds for any medicine, except chronic cases, old people etc. 8,5 pounds is the prize of a beer and a sandwich in the pub, so no big deal.

Keep in mind that the State Health Systems in Europe and indeed their Welfare are different, often very different, among EU countries.

Spain is not a rich country but its Seguridad Social is a success story.
You can not opt out of the system (it would crash if the high earners did) but if you can afford it you can join a private scheme. Same thing you can buy into a Private Pension scheme, after all the power of a man shows in his wallet.
You're rich you drive, you can't afford the gasoline, take the bus.

Same thing with the free education, (mostly) free State Universities and the like. You want your son (the idiot one) to go to the Jesuits, you pay -the clever girl goes to the State one for free.

Immigrants pay taxes, even the total illegals: VAT catches everybody at the end of the day.

I believe that the social peace the system gives a society is worth the cost, even with abuses from some people. You know that whatever happens you'll get treatment.
Many poor Third World Countries like Uruguay and Argentina have good health care systems for everyone, free if you are really poor, you have to pay some if you can afford it and you want faster treatment. The quality will be very similar, standards are high, medicines often need to be paid for.

An amusing anecdote: Nicolini, an Uruguayan Senator (!!) from the communist Frente Amplio, needed some heart treatment, expensive indeed, so he got a Poor Person's Card that entitled him to free treatment. But he was caught out the miserable bas**** and he lost his political position and good salary.

Your price controls on medicine means that Americans pay for drug innovations that you get without paying for your share of the development costs.

Third World Countries contribute squat to the rate of new drug development. Big Pharma would be much smaller with much smaller drug pipelines if the US controlled drug prices like some more socialized countries do.

You are freeloading. Accept the gift and do not complain about our system which finances the innovations that you get to use.

Except that pharma spends far more on marketing [eg freebies for MDs] and lobbying than it does on development. I got that from a Novartis drug developer..

Um ... the rest of the world has been playing America's debt games for generations. We import vast amounts of their resources and their work and we export hardly anything to them but bit-patterns in central bank computers.

If they get any benefit at all from our existence, that's hardly "freeloading".

As someone who actually works for a CRO testing these drugs, I call bullshit. The costs of these drugs and biologics and agrochemicals are high, to be sure. But to tell me that the prices charged are justified in the American system, and everyone else is skimming off the top what they like and screwing Big Pharma because of it? No. Sorry, just no.

Given the number of patents coming up for expiration between now and 2011, Big Pharma needs to really get their act together. We're going to be doing work for smaller, generic drug companies soon otherwise, because the likes of Pfizer and GSK are basically earning their major share off royalties (if I recall the last briefing I was at, Pfizer alone is getting around 40% of their revenue from patent payouts due for expiration next year).

Of course they are earning their money off of intellectual property.

The pharma business model is to try huge numbers of drugs with fewer drugs surviving each step in the process. Compounds pass or fail assorted bioassays. They pass or fail cell culture assays. They pass or fail animal tests and at different steps in animal testing. Then they mostly fail phase I on humans and of those that make it to phase II most fail. Then most that make it to phase III fail.

Drug companies have to try huge numbers of things to get one winner. They have to make a lot of money off that winner to pay for all the losers.

Yes, the American system with unregulated prices funds most of this stuff. Telling me I'm wrong doesn't make it so. Lower prices mean less money available to fund it. It is simple.

That is certainly the story, but if the marketing budget is bigger than the research budget one might suspect that the narrative is being taken advantage of.

All nationalized systems ration care. You can compare waiting times for assorted surgeries and treatments. I do not want to be at the mercy of how much money the national legislature appropriates for health care. I do not want to live in a single payer system. Obama isn't proposing that as a first step. But subsidized health insurance will tend to drive private providers out of business.

i disagree we manage it well. The government has massively increased spending in the last 10 years with no improvements in outcomes. The money seems to have gone mainly in pay rises and extra layers of management rather than front line services. Billions are being spent on a new computer system that they can not get to work.
The best system seems to be subsidised health insurance as the have in France and Germany.

I don't disagree with any of your points but it still doesn't change basic that fact that we have a health service that meets most of it's commitments. You can't ask any more than that for a 'free' service. I don't have to have a semi conscious tete-a-tete with the ambulance driver about where he is going to take me and 'have I got insurance?' whilst the paramedic is holding my half severted limb to my torso.


"I don't have to have a semi conscious tete-a-tete...

Is it like that in France or Germany? Really? Your remark suggests it's desirable to settle for second- or third- or fourth- rate service merely to get it "free". Really?

If I may add my two cents worth. I would settle only for the best health care I could afford. And if I could afford nothing, as is the case of many millions of Americans, I would have to settle for what I could get free. After all it is better than dying though quite often the service they get now is not enough to prevent death. Many women die of breast cancer because they could not afford to get a mammogram. Ditto for a lot of cancers. I would be dead now if I could not have afforded a simple PSA test a few years ago.

Our current health care system in America today allows millions to die every year because they cannot afford to have cheap, simple, early detection.

But what the hell, after all we are so darn overpopulated. Perhaps no health care for the poor is the Right Wing's way of controlling the population. I am sure that in their way of thinking it helps control the population of the Riff-Raff.

Ron P.

Ron, you overstate the death from lack of access to healthcare, millions a year? Figure I recently read was 60 per day (20,000/year).That is bad and would create riots if it was 20,000 dead a year from terrorist attacks or combat deaths. But it is less than deaths caused by car accidents, homicide, medical negligence etc.
Best system is a basic but good quality (not second rate) system with immediate access for emergencies, short(ish) wait for necessary electives (like hip replacements) and pay yourself/take out private cover for private rooms/skip waiting list/nose jobs/viagra etc.
Works reasonably well with variations in many countries through moderate tax and far cheaper than what you currently pay. We also probably have better mental health through not knowing the fear of losing health cover if we lose or change jobs or the fear of bankruptcy if we or a loved one get sick.

Having lived in the US and now in a country with universal health care, I would choose the latter anyday! Procedures have fixed payments...this keeps costs down. Doctors do`t earn huge sums but they don`t care much about that I think, they still have high status and very good salaries.

Is there a connection between healthcare and energy?

Matter cycles, energy flows.....

High energy flow inplies speedy matter cycling (that`s what WalMart is for!) Cars help out with speedy cycling of matter too. The USA is unparalled at cycling matter fast. Needless to say it`s not a particularly thrify approach to life!!!

Private health insurance also helps to keep matter cycling faster. It`s a huge industry, lots of suppliers. Private hospitals that can order more tests at will also help to keep the economy moving faster.

Maybe Americans even cycle through their lives quickly---with the gunshot victims, the car accident victims, the people who couldn`t get early preventative treatment and waited until their condition was fatal. Well, people are made of matter too.

Why have an economy that cycles matter so fast? Because there are more chances to reach out and grab a little piece of it---a job as a medical billing clerk, or something like that.

Imagine a slow economy....the people live in villages and rarely drive, or never. They eat simple local food, they live to be 100 like in some areas of the Caucuses. Matter cycles very slowly and people`s lives do too.

The Republicans in the USA have virtually made a religion out of "fast matter cycling"......

Dwindling energy means that people want to slow down the matter-cycling process in order to make things last longer. It`s a thrift move. But it goes against the Republicans` "religion". Perhaps they have the most to lose as things `freeze` up and matter stops cycling so fast.


You state:

Our current health care system in America today allows millions to die every year because they cannot afford to have cheap, simple, early detection.

First off, most people who die each year are on Medicare. Second, where's your evidence that millions die each year due to lack of cheap tests?

To put your claim into perspective, the total death rate in America is 8.27 per 1000. So less than 3 million people die in the US each year. Out of those deaths how many could be prevented by early testing? My guess is very few.

I do not see why Right Wingers would expect fewer poor people if there's less health care for the poor. Generally faced with higher infant mortality rates women make more babies.

You appear to be just making up assertions to justify a visceral dislike of partisan opponents.

First off, most people who die each year are on Medicare.

No kidding.

Since Medicare only covers the old, this statement is about as surprising as "rain falls mostly from clouds".

It's not so much that everyone gets second rate service...but you hear about, to phrase it delicately, a lack of enthusiasm to treat the older patron and terminally ill, amongst other groups whether it be screening, op, drugs or post op recovery.

And there are other horror stories about cancellations and waiting lists. However, the urgent stuff really doeas get dealt with urgently with as good treatmeants as we have to offer; the UK often leads in certain aspects medical research.

I personally have nothing for praise for the doctors that have over the years done myself, my family and friends a good service.


I agree with this, Marco.
For example, there are ongoing improvements in NHS heart disease emergency care in last few years, mostly down to latest technology and new medical procedures. Similarly chronic care, including associated conditions, is transformed. Statins have made a big difference (Pfizer R&D primarily in USA and England, Astra Zeneca primarily UK-based R&D) but the overall reduction of about 50% in heart-disease related death over 20 years is due about 40% to new medications & procedures, and 50% to middle-aged persons stopping smoking. The overall reduced exposure to tobacco smoke made a big difference to number of prompt deaths. Also a slight shift in British diet helped at least until recently. Twin-track prevention and intervention is needed.
Wish our NHS had not concentrated so much on re-building this last 12 years, (there were good reasons however for new buildings) but members of our local Heart Support patients group reach across socio-economic spectrum and we have members in their 70s and older. Cardiac rehab is available to oldest persons; local hero is 90. We are more secure in every way, and the Medics come and talk with us and ask us for feed-back.


Most of the American opponents to government subsidized health care seem to think it's OK to pay through the nose for fifth rate service though.

Either that, or they just can't stand the thought of that guy working part-time at 3 fast food places to make ends meet being able to get any health care at all.

What's your evidence for 5th rate service?

It is not productive to argue in a fact-free zone just repeating talking points you hear from your faction's leaders. How about some data on, for example, cancer survival rates once diagnosed? Or how about comparing countries by the percentage of people with high blood pressure who are on blood pressure lowering drugs or the percentage of those with high cholesterol who are on cholesterol lowering drugs.

These emotional guesses about relative health care quality are useless in terms of furthering understanding. You might feel better about making them. But real data (which I admit does take real effort to google for) will bring enlightenment.

Health care economists and epidemiologists have done work in this area. Take, for example, this paper: How Does The Quality Of Care Compare In Five Countries?

Again, get rational. Your life is at stake. Ranting and emoting does not help.

Here's another paper comparing the US medical system to other countries. No evidence there for terrible service in the US.

What I'm worried about with a bigger government role: a lower rate of innovation due to decreased profit motive. The people who are for price controls are for a system that will kill millions of people in the long run by slowing the rate of innovation.

We all have a fatal disease called aging. Our only hope of getting cured of that disease is a faster rate of advance of science and technology. Countries that put price controls on drugs and ration care are countries that have fewer incentives for pharma cos to invest in new treatments. Most of us have a far greater stake in the long term rate of development of new treatments than we have in getting treated today.

Quite frankly, I do not want a "cure" for aging, or even significantly more innovations.

We are well past the point of diminishing returns for treating illness, and dramatically shorting preventive "medicine".

Proof ?

The next generation of Americans are expected to live several years shorter than the current crop of older folk.

New innovations are *NOT* the solution to our epidemic of obesity (and smoking). Sure, pills are under development to lose weight and bariatic surgery is already developed.

Reordering our society and way of life is the best cure.

No new drugs required.


Purely a rhetorical device, as was the statement I was replying to.

The US does indeed have some of the finest healthcare in the world. In certain particular hospitals. If you have good health insurance.

It also has state-by-state health insurance regulations that ensure that the health care actually provided varies between states and so any national comparison of health care is going to fall short of actualities. I like to think that Minnesota, home of the Mayo Institute in Rochester and the U of MN research hospitals and with a public option for health care for many people with no other option ranks among the top 5 in the world.

I note that very few other states around the country can claim nearly the health benefits we do here, and even here in MN I know of quite a few cases of people whose employer doesn't provide coverage and yet they make too much to qualify for MinnesotaCare, because they are working part time at multiple jobs to make rent and food. Or they simply live to far away from a decent hospital and no doctor can make their student loan payments running a clinic in their area because there aren't enough people around.

So even here in one of the best states in the union for health care there is room for improvement.

Illegal immigrants in the US do not use ‘free’ health services more than the natives, in fact far less.

They contribute to the US economy in a big way - as they allow biz owners to pay rock bottom wages, hire incredibly cheap labor, such as cash for a day work, skip on all the other such a health insurance, and thus make a profit or just stay afloat.

The US used to have slaves. The permanent kind. The tractor, outsourcing, and illegals displaced all that.

There is is no way the main parties will crack down on illegals - in fact they may pander to them in many ways - as these ppl are absolutely essential for keeping the ‘economy’ (agri and cheap services mostly, but a lot of other stuff too) churning on.

It is often said that Americans, that is citizens, would not take the jobs the illegals do. Not the jobs, not the pay.

The truth is that while the illegals do it, the legit citizens profit, they get tomatoes and grapes on the table, cheap corn, cheap food, cleanish hotel rooms, baby minders who ask little, very discrete pool cleaners, affordable porn, great nail care, walls built for mini cost, long list, etc.

The situation is not different in some EU countries. (France comes to mind)

Legal citizens sure would take the jobs, who do you think did those jobs 50 years ago?

Just not at the pay the illegals are willing to take.

Those 12 million undocumented immigrants aren't here for nothing. They're practically a slave underclass that subsidizes our economy with cheap labor. Some are staying, but with the real estate crash and the California central valley losing a lot of their water allocation, construction and farm jobs are drying up, and people are going home.

You could put stricter residency requirements into universal healthcare to exclude those immigrants, but you have to provide some level of basic, emergency care if only for public health and preventing infectious diseases.

Many of the undocumented immigrants are unlicensed pharmacists. Is that politically correct enough?

Call them illegals if you want, whatever. The cynic in me says it would be worth deporting all of them just to see white people sweating in the sun mowing their own lawns. Although that's about as likely as outlawing lawn sprinklers in the desert.

White people do mow lawns. I'm in Sydney Australia, 100% white (at least 7 ancestors were transported convicts including a 2nd fleeter so socially I'm like someone decended from royalty) and I mow lawns as a 2nd job. My customers are mostly asian migrants BTW.

I was sweating profusely (and shirtless) from 6:45 to 7:45 this morning. Trimming tomorrow morning. All with an electric lawnmower and electric trimmer.

Best Hopes for Slower Growing Grass !!


I'm an old guy, tell me about it. I worked in watermellon patches, truck gardens, and about any job I could get to get through school. Bless those illegals who get their citizenship through military service. IMHO, the rest can go back where they came from and stay there ... but that too is not politically correct. Right now @ 76, I sweat more in a day in my woodshop and garden than most. And I sure don't care who smells my BO in the office. :-)

The illegals haven't reached all parts of the country. In some areas whites still do the jobs that illegals do in SoCal. In Colorado natives are displacing illegals from farm jobs. When raids take place to remove illegals from plants working conditions improve and raids on plants raise wages in those plants. It is all about the money. Take away the illegals and the work gets done at higher wages. Bring in the illegals and the poorest native workers get displaced.

Spiraling costs and how to fund coverage are two separate issues, yet I have yet to understand how the nationalized system will actually reduce per-procedure costs significantly. If healthcare cost 1/3 as much, deciding to nationalize care for the 20% who choose not to have it might be tolerable. As it is today, it'll just make a bad situation worse.

Centralized data, automated systems, standardized procedure codes, transparent up-front costing, revision of the tax breaks for businesses versus individuals, tort reform, error cost re-allocation, and other relatively minor changes could drastically cut costs without changing the structure. Revision of Medicaid/medicare, which needs to happen anyway, might do the rest.

Many of those cost containment issues (plus bringing USA pharmaceutical costs in line with the rest of the world) are part of the discussion.

Quite frankly, every other nation has a more rational and better run health care system.


Get rid of fee-for-service and go to salaries for medical personnel.

If we simply got rid of the minimum wage there would be no need for illegal immigrant labor -- any job that would pay at all could be funded above-board -- and there would be no need for illegal workers, though there might be a need for more legal workers. Or maybe not -- with the high minimum wages we see now you'll just have a choice of great employment, no employment, or illegal employment -- and once benefits run out there may be US citizens who'd work for well under minimum wage to stay fed.

I fully expect to here of new "work at home piecemeal" opportunities and "commission only sales" jobs and so forth to skirt such minimums.

The UK does not have 12 million illegal immigrants to provide health care for.
How do we pay for that cost?

Quit sniveling. Canada has free health care and 20% of Canadians are immigrants. They work hard and pay their taxes like everyone else.

We have met the enemy ... and he is us. (Walt Kelly)

Your problem is you. Other people are their own problem.

I don't believe anyone mentioned legal immigrants. I agree with Pogo but not with you. there is a world of difference between legal and illegal.

SOMETIMES you think we're fracking crazy??? Pay more attention and you'll be convinced we ARE fracking crazy.

Between the "birthers" (the wackaloons who still insist Obama was not born in the US), the health care thing, and very soon the energy/climate bill thing, all we'll need is 24/7 calliope background music to complete the picture.

My personal theory is that the whole "Birthers" thing is the result of a secret Democratic group of operatives who are trying to make the GOP look as idiotic as possible. I think that the same shadowy group caused Palin to be selected as the GOP's best candidate to be potentially one heartbeat away from becoming president.


OMG WT guess who is just two heartbeats away from presidency?

I would take Pelosi over Palin any day. Questions?

That is like saying Stalin was a nicer guy than Hitler.

That's a very good point Lynford!

America now has it's first black president.
Hilary wants to be Americas first shemale president.

"Hasn't turned us into communists yet"

HAHAHAHAHAHA. You're nation is so incredibily socialistic that you guys couldn't see the forest from the trees.

A person is too heavy? No problem! Deny them needed surgury. Wait 6 months to take care of an ingrown toe-nail? No problem!

Old person 70 and up who needs heart surgury? Sorry, no dice.

You guys have no idea that the BNP is your only hope yet you still follow the Socialist/Free Traitors to your own slaughter.

As the Germans were found of saying (but this time it's true):

England ist kaput.

England ist kaput.

Dammit man.... I havn't heard such wisdom since I last fed my pet Parrot Sarah (I named my Parrot Sarah)

Actually the US is one of the few countries in the world that has, like Cuba, a completely communist (the state pays the salary and sets the rules, and owns everything) health care system.

> For only a part of the population, nevertheless very large: the Military, Veterans, Indians. (Congress? ;)

Medicare an Medicaid are socialized (supported in part by the tax payer), with arbitrary fixed costs, etc. for another very large chunk, resembling many OECD countries.

When you add up all government payments for health care -- Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, VA, government-funded clinics, prisons, federal/state/local employees, and the tax deduction for employer-paid insurance premiums -- government spending in the US is about the same as a fraction of GDP as government spending in the other OECD countries. My biggest complaint is that US taxpayers are getting a terrible deal out of it -- for that level of spending, the other countries manage to care for their entire population.

Last stat I read was that the USA spends 60% more than Canada (16% of GDP as opposed to 10%).

According to the World Health Organization, which countries have the best outcomes (highest life expectancies, lowest infant mortality, and so forth?)And where does the god ole U.S. of A (the country which self-proclaims that it has the 'best health care on Earth, ever')sit on this list? We pay the most per-capita and are something like 37th 'best' on the list.

That should be the beginning of every conversation about U.S. health care.

Except that the insurance industry and the Rethugs prefer to make up B.S. about 'Death Panels' and other foderol.

So we can keep on chanting We're number 37! We're number 37! and be proud Americans.

By the way, I have socialistic health care for life and so does my wife as long as she sticks with this veteran. Go Tricare! I want to vomit when all those people who have government health care rail against government health care for others who don't currently have it. They hide behind Puritan lamentations about how other people who aren't on government health care because they weren't wise and industrious enough to have heal a government job till retirement' they blather on about how are all those non-govies are fat, take drugs, etc. and deserve what they get. Yea, there are no vets or government feds/staties, or locals who have retired who are fat, drink, smoke, don't exercise, eat bad food, etc. Fracking hypocrites.

So, if you want to give advice to young folks, tell them to join the U.S. military and stick it out for twenty to get that retirement check and (nearly) free health care for life. To maximize their chance of making it through 20 years, tell them to join the U.S. Air Force and try to get 'deployed' to TampaStan!

Bravo Moonwatcher, right on.

How does it go, leftover from WWII: "I wanted wings till I got the God damned things, now I don't want them any more. I joined up to fly and they sent me off to die. I rather be home with the bunch."

Started flying during Korean conflict. Danang FAC 1967-68 (Yes '68 Tet in there, yahoo) Retired '72 when they sent me to SAC Hqs to fly a desk. Yuck Phooy. Adios General.

B-52H dog, and 10,000+ hour PowerPoint Ranger. Never had to kill anyone, just practiced an awful lot. One of the silent minority in the military who doesn't drink the Fox Noise line wholesale. Retired, looking for an opportunity to make a living in renewable energy, preferably solar PV in the great South West. Make War...Mo More.

yes that sounds about right..

Yeah, let's follow Germany's example and elect Nazis. I sure don't see this being a bad thing in the least, better to having those ingrowing toenails sorted out by fascists.

Progressive society? What's that?

Yes we yanks are ++++ing crazy. That's the only conclusion I can come to, yet we may yet come around on health care. It's not over until it's over. You Brits have the NHS, most other European and Asian nations have some hybrid private-public system and all of you are doing better than we with everyday healthcare at 2/3 the cost. We're very good at providing state of the art healthcare for a wealthy few, those with money or the very best insurance. Those who are vocal and disruptive are a very scared minority of voters. I don't think that most of those who voted for Obama will sit on our hands and allow a few to totally derail health care reform. Unfortunately, hysteria can sow doubt amongst many who were weak supporters of Obama. There are Republicans who have some good ideas which may garner bipartisan support if the Republican party is willing to put the country ahead of party advantage (I doubt it). Our two party system and current legislative rules make it very difficult to get anything important done.

What's at stake here is the rate of biomedical innovation. America's more market-driven health care drives far more innovation and advance than the more nationalized and price-regulated markets. The UK NHS delivers for a lower price in the short term at the expense of fewer cures and more deaths in the long term.

From the FT article on China's claim to not reduce carbon output until 2050:

“China will not continue growing emissions without limit or insist that all nations must have the same per-capita emissions. If we did that, this earth would be ruined.” His estimate of the peak of China’s emissions is in line with the more pessimistic forecasts issued by climate change experts. The UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research recently said China’s energy-related CO2 output would peak in 2030 at 57 per cent above current levels.

Well, only 57% above current levels. Gee, we're saved (not!)

Since oil will not be the source of this carbon, shall we all agree that coal (Australian?) will be the likely source. CTL ought to prove popular someday. So will all those trees to the north of China, in Siberia.

I suggest the IPCC, in devising their scenarios for the next round, really ought to buy into the idea that all the store carbon of which we know will indeed be used, by someone.

I don't know how much coal China imports now or will in the future, but they have (says BP) about half the reserves of the US, which is a lot.

Frankly, I think we should assume a very high portion of known carbon reserves will be sent into the air, purely out of brute force economics. This is why I get so frustrated when my fellow enviros talk about how "peak oil is a good thing because it will save us from global warming". The level of naivete some of them exhibit is breathtaking.

According to the data in the BP Statistical Review, China has lived within their coal production capacity as both production and consumption have skyrocketed in recent years.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

China does import some thermal coal from Australia and has recently signed agreements to import more from both Australia and Indonesia. They are definitely planning on increased imports.

But what of their own internal production of coal? Could they increase production 57% above current levels? Well, that would mean increasing production by the same amount that it has increased in the last 6 years. It certainly seems feasible over twenty years.

In the next couple of years, demand destruction may temporarily reduce their annual consumption of coal. But 2030 is pretty far off and I fully expect the Chinese to continue their pursuit of a modern, until recently Western, consumer lifestyle.

Best hopes for an emergent Chinese environmental movement!

-- Jon

It will be interesting to see what the EIA shows for net coal exports from China, on a BTU basis. Here is what they show through 2007:

Friday night failures:

BB&T buys Colonial bank; 4 other banks fail

Colonial's collapse could mean it's even harder to get a mortgage:

Colonial BancGroup controls 25% of all warehouse-lending funds. If that money disappears, mortgage loans will be even harder to get.

It could mean a lot more than that.

When you add all the numbers up from these links. It looks like Colonial either will take the last of the FDIC Deposit Insurance Fund, or they don't have the money to cover the cost of closing Colonial.

This link shows the fund had $17,276 billion at end of 2008.


This next link (last paragraph) says "The fund, supported by fees on insured banks, fell to $13 billion in the first quarter, the lowest since September 1993."


From the chart on this next link (when sorted by date of closure) you can get how much they spent this year.

Since December of 08 = $17,449,900,000
Since Second quarter spent = $12,358,900,000


When you add in Colonial, "The failure will deplete the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund by $2.8 billion, the agency said."


That's $15,158,900,000 in liabilities to be covered by 13 billion in cash.

Somebody check my math, but I think they are broke.
(I'd love to see how much they take in each month in premiums.)

PS: Don't panic to much, they have a line of credit with the Treasury.

They got another bank to take over Colonial, didn't they? That means the FDIC isn't on the hook. At least, not for all the debt.

Don't think so. BB&T took on a lot of Colonial but not all of the toxic waste.

The FDIC said pretty plainly that: "The failure will deplete the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund by $2.8 billion, the agency said."

My understanding is that in most closings, FDIC eats the worst of the garbage, so that the purchasing bank doesn't choke on the failed one.

If it really cost them $2.8 billion, then yes, they're out of money. Denninger calculated that they had only $826 million left. He speculated that that's why they waited so long to close this bank.

Hadn't seen that.

But it was a very strange closure. Pretty weird for them to take over a big bank while the markets was open. Then not put that information up on their site till much latter.

Hey, I thought you were dead being that your last post was something to do with coming down with the flu. Congrats on still kicking it around :)

Still kicking. Still reading the oildrum. Flu turned out fairly mild.

Just haven't felt like posting about anything anywhere. Haven't really had anything to say.

Reports: BB&T to take over Colonial BancGroup

In addition, BB&T is set to purchase $22 billion of Colonial's $25 billion in assets. The FDIC and BB&T have also entered into a loss-sharing agreement on about $15 billion of those assets.

At this stage, the FDIC estimates that Colonial's failure will cost its deposit insurance fund $2.8 billion.

I really don't understand that "loss sharing ageement" but I would think BB&T would only agree to something if they could come out ahead. After all, they could just not make any deal and not lose anything.

Ron P.

15 billion in bad loans!

I'd love to know how much of that the FDIC is responsible for.
Think I will go poke around and see if I can find the actual agreement.


This "loss sharing agreement" could put the FDIC on the hook for all 15 billion.


"It gives the bank the right to sell assets up to the loss-share limit to the FDIC once BB&T gets inside the bank and starts going through the credit files one loan at a time," Plath said. "At this point, BB&T has a very limited idea of precisely what they just bought on the asset side of Colonial's books."

As a comparison consider Indy Mac. According to the original press release, from when they closed Indy Mac. FDIC expected a 4 to 8 billion hit to the fund.


The WSJ shows them putting out 8.9 billion as of August 12,2009

The "if" is a scary part, from what I've read on tickerforum the FDIC gives out a rosy estimate low figure so the real figure could wind up being 6-8 billion dollars. If no stock market crash or other bad event in the next few months then only another 50 or so bank failures till Christmas, so they will need more funds and fast from the taxpayer
. If the proverbial hits the fan then multiply that by X and throw in a few of the too big to fail 19 (maybe most of them)and the FDIC is toast even with turbo timmy et al giving them money.
Maybe someone should open a pool on the end of year total (77 so far). My WAG is 160.

As long as 'we the people' accept dollars the FDIC will never run out of money. It gets handouta from Congress/Treasury whenever it needs them.

Denninger has been performing a dis-service by spreading this (fairly scary) misinformation (er, lie). Rumors can trigger bank runs, not much fun.

Lately, he's been backing off the 'FDIC is broke' bit and it's good thing, too. No need for additional fear mongering as there is enough reality to scare us all.

The FDIC can (and will) borrow from Treasury to fund its obligations, so long as Treasury can issue the funds. Today, Treasury appears able to borrow as much money from China, Japan and Saudi Arabia as it wishes to (it appears Treasury will in fact borrow $2 trillion in new funds this fiscal year alone.) How long this will remain true is anyone's guess.


He does make the good point that a) increasing the insurance collections prior to the collapse would have given the FDIC more reserves, b) that waiting to close banks costs the taxpayers a lot more money than would be the case if the Agency was more prompt, and c) there are an awful lot of bad loans out there in the 'Bad Loan Universe'.

One thing that keeps bad banks open longer than they should has nothing to do with FDIC policy; (and Denninger certainly knows this ...) banks can borrow from the Fed discount window, usually @ 0% interest. Also, bank deposits lent to the Fed earn interest. These - and other Fed lending facilities - can keep a doomed bank alive a little bit longer than would be the case otherwise.

Denninger has never said that the FDIC would not get money. His point is that it's getting harder to borrow that money.

Also, if you're going to link to a blog post, link directly the post you are quoting from. Blogs update several times a day in some cases, and it becomes difficult to find the post in question if you just post a link to the blog, rather than an individual post. Usually, if you click on the title of the post, that will take you to the "permalink."

Two days earlier there was this whisper - CUs going kaput is admittedly and thankfully a rare event. The last one I think was Eastern Financial Florida CU last April in my neck of the woods.

Community One FCU Las Vegas, NV

America First Federal Credit Union is a full service institution. It has $4.9 billion in assets and serves approximately 495,939 members in and around the state of Utah. Its headquarters is located at 1344 West 4675 South, Riverdale, Utah, and it has 88 branch locations and offers online transaction service as well.


Interesting. Someone here thought credit unions going under would be a very bad sign.

I am expecting credit union failures. The problem is spreading beyond subprime. Falling home prices and rising unemployment means even people who seemed like good risks are defaulting.

I think we will see more CU's go also. No bank can withstand having their clients unemployed and broke.

Which is why I opened a second account in a different CU than the one I have been using. I figure my odds are better that at least one will stay open.

Already have tried routing some of my paycheck to the second CU, just to be sure all the routing number and account info was right.

Also keeping a little cash on hand.

Harvard MBA students circulated an ethics oath. Hardly anyone signed it. I think they wished to reserve their right to be unethical. John Stewart and John Oliver discuss this on "The Daily Show". John Oliver Scares MBA Students Straight

This is hilarious but also a little sad. The story of hardly anyone signigned the ethics oath is true. I think MBA students are being taught that the only to make it in the business world is to screw the other guy. Being unethical is simply part of the game. The term "Good guys finish last" is just as true in the business world as it is in sports.

Ron P.

A lot of these guys later ended up running the country -- or countries since Harvard does have a lot of international students.

The USA is now a financial economy-this is a side effect. If Goldman and JPM built all the bridges in the USA you couldn't drive across one-they would look good for a month and then steadily collapse. All the money would be spent on buying politicians and quashing lawsuits.

Great Daily Show link! Thxs, I guess it proves that 'business ethics' is just another oxymoron.

Climate flip may have already started.

Arctic warming already triggering methane release

The warming of an Arctic current over the last 30 years has triggered the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from methane hydrate stored in the sediment beneath the seabed.

Scientists at the.... have found that more than 250 plumes of bubbles of methane gas are rising from the seabed of the West Spitsbergen continental margin in the Arctic, in a depth range of 150 to 400 metres.

And more evidence of a speed up of climate change.

Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast' Video on page.

One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC.

A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year.

Ron P.

I wonder what will happen when the Arctic is just another ocean? Probably within a decade, at least during the summer if some reports are to be believed. The effect on the world's climate has to be profound, not just in terms of loss of albedo, methane release, etc. but possibly in terms of oceanic circulation around the globe too. Do climate models even take into consideration and ice free Arctic?

Is anyone actually ahead of the curve on climate change, we seem to hear a lot about "faster than anticipated" these days.

Good question. More snow overall, from added evaporation off open water? Higher albedo on land from added snow, compounding the confusion or even initiating a new Ice Age? Little net effect because peak meltoff in September occurs long after peak sunshine in June? Little net effect because open water radiates more infrared in autumn? Cascade strong enough to decrease albedo further by converting more snow to rain than evaporation adds?

Alas, the old crystal  ball  dartboard seems to be broken. Little to do but get some popcorn and watch the show, for lack of an alternative that's politically or socially feasible actually to implement rather than merely to talk about grandly and self-righteously?.

Good question. More snow overall, from added evaporation off open water? Higher albedo on land from added snow, compounding the confusion or even initiating a new Ice Age?

I seem to recall that Alaska has been getting more snow, but even with higher accumulations it is still melting sooner. So it looks like any precip increases won't make up for the greater warmth.
You are right about the September minimum not having much of an effect on the planetary albedo. But June and July ice cover is shrinking also, so more sunlight is being absorbed. Its just that the widely used minimum extent isn't a good metric for it. I suspect most of the additional heating will go into the ocean water, and take many years before it shows up in the atmosphere.

"I suspect most of the additional heating will go into the ocean water, and take many years before it shows up in the atmosphere."

Looks like nature has found a short cut to speed things up a little (from Darwinian's article above):

Scientists at the.... have found that more than 250 plumes of bubbles of methane gas are rising from the seabed of the West Spitsbergen continental margin in the Arctic, in a depth range of 150 to 400 metres.

Goldman is way ahead of the curve-they will make a lot of money off this stuff.

Besides the latest on methane release and accelerating ice melt, June and July both set record highs for sea surface temperatures. With El Nino forecast to strengthen into the fall season, I would lay money down that this bad news gets worse before the ball drops in Times Square. I wish they would build CTL plants as fast as possible -- I want my Midwestern home to be beach front, can you imagine how much cash I would make ;)

Ron - thanks for posting this. Global Warming is such a huge topic that it is very much akin to the Blind men and an elephant.

What keeps drawing my attention is the enthalpy of fusion. When water changes states from solid to liquid it requires a tremendous amount of energy absorption to make that happen. As the energy in the system (biosphere) continues to rise it will sooner or later reach a critical mass where an exponential curve will take over. Most of the calculations I've seen don't take this into account.

Therefore I think most climate models are hopelessly optimistic. I'm more inclined to agree with James Lovelock a perennial pessimist:

I find it sad, but all too human, that there are vast bureaucracies concerned about nuclear waste, huge organisations devoted to decommissioning power stations, but nothing comparable to deal with that truly malign waste, carbon dioxide."


Joe, do you really think 10,000 climate modellers are all going to make such an elementary mistake?

From what I have seen, it is expected that when the "ice-free" state is reached, sea surface temperature rise will accelerate.

Having said that, there is a related problem the models did not account for: the increased "effective plasticity" of ice as it warms - aka the increased flow rate of glaciers. Models tended to treat ice caps like ice cubes, just sitting there, collecting snow and melting.

I too think most climate models are optimistic, for that reason and another bigger one. It's only very recently that models have tried to account for biotic responses to warming and acidification. So all the "old" models are de-facto assuming that there will be no net effect from this source.

The news is so bad, all one can do is laugh.

And in a presentation by Vice Admiral Moeller at an Africom conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008 and subsequently posted on the web by the Pentagon, he declared that protecting "the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market" was one of Africom's "guiding principles" and specifically cited "oil disruption," "terrorism," and the "growing influence" of China as major "challenges" to U.S. interests in Africa.

Well, there it is. Less and less effort to pretty it up as a big morality play.

Yup! Africa and all its resources is just sitting there, defenceless. Just as it was before the WWI, when the European super powers raced to colonise it before the others could. It was almost as important to stop other powers gaining control over resources as it was to gain control over them.

All that land too, complete with cheap labour. After the Black Death in the 13th Century the agricultural workforce was depleted, in central Asia slavery was the solution to the problem. When our mechanical workforce dies, I wonder what the solution will be.

I still believe neo-colonialism will be in our future in an attempt to offset overshoot and Africa will be the battleground of WWIII.

Agree. China is seeking Africa's resources. U.S. is seeking Africa's resources. Al Queda et al are seeking human jihad resources. Africa will suffer as it never has before. Sad.

The American Conservative published a piece by Peter Hitchens some months ago about his trip to an African mine in which whatever the miners dug up went to the Chinese for a pittance. It was a horror story if even half true, worse the miners, so desperate were they, almost killed the guide for even daring to bring in someone to photo the scene of human despair. But I have no doubt that the Chinese company that was in charge had plenty of NYC and London based investors, so the battle lines if there are to be any will certainly be confused.

Burgundy wrote

All that land too, complete with cheap labour. After the Black Death in the 13th Century the agricultural workforce was depleted, in central Asia slavery was the solution to the problem. When our mechanical workforce dies, I wonder what the solution will be.

Never fear.

UK scientists developing intelligent harvesting robot to save farms up to £100,000 a year

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington have developed imaging technology to be used in an intelligent harvesting machine that could minimise wastage and solve an impending labour shortage for UK farmers.

Annual waste for certain crops can be up to 60% - which can mean up to £100,000 of lost revenue for an average farm every year, according to farmers who were consulted during research. Falling number of migrant labourers means that healthy crops cannot be gathered and so farms are losing crops due to harvesting at the wrong time.

When our "MECHANICAL" workforce dies, I wonder what the solution will be.

The robot will be a pile of junk in the corner of the field and the scientists will be gainfully employed picking cauliflowers.

Yes, I can see that working :)

"..the scientists will be gainfully employed picking cauliflowers."

IMO, it will be even worse than that scenario: instead, with bees, bats, and who knows what other species going extinct, I expect many to be actively employed hand-pollinating as now commonly done with vanilla plants.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron due to the extensive labor required to grow the seed pods used in its manufacture..

Flowering normally occurs every spring, and without pollination, the blossom wilts and falls, and no vanilla bean can grow. Each flower must be hand-pollinated within 12 hours of opening. The only insect capable of pollinating the blossom is the Melipona, a bee, native only to Mexico. All vanilla grown today is pollinated by hand..

Extinction of Melipona beecheii and traditional beekeeping in the Yucatan peninsula

How many of us are willing to hand pollinate a citrus tree for 6 hours to be much later rewarded with just one glass of OJ or grapefruit juice? I think most would initially choose the exciting effects of scurvy, and other vitamin deficiencies, over the boredom of hand-pollinating.

Sorry, but I just have a hard time picturing a 300+ lb obese 'Murkan dangerously teetering high atop a 25 ft flimsy ladder with a dinky Q-tip-->it truly would give new meaning to having a 'Grand Slam' for breakfast.

"When our mechanical workforce dies, I wonder what the solution will be."

Burgundy, Burgundy. You're worrying about nothing.

It's on Andre Venter's list. After he gets done inventing algae that can convert sunlight to biodiesel at 100% efficiency, he's going to tweak crops to be self harvesting, self freezing and packaging, and self distributing.

Only a 10-minute job for da man....


The Oil Drum's mission is to facilitate civil, evidence-based discussions about energy and its impact on our future.

Social issues are at times seen as peripheral to the global economic and energy crisis. But IMO the social implications of collapsing societies will trump geologic facts as depletion plays out. On that premise I ask for feedback on the sci-fi blockbuster movie District 9 which opened in wide release yesterday.

The plot of the film has to do with an unlikely event: A huge alien ship from another world suddenly suspends itself over Johannesburg, South Africa...over 2 million alien refugees on board are out of gas, starving and desperate for aid. The survivors are initially contained in a resettlement camp. After twenty years of dealing with the consequences of Alien refugees public opinion in South Africa shifts to a consensus that these "undesirables" should be exterminated. As a compromise they decide to "resettle" the refugees. The film is about that "resettlement".

What this strange and arresting (and certainly violent) film asks the popcorn-crunching audience to consider is: In a world of collapse are the elites going to continue to place worldwide refugees in "camps"and eventually turn their backs on these unfortunates?

At the end of the film when the aliens were striking back against their human tormentors the audience was cheering for the death of...humans.


I thought it was very original sci fi-the documentary style worked well. The Blackwater corp running the show was a good touch.

The bad news about Christmas 2009 sales and profits are already starting to show up. Poor Christmas sales/profits 2009 will mean lots of bankruptcies in the first quarter of 2010 as already stressed retailers and their suppliers take another big hit?


How to Work Santa Silly for Fun and Profit

By Rich Duprey
July 23, 2009

Dreaming of a black Christmas
Christmas is the key sales season for retailers. They bank on its success, because Christmas sales can account for as much as 20% to 30% of a retailer's annual revenue. There's a reason the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, even if it is a marketing gimmick that's been missing the all-important "black" part lately.

So Sears might have good reason to try to get a head start on the competition -- especially this year. According to BigResearch, more than one-third of all shoppers say they're going to spend less on Christmas this year than they did in 2008.


Wary Christmas looms for music retailers
Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:05am EDT

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Retailers expect music sales to be better during the Christmas shopping season than the rest of this year, but most anticipate a case of the holiday blues.

"Last year was such a bad Christmas for music sales that if we can't top that, then we've got a serious problem on our hands," says a purchasing executive at a retail chain who asked to remain anonymous because he isn't authorized to speak about sales projections.

The CFO at a leading retail chain says that while he expects some U.S. economic indicators to show improvement in the fall, "it will be 2011 before we see any serious spending out of consumers, and it won't be at previous levels."

The wild card is U.S. monetary policy, according to the executive. "If they don't focus on strengthening the dollar, I worry that hyper-inflation will kick in," he says, adding that hopes for a near-term economic recovery will be dim "if the dollar is not strong and foreign investors start pulling out."

"Christmas depends on how much real estate we have left," Tuchman says. "We don't see much of a change in pricing from the label side ... so we think music will continue to fade. By Christmas merchants will have a much smaller music section, so I am not bullish."

Most retailers have already made their buying purchases for stocking their stores for the Christmas Season, but I have not yet been able to find any specific information on how those sales relate to previous years. I would Guess that they are down, but it is only a Guess until hard numbers are found.

A few weeks ago Dr. Robin Robinson went on record to say that 150 million plus doses of swine flue vaccine would be available in October in the US. He foolishly put his name to this when the CDC wouldn't publish estimated numbers. Seems he's now had to back down. I hope he has learned something from this.

Officials lower expectations for size of first novel flu vaccine deliveries

During a late July meeting of a federal immunization advisory panel, which targeted 159 million people to receive the first doses, authorities projected that 120 million doses would be available in October, with another 80 million per month in the following months.

However, during a National Biodefense Safety Board (NBSB) teleconference today, Dr. Robin Robinson, director of the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the latest expectation is 45 million doses by mid October, with manufacturers delivering 20 million doses per week after that.

45 million doses is enough for 22 million people.

I've come to the conclusion that instead of making people more intelligent and more informed, the massive increase in media with cable news and the internet has made people dumber rather than smarter. Instead of people finding out more information from more diverse sources, people are just able to discriminate where their news comes from and just get news that reinforces their own ideas. People talk about all the partisan division there is, well 50 years ago you couldn't have people like Rush Limbaugh, the Huffington Post, etc to drive the partisanship.

There is no way the internet has made people less informed. Imagine the bailout scam without the Net-there wouldn't have been even one peep out of the entire MSM. They only grudgingly reported part of the truth because of the increasing power and credibility of Internet journalists such as Denninger and Mish.

Brian, Daxtatter has a point. People who watch Fox news only get indoctrinated with right wing propagandas on a continuous basis. They become more entrenched in their ways and respond to any counter argument with shouts and insults.

It is a little like reading books. Back in the sixties I knew people who would read only right wing propaganda books, and there were plenty of them in those days. But people who did not read such propagandas and watched only the network news got more balanced information.

I am only a little different. I do watch network news which is pretty close to the middle of the road, though I know you may disagree with that. But as for cable news, when the network news is not on, I usually watch MSNBC. I used to watch CNN mostly until I got fed up with Lou Dobbs. I still watch CNN because some of their shows are really balanced, but I think Dobbs is out to lunch. I never watch fox though I have friends who keep their TV on Fox news 24 hours a day.

Those avid Fox watchers are the people who Daxtatter had in mind. I am sure there are a lot of bloggers who echo Fox's view but I never read them.

So are people more or less informed because of TV and the internet? Well, they are certainly more informed about the position of their particular ideology but far less informed as far as any other possible counter positions are concerned.

Ron P.

People who watch Fox news only get indoctrinated with right wing propagandas on a continuous basis

Must be hearsay.

I never watch fox

The Internet is caught in a vast positive feedback loop courtesy of Google's PageRank Algorithm. Does that make people more informed?

Jeez-talk about nitpicking. I guess the library is supposed to hide any book the sheeple want to read.

"...50 years ago you couldn't have people like Rush Limbaugh..."

ROFLMAO. On which planet did this golden past transpire? Ever heard of Father Coughlin? Or Senator Joe McCarthy? Seriously, let's please not use romantic twaddle about some lovey-dovey 'simple life' in a wholly imaginary golden past to cover up the rather awful realities of history.

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
—George Santayana

The "reality" being that respectability of yesteryear in America of when you spoke of was about as narrow as could be. Those two you mention were complete outsiders rousing the populace, they hardly manned the editorialship of any "respectable" publication or read the news to the country thru the couple of outlets available. And besides Joe McCarthy was right, and we certainly do not need anymore Poltical Correctness to obfiscate the fact that the Soviet Union murdered millions and its symps were responsible in their very own way (yes I said responsible). Thank you

Congrats-your guys won the battle against the American worker-in fact, they kicked the crap out of him.

Memo Reveals API Planning Astroturf 'grass roots' Rallies to Quash Climate Change Bill

A leaked memo sent by an oil industry group reveals a plan to create astroturf rallies at which industry employees posing as "citizens" will urge Congress to oppose climate change legislation.
Some text of the memo . . .

Dear API Member Company CEO/Executive,
As I have outlined in the past few editions of the weekly "Executive Update," API os coordinating a series of "Energy Citizen" rallies in about 20 states across the country during the last two weeks of Congress's August recess. Most of these will be held at noontime, though some may be at different times in order to piggyback on other events. Thanks to the leadershit of API's Executive Committee, I am pleased to report that we have strong support for this first-ever effort moving ahead. Now we are asking all API members to get involved. etc. etc.
--Jack Gerard, President & CEO, API

There seem to be mixed views:

Climate-change protests split oil industry

The API represents the entire oil industry. But some of its members, which also are part of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, favor many of President Obama's environmental policies and oppose the plan to send workers to rallies.

Shell, General Electric, Siemens, BP America and ConocoPhillips also belong to the partnership, and Shell calls responding to climate change "the pro-growth strategy."

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplink: "Japan should reduce energy consumption to make it less vulnerable to global crises".

From the Mainichi article:
Still, it is necessary to go one step further considering the urgency of problems involving global warming and the limits of natural resources available.
As I can't read or speak Japanese, therefore, I have no true idea of the extent Peak Outreach has penetrated into Japanese society, but my guess is that it is even less than here in the USA. For instance, the article did not even mention Peakoil once.

Yet, if the English translation of the Japanese original article is true: IMO, the Mainichi didn't go 'one step further' in really alerting their readership 'considering the urgency of problems' on what truly lies dead ahead for postPeak Japan.

For example: The Mainichi could have easily provided a list of many Peak Outreach books [Diamond, Tainter, Rubin, Heinberg, Deffeyes, Simmons, et al], probably already translated into Japanese, and available now at Japanese bookstores. Additionally, the Mainichi could have also easily provided weblinks to translated versions of the Macfarlane PDF, Jenkins' Humanure Handbook, Duncan's Olduvai articles, and Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision, EB's EDO Period writeup, plus many more, in a convenient list for their readership. Or even a weblink to the Mottainai Society, which is functioning as an "ASPO-Japan".

Best hopes for all MSM everywhere to show true leadership by going 'one step further' for their readership, so that the readership can then move the 'next step further'. Thus, my guess is that nearly all Japanese readers of this article were 'Not Incentivized' to be more curious to pursue this critical Peak Everything topic any further. Most probably instantly moved on to the 'Hello Kitty' webpage, or lots of other pointless info or pursuits...

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

Hello TODers,

Selected excerpts my Google NewsSearch on White Nose Syndrome below:

First bees, now bats are disappearing. What's next?

..Over the past year, white-nose syndrome has spread to New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia, killing hundreds of thousands of bats. Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Alabama hold some of the largest colonies of hibernating bats in the world. If/when the disease spreads there, it will decimate the bat population of most of North America.

..A healthy bat eats as many as 1000 insects an hour - 50% to 100% of his body weight in bugs every night. Every night. According to one estimate, the bats that have died would have consumed about 694 tons of insects in one year. Can you imagine how many mosquitos there are in a ton? The bugs, uneaten, are now still around to decimate crops, sting people, and spread diseases such as West Nile virus.

..This year, however, the bats are missing. In their place are their favorite delicacies — the mosquitoes, the flies, the all-purpose bugs that now freely inhabit the north country air. A night ride on a boat, even a slow one like ours, now means weathering tiny assaults. “I feel like a human windshield,” one rider lamented amid a recent swarm.
I dare anyone to try to kill 1,000 flying bugs per hour without insecticide, plus eating them to provide guano [O-NPK] for your garden. Remember, from my prior posting series, that we went to war over guano, and I bet [without a google search] that there are no bird species that can catch super-dinky flying bugs anywhere near as efficiently as bats.

IMO, we will greatly lament the Dieoff and/or extinction of bats, except for the insecticide companies, who are probably gearing up their FF-based chem-factories now to make record amounts of future profits.

But, as Dr Albert Bartlett asks: "How does continually having more humans make any problem you can think of become easier to solve?"

As we go postPeak: How does continually spraying ever increasing amounts of insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides, make our planet more eco-sustainable?

I wonder if we will soon see massive human migrations, induced by mosquitos or other bug swarms, like the arctic caribou driven nuts by flying, stinging bug bites?

Caribou Migration [2:01]

"On Animal Planet's "Fooled by Nature," this pesky bloodsucking creature heavily influences the migration of the caribou. Caribou will go miles out of their way [even avoiding the best grazing areas!] just to try and minimize the stinging bites of the mosquito."

Can humans daily traverse many miles in a heavy, protective coat, running up to 30 mph, while also losing up to two pints of blood/week? Would you move by your own footpower: 6,000 miles each year to try to stay ahead of the worst bugstorms? Or will we bleed to death by bugbites and disease?

"First bees, now bats are disappearing. What's next?"

For some reason unknown to me, the buzzards and jays seem to have disappeared from our wooded valley this year. It might just be temporary, although both are territorial. In fact there doesn't seem to be a lot of any kind of bird around at the moment, even the swallows seem rather sparse.

If it isn't temporary, then it would possibly indicate a severe and very rapid population decline has occurred or a forced migration for some reason. Who knows what subtle and unnoticed changes are rapidly occurring below the horizon of our understanding?

If we did find ourselves at some tipping point, would we even realise we where in the middle of some major transforming tipping event? When a routine weather event can dump 2.5meters (over 8ft) of rain on an area in a weekend, I have to wonder?

An interesting analysis projecting World population through 2300:

254-page PDF alert!


The report does not seem to talk about collapse or resource constraints very much until this passage at the end:

In the twentieth century the world was generally place of significant demographic growth. And a corollary of this was that the numerical effects of a major mortality crisis were usually soon ‘madeup’ i.e. populations recovered in size fairly speedily after a disaster. However, this has not been the case for most of human history, and this is not the future we expect. Beyond about 2075 (and putting the ‘high’ scenario on one side) the United Nations projections themselves envisage a world of either zero or negative demographic growth (see figure). Yet, to reiterate, looking out over a period as long as three centuries, a major mortality crisis seems almost inevitable.

Hello Moonwatcher,

Thxs for this prediction from the UN. I would eventually expect them to start rapidly 'backstroking' from a 300-year window to a window of 200 years, then 100 years, then 50, then ???

No different than the IEA & EIA & CERA 'backstroking' from their initially way too optimistic Peakoil predictions.

I wish they backstroked as they wrote this report, before they went final. We humans have a strong innate denial response, and an inherent lack of ability to take the long view...despite our vaunted intelligence, our behaviors largely seem to be driven by 'the selfish gene'. My wife and I figured that once we had a boy and a girl ('lil Moon Watchers) that we had been fortunate and will be happy and should not take any more than our share of the World's resources towards offspring. That was 19 and 17 years ago, well before TOD. I am continually disappointed that more people don't reach the same conclusions...two is the magic number. Want more, adopt please.

Hi Steve,

And Bill is projected to reach Cat 2 by early Wednesday morning.

See: http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200903.html

It may very well curve out to sea but, right now, the lower eastern seaboard appears to be at greatest risk.


And Bill is projected to reach Cat 2 by early Wednesday morning.

Oh not not Hurricane Bill! What will Hillary have to say about that ;-)

Now projected to reach Cat 3

Watch out, VA Beach through Manhattan?