Drumbeat: August 16, 2009

US marines in Afghanistan launch first energy efficiency audit in war zone

The US Marines Corps ordered the first ever energy audit in a war zone todayto try to reduce the enormous fuel costs of keeping troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

General James T Conway, the Marines Corps Commandant, said he wanted a team of energy experts in place in Afghanistan by the end of the month to find ways to cut back on the fuel bills for the 10,000 strong marine contingent.

US marines in Afghanistan run through some 800,000 gallons of fuel a day. That's a higher burn rate than during an initial invasion, and reflects the logistical challenges of running counter-insurgency and other operations in the extreme weather conditions of Afghanistan.

Producer and Import Price Index in July 2009 - Steady prices for the second time in succession compared with previous month

(FSO) - The Producer and Import Price Index calculated by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) remained on average stable in July 2009 compared with the previous month, as it had already in June. Domestic products registered a price decline of 0.2%. For import products, on the other hand, a rise of 0.2% was observed. This is mainly attributable to higher prices for petroleum products and non-ferrous metals.

The Tortoise and the Hair-raising Threat

To save our planet we’ll have to make sacrifices—and they might include the sage grouse and the desert tortoise.

When the Power Goes Out, Renewable Energy Trailer Goes to Work in Michigan

Here's a feather in the cap of renewable energy supporters.

When the (baseload, coal and nuclear) power went out after storms in Muskegon, a mobile renewable energy unit came to the rescue.

Mobile Gen LLC, an energy company based in Houston, Texas, has been testing a new mobile power generation trailer at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Muskegon. The lab is an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Bugging Out

Simon Beer has spent the past five years trying to convince himself that the Apocalypse will be fun. Not that he calls it the Apocalypse. His fellow survivalists call it TEOFTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) or the Long Emergency, the Collapse, the Shift or the Event, as in, "There may be marauding bands of cannibals post-Event." But Simon doesn't call it anything at all. "I guess I'd call it ‘When the oil runs out'," he says. "I don't really have a name for it." So far this nameless thing has been far from fun: it has cost him his job, his relationship and his health, and it hasn't even started yet.
(An older article, recently out from behind a paywall.)

Transition Towns Reloaded - a reminder of the importance of our work a year after it all began

A year ago, amidst the phenomenal rise of oil and gas prices, the “Transition Town” concept was introduced to Coromandel by the national co-ordinator of the movement, James Samuel from Waiheke, to a packed Hauraki House Theatre. With Oil then trading at just about US$150 per barrel and fuel prices breaching the pain level, the spectre of the world’s coming predicaments had left the realm of “maybe” and had become palpable to everyone. The world economy, until then still growing at exponential levels but fiscally leveraged to braking point, was soon after running head-long into a wall. Trillions in paper assets, mortgages, retirement funds and real estate values evaporated in giant fireworks throughout the world when it became clear that the future could be leveraged no further like a bottomless ATM machine to fund the largesse of the present. Many New Zealanders too lost some of their retirement savings when NZ’s most leveraged of the so called “Finance Companies” collapsed.

Farmers work the land with next generation

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - They are lawyers, factory workers, insurance adjusters, even an accountant and a dentist. All share the same dream: They want to farm.

And all have applied to a special Iowa program that tries to link aspiring farmers with seasoned landowners who are looking toward retirement — or just planning for the future.

Parts of Texas see worst drought on record

DALLAS - The most parched areas of Texas have been wilting in the blistering heat for two years, but only now is it now official: This is their worst drought in recorded history.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said Friday that at least nine of the 254 counties in Texas — the nation's most drought-stricken state — are suffering through their driest conditions since modern record-keeping began in 1895.

Demand for alligator skin plummets

"My father was in the fur and alligator business. I started buying fur and alligators when I was 13 years old," said Wayne Sagrera, 65, who has about 75,000 alligators at Vermilion Gator Farm Inc. in Abbeville. "I've seen some slowdowns. But nothing to compare to this."

People who are still buying expensive accessories have shifted away from conspicuous consumption — for instance, Jimmy Choo is selling obvious faux-crocodile as well as the real thing, fashion consultant Robert Burke said.

"There's certainly a sensitivity in the luxury market of anything that is too much luxury, and alligator would fit into that category," Burke said.

River Basin Fight Pits Atlanta Against Neighbors

ATLANTA — The residents of the economic engine of the South, as they like to call this comparatively gleaming and rapidly expanding state capital, have always suspected that they are the objects of resentment from their more rural neighbors.

Now they are certain of it.

A recent court defeat has left Atlanta howling that its enemies, including Alabama and Florida, are trying to choke off the city’s prosperity, if not out of sheer spite then at least the misguided notion that jobs and money would flow to them instead. The conflict is the timeworn rural-versus-urban enmity writ large, a battle over water that has pitted Atlanta against its neighbors in and out of Georgia.

Learning from the British in Iraq

Under the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), President Barack Obama is currently bound to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. Three factors, however, make it probable that the president will attempt to renegotiate the terms of the agreement as it approaches its conclusion: Iraqi security forces will continue to be logistically dependent on the U.S. military. The United States will be increasingly dependent on oil from Iraq and the wider region. And the American left will be unable to exert significant electoral pressure on the legislative or executive branch, given the U.S. foreign policy establishment's calculation of the strategic consequences of a complete withdrawal.

US pledges to support Pakistan in energy crisis

Islamabad - The United States on Sunday agreed with Pakistan to shift the focus of its engagement toward tackling economic and energy problems in the country reeling from militant violence.

Low-Income Families Shortchanged By The Legislature

Last year more than 231,000 Connecticut households - many with young children, sick, or elderly family members - owed substantially more for their energy bills than they could afford. According to Operation Fuel's home energy affordability gap study for 2008, lower-income Connecticut families on average owed over $2,200 more in energy bills than they had the resources for. This added up to a home energy affordability gap of more than $510 million for Connecticut's lower income households.

In addition, many families needed energy assistance for the first time ever this winter as the economy worsened and people continued to lose their jobs. Without Operation Fuel and its energy banks, Connecticut households that do not qualify for federal assistance would have had nowhere to turn.

A Billion Teenagers, for Better or Worse

Fresh population projections put the number of humans over seven billion in 2011, just 12 years after humanity passed the six billion mark. What’s most notable in the new analysis is confirmation that while fertility rates are dropping in many places, some of the world’s most turbulent and poverty-stricken regions are seeing explosive population growth leading to enormous numbers of teenagers and children.

Park ranger asks: Where are the black visitors?

Johnson, a musician, storyteller and interpretive specialist at Yosemite National Park, is determined to inspire young inner-city African Americans to experience what he says transformed his life. Less than 1 percent of the visitors to Yosemite are African American, a number he's eager to improve.

"It's bigger than just African Americans not visiting national parks. It's a disassociation from the natural world," said Johnson, who has worked in Yosemite for the past 15 of his 22 years in the Park Service. "I think it is, in part, a memory of the horrible things that were done to us in rural America."

The rejection of the natural world by the black community, he said, is a scar left over from slavery.

Bottled Water Boom Appears Tapped Out

The recession has finally answered the question that centuries of philosophers could not: The glass is half-empty.

That's because sales of bottled water have fallen for the first time in at least five years, assailed by wrathful environmentalists and budget-conscious consumers, who have discovered that tap water is practically free. Even Nestle, the country's largest seller of bottled water, is beginning to feel a bit parched. On Wednesday, it reported that profits for the first half of the year dropped 2.7 percent, its first decline in six years.

Environmental movies have a green problem: money

Despite 'Food, Inc.'s' success, few new ecological documentaries are enjoying robust box-office takes. Chalk it up to audiences preferring escapist tales rather than disturbing reality.

Selling Americans on a 'Green-Collar' Economy

Van Jones may have one of the hottest assignments in the Obama administration -- selling the notion of a new "green-collar" economy -- but in a country burdened with a 9.4 percent unemployment rate, it's not easy.

Australia: Saving planet may lure students back to science

TACKLING modern problems such as climate change is a key element of a new program to fight the chronic problem of older secondary students shunning the subject of science.

Targeting year 9 and 10 students, trials of the locally developed science program known as STELR - Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance - have proved so successful that it has secured Federal Government funding and will be rolled out to 180 schools next year.

In Obama Garden, Less Lead

After tests of the White House’s kitchen garden site revealed high levels of lead, workers added lime, crab meal and compost to the soil in order to improve it.

Follow sun into desert for richest source of solar power

Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears to like deserts so much that she wants them to stretch from Oklahoma to California and cover one-third of the planet. Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities in the Mojave Desert, but Feinstein has said that these renewable energy plants would violate the spirit of what conservationists intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

As Prices Slump, Solar Industry Suffers

A run of poor earnings has damped confidence in once-booming solar companies.

Shares in LDK Solar, a Chinese solar manufacturer, fell by 18 percent after the company reported a larger than expected second-quarter loss.

Shares in JA Solar, another Chinese company, fell nearly 8 percent after its earnings report on Wednesday; the company’s revenue dropped by 51 percent compared with a year earlier.

For manufacturers, the problem boils down to a sharp drop in panel prices amid increased supply and tighter demand. Panel prices have fallen by nearly 40 percent from their peak last spring, estimates Chris Whitman, the president of U.S. Solar Finance, which helps arrange bank financing for solar projects.

Solar industry's promises bring environmental challenges for Tennessee

As the state tries to reap the benefits of a growing solar industry that could bring thousands of new jobs and billions in new investment, the massive projects also bring with them environmental challenges in the form of intensive manufacturing operations that will draw a tremendous amount of electricity from the state's power grid used to run sprawling chemical reactors.

Once a leader, state's been eclipsed on renewables

California has always been a pioneer, and nowhere is this myth more compelling than in the world of energy. But time has not been kind to the Golden State. With state legislators getting back to work Monday, their votes in the coming weeks may help determine whether California can regain some of its luster, or continue to fade away into the sunset as an iconoclastic and now largely irrelevant player on the national and international stage.

Energy Frontiers: Space Solar, Hot Lots

Martin Hoffert, an emeritus physics professor at New York University, has long made the case that a powerful push is needed in basic inquiry — comprising the first two steps in the research, development, demonstration, deployment chain — to supply non-polluting energy to humanity as it heads toward 9 billion people. He and his “discouraged” proposal seeking Energy Department financing (for a test of pumping solar power from orbit to Earth) were the focus of a piece on Clean Skies TV this week.

A New Focus on Ocean Conservation

Conservationists are turning their attention toward the sea as development pressures mean less land contiguously available for protection.

2 Studies Challenge Notion of Rise in Atlantic Storms

Since the mid-1990s, hurricanes and tropical storms have struck the Atlantic Ocean with unusual frequency — or have they? Two new studies suggest that the situation may not be so clear.

‘Glaciers may melt, rivers may go dry’

New Delhi: Urging people to efficiently use the country’s limited natural resources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned that if timely measures are not taken against effects of global warming, glaciers would melt and rivers would go dry.

In his address to the nation on its 63rd Independence Day on Saturday, Dr Singh also suggested "save water" as a national slogan.

Yankees’ Postgame Wrap-Up in the Name of Charity

The Blue Jays-Yankees game Wednesday was in the sixth inning when the hot dogs, hamburgers and sushi started arriving in Yankee Stadium’s underground food warehouse.

Into the 11th inning and after the game, the food came off freight elevators from luxury boxes, clubs and concession stands, in metal trays, on rolling racks and in boxes.

Carl Thomas, a warehouse worker recovering from his own hard times, packs the prepared, unserved food that is delivered after each game to hungry people.

“I just feel good doing this, you know?” Thomas said in a quiet, gravelly voice. “They call it a natural high.”

The food was headed to a local church, not to a distant landfill, because of Rock and Wrap It Up, an antipoverty think tank that arranges for churches, shelters and agencies to pick up postgame and postconcert leftovers for their pantries, food banks and soup kitchens.

Three food-related problems with one solution

Two-thirds of Americans are classified as obese or overweight, a vast majority are afflicted with financial concerns, and 100 percent are affected by climate change and environmental degradation.

Huge numbers of us spend precious money on diet books, Nutrisystem, and gym memberships while gas guzzling food distribution trucks spew emissions across the country.

Yet hidden behind our rampant consumerism, a simple and overarching solution exists to address problems of obesity, finances, and the environment.

An Amazon Culture Withers as Food Dries Up

Deforestation and, some scientists contend, global climate change are making the Amazon region drier and hotter, decimating fish stocks in this area and imperiling the Kamayurá’s very existence. Like other small indigenous cultures around the world with little money or capacity to move, they are struggling to adapt to the changes.

“Us old monkeys can take the hunger, but the little ones suffer — they’re always asking for fish,” said Kotok, the tribe’s chief, who stood in front of a hut containing the tribe’s sacred flutes on a recent evening. He wore a white T-shirt over the tribe’s traditional dress, which is basically nothing.

Qaeda stronger as blasts feed Iraqi Kurd-Arab feud

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – A series of huge bombings in northern Iraq have triggered fiery accusations of blame between Arabs and Kurds, escalating a dispute over land and oil that has played into the hands of a resurgent al Qaeda.

Truck bombings and suicide attacks have killed scores of people and caused enormous destruction in northern Iraq near the troubled city of Mosul this month, which lies close to territory disputed by Iraq's Arab majority and minority ethnic Kurds.

Florida Braces for Tropical Storm as Ana, Bill Slowly Approach

(Bloomberg) -- A tropical storm warning was issued for the coastal communities of the Florida panhandle and the northeastern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression formed late yesterday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical storms Ana and Bill, which both consolidated yesterday, are slowly moving west in the Atlantic, the center said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu pushes to lift ban on drilling in eastern Gulf of Mexico

Sensing a shifting attitude among Floridians who have historically opposed drilling off of the state's coast, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is again pushing to lift a ban on oil and gas development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Oman oil production up to 807,000 barrels a day

MUSCAT (KUNA) -- Oman succeeded in raising its oil production to 807,000 barrels a day in June in harmony with the 2009 general budget estimates, Undersecretary of the Oil and Gas Ministry Nasser Khamis Al-Jashmi said Sunday.

The 2009 general budget was based on average production of 805,000 barrels a day.

The government will continue implementing its plan to increase production, Al-Jashmi said in a press release.

Kuwaiti Islamic bank returns to investments in US

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- Kuwait's largest Islamic bank said Sunday it has signed a $450 million deal with a U.S. real estate investment trust to buy high income residential real estate in major American major cities.

Going ‘green’ in the kitchen

You don’t have to invest in a Prius or renounce electricity to green up your life. A new breed of “green” cookbooks advocates small but significant changes in your kitchen and your cooking habits that will increase your contribution to the earth’s salvation.

Canada Line subsidy will be felt for years to come

The 19-kilometre Canada Line will open with great political fanfare on Monday (August 17).

The public will be allowed to ride for free from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the line, which runs from Waterfront Station to Richmond Centre and to the airport.

But that's when the free ride will end. TransLink has already acknowledged that it might take until 2013 before the Canada Line generates 100,000 riders per day.

And that could be bad news for taxpayers and transit riders.

Can Lode sustain itself?

SAN ANDREAS - After a history scarred by the booms and busts of gold mining and logging, it might seem unlikely that Calaveras County and neighboring portions of the Sierra Nevada would emerge as a hub for how communities can survive and thrive during economic, social and environmental turmoil.

Yet that seems to be exactly what is happening.

Some call it permaculture. Some call it sustainable design. Some call it economic conversion. A variety of groups ranging from private nonprofits to collaborations of government agencies to a loose network of community gardeners are all working on the long-term survival issue. They're growing vegetables for the hungry, finding new ways to manage forests, and training people in energy efficient construction technologies and how to incorporate food production into home site design.

Obama's EPA plans fewer toxic cleanups

WASHINGTON — For years, the Bush administration was criticized for not cleaning up enough of the nation's most contaminated waste sites. The Obama administration plans to do even less.

Environmental groups and some Democratic lawmakers railed against President George W. Bush's cleanup record. But this time, they're shying away from speaking out against a popular president who's considered an ally in the fight to clean up the environment.

California employees face quandary over carbon offsets

But one global green leader does not offset its travel, even though its employees regularly fly around the world warning about the dangers of climate change and devising strategies to combat it. That leader is the state of California.

"As a state employee, you are put in an awkward situation," said Tony Brunello, deputy secretary of climate change and energy at the Natural Resources Agency who has traveled to Europe, South America and Indonesia.

"We are trying to push (emissions) reductions," Brunello said. "It would help us, as state workers, to have some clear direction on what you do and you don't offset."

Coastal property owners wary of climate change, unwilling to pocket remedies

BELFAST, Maine — An overwhelming majority of southern and midcoast Maine coastal property owners surveyed by researchers expressed serious concerns about the potential impacts of climate change on their area.

But in an indication of the challenge facing both scientists and policy makers, most respondents said they were unsure about what can and should be done to prevent loss of valuable coastal land due to more rapid erosion, sea-level rise and stronger storms.

And property owners expressed little interest in digging deeply into their own pockets to mitigate the effects of climate change, preferring instead grants or for local towns to take the lead.

June's record ocean warmth worries fishermen, environmentalists

WASHINGTON — Ocean surface temperatures around the world were the warmest on record for the month of June, according to federal scientists, though they caution that one month doesn't necessarily imply global warming.

The warmer temperatures do confirm that an ocean phenomenon known as El Nino is building in the Pacific Ocean .

Some scientists think that the rising temperatures hint at broader changes, perhaps resulting from global climate change. Environmentalists and fishermen are wary of what it may mean.

Re: Florida Braces for Tropical Storm as Ana, Bill Slowly Approach

Tropical depression #4 popped up overnight in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and is headed toward the coast near the Florida/Alabama border.


E. Swanson

And Bill is now projected on possible course for Florida as a Cat 3


Looks more like New York Cat 4 to me.

If you look at Tallahassee radar looks like the storm will move just south of the coast from
Apalachicola to Destin then move inland near Fort Walton Beach.


National Weather Service Doppler radar data indicate that Claudette
made landfall around 0510 UTC...along the eastern end of Santa Rosa
Island...just southeast of Fort Walton Beach Florida. Doppler
velocities have gradually been decreasing and there have not been
any recent reports of strong winds near the center. However...
it is possible that 35 kt winds are still occurring in the strong
convection over water to the southeast of the center. On this
basis...Claudette is being maintained as a tropical storm with an
initial intensity of 35 kt. Claudette is expected to weaken to a
tropical depression later this morning as the center moves farther

Looks like the New Orleans -- Corpus Christi coast is safe for now but if this TD4 would have been moving west... Gasoline stocks are 7.3 million barrels higher than last year and near the top of the 5 year average, however, these levels are much to low to prevent gasoline shortages when there is a one-two punch like Katrina-Rita in 2005 or Gustav-Ike in 2008. The oil industry doesn't seem to care one whit and the government does not seem interested in this issue. I understand that it is easier to refine the stuff as it comes off the tankers but why didn't they build a pipeline and do this stuff inland. Were the hurricanes 2005 and 2008 so improbable that the oil companies never expected it?

TD4 is now TS Claudette. Jeff Master's describes its sudden appearance as "pretty amazing (and a little unnerving);" he also points out that this was the slowest starting hurricane season in 20 years.

The oil companies build hurricanes into their cost projections, as you'd expect, it's all part of the ROI. One interesting factoid is that they used to build the platforms just robust enough to survive 1 in 100 year events, but were overwhelmed by strings of same in short order, so had to redefine what these once in a century storms were like, in terms of wind speed and wave height.

I've been following the chatter over at Storm2K:

It looks like Ana is breaking up, Bill is curving away North, and Claudette will be over land before she can get too big. It's been an interesting 48 hours.

Said it before, I'll say it again: Encourage Congress to lift the ban on drilling for hydrocarbons in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Encourage Congress to not only allow, but give mild incentives for the oil and gas industry to drill off the California coast and in ANWR and in some show-pony sites on the Outer Continental Shelf off the Eastern seaboard.

I say this as an environmentalist and a Peak Oiler: Call the right-wing-nuts' and oil companies' bluff in a very public manner and see what happens. The government and watchdog groups should then maintain and continuously advertise a public 'scoreboard' detailing what projects were being planned and executed and when; how many wells were drilled; how many wells went into production; how many barrels of oil were spilled into the ocean in the process, how much oil has been shipped, how many days/weeks/months of world-wide and U.S. oil consumption that equates to, and how much private and public money was used in this effort, and an Energy Returned on Energy Invested metric.

Do it. Do it now. Call the bluff. If they end up putting a pie-in-the-sky ~70 Billion bbls in production, pop the bubbly and clearly tell they public that the World was given, at great monetary and environmental expense, one more year of expensive oil to waste.

Then the government can tell all the 'Drill here, Drill now, Pay Less (baby)' types to get over themselves and move-on.now to a post-peak mindset. Meaning time to do less and be much more efficient doing less (and oh yea, have no more than two squids per woman per lifetime).

This is a simple tactic, but simple ideas are many times left on the table.

You know Moon the first three paragraphs I could agree with you (and I speak from the right politically), but that fourth paragraph with the "squids" comment made me howl in laughter thinking how a Democratic president could come out and call for lower birth rates amongst a sizable portion of his electoral base. Never mind a Republican president making that call, he would be impeached within days and put on trial for Nazi sympathies. Other than the unPC slip I can agree with you that the drill baby crowd needs a dose of PO reality.


You are spot-on...no politician who has a chance of being elected in this country, regardless of political stripes, would call for the American people to lead the World by example and exercise personal restraint and communal long-term planning for the better welfare of our descendants and the World's biosphere in general.

As our elections are historically about a 50-50 split, your comment about offending a sizable portion of 'his base' would apply to any President's base,of any party, given our two-party system.

The Nazi thing is a red herring; I am not advocating eugenics (not looking to select for tall, blond, blue eyes, etc,) just for each woman on the planet (on average) to have no more than two children. Want more kids? Anyone, please feel free to adopt as many as you can take care of, there is a big waiting list wanting parents.

Compound interest (or human population growth math) is invariant to our political leanings. Infinite growth on a finite World is not possible, and more people will bring more misery and environmental degradation, decreasing quality of life for many many following generations.

'With great power comes great responsibility' (nod to Stan Lee and the SpiderMan flicks)...

I posted the following late last night, so I don't feel bad about re-posting it today for the benefit of those who didn't see it:

An interesting United Nations 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.

I agree in spirit, but I see one problem:

Crazy Palinista's, health care as communist, WMD-fearing wing nut types are not going to suddenly become reality based normal members of society. When they move on to the next thing it will be some other loony idea - colonize Mars or invade Canada or some such.

These folks aren't just crazy part-time.

Crazy Palinista's ... invade Canada

I have noted the use of the "future lower 57" in comments on Conservatives4Palin.

To save those poor Canuck's from socialized medicine and Death Care ?


Problem is that this whole siuation is already a bluff. If there was lots of oil out there, they would be drilling, environmental regulations or not. What we are seeing is the tossing around of political bones.

Just like part of the global warming debate is a bluff to keep people preoccupied from directly addressing peak oil (i.e. AGW mitigation is an indirect conservation measure), using the bones of the potential for Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and off-shore oil is another way to hold out hope.

And what I just wrote is perhaps a bluff to get the discussion going on these ideas :)


I believe you made my previous point. Call the bluff, put away the political bones, and talk about reality and feasible approaches. Hence the very public calling out using the bully pulpit, and the otherwise crazy idea of offering to subsidize their exploration and production by suspending taxes on that activity and even given them modest tax credits. Publicize their (lack of) progress for all to see, then declare their approach dead and move on with initiatives that should actually make a positive difference.

Why be meek and live with their bluffs forever? No matter how bad things get, they could always trot out their laments about how the 'Librals' and 'Enviro-Nazis' who 'Hate America' and 'Want to see us fail' are blocking exploration and development with regulations forbidding it.

This bluff should have been called twenty years ago. So we burn whatever they find and create some more CO2...if it is only one more year's worth of World oil consumption, that is a marginal/small price to pay to put paid to their undeveloped domestic oil mythology, allowing us to focus the debate and resources on more useful approaches.

Do people here really think it is a wiser strategy to let them bludgeon us with this propaganda until we are in Mad-Max World? Really?

I guess that is the only way -- is to call them on the bluff and let them put their cards on the table. The evidence points to that when if and when they do open up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, few oil companies will sign up.

Do people here really think it is a wiser strategy to let them bludgeon us with this propaganda until we are in Mad-Max World? Really?

I've been flogging that theme for years, but getting no-where with it. The "the oil spills a gonna get you" meme is too strong.

Drilling for more oil does nothing to slow the emissions of CO2. Attempting to maintain oil production at a high rate until it's essentially gone precludes the possibility of an early transition to renewable energy systems, as these systems would best be used along with technologies which are different from those which are now spread widely and depend on oil. Besides, burning up all the oil from the Persian Gulf would leave then hanging out to dry, once their oil is consumed, leaving the U.S. with a bit more oil yet to be lifted.

If you want to call the Palinites bluff, why not institute a large tax on transport fuels, then use the proceeds to fund the military? The conservative "drill-baby-drill" crowd surely would not be able to object to using their tax money to directly pay for their favorite military industrial projects and expeditions. Let them swallow their old notion that the user should pay for the service. We all know that our bloated military is essential for our continued access to the oil from all those unfriendly nations that would love to slit our throats if they thought they might get away with it. A big tax, say, $2 a gallon, would also make a large dent in the budget deficit, which might keep government functioning a while longer than appears possible at present.

Actually, I think that a rationing system, perhaps like the British plan for Tradable Energy Quotas, would be preferred over a fuel tax, but I doubt that would be possible to institute that approach until Peak Oil is screaming obvious to Joe Sixpack.

E. Swanson

Black Dog,

I like your ideas, but...big tax increases embraced by the right in the U.S? You know that would float like a lead balloon

Folks on the right either think that our military if somehow free, or they take the attitude that military spending is the only legitimate government expense, and that each and every other government expense should be zeroed out.

For may of them, if that meant that the U.S. spent its entire current budget on a hugely expanded military, they would dance with glee and decorate their giant pickemup trucks and SUVs with a fresh legion of those trite 'Support the Troops' and 'God Bless our Troops' magnets. They would celebrate the jobs and high technology creation, wheras they would despise jobs and technology created by 'socialist' government spending on a huge renewable energy push, for example.

They will tale the fascist military-industrial-political complex that Eisenhower warned about any day over any other government spending, which they would decree as 'socialist' and 'wasteful'.

Funny how few people on the right (except John McCain, sometimes)ever hold rallies and bemoan the waste and fraud in Defense contracting, and question the utility of foreign military adventure, or question NSA domestic spying on the mass citizenry? That's OK, keep up the stupidity, the Defense contractors love being on the endless gravy train!

In sum: If the current administration mooted your ideas, the current town hall crap and right-wing hate speech crap would seem like polite debate governed strict by Robert's Rules of Order. To say that blood in the streets might be an outcome would probably not be hyperbole.

I agree that a tax increase would be seen in a very negative light. That's why I suggested using the gasoline tax to directly fund the military. As part of the tax plan, other taxes might be reduced somewhat, such as the income tax, although I think there would be a need to reduce the yearly deficit.

That said, we just had an increase on the NC State taxes, which is a very regressive tax. An extra 1% was added to the existing 6.75% sales tax we were paying. There were other tax increases, including an increase in tax on higher income individuals and couples. Still, the budget this year at $19 Billion is set to be $2.3 billion lower than last years, which will mean cuts in many state programs. And, next year, the Federal stimulus money can not to be expected to appear in the State budget. I haven't heard of any tax protests yet, but the change just went into effect. I'm glad I don't live in California these days...

E. Swanson

I completely agree that a gasoline tax linkage directly funding the military would be most logical from our points of view.

However, I bet all the money I have made in my life that the 'conservatives' would scream bloody murder at that idea and instead offer to cut every non-military program to the bone (or eliminate them altogether) in order to keep their cheap gas and to fund the war machine to keep it that way, even if that war machine's budget expanded to consume every non-military dollar in the current budget.

I wish what I am saying was not true. A lot of our countrymen can't or won't think critically and logically, so we will all suffer the consequences from BAU.

Agreed. Even if environmental disaster comes as a result, those who prepared for post-peak living will be okay, unless they're close to said disaster.

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Or maybe not...

Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich

FORT WORTH — Onstage before thousands of believers weighed down by debt and economic insecurity, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and their all-star lineup of “prosperity gospel” preachers delighted the crowd with anecdotes about the luxurious lives they had attained by following the Word of God.

Private airplanes and boats. A motorcycle sent by an anonymous supporter. Vacations in Hawaii and cruises in Alaska. Designer handbags. A ring of emeralds and diamonds.

“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” preached Mrs. Copeland, dressed in a crisp pants ensemble like those worn by C.E.O.’s.

I can't help but tie this unbiblical prosperity gospel to the south and link it with Kunstler's insights in his essay "The Twilight of Mechanized Lumpenleisure", where he talks about the wider cultural impacts of redneck culture in relation to a temporarily-prosperous southern white lower middle class.

It's not just the South. You can't swing a dead cat in Albuquerque without hitting a church.



This mega-mall church is near my home. There are so many people attending (rather well-off folks, mostly) that the Albuquerque Police block off the adjacent streets to direct the resulting traffic when they leave services.

I also live near the local Mormon Temple. You can't talk about the gospel of prosperity without acknowledging Mormonism...lots of moolah kicking around there. I have heard the phrase 'The Mormon Connection' too may times to dismiss it as hyperbole...'cause I have heard this phrase exclusively from Mormons!


Each to his or her own, as long as they don't try to legislate their belief systems to run my life...and therein lies my beef.

Far as I'm concerned Albuquerque is certainly very much part of the "south." So is Orange county, CA. Definition of "sun belt?"

Depends on your definition, fer sure.

A friend of mine from 'San Antone' railed when I said that Texas was part of the South. He emphatically told me that Texas was NOT part of the South, it was part of the West.

As far as the whole bit about fundamentalists being concentrated in the South, there are plenty in my home state of 'Pennsyltucky'...the stretch between Philly and Pittsburgh. Southwestern Ohio, west through Dayton, as well.

A read once that the place with the highest percentage of folks claiming no religious affiliation was Medford, Oregon.

I wanted to move there, but my wife was more comfortable with my job prospects down here. I would like the cooler climate and the green trees up there, though!

I've always pondered doing the evangelical route, in order to fleece the masses and benefit myself. I could become "reborn" from my sinful godless ways, and start touring the nation, saving people and my pocketbook. However, I realized that I'm a terrible liar....

Wow, these classic religious scams are still happening today! I thought they had died off after the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker debacle two decades ago. Don't these sheep realize that they are getting fleeced -- check out the buckets of believer money being carried out of the stadium.

Or as Jim Bakker allegedly claimed, "Preachers do more than lay people." ;-)


I remember watching the PTL Club in equal parts of utter amazement and absolute disgust; it was a surreal experience, to say the least. I have to confess my opinion of Tammy Faye did change considerably toward the latter part of her life and I believe I badly and unfairly misjudged her. Whereas I once couldn't see past the bad makeup and what I thought at the time were childish and dishonest theatrics, I now believe she was sincere in her faith and a kind heart.

Consider this November 1985 interview she conducted with a gay minister who had contracted AIDS. At a time when many Americans were gripped in irrational fear and her so-called Christian colleagues were publicly proclaiming AIDS as "God's revenge", she rose to the top. She showed a lot of guts and certainly proved to me she was a woman of substance.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJVUj-MFB-0


Wow. Added to my favorites. Thank you.

I disagree that the preachers are truly "fleecing" their followers.

They are entertaining them.

Traveling preachers (and storytellers, "doctors" selling wonder medicine, people selling marvelous cleaning products, other types of confidence men/women, etc.) have a long history of providing entertainment, a breath of fresh air, to bored people. Now, especially for many lower-income people, it is getting too expensive to travel, take adult education classes, go to the movies often, and do other ways of cultural self-renewal.

What better, relatively cheap way to fill the void than by gathering with other like-minded people and listening for a while to the "preacher-man or woman", who trots out homilies and stories, encourages people, smiles, then asks for only a little money, probably less than a movie ticket, in return....

The people who can do this kind of preaching well will never starve. They really do fill a void.

The people who can do this kind of preaching well will never starve. They really do fill a void.

I suppose you could say the same thing about casinos in Las Vegas.

Or politicians

The Gospel of Properity, is one of the drivers of the financial meltdown. Why not take on a big mortgage you couldn't possibly afford when the man upstairs is gonna take care of you....

Oil trader under scrutiny for phenomenal success

Andrew Hall, 58, a British-born naturalized American, has been phenomenally successful with the Citigroup unit Phibro, earning an estimated $100 million this year while the parent company reported a net loss of $18.7 billion in 2008 and took $45 billion in taxpayer bailouts.

Everyone knows I'm obsessed with heat pumps, ductless units in particular, and for all electric homes, they really do make good sense in just about any climate.

Earlier this morning, I was watching the installation of a seven head, dual multi-split system at a "solar test home" in Salt Lake, UT.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_ePVDM6igs&feature=related

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR3b2wH_kDw

However, I just about chocked on my seaweed salad and turnip juice when I saw the chart showing this home's electricity consumption prior to the install had averaged between 350 and 400 kWh a day! One presumes a "test solar home" would be well insulated and energy efficient, and that the bulk of its space heating needs would be met by its passive solar design. So unless they traded in junior's Lionel set for a particle collider, how the %$#@ does a household use that much electricity?


Did it use electric resistance heating, and did the occupants keep it 90 degrees F in the Winter?

I once knew a couple at a Northern-tier Air Force base who cranked their free natural gas heat in their base house, and ran about 4-5 electric space heaters using their free electricity at the same time, and had the windows open for fresh air when it was -30 F outside. When they had get-togethers, many folks had to retire to the stoop or to the back patio and refresh themselves in the sub-zero temps rather than die of heat prostration inside the couple's house.

The couple was from the South, and they were going to re-create that environment come hell or high water.

Hi MW,

I'm pretty sure the home was previously heated by baseboard resistance. There was mention that the home lacked ductwork, so that effectively rules out a central natural gas or oil system, and at the 1:41 mark of the first video, you can see what appears to be an electric baseboard strip below the side window.

Even for a large older home in a relatively cold climate, 400 kWh a day seems extraordinarily high but, as you point out, occupant lifestyle can skew things considerably. The good news is that their new heat pump system has sliced 250 to 300 kWh a day from their overall electricity demand.


They were probably growing pot.

Metal halide or HP Sodium lamps, plus A/C and the other fans/pumps/space heaters.

All indoors, of course.

Al Gore was a house guest? ::drum roll::....



Reminds me of a party on the uninhabited (and uninhabitable) Highlands of East Iceland at a construction camp.

-30 C with 40 knot wind, cigar smoking so they opened a door & window as the party went on. I huddled by the space heater.

At least it was all renewable electricity :-)


chart showing this home's electricity consumption prior to the install had averaged between 350 and 400 kWh a day!

I'm struggling (in a much more severe [for AC] climate) to keep my summertime bills to about a tenth of that. But I would never trust a lournalist to get things like numbers or units right. I think being totally unable to do any math is a job requirement!

I'm guessing the numbers are valid, given that this appears to be a promotional video from I take it a reputable HVAC contractor. It's a fairly large home with a considerable amount of glass, we know that outdoor temperatures were below freezing for I gather much if not all of this time, and perhaps a stretch of cloudy weather meant there wasn't a whole lot of passive solar gain to be had.

That said, I live in a fairly cold climate and our 40-year old, 2,500 sq. ft. home is basically now all-electric, and during the coldest times of the year (with temperatures falling as low as -20C), we use an average of 40 kWh a day.


Our 1700 sq ft SIPS home, very airtight, geothermal heat pump w/ air exchanger, but propane cook stove, used 600 KWH for the MONTH of July, less in May and June. Probably less in August, skewed by the fact we were out of town quite a bit. I cannot even imagine 400KWH a day. Previously spoiled with using unmarketable gas off an oil well for +/- 95% of heat, but local energy producer @ new location won't sell me gas, at least not yet. Looks like the gates will have to be closed and locked at all times - payroll difference will be higher than the value of the gas, which I was willing to pay for. (They are in and out about 8x a day working with an old waterflood, and the gas is too high in total inerts to be marketable - probably casing leak(s).)

Unmarketable gas is a good alternative source of BTU's and there is plenty of it. From what I have seen, there is frequently plenty of it, due to low volumes, no gathering system, high inerts, high oxygen, and low pressure, primarily.

Maybe the lot of them stays in the shower till the hot water is all gone. I know some folks that do that.

Re. the article "Three food-related problems with one solution"

Two-thirds of Americans are classified as obese or overweight, a vast majority are afflicted with financial concerns, and 100 percent are affected by climate change and environmental degradation.

Yet hidden behind our rampant consumerism, a simple and overarching solution exists to address problems of obesity, finances, and the environment.

This is a very amateurishly-written article from the Denver Post. The subject matter is actually more about consuming "green" (sustainably-grown) beef than about solving problems of obesity, water, and resource depletion; "support your local beef rancher" etc. Only at the very end does she mention "eat only what you need to eat". No suggestion that beef, regardless of how it's grown, consumes far more resources than equivalent protein from vegetable sources, or even chicken.

The author seems oblivious to the real problems of the food industry and how we eat in the United States.

- Dick Lawrence

That would be because ranch grown grass feed beef causes less resource depletion than hyper fertilized corn, and obesity is animal/vegetable agnostic. (Actually the evidence is piling up against plant derived simple carbs.)

obesity is animal/vegetable agnostic.

The above quote is factually incorrect, many studies have shown that vegetarians have much lower obesity rates than meat eaters. Personally, I know many vegetarians and many overweight people, but none of the vegetarians are overweight. But I don't really expect the Weston diet true believers to read and react to scientific data.

May 14, 2009 — Vegan and vegetarian diets may protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a cohort study reported in the May issue of Diabetes Care.....
Vegans had the lowest BMI (23.6 kg/m2). There was a progressive increase in BMI with increased content of animal products in the diet: 25.7 kg/m2 in lacto-ovo vegetarians, 26.3 kg/m2 in pesco-vegetarians, 27.3 kg/m2 in semi-vegetarians, and 28.8 kg/m2 in nonvegetarians...
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes also increased with increasing consumption of animal products: 2.9% for the vegan diet, 3.2% for the lacto-ovo diet, 4.8% for the pesco-vegetarian diet, 6.1% for the semi-vegetarian diet, and 7.6% for the nonvegetarian diet.

I'm 15 years vegetarian and a BMI of about 26 - which makes me slightly overweight. I commute by bicycle, and am reasonably active in other respects. I like sweet food too much... type 2 diabetes is only a matter of time.

I tend to believe that part of the reason for the vegetarian obesity rate being lower is due to them having a better general knowledge of diet and being selective beyond the exclusion of meat (for example, you probably won't find many vegetarians who have a Big Gulp habit). High-fructose corn syrup is more dangerous in many respects than red meat:

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

I have an uncle who worked for ADM, and his family had an arsenal of corn syrup in 5 gallon buckets; my aunt used it in EVERYTHING from Kool-Aid to -- I kid you not -- chili. I have never eaten anything less palatable in my life. Both of my cousins are "chunky", to say it nicely.

Interesting talk but definitely not for any ADD sufferers-the listener feels like yelling at the doc to speed it up-I guess he had 1 1/2 hours he had to fill.

This is my understanding as well.

I think the 'Vegans/Veggies vs. Weston Price/Atkins' is often a false dichotomy, while any ideology that goes to the extreme will probably have some severe blindspots.. but that Pollan's advice about only shopping for the fresh stuff on the outer walls of the Grocery Store can probably save your life. (For a while.) Processed Carbs/Oils/Sugars and all the Additives in 'premade durable shelflife' cuisine is what should be cut out first and foremost.

I follow many of the Weston Price ideas, and it's often misrepresented as being a meat-orgy. The Sprouted and Soaked Grains and the Lactofermented foods seem to be a much bigger piece of the pie in the WestonPrice food pyramid. And an abundance of fresh fruit and veg is still a completely supported pillar in their diet. (But every group has it's cranks.. so who knows who Tommy has met from W/P.. I've known a couple I couldn't take)


As long as we're talking food...
A good read is "Catching Fire" by Richard Wrangham. He makes a good case that the invention of cooking preceded the evolution of Homo Sapiens and had a big part in shaping our species.

There really is shockingly little evidence on human nutrition that is truly scientific. The problem is that humans aren't rats. You cannot do real experiments on them, and there are just too many variables to control for them all. Gary Taubes' book about this, Good Calories, Bad Calories, is fascinating, and definitely worth reading. This NY Times article is a summary.

I think in the end, we're going to find out that it's refined carbs that are the problem, not meat and fat. (Consumption of refined carbs often goes up with meat and dairy consumption, so it's hard to separate them.)

One thing Taubes points out is that a big reason for the "meat is bad" meme was the belief in the '70s that we were facing Malthusian doom. People were worried about the population bomb, and there was real fear that we would be eating low on the food chain not because we wanted to, but because we had to.

If it turns out that meat is actually better for you than grains - it becomes a real tough sell, getting people to forgo meat for the good of the planet.

beef, regardless of how it's grown, consumes far more resources than equivalent protein from vegetable sources

The truth of this perspective may depend on the definition of resources. John Reader in his book Africa: A Biography of the Continent writes:

Vegetation has never been a passive victim in its relationship with animals. Plants and animals evolved together. The manner in which grass grows for instance, is a specific evolutionary response to the actions of animals that eat it. Indeed, it has been shown that the primary production of a tropical savanna grassland is actually stimulated by grazing. Grass plants subjected to moderate levels of grazing produced twice as much edible material as plants (of the same species) which were left untouched.

Michael Pollan corroborates this in The Omnivores Dilemma when he reports on the ranching methods of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Joel practices what he calls "pulsing the meadow", which is increasing the productivity of the meadow grasses by controlled grazing. The animals fertilize the pasture as they graze it. He follows the cows with mobile chicken coops and the birds scratch through the cow manure, eat the insect larvae therein, and then contribute their own nitrogen rich manure.

I don't have Pollan's book on hand to reference the productivity gains in terms of increased production of grasses, but I recall it being substantial - a greater amount than the doubling that Reader reports.

So where rainfall is adequate (the constrained resource), animal husbandry increases vegetable productivity. This increased productivity is harvested in meat, milk, bone meal, leather, and eggs.

The animals fertilize the pasture as they graze it. He follows the cows with mobile chicken coops and the birds scratch through the cow manure, eat the insect larvae therein, and then contribute their own nitrogen rich manure.

Schaefer Farms does something similar, with the expicit goal of rebuilding the prairie by grazing cows.

Unfortunately, they don't have much of a web presence, but they did self-publish a book, Just the Best Life, iirc.

Land that is steep and rough or rocky can be grazed if there is adequate reanfall and produce meat with very little undue environmental impact.Although the yield of protein per acre per year may be low,it is very high quality,low input protein,and in total there is a lot of it.

And there are usually some valuable secondary products such as wool and leather,bone meal,blood meal,etc.

Of course the more that leaves the premises,the higher the rate of loss of fertility,but this applies in all cases.

There's cash for (refrigerator) clunkers

And by clunkers, DTE Energy doesn't mean gas-guzzling SUVs or past-their-prime pickup trucks.

No, the state's largest power company wants your energy-gulping, landfill-clogging Kenmores and General Electrics.


How's this for a cash for clunkers program!

Hi Jim,

I hope this will be a big hit for DTE. No cash incentives, but Ontario has its own "Great Refrigerator Roundup" (http://everykilowattcounts.ca/residential/fridge/index.php) whereby your old refrigerator can be picked up and recycled at charge. As of November of last year, over 100,000 refrigerators were decommissioned under the programme.


Hi Paul - The free pickup alone makes a lot of sense. It is good to see that one of our large electric utilities is moving on this low hanging fruit for capacity additions.

May be headed to Cape Breton Island in late september!

Hi Jim,

I need to do a better job proofing my posts; of course, I meant to say "at no charge". In any event, it would be great to have you back home come September.


Low-Income Families Shortchanged By The Legislature

You have to wonder if Government(s) will ever come to the realization that retrofitting superinsulation to these homes will eliminate the problem by eliminating the high energy use?
Paying high heating bills every year is a good way for the residents and the government(s) to go broke!
Sealing a few windows on an uninsulated or poorly insulated house is putting a bandaid on a severed artery.

Contractors start tomorrow morning to retrofit my 70+ year old farm house from R-3 masonry walls to superinsulated R-50+ (spray in urethane foam). 25 year old propane furnace will be replaced by geothermal heat pump. Government won't/isn't paying for any of it - Tax credits don't do any good when you are on fixed social security income.

Reading the section about energy in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1 months ago, I noticed that some of the new U.S. energy tax credits may also be available as direct grants. That is found in SEC. 1721. GRANTS FOR SPECIFIED ENERGY PROPERTY IN LIEU OF TAX CREDITS. For example, high efficiency windows can qualify for a credit, but the windows must meet strict standards of performance. Here's the language of the standard:

...shall not include any component described in subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (2) unless such component is equal to or below a U factor of 0.30 and SHGC of 0.30.

All that insulation you are adding is great, but the windows then become the major fraction of remaining heat loss. Also, your heat pump should qualify for a credit, which is 30% up to $2,000, AIUI. I also have been led to believe that the costs of installation are NOT COVERED in the tax credits/grants which are available, although the instructions to the 2008 IRS form 5695 (Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit) state that they are.

The program requirements may not have been issued from the IRS as yet. I think that you might be wise to study the legal situation carefully before you sign the check for work.

E. Swanson


Could you explain a bit more about the method you are using to insulate your masonry? Are your walls solid masonry? That is the case with my own home: (2) 4" courses of CMU's. I am investigating different methods for insulating this from the outside, to preserve both my interior volume, and the thermal mass, which while tremendously beneficial during the summer, (I need no air conditioning, even on 100 degree days) has been a liability during the heating season (think ice box).

You used the term spray in urethane, which implies the filling of a cavity of some kind rather than an exterior application. And if exterior, how is application thickness gaged or flatness accomplished if it is sprayed on? Regardless, my understanding is that polyurethane, when new, has an approximate R value of 7. Are you installing 7" of urethane, and do you have a cost estimate per board foot?

For rigid, I'm finding a value of R-3.5 per inch for EPS at a cost of $.15 per board foot, compared to $.60 per board foot for urethane. In other words, twice the insulative value at quadruple cost for urethane.

Thanks in advance for any information you might be able to provide.

I am having 2x8 stud wall built around the outside of the house. The cavities in the 2x8 wall will be filled with sprayed in place urethane foam. (Note: because you can't put a good moisture barrier behind the stud wall you will get condensation in the insulation which would rot your stud wall with fiberglass or board foam. This is why I am using the sprayed in place foam which is a good vapor barrier).
After the insulation is sprayed in they will put 5/8 inch plywood sheathing over the outside of the house followed by house wrap. Seamless steel siding will be placed one the outside to finish the job.
Expensive, but the only good way I have been able to come up with the get a good insulation factor. There would only be a small difference in cost to go from 2x8 to 2x6 or 2x4 lumber. The cost of the sheathing and siding is the same regardless of the thickness of the insulation. The only big difference in cost is the cost of the insulation in going from 3 to 5 to 7 inches of sprayed in insulation. This is a one time opportunity. If you only put up 2x4s and spray in 3 inches of foam and then later decide that you need more you would have to rip off the siding and sheathing and scab on more framing and then after adding more insulation you would have to put on new sheathing and siding - And that would be VERY expensive.

short changing poor people? what constitutes poor these days?
transition towns....FART! i live in a transition town in new jersey.
it looks like i will have to transition out of here. the taxes are going up, Up, UP! last year the taxes went up. this year the voters turned down the school budget. even with a 1/2 million dollar reduction my taxes go up the same amount. taxes never stay the same or go down. and now the dreaded tax revaluation is ramping up. the town tax assessor, who got a $60,000 workman's comp payout for mold in his office (i mention that because it is the reason taxes are so high. i got a zit on my eyelid from some hell hole machine shop and i couldnt get workman's comp), is working on it. it will take about 18 months. what are my taxes to increase by? 10%? 25%? 50%? 100%? and my wages? i am looking at jobs, $11/hr, $14/hr, if i get lucky $18/hr. most appointments in the town hall make $80,000, $90,000 and over $100,000 per year while i can make $40,000 if i get lucky. so i cant resurface my driveway. i cant replace my storm windows, i hope i dont need a roof. of course with revaluation, it's best if my house is somewhat derelict. but the town mandated everyone to get the septic system pumped. waited for a recession to hand a gift to septic contractors. isnt this going to be the nail in the coffin? local property taxes? are there that many rich people around to support local governments? they say there is to be an apocalypse in 2012. sure, mine will be i cant afford local property taxes. so i will have to sell my house, pay a sales tax and move to some other part of the usa far away from wall street and government corruption. right now, at the current rate, every ten years i pay the town $80,000, twice my annual income. it would be nice to sock that away for my old age. every other year i could buy a brand new car. but i do none of those things. and when i get old and crippled the town will not care for me either. nor any other government. and things are going to get worse. the cost of energy. i see gasoline is creeping back up to $3.00 per gallon. i am glad to see the got the lead out of michelle's garden. but the epa is going to clean up LESS toxic sites where the rest of us live.

Gas: $2.78/gallon at the neighbor hood Shell station. Property taxes high here as well. I am filing for my veteran's partial property tax exemption...a small break, not as generous as Louisiana gave. I am getting damn sick and tired of having to show my birth certificate, my DD214, my family members' birth certificates, and my marriage license every fracking time I apply for anything...job, driver's license, signing up for TriCare, applying for veteran's property tax break, etc. I am going to have T-shirts made up with all these document silk-screened on the front and back. It makes it tough to take the feared 'Total Information Awareness' so-called capability of the USG spooks when I have to show these hard-copy documents to each and every branch of government that needs to see them for some reason.

Showing my marriage certificate slays me...I tried to point out to various government zombies that a 20-year old piece of paper, which could be produced easily on any computer, doesn't prove anything. A 20-year-old piece of paper won't show that I go divorced 2,5,10, or 19 years ago, would it? (My wife and I are still cruising along at 20+ years). The zombies stare and demand the paper, 'cause that is the procedure, senseless as it is.

Try rural North Dakota, like maybe Tioga. You could have lower taxes and maybe work in the Baaken patch.

Anyone care to comment on the flap over solar installations in the Mojave Desert? Apart from the various conflicted claims made about this sort of proposal, I'm really interested in folk's thoughts about seeing renewable energy projects in our park/wilderness areas.

And to be real specific, what would you think about a wind turbine proposal (consisting of one to three 1.5Mw turbines) on municipally owned land within the the larger boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore?

In brief the proposal particulars are as follows: There are 200 acres of town owned land (mostly scrub pines) nearby the Atlantic Ocean; from the dune edge leading down to one public beach the closest turbine would be ~1,800 feet away, although it would not be visible from the beach due to 80 foot elevation change. There are also 54 private properties strung out along the road here that runs parallel to the Ocean, the majority of them summer cottages, with varying levels of sight lines to the turbine(s); closest house being 1,500 feet away with most other beyond 2,000 feet. As most of you may realize, a wind survey done projects a high coastal wind resource here. Various moving parts relating to the financial side suggests that should all these ducks line up, one turbine would offset all the annual municipal load (town hall, etc.) and then some for net metered cash flow to the town; three built could prove to be a very significant windfall.

Still, the CCNS, unlike the BLM controlled Mojave, was conceived as a public conservation trust. Of course, things have changed here over the years, but by and large the outer Cape has been protected and preserved from being sliced and diced into Real Estate sushi.

It has been suggested that this type of project is entirely inappropriate in this type of park locale given the primary rationale for the Seashore park's establishment. Yet, at the beach today I queried about 50 people on their feelings, and overwhelmingly they didn't object to this turbine possibility and or otherwise thought favorably toward it.

I find it presents an interesting dilemma on a lot of levels and thought I'd ask of the ToD membership what if anything you all might have to say.


Gooz Draz

The one "complaint" I have about wind turbines, is that because of a combination of safety and security (copper thieves) concerns, the public is excluded from the vicinity of the turbines.

My one comment is that all those abandoned exurban developments around Phoenix and Victorville are a better fit. The environmental damange is already done, and since these are within commuting distance of cities, they are close by yo major power users.

We're number 37! We're number 37!

Yep, those Rethug Congresscritters and talk show hosts have it right...everyone in the World wishes they have American-style health care...hey, let's check with our suffering Canadian friends!


We get the country we deserve.

As I commented in another thread, health care varies dramatically from state to state.

The US might have the best health care in the world, but only here in Minnesota or somewhere in the NE (and things are going downhill here in MN).

This, of course, means that large chunks of the country rate even lower than 37th.

And we pay through the nose for it.

The top item shows that the US Marines want to reduce their 800,000 gallons per day of gasoline usage in Afghanistan.

I waited all day for someone to comment on this, but it seems it won't happen.(It's now 9.20pm here in NZ)

Can someone in authority in Goddam Yankeeland suggest to the US Marines that they all get the F**K out of Afghanistan and leave the people there alone to run their own country how they like!!! This would save much more than the gas bill.

Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes studying the history of Afghanistan knows that every attempt at controlling this nation has ended in abject failure for the invading nation.

The "Great Game" is the ultimate screw-up.

We here in New Zealand have just been blackmailed by the US government into agreeing to send more SAS combat troops to this utterly stupid war. The Taliban, Al Qaeda, Jamiah Islamiah, etc, would not exist if the USA would learn that they are the most despised nation on earth and should never venture outside their geographical limits. "Yankee Go Home" has been echoing around the world for many decades.

The fossil fuel crisis is obvious to all members of the Oildrum community, but why is it that US powers think that their stupid military operations can ever be successful in controlling the oil flow situation anywhere in the world? The MEND activities in Nigeria should by now have shown that a tiny group of saboteurs can easily disrupt or halt the flow of oil. Vast sums of money, and huge amounts of effort are needed to bring a major oilfield into operation. Relatively tiny amounts of effort and explosive can easily negate this effort. Impoverished people with little or nothing to lose, are easy recruits to an anti-capitalist or anti-foreigner brigade.

The greatest thing that the US could do for world peace and human survival would be to repatriate every overseas combat unit.

(Sometimes I wonder why I bother pointing out the obvious0


JHK's Monday rant looks to the decline of the auto. Interestingly, the global auto total is up about 50% over the last 7 years while the annual oil supply has barely increased.