Drumbeat: September 6, 2009

Saudi provides realistic outlook on energy future

Peak oil predictions – including that dreaded day when the maximum rate of extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters decline, leading to depletion of reserves – are back.

Unlike some previous forecasts, recent reports are more sober.

The debate on output highlights the Saudi government’s increasing calls for a more “equitable” oil pricing level at US$75 a barrel. This would encourage continuous investment in this vital energy sector, while at the same time ensuring that peak oil thresholds are pushed back.

Oil Sands: Destroyer or Savior?

NEW YORK — Few energy resources stir passions like Canada’s oil sands.

The vast, gooey mixture of clay, sand, water and, most notably, bitumen — a hydrocarbon paste that, with a fair amount of work, can be separated from the granular stuff and eventually refined into a variety of petroleum products — has the potential to produce upwards of a trillion barrels of oil, by some estimates.

Accomplishing that, however, is a profoundly expensive, dirty and energy-intensive affair. Huge inputs of natural gas, for example, are needed to separate and process the bitumen, and according to one study by RAND, production from oil sands generates perhaps 30 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional oil extraction.

Not so sunny: trade war looms in solar space

HONG KONG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Fair competition or Save the Planet?

That could ultimately be at play as China and the West, long at odds over trade in steel, textiles and auto parts, risk being sucked into a row over protectionism in renewable energy equipment such as solar panels.

Wind power: Obama's promises just hot air so far

WASHINGTON - -- President Barack Obama is still at least a year away from seeing wind turbines take root anywhere off the U.S. coast, even though his administration has promised to make offshore wind a priority, and even though developers are lining up to string wind farms up and down the Atlantic seaboard.

The administration, delayed by controversy and red tape, has made "clean energy" one of its top policy pushes but has yet to grant a single permit for wind or solar development on public land, onshore or off. Administration officials say the first solar permits won't come until at least next year, and that the first offshore wind farm is also likely a year or two away.

Study: 537 Square Miles Of Great Lakes Suitable For Wind Turbines

ARBOR, MI (Michigan Radio) - Michigan has at least 537 square miles of Great Lakes that are suitable for wind turbines.

The Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council says another seven thousand square miles might be available once the technology advances.

Coastal home owners face huge losses from rising sea

Around the world, owners of prized seaside properties face the prospect of not just losing their homes but receiving no compensation as insurance policies may not cover climate change losses in the future.

After 'Peak Oil,' will natural gas fill energy needs?

For several centuries now, civilization has benefited from a very special gift that is about to end: virtually free energy in virtually unlimited quantities. The most precious of these energies is oil, which has been the driving force of civilization.

Because oil has been available in ever-increasing quantities and at very affordable prices, we have become spoiled. We assume that abundance will extend into the future as well.

Unfortunately, geologists tell us that a change is about to take place that threatens our way of life. Our expanding population is on a collision course with a diminishing supply of oil. We shall soon begin to compete for the dwindling quantities of oil that remain.

Natural Gas: America's Energy Salvation

It’s time we stopped hiding our heads in the sand about today’s energy problems while spending / wasting tens of billions of dollars on taxpayer-funded grants, incentives and subsidies for tomorrow’s solutions. We need – and have readily available – an American source of relatively clean energy today for today’s needs, if only the politicians would stop spending on pork and get the hell out of the way of private industry that is trying to provide this source: clean-burning natural gas.

Iran says OPEC unhappy over oil price

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran, OPEC's second largest exporter, predicted on Sunday the cartel will maintain current oil output at its meeting next week, despite producers being unhappy with the prevailing price of crude.

Citic Resources Posts Loss as Demand Falls on Economy

(Bloomberg) -- Citic Resources Holdings Ltd., the Chinese metals producer turned oil supplier, posted a net loss in the first half as the global recession cut energy demand.

From Baby-Sitting to Adoption

To put it another way, we are not just adding more troops in Afghanistan. We are transforming our mission — from baby-sitting to adoption. We are going from a limited mission focused on baby-sitting Afghanistan — no matter how awful its government — in order to prevent an Al Qaeda return to adopting Afghanistan as our state-building project.

New tactics weeding out farm crime

Farm Watch, along with tightened regulations on recyclers, is credited with cutting down on a rash of metal thefts that peaked in 2007, Hagel said. There also have been busts of criminal rings stealing tractors, irrigation pipes, costly farm chemicals and, when prices spiked last year, diesel fuel.

Chevron awaits verdict in environmental damage case

The stakes are high, with experts estimating in 2008 that Chevron could be liable for damages of up to 27 billion US dollars.

If correct, the figure would be significantly higher that the record five billion US dollars, later reduced to 500 million US dollars, that ExxonMobil was ordered to pay after an oil spill in Alaska.

The case comes against the backdrop of increasingly tense relations between Ecuador's left-leaning president and foreign oil companies in the country, who are reassessing their operations.

When the dust settles

Apart from this Arabian venture, one other thing that makes McCallum stand out is his commitment to renewables. This might not be controversial in most circles, but there are still a fair few in the Aberdeen oil industry who scorn fears about peak oil and privately doubt that climate change and carbon emissions are linked. But McCallum says: "I think there's not a limitless amount of hydrocarbons out there. Replacing the depletion rate of the world's largest oil fields would be hard enough without the fact that demand will have to rise to allow the world's economy to power ahead. This is why we need more sources of energy in the mix."

Solyndra Gets $535 Million Loan Guarantee to Build Solar Panels

(Bloomberg) -- Solyndra Inc., a closely held maker of solar power systems, will get a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department so it can build a photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant that will employ 1,000 people.

6 years after invasion, electricity remains scarce in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Dark humor flips on when the lights go out in a city that still suffers from crippling power outages despite the billions of dollars that have been invested in its grid.

"Electricity is dead. Pray for its soul," reads graffiti scrawled along a wall in central Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood.

"I miss electricity so much I want to feel an electric shock, just so I know we have it," said Falah Hasan Ali, 23, a resident of Baghdad's Sadr City district who sleeps on his roof to escape the nighttime heat.

Midlands still running on Gulf gas

A year ago this week, panicked Midlands drivers lined up at gas stations, sometimes 40 deep, for fill-ups costing $4 a gallon or more.

Word spread on Sept. 11 that the refineries along the Gulf coast that supply much of the state’s gas were shutting down as Hurricane Ike approached with wind gusts over 100 mph. Prices spiked nearly a $1 a gallon as evening rush-hour commuters piled into stations.

What many drivers didn’t know at the time was that Midlands gas supplies were already scarce. Most Gulf refineries had not fully recovered after shutting down nearly two weeks earlier for Hurricane Gustav.

Audi, BMW sell the sizzle of diesel, not the soot

Diesel, the oilier cousin of gasoline, dominates the European auto market, where fuel prices hover around $7 a gallon. Diesel is about 25% to 40% more fuel-efficient than gasoline, with commensurate per-mile reductions in carbon. The German luxury automakers -- Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and BMW -- are masters of turbo-diesel technology and have long argued that it is, on balance, superior to hybrid technology.

Now a confluence of factors -- the availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in the U.S., the emergence of California-legal exhaust-scrubbing technologies, higher fuel economy standards and spiraling fuel costs -- has set the stage for diesel's triumphant return to the U.S.

The problem? No buyers. For many Americans, diesel is simply smut.

Gilmore seeks fresh €30m in OpenHydro cash call

BRENDAN Gilmore's wave-energy outfit OpenHydro is raising up to €30m from investors as it delays plans for flotation

It is believed that Davy Stockbrokers is to raise money for the firm, which is backed by Philip Lynch's One51 and giant Canadian energy firm Emera.

OpenHydro's cash call will test the waters for investment appetite which has been seared by collapsing asset values over the past two years.

Bills to rise without nuke investment

But by 2022, CPS predicts something magical will happen as a result of more electricity coming to the city from the expanded nuclear plant. The average bill will begin to decline, starting with a drop of $2.76 a month in 2022 and falling by $9.31 a month by 2025 and $20.31 a month by 2035. (The estimates include a fuel adjustment charge that varies month to month.)

“Bills will drop because the fuel component of the nuclear plant will make it more affordable than if we stay with natural gas or coal,” said Paula Gold-Williams, CPS' chief financial officer.

World concerns over rare earth metal supply after China restrictions

China says it plans to restrict exports of rare earth metals, and build a strategic reserve of the valuable minerals. But this decision by the world's largest producer of rare earth metals has sparked global concerns. Let's check out some global reactions.

UW takes a leap into carbon sequestration

CHEYENNE -- Subduing the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by energy production could be part of Wyoming's next boom.

"There are studies that suggest once (carbon capture and sequestration) gets rolling, it will be as big as the oil-and-gas industry," said James D. Myers, a professor in the University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics.

White House Adviser on ‘Green Jobs’ Resigns

In a victory for Republicans and the Obama administration’s conservative critics, Van Jones resigned as the White House’s environmental jobs “czar” on Saturday.

State fees on greenhouse gas output could be near

SACRAMENTO — State air-quality regulators appear back on track to impose the nation's first broad-based fee on greenhouse gas emissions, potentially costing Californians a little extra to fill their gas tanks, turn up the heat or go out to dinner.

Friendlier Arctic seas bring opportunity -- and risk

Two rare episodes last week spotlight the new world -- and its potential and perils -- that is opening up the Arctic seas as global warming slowly erodes the ice cap.

Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters

Scientists are to outline dramatic evidence that global warming threatens the planet in a new and unexpected way – by triggering earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches and volcanic eruptions.

Reports by international groups of researchers – to be presented at a London conference next week – will show that climate change, caused by rising outputs of carbon dioxide from vehicles, factories and power stations, will not only affect the atmosphere and the sea but will alter the geology of the Earth.

The Geologist’s Tale: A Storm, a Survivor and a Vanishing Island

For Isle Derniere, Dr. Sallenger writes, the hurricane was “a tipping point from which it could not recover.” Today it has lost more than three-quarters of its land area and, like Louisiana’s other coastal barriers, it erodes significantly each time a storm strikes.

If these offshore barriers disappear, as many geologists including Dr. Sallenger predict they will, their loss will leave the state’s vanishing coastal marshes even more vulnerable to destruction.

Climate change funds: the next mega-trend?

It is being dubbed the next "mega-trend" for the stockmarket. Companies that focus on alternative energy and combating climate change will offer outstanding growth for investors, while the environmental laggards will face increasing pollution taxes and penalties. Surely this is a one-way bet for investors with both profits and principles in mind?

Global warming and Australia’s ‘Big Dry’

From desert-fringe villages and drowning atolls, global warming is predicted to set climate refugees on the move. But arguably, the first climate refugees to reach Australia’s major cities are arriving already. And the places from which they have come are not exotic — rural towns like Mildura, Renmark and Griffith in Australia’s south-east.

In settlements throughout the Murray-Darling, residents are quietly deciding the irrigation-based economy has no future.

When barely a trickle is coming down the rivers, farmers are concluding it’s best to sell the next-to-meaningless water rights, accept a government exit package, bulldoze the trees and vines, and walk away.

Change in action. The slow subtle shifting from one type of culture to another. As slowly relentless as the force of a sapling pushing up between the cracks of a sidewalk...

From the "Solyndra...Loan Guarantee...Solar Panels" article above:

The department offered the Fremont, California, company the loan guarantee ... covers 73 percent of the plant’s cost ... the project will create as many as 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 long-term jobs.

Toyota Motor Corp. said last week it will shut a Fremont plant it has run with General Motors Corp. for 25 years. The car factory employs 5,400 people, including almost 4,600 union workers.

My heart goes out to the people of Fremont. Loosing so many jobs is devastating to a community. A major shift in cultural priorities causes much pain and bewilderment to those involved in the icons of the receding culture (like auto manufacturing). I'm glad they are getting the Solyandra plant.

Best hopes for good new jobs for Fremont's 5400 car builders...

That's where my Corolla was built. It's a good car! Sad to see a factory close that is doing good work.

Americans can build a decent car...they just have to stop having the accountants engineer them.

There's a problem brewing here that is touched on by the Rare Erath article -even if Americans wanted to produce a decent car unless 'they' invest in non-Chinese REE mining capacity they are not going to be able to produce the new breed of hybrid/electric/Post-PO cars as cheaply as China...

In the 90s China moved to 'own' REE production in a strategic bid to 'own' high tech manufacturing and guess what? They are winning the game...

Now, ask yourself what happens when things get really dirty, when PO hits (or realisation does) when resource nationalism really starts to take effect, when China wants all the Neodynium it can get for its own wind turbines, etc, etc. (rinse and repeat for 10-15 REEs and others).


well, i'm truly sad that van jones had to tender his resignation.. but i have no doubt that he will move forward and keep working for ideas and programs that i believe in.

let them gloat.

'associating with communists.. my, my!' i didn't hear that outcry when gwb said he saw how inherently good putin's rosy red soul was. what am i missing?

power to the people!


IMHO Obama would have been better sticking with this guy if he is qualified-this move just looks weak and reinforces the opinion that this administration is all about show.

You're half right. The Donkey/Elephant Political game overall is about show, and Jones had some warts.

But it's a real loss. He's smart and he working towards the right goals. I think he'll probably get more done on the outside, and the Obama Adm, which I believe does want to advance a 'Green Economy' agenda and not just say it does, will have to find someone else who has that 'Front-Office Appearance' that will keep them from being easy petty targets by the Glenn Becks of the world.

They're trying to handle all the fires in healthcare right now. They didn't want to deal with this one. Too bad.

As someone who has face to face dealings with Jones over policy issues and strategy (I work with peace and justice issues in the Bay, and have attended quite a few policy gatherings and workshops), he is smart, but my gut feeling is that, because of ideological commitment, believes we can organize and technologically solve and transform, through growth, out current predicament. We just need to do it in a "green way".
While politically and historically literate, his lack of understanding of basic thermodynamics was unsettling.

thats my sense too. We need more science czars.

Yep, me too. He's advocating a variant of BAU, with a green twist.

Also, saying that "Republican's are stupid" shows he's not very mature in his thinking. In my view, particular individuals of all groups can be uninformed or perhaps even "trapped in a conversation" (another way of saying "locked in groupthink"). I think people use the word "stupid" when they are trying to make themselves feel intelligent. It says more about the person saying it than the object of the utterance (again, in my view).

I work mighty hard to keep the word "stupid" out of my conversations. Respecting the intelligence and capacity for thinking of another person or group doesn't ensure that valuable collaboration will occur, but it is a pre-requisite.

"is a prerequisite"

Thank you angel for pointing this out,it is forgotten all too often ,even here ,where most of us are smater than the average bear.

This issue always fascinates me. When we say, essentially, that all points of view are equal we are at the same time saying the truth is not important, or not most important. What Aangel and Nate really mean, I think, is that people must be treated respectfully in order to find an ultimate solution IF the best solution actually requires cooperation. The reality is, it often doesn't.

Angel said, "Respecting the intelligence and capacity for thinking of another person or group doesn't ensure that valuable collaboration will occur, but it is a pre-requisite."

This is false. For example, if a group is working toward a goal which one person is blocking, that person, if treated as if their opinion is equal to all others may find no reason to alter their stance. This will almost certainly cause some tension, and quite often lead to unkind acts of various sorts. All the niceties in the world may not get anything done. But, if the group decides to ignore this person and move on against their objections, THEN valuable collaboration has happened. Respect is not necessary. Our political system is very much like this.

But let's fit this more squarely on the premise presented. Let's assume a tie. Let's say the Dems need one Rep vote. Let's say the Rep is the former VP. Let's say the Dems, many of whom think the former VP is a scumbag, offer to, oh, not investigate the CIA's interrogations. and the bill passes.

Where was respect in these fruitful negotiations?

So, no, we don't need respect, we only need cooperation. Given most Reps are against health care for all and many seem happy to lie about it, well, they're stupid. Given virtually all Reps hate Obama for the bailouts, yet voted for them under Bush, well, they're stupid.

Etc. The man was speaking the truth. (I think we all recognize that "stupid" was not being used in its literal connotation.)

The situation where respect is necessary is actually more so where all agree to the same rules rather than in a situation like the one above. It involves our ego and willingness to listen, rather than negotiation per se. When a group of people are working for the same thing, but disagree about what or how or when, etc., that is a far more dangerous situation because small disagreements can become personal arguments which then turns the situation into one such as the above where power and bribes might suffice. But lost respect is usually irrevocable. The Dems and Reps don't necessarily have any respect to lose for one another. Which is the greater risk?

It is impossible for me to respect anyone who stands against universal health care and climate change mitigation if they are apprised of the facts. Once apprised, it is impossible to not "get" either. Why should I respect that someone would put ideology above right and wrong? How can I possibly do so?

That is not to say I don't respect their right to do so nor that I don't respect them as a human being in the broad sense and think their rights may be violated because they're morally bankrupt. But it does mean I should be able to speak truthfully to them. And such is the case with this fellow. Putting current political and social realities aside, resignation shouldn't be necessary. It's hypocritical for others to demand it. The man should be able to stand up and say, "My Rep colleagues are not being honest about this issue. Their delusions almost certainly range from the purely ideological to some of them just not being *able* to grasp the issues at hand. Hey, we've seen the memos. BUT, I still should not have spoken my mind in a time and place that my words would be heard beyond my inner circle, and perhaps not at all. Still, many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle certainly think uncomplimentary things about myself and our president. So be it. Why should I care? It is no secret and means nothing in the grand scheme of things. So, I am sorry if I offended anyone. I did not intend to. And you can prise my job out of my cold, dead hands."

And that should be that.

Until or unless the truth becomes the overriding goal of communication, splitting hairs wrt behavior is, frankly, silly.

All that said, I do support the use of consensus decision-making which does emphasize bearing in mind that each person holds only part of the truth and that all opinions are to be heard. But, again, that only works when all agree to the preconditions. In an adversarial system, it would never work, which brings us quite circularly back to whether or not we must respect the intelligence and "capacity" of others. While a worthy goal, it is certainly not a prerequisite for successful collaboration and certainly didn't apply in the case under discussion. It was always about negotiation and never about respect. The nation loses a knowledgeable man in an important position because some reps were offended that he spoke what they already knew he thought?

Now that's stupid, no?


Your approach gets you the world as it works now.

What else is possible? What would have to fundamentally change to bring that about?

It is not an approach, it is reality - whether or not you choose to admit it. It is your approach that creates the current reality because it is fantasy. As long as the truth is not spoken, it cannot be lived.

It is not an endorsement of rudeness to suggest that the rudeness should be considered inconsequential. I am simply noting the reality that the man said nothing most non-Reps don't already think.

However, as long as you tell yourself and others that denying global warming, denying health care to millions, etc., is a legitimate stance, you lend credence to those positions. It is not, however, uncivil to point out that a given stance is illogical, immoral, etc. One can speak truthfully without being rude. However, one cannot say all opinions are equal then wonder why no minds are changed and no real advances made.

The health care, climate and energy debates are rife with lies and distortions. It has been the failure to say this directly, clearly and with even some judgement attached - and jail termsserved - that has allowed the debates to go on for, literally, decades.

I repeat: the man did nothing immoral or unethical. He spoke his mind, and he was (relative to the context) correct.

To put it another way, people with your outlook believe what progess that has been made in the world is because you are polite. I think what progess has NOT been made is because being polite is more important to you all than the truth.

I believe that honest exchange is the ONLY way forward in a critically damaged world. Learning to not take the truth personally is the key.


You're not even looking for a different way. All you do is defend the current system. Then you provide reasons why you think it's correct to defend the current system. Some of us are searching for a different way. That's fine if you're not one of them, each person picks their own path.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I'll blame myself for the moment.

You said:

You're not even looking for a different way.

This is false by a mile. I said quite clearly I support the truth and that I agree being polite is good. But your claim that a prerequisite of compromise is the giving and getting of respect is wrong. I gave clear examples which prove this.

Additionally, I stated clearly a degree of familiarity with consensus decision-making while noting it is what its name implies and requires an agreement to play by a very, very strict set of rules. Typically it is paired with non-violent communication strategies. This I also support. However, it is not likely to work on a large scale. There are no very large scale examples extant on the planet, so far as I know. Amish communities are an example. Ancient Native American cultures are another. I know of none that currently exist that would be on the order of even a small city or even good-sized town. It is not something we can model for an entire society. The best you are likely to do is to have a stratified representative system in which consensus is necessary at each level, but no true one person, one vote for each and every decision. But even this is fantasy given human nature.

Important to refuting your point is that parliamentary procedure does not reflect how people talk to each other in the "real" world, but is a massively abstracted form of communication that exists because people get pissed at each other and can get pretty foul about it. It is designed to create a false sense of civility so that enemies may function together. It does not reflect what they actually may think of each other.

Consensus and non-violent communication is something I have lived with during my travels this summer, so I am not talking out of my rear end.

Now, in what words did you see a defense of "the system?" It is an emotional violence you commit in making that statement. After all, I noted what the system is and why the man's words did not matter within the existing framework. How is that endorsement? Further, I have posted on numerous occassions suggestions for complete and total change of "the system." I find it hard to believe you have missed the totality of my posts, but perhaps that is the case. Consider yourself informed in the latter case.

Here you have provided a perfect example of how any "new way" is likely to end up looking like the "old way." That is, you speak of talking nicely, but when challenged you toss an insulting post my way. In the end, you are unable and unwilling to work with someone you don't like or who challenges you. If you think being unable to work with people who actually share your perspective is somehow an example of great "new way," you are sadly mistaken.

People are people. aangel is people. Therein lies the rub.

This post is not as pointless as some may think. It reflects very well the difficulties of getting even like-minded people moving in the same direction. The devil is in the details. The many ecovillages and intentional communities that dot the country but that cannot figure out a way to work together are another great example. I have found that people move from one to another, that ill feelings develop and intractable differences arise such that 95% of intentional communities, in specific, fail.

This does not bode well for our future when massive degrees of cooperation are going to be necessary.

So, the answer isn't in the how we communicate so much as what. A commitment to honest communication with a modicum of civility is the key. When a person has worked to harm the world, it must be not only possible to say so, it must be necessary to the point of obligation. Allowing a lie to live is acting as accessory to the crime.

There must be a commitment to truthfulness above all else. Some might call this the rule of law, but we must be careful as it is clear the law is nothing if the people do not insist on it being followed.


So, no, I do not advocate meanness, but I do not shy away from confrontation when it is clearly needed. The lack of confrontation (defined as the reader wishes) has allowed what we now have.


Ccpo,You make your case well but many a general has lost a battle or a war by following a plan in principle similar to yours.

I am not interested in Jones(see my other comments for that) right now but in the fact that we have a system of government that allows us to work together,badly or poorly it is true most of the time,but still TOGETHER.

You do not secure the cooperation of a large and diverse and powerful group of opponents by antagonizing them unnecessarily.

It is my heartfelt conviction that if the more shall we say er blunt spoken members of the loose coalition of environmentalists/progressives would tone done the "feel good by bashing the opposition " rhetoric a bit change would come faster.

O Bama (or whichever staffer make the decision to get rid of the man) understands exactly what I am saying here.Enough help of the sort he was getting in this case could result in altogether the wrong sort of change,such as a couple of close congressional races going the wrong way.There is such a thing as a straw that can break even a presidential campaigns back.

If you will read that greatest of all sources of "people"wisdom known as the Bible you will find a little homily in there about a time to do AND NOT DO this and that and the other.Telling the unvarnished truth as you see it is not called for when negotiating with the opposition.

"We will accept your fat ugly warty daughter as a wife for our son in order to further our mutual fortunes" is not the language of diplomacy.

I find myself constantly reminding my more liberal friends that thier arguments simply lack the ring of truth to most of the people they tend to badmouth.People can be educated or convinced to change thier minds over a period of time but they cannot be TOLD what to think-and calling them names is about the surest way I can think of to ensure that they will not listen.

I know quite a few very conservative people who are both very well educated and highly intelligent and who happen to believe for instance that a European style health care system is not at all in thier own or thier families best interest.

They for instance tend to think that since they lack status perhaps if there is a shortage of money or personell some day that the sheriffs kid or the high school principals kid will get treated faster and better than thier own kid,or that maybe while they are waiting for a cat scan they will die from an improperly diagnosed stroke.

I myself have had an unscheduled scan at three am within fifteen minutes of learning it was needed in a small town hospital because I had symptoms indicating a possible stroke.I fear to think how long it might have taken in England or Canada to get me thru the bueracratic hoops.

For a good many years my personal physician was a refugee-from Canada,no less.He took a half an hour once to explain just how mucked up the system there was (at the time) in terms of doing the right thing in a timely way, that he was working very long hours for relatively very little money-not as much as some people were making in Detroit bolting cars together.

I am not at all sure a socialist system is in my own best interest,although I do believe that the current system is so screwed up in so many ways that the only way we can escape the health care tarbaby is to go socialist health care wise-better for the country as a whole if not for me.

Either the current or the last issue of the Atlantic Monthly has the best single article I have ever seen on health care.I urge any one interested in the subject to read it.

I am not interested in Jones(see my other comments for that) right now but in the fact that we have a system of government that allows us to work together,badly or poorly it is true most of the time,but still TOGETHER.

See my response to aangel. Your statement is false. The Reps are just as brazenly lying as they ever have. A headline I saw on Fox: Should all Obamas Czars go? (Paraphrased.) That is propaganda and nothing more. Guilt by association, etc. And the more one side is allowed to engage in violence (and that is absolutely rhetorical violence) without consequence, the more they will.

I have not advocated making the political debate impolite, I simply stated the man spoke the truth within the context of his comments and that his sin was tiny in the grand scheme. His making that statement did not affect how his enemies perceived him, it simply gave them an excuse to attack. Yet, the discussion is about Jones, not the idiots using the slip for political haymaking. Truly, which is the greater sin?

You do not secure the cooperation of a large and diverse and powerful group of opponents by antagonizing them unnecessarily.

And in the current environment - stoked and inflamed far more from the Right than the Left - you are setting yourself up to be used and abused, for that is what the Jones incident reinforces. It's pawn takes bishop. If there is no holding to account of the other side, you are wasting your time.

I present the last forty years as case closed-level evidence.

It is my heartfelt conviction that if the more shall we say er blunt spoken members of the loose coalition of environmentalists/progressives would tone done the "feel good by bashing the opposition " rhetoric a bit change would come faster.

False. Again, the last 40 years proves you wrong. I see no harm in encouraging civility, but it must be pointed, blunt-nosed and must be backed by consequences. People need to be in jail. People need to be tried. People need to be convicted.

At the non-political level, I would encourage the same, adjusted to the context. In a neighborhood discussion, for example, the facts of the lies and falsehoods must be presented if necessary. If the goal can be accomplished by presenting the proofs without the condemnations, of course it's all the better, but that is not likely to occur.

The two nations where the lies and bull have been most effective are those where your proposition is most followed. All it does is allow lies to grow legs.

There seems to be a misconception that speaking directly need be rude. This is false. However, one cannot say "liar" politely no matter how one tries. The reaction is just as irrational whether you say someone has mislead as when you say they have lied outright, so what do you gain? Nothing. But if you state and can prove lies have been said, what have you lost? Nothing. Those driven by ideology will follow where their brainwashing leads them. Those that are rational will adjust their thinking or disengage.

I personally believe the greatest damage done to this nation and the world has been done by not stating the truth when it was vital to do so. The fact that the MCA and PA are still extant is a perfect example. They should have never existed. Now that they do, they will not be repealed without a complete paradigm shift.

Silence destroyed our freedoms.

O Bama (or whichever staffer make the decision to get rid of the man) understands exactly what I am saying here.

Everyone understands what you are saying. I am saying it is a fantasy. Along with the more prosaic chaotic responses this era will see, extremes of thought and action will also be seen. Those that speak violence will graduate to doing violence. Look at the Tea Parties. Look at the people brainwashed into calling Obama a socialist and fearing he's going to take all their guns. The rhetoric is far more strident now that BuCheney are out of office than ever before.

The reaction must be qualitatively different, but no less in strength and determination.

Telling the unvarnished truth as you see it is not called for when negotiating with the opposition.

I didn't say the unvarnished truth. I said the truth.

The situation is such that the changes needed are so massive that usual levels of compromise in these matters is slow suicide. The only way you will ultimately get a large enough percentage of the population to act is for them to fully understand the consequences. This is not the case as with the Am. Revolution where 1/3 of the people can change destiny. This is more akin to all the rowers rowing together to get to shore before going over the falls.

Were the situation not so dire, I would essentially agree with you, but what was is not what is, nor is what will be what is.

I know quite a few very conservative people who are both very well educated and highly intelligent and who happen to believe for instance that a European style health care system is not at all in thier own or thier families best interest.

Then one must question their intelligence, no? The debate is not about them, for one, for that is not even what is being discussed. For two, the nation being healthier and happier is in their best interest, period. If they don't understand this, they aren't so intelligent. If their objection is more to the selfish rather than intellectual side, I couldn't begin to give a damn what they think. If they can't understand resource constraints change the rules, there is no help for them.

If you think time will help, feel free to speak to them in dulcet tones until the light bulb goes on. But, these sorts are not the topic of this sub-thread. It is the rancid ranting of the leaders of the opposition to change that I speak of. The herd will change direction when the leaders are no longer bleating out lies because their opposition is based in the ideological brainwashing. Remove that and many will change direction.

They for instance tend to think that since they lack status perhaps if there is a shortage of money or personell some day that the sheriffs kid or the high school principals kid will get treated faster and better than thier own kid

How is this different than what currently exists? They don't fear the problem, they fear it applying to them. They are apparently satisfied to allow myself, my wife and my son to be in the position they fear. Forgive me if I find them selfish and poorly informed.

or that maybe while they are waiting for a cat scan they will die from an improperly diagnosed stroke.

You mean like the 40 million without appropriate health care in the US, like me?

I fear to think how long it might have taken in England or Canada to get me thru the bueracratic hoops.

Please don't repeat propaganda. Emergency care is emergency care. You are far more likely to not get treated in the US as you have to be able to prove you have coverage to get treatment in some hospitals.

For a good many years my personal physician was a refugee-from Canada,no less.He took a half an hour once to explain just how mucked up the system there was (at the time) in terms of doing the right thing in a timely way, that he was working very long hours for relatively very little money-not as much as some people were making in Detroit bolting cars together.

And what, in his opinion, are the effects of paying for the uninsured to get their care in the emergency room? Or the cost in productivity for so many to not get treated? Or the effects of half of all bankruptcies being completely or partially the result of paying for health care costs?

And why should he earn so much? He will never be poor so long as he doesn't drive himself to the poor house. Or, perhaps we should just subsidize all education, too.

only way we can escape the health care tarbaby is to go socialist health care wise-better for the country as a whole if not for me.

Bingo! Does compromise not include not getting everything you want?

Because we are only recently attempting to settle here, we have no health care. All I am trying to do is come home, right? If any one of the three of us gets into a serious medical situation, our financial situation becomes instantly untenable.

Ask your friends if that's OK with them.


As an emergency solution this planet needs some deep voiced Philosophy Czars –

The tech we can dream of are already in place and the Periodic Table has been “complete and well understood” for decades already – so little hope short term from those corners. Also the US Army Corps of Engineers has expressed that ‘quantum-leap-type-ingenuity’ has radically shrunk since the 1980’s …

If the ‘Hairless Great Ape’ cannot part from the Internal Combustion Engine at free will – the same Monkey could at least start to make cars 10 times smaller (energy wise) in conjunction with Heard-traveling in busses for instance. But the Hairless Ape will not do this – hence the ‘rest oil’ will vanish 10 times faster than deemed necessary…. This way of efficiency thinking – for all technical energy wise aspects- could postpone everything hard to comprehend and make policies for ‘a factor 10’ into the future…..

Gimme a Philosopher any day before a Scientist to sort out this mess (!)

Is it too much to ask for both?

What is needed is wisdom. Tacit knowledge (from a lifetime of experience) + moral standing + courage + systemic knowledge (i.e. science and a few other attributes) = superior judgment. The latter is a necessary (and potentially sufficient) condition for making veridical long-term decisions. This isn't a common human trait, unfortunately. But it is feasible. The laws of genetics demand a non-zero probability of finding someone in the far right tail (of the distribution curve) of intelligence, the far right tail of creativity, and the far right tail of sapience. But, since the conjunction of these traits is multiplicative with very small probabilities, the likelihood of finding this person (or persons) is probably next to nil. Still, we should keep an eye out.

Question Everything

With wisdom there is no need for science. But everyone doesn't have wisdom therefore we must rely on science which is unfortunately no substitute for wisdom = we're so so screwed!

I think that science is a subset in the larger set called wisdom.
They are complimentary..............actually science is necessary to gain wisdom.

Then how come we've managed to use science to dig ourselves into a hole so deep that we're likely facing extinction? Not a shred of wisdom to be found anywhere, just the clarion call for more science so we can dig ever faster.

Science is needed to solve problems that we wouldn't have if wisdom was used to avoid them in the first place. Science is increasingly about the technique of turning the natural into the synthetic with religious zeal. Its out of control and needs regulating even more than the banks do.

I am not trying to be contentious.
I think what you are angry with is technology not science.
To me science is just learning through observation and experiment.
It has no large scale impact on the ecology.
You can't blame the tool for the fool. that uses it.
Our problems are not with what we know they are rather in how we use what we know.

Why is every one so pissed off on this site?

Statistics show that we're mostly a group of grumpy old men, with plenty to be grumpy about, mind you? Fortunately we are also graced with some charming and frighteningly bright women and even some clever youngsters, once in a while.

Yes science is about knowledge.
There is absolutely nothing to fear from science. It is a religious hangup to blame science for the ills of the world.

We are free to choose what we do with knowledge, understanding what combining charcoal, sulfur and saltpetre achieves does not make the science responsible for bullets, bombs and cannons.

How can knowledge be a bad thing? http://encarta.msn.com/column_scientificdiscoveries_tamimhome/10_great_s...

Most of the time we start out with good intentions, steam power, flight, pesticides, electricity, genetics and so on.

That we deforested, environmentally destroyed habitats, caused species to go extinct, caused pollution and extended our life span to further cause destruction is a result of human nature and endeavor which led to the consequent engineering excesses.

Science and technology are intertwined, science being the enabler and technology the physical outcome. You may not blame the tool for the fool, but neither do you give a baby a knife to play with. The unbridled use of science as a "get rich quick scheme" in our totalitarian economy is undoubtedly disastrous and as long as it is in the hands of the people who abused our world with it, then it will continue to be so. Science has not brought wisdom, only folly.

If people continue to believe the "received wisdom" that science is a benign good for all without question, then we're screwed. Currently science (and its sidekick technology) is like bacteria consuming the planet, transforming the natural into the synthetic, poisoning the World with its toxic residue.

What we need is wisdom to stop the folly and we don't need science to become wise, just common sense. We need to move away from the edge of the abyss and back to a sensible way of living symbiotically with nature and all other living things. Hopefully we can do this before scientific hubris finishes us all off.

I completely agree with you. I think that the only difference is that I define science as strictly a method for gaining knowledge and consider the application of that knowledge something else.
Wisdom to me is the ability to integrate all the various disparate bodies of knowledge obtained from any means and then knowing what to do with all that smarts.
Well, at this point it is what it is and we can't make people "unknow" so all that is left is to try to know more.
Learning for both individuals and societies is a one way trip like a ratchet and I don't expect the burning of the library at Alexandria any time soon.
What we need is a higher level of understanding not a lower one and that could be done through the media and the education systems. The problem being that both are entrenched with the current ethos that caused this mess.
I don't think there is a chance for change without change in the 2 main conduits that shape the memes and ideals of most people....................... media and education.
The situation kinda reminds me of Michale Crighton's message in the book/movie Jurrasci Park.
He has his character Ian Malcolm admonish John Hammond for abusing the scientific knowledge of cloning because he didn't learn it for himself but took it from other researchers. That would be like giving a baby a knife.

Have to agree with Porge here. Wisdom is needed to guide our science and more particularly how we use it. That has been lacking. As a species we are clever (intelligent + creative) but we are also motivated by animal spirits (as Nate points out). All of these capabilities could serve us well IF we were wise enough that our judgments were for the good.

But wisdom is no substitute for science (when practiced wisely). It takes both to be fully human.

First of all you inverted my statement.
I think that science..................and I define it as the empirically tested hypothesis..............is a precursor to wisdom......and I define that as the ability to see the many possible outcomes.

You are obviously a smart guy and you write well.

Sorry. Didn't get that inference. In which case I am confused as to your chain of reasoning. We know that the attributes of wisdom come from particular capacities in the brains of some people. Not all scientists end up wise. Nor are all wise people scientists. The part about seeing many possible outcomes - envisioning scenarios, I take it, is part of future thinking, one of the necessary components of wisdom. So if that is what you mean generally then I agree with that characterization.

You might want to read my working papers on sapience to get a better sense of what I am talking about and its relationship to wisdom as a behavioral/psychological construct.

I agree with your point above about the anger being directed at technology, or how science is used rather than science itself (properly understood).

I agree with you as to the type of thinking we need but I think that it could be arrived at by combining a group of highly intelligent multi-disciplinary people.
You seem to think that one "Jesus or Budda or Einstein or a combo but in one body like" figure is necessary?

I think intellectual networking is the solution......viz. all the brain power that can be summoned BUT on the same page.

Hello Porge,

Your Quote:"I think intellectual networking is the solution......viz. all the brain power that can be summoned BUT on the same page."

IMO, when I think back on TOD's amazing mutual efforts [led by TopTODers: SS, Euan, and F_F] to analyze Ghawar back in 2007--I think this was the best example of your 'intellectual networking' in WWWeb action.

It would have been even better if someone from Aramco had posted some extra info...

I haven't been around here long enough to know the effort that you are referring to but if it was a civilized group think then I bet it was good.

As I recall: not group think at all, but very, very extended pro/con debate [lots of keyposts, tons of comments]. Basically: Euan was pro-Ghawar [thought there was more easy extraction to come***] and SS was con-Ghawar.

*** Euan, feel free to correct me as desired as I don't wish to speak for you or SS. The above is just my rough summation of your terrific Ghawar work.

My group think is your debate.
All advancement happens at the margin and that is why I like the idea of mixing things up rather than having a few select self identified brainiacs running the show.
Wish I was here for the Ghawar debate.


I hope you weren't thinking you were quoting me, or paraphrasing my thoughts when you said:

You seem to think that one "Jesus or Budda or Einstein or a combo but in one body like" figure is necessary?

My comments had to do with the likelihood of individuals in our current species, sapiens having intelligence, creativity, and wisdom (sapience) all in the same person is very low. We have ample examples of very smart, creative people (these traits are highly correlated in various psychological tests), and we have many examples of simple folk who are wise in their ways. We have damn few examples of contemporary individuals who have demonstrated all three characteristics, though I think they exist. For example, I suspect strongly that E.O.Wilson embodies all three at a high level.

As to the wisdom of the crowds. First I have been involved in several projects purported to aggregate problem solvers and thinkers, etc. Indeed, the academy is such a structure. If you really think this simple social network solves the big problems then you have never sat through a strategic planning session at a university! Trust me, just because smart people pool their collective competencies doesn't mean you will get wise, smart, and creative (while being morally positive) results. In any case, if wisdom were to emerge, I suspect it would take a great deal of time to take hold.

"BUT on the same page."

Ah! But whose page? Which page? Democratically decided? Well look how well democracy is working out for us really intelligent Americans (especially those bright lights in the Senate!)

We don't need one wise person, but a group of people who are young enough to make babies and have shown that they are in the right tails of the distributions (maybe fMRI of prefrontal cortex during psych tests of complex moral judgment -- See Marc Hauser's work, esp. last paragraph of his article in this month's Scientific American). Then we need them to meet and socialize and sort themselves out. And, oh yes, we need to have them do this in a safe haven as the rest of civilization crashes and burns. The big challenge for the rest of us sapience-challenged but bright lights is to figure out a way to make this happen so that the genus Homo is represented several thousand years from now.

Sound wild and crazy? I keep saying Question Everything

I am questioning you.
First of all the system is broken and to judge it's effectiveness now is not accurate.
You want what?
A benevolent despot???
Who would it be.............maybe you?
It is impossible for one mind to know or understand everything but it is possible for many minds in aggregate to get close. Where would you be without out the books that you read?
corruption is the reason that everything is AFU not the ideal of group participation itself.

OH......... and back at you with "whose page".

Sorry porge. You seem to be getting worked up and I'm losing the gist of this line of questions. I write a blog. I explain my thoughts there. I have written plenty on this web site along similar lines and many readers of TOD have popped over to the blog for further amplification. The simple answer to your question is I want evolution to work its magic. I have no idea what that will produce. If you really want to know what that means you are invited to read my work. But I won't be writing a fully explanatory essay for your benefit alone.

Ok, thanks George.
I am not upset just trying to get you upset ;)

Nice article, George

But, since the conjunction of these traits is multiplicative with very small probabilities, the likelihood of finding this person (or persons) is probably next to nil. Still, we should keep an eye out.

There are reasonable odds that such folks would find their way to this forum; I can think of a number of fair candidates among the posters.

Good thought. And I suspect you are onto something. TOD as a beacon for multiple right tailers! That would be great. Are there other similar web sites? I've sampled quite a few (for sure none of the politically-motivated sites will work!) and find the signal to noise ratio hard to filter. [Of course I might not know a signal if I heard it!!!]



I suspect that there are quite a few people,total, in the world with the cluster of abilities mentioned but my own wag is that such people are one in ten thousand or fewer ,making the odds of any group of them ever coming together and organizing close to zero.

At one time I was a short term pessimist and a long term optimist but in recent years I have come to believe that the race between a crash and an enlightened world is lost.

Maybe a few of us will survive to go out once more and subdue nature.I think that the odds are pretty good that most of the population of the richer countries will survive for several more generations at least,barring nuclear war or some comparable catastrophe.

I do not believe that the biosphere is nearly as fragile as most environmentally aware people assume.

We may succeed in destroying a huge amount of biodiversity but that very diversity is no more than the result of the accidental building of ecosystems by the twin forces of evolution and geology/geography/climate.The river shapes its bed but the bed also shapes the river.

We are emotionally invested in the biosphere we know simply because we know it,because we are a product of it,are we not?

I think that once we are gone,or so reduced in numbers that we cannot influence the rest of nature very much that the living world will again be as diverse as it is today in the blink of a geological eye.

Of course such a biosphere is not likely to be nearly as well suited to OUR needs as the one we have now.

Working to save such parts of the ecology as marine ecosystems located far away from people and fishing pressure seems like an excellent strategy as it is not flying into the face of the bau crowd.

I expect that even with the dems in charge of the govt we would not have an ANWR
if it did not already exist. If oil were discovered there today and the land was not already designated off limits and a strong constituency of conservationists already in place to keep it that way.....

Maybe after the crash it will be possible for a new culture to arise that pays mother nature the respect she is due-for a while at least.

Perhaps at some future time some small group of extremely intelligent and technically capable individuals can establish a society someplace based on ecologically sound principles that will allow a few million members of that society to live a utopian lifestyle-if they get rid of every one else and also establish such taboos as are necessary for the survival of thier group.

I have no trouble convincing myself that they could make the decision to do away with the rest of humanity once they convince themselves that doing so is in thier own best interests.

That low odds of coming together is what I was needling G Mobus about. I see the pragmatics behind trying to attract and concentrate the most likely traits to survive and flourish but who gets to decide what those traits are?
It seems to me anyone assuming that much is flirting with, at best intellectual elitism and at worst eugenics.
But I am on George's side of the fence because of the practicality of the matter.

Thanks porge! I'm glad that we have some accord.

I am not advocating anything other than that if there is to be any preference in the evolutionary stream - if there is to be an evolutionary bottleneck and subsequent selection - that it be for greater sapience (which I argue has a brain basis) not necessarily greater intelligence, intellect, or any of the common characterizations of what it means to be a "better" human.

I think Nietzsche, greatly and generally misunderstood by "sophisticated" moderns, had a great insight ("Human, only human"). It wasn't about a super human (subsequently abused horribly by the Nazis). It was about a "free spirit", someone not constrained by conventional thinking passing as wisdom. Real wisdom doesn't necessarily imply great intellect; just good judgment for the benefit of the tribe. Such spirits are out there. I just hope they find one another and survive what is coming.


I remember Nietzsche's quote as " human, all too human" but I hear you.
Incidentaly, I read some of your stuff and I definitely relate and agree with most if not all but no one is going to accept it.
I can't stand the fact that we live in such a low quality society but I believe that it has more to do with culture than you do.
I think that we, as humans have a hell of a lot of mental capacity to work with and that it is misapplied and not nurtured properly.
I know you are a College Professor.........I have taught as well. I taught young men how to land jet aircraft onto a rocking carrier deck.
The kids that I had were unbelievably capable........hand picked and sent through many sieves for selection. I know something about quality.

edit: spelling corrections

The laws of genetics demand a non-zero probability of finding someone in the far right tail (of the distribution curve) of intelligence, the far right tail of creativity, and the far right tail of sapience. But, since the conjunction of these traits is multiplicative with very small probabilities, the likelihood of finding this person (or persons) is probably next to nil.

I suspect these charcteristics are positively correlated, which should greatly improve the odds. They are also significantly affected by the type of education, and cultural values the individual is embedded in. If the education and societal values, clear thinking and truth seeking above partisan type support for whatever "in group" one belongs to, the odds are significantly improved. It is in this latter area that contemporary America fails overwhelmingly. Those few individuals that are able to buck the trend are unlikely to get the opportunity to have significant effect. I think our problem is not with genetics, but with culture.

Both probably. Intelligence is known to be about 50% heritable but environment may not account for more that 10-15 points on standard IQ effects. I'm not sure what the heritability on creativity is though I would guess it runs in the same range. You are right about the correlation to some degree. Sternberg and others have reported stronger correlation between intelligence (various kinds of testing) and some aspects of wisdom, less so with creativity. So maybe we have that going for us.

But your central point is well taken. Even for individuals born with high native capacities for intelligence, creativity, and sapience, the social environment in the US is abysmal. Look at what we call "schools" do to our intelligence. Look what we value in terms of art and architecture (culture in general). And when was the last time any young person sought council with the tribal elders on matters of complex social importance? In the non-native US, that is. We worship dollars and youth and novelty. Las Vegas is our iconic city. Not much of a culture to promote what little wisdom we might achieve, is it?

Concerning the link up top White House Adviser on ‘Green Jobs’ Resigns. He, Van Jones, made really dumb speeches such as one claiming that "white polluters were polluting black neighborhoods". And as the article states he was a conspiracy theorists, a member of the truthism clan. Jones was a wingnut.

And on the same subject, this Doonesbury strip sent me rolling in the floor. Strips are submitted about two weeks in advance but Trudeau's timing was perfect. Did he have advance warning that this was going to happen? A conspiracy perhaps? ;-)

Doonesbury Daily Dose

Ron Patterson - Reasonists


Tiny fringe group with no political clout, can be safely ignored, WAIT!, they tend to be pro saving the environment, they like trees, hmmm... They're "Treasonists" and part of a a very dangerous conspiracy group that plans on introducing reason to the political and financial discourse.
They must be fought at any and all cost! They're all dirty communist traitors, let's burn their science books before they spread their dangerous ideas to the masses. /scarcanol off.

Watch out Ron, you've been known to associate with both Doomers AND Cornucopians at some fringe Peak Oil website. You might be branded with your own 'wingnut medal'

But this guy sounds absolutely dangerous!

VJ: Senators don't install solar panels. You have to have the right policies, but it's also a lot of just physical labor to retrofit a whole country. There's going to be a lot of jobs weatherizing buildings, putting up solar panels, manufacturing parts for wind turbines and wind towers. All that's work, and we want to make sure that the green economy is an equal-opportunity, diverse economy that can lift millions of people out of poverty. We don't want it to be an ecoapartheid economy where the vast majority of the owners and workers and consumers and beneficiaries of the green economy are all one race.

MJ: There's been some criticism that the green-jobs movement is overhyped.

VJ: It's easy for people to say that, but it's a movement that's two years old. There are movements for education reform that are 30 years old and don't have a single victory. I guess they're probably overhyped too. On the one hand, the green-jobs movement has been overhyped if people think that we're somehow going to have a green utopia, and everybody in America's going to have a job putting up a solar panel everyday, and that day will be a week from next Thursday. I mean, that's overhyped. But the reality is that there are either going to be a whole lot more green jobs or we're going to have a dead planet. It's become kind of fashionable to pooh-pooh it. I've never seen a movement two years old expected to have already changed the country. The civil rights movement took several decades. The women's rights movement took several decades. Other environmental movements are taking several decades. We need to give the green-jobs movement at least a chance to turn green before we declare it dead.


MJ: Some environmentalists argue that the transition to green jobs is not happening fast enough. Does the movement need more energy behind it?

VJ: Let's just quit. I think we should just quit. It's too late. We should give up. [Laughs.] Look, nothing's happening fast enough. You may have noticed there's this jackass in the White House that's not letting anything happen, whether you're talking about health care or getting out of the war or fixing the energy crisis or solving global warming or getting the economy to work. So right now nothing's happening. It's a tragedy.

(he said 'Jackass'..)

Obama wouldn't have gotten into office if he'd shown one minute onscreen of being an 'angry black man'. Look at the flap Michelle Obama got into for saying she could 'finally be proud of her country..' whew, the humanity! Van Jones has occasionally been willing to say what angers him, which makes him an easy mark for anyone who wants everything to be 'nice and pleasant'.. which is a near obsession for most of us white middle-class men, since we were also taught ourselves that noone wants to hear about our anger or our pain.

Sorry if it sounds impolitic to make racial connections to the treatment of the barrios and ghettos, but how would you look at it if you and your family had to live in that situation?

You obviously feel this guy should not have been thrown to the mob, yet you blame everyone but the guy that did the throwing.

I do hold the Obama Administration as responsible as anybody for this happening. But they're centrists, the DNC and the President and his cabinet, and I think they're pulling things as far out of the far right as they can, (and getting branded as Socialists even for that..) and I don't even expect that they'd continue the move towards the left in most of the areas I would want them to.

You can scream and whimper that they haven't executed a nice clean U-turn.. and in some cases they, like much of the owning class do not even think a turn is necessary..

Yes, they should have had his back. But who do I blame for the fact that they're staggering under a thousand burning arrows, and are still trying to juggle four porcupines and a chainsaw?*

Easy. Bush and Cheney! -Their 'show' was to prove to their constituency that NONE of these issues even existed, and that scientists and evidence was not to be trusted.

*(Except for the 'second stimulus' porcupine. That's their own.)

Bush and Cheney? In this situation, Bush would have laughed at e.g. Olbermann (Beck equivalent) and Cheney would have given the finger to everybody. An idiot with strength has been replaced by a smooth guy that appears to stand for nothing.

a smooth guy that appears to stand for nothing.

How does a false, ideologically-driven statement like this help?


I wouldn't call it ideological-the statement is intended to poke a hole in the Bama Matrix often present here whereby everything that is occurring, from unprecedented taxpayer money flow to an elite, to increased military spending and the rampup of a new war, to an insane fiscal policy, is somehow usually presented as the responsibility of anyone else, usually Bush and Cheney. Bernanke gets reappointed the other day-somehow that is Cheney's fault (just one example).

Riiight. All that DID start with BuCheney. Every bit of it. I do not support Obama's continuation of it. But, then, I never really expected any different (though I had hoped...)

But OBama quite clearly stands for something more than BuCheney based on his stances on Climate Change and energy.

I am not a fan or supporter of Obama, but your statement is still a falsehood disguised as an opinion.


j -- Not impolite but I do look at it in a similar way. And I'm white just like my family that grew up along the cancer corridor of the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge. The concentration of refineries and other industries exists for a good reason – the fresh water resource. In general our community was 50/50 black/white. But we shared a common ground – being poor. It’s easy to mistake economic prejudice for racial prejudice. The non-white population is over represented. But there’s a reason that more than 1/3 of my family has died from some form of cancer. And it’s not based on a skin color. Over the years I’ll hear about another black former schoolmate dying of cancer. Being black and poor in a white dominated economy is no bed of roses for sure. But being white and poor doesn’t give you too much of an advantage either.

I do understand that, Rockman, and thank you for mentioning it.

Race and Class are heavily intermingled, and the whole business is inescapably messy. That's why I'm trying as a white guy to learn how to talk amongst my black neighbors without that 'fear of talking about it, cause I might say something wrong', and learning to hear when other people are talking in anger and go over the line, so that I can respond to what they mean, and not nitpick about what is just a faux pas or momentary boil over.


Watch out Ron, you've been known to associate with both Doomers AND Cornucopians at some fringe Peak Oil website.

Of course I associate with Cornucopians. Almost all my extended family are Cornucopians. Virtually everyone I know are Cornucopins. But I have never been know to agree with Cornucopians on matters concerning resources and the environment.

Van Jones has occasionally been willing to say what angers him,....

Right! Like Green Jobs Czar Van Jones Says White Polluters Steered Poison Into Minority Communities. Don't get me wrong Jokuhl, there is nothing wrong with talking about what angers you. But when what angers you is just downright stupid like steering poison into minority communities, well...

And because of these down in the dirt stupid things that came out of Jones' mouth, he became nothing but cannon fodder for the right wing talk shows. Why should Obama just hand Glenn Beck and his ilk a club to beat them over the head with.

how would you look at it if you and your family had to live in that situation?

I was! During all my youth, considered "Poor White Trash". For the first years of my life I was the son of a sharecropper. I was raised dirt poor. My eight siblings and I were raised in a three room shack that would not keep out the wind in the winter. I never had evan a bicycle until I saved enough money hireing out picking cotton to buy one. My dad could not afford to buy me one. Buying us kids one pair of shoes every couple of years was hard enough on him. So don't tell me about being in that situation because I have been there.

So if you wonder why I am a bleeding heart liberal, well now you know. My dad was a Roosevelt Democrat. I inherited his politics but not his religion.

Ron P.

P.S. I still remember that old sharecroppers shack. It had no studs in the walls. The walls were verticle one by ten inch pine boards and nothing else. They were what held the roof up. Thin slats were nailed over the cracks to try to keep the weather out. They helped some but you could still feel the wind when it blew hard. Momma papered the walls with old newspapers. That helped but sometimes they would get wet and fall off.


"The counties where the ash is going have large black populations and high poverty rates, raising questions about environmental justice."

Of course, I'm sure this is the only example.. and why associate the TVA with "White People" ? Naturally, it's code for 'Whoever is in charge' .. which might look caucasion to you, or might just look rich.. but the idea that indigenous people and politically powerless communities that cannot mount a defense against such actions are surely at the mercy of 'White People', and makes it clear why Jones would have said that. Maybe it's inflammatory, maybe it's indelicate, but it's also persistent, unresolved, and therefore understandable.

Jokuhl, Perry County Alabama bid on the land fill contract and won! They will receive 3 million dollars for this contract. The county commission chairman and most of the comminissoners are black. They desperately wanted this contract.

"We're not desperate to the point that we would endanger the health and safety of our people," said Commissioner Albert Turner Jr., who supported the landfill project. "But we are desperate enough to know we should take a golden opportunity when we see one."

Poor Alabama county banks on TVA coal ash dumping

This may be a bad thing but it is what the majority of the residents of Perry Countey wanted. It is their business.

Ron P.

Yeah Ron. I'm sure all of those small Asian villages are grateful for the electronic trash that has brought them such huge dividends.

"Here's your industry fellas." George Carlin


Joe, a post should at least have some remote connection to the post you are replying too. Yours doesn't.

Ron P.

Ron - Let me fill in the blanks for you. A poor county in Alabama bids on toxic trash with little regard for their personal environment. Poor villages in China accept our E-Waste.

Result: Poor people get dumped on.

Why is that such a big leap Ron?


Joe, it would not have hurt you to have posted the link in your original post. That way I would have known what the hell you were talking about. After all, I am not a mind reader. And yes, it is a leap to try to figure out what you are talking about when you give absolutely no clue whatsoever.

The money the people of Perry County receives will buy a lot of goods and services. The toxic waste will do harm further down the road. People always seem to choose the immediate benefit verses the long term harm. That is just human nature. Right or wrong that is just the way it is.

You can bitch about human nature until the cows come home Joe, but it will not change human nature one whit. And besides how do you know the benefit is not greater than the harm? The people of Perry County simply made their choice. Bitch about their choice all you wish but it was their choice.

Garrett Harding, "The Ostrich Factor", The Martian talking to the Earthling: The Earthly God apparently thinks that the human choice is between good and evil. Our Martian God knows that the choice is always beteeen evils--the greater evil veses the lesser one.

Ron P.

Ron - So are you saying that when people have to choose between poison or poverty if they choose the poison...so be it?

IMO people should never have to be put in that position. The TVA should have been required to dispose of their toxic waste in the most ecologically responsible manner, regardless of cost. This lowest bidder method is wrong and frankly indefensible.


The TVA should have been required to dispose of their toxic waste in the most ecologically responsible manner, regardless of cost.

And just what would the most ecologically responsible manner be Joe? Are you sure that was not exactly what they were doing. Perry county had thousands of acres of empty land. Perhaps that was the very best place in America to dispose of the fly ash.

But I am sure Joe, that TVA and all othe electrical companies would appreciate your input. Just what would you suggest that they do with all the fly ash that results from generating YOUR electricity Joe? Electricity to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the winter? Electricity to keep your food refrigerated in both your home and in your supermarket? Electricity to power the water supply pumps so that you may have water when you may have water when you turn on your tap? And electricity to power the sewage pumps that pumps your sewage away. And also to keep your lights burnign, your TV and computer going and all the other things you use electricity for.

It is very easy to damn the power company for what they are doing, but the only thing they may do different is turn your power off. Then you would starve if you did not freeze first. And lots of luck with your rainwater catchment system. Be sure to clean the bird crap off your roof before it rains. And that toilet will look just great in your backyard.

Ron P.

Just what would you suggest that they do with all the fly ash that results from generating YOUR electricity Joe?

I live in CA. In CA we have statutes that don't allow coal fired power to be imported here. We pay higher rates for electricity as a result.

Utility rates should reflect the real cost of electricity based on waste and CO-2 emissions. Being cheap and efficient has it's drawbacks which I assume you might agree with.


Right Joe, we should generate all our power from natural gas. That way we, and the world, would run out of natural gas in about ten years. Then what?

Fly ash, and bottom ash, is toxic. But it is hypocritical to insist that it be disposed in an environmental safe manner when you know damn well that such a thing is not possible.

This is what really pisses me off about opponents of nuclear power. They say that nuclear waste cannot be diposed in a safe manner. Yet the air pollution is a thousand times worse from coal plants than from nuclear plants. And a few hundred pounds of nuclear waste per year would be far, far easier to dispose of than millions of tons of fly ash and bottom ash. Coal ash is toxic yet you people, and that's you Joe, just expect it to disappear into thin air.

Electricity generated from coal kills tens of thousands per year. No more dangerous type of power generation exists anywhere. And that does not even include C02 dumped into the atmosphere.

Make sume constructive suggestions or keep quiet!

Ron P.

This is what really pisses me off about opponents of nuclear power.

Ron - You are completely off base about this issue. I am one of the most outspoken supporters of Nuclear Power on this site. I think people's irrational fear of nuclear power is childish. Nuclear power needs to be ramped up ASAP. It burns my blood when I think about scarring this landscape further with massive wind and solar plants. (I suspect that's about keeping the energy monopoly going) They don't scale up anyway. In the meantime I support residential and commercial solar on existing property. It works to take pressure off of the grid til' we can build enough nuclear power plants.


Glad to hear that Joe. Coal power plants kill more people in one day than nuclear power kills in ten years.

But back to coal. Coal power is a fact of life. China is building two new coal power plants per week. So what would you suggest that we do with all that ash? Where would you suggest we put it? Anyone else care to jump in? All you opponents of nuclear power, where would you put all that ash?

Of course you could just pile it up near the power plant. That's what they did in Tennessee and Wales: South Wales

In October 1966 heavy rain made the giant coal tip unstable. The recent dumping of small particles of coal and ash known as 'tailings' seems to have been partly responsible. A thirty foot high black wave tore downhill across the Glamorganshire canal and swept away houses on its path towards the village school. 114 children and 28 adults were killed.

Ron P.

So what would you suggest that we do with all that ash?

That's a tricky one. I don't have the technical knowledge to even begin to answer that but I do know that if you want to change behavior you have to hit people where it actually hurts: In The Wallet. In the current political and economic environment that might be difficult.

On a personal level I live where I do because the weather is such that I don't need to air-condition in the summer or heat in the winter. My wife and I simply open the windows to cool in the summer or put on another sweater or blanket in the winter. We recycle everything and we don't buy new clothes (much to my wife's chagrin). I haven't bought a new car in 7 years (I hope to never buy another)and we don't take vacations. I contribute my personal time to ecological restoration projects and I talk about these issues to everyone that will give me the time of day.

I would imagine that to a lot of people I am a royal pain in the ass. C'est la vie.


I do know that if you want to change behavior you have to hit people where it actually hurts: In The Wallet.

Well that would be your wallet and my wallet. Perhaps less of your wallet than mine because of where you live. Remember all costs are eventually passed down to the consumer.

As I said, I really think that TVA did the very best job they possibly could with a very bad situation. After all the coal ash had to be put somewhere. But if I did not think that then I would most definitely tell you what I think they should have done.

Ron P.

Sounds like the world would be a better place if we had more pains in the ass like yourself.

As for business and casual attire, I buy only "Fashions by Mr. Furley", available exclusively at Value Village (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNBoJZN-KIk).


"...the weather is such that I don't need to air-condition in the summer or heat in the winter..."

In your ongoing quixotic quest for utopian perfection, you still need to give other people a bit of a break. It would be less than pretty if all three hundred million Americans tried to cram into the very limited areas reasonably meeting those two criteria. (High-altitude spots in Hawaii? Coastal Pacific Northwest?) Nor would the people already living there - very possibly including yourself - be particularly glad for all those others to try.

High altitude spots in Hawaii? Are you serious? Certainly all of Hawaii would qualify, and most of the West Coast with a little attention to solar gain.

As for A/C, it was not so long ago when no one had it!! (I am only 47, and I remember. In fact I have not used it here in Boulder. And horrors of horrors, I have gone through an entire summer with the blower motor broken in my car, so we open windows!! (This car is a little old and does not do any highway driving)).

One serious issue with less heating and cooling is that some vulnerable people (elderly mostly) who have been spared in the last few years, might die prematurely if we were all forced to live at 50 in the winter and 90 in the summer. The rest of us just like to be comfortable, and Boulder has its own fly ash problem, and nuclear makes me uneasy (though I see the point, you know). So I really wish we could cut back drastically. How about 50%?

It turns out pumping water around to water all those lawns wastes another huge amount of electricity. But mostly, it boggles the mind - I have two refrigerators and a freezer (local food fanatic storing food for winter) and I still use less than half of comparable Boulder households. What are they doing??

Make sume constructive suggestions or keep quiet!

You know something Ron? You sometimes come across as a real self-righteous twit. You tend to get all black-and-white about issues, make rude remarks to those with the temerity to disagree with you, and make comments like the above. Well, some of your comments and suggestions are not particularly constructive.

And who the hell appointed you the arbiter of what is useful and interesting around here? Just get off your high horse, and don't be telling people to be quiet. You really are getting a bit full of yourself.

This was totally meant as a constructive comment, believe it or not.

I don't believe it. Most people only know how to criticize other people's actions but never say what the proper thing to do would be. I do not criticize what TVA did. I think they did the best they could with a very bad situation. And I advocate more nuclear plants.

There are no easy answers as to what to do with coal ash. But how the hell can anyone criticize for what they do without suggesting what they should do? And I mean specific suggestions not just generic crap such "the safest way".

So stop being such a critical person Sgage, without offering any alternative. Do you approve of what TVA eventually did with the coal ash from the spill? If not what would you suggest?

Ron P.

Nicely put. And he is discarding the original statement that whites polluted black neighborhoods without offering any support. In fact there is now quite a bit of evidence to show that the neighborhoods most seriously damaged by industrial pollution are minority neighborhoods (yes, even after correcting for socio-economic status, but thanks for the reminder roc that poor whites don't get many breaks either.)

Look at anything by Robert D. Bullard, starting with _Dumping on Dixie_.

I have not checked to see whether each of the owners of the guilty industries were white at the time, but I'm guessing that they disproportionately were.

Native Americans and Latinos get even worse treatment in this regard than Blacks, by the way.

So basically this Jones guy got dumped for telling an uncomfortable truth, and perhaps for saying it in too provocative a way.

If a person rejects a proposition as stupid, and the proposition turns out to be true, what does this make that person? ;=}

Dohboi, you are way off here. Jones was dumped because he was a nut case. He way a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. He said white polluters STEERED POISON into minoritity communities. Just because low income communities are usually locate near industry does not mean white people steer poison their way.

Jones got dumped not because he told the truth but because his silly inflamatory rhetoric gave the right wing TV and radio talk show host a club with which to bash Obama. If you can't understand that simple fact then you are incapable to understand anything.

Just google Van Jones youtube and you will get Glenn Beck and all the other right wing nut cases playing Jones' clips over and over. That was an ongoing embarassment to the Obama administration. "Steering Poison", the very idea!

Ron P.

So the nice white people TRIED to steer their poison away from the poor black folks, but they just kept getting in the way!? Next time my fist ends up in someone's face I'll try something like that excuse and see how far it gets me!

You may be the one with the blinders here. It may have been more because of the minorities' political powerlessness than specifically because the white owners of polluting industries had an interest in doing harm to people with a different complexion than them, but that's still intentional, so using the metaphor of 'steering' does not seem too far off.

And do note that it was not just low income. As I said, the studies controlled for class--minority neighborhoods have more industrial pollution than white neighborhoods do on average, rich or poor.

The Reagans consulted astrologers, for pete's sake. I didn't see Republicans chanting for his dismissal because he believed in theories of...questionable scientific veracity. If you removed all the nut cases currently serving in Washington the place would be a ghost town.

white polluters STEERED POISON into minoritity communities. Just because low income communities are usually locate near industry does not mean white people steer poison their way.

Ron - give me a break!

If you have some romantic notion that old southern chivalry and fair-play exists (or ever did) get a grip:

On September 10, 1997, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Carol Browner issued a simple but unprecedented order: She disallowed the state of Louisiana's approval of an enormous polyvinylchloride (PVC) plant in Convent, a small, mostly African-American community already inundated with 12 other toxic waste producers.

The National Law Journal surveyed census data, the EPA's performance at 1,177 Superfund sites and the EPA's civil case docket and concluded that hazardous waste sites are more likely to be located in minority areas and that it is much harder for minority areas to get the government interested in cleanup.



Darwinian has "got his shit together" and his intellectual ducks in a far straigher and neater row than just about anybody when it comes to being a REALIST and one not afraid to point out the inconsistencies and hypocrisy in other people's posts.

If you will read the exchange thru a couple of times that has gotten your undies in a bunch you will see that Darwinian blew the man out of the water with each and every broadside while the replies coming back could not be better suited to show what's wrong with the California model-they play righteous while exporting their problems to the rest of us,etc.So they don't buy any coal fired electricity.Perhaps the word fungibility is not yet known in California.

Now of course if you are only interested in a "I wanta show everybody how morally superior I am sort of dialogue" the other fella did ok.But he didn't make his case otherwise.

I have pictures of my old folks from three or four generations back who worked in the coal mines when the mines were as dangerous as any job on earth.

Let me tell you-those jobs weren't anywhere as dangerous as the danger of thier children starving or freezing to death otherwise.Some of them died in the mines.One of the ones who didn't die was my great great grandfather.Others before his time starved to death in Ireland.

So some electronic waste goes to Asia,or some people work in sweat shops in Central America,and
some people get hurt and die as a consequence.More live and that for the time being is the way it is-unless perhaps you can think of a way for those people to eat NEXT WEEK w/o sorting and salvaging that waste or sewing in that sweatshop.

I would like to see those people live happy healthy lives,and so would Darwinian.

There is nothing wrong with Darwinian's positions or reasoning,he sees the world AS IT IS as clearly and objectively as any body.A good many of the problems we have today are the result of decisions being made on the basis of what feels good as opposed to what is realistic.This is not to say that a great many more problems are not the result of short sighted decisions made on the basis of dollars and cents.

Now if Darwinian is a little short with those who take thier bread to market only half baked,that's a privilege that he has imo earned as a seasoned campaigner.

If you want to debate him ,you need to think your position all the way thru like a general planning a campaign.Otherwise he will rip your arguments to shreds,because he HAS thought his position thru to the end before he touches his keyboard.

I expect if he had been a trial lawyer he would have had an extraordinarily high percentage of wins.

Thanks Mac, us old farmers and old former farmers, seem to think a lot alike.

Yes, darwin's one of the smartest ones around, but even the smartest can be blinded by assumptions. This time he is the one who is half baked or half cocked or which ever other half metaphor you prefer.

Minority communities, regardless of relative income level, have been historically over represented when it comes to neighborhoods affected by industrial pollution, and yes, the CEO's of the companies doing the pollution and making the decisions about where things were dumped were pretty exclusively white.

You have to be ideologically completely blind to think that until quite recently racism was quite rampant in all levels of society. That expressed itself in many ways, and this is one of them. It is well established in the historical literature.

Farmers in general are my heroes, but even they can be quite wrong about an issue they haven't researched and that they may be predisposed to see through a certain tint of glass. How could it be otherwise?

You are running off at the mouth Dohboi. No one is denying that minority communities are more affected by industrial pollution. The debate is about (A)whether or not poison was deliberately steered to these communities. And (B)whether or not Van Jones' blabbing such silly stuff was giving the right wing nut cases a club to bash the Obama administration.

The answer to A is clearly no and the answer to B is clearly yes.

For A to be true then whites would have to conspire to deliberately funnel poison into to minority communities. That is patently absurd and you know it!

That is all the debate was about so please enough of your silly hyperbole about whites and minorities. That is history that no one denies.

I am going to bed now so you can continue with your silly hyperbole and get in the last word if it will make you feel superior.

Ron P.

OK, you don't like the word steered. He probably could have picked a better word. Is that worth losing a job over? A for conspiracy, a significant part of the white male population from all walks of life in parts of the country were members of the KKK through the fifties at least. Can you really be completely sure that none of them would ever knowingly "steer" industrial poisons in the direction of predominantly black areas?

On the one hand you say what I am claiming is obvious history that no one denies, but on the other hand, it is all silly and hyperbolic. Which is it?

On your point B: The right wing nut cases will always spin, twist, or totally fabricate statements and factoids to serve whatever hateful agenda is on their fevered brains. No amount of watching every syllable will prevent them from doing that.

I hope you slept tight. (Bed is of course the last refuge of scoundrels ;-})

I generally am highly sympathetic to your arguments and certainly I will always be one of the first to acknowledge that black people have historically been treated worse than dirt and that we still have a long way to go to have an equitable society.

But the old lawyers saw comes to mind.If the facts are on your side,pound the facts,if the law os on your side pound the law,or play on the sympathies of the jury, ,and if all else fails pound the table.

You have not refuted Darwinian's argument,but you have changed the subject a couple of times,a time honored tactic which wins a lot of public discussions.It won't win if the audience is impartial and has critical listening or reading skills,which I trust is the case here.

Now as to the fact or not a fact as to dumping on poor black communities:I will not dispute this except to say that the rich and corporations large and small dump on everybody,including thier own stockholders- my guess is that poor black nieghborhoods getting an unusually heavy share of the dumping has more to do with the CONSEQUENCES of being black than of the FACT of being black-powerless and poor people tend to congregate in the areas where such jobs as they are able to get are located,and they tend to stay there as the price of survival,where there is a community and extended family safety net.

There are plenty of nieghborhoods that are inhabited by exclusively or mostly white people,including some of my relatives,that are similarly used as dumping grounds or sites for less desirable businesses.When all else fails,people move into such a nieghborhood for the cheap rent and dirty job.Getting out again can be nearly impossible.

As far as studies go ,I seldom put much stock in the sort you refer to (or the kind produced at the opposite end of the political spectrum either for that matter) because such studies always find what thier authors are looking for.This is a fact of the sort proven by Talib's "silent evidence"-I hear about a hundred studies that prove exactly what is congruent with the goals and agenda of the sponsors for every ONE study that is acknowledges suprise or different results.

EVERYBODY has an agenda,and everybody cherry picks the data to suit themselves.Even the most vaunted research organizations such as NASA and the IPCC are guilty-OTHERWISE WHY DID THEY ,BEING THE WORLDS GREATEST RESEARCHERS(according to the true believers in cc,at least) blithely accept the consensus bau view on energy production and consumption in creating thier models?This doesn't pass the smell test,not at all,no sir not at all.Not if you are both intellectually honest AND competent anyway,and funded out the ying yang.

How much chance do you think a young engineer or climatologist who has dissented from the conventional wisdom has of being hired at either organization?Now as far as it goes ,I personally believe in global warming and climate change,but ONLY BECAUSE there is other independently derived edivence that agrees-and also because I have enough science under my belt to at least partial;ly judge the honesty of the researchers for myself.Certainly only a fool would take the conclusions of such organizations at face value otherwise,because the old go along to get along paradigm is alive and well and will be even when we are back to banging the rocks together again.

Bottom line-the guy was sacked because he was a political liability of the worst sort,one who could drive lots of fence sitting voters into the other camp.O'Bama came up really fast and his staff lacked sufficient seasoning and they have made a bunch of tactical mistakes such as hiring people who have a record of speaking a little too freely to be entrusted with responsible jobs.This is a political reality and it applies all the way across the spectrum.

This is the core of Darwinian's argument and no amount of changing the subject can change this fact.

You might have noticed that O Bama's old spiritual guide/pastor is no longer in the public eye.This is solely the consequence of his being a political liability.If he had been a right winger of equal caliber and the pastor of a conservative candidate,he would have gotten probably ten times the column inches and derailed a conservative candidate for sure.We will never know how close he could have come to derailing O Bama because only a repeat child molester running as democrat could have lost the last election,given the state of the economy and the Bush legacy.

Right wingers have to be careful about allowing fundamentalists to get into jobs where reporters can get to them- you may have noticed that democrats who are fundamentalists(and there are millions of them) are never questioned about thier views as to the age of the earth or evolution and are seldom or never publicly ridiculed.

Do you suppose this might have something to do with prejudice or blind spots on the part of the media or progressive thinkers?

I try hard to get right to the bottom of things w/o letting my personal preferences blind me to the truth,scientific, historical, or practical.

This whole discussion falls into the practical truth category im my estimation.

OFM, many good points, as usual.

"my guess is that poor black nieghborhoods getting an unusually heavy share of the dumping has more to do with the CONSEQUENCES of being black than of the FACT of being black"

I said much the same thing above, but not as eloquently.

Again, steered might not have been the right or most provable word, but that seems a bit of a semantic quibble to me, and not a particularly provable one on either side, perhaps.

Not sure what to say about not trusting any studies. One certainly has to consider sources, funding...though.

Also not sure where exactly I changed the subject. I try to stay on task, but perhaps didn't make the relevance of all my points to the main issue sufficiently clear?

Anyway, the guys gone now. He may be able to do more outside the administration than in anyway for the very reasons you mention.

Both sides, perhaps, have a bit of a persecution complex

Dohboi,Sorry I should have made MYSELF CLEAR in respect to changing the subject,I should have indicated that I meant everybody in the thread collectively rather than you personally.

I simply stand by what I said about trusting studies.

I will bet my last dime at ten to one odds that I can tell you the basic results ,qualitatively speaking,of any study funded by any liberal or conservative political pressure group if I know a little about the group,thier allies,funding, goals etc, before the study is even started.

So I take all such studies with a large dose of salt and try to look at what the folks on the other side of the issue have to say.

After a while I make my mind up sometimes with the liberals ,sometimes with the conservatives, most often assuming a pov somewhere in the middle.

The cases where I take the results at face value are few and usually these cases bear on hard science or engineering questions more so than politics-it's not so easy in the sciences to put one over as it is in the people trades.

Even then I often find myself contemptously dismissing the authors or modelers as obvious partisans rather than honest researchers.

The public health literature, which is what I am familiar with, is also clearly showing disproportionate burden of toxic waste in minority neighborhoods (and of course, disproportionate disease burden, even when controlling for socio-economics).

I know nothing about TVA, so I can't judge that particular action, but I know that minorities have been treated in this country the way no one ought to be treated. I'll stick with what I know and mention the most egregious public health transgression, the Tuskegee experiment. (http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Tuskegee_Study_of_Untreated_Syphilis_in...)

So we can agree to disagree - TVA might have done the best possible action given the choices, and why that community thought of toxic waste as an opportunity remains an open question.

Are companies "steering" waste towards minority communities? Darwinian has failed to show that they do not. Dohboi suggests that the evidence supports Van Jones. That's all.

Is Van Jones a nutcase? As others have suggested, we've kept people on board despite nuttier personal beliefs. Perhaps the 9/11 beliefs are a necessary cause for his removal, but sufficient? I don't know.

Would you mind watching your language, please? Four-letter words get pages auto-blocked in some schools and libraries.

Please lay off the name-calling.

However, you do have a point. If we want someone to be a mod, we'll make them one. Otherwise, it's not their business to tell people what they can or can't say here.

A book I highly recommend is "The Redneck's Manifesto" by Jim Goad. His thesis is that the "fight" between poor whites and poor blacks is purposefully engineered by the rich (who are mostly white) to keep these groups from realizing that they in fact have a common enemy: the rich. As long as poor whites and poor blacks keep thinking that each other are the problem, they will never team up to take on the rich.

Consumer, to me that sounds like a crock of donkey doo. There are still a lot of rednecks who don't like blacks and vise versa but their numbers are getting smaller every year. Here in the South interracial marriage or perhaps I should say "interracial living together" is very common. And it is far more common among the poor than among the upper class.

But I don't think anything is purposefully engineered. If so who are the engineers? It would be nonsense to just say "the rich" because that would impugn every rich person in the country. That would be a giant conspiracy that would top all conspiracies.

But the real issue here is Jim Goad. He will write anything if he thinks it will sell. Here are three books by Jim Goad that you can get from Amazon.com all for $46.13.

Shit Magnet: One Man's Miraculous Ability to Absorb the World's Guilt by Jim Goad

The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats by Jim Goad

Jim Goad's Gigantic Book of Sex by Jim Goad

Ron P.

Errr. The career of the reconstruction era politician Thomas Watson supports Consumer's thesis.

Double Errrrr. Reconstruction era??? You mean from about 1865 to 1877? Well hell, if we still lived in that era then I would support it also. But this is 2009 and things have changed a bit during the last 140 years.

Ron P.

Divide and conquer is not a cliche for no reason.
This strategy is simple and older than recorded history.

I will ask.
What would you do if you held all the goodies and had a bunch of disorganized barbarians at your gate?

Yup, 1800s Financier Jay Gould Quote: "I will simply pay for half the working class to fight the other half."

What would you do if you held all the goodies and had a bunch of disorganized barbarians at your gate?

Porge, that is a little confusing. What are you talking about? Are you talking about the original subject of this thread, the resignation of Van Jones or about the coal ash being disposed of in a landfill in Perry County Alabama? If you could be a little more specific then I would gladly reply to your barbarians question. I just need to figure out how this connects to anything discussed in this thread.

Ron P.

Now that I go back up thread I see you are getting ganged up on and are juggling a few topics.
The one I am commenting on is the engineered dissension thread started by consumer.
I have no real way of proving it but it seems like the easy thing to do is to keep the lower classes fighting amongst themselves using already established cultural prejudices.

Occam's Razor.

Im still trying to suss out how far decoupled our fiat (faith-based) monetary system is from underlying resources. The below graph shows US, Europe and Japan consumption vs. total wages over last 30 years (i.e. does not include any debt/credit over and above what has already been spent on consumables)

Wages and Consumption as % of GDP for USA, Eurupe, Japan
From: Financial Bubbles, Real Estate bubbles, Derivative Bubbles, and the Financial and Economic Crisis"
Didier Sornette and Ryan Woodard

If one calculates the %s year by year and multiplies by the aggregate GDP, it shows an excess of approximately 45-50 trillion of consumption in excess of wages. And thats just those 3 regions (not China, Russia, South America, Canada, etc.) In that light, the few trillions in quant easing and govt bailouts is kind of a drop in the bucket, especially given that some money is being and will be withheld. Given this, I find it hard to believe that we see triple digit oil by next year due to recovery - the only recovery in near term will be more accurately called 'transfer of govt fiat into GDP and consumer spending figures'.

I think this graph from Denninger also has a bearing on what you are saying. I'd post it but I don't know how.



you put a < and img src="http://market-ticker.denninger.net/uploads/Charts2009-09/IncomeAndCredit.png" and a >

So in that graph income was up 800% since 1970s, but debt is up 2-3X that. But its even worse if you are talking about a 'recovery', for 70% of our GDP is consumer spending. The 'income' in that graph is highly skewed to the top 10-20% of society - wages adjusted for inflation have actually decreased since the 1970s, and decreased quite a bit for the average worker. The trillion dollar question I am beginning to wonder is if 20% of people with the money plus government spending can create economic growth for the 40% that have nothing and the 40% that don't have too much...It's possible - can't believe it would last long though..

The typical Ponzi scheme terminates because there are a finite number of investors. The Ponzi scheme run by the Federal Reserve and Treasury never runs out of investors (taxpayers) because they are always in the future and the future is unlimited.

No-the end is actually in sight already. If it was as you say, taxation would have been eliminated long ago-just put 100% on the credit card. Chain letters don't last forever.

Taxation is a vestage of the old order. It is no longer necessary when we can have unlimited borrowing from the future. I'm in favor of eliminating taxation as being unnecessary.

But Chain Letters are just another example of a Ponzi scheme with finite population. If you could somehow get borrowing (from the future) involved in your chain letter, it too could be infinite.

Borrowing from alternate universes?

You can print money but you can't force the banks to lend it, nor the overextended populace to borrow it. The velocity of money has fallen so drastically in the past year that, even if the Fed were to increase the printing by the order of magnitude required to merely offset the current scale of debt destruction, it would not and could not re-energize a productive economy. The Bubble will not be re-flated, not for long.

First we'll have to extinguish the 30-fold (or more) excess claims on each and every dollar in circulation, and then we can talk about the pendulum swinging the other way - perhaps suddenly and catastrophically - into currency collapse.

"You can print money but you can't force the banks to lend it, nor the overextended populace to borrow it."
But you might do something with it rather than give it to banks. Oh, I forgot who's running the show.

The typical Ponzi scheme terminates because there are a finite number of investors. The Ponzi scheme run by the Federal Reserve and Treasury never runs out of investors (taxpayers) because they are always in the future and the future is unlimited

The problem with all Ponzi schemes is that they have to grow exponentially. And for most the doubling time is pretty short -say a few months to a few years, so even if the planet was infinite, human population couldn't grow fast enough to sustain it. In the case of BAU as Ponzi, it is the overall economy which must meet the needed exponential factor. Since LTG are beginning to come into effect, that looks very questionable.

Good point generally and this describes how we conducted the system the past 25 years. However, we have now reached the terminus of the overshoot in credit, and we have indeed hit the wall. The ponzi is alive when we are able to hide our lack of production and increased overconsumption via govt borrowings via issuance of Treasuries. The scheme can be said to finally end when there is not enough capital left in the world to purchase the bonds we print to fund the scheme. We have now arrived at that point.


Nate - FWIW, it was a copy and paste. Blame Foxfire, not me. Todd

Firefox, rather than Foxfire?

I have also seen, I think, for posting an image: width="100%".
[br /][center] [img src="..." width="100%"/] [/center][br /]
Or, in img, an align="center".
Never tried any of this.

Todd, and anyone else - if you're using Firefox install the Text Formating Toolbar. Reduces this coding nightmare to a simple push of the button, both for html, as is used on this site, and BBcode for forums. CoLT is another very useful extension for copying links.

Hello Nate,

Don't forget to add Duncan's info from his Olduvai Re-equalizing: that US BOE/C peaked in 1973 at 62, was 57 in 2007, now at ? for 2009 [My WAG at 52]. Does some TODer know how to figure this 2009 data-point out and put an update in Duncan's or Nate's graphs?

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

Some explanation for why my 2009 WAG [Wild Ass Guess] is at 52 BOE/C:

Recent links have talked about how unemployment is now at 1983 levels or worse, and obviously our US pop. has grown over the past ['09-'83]= 26 years: this trend should drive down BOE/C.

Also, lack of available credit/debt per capita and/or cash savings per capita is much worse now than even in '83 or '07: again, this should lead to a rapid contraction in BOE/C.

I am sure I could think of more reasons for greatly reduced 2009 BOE/C, but enough for now [or other TODers can post their thoughts]. So please compare the above concepts with the 52.74 BOE/C for '83 in Duncan's Fig. 1 Chart below:

historic steep fall '79 to '83: 61.66 to 52.74 BOE/C = 8.92 BOE/C
2007 = 57.48 BOE/C
So for my WAG to be true: BOE/C only needs to decline 57.48-52.00 = 5.48 in just two years. It seems plausible to me as the decline in residential and commercial construction alone from 2007-2009 could be the largest component of this 5.48 decline.

Hopefully, a TODer better at statistics than me can add more data to my feeble numbers.

Regarding top oil consumers, the response of the non-OECD countries and the oil exporting OECD countries (Canada & Mexico) to the +20%/year annual rate of increase in oil prices that we saw from 1998 to 2008 was pretty interesting--a significant oveall increase in consumption by this group.

In contrast, US consumption rose slightly and then fall back to 19.5 mbpd in 2008, the same rate as 1999 (EIA). The only non-oil exporting OECD country to show an increase from 1999 to 2008 was South Korea, and it was pretty small.

Copy of a missive I wrote on this topic:

The following is based on EIA data for the top 15 oil consumers worldwide (based on 2007 consumption).

What is interesting is the divergent response to the +20%/year rate of increase in annual oil prices that we saw from 1998 to 2008. US oil consumption in 2008 was back to the same level as 1999 (19.5 mbpd), so I thought I would compare the countries in the top 15 showing increasing consumption versus the countries in the top 15 showing declining consumption over the 1999 to 2008 time frame.

The countries showing flat to declining consumption from 1999 to 2008 were: US; Japan, Germany; France; UK and Italy. Their combined consumption fell slightly from 33.6 mbpd to 32.2 mbpd, an annual decline rate of -0.5%/year, and a volumetric decline of 1.4 mbpd. Note that these are all OECD countries.

The countries showing increasing consumption from 1999 to 2008 were: China; Russia; India; Brazil; Canada; South Korea; Saudi Arabia; Mexico and Iran. Their combined consumption increased from 19.8 mbpd to 27.0 mbpd, an annual rate of increase of +3.4%/year, and a volumetric increase of 7.2 mbpd. Most of the countries are non-OECD, and the only non-oil exporting OECD country in this group was South Korea, which only showed a small increase in consumption.

The 15 countries overall consumption was 53.4 mbpd in 1999 and 59.2 mbpd in 2008 (about 70% of total worldwide consumption).

If we extrapolated consumption by these two groups out for 10 years, to 2018, at the above rates, the Declining Group would be consuming 30.6 mbpd in 2018, and the Increasing Group would be consuming 37.9 mbpd in 2018. The combined total in 2018 would be 68.5 mbpd.

It's possible that we are to some extent like the drunk looking for his keys late at night under a streetlight, because the light was better there, although he had lost his keys down the street. It looks like virtually all the increase in consumption is in non-OECD countries, but our best consumption and inventory data are in the OECD countries.

And of course, Sam's best case is that by the end of 2014, the top five net oil exporters' post-2005 cumulative net oil exports will be 50% depleted--half gone in nine years.

Wow. Thanks for that wt. How do those groups of importers look when figured by per capita consumption? {The following uses (and rounds up or down) pop figures from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population )

Chindia alone is 2.5 billion souls, the others in that group bringing the total to about 3 billion--a bit less than half the world. Dividing your stat for their current rate of consumption by this yield .009 barrels per person per day for these countries (though here and elsewhere below I would appreciate it if someone would double check my math).

The other group totals under .7 billion, unless my hasty math has lead me wildly astray. Even rounding up to seven billions yield .045 barrels per person per day for the first set of countries, a nice five times the rate of consumption of the others.

This strikes me as the great conundrum--if we were to imagine that some kind of equitable distribution of the remaining oil were possible, we would be looking to find ways to accelerate the trends you show--reducing consumption in the richest countries while modestly increasing them for the poorer ones. But the poor so outnumber the rich that anything close to equity would primarily involve reducing the portion the rich are using by a considerable amount, not something the wealthy are likely to be too eager to embrace.

And of course the US still takes the cake with .065 barrels per person per day, twice as much as the others in its own group and more than seven times the other group. (Of course most of the very poorest billion in the world, whatever country they're in, use approximately zero barrels or even gallons of oil in a day or even a year.) Looked at another way, the oil used by the 300,000 in the US in one day could satisfy the over 2/3 of the consumption demand of the 3 billion in the other group (even using the historically low number for '08). And of course a great lot of that oil is frivolously wasted on over sized cars, unnecessary plane trips, and many other even more banal pursuits.

And the rest of the world puts up with this because... we gave them Michael Jackson?

Could be in any way related to our having a bigger military budget than most of the rest of the world combined (and a demonstrated willingness to use said military strength to secure said oil supplies)?

As we slip down the slope, I can't help but think that petro-politics and petro-wars will be the defining characteristics of the coming decades, even more than they have been over the previous few.

Nate - so as of 2008 wages were running at 61% of GDP and consumption was running at 71% of GDP?



Find trading partners who don't mind not getting paid.

Tell the American consumer to spend, spend, spend.

Maybe we can get consumption to 75% of GDP.


Yes - and not only US, but Europe and Japan. And you have to add up that difference over last 20+ years to get cumulative which is about 135% of GDP, and that doesn't include government or leverage.

Nate, you solve your own question in your first sentence, "how decoupled our monetary system is from underlying resources".

All human economies are based in resource and service exchange. Matter and energy, that's it. The monetary system sits on top of that exchange system to make exchange easier for large societies, but it is the physical exchange process, not the money, which enables sustainability, maintenance, growth, profit, or exploitation of natural resources. Money only makes it easier.

The ability to grow on a finite planet inevitably hits a hard physical wall. But the expansion of the monetary system is limited only by human imagination (and perhaps the supply of paper, coin, or hard drive space for digital currency).

So if you want to track the de-coupling, maybe you want to track changes in the size of the money supply vs. changes in natural resource production and natural resource inventories.

MPT: "My Pet Theory";

Since we are a consumption based society based on cheap energy there is clearly a massive overhang in what we consume that is not really necessary to survive. Now, as energy creeps up as a % of total spend -as PO implies it will- the discretional stuff will decline and the non-discretional will increase as a %.

So lookout for big increases in non-discretional commodities -say food...


Surge in Homeless Children Strains School Districts

Charity is one child in a national surge of homeless schoolchildren that is driven by relentless unemployment and foreclosures. The rise, to more than one million students without stable housing by last spring, has tested budget-battered school districts as they try to carry out their responsibilities — and the federal mandate — to salvage education for children whose lives are filled with insecurity and turmoil.

Schools are supposed to help homeless children by transporting them to their old schools, even if they have to pay for a cab. But I wonder how long that can continue, as revenues fall and need increases.

Tainter points to the Byzantine Empire as one of the rare societies that voluntarily simplified. It involved a lot of sacrifice...including education and literature.

With dwindling state aid, Rutgers asks more deans to fund raise

I suspect fundraising is going to be a bigger and bigger part of a job in academia.

not to mention elsewhere.
but w academia, tighter funding means less tight science??

Probably less science, in the long run.

I think we're already reached declining marginal returns on science. We're going to need more and more scientists and engineers...but may not be able to afford them.

Leanan - I agree less science overall, but my point was that with funding as greater % of academic process, the funders will have, implictly or otherwise, more influence on what type of things get funded and what don't. I'm seeing firsthand examples of this.

Leanan -

I would also expect there to be less science (especially pure theoretical science) as things tighten up. However, one must make a distinction between scientists employed by i) academia, ii) the military/government, and iii) industry. They are very different animals, though the boundaries separating them have become increasingly blurred, particularly between academia and the military/government.

The old saw, 'he who pays the piper calls the tunes' is quite apropos regarding what sort of R & D gets done. And one of the most important pipers in this case is the US military, mainly in the form of the DOD and DOE. Let's face it, over the last several decades, a large percentage of theoretical physicists, aeronautics experts, and mathematical modelers would have been largely unemployable if it weren't for the federal government, either directly or via grants to academia and various research oriented think tanks. And a large fraction of that work had to do with weaponry, either directly or indirectly.

Scientists employed by industry are particularly vulnerable, as corporate R & D budgets are among the first to get cut when things get tight. And academia is going to get increasingly cutthroat as more and more scientists compete for a shrinking grant pie.

As to the claim that we need more scientists and engineers, I'm not so sure that we really do. There is already so much know-how not being used and so much advanced technology languishing on the shelf that I think it quite true that we are using but a fraction of our accumulated know-how. As to alternative and renewable energy schemes, the things limiting their implementation are not so much a lack of science and engineering know-how but rather a lack of political will and a reluctance to commit vast amounts of capital.( Capital that is in short supply, but which would not be in such short supply if we hadn't been pissing away hundreds of billions a year on a grotesquely bloated defense budget plus our two misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

You want to make yourself permanently unemployable, just get a PhD in theoretical physics.

I would also expect there to be less science (especially pure theoretical science) as things tighten up. However, one must make a distinction between scientists employed by i) academia, ii) the military/government, and iii) industry. They are very different animals, though the boundaries separating them have become increasingly blurred, particularly between academia and the military/government.

I think we simultaneaously need less and more at the same time. Why, this apparent contradiction? I think we need a massively greater of science-style thinking, but probably have fewer decent employment opportunities for highly trained experts. We have an increasing disconnect between the best sort of truth-seeking epistemology, and the increasingly effective ways to promote our own particular agenda's. Without a big dose of the former, we are at risk of following the next charismatic pied piper, who says what a disaffected majority wants to hear.

As to the claim that we need more scientists and engineers, I'm not so sure that we really do. There is already so much know-how not being used and so much advanced technology languishing on the shelf that I think it quite true that we are using but a fraction of our accumulated know-how. As to alternative and renewable energy schemes, the things limiting their implementation are not so much a lack of science and engineering know-how but rather a lack of political will and a reluctance to commit vast amounts of capital.

Although in some specialized areas, such as understanding how photovoltaics work -i.e. how to make them much better, and in how to design say high temperature superconductors, more knowledge might yield some important breakthroughs.

You want to make yourself permanently unemployable, just get a PhD in theoretical physics.

There is some truth there, however these people are (usually) pretty capable of a wide range of mental tasks. Usually after a few years in the wilderness they are able to find some part of the economy that values their particular skills. Hopefully fewer will end up in socially value destroying zero-sum games, such as financial rocket scientists.

"You want to make yourself permanently unemployable, just get a PhD in theoretical physics."

That's one option but maybe not the best. Another is to become one of the many "hidden physicists".

So where are you hiding?
I am educated a Mechanical Engineer( basically applied physics) and a Mathematician (the language of physics) but I never directly used either.
Physics, as an education, does one thing that is enourmously important............it teaches you how to think.
We need to get back to the scientific method as the basis for all thought.
Almost forgot.
I was a Military Pilot, Real Estate Investor, Market analyst/trader. I left all of them because of the shallow, small nature of the goal.
I always reflect and recognize that my education and hence the way I was trained to think has given me a significant advantage in anything I have decided to pursue. I have made enough money to coast for a while but I hate not being engaged and I can see that the best life is one that is lived beleiving that you are doing something important that makes a long lasting positive impact.
Here is to hidden Physicists.

A Peak into the Future

We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives

Pretty trite article about toys and gadgets, and not about sustainable societies, sources, sinks, resource flows... Like a condensed PopSci magazine issue in a nifty little nugget of an article. More effort went into the graphic of the woman with the bubble helmet and four arms than went into the text.

Of course, this is the LA Times and they can hardly utter the words "peak oil."

Sure, but, hey, it's Sunday, give earnest seriousness a little rest. That graphic is so far over the top it's in outer space, so we're warned the whole thing is just fluffy kitsch...

Who wouldn't want these:

Smart meters...Once they're in place, consumers will be able to monitor their electricity use via the Internet. Yup, the longer and more complicated the way round to the pub, the better.

Next up: remote-controlled thermostats and appliances. Now there's what every consumer wants - a house wrecked by some hacker who cuts off the heat so the pipes freeze and burst.

Worldwide swine flu death count as reported by the WHO

Total deaths so far 2837 of which 652 were reported in the last week.


2,000 Washington State Students Report Signs of Swine Flu

SEATTLE — At least 2,000 students at Washington State University have reported symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus, university and local health officials said, in what appeared to be one of the largest outbreaks of the virus on a college campus.

“It’s real,” Sally Redman, a registered nurse who works in student health services at Washington State, said Saturday. “We’ve had a constant stream of people.”

...Ms. Redman, who has been a nurse at the university for 29 years, said the pace of student flu reports appeared to be slowing somewhat, down to about 140 per day, but that it was unclear whether the outbreak was subsiding or students were simply diagnosing themselves.

“They’re motioning to me,” said Ms. Redman, explaining that she would have to end a telephone interview. “I’ve got calls coming in.”

2008-2009 Influenza Season Week 34 ending August 29, 2009


During week 34 (August 23-29, 2009), influenza activity increased in the United States.
Since mid-April to August 30, 2009, a total of 9,079 hospitalizations and 593 deaths associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses have been reported to CDC an increase from 8,843 hospitalizations and 556 deaths from the prior week.


Get your Vitamin D level checked, using the 25-Hydroxy test. My doc says that 90% of her patients here in Texas are deficient, below 32 ng/mL, and the optimum level is 50-70.

Or in lieu of a test, simply supplement with 4,000IU/day of Vitamin D3.

At worst it won't help, but waiting around for all the D-flu studies to be completed surely won't help you either.

From the Vit D Council site above, it sounds like there may be a risk of too little supplementation being worse than no supplementation at all. It is unfortunate, given what we face, that so much of the reasoning on the website is a little loose. The author mentions many facts that "are consistent with" his conclusions, and instead he keeps saying that they "support" his conclusions. This is sloppy writing and sloppier reasoning ("well, since we observe A, and B only occurs when C is the case, then it's not impossible to conclude D" - doesn't quite convince me).

The classic finding in epidemiology is that folks with matches in their pocket are likely to die of lung cancer. Damn toxic matches!

The gyrations we are going through with the melanoma statistics are a case in point. Is it burning before age 18? Is it that sun exposure improves beneficial vit D levels? Something about people outdoors exercising more??? Could it be a gene that redheads possess? That makes sunscreen toxic for them???? Aaaaarghhh!

The biological plausibility for Vit D seems a lot better, but I'm not quite there.

I wish they did finish the study with the Vit D supplementation, as results we have so far seem to be inconsistent.

Seems the US mortality rate is at about 5% of reported cases in the US


Approximately 5% of hospitalised patients in the US die. The Case Fatality Rate is much lower. Somewhere about 0.4% of people who develop symptoms do not recover - but that number is argued about.

This is the start of the "Fall Wave" in the US. Region 4 Leads the way.

Curious. New York was a hot spot earlier in the year, but has no activity now.

The New York cases earlier were almost entirely due to rapid spread through schools. Individual school closures followed by the summer break stopped that...

New York schools return this week. Give it 2 or 3 weeks and that chart will shoot back up

There seems to be little doubt that closing all schools would delay the progression of the virus pending vaccine development but it seems that is not considered an option given the economic climate.

RE: The Geologist’s Tale: A Storm, a Survivor and a Vanishing Island

He began taking courses and enrolled in writing workshops. “It meshed with my desire to communicate science,” he said. “I thought the test would be to engage just regular folks who just want to know about the world and how it works.”

Also, he said, “I was looking for a story that would tell how land is moving, how the land is changing.”

This article is the first I've heard of this book (I have put it on my reading list). The point that I find instructive is the author's struggles to communicate and engage regular folks about science. I am painfully aware of how difficult it is to communicate the complex issues of climate change and Limits to Growth to the general public or even friends and family. I think most people on this site know the feeling when you suddenly look at your audience after their eyes have already glazed over.

One of the less talked about appointments that Pres Obama made was Dr. Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist and environmental scientist, as the ninth Administrator of NOAA. Before that she was one of the founders and director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. The Aldo Leopold Foundation offers educational and outreach programs to increase the ecological literacy of our citizens. One of the programs is every year they take a group of mid-career scientists and educators and sponsor an intensive to teach them how to communicate effectively with the public and government.

Our home, the earth biosphere, is under attack and it is past time for a general shift in consciousness. Scientists, educators and activists need to take positions of advocacy. That is Lubchenco's position.


Solar prices fall to further record lows, below 20 cents per kWh for the first time!

See details at:


Onwards in the sustainable energy transition,


More like "onwards into bankruptcy", postponing any kind of sustainable energy transition.

The record low prices of PV panels appears to be caused mainly by a reduction in purchases creating an oversupply. The world might step backwards in a sustainable energy transition by installing less PV power this year than last and driving some manufacturers out of business.

Global PV market may decline in 2009 as Spain caps subsidies

I purchased 390watts of PV last year @ about $5/watt and now it is less than $3/watt.


And much less if you are buying 20 panels or more.

jodeph l. shaefer(natural gas:america's energy salvation) has zero, no credibility, claiming that the us has 100 yrs PROVEN gas reserves. how, oh how does he get from probable, possible and speculative resources to PROVEN reserves ?

Consumerism of Americans.

Al qaida put a $1000 reward on every american killed. MAKES SENSE!!!

How does this action contribute to a better future for humankind?

Edit: I briefly considered flagging the comment as 'inappropriate', but my over-arching dislike of censorship kicked in...why deprive everyone from seeing this comment and coming to whatever conclusions they may?

Few americans, few resource consumption, lower prices, better living standard in poor country because more people would be able to afford local things that are now exported to rich but immoral americans.

Few americans, few wastes, few losses to habitat, few people would have to leave their sustainable and respectful lives of owning a farm and cattle, few people would be going to live in cities to become parts of that bad machine that destroy everything in order to satisfy greedy americans.

Few americans, weaker america, less supply of american aid to world's corrupt politicians, better governance in a lot of countries by loyal people of land, better living standard in a lots of countries.

Few americans, few wars, more peace.

Few americans, lesser affluenza, more moral qualities, better lives.

The list go on and on ...

Eliminating 305 million Americans will not be enough to satisfy your quest to save natural resources. About 5.4 billion additional people will need to be eliminated too. You could start with the 1.1 billion people to your southeast to demonstrate your puissance, but you will have to hurry before Al-Qaeda seizes control of your nukes and ends up getting us all killed.

This is ethnocentric, politcal propaganda. I love that people always attribute the accumulation of wealth and power to the existence of a given people or empire. FACT: if not America, someone else. If you believe anything else, you are deluding yourself.

I present Rwanda as exhibit 1.

I present every empire that ever existed as exhibit 2.

I present your own ethnically-derived nation as exhibit 3.

I find further exhibits overkill.

The paradigm shift needed has absolutely nothing to do with any one nation or group. It is a global shift that is needed.


In America, we have a saying: "people who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

This web site does not shy from criticism of every aspect of life and culture in the United States. And most of said criticism comes from Americans. But the "Land of the Pure" is the last country on earth to have any standing to cast aspersions against America.

Shall we post about the pervasive brutality and corruption of Pakistan? Where would we start? Bride burnings? Child labor? Mistreatment of Hindus? Of Sikhs? Of Christians?

You forgot to mention that public washrooms in American malls would be 5 star hotel washrooms in Pakistan.

Yes and that is a plus point for us. It show how little resources we consume. How much little carbon foot print we have.

Its actually easy to divert carbon foot print and systematic destruction of habitat discussion towards usual crimes that people do in all ages. Even in stone age people used to kill each other and steal and rape etc, but they have a moral superiority over modern western world, they didn't destroyed the habitat, that is why we are able to live here today. Its that simple.

About crimes, american jail population is more than 1% of american population, pakistani jail population is less than 1% of 1% of pakistan population. See the difference. Even though most, that is more than 50% of people who are in jails in pakistan are just put there by corrupt powerful people regularly and heavily funded by americans.

Whatever Pakistanis do we not destroy the long term ability of land to support life. The bride burnings and child labor is done by powerful politicians who are regularly funded by americans and who are provided escape safe heavens in britain when the local law try to punish them. The fore fathers of these black sheeps were raised from low social levels to made land lords and industrialists by british and this same class keep on sucking our blood. America provide them aid in name of pakistan to keep them alive and running. In absence of any foreign support we locals are enough to crush them. You would have never heard about a middle or low class person burning a bride or putting children into forced labor, they are all the upper class who or politically powerful on basis of dollars, and who buy the carpets the children make anyways?

About mistreatment of hindus and christians, there is nothing of that thing which is in anyway more than 1% of what happen to muslims in europe and america.

Its very simple actually. Before the british came we were a prosperous part of world, peaceful and rich and sustainable. Then the british exploit us for centuries and when they had to leave due to weakness in world war 2 the americans started supporting the traitors. All the better times in pakistan was when americans left pakistan on its own.

Written by WisdomfromPakistan:
Whatever Pakistanis do we not destroy the long term ability of land to support life.

All modern cities are the same with respect to pollution. Pakistan is no exception.

Pakistan 'faces pollution crisis', BBC News

Air pollution in Pakistan's major cities is among the highest in the world, economic planners have warned.

Dust and smoke particles are "generally twice the world average" and "five times" higher than the developed world, the Pakistan Economic Survey found.

Pakistan Environment: Water Pollution Factsheet, Environmental Pollution Unit, WWF- Pakistan

Extreme pollution of river Ravi has destroyed the once existing 42 species of fish and the bird life around the river has migrated to other areas.

From an EDC news report about the river Ravi:

The life that once thrived here has been killed off by the dumping of millions of tons of toxic industrial effluent in the water along with huge amounts of raw sewage.

I could see you accusing (falsely?) the U.S. for the industrial waste, but I suspect the raw sewage is a pure product of Pakistanis. Your hatred of Americans has blinded you to the shortcomings of your own country. Search for and defeat the evil within.

The tobacco companies, the alcohol companies, the car companies, and the industrial polluters could make a lot of money on this.

I am not surprised that it makes sense to you. You and the people you support are on the wrong side of history. Your ideology is brutal, medieval, universally hated by the civilized world and permanently frozen in 7th century; your people are brainwashed by a backward and outdated religion and indulge in gratuitous violence for no good reason. Your country is universally regarded as a backward, corrupt, unstable and violent failed state which is a haven for terrorists.

Perhaps the CIA and Mossad should offer a reward for every Pakistani killed? But wait, your countrymen are doing that to each other for free.

suyog -

you may well be a troll, but you have pushed my button. I am assuming you are an American. I might be wrong but by your tone, I doubt it.

You and the people you support are on the wrong side of history.

Really? Who are these 'people' that he supports? Do you know WisdomFromPakistan? Do you know anything at all about Pakistan? 'Wrong side of history' is one of those pert freshman cliches of the ilk 'my dad is bigger than your dad'. I hate to mention it but Islamic scholars were doing long division in their heads before Europe had learned to wipe its backside, and almost a full 1000 years before the US Bill of Rights was written.

Your ideology is brutal, medieval, universally hated by the civilized world and permanently frozen in 7th century

Such a sweeping statement, the better I have never seen! If the 'ideology' to which you refer is Islam then you are just plain wrong. First, the religion is no more brutal or medieval than any other. Second, Islam is not universally hated by the 'civilized world' (whatever that is). 2% of American citizens are Muslims, 4% of British. 1% of all serving US military personnel also pray to Allah. Oh, and by the way, 10% of Pakistanis are Christians. Weird eh?

your people are brainwashed by a backward and outdated religion and indulge in gratuitous violence for no good reason

Yup. That is a corker. Most Americans will watch more TV commercials in one week than the average Pakistani will attend the mosque, church or temple (yup, despite the Partition there are still those pesky Hindus who refused to go). Exactly who is being brainwashed?

A religion can not be deemed to be 'backward' and 'outdated'. You may disagree with it, but the premise of the religion - what Christians would call the Creed - is not some fashion item like a new pair of shoes or a ball gown which has seasons.

Ans as for gratuitous violence. Please. Don't make me laugh! The US (and sometimes her poodle, us British) have been involved in more gratuitous violence than you could shake a stick at. Just a few: El Savador, Guatemala, Bay of Pigs, Brazil (Goulart overthrown by US funded coup - he wanted to nationalize the oil!), Domican Republic, Nicaragus, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Hondura, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan and of course the small matter of Vietnam. These are just the ones we know about. Trust me, Al-queda does not have a monopoly on 'gratuitous violence'.

Your country is universally regarded as a backward, corrupt, unstable and violent failed state which is a haven for terrorists

Pakistan is certainly no stable democracy, but I don't think it fair to call them corrupt. The US political system is hardly lilly-white is it? And I would rather take my chances on the streets of Islamabad than any number of US cities. Remind me - how many gun deaths are there in the US each year? Also, be careful how you use the word 'terrorist'. There are plenty of American Irish who - to this day - believe the IRA were 'freedom fighters'. Including the late Mr Kennedy (not a popular chap here in Britain, we didn't cry when he popped his clogs)

So. Just go easy on the rhetoric and finger pointing. As someone further up said, when you live in glass houses don't throw stones. And in case you think I am anti-American, you could not be more wrong, as I have demonstrated in previous posts.

After much though and analysis, I must agree with suyog---
Of course, I could jump on Mohammed's Flying Horse and ask the Talking Snake if I'm really correct.
Superstition and ignorance will never help your meme infested brains.
Not that all brains have not been parasitized by meme's. but some are more benign than others.

'Superstition and ignorance'?

Gosh. How enlightened you must be!

Of course, I could jump on Mohammed's Flying Horse and ask the Talking Snake if I'm really correct.
Superstition and ignorance will never help your meme infested brains.


The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

Religion is poison--

This should get a quick knee jerk reaction, as Mao the "genocidal killer" is attacking meme infested brains, and the parasites will fight for survival.

You managed to push one of my buttons. First Mr Wisdom from Pakistan has in the past posted some well reasoned material whether I agreed with his conclusions or not. I found this post disapointing.

Your statement that no religion is any more brutal or medieval than any other is ignorant. Islam's tenants include instructions for dealing with conquered peoples and an injunction to kill anyone who attempts to leave the fold of Islam. If that isn't brutal and medieval I don't know what is. My opinion is that Islam is more a plan for world domination than a religion.

If Islam had not been planted on such a large percentage of the world's oil the nature of Islam would be much less important.

You very clearly have neither read the Bible nor the Koran. The bible (especially the Old Testament) is the more violent and hate-filled of the two. In the bible you'll find instructions to kill everyone in lands you conquer.

Mr Undertow,

I know you will not listen to me but look at the context of the quotes. There is a real difference between a historical instruction about a specific people in 1000B.C. and a current continuing instruction to kill the "apostate". You should read the new Testament and the Koran with an open mind.

The stengthening of Islam is likely to be one of the big legacies of Peak Oil and one our descendants will not thank us for.

Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

- Koran 2:62

You do know the Koran is built upon the Bible? But both the Koran and the Bible are internally inconsistent I agree. Some cynics might suggest that's because they are fairy tales.

I didn't want this to become a discussion about the merits or demerits of different religions. You have to realize that the Quran was "revealed" over a period of several years. Initially when Mohammed was weak, he was at the mercy of Christians, Jews and pagan Arabs and the revelations were pretty reasonable. As Mohammed got stronger (largely by encouraging his followers to commit acts of banditry in which he kept 25% of the booty for himself and the conquered women & children were distributed as war booty), the revelations got more and more bloody and intolerant. Pretty convenient, don't you think?

You made a statement earlier that the Bible is more hateful that the Quran. I think it is irrelevant since today the Christian world is largely secular. Europe is already a post-Christian society whereas no more than 15% of the American Christians are evangelical.

You made a statement earlier that the Bible is more hateful that the Quran. I think it is irrelevant since today the Christian world is largely secular. Europe is already a post-Christian society whereas no more than 15% of the American Christians are evangelical.

You should read Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg and then see whether you still feel as complacent about Christianity in the U.S.


Are you new to TOD? Have you read previous posts by WFP? He is Muslim fundamentalist from Pakistan who has posted plenty of hateful and inflammatory stuff in the past about Christians, Jews, US, western countries and Israel. He believes that when fossil fuels run out the Muslims will conquer Israel and the West. He has even admitted to owning slaves in Pakistan. Did you not see his post (to which I replied) in which he approves Al Qaeda's call to kill Americans? Why did that not push your buttons?

Are you even aware of the type of society Pakistan is? Are of aware of the fact it they have institutionalized religious bigotry and carry out medieval persecution of Ahmadiyas and other religious minorities? Are you aware of Zina and Hudood ordinances according to which a raped woman goes to jail in Pakistan because the crime was not witnessed by 4 pious Muslim men? Are you aware of the fact that in the "land of the pure", a woman's testimony is worth only 50% of a man's testimony? Are you aware of the fact that behind the thin facade of democracy it is the Army (& ISI) which rules Pakistan? By the way, today Pakistan is 97% Muslim; it used to be 75% Muslim at the time of partition.

My statement about "being on the wrong side of history" is directed at people who believe that everyone in this day and age must live their life according to the opinions, beliefs and prejudices of a man who lived 1350 years ago; especially when that man lived a less than holy life himself. Unfortunately too many people in Pakistan and the Islamic world today believe in religious claptrap about "divine revelations" that must be shoved down everybody's throat to please an angry, insecure and vengeful Arab tribal god. A majority of people in Pakistan until recently supported the Taliban & jihadis; now the support is waning because the jihadis have turned on the Pakistani state. I guess jihad is fun as long as the kafirs & mushriqs (infidels) are killed; it is no longer fun when the believers start dying!

What you said suyoq......I've had a couple of cracks at that Bozo, he keeps comin' back though, hide like a rhinoceros.

Dude, you're just a raving racist! Stick a cork in it...

Why am I a raving racist? I could return the favor by calling you an idiot who is unable to see the context of my remarks but that will not add anything to the discussion. All I did was attack WFP who openly applauded a terrorist group's call for killing innocent people. When HacLand took me (instead of WFP) to task I explained to him the context of my remarks. I got the impression that he doesn't know much about the nature of Pakistani society. What exactly is your problem that you jump in the middle of a discussion with a personal attack?

Yup, one could say that the US is paying even more (via Iraq and Afghanistan) for every Moslem life wasted there... It's kind of a subtle point that we don't target just any Moslem, more like certain specific ones.

Yucky world indeed. Nevertheless, Moslems as a whole likely are suffering more than Americans as a whole, foreclosures and bankruptcies notwithstanding.

I am puzzled though, why someone who wants random Americans dead would bother reading hundreds of comments on TOD and injecting enlightening tidbits of his own. Are certain of us who are cutting back our mindless consumption and preparing our homestead for TEOTWAWKI worthy of our life being spared?

He is not a troll. However, I believe he is Indian, and there's a certain history between India and Pakistan.

They've each had their say. Can the rest of us stay out of it, before I have to delete this subthread?

What I said would never make sense to a person who was raised up fed by factory processed food and tv commercials and alien stories and who is constantly filled up with hatred about everybody outside its national borders.

History will tell who is on the wrong side. Nazis once were proud of their accomplishments, so were soviets and british and spanish and so on. Time is a very brutal thing, mind you.

All the muslim empires including the ottoman which is contemporary of industralization (ended in 1922) were sustainable. We never destroyed the habitat, not even near baghdad at the peak of caliphats.

World knows whose ideology is brutal. Who put the world in the grinding machine of world wars and before that napolean wars. Who is responsible for korean war, vietnam war, iraq wars. Who constantly fund and protect israel. Once I estimated all losts of human lives in all known wars since end of stone age when the history was first recorded and found that atleast 80% of all life losts were because of christians. The second world war alone costed more losts of lives than all human wars before that COMBINED. Add in it the losts of lives in first world war, napolean wars, colonial wars, internal european wars including 100 years long war between british and french, lives lost in korean war, vietnam war, russian civil war 1917 to 1929 because russia was and still is a christian country no matter of what sect. The number is closer to 90% than 80%. Do a survey yourself.

We muslims stopped the lost of lives which was kept on happening since 1000 years between persian empire and roman empire. We brought peace and prosperity in world. We educated people science and wisdom and moral values.

As I said before, the pakistanis that are corrupt are also the same pakistanis that are aided and supported and bailed out by americans. The british learned the black art of buying a handful of corrupt people of land and use them to rule over the masses of colonies. When wanted, the british satisfy their ego that these people are all corrupt counting the crimes of the powerful ones. They fail to notice that these corrupt people were almost non-existent before they learned the path to those lands. If they are so corrupt why do you bail them out and let them have bank accounts in your banks and provide them political shelter when we try to catch them.

Its totally stupid to compare pakistan with usa. Its like comparing lion with a scavenger. We are able to defend our country against six times stronger indians for 60 years. Americans on the other hand can't win a war in war torn afghanistan, not even in starving somalia during 1993 famine. Pakistan never invaded a country for oil, its that simple.

Wisdom you are not sounding very wise recently.

May I suggest you read two books by Jared Diamond.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

Trust me, the Pakistanis and any group of Muslims past or present are no better and no worse than any other society of humans.

As much as you may like to believe that the humans living in the US are the source of all the evils of the planet you are just plain wrong.

BTW just for the record I'm a Brazilian born US citizen of Hungarian and Danish ancestry and there is quite a mix of ethnicity, religion and opposing political views among the members of my globally extended family.

Personally I'm an atheist and a secular humanist with strong rational and skeptical views and I hold all religions to be just variants of the same old superstitions and mythologies. I find them all to be very poor basis for solving the problems that confront all of humanity at this point.

Al Qaeda has $300 Billion? In what bank? I say we just shut down that bank, and let them recover $250,000.

Supertankers may refuse oil cargo.

On a positive note my sister and brother in-law flew up to Tobermorey Ontario and received complimentary bicycles to ride around the city at the airport.

There was a free bike borrowing program in Denver during the DNC. :-)

I'll raise you this, saved from a Yahoo News report in 2000 (related item still archived here):

Thursday November 16 2:33 PM ET
Climate Delegates Refuse Free Bikes
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Even a complimentary bike wasn’t enough to lure UN climate conference delegates onto a pollution-free mode of transportation. Only six out of 2,000 conference negotiators had made use by Thursday of one of 200 free bikes offered by the city of The Hague for the two-week meeting on global warming, which began Monday...
Delegates blamed the rain and temperatures around 40 degrees, even though snow, sleet and hail doesn’t deter hardy Dutch commuters and enthusiasts of all ages from taking their bikes. “It is too cold outside,” said Croatian delegate Jasenka Necak, adding that her hotel was too far away...

Was the Denver program the same sort of utter flop?

"...received complimentary bicycles to ride around the city at the airport."

I think that is a brilliant idea. Do the taxi drivers approve? Or are they scattering sharp tacks on the bicycle lanes and paths?

Tobermory is a small, pretty tourist town ( a glorified village in winter) about three hours drive from Toronto. A person could just about walk the whole town in an hour or two although perhaps the bikes would help get from the airport to town. The idea of flying into the place seems silly and the environmental impact of the plane trip would more than offset a few kilometers on a bike. Other than eating, drinking and trinket shopping the most worthwhile tourist activities involve energy intensive boat trips. The scenery related to the Niagara escarpment is worth seeing and "The Tub" is a pretty little harbour but if energy and the environment are your main concern, then don't go in the first place.

"The idea of flying into the place seems silly and the environmental impact of the plane trip would more than offset a few kilometers on a bike."

I was waiting to see how long it would take to read this comment.

Interesting...how did that work? Inquiring minds want to know - it looks to be a very small place, but I could still see a logistical nightmare trying to get bikes out of and back into the airport. After all, even one bike wouldn't fit into or onto the typical rental car. Did they have an arrangement with the local car-rental place?

I saw a bumper sticker that seemed to be a good fit for TOD.

"Talk Nerdy to me."

I don't consider myself a nerd!

Cough, cough:

"porge on September 6, 2009 - 3:11pm
I agree with you as to the type of thinking we need but I think that it could be arrived at by combining a group of highly intelligent multi-disciplinary people..."

"Multi-disciplinary" indeed. Probably just three syllables would have sufficed for nerd certification; most TOD commenters qualify. :-P ;)

Tom Friedman's article on Afghanistan (from baby-sitting to adoption) seems pretty accurate to me, except at one point: Afghanistan had a strong central government (socialist) until the USSR invaded (probably to thwart US destabilization efforts). Its tribal nature came to the fore because of the disaster it was put through, much as the family structure in the US will come to the fore in the coming decade.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplink: "Saudi provides realistic outlook on energy future" by Mohamed A Ramady.
Dr Mohamed A Ramady is a former banker and visiting associate professor, finance and economics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
I just submitted to the link's comment section the following [now awaiting moderation]:

Hello Dr. Ramady,

IMO, it would be fascinating if you would write a series of TOD keyposts on KSA' views of the ASPO Oil Depletion Protocols, Simmons' oilfield audit request, and how KSA plans to best handle ELM. Thxs for any reply.

TOD = TheOilDrum.com
Google ASPO Oil Depletion Protocols, Matthew R. Simmons [author of "Twilight in the Desert"], Jeffrey Brown + Export Land Model

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

Bob: I wonder if he will comment on the "Are humans smarter than yeast?" at the end of your e-mail? I would be more interested in that comment than about KSA oil, which may or may not be true.


Hello Lynford,

LOL! Thxs for your reply. Unfortunately, at last 'refresh' check: there are ZERO comments below Ramady's article. I even commented on the related LATOC thread hoping that LATOCers plus TODers would send in comments to 'The National' to express their support for him to write keyposts for TOD. I am sure the TOD editors would be happy to work with Dr. Ramady to publish his ideas, and us TODers could comment much to his writings.

It seems pretty obvious that TPTB that control this newspaper are not going to let Peak Outreach discussion bloom on their website with a large number of commenters. IMO, this is unfortunate for even the MidEast local readers of The National on printed paper, besides the larger WWWeb globally.

IMO, that is why Ramady needs to move to a larger, more informed forum to help foster greater outreach to the huddled masses in the MidEast. TOD should be very proud of all the various authors' mentions or hotlinks from their webplaces back to our homepage. Maybe someday The National will come to its senses, then hotlink Ramady's TOD writings back to a local Abu Dhabi PostPeak discussion forum.

Just posted on the NY Times:
Natural Gas Hits Roadblock in New Energy Bill

Natural Gas Hits a Roadblock in New Energy Bill

Published: September 6, 2009

HOUSTON — The natural gas industry has enjoyed something of a winning streak in recent years. It found gigantic new reserves, low prices are encouraging utilities to substitute gas for coal, and cities are switching to buses fueled by natural gas.

But its luck has run out in Washington, where the industry is having trouble making its case to Congress as it writes an energy bill to tackle global warming.

For all its pronouncements that gas could be used to replace aging, inefficient coal-fired power plants — and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process — lawmakers from coal-producing states appear committed to keeping coal as the nation’s primary producer of power.

Who would bet on Congress (combined Senate and House) passing a Climate Change bill with any teeth this year? Or ever? I expect nothing will happen before December and the U.S., wearing the presumed new mantle of Global Warming leadership, will be shown to be wearing no clothes in Copenhagen.

India is demanding $160B to implement CO2-reduction technology and other "developing" nations will follow suit. There will be no commitments with serious follow-through. We will have to adapt, one way or another.

Dick Lawrence

Thanks for double quoting the word developing. In my opinion its almost all destruction that is called development.

I never hope for a CO2 reduction plan by any democratic govt because those govts are built on corporate money and corporations can't have incomes huge enough to survive in absence of over-sized consumption.

Beware of cars, that is where affluenza starts today

Hello TODers,

The way things are being MSM-reported nowadays means that the comedic writers for 'The Onion', Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert just can't compete with equal irony or sarcasm. A case in point:

U.S. holds huge lead in global weapons sales

..The overall decline in weapons sales worldwide in 2008 can be explained by the reluctance of many nations to place new arms orders "in the face of the severe international recession,...
re-interpreted as: "Dammit, if we only had more money, we could then buy the efficient and effective next-gen weaponry to kill a lot more people. I tell ya--Life is just so unfair.."

/sarconal off

I would be much prouder if the US was the postPeak global leader in selling for foreign export: Strategic Reserves of Bicycles, Wheelbarrows, SpiderWebRiding networks, RR & TOD, PV & CSP, birth control, and Peak Everything expertise.

Can a wheelbarrow be more powerful than a machete'?

One reason of decline of usa after 1970 is rise in weapon technology in so-called third world countries, especially india and pakistan. A lots of weapons that we used to buy from americans are now built locally. The story is not much different in india and I think in south america and some african countries. Since export economy of america mostly run of weapons sale that gave a huge dent in its military industrial complex. Although the arabs and especially saudi arabia and to some extent egypt and yemen continued to buy weapons from americans with time they learned to use other sources as well, sources such as russians, chinese and now pakistan, india and iran. Pakistan and India are special cases because being world's fourth and fifth largest armies and nuclear states and always at near-war with each other, we were quick to develop our own weapons technology due to necessity and untrustworthy behavior of suppliers in crisis time (for eg 1973 war) when they are most needed. Now the tables are turned, arabs are buying atleast a few weapons from us, iran is also a big arms supplier in the region and so do chinese. Taliban and al qaida must be getting weapons from somewhere, they can't be building it underground ofcourse and the weapons captured from soviets in 1980s should be long gone. They are almost certainly not buying weapons from americans or european countries (with exception of france). Their supplier have to be one among russians, chinese, iranis, pakistanis, indians.