Drumbeat: January 23, 2010

Disorder in the houses of OPEC

Political turmoil in the homelands of some oil exporters is threatening the group’s ability to respond to a global return to demand as the tough economic conditions ease. And analysts say prices are about to become more sensitive to supply disruptions. Tamsin Carlisle reports

More than half of OPEC’s members are facing severe political problems, posing a threat to the group’s ability to respond to resurgent oil demand as the global economy recovers.

At any other time, such a situation would already have pushed oil prices sky high. The bull run that ended in July 2008 with crude hitting US$147 a barrel was preceded by “a simultaneous collapse” in output from Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela, Prince Turki Al Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador to Washington, has pointed out.

Mexico crude output slide slows in 2009

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican oil production fell for the fifth year in a row last year but the pace of the slide slowed and output rose in December from November, according to data released by state oil monopoly Pemex on Friday.

Mexico pumped 2.601 million barrels of oil per day in 2009, the lowest annual rate of production since 1990, as yields at the giant Cantarell field continued to decline and output at Pemex's flagship Chicontepec project failed to increase.

Analysis: 2009 Top Discoveries

Looking back at 2009, crude oil prices rebounded nicely from the 2008 rollercoaster of record highs and devastating lows. The recovery, which primarily occurred in the last three quarters of the year, made it one of the strongest years for crude oil since 1973 on a percentage gain basis. Crude oil gained about 75% in 2009, and natural gas ended the year flat compared to 2008.

However, 2009 will also be remembered for its significant offshore oil and gas discoveries worldwide. Of the 10 top discoveries for the year, two were made in the GOM, two were found off Australia, and one each off Brazil, China, Israel, the UK, Venezuela, and West Africa.

ExxonMobil Sees Alaska as Major Natural Gas Supplier

With large North Slope resources, Alaska has the opportunity to be a major supplier of natural gas to North America, Rich Kruger, president of ExxonMobil Production Company, said today in a keynote address at the 2010 Meet Alaska Conference in Anchorage.

Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson states the challenge starkly: "Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries. But question it we must." And that is the core mission of this perfectly timed book. Had he published it before the financial crisis, he would probably have been dismissed as another green idealist, at best. But in the wake of the crisis, more people are questioning the primacy of growth at all costs. President Sarkozy, the Nobel-prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz and elements of the Financial Times's commentariat are among those now arguing that prosperity is possible without GNP growth, and indeed that prosperity will soon become impossible because of GNP growth. A new movement seems to be emerging, and this superbly written book should be the first stop for anyone wanting a manifesto.

Harrabin's Notes: Cash for influence

The Supreme Court decision could prove a landmark in US environment politics, as some US environmentalists view corporate lobbying and campaign financing as the single biggest obstacle to environmental reform.

Just one oil firm - Exxon Mobil - was recently reported by the London-based New Energy Finance to have spent $14.9m lobbying in six months, 23% more than all the clean energy firms put together.

The report added that oil and gas companies spent a total of $82.2m on Washington-based lobbyists.

Why Is a Utility Paying Customers?

FOUR decades ago, when Sid Erwin began his career as an inspector at the Idaho Power Company, a string of new hydroelectric plants was pumping out power faster than locals could buy it. Soon enough, Mr. Erwin recalls, the utility began sending representatives to rural areas, urging farmers to use more electricity when irrigating their crops.

These days, Idaho’s farmers are being paid to stop using power.

Oil baron O'Malley eyes Valero plant for U.S. return

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The last time refining maverick Tom O'Malley bought the oil refinery in Delaware City, Delaware, he doubled his money in two years.

Now he may be vying to do it again.

Petraeus: Missile-Shooting Ships on Station in the Gulf

The U.S. military is keeping at least two Navy ships on station in the Persian Gulf, ready to track and possibly intercept missiles, according to the top U.S. general in the region.

Speaking today at the Institute for the Study of War, Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, said two cruisers equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System “are in the Gulf at all times now.”

Kjell Aleklett: "US raises concern over China oil policy"

Small oilfields in China constitute 30% of production and the trend is for continued increased production from these. However, in a few years the production declines in the giant fields will be so great that total Chinese production will decline. In coming years we will experience aggressive bidding from China whenever any oil production rights are offered for sale. The next step is for China to build new refineries in collaboration with major oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia. When Peak Oil affects the world these refineries will, naturally, be first in the queue for Saudi oil. For the sake of its own survival, the OECD must take Peak Oil seriously and plan for its future energy needs post-Peak Oil.

West dependent on China for key resources

China controls the world’s supply of rare earth metals. It might not be willing to share much longer.

Lights Out in Chavez Land

Maintenance of university buildings has not been so much deferred, as abandoned.

But while the university’s decay is accelerated, the physical collapse can be seen everywhere. I’m in Maracaibo tonight, Venezuela’s second city. Huge blocks of the city are dark, a consequence of the rolling blackouts that strike for 2 hours per day. The blackouts are worst in cities and states where the opposition is strong, as here. But even Caracas (with an opposition mayor, but firmly under central control) is not entirely exempt: the city does not go black, but it does go brown, with street lights shut even on highways and half the lightbulbs removed from public places.

Shell denies blackmailing govt over imports seizure

MANILA, Philippines - Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation has clarified that it was not blackmailing the government when it said that the planned seizure of P43 billion worth of its fuel imports might result in the closure of its Bataan refinery.

U.S. corn harvest sets record

Some pondered whether fertilizer nutrient reserves were reaching critically low levels and contributing to market volatility. It was suggested that "peak phosphorus", like "peak oil", was a proven phenomenon and that P production had reached or exceeded its peak. In reality, at current production levels, world phosphate reserve and reserve base longevity are estimated to be 93 and 291 years, respectively.

One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars, not people

One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former president George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies.

The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels.

Peak Oil Rock & Roll

Three peak-oil/energy relevant songs are included here with lyrics: Peak Oil Blues, Americium, and Energy Matters. I also give a brief commentary on each song to improve your listening experience. Rock on.

Peak Moment 160: A Young Couple Find Freedom in Simple Living

Rather than follow the customary American dream, Tammy and Logan sold their home and car, and moved to a bikeable/walkable neighborhood in Sacramento, California. After reading Derrick Jensen’s writings, this couple used Your Money or Your Life as a means to get out of debt and, they feel, regain their lives and their future. While they recount the psychological challenges of facing a future of declining resources, the catalyst that continues to move them forward is a dream of living in an affordable tiny house within a supportive community.

Are We Ready for $7.00 per Gallon Gas?

On September 29, 2009, the Business of Climate Change Conference took place in Toronto. The focus of the Conference was how businesses in Canada and elsewhere around the world were working towards a future low carbon economy. While the debate rages on the reality of global climate change, another driver towards finding alternatives to our petroleum-based energy world is the rising cost of oil.

Oil Estimates in Venezuela Doubled

Venezuela has long been known to hold some of the world’s biggest deposits of oil sands — thick bituminous resources that require substantial investments and refining methods to develop.

In a new assessment (PDF), government geologists with the United States Geological Survey have provided a dramatic new estimate of how much oil is “technically recoverable” from these oil sands, in an area known as the Orinoco oil belt: 513 billion barrels of heavy oil.

The tally far exceeds previous estimates of around 235 billion barrels, and it represents “the largest accumulation ever assessed” by the U.S.G.S.

Gas prices down 7 straight days; crude falls again

NEW YORK – Gasoline prices have declined every day for a week following a similar slide in crude prices this month.

But with the national average at nearly $2.73 a gallon on Friday, pump prices are still more expensive than any day last year. They've ridden a 10-month rally in energy commodities that doubled oil prices to nearly $80 a barrel by the end of last year.

Experts say they still expect gas prices to reach $3 a gallon sometime this spring, though it may take longer than originally expected.

Iraq's oil revenues up by 300 million dollars in December

Baghdad - Iraq's oil revenues went up by 300 million dollars during the last month of 2009, Iraq's oil ministry said on Saturday.

The increase in revenue, to hit 4.499 billion dollars, was reached through the sale of 61.3 million barrels at a rate of 73.39 dollars per barrel.

Sea ice pack grows in north China; oil threatened

BEIJING (Reuters) - An ocean ice floe that has hurt transit and business along the north coast of China will expand over the next few days, official media said on Saturday, a further threat to undersea crude oil production.

Reliance Net Beats Estimate After Boosting Natural Gas Sales

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, reported its first profit increase in more than a year as higher natural gas sales outweighed lower earnings from processing oil.

Net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 16 percent to 40.08 billion rupees ($868 million) from a year earlier, the Mumbai-based energy explorer and refiner said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The first increase in profit in five quarters beat the 39.14 billion-rupee median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Belarus Calls Russia's Oil Export Duties Illegal

MINSK (Reuters) - Minsk on Saturday accused Russia of acting illegally in applying full export fees to oil pumped to Belarus, in a sign that the dispute -- which some fear could disrupt supplies to Europe -- is far from resolved.

"Russia has effectively come out of the agreement one-sidedly and is illegally applying full duties to Russian companies supplying oil to Belarus," Alexander Shpilevsky, the head of the Belarussian customs committee, told a news briefing.

North Dakota Raises Oil Forecast on Advances by Shale Explorers

(Bloomberg) -- North Dakota raised its forecast for oil output on growth in and around the Bakken Shale formation, portending further gains nationwide after the largest U.S. increase since Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first term as president.

Output may reach 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day by mid- 2011 and stay at that level for 10 to 15 years, said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Mineral Resources Department. The state’s previous estimate was 220,000 to 280,000.

Sniffing Oil From The Sky

Here's a curious place to look for an oil field buried under thousands of feet of rock: the sky.

But that's where Royal Dutch Shell is heading in an attempt to survey huge tracts of rugged and remote terrain that might be hiding oil.

Global warming? Don’t blame the car

Instead of CO2-driven global warming, Lutz embraces the theory that the planet is actually cooling because of lower solar flare and sun-spot activity.

"It has got nothing to do with CO2, it’s got everything to do with solar activity, and when the solar flares stopped and the sun has been unusually quiet almost to the point of worrying people, then global temperatures go down.”

So why is Lutz such a strong proponent of the Volt and the electrification of the automobile? Peak oil is the answer.

The 'green' car market is here to stay

Despite past discouragements like General Motors' still-lamented EV-1, an unprofitable electric car sold for a few years, then discontinued in 1999, there's evidence that today's wave of interest will produce a more durable impact on the market for autos.

That's true in spite of some significant problems, like the high cost of batteries and consumer concerns about the driving range and safety of electric cars, says Philip Gott, director of automotive Science and Technology at IHS Global Insight, a big economic consulting firm.

California to Subsidize Solar Water Heaters

California regulators on Thursday approved a $350 million program to subsidize the installation of solar water heaters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program will allocate $250 million for the replacement of hot water heaters fueled by natural gas and $100.8 million for those powered by electricity.

Q&A: Ken Greenberg on the Future of Urban Planning

I’m pretty convinced we’re in the midst of a transformation which is probably as profound as what happened immediately after the Second World War, when we got all excited about automobiles and in a sense turned our backs on cities. There are all kinds of things that are propelling this. Some of it has to do with the environment; much of it has to do with the cost of energy. I don’t know if you know the book that came out recently called Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. It was written by Jeff Rubin, a former chief economist of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Congress who actually resigned to write this book. From an economic standpoint he is talking about peak oil and the effect it’s going to have on cities. Right now I’m in the midst of a series of skirmishes, as people adjust to this new reality and we change our entire tool kit when it comes to how we deal with cities.

Ed Begley Jr.: Big green man

Short of living in a yurt on the Bolivian Altiplano, Begley is as green as they come, certainly for someone inhabiting one of the biggest cities in the First World. His father was the Oscar-winning actor, and he's found his own way onto the small screen and large: from the complex 1980s hospital drama "St. Elsewhere" to "Six Feet Under," and current guest spots on "The New Adventures of Old Christine"; and film roles in droll mockumentaries like "This is Spinal Tap," the handiwork of Begley's friend, Christopher Guest.

Glass and Cement Makers Settle With E.P.A.

Federal officials announced two major settlements on Thursday for reducing emissions from 28 glass and cement plants across the country.

The plants were found to be violating the Clean Air Act by emitting excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter each year, said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of enforcement and compliance assurance.

Energy Debate Yields Little Middle Ground

CHARLESTON, W. Va. — Speaking ahead of Thursday evening’s debate between a coal executive, Don L. Blankenship of Massey Energy, and an environmental lawyer, Robert Kennedy Jr., the University of Charleston’s president, Ed Welch, expressed hope that he might nudge the two men “beyond their talking points.”

But such moments were rare over the course of the nearly two-hour forum (full audio is here). Mr. Kennedy broadly assailed the coal industry’s highly mechanized surface-mining techniques, while Mr. Blankenship called environmental concerns over the coal business unfounded and an assault on American energy security and hardworking families who depend on coal for a living.

Greenland financial independence predicted by 2015

Mineral and oil income is expected, within five years, to surpass the current handouts from Copenhagen that Greenland lives off.

Negating the need for the DKK 3 billion (USD 580 million) handout means that national financial independence may be just a few short years away, according to forecasts from the leader of the Raw Materials Directorate in Greenland in a report by Sermitsiaq.

'Peak water' could flush civilisation

FORGET PEAK OIL. Forget climate change. Peak water is where it’s at, according to Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Alexander Bell, who has just written a fascinating book, Peak Water (Luath Press, Scotland).

“It’s the coming issue of our age,” says Bell. “Civilisation is thirsty. It has never stopped to think about what would happen if the water ran out.” And while Bell acknowledges tackling climate change is important, he firmly states peak water would have happened with or without it.

Fewer temperature reports could mean warming underestimated: scientist

Environment Canada says climate scientists who track global temperature trends may be underestimating the amount of warming in the Canadian Arctic, because they are working with data from a declining sample of weather stations across the region.

Climate Cover Up: How to Manipulate Public Opinion

Why do these organizations fight the idea of climate change?

The answer is very simple: there are hundreds of billions of dollars to be protected in the fossil fuel industry and these people are very interested in protecting their bottom line.

A Drawback to Urban Green Spaces

While city dwellers are always clamoring for more green space, urban parks may not always be as “green” as they seem.

A study on urban green space says that the irrigation, fertilizer, mowing and leaf blowing all add up, emitting more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than the spaces absorb. The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Sundance film puts human face on climate change

PARK CITY, Utah (AFP) – The devastating impact of global warming on communities worldwide is the subject of a powerful Sundance documentary aiming to put a human face on climate change.

Michael Nash's film -- "Climate Refugees" -- is a compelling look at the millions of humans displaced by disasters arising from incremental and rapid ecological changes to the environment and more frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, fires and tornadoes.

Nations stick to CO2 goals before January deadline

OSLO (Reuters) - The world is showing only lukewarm enthusiasm for a "Copenhagen Accord" to curb climate change, with no sign so far of deeper-than-planned 2020 curbs on greenhouse gas emissions before a January 31 deadline.

Glacier alarm 'regrettable error': UN climate head

NEW DELHI (AFP) – The head of the UN's climate science panel said Saturday a doomsday prediction about the fate of Himalayan glaciers was "a regrettable error" but that he would not resign over the blunder.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the mistake arose from "established procedures not being diligently followed."

Worldwide Nitrogen Deficit Constrains Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Plants

ScienceDaily — Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants; limits on available nitrogen constrain how much plants can grow. This in turn affects the amount of carbon dioxide plants can absorb, which affects the global climate.

Re: Climate Cover Up: How to Manipulate Public Opinion

This article reveals several secrets from the denialist camp. Those of us who have followed the development of the science behind the problem of Global Change see this every day. It's a sad fact that these folks care only about themselves and would sink the ship if they could have lots of fun (i.e., money and power) right up to the end...

E. Swanson

It's clear that there is a lot of money to be made from denial, little from the truth.

A related ed post would be the article on Ed Begley above and his "outburst" on Fox "news". The youtube video title included the allegation that he "lost it". Ed explains that he has been mr. milquetoast for too long and didn't feel like playing nice any longer.

Frankly, I think it is about time that more of us "lost it" when it comes to debates about climate change. The "reasonable", measured approach does not seem to have any impact on anyone, certainly not the listeners of Fox news.

We have had a year of a President who has tried to be reasonable, to play nice with the opposition in the interests of consensus and comity. This has had absolutely no impact; if anything the impact has been negative and just sends the message that he can be walked on.

Two (2) books already out on Climategate being sold on Amazon !!!

That's a fast publishing turnaround cycle, so then you have to look at the publishing house. The first book is called Climategate and it's published by CreateSpace, which is essentially a self-publishing approach. The other one is called The Hockey Stick Illusion and it's published by Stacey International out of London.

Since Climatgate first surfaced around last Thanksgiving, that is less than 2 months for what ostensibly should be a serious look at a technical topic.

To temper a bit...:

Climate science is tough. It is observational and inductive, as opposed to experimental and deductive. Therefore, it relies on ‘modeling’ to a degree, I think, previously not experienced in ‘important’ mainstream science.

That is bound to provoke thoughtful, or rabid, nit-picking. Moreover it is descriptive, and not aim-driven, like concentrating on the bottom line in function of some real-life goal.

The goals are built on predictions, and don’t precede the painted picture. This is a vital point.

Lastly, it is in the hand of a relatively small scientific community, and ordinary citizens have absolutely no input at all, except as ‘followers’ who actually latch onto it, most often because they have other goals - that might be frugality, vegetarianism, or anti-corporatism, pro some political strand, etc.

Now, the measurements seem, on the one hand, to be unproblematic in their content (temp, melting, etc.) and not too difficult in their realization, though there are lots of quarrels about tree roots, ice cores, carbon, heat islands, deep ocean, corrupted or missing measures, and more. (What else should be measured? - that is a serious question?) Plus, as expected, hard to justify extrapolation, curve filling, estimating various dots. It is not easy.

Then, the feedback loops. (eg. albedo ..) How do they interact? Nobody knows. Simulations are driven by punching variables into computer models, and the fit with real-life facts or even digests are hard to come by.

Can such messy science lead to prediction?

Yes, but very rough, and probably thru procedures that are not air tight, solid, etc. More intuitive than anything else.

I am not a denier, just tried to outline some, not all, of the problems that lead to endless quarrels.

Noizette,we are not going to know how climate change will pan out until after the event.We do know that it is happening and at an increasing rate.Arguing about the finer points is not productive.

We need to start doing the hard yards in reducing pollution.

just correcting a typo - the spelling is 'population'

Good post Noizett, and it doesn't either support or deny AGW - it merely highlights the complexity. Actually the models have become better and one of the tests used to measure accuracy is done by extrapolating backwards - ie by using today as a starting point and then inputing various known variables (eg CO2) for a period and then checking the output of the model for conditions then. The models have been remarkably accurate and although not perfect are reasonable enough for "wide boundary" predictions.

The troubling point is that these wide boundary predictions have for the most part been too conservative, in almost all areas. Ice loss and sea level rise being just one example.

And to temper a bit more...

More intuitive than anything else

That would be wrong.

Furthermore, "hard to justify extrapolation" is mainly not controversial among the practitioners. As always, there are people who don't accept the science, but what modern science do "ordinary citizens" have input into? Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geology? No, no, no, and no. Further, there are lots of involvement people could actually have with climate science - if they are paying attention. Things like: growing seasons and hardiness zones, Local temperatures over multiple seasons, time of ice clearing off of lakes, etc. When you think of the silliness in this country with alternative medicine and the like, what's really apparent is the long-standing anti-intellectual, willful, spoiled ignorance of many people in the US.

Sadly, with climate chaos, picking up the remote and changing the channel in the end won't work.

Further, there are lots of involvement people could actually have with climate science - if they are paying attention. Things like: growing seasons and hardiness zones, Local temperatures over multiple seasons, time of ice clearing off of lakes, etc. When you think of the silliness in this country with alternative medicine and the like, what's really apparent is the long-standing anti-intellectual, willful, spoiled ignorance of many people in the US.

You think the average American can even understand Molecular biology, genetics and ecology?!
Not a chance in hell. Yet research in those fields alone is showing clear signs of global climate change. The results are pouring in from so many different scientific fields that to deny climate change you really have to your head stuck way up where the sun don't shine.

This link has a few examples.

Plant physiological and molecular responses to global change, leaf growth and development, photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism

It terms of acceptance of something as basic as evolutionary theory the US ranks above only one country, Turkey. The American public is profoundly ignorant and has very limited critical thinking skills. Which is exactly the way the TPTB want it.

This graphic says it all, only 40% of Americans accept evolution as being true. To me that is insanely scary. Just one more reason to be a doomer.


There must be a billion words a day written about "climate change" It is a waste of time and a purely academic argument. It really doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong.
There is a snippet that periodically appears in the upper right window, that says" it is hard to get a man to understand something if his job depends on him not understanding it". Except in this case it is China, India and the US, not a man, and it is their economies, not a job.
The famous CO2 chart which shows ever increasing levels, doesn't even have a blip when the Kyoto protocol was signed. You guys don't lack enthusiasm, but you sure could use a dose of reality. Anyone who really believes the world will slow CO2 production has their head in the sand.
We will start sequestering carbon from coal fired power plants when hell freezes over. The emissions will end when the source is used up or financially not available. Not before.
Show me anything that would indicate this is not the likely outcome. Status of cap and trade? Nope Copenhagen? Nope Kyoto? No meant nothing. China and India slowing their production of Coal fired power plants? Nope Any of those three countries actually making an attempt to put out the coal fires burning in their countries which put out more CO2 than all the cars and trucks in the US? Nope
Stop climate change? Good f'n luck

Noizette: Therefore, it relies on ‘modeling’ to a degree, I think, previously not experienced in ‘important’ mainstream science.

I think we know more than Noizette suggests, especially w.r.t. the first principles; Arrhenius had published the fully developed theory of anthropogenic global warming by 1901. Planetary average surface temperatures can be computed by using high-school level physics; see Barton Paul Levenson's excellent primer, How to Estimate Planetary Temperatures.

Can such messy science lead to prediction?

As it turns out, yes:

Updates to model-data comparisons


SOURCE : ACEA - European Automobile Manufacturers' Association __ PDF alert

These tables were lifted from page 19 in above linked PDF. It tells the story of a 26% plunge from Q1-Q3 2008 compared to the same interval in 2009.

My initial source (Credit oljekrisa.no, in Norwegian) reports of a 70% drop in Swedish car production for the same period.

I wonder what numbers apply for US or Japanese productions ?

Paal, thanks for the link. Looks the recession has hit Europe just as bad as it has the US. I pulled the below data from: Annual U.S. Motor Vehicle Production and Factory (Wholesale) Sales

Only the production data came from that link, the percentage change from the previous year I did on an Excel spreadsheet. I went all the way back to 1999 because that was the year of peak motor vehicle production in the U.S.

They don't have data for 2009 but that would be very interesting if I could find it. Anyway your data proves that it is a worldwide recession. Jeff Rubin says it is a peak oil recession, not a sub-prime mortgage recession that happened only in the U.S.

Year            1999    2000	2001	2002	2003	2004	2005	2006	2007	2008
Total           13,025	12,774	11,425	12,280	12,087	11,960	11,947	11,260	10,752	8,673
Cars             5,638	 5,542	 4,879	 5,019	 4,510	 4,230	 4,321	 4,367	 3,924	3,777
Commercial       7,387	 7,231	 6,546	 7,261	 7,577	 7,731	 7,625	 6,893	 6,828	4,896

Pct. Change
Total           8.51%	-1.93%	-10.56%	7.48%	-1.57%	-1.05%	-0.11%	-5.75%	-4.51%	-19.34%
Cars            1.51%	-1.70%	-11.96%	2.87%	-10.14%	-6.21%	 2.15%	 1.06%	-10.14%	-3.75%
Commercial      14.56%	-2.11%	-9.47%	10.92%	 4.35%	 2.03%	-1.37%	-9.60%	-0.94%	-28.30%

Percent change since 1999

Total        -33.41%
Cars         -33.01%
Commercial   -33.72%

Imports have of course increased causing much of the 33.41 percent decline. But most foreign manufacturers have opened plants in the U.S. This was supposed to have stemmed the tide of foreign imports. However I have no doubt that foreign imports have declined also but just not as much.

Ron P.

Anyway your data proves that it is a worldwide recession. Jeff Rubin says it is a peak oil recession, not a sub-prime mortgage recession that happened only in the U.S.

Yes. And it's becoming more and more clear: Colin Campbell was right.

I throw my hat in with the "coincidence theorists." This is the view that coincidences really do happen, that the Either/Or Fallacy needs a stake driven through its heart. Peak oil and the sub-prime mortgage debacle are independent events that just happened to transpire in nearly the same time frame.

Ron, due to the column width I can only see upto 2005 (and the first digits of 2006). Is there some way to see all of your post?

Yes there is. You could go into Control Panel and change your screen resolution. But there is a quicker and easier way to do it. If you use Internet explorer, in the upper right hand corner of your screen you have a "page" button and zoom out. Or if you use Firefox just click on "view" in the upper left corner, then zoom out.

However there is an even easier way no matter what browser you use. Just do a "Ctrl -". That is hold down the Control key and then hig the minus (-) sign. Then do a Ctrl + to return to what you had before.

Ron P.

I can only see the column until 2003 and with Ctrl- it stays the same. The words get smaller but the right (and left) side of the screen stays as empty as always.

1)Use your cursor click left button (and hold down) and drag down to highlight the entire table
2) then copy (to clipboard)
3) open Notepad
4) past into blank document - viola (!)

This procedure will always 'bring in' whatever is not visible ...(due to whatever)

An even easier way to do it, is to hold down Ctrl and scroll toward yourself on the scroll wheel on the mouse. This reduces the print size, so you have a larger field of viewe. Scrolling away from yourself has the opposite effect.

This has the same effect as Ctrl- and ctrl+.
But Paal's recommendation works fine. I keep wondering if it is possible to get rid of the empty left and right spaces on the screen.

Agreed, a worldwide recession there is. I just found this one : 04/12/2009 - Global motor vehicle production drops by 22.9 percent

The statement also mentioned regional variations in motor vehicle production, highlighting the successes and disappointing performances in the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. According to the statement, Brazil’s motor vehicle production dropped by 11.4 percent, with a staggering 63.5 percent decrease in Russia. India and China were the stars during this period, as their production grew by 1.4 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively.

Actually, only China is having stars in their newly established autosentric mindset....

Now hold on to something ..

The 27 nations making up the EU experienced a decrease of 25.6 percent(same as above), whereas the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region’s production shrank by 41.6 percent

*) NAFTA - USA, Canada and Mexico

and there is always east Europe :

Other European nations, a category which includes Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, suffered the most from the economic crisis, shrinking by 55.7 percent to 1.2 million units.

I keep an eye on the Hybrid Market Dashboard as well. Hybrid sales in the US were 2.78% of the domestic total, and 44.3% of world hybrid sales - Japan was 41.6%. Prii were 48.12% of US Hybrid sales. The cumulative impact of the hybrid's entry into world markets is something I'm very curious about. Mild hybrids are simple in construction, basically being standard cars with oversized starters, but they get good mileage, the Honda Civic and Insight have combined fuel economy of 41/42 MPG, and collectively accounted for >12% of US hybrid sales. Perhaps existing cars could be converted to mild hybrids. EMIS - Engine Motor Interface System conversions can be done on post-1996 automatic trannies with RWD - probably voiding the warranty in the process. Ugh, $7k conversion cost. Next.

There will probably alwaysbe a few people doing things to cars lke converting them to hybrids for ego gratification and the notoriety of having done it.This can bring in lots of OTHER business,such as high performance modifications that actually increase fuel consumption.

Listen to a gearhead -not more than a handful of such conversions will ever be carried out-probably less than ten thousand for sure.

The only person who can afford to drive such a conversion is a gearhead with LOTS OF EXPERTISE- way beyond my level-who is involved for the challenge and doesn't mind the down time and reliability issues , and does his own repairs.

Everybody else will find it a lot cheaper and a lot less trouble to just buy a second hand Prius or Fusion.A hundred percent more car for the money.

With major advancements, and lower prices, in LiFePo batteries, it makes a lot more sense to convert an older ICE car into an electric commuter/city car for $15-$20,000 than do anything with a hybrid. There just isn't enough to gain converting a car that is getting anthing better than 30mpg (7L/100km).

Or maybe that's just me justifying my next major project :D (converting a RAV4)

Re: Venezuelan Unconventional Reserves (linked uptop)

Lots of things are possible, and Chavez has, to put it charitably, not had a positive impact on Venezuelan oil production, but in any case let's look at recent EIA net export data:

Yeah, and they have big plans for Orinoco:

Map for the New Geopolitical Vision of the Orinoco Oil Belt


Kiss a lot of trees and the Pink River Dolphin goodby.

Kiss a lot of trees and the Pink River Dolphin goodby.

That's not the least of it. They'll be strip mining over an area roughly one tenth the size of the country. And it's NOT a small country!!! That area includes vast and fertile farmlands lying mostly within the eastern part. God help them if they go through with their plans.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I can't imagine anything scarier and more environmentally damaging oil sand extraction and thats even without the C02 taken into account.

But as I've repaeted many times on this site over the years - we will burn anything that looks remotely black before we let society grind to a halt. Whatever it takes to keep up the stauts quo of dirvers and all the wannabe drivers in the developing countries whose car fleet is now also balooning.


We will dither,dither,dither until we wither,wither,wither. Fiddling while Rome, or in this case, the planet, burns.

Marco, you are so right. And when we can't do that we will burn anything we can to stay warm and cook our food. Good bye carbon storing trees, furniture, and foreclosed houses.

Take a look at this satellite view of the border between Haiti, one of the poorest and most desperate countries in the world, and the Dominican Republic, a more well-to-do country. A river divides the 2 countries in this part of the terrain.


Right on Marco, See my post on Climate Change above.

Actually this stuff is extracted via Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS), aka Huff and Puff, or steam flooding; and Cold heavy oil production with sand - CHOPS. Think California, not Alberta.

Great piece about Lights out in Hugo Land. Few have paid attention to how screwed up PDVSA is.

It would be far more environmentally friendly to deploy most of the apparatus underground. Hopefully they will put the environment before marginal profits from mining.

The problems with Venezueal's electrical supply has to do with an extended drought, likely caused by global warming, that has reduced water available to power hydroelectric generation. PDVSA has nothing to do with it.

Unlike Canadian tar sands, I believe Orinoco asphalt is extracted with heat from a well.

And the site is close to one of the largest hydroelectric complexes in the world (with smelting aluminum being a primary use).

Guri - 10 GW (up from 8.85 GW)

Macagua - 3.14 GW

Caruachi - 2.28 GW

Tocoma - 2.16 GW

Replace aluminum with oil in the best case.


Guri is the black box in lower right with gold and green transmission lines from it.

The report makes it clear why Venezuela is a target of the US Empire. The graphic shows only one US major being involved, with China and Russia being far more involved. Simply blaming Chavez for the fall in oil extraction rates is silly. In contrast to Canada's free-for-all tar sands development, Chavez has called for "smart" environmental and economicly "sound" development of the Orinoco over a very long time span. "The purpose of the project is to assure 'integral development,' meaning agricultural and social investments accompany the oil exploitation in the Orinoco region, which is estimated to contain the world’s largest oil reserves,..." Many additional articles relating to the Orinoco's development can be found here.

Much of what's being developed in Brazil and Venezuela will not be sold on the market, which is why the US Empire is viewed as a direct threat by Brazil and Venezuela. The same can be said of much of Iraq's oil as NOCs will develop and export what is produced to their parent contry. This violates the longstanding "Open Door" pollicy developed by the US Empire to exploit first China then the rest of the world. If the corporations that have the stranglehold on the US Empire want to maintain the "Open Door," then they will have to start paying a lot more in taxes to bailout the government they've bankrupted.

Much of what's being developed in Brazil and Venezuela will not be sold on the market, which is why the US Empire is viewed as a direct threat by Brazil and Venezuela.

Not to worry:

US builds up its bases in oil-rich South America

U.S. Foriegn Policy at it's best:

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has not forgotten that US officers were present in government offices in Caracas in 2002 when he was briefly overthrown in a military putsch, warned this month that the bases agreement could mean the possibility of war with Colombia.

I can still smell the sulfur!

Perhaps FMagyar can lend comment on Brazilian street talk regarding this issue:

And, this being US foreign policy, a tell-tale trail of oil is evident. Brazil had already expressed its unhappiness at the presence of US naval vessels in its massive new offshore oilfields off Rio de Janeiro, destined soon to make Brazil a giant oil producer eligible for membership in Opec.


And so it goes. China will end up with this oil, silver platter style, or perhaps the U.S. will have it's third ongoing war.

Maoist revolution was highly favored in China. One does not find as much acceptance for it in the west. Petrochina and Sinopec were very upset that Ecuador was increasing taxes on Chinese oil companies.


Chinese hacking into the nations' computers like cyber pirates is of international concern. It does not show proper respect for others' rights.

Perhaps FMagyar can lend comment on Brazilian street talk regarding this issue:

About the only thing I can comment on right now is that it was a pretty decent day at the beach here in South Florida and the ocean was warm enough for a nice swim :-)

I'll try and put my ear to ground and see if I can hear any war drums beating...
Since I hold dual US and Brazilian citizenship if THSHTF I might have to emigrate to Hungary the land of my forefathers. Seriously, I think it highly unlikely that Brazil and the US would find themselves in direct conflict. Venezuela might be another matter entirely.

Isten Halla Magyarorszagra!

Szia, FMagyar.

Szia, Zaphod42,

Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!

Jól mondta!

Perhaps we are suffering now for the sins of our fathers?


Szánd meg Isten a Magyart
Kit vészek hányának,
Nyújts feléje védő kart
Tengerén kínjának.
Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!


5 banks closed last night

Here's the list:

Columbia River Bank, The Dalles, OR
Evergreen Bank, Seattle, WA
Charter Bank, Santa Fe, NM
Bank of Leeton, Leeton, MO
Premier American Bank, Miami, FL

That makes 9 so far for 2010. And if the financial markets just slipped off the cliff as some analysts are saying, then more banks will follow.

If anybody sees an article on how these closures effect the FDIC funds balance, please share.

The estimated total is about $530M. Calculated Risk publishes portions of the FDIC's closing statements, including the estimated cost to the deposit insurance fund.

I guess this might be our "oh, crap" moment.

"California regulators on Thursday approved a $350 million program to subsidize the installation of solar water heaters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program will allocate $250 million for the replacement of hot water heaters fueled by natural gas and $100.8 million for those powered by electricity."

Did I miss something? How will they pay for this, they are broke. Sounds great in a different economy...
The more I read the more doubt I have. We have leaders going left and reality going right.

In California's situation, as I understand it, the state imports both natural gas and electricity. Thus, taking advantage of their abundant sunshine would reduce the cost of these imports. The situation is much like that of the US regarding oil, in that the state loses quite a bit of money which could be used to stimulate jobs within the state. Installing solar collectors requires local workers as well, thus these tax credits could be seen as another effort to create more jobs within the state. The work is not technically complex, including only basic plumbing and electrical knowledge and construction skills, thus minimal worker re-training is required.

North Carolina also has similar tax credits as incentives to jump start the installation of solar thermal systems. We've spent considerable time this past year trying to get moving on efforts to create local jobs, but the financial mess has made this almost impossible. It is to be hoped that the tax credits will add to the incentive to get the consumer moving...

E. Swanson

Broke is broke.

CA is spending dollars it does not have to invest in solar heating.

Reaganism promised us that a little debt in the 80s to break the USSR was well worth it because we would outgrow that debt in the years that would follow. The peace dividend. But the debt-habit was hard to break and while a Republican Congress and a Democratic President managed to show a few brief years where the economy grew faster than the Government debt, total debt (including corporate and personal as well as federal) never slowed down.

"Green investing" is probably the same broken promise. While I encourage individuals to do the best they can to move to energy independence (including making use of tax credits where available), I don't believe that 'green energy tax credits/rebates' are strictly economically rational. They are a reflection of a public policy decision, not a financially sound accounting solution. If it was financially sound, the govt wouldn't have to subsidize it.

Don't get me wrong. I fully understand that the govt subsidizes all sorts of brown energy policies as well - sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. Tainter tells us that civilizations collapse when the common man know longer senses that the benefits of civilization outweigh the costs. Conservatives are out to convince the tax-payer that this is already true. And liberals seem set to keep raising the costs until it is blatantly obvious. The Federal debt doubled in the last administration. It will double again during this administration. How many doublings are possible?

The CA State Govt is broke.
The US Federal Govt is broke.

How hard is that to understand?
What does it take to stop spending what you don't have?

The Federal debt doubled in the last administration. It will double again during this administration. How many doublings are possible?

The CA State Govt is broke.
The US Federal Govt is broke.

Ca State Govt is not broke nor is the US Federal Govt.. What we are seeing is the result of Reaganomics where the answer to everything is to cut taxes especially for the rich.

Cutting taxes, while it may stimulate the economy temporily, results in increased borrowing which over time leads to ever more debt and debt burden. It leads people to think that they can have their benefits and never have to pay for them.

They all condemn debt but none want to have their bennys cut. And the Federal Government never has to ask tax payers for money to finance the Empire and it's wars.

The result of not raising taxes to balance budgets is that both the public and politicians think they can have their cake and eat it too. They never have to face the real costs of their actions since they can be pushed into the future indefinitely.

Reaganomics with its continual emphasis on tax cuts and never increasing taxes leads to this mind set. Of course governments will eventually fail when tax revenue can not be increased but that is not because they are "broke". They just do not have the politically will to increase taxes to cover expenditure.

They are in the clutches of bad policy which has now reached the level of a secular religion. Taxes have to be increased. And they should be increased dramatically on oil, oil products and also on high incomes which have benefited most from Reaganomics.

Until this happens citizens do not feel the pain of bad policy. They remain in a fool's paradise even as their governments load them down with an ever increasing debt burden.

Maybe this is a difference in terminology

I believe that you are broke by definition when your income is less than your expenses and your savings cannot cover the difference.

The tragedy of the last 30 years is that an entire generation has now come to believe that you are broke only when you reach the end of your credit limit.

It is not enough to just 'raise taxes.' The taxation rate is subject to 'diminishing returns'. A 100% tax rate will yield nothing in tax revenues. A 0% tax rate will yield nothing in tax revenues. Somewhere is a point of maximum return. That point is probably somewhere near 20-25% GDP. The Federal Government, by itself, is already past that point in spending (although it is only collecting about 20% GDP in taxes). Add in State and Local spending and taxes, and the total government participation in the economy in this country is very likely near or past the point of maximum return. So while I am not ideologically opposed to raising taxes (they are necessary to any complex society), I don't think we can squeeze much more blood out of the turnip that is the American taxpayer - not for long at any rate.

Now there can be endless debate as to how best to distribute the burden of taxation. So noted.

I consider one is "broke" when the sum of his current liabilities exceeds the sum of his current assets and income.

We're broke.

Ah... assets.

Maybe we can sell Alaska back to Russia for a profit? :D

There's a difference between your "broke" and "no longer a going concern". No one is going to disband the state, so the real question is "Who's going to be left holding the bag?" For an individual, a business, or a subdivision of a state (city, county, special district), the rules are usually pretty clear. For a state, much less so.

  1. Setting the rules for bankruptcy is reserved by the US Constitution to Congress; under current statute, states are not included among the parties that can seek protection from bankruptcy court, or be forced into it by creditors.
  2. So what we will see is an incredibly messy sequence of defaults on obligations. Priorities will be set in rough order by federal statute and court decisions, the California Constitution, and then California statute.
  3. For example, California is required by federal statute to administer the SNAP (formerly Food Stamp) program. The feds pay the benefits, and will reimburse the state for administrative costs up to 5% of the benefit total, but the actual case workers are state/county/city employees, and the state is responsible overall.
  4. Some of the requirements will be "discovered" as the process goes along. Recently, the state cut funding for in-home care that was keeping elderly disabled out of nursing homes. Several advocacy groups took the state to federal court, and the court ruled that stopping the payments violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
  5. IIRC, the California Constitution makes some minimum amount of spending on K-12 education the top priority. So that gets funded. Again IIRC, payments on bonds is the next priority, so the bond holders get paid.
  6. After that, it gets really messy.

I think California's poor are the ones who end up holding the bag in the long run. Medicaid participation is not mandatory. If states choose to participate, they have to meet minimum standards. But they can drop out entirely. California's state share of Medicaid would cover 80-90% of their current annual deficit. At some point, when the alternative is shut down the UC system, the community colleges, the parks, and completely stop road maintenance, I think eliminating Medicaid will be more politically acceptable.

Ok. Well almost everybody who bought a house has been broke at least part of the time. Oddly macros economics is more complicated than you would seem to prefer.

I think that you severely underestimate the point of maximum tax income. A bit north of 50% of GDP is likely the peak IF structured properly.

Estate taxes (and associated gift & trust taxes) are a LARGE untaxed source of revenue (and people will die regardless of tax policy).

VAT is zero in the USA.

Income taxes have significant slack left in them.

Tariffs are VERY low, and sin taxes are simply TOO low.

Plus the USA would be much better served with MUCH higher fuel taxes.

Sweden two decades ago was probably past the point of peak tax revenues, but there are few other examples.


I think that you severely underestimate the point of maximum tax income. A bit north of 50% of GDP is likely the peak IF structured properly.

Also if the spending is structured properly. Close to twenty percent of the fed revenues go to feed our obsession with all things military. In Sweden they get government healthcare, and higher education is very affordable. I think I would be better off there, my
taxes would be higher, but my two biggest current expenses would be minimzed. And we have seen the Nordic countries near the top of the developed world in growth rates. So much for taxes choking off economic growth. It was a nice theory for those rich people who don't want to share their good fortune.

So I went and did some digging.

Leave this without comment except to say ... maybe maximum rate of return is higher than I think.


I will also note that Sweden runs a balanced budget. I'm guessing that most of the Nordic countries do.

As TOD poster Magnus Redin noted (he works for the Moderate Party in energy policy analysis). Sweden was paying off the national debt too fast under the Social Democrats (-17%/year) which has it's own problems. So, to stay in surplus but not TOO much, the Moderates cut income tax rates on the lowest quarter of tax payers, to encourage marginal workers more.

VERY unlike our R's who concentrate the bulk of tax cuts on the wealthiest.


That were quite an interesting angle on our tax cuts but who gave you your figures?
They might be in the ballpark if one assumes that keeping the high taxes would not hurt
employment and still give lower costs for benefits but that is an unreasonable assumption.

The latest year on year changes for Swedens government debt are:

Social democrates 2003 +3,9%
Social democrates 2004 +2.3%
Social democrates 2005 +4 %
Social democrates 2006 -3 %
Right wing coalition 2007 -8.1 %
Right wing coalition 2008 -4.2 %
Right wing coalition 2009 +6.2 %
Right wing coalition 2010 prognosis +5.4 %
2010 is election year 2011 prognosis +3.2 %
(I am not sure if this prognosis is before or after the latest revision upwards after
parts of economy started recovering a little faster. )

The Swedish government debt peaked in 1996 at 76% of GNP and it were 35% of GNP 2008.

This has been achived with a budget procedure where our parliament sets a roof for
the total spending that is based on honest (I kid you not) calulations intended to
give a 2 % surpus over a regular business cycle. Then the budget must fit below this
limit. This is supported by the social democrates and all the right wing coalition parties.
It is as if the Republicans and Democrates made budget dicipline into law before the dotcom
crash and then held this during the dotcom crash and post 9/11. This budget discipline is unfortunatly not supported by the former communist party that is part of the social democrates bid for the 2010 elections and this makes me weary.

We have overall too high taxes, they hurt our economy and thus we can stimulate our economy to produce more goods and services by lowering taxes. The lower taxes and also lower benefits for unemployed made a noticable difference after a year with tax revenue going up compared with a conservative prognosis and governmnet spending going down. This were almost immediately fed back into the system by lowering the taxes even more and infrastructure and other investments were increased.

We had set up a beutiful feedback loop and I also liked the oil price trends, oil price going up only slightly faster then our currency strenghtening giving realy good incentives and the wehicles, pulp and paper, food, investment goods etc were selling well on the export market even when our currency value were going up. Then the financial crisis hit, why did the USA have to commit financial suicide and take most of the world with it?

Our government has stimulated our economy by the "automatic" systems such as benefits for unemployed and budget increases for education, RnD and infrastructure investments and more tax cuts for people with low incomes and this time also for retired people. The tax cuts during 3 years equals one additional month of net income for lower middle class people. The "automatic" systems for layd off people are not part of the budget process and they would have become even more expensive if we had not lowered the benefits and increased employment during the good years. We now have a political debate if this realy is a good way to handle the budget and the social democrates accuse the right wing coalition of lending money to continue lowering taxes. And we respond that we do it for poor people and lower middle class and that it is a neceserry structual change in our economy.

The real deal is that it is a structural chage in peoples dependecy on our government, we need to get people to be more self supporting to make our economy more robust and people happier as free individuals rather then socialists that have to bow their heads to politicians. We could never do this by lowering taxes for rich people since they are already free and can do whatever they want with their lives. Our socialists dearly want to raise taxes to get their influence back and this is one reason for this election being higly significant for us. This is a fight for power but no one exept the former communists suggest crashing our economy to win an election. I dont realy get the US equivalent, your Republicans versus Democrates conflict seems to be between politicians that no longer are part of your society and dont need to live in what they do to it. It seems so weird...

Thank you for that glimpse into Sweden. Appreciate it.

As to the Rep -v- Dem thing, I can only shrug my shoulders and say that 30 years ago the two parties appear to have agreed on a common strategy for economic recovery following Peak US Oil, following US withdrawal from Bretton-Woods gold standard, following the OPEC embargo, following the Iran Crisis. Since they agreed on the basic strategy - deficit federal spending, low tax rates, low interest rates, and dollar hegemony - they have inflated the rhetorical battle to the point that no one can discuss an alternative. We are driving towards a cliff and no one is allowed to touch the steering wheel.

But I don't blame the politicians directly. To some degree I think they understand the problems better than most and would act to fix it if they could. I blame a public that is easily swayed by political pundits and the promise of easy solutions. "Cut taxes and revenues will soar!" or "Cut defense spending and we can balance the budget!" Total, childish nonsense. And we love it. And we love hating the other guy, blaming him for wanting to destroy the country. There is no good-will left in our politics. No willingness to cooperate or compromise. No asabiya as Turchin puts it.

Kudos to you for looking for data and posting it, even if it alters your POV a bit !

Best Hopes for more posters that think and research (I could do better myself),


Yes, more taxes so we can fund ever growing entitlement programs! Meanwhile, I get absolutely nothing from these programs. Nearly 50% of the people in this country pay no federal income tax, tax them first before you take more from me. Maybe look for new revenue streams too, maybe charging people $75,000 to immigrate here and use that money to pay down the national debt.

Look at the UK, they have very high taxes and they'll most likely be going bust before the U.S.

There's more to it than just income tax, in case you haven't to study the situation. Most states have sales taxes, which are very regressive. In my state, the sales tax has just been increased to 7.75% for items other than food. For another example, the sales tax does not apply to real estate transactions, though there may be other transfer taxes at the local level. Most of the gasoline taxes go the the states and usually that tax is dedicated for road construction and maintenance.

Your claim that "I get absolutely nothing from these programs" is obviously bogus and also ignores the fact that people without income can't buy food. Without "these programs", you might find yourself running a gauntlet trying to walk from the food store to your car. Or, you might awake one night and find someone about to cut your throat for the few dollars on your night stand...

E. Swanson

The government spends a fortune occupying foreign countries... am I made safer? Not really.
The government created Social Security and requires too many people paying into the system... will I ever get any money? I doubt it.

Entitlement and defense spending has spiraled out of control. Prior to the Great Society and the Depression era entitlements, the U.S. was not a war zone.

Prior to Reagan, the homeless and beggars were quite rare in the USA.


Floridian avoids using socialized roads (he stays at home 24/7) or socialized schools (K-12 or universities). He turns off the radio and TV at any mention of socialized weather forecasting (ESPECIALLY from those socialists at the National Hurricane Center) and he refuses any medical treatment that results from socialized medical research (and only uses doctors that graduated from private medical schools).

Yes, Floridian gets *NO* benefit from the taxes he pays.

Best Hopes for Conservatives with Integrity !


In Bob Herbert's op/ed yesterday, he cited a number of recent studies that illustrate more accurately the dire straits many US citizens face. An excerpt:

A new study from the Brookings Institution tells us that the largest and fastest-growing population of poor people in the U.S. is in the suburbs. You don’t hear about this from the politicians who are always so anxious to tell you, in between fund-raisers and photo-ops, what a great job they’re doing. From 2000 to 2008, the number of poor people in the U.S. grew by 5.2 million, reaching nearly 40 million. That represented an increase of 15.4 percent in the poor population, which was more than twice the increase in the population as a whole during that period.

The study does not include data from 2009, when so many millions of families were just hammered by the recession. So the reality is worse than the Brookings figures would indicate.

Job losses, stagnant or reduced wages over the past decade, and the loss of home equity when the housing bubble burst have combined to take a horrendous toll on families who thought they had done all the right things and were living the dream. A great deal of that bleeding is in the suburbs. The study, compiled by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, said, “Suburbs gained more than 2.5 million poor individuals, accounting for almost half of the total increase in the nation’s poor population since 2000.”

Democrats in search of clues as to why voters are unhappy may want to take a look at the report. In 2008, a startling 91.6 million people — more than 30 percent of the entire U.S. population — fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is a meager $21,834 for a family of four.

With the standard-of-living's rapid fall, I expect greater political unrest as people absorb what the monstrous USSC ruling on corporate personhood means to them. And as Herbert notes, the above paragraphs's stats don't include data from 2009; so, it's safe to assume an additional 10% of the populace should be included. The oft-cited quote from the Day of the Condor relates to energy provided by external sources; it didn't anticipate the bankrupting of the citizenry by its own government and its corporate allies, which will now become the targets of citizen ire.

X – I hate to get distracted by such side issues but I hate distortions even worse. There are not many positions that President Reagan took that I agree whole-heartedly with. But facts are facts: Reagan didn’t change the tax laws. Only Congress can. They write the laws and President Reagan signed them. But most importantly gov’t tax revenue didn’t decrease due to those changes in tax law. Gov’t tax revenue has increased every year over year since his time through 2007 with the exception of 2002 and 2003. Don’t even think about arguing. These are the stats right from the IRS web site (easy to find: irs.gov). The big problem was with increased spending which President Reagan and every president, as well as every Congress, since then fully supported.

I might be able to list more complaints I have against President Reagan then you might. But I’m very tired of so many folks repeating the same incorrect fact. The American tax payers (personal and corporations) have been paying more and more every year with the exceptions I mentioned above. The deficits are the direct result of increases in gov’t spend…not reduced tax revenue. Period.

You're right, Rock, according to this:

Another major myth: Reagan cut taxes on all Americans, and that led to a great expansion.

Here's the truth: the total federal tax burden increased during the Reagan years, and most Americans paid more in taxes after Reagan than before. The "Reagan Recovery" was unremarkable. It looks great only contrasted against the dismal Reagan Recession -- but it had nothing to do with Supply Side voodoo.

With a red ink explosion -- $300 BILLION deficits looming as far as the eye could see -- GOP Senators, notably including Bob Dole, led the way on tax hikes. The economy enjoyed its recovery only after total tax increases larger than the total tax cuts were implemented. Most importantly, average annual GDP growth during the Reagan 80s was lower than during the Clinton 90s or the JFK-LBJ 60s!


My biggest gripe with Reagan's policies was the way he kicked the energy can down the road. His reversals of Carter's policies certainly set us back years on development of renewables and synthetic fuels (including oil sands). I could go on, but that would be a rant.

I agree Ghung. With the exception of pushing the USSR to the curb (more luck then anyhting else I suspect) I consider Reagan to be as much of a "do nothing" president as Carter. At least Carter had an idea about our energy situation. A shame he was so ineffective.

And remember I'm a die hard conservative. Not to be confused with a Republican, of course. I personally liked Ronnie (as much as you can like anyone you've never met). But that doesn't change my opinion of his presidency.

And as long as the Dems bash Reagan/Bush and the Repubs bash Clinton/Obama they'll keep much of our masses blind as to who the real bad guys are:them. Sadly they are very good at this strategy. Thus we'll keep hearing about President Obama's closed door deals and Govenor Palin's ignorance instead of a serious and honest focus on the critical issues IMHO.

Thanks for these notes, Rockman. Now I don't have to duplicate the same statements.

I think total taxes are pushing 50% already at the marginal edge for much of the middle class. And I'm taking the logical step of deciding to make less money by working less and doing more around the house. Looking forward to my wife quitting work and staying home too. It's just not worth working to pay taxes when the gov't is spending money the way they do.

C'mon Rock! If they focused on critical issues now, a huge chunk of the populous would go critical. Besides, I figure we have about ten years until the MegaCorps decide what's critical. We'll have little ability to put a fly in their ointment. Best to mitigate one's own circumstances at this point, personal or business.

To tell the truth Ghung I've always tended to minimize, in my mind, the negative effects "they" have on our lives. From my personal experiences most folks’ problems are caused by themselves (including me). Likewise with their successes. Granted I'm always ready to rag on "them" but if I don't like what "they" are doing against my best interest. But I'll look for a way to circumvent or at least minimize it. True that the effort isn't always successful but at least I try.

Some years ago I walked into a changing room on an offshore rig. A kid around 23 yo was sitting there looking like a whip dog. Working 12 hours manhandling dumb iron on a rig floor where the temp were probably over 105 degrees (with 100% humidity,of course) will do that to you. He looked up and said: ” Those folks in the office have no idea of what it's like out here". Normally I avoid such conversations. Just nod and walk on. But I didn't. Looked at him and said no, a lot of those folks know exactly how bad the job is. Many have had that job and decided to educate/train themselves to move up the food chain. The obvious response from him: "I don't like school". My obvious response: ”You like this work better than school?" He said yes. No kidding...he really did. Can't remember exactly how I responded. Just mumbled something and walked away. Then I remembered why I didn't engage in those conversations.

You can educate anyone. But you can't fix stupid.

Many have had that job and decided to educate/train themselves to move up the food chain. The obvious response from him: "I don't like school". My obvious response: ”You like this work better than school?" He said yes. No kidding...he really did.

Wow! If that kid's point of view were the rare exception to the rule one could just shrug and say too bad for him. Unfortunately it seems to be rather ubiquitous. To make matters worse I rather doubt he was really stupid, more likely just a product of our anti intellectual culture.

True FM. I actually seldom ever see "stupid" (whatever that really means) but I do see a lot of "foolish". When I was a volunteer with the Houston public school system I saw it all the time especially with the minority kids. We've all heard the term "acting white" used to knock kids trying to do well in school. I'm sure most remember how powerful peer pressure can be when you're that age. Fortunately when I was a kid peer pressure pushed me the other way even though I grew up in a poor neighborhood. Used this motivation all the way through college. I was the first person in my family's history that graduated highs school let alone college. Even at that I couldn't recite the entire alphabet when I started high school. Can we say "dumb as a stick"? For me college was an escape from the old neighborhood. I spent so much time (even over the holidays) in the geology department I got the nick name "Dr. (last name)". I was actually raised to be career military as a way to escape but a childhood back injury (associated with getting stabbed) ended that possibility. Tried to sneek by the physical but got caught. Irony: I couldn't even volunteer for Viet Nam while so many we're doing all they could to avoid it.

I found even by 4th grade most kids had some enthusiasm for school. Of course, I was showing them rocks, minerals and dinosaur fossils so it was easy to get them jazzed up. But I quickly stopped doing high school kids. Even in the more affluent schools many of the kids seemed to have given up on education. Sometimes I sense a bit of that "anti intellectual culture" you refer to even when chatting with adults. Especially when chatting about PO or AGW. They don't have a background to really have a grasp of the situation so they become defensive. At that point I can feel like I back in the class room explaining what they make sheet rock or window panes from and watch more than one kid lay their head on the desk and tune out. this attitude may be one of the biggest obsticals to getting Joe6Pack to understand what's going on in the world around him.

BTW -- That whipped floor hand was probably making 4X what he would have been making at McDonalds. The problem was that with the cycles in the oil patch he might be back trying to get that job at McD's before too long. These hands don't usually last too long anyway. That crappy attitude will eventually get them run off. A bad attitude on an offshore rig can get folks hurt or killed.

Rockie: I just finished reading all the comments and IMO you deserve the gold star today.

A very good analysis that I agree with.


Since the biggest part of the federal budget is the Defense Dept and the Conservatives are the ones most gungho on having wars I would say the conservatives are the ones to keep raising costs.

Of course the bank bailouts have exceeded any few billions we want to spend on social services and and hundreds of billions we spend on war (not to mention the black budget of the CIA). And that is something both Bush and Obama and virtually the whole congress have favored. The conservatives thought it was hunky dory when Bush was still in and the liberal think it is hunky dory now that Obama is in. Funny how that works and how blind both sides can be to the inconsistency. But that is not real money, its play money digitized into existence by the Fed. The debt is NOT the problem, the problem is the trust of the rest of the world in the US. That is falling fast. All money is trust, none of it is real. Food is real. Money is a promise and our promises are no longer backed by much that is real.

oxi - I must assume you're under 30 yo or so. Thus I can forgive you for not knowing that 60,000 of our brothers (and around 700,000 Vietnamese) died in a war started by a liberal and escalated by his liberal replacement. And, just for the record, ended by one of the most conservative butt holes to ever occupy the Oval Office. So if you're keeping count that's more body bags filled collectively then by all your "conservatives".

Oh...in case you missed the latest headlines one of the most liberal presidents in recent times just escalated another war. But I'm sure his prime motivation is to bring them universal health care. Oh...and if you didn't notice it was a Conress dominated by the liberal party that overwhelmingly approved the DOD budget for this escalation as well as all their other little projects.

All I can say is God save us from the Reds and the Blues.

Rockman, Kennedy did not start the Viet Nam war. He did expand the number of troops Ike sent in, and Johnson increased that number further. Ike, in fact announced increases in "advisors" after JFK won the election. Similiarly, GHW Bush invaded Somalia after Clinton won the his first election.

From an economic standpoint, Reagan, GHW Bush and George W were the worst Presidents we ever had, and hopefully their records will not be topped by anyone else, ever.

Everybody has strong and weak points, and they need to be correctly stated.

Additionally, all of the "Reagan was a hero" group gives Reagan full credit for the tax cuts. The sponsors, Gramm and Rudman convinced Reagan that the Dems would "have" to cut spending to avoid the outrageeous deficits if Reagan would back the tax cuts. RR, of course drank the kool-aid and backed their efforts, to our everlasting woe.

At the risk of being redundant Woody let me repeat the basic point I was making about oxi’s comment: “if you're keeping count that's more body bags filled collectively (by liberals) then by all your "conservatives” and “it was a Conress dominated by the liberal party that overwhelmingly approved the DOD budget”. Oxy was trying to paint “conservatives” as the only folks who fight wars and push big DOD budgets. Recolor history as much as you want but you can’t change the body count. Did you even notice that I said God save us from both sides of the eisle and not just the liberal side?

And please don't mistake me for a Republican again.

All I can say is God save us from the Reds and the Blues.

Rockman, I can't tell the difference bewtween them. It took 28 years of totally stupid to get us to where we are, through the administrations of 5 Presidents. And today, they claim to worry about a health care 'crisis' that with efforts they could not fund in an economy on the verge of total collapse. And, neither organized political party can field a single candidate who has the glimmer of an idea of what leadership means. They all think it means to find a parade and get in front of it. Not a one says boo about PO, the make lip service about AGW, and their policies are all based on BAU, failed economics, and the next election.

It makes me sick. And, it is a foremost reason that I don't believe that anything will ever be done to prepare, or to mitigate the fall we contemplate. When I discuss maybe doing a new political party, no one wants to get involved, 'because of the risk' I would call it "The Libertarian Progressive Party." You interested?

I sent you an email about my party and campaign, if you don't get it, let me know.


Rockman, I am 61. Not talking about Presidents, they are all conservative. Talking about people. People who want us out of the war business and into providing services for our citizens are labeled liberal. Those who want less government spending on services for our citizens and are pro war are labeled conservative. But war costs more than all other services except SS and Medicare/Medicaid which are funded separately but the surplus funds in Social Security have been "borrowed" to pay for war.

I must second the comments by Woodychuck and others.

The Conservatives in the US (mostly Republicans) claim that Kennedy "started" the Vietman war ignore the history. It's important to go back to earlier events to understand how we got involved. Vietman was our ally against the Japanese in WW II. After Japan and Germany were defeated, the Allies let the French to regain control of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh simply switched to fighting the French.

The French were beaten and there was a peace conference, the results of which were to be a unified Vietnam. Since it was likely that the new Vietnam would go Communist and in light of the other events which flowed from the end of WW II, that is to say, the Communist take over in China and the Korean War, the US, Ex-General turned President Eisenhower decided to ignore the results of Geneva and support for the South. Recall to that Ex-General George C. Marshall had been ambassador to China then Secretary of State when the Communist were fighting for control and Ex-General Douglas MacArthur (a potential candidate for President in 1952) had been military ruler of Japan after WW II and was in command of the local US forces at the start of the Korean War...

As they say, the rest is history. Those interested might want to read the Pentagon Papers for more on the situation...

E. Swanson

I see nothing incorrect in your account of the history Black Dog. I've read a bit too. BTW: how many of the 60,000 servicemen who died in Viet Nam were ordered there by Kennedy and Johnson? Also, which liberal party just voted in favor of the largest DOD budget in the history of the U.S? And yes, President Obama did not start the war in Afgh. But he did just choose to escalate the conflict. And the Democrate controlled Congress voted in favor of funding this escalation.

Folks seem to keep missing my original point: liberals have the same bloody record as the conservatives. That was the debate you joined. And both parties have fully supported the expansion of the DOD when they are in power. Correct: you cannot rewrite history. Fortunately with the Congressional record posted for all Americans to access we can each check the numbers for ourselves. It's neither liberals or conservatives responsible for filling all those tens of thousands of U.S. bodies bags as well as all the civilian "collateral damage". It's the politicians that have racked this score up.

And as long as folks keep trying to make this a them vs. us argument the two-party system will just sit back, smile and enjoy the benefits of this misdirection IMHO.

We have a one party system run by the CIA. Out in the general population it is time to wake up to that. Clinton the "liberal" democrat dismantled welfare. The conservatives in the population didn't notice. Obama the "liberal" is a warmonger. The liberals in the population are slow to notice, but some of them are brushing off hope and realizing they have been had.

How did Clinton destroy welfare? Earned income tax credits were an excellent idea, allowing someone to be a welfare queen is terrible.

The accounts are not complete. They ignore the external costs of burning coal and "securing" (foreign) oil. Maybe investing in renewables is a way of deliberately choosing to reject imposing these externalities on other people. Not only that, but an investment in solar energy provides not only a secure energy source in an insecure world, but it provides a solid income far into the future (cost savings). Sure, the accounts don't stack up on a $ basis, but they sure do on grounds that cannot be measured in $'s - morality, the future, the feel good factor etc etc.

$ doesn't come from state funds, but from the utilities who get it from us.

Renewable Energy Program Funding 1998-2001
Assembly Bill 1890 AB 1890 - Statutes of 1996, Chapter 854, Brulte) was the initial electricity industry deregulation legislation and was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson in September 1996. It required California's three major investor-owned utilities (Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and San Diego Gas & Electric) to collect 540 million from their ratepayers via a "public goods surcharge" on electricity use. Bear Valley Electric, another investor-owned utility, continues to participate in the Renewable Energy Program as well and has collected more than 550,000 from its ratepayers from 1998 through 2007. In addition, voluntary contributions from the public have added nearly 20,000 to the Renewable Resource Trust Fund in support of renewable energy.

The following year, Senate Bill 90 implemented the provisions of AB 1890 by creating the Renewable Resource Trust Fund as a depository for AB 1890 fund collections and directed the activities of the Energy Commission relating to renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Program Funding 2002 to 2006
In September 2000, the legislature adopted the Reliable Electric Service Investments Act as the result of legislation: Assembly Bill 995 (AB 995, Statutes of 2000, Chapter 1051, Wright) and Senate Bill 1194 (SB 1194, Statutes of 2000, Chapter 1050, Sher). These two pieces of legislation mandated the three major investor-owned utilities to collect 135 million annually for 10 years beginning in 2002 to support the Renewable Energy Program.

Senate Bill 1038 (SB 1038, Statutes of 2002, Chapter 515, Sher), signed in September 2002, incorporated the "Investment Plan" with changes. The bill directed the Energy Commission on how to implement the Renewable Energy Program from 2002 through 2006. The funding allocations differed from the initial allocations with subsequent changes due to the discontinuation of the Customer Credit Program as shown in the table below. More detailed account funding information, including program activity, is available in the Renewable Energy Program's More detailed account funding information, including program activity, is available in the Quarterly Updates.

This isn't about what is good vrs. not good it is about how to paying for it.
I think energy companies are just like dope dealers and cigarette manufacturer's they need an addict.
Now we are at the precipice.
They cannot afford this unless those people who now get government aid work for it, there is no other way, and even then(?). California is in deep trouble.

'Broke' is a relative term.

Any investment that can drop operating and future energy costs the way Solar Heat can is a good investment.

We keep hearing this refrain 'It's a good idea, but now's not the time.' Yes it is. Yesterday and Today are the best times to install solar.

Right now, 30 degrees in Portland in January, and my clunky Homebuilt Solar hot air box is blowing air into our apartment at 106.2 degrees. That's #2 Oil that I'm not burning.


'Imagination is more important than Knowledge' Einstein

As to 'broke is relative', same reply as above.

But running a solar air from your roof - DOH!, why didn't I think of that?
I've always thought of that as a wall mounted operation.
But it on the roof and push air down the chimney? hmmm....

Thanks Ron. It does work, but running the Insulated Duct is a compromise that costs me probably a good bit of efficiency over the Wall-units. I need to make up a thicker insulation coat for those hoses.

Still, it blows hot air in this frigid weather.

And I built it while we have been 'essentially' broke. Living as carefully as we could, income has still been down, and costs have been high. Our debt is not extreme but pretty worrying. But still, with what cashflow exists, if you see a place to invest that seems likely to have a good, solid return, why wouldn't we go for it?

In a time of all sorts of near-range brushfires, it's hard to invest in long-term strategies, but it's no less sensible than doing it in times of relative ease. California has a severe deficit, but it still has bills to pay, still has tax dollars coming in. Some of those funds are rightly directed at such solution.

(I also just took a few spare minutes and plastic-wrapped another one of the leaky windows at my Mom's house. Anything to amplify income or cut expenses..)


Broke as defined by what?
Sure we could sell California(as-is)to China, India, or Russia or we could liquidate public buildings, parks, etc.

When you spend more than you make and it looks like your credit card is tapped out - you are broke.

Maybe we just sell a fully inhabited state or two every couple of years until there is nothing left.

You ARE being delusional. What are you talking about?

California is a HUGE economy. So they're in the RED, maybe WAY in the Red. So what? There is still money changing hands. You make it sound as if there is no movement of currency. There is, and they still have the obligation to direct money where they can to patch holes. (While other funds are surely going into bottomless holes, as well) As was said above, to whatever degree spending it once on a Solar installation ultimately prevents the continual outlay of money for fuel imports, then this is going to be revenue positive.

Selling off states.. I did hear once that one of the Plains states was being renamed 'Aiwa' .. but that might have been an urban legend.

So California is a HUGE economy -so what? Poorly managed, and that makes it worse, and it will get worse. Being broke at a big level is a big problem, look at Japan.
There are to many claims against the money that exists ALREADY. Some one is going to come out empty handed - Who do you think? Solar is relatively free once installed to the installee but the government side of this equation; taxable income = no, large, hence easier to satisfy constituency that gives large donations to campaigns = no, angry mobs and crying mothers with children broadcast on TV every night= no. Solar is quiet, politicians respond to noise and money.

"As was said above, to whatever degree spending it once on a Solar installation ultimately prevents the continual outlay of money for fuel imports, then this is going to be revenue positive."

Like I said above/below this isn't about what is good or bad (I agree solar is good) it is about paying for it.

In a few more months, California will issue more IOU's. If the Federal Government lets them keep this up, it will become a second USA currency.

Re: Greenland
I see someone thinks Greenland can become financially independent within five years as a result oil yet to be discovered.

I very much doubt it. All the obvious exploration targets were drilled years ago, at great expense and with no success. Now some more optimists are trying again. But the real problem is not finding oil (though even that hasn't been accomplished yet) but producing it.

As far as I'm aware, all the areas currently thought to be prospective are offshore. Some of the problems to be solved are:

  • Heavy pack ice covering the surface six to nine months of the year
  • Large icebergs can strike any fixed offshore structure, even sea-floor equipment in hundreds of meters of water.
  • There is practically no infrastructure: few harbors with any cargo-handling equipment, and probably none capable of handling large ships; almost no roads; only two airfields capable of handling large aircraft; essentially no industry; no electric grid.
  • Very small population: under 60,000.

I can't see a significant energy return on energy invested, unless a new discovery is made on the scale of a super-major oil field, and almost all such fields in the world were discovered within a few years of the start of serious exploration. Serious exploration in Greenland started nearly forty years ago.

On the basis of money yet to be made, I am wealthier than Bill Gates.

Cash that will come in handy on your big date with Julia!

I anticipate that with each new billion dollars that I make, I will be perceived as much better looking.

Ha! After Lyle Lovett, anybody's got a chance.

Since money now equals speech, it must hold that speech equals money. So, for example, when presented with the bill from your credit card company, just write in the total amount owed into the "amount of payment enclosed" box and post. Or phone your congresscritter's office and announce you're making a re-election donation of $1,000; and when asked if that will be made via check or credit card, you can respond by saying: Didn't you hear me,I just made the donation by saying it."

If there are decent-sized oilfields offshore Greenland, then we can produce them, provided they're not under multiyear pack ice - there's little of that left anyway. Shtokman has all of the problems mentioned, and is additionally gas rather than oil, and yet development is going ahead.

The only infrastructure needed is helicopter bases, which I believe already exist. The drilling rigs, pipelay vessels, supply vessels etc would not be based in Greenland, and would probably never call at a Greenland harbour. (Similar to some West African offshore developments we ran on a "Task Force" basis.)

But even if these Greenland oilfields actually exist, they would first have to be found, then appraised, then viable development concepts worked out and approved, production facilities designed and built, wells drilled and tied-in. First Oil = 2020 at the very earliest.

I have my doubts whether Shtokman has an iceberg based threat. Sea ice and icebergs are whole different categories of things. The former is only a couple of meters thick, the later can be a hundred meters or more. I think only the major icecaps, such as greenland, antarctica, and elsemere island can produce real icebergs. The few tidewater alpine glaciers, such as are found in Alaska, break off much smaller chunks of ice. I suspect Nova Zemlya, which is a few hundred KM to the east, produces the later sort of bergs.

I think they monitor bergs for Hibernia off Nova Scotia. They may even take action to deflect them. But this is very far from the source in much warmer waters. There is a huge difference between latitude of 46 degrees versus the sixties and seventies.

Shtokman certainly does face an iceberg threat, though seemingly Franz-Josef Land is the culprit rather than Novaya Zemlya - see http://www.isope.org/publications/proceedings/ISOPE/ISOPE%202006/papers/.... Hibernia is perhaps even worse : it's further south, but the cold Labrador current sweeps Greenland's icebergs towards it. A lot of money was spent on making Hibernia iceberg-resistant - see http://www.hibernia.ca/html/about_hibernia/ice_management.html.

Supposing a giant oilfield is discovered off East Greenland in shallow water, there'd probably be a repeat of the Hibernia development scheme. In deeper water (below keel depth of icebergs) we'd see a wholly subsea development, with pipelines to an FPSO further southeast, to avoid the worst of the pack ice. Or it might be viable to run pipelines direct to landfall in Iceland, if the field is large enough and close enough.

The "curse" of the still employed?

Was chatting with a an engineer I know. Company is doing well, and engineers are working their rear ends off, but the middle manager wants the engineers to work longer hours per day, and he is talking about mandatory Saturday workdays.

It seems that one of the rewards of still being employed is more and more work per person. Of course, there are lots of people that would be happy to trade places with the still employed.

In any case, my friend sent me a covertly obtained video clip from their workplace, showing the middle manager gradually increasing the demands on the workforce:


That was great, but had no sense of the Economic Aspect of this whole situation.

I think this illustrates the transglobal Financial Model with much more accuracy.


"They can take this oar.. OUT OF MY COLD DEAD HANDS!"

Now it is a "buyers" market. Managers can do whatever they want - where else will the employees go ? Can we say sweatshop ....

Mushroom hunter, hiking on the North Slope of Mt. Tam 3rd's that sentiment.

SW engineer heading to work this weekend nods in agreement.

Data analyst, working on laptop from home this weekend, seconds that nod of agreement.

Sounds familiar. It seems that any problem we ran into could be solved by mandatory overtime:

1 Behind plan: Mandatory overtime to bill more hours per month and bring in revenue
2 Over budget: Mandatory overtime without pay until caught up
3 Behind schedule: Mandatory overtime to get work done faster

I'll be in the office on Sunday (#2 above)

I gotta get some code written this weekend :^(.....
Trying to decide if R or Matlab is more evil.....

I guess I got it easy. I'm monitoring a QA run. But that requires only occasional action. Any heavy work I save for the office.

Our province is slowly transitioning away from coal. Although I wish more could be done, more quickly, to further this goal, I'm encouraged by the progress made thus far.

Wind turbines in motion
N.S. Power approves $50m in projects

Ten community wind-turbine contracts valued collectively at about $50 million received clearance Thursday to proceed at locations across the province.

"These projects add millions to the provincial economy, and the exciting thing is these facilities will be entirely owned by Nova Scotians," said Dan Roscoe, chief executive officer at Scotian WindFields Inc., which has one of the larger contracts approved by Nova Scotia Power.

Nova Scotia Power awarded contracts for about 20 megawatts of electricity to be supplied from the renewable energy projects. The utility said 20 megawatts of wind power is enough to power about 6,500 homes.


Nova Scotia Power claims these projects, combined with five new wind farms scheduled to be online this year, will bring the province’s wind generation to a total capacity of 275 megawatts.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1163564.html



I've uploaded a new version of my Peak Oil software to my site.

The new features are:

- User Manual
- Bug Fix

You can download it over here: http://sokath.sourceforge.net

the reduction of cars produced in europe and the states is the coveted reduction in lifestyle that will save the planet. what do we need more cars and increased consumption of FF for? we must embrace the lower standard of living.

as for peak water...well, fracking or how ever you want to spell it,
contaminates ground water. what's up with that? how can we say one thing is good while it has negative influences on another? peak oil, peak water, peak production, peak population, peak minerals. when have we reached peak stupidity? it just seems there is no limit to human greed and folly. we are up against it.

i understand that certain entities, such as gubbermint agencies and
NGO's do data mining on the webtubes. they sift through word counts on web pages and can "predict" the future or at least future trends.

so, to create a new meme here it goes.

titan, a moon of saturn is covered in hydrocarbons. IT HAS LAKES OF METHANE!!! let's build space ships and go get it.

did i mention die off today? oh yes, i did. die off. have you contemplated the meaning of that phrase and what it's implications are? death is elgalitarian. death is the great liberator. king and peasant, oligarch billionaire and homeless bum are all subject to his rule. no one gets out of here alive.

"it's all good"

'After the game, the King and the Pawn go in same box.'

Maybe, "Bushes Poodle" isn't in the box yet, but it is looking bad for Blair:

Bush had Scottys. Don't give Poodles a bad name. They're smarter than Bush.

We've got over 100 years of phosphorus, at least according to the above news item.

Two quotes from the article:

North American fertilizer producers like Canada's Agrium and Potash Corp. may be hard pressed to sell their potash globally for a price they believe the crop nutrient deserves. Last month, a consortium of European producers reached a deal to sell about one million tonnes of potash to China for $350 US a tonne.

Phosphate reserves are those that can be economically mined at today's prices. Morocco and the west Sahara have 37 per cent, China 27 per cent, U.S. 8 per cent, South Africa 10 per cent and Jordan 6 per cent of the world phosphate reserves with other countries at 1 per cent or less. The phosphate reserve base includes phosphate that is both economical and uneconomical to mine currently.

Why is China buying phosphorus?

Regarding the article "Lights Out In Chavez Land," why oh why is Chavez doing so much to discredit socialism? Climategate set the socialist movement back and now this guy is continuing the reversal.

Its pretty foolish to rely on Frum for any accurate info on most anything.

This is going to cost a few dollars:

Oil spill at Texas port dumps 450,000 gallons

captain hazelwood rides again