Drumbeat: August 21, 2010

Could Gulf-like disaster scar the Heartland?

(CNN) -- For three decades, Mike and Sue Sibson expected the normal ups and downs that come with working a South Dakota farm and raising two kids. But when circumstances forced the Sibsons to let an oil pipeline bisect their property in 2009, it darkened their view of the American dream.

"I don't feel as free as I used to be," says Mike Sibson. "I don't trust anybody anymore."

In 2006, oil pipeline operators knocked on the Sibsons' door and began talks aimed at burying a 1.25-mile long, 30-inch wide steel pipeline four feet under the middle of their Miner County farm. The Sibsons said they didn't want it, but the pipeline operator, TransCanada, claimed eminent domain. That left the Sibsons and many of the neighbors with little choice but to allow construction.

Although TransCanada paid the Sibsons an undisclosed sum in a sealed settlement to use the land, "It's really not about the money," said Mike Sibson. "It's actually about how they can come in and take your land and do whatever the heck they want with it."

Iran starts loading fuel in nuclear power plant

BUSHEHR, Iran (AFP) – A defiant Iran started on Saturday loading fuel into its Russian-built first nuclear power plant, in the face of stiff opposition from world powers to its controversial atomic programme.

After more than three decades of delay, engineers finally began loading the Russia-supplied atomic fuel in the presence of UN inspectors into the facility located in the southern port of Bushehr and considered now as a full-fledged nuclear installation.

Congressmen have plan to kill Mass. LNG terminal

FALL RIVER, Mass. - Two Massachusetts lawmakers said Thursday they hope to deal a final blow to a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Fall River with an attempt to bar the Department of Energy from spending money on its regulatory review.

U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and James McGovern said they are adding language to a House appropriations bill that would effectively stop the department from authorizing any LNG project within five miles of the city. It also would bar the department from authorizing LNG tankers to service such a terminal.

Gasoline prices should fall after Labor Day

Americans can expect gasoline prices to drop as school buses start rolling through neighborhoods across the country.

With most family vacations wrapping up and teen drivers back in classes, gasoline demand will wane and prices should fall after Labor Day. One expert says prices could drop as much as 15 cents a gallon.

Shale Forum Draws Sharp Exchange on Severance Tax

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who spoke at the forum before traveling to the site of a Marcellus Shale well accident in Clearfield County in June, said the lessons of the past can be summarized simply: "Been there, done that."

"This time, we must not fail to protect our water, our people and our future," he said.

Russia probes St Petersburg blackout

AFP - Russia began investigating on Saturday the cause of a breakdown at an electricity substation that triggered a massive power cut in Saint Petersburg, its worst urban blackout in half a decade.

The Friday evening cut left almost half of the former imperial capital without power for up to several hours, causing chaos as lights in shops went out, traffic lights failed and metro trains stopped dead in tunnels.

As Quebec bathes in electricity, money goes down the drain

MONTREAL—The massive, state-of-the-art Bécancour cogeneration electricity plant is capable of powering 550,000 homes. At the moment, however, the only action its gas turbines are getting comes from the dehumidifiers that prevent them from rusting out.

Apart from providing steam for an industrial park neighbour, the plant, 150 kilometres northeast of Montreal, sits largely idle, victim of policies and planning in a province overrun with electricity.

US officials saw drilling ban costing jobs - WSJ

(Reuters) - Senior U.S. officials expected the deepwater drilling ban to cost about 23,000 jobs and hold up $10.2 billion in investments, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing federal documents.

Limits on BP claims worry business owners

Stipulations of geographic proximity to the oil spill and dependence on the gulf's natural resources might leave some without a shot at a share of the $20-billion victims fund.

Looking for Trouble on ‘Highway’ for Manatees

Researchers who model the oil spill’s progress expect subsurface oil to collect in a shipping channel that manatees use on their migration from Florida to Alabama.

Dust Bowl Haunts Wheat Farmers

Wheat got a bad rap in the 1930s, and has been faulted in environmental retrospectives ever since as the crop that caused the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression. It’s only partly true, of course –- it could have been any of a number of other crops that boomed too hard in the go-go 1920s, causing too many small farmers on the high plains to plant too much on land too fragile to sustain the load. Drought and the collapse of farm prices did the rest. A newly vulnerable landscape peeled up from its moorings and blew away before the eyes of a horrified nation.

On a recent reporting trip to southeast Colorado — one of the epicenters of Dust Bowl disaster — I saw how the wounds of that time still haven’t healed, and how the region’s tangled relationship with wheat still twists in the wind.

Eating for a better future

It is surprising to think that so much environmental harm is caused by what we choose to put on our plates every day. So what can be done to counter this?

Food And Farming: The Hub Of Planetary Transformation

For several years, Michael Brownlee and Lynnette-Marie Hanthorn have pioneered relocalization in Boulder County, Colorado. Their latest project is the Boulder County Eat Local Campaign beginning August 28 through September 4. Last week I caught up with Michael who generously gave an hour out of his packed schedule to talk about the desperate need for promoting local food and farming in our communities.

There's money in the dunny

White warned this year in the prestigious US journal Foreign Policy and other publications of an approaching "peak phosphate", which could hit as soon as 2033, when easily extractable reserves start to decline and prices rocket. Already supply is so tight the food security jitters of 2008 caused a 700 per cent jump in prices over a 14-month period.

3 Pillars of a Food Revolution

A few years ago, I stumbled on a United Nations study that transformed how I think about the climate crisis. In the report, researchers pegged greenhouse gases from the livestock sector at 18 percent of total global emissions. Combine this with other aspects of our food chain—from agricultural chemical production to agribusiness driven deforestation to food waste rotting in landfills—and food and agriculture sector is responsible for nearly one third of the planet’s manmade emissions. Move over Hummer; it’s time to say hello to the hamburger.

Earth Overshoot: The Case For A Sustainable Economy

There are some dates in history that are incredible significant. September 11th, 2001 is one that comes to mind, as well as December 16th, 1945, end of the Second World War, and 1928 with the discovery of Penicillin. Not too many would recognize an even more important date: December 17, 1987, the first time we went into ecological overshoot. Every year since then we have pushed the human enterprise past the sustainable limits of our planet.

Five steps to developing a community-based energy project

Recent years have seen more and more community-owned energy-generation projects. Expressly supported by the Coalition Agreement and with the arrival of feed-in tariffs, it's looking ever more attractive for local communities to harness their collective energy and become renewable developers.

But just how easy is it to do? How do you turn a local community group into a project developer?

Shale sites studied for emission storage

ALBANY -- New York's gas-rich underground rock formations have sparked a contentious fight over drilling safety, but they're also being studied as potential tombs for the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

Judge to rule in 10 days on Cuccinelli climate case against University of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- A team of lawyers for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a vocal skeptic of global warming, went to court Friday to further his investigation into whether former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann manipulated data to show that there has been a rapid, recent rise in the Earth's temperature.

Russian heat wave dents hopes of climate "winners"

OSLO (Reuters) - Russia's summer heat wave has dimmed prospects that northern countries will "win" from climate change thanks to factors such as longer crop-growing seasons or fewer deaths from winter cold, experts say.

Canada, Nordic countries and Russia have been portrayed as among a lucky few chilly nations where moderate climate change will mean net benefits such as lower winter heating bills, more forest and crop growth and perhaps more summer tourism.

Russia's two-month heat wave -- blamed on global warming by President Dmitry Medvedev even though many experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change -- is likely to shift the perceptions of risks.

...Thanks for clarifying your earlier submissions. I better understand your
suggestion about the use of fiber optics as a strain gauge for
monitoring the integrity of oil and liquid pipelines...
...Again, I'm sorry I can't be of more help. The idea you raise is of
personal interest to me, but it is clearly not in EPA's lane. Hopefully,
some of the other organizations will be better positioned to consider
it. No promises...

Technology Solutions Team

I proposed bathing the pipes in light. Either from a helically wrapped fiber or with resins and composites on the outside or inside of pipe. In essence, a fiber optic cable that happens to carry petroleum. Safety and security for our nations and indeed the world's pipelines are can be addressed with these systems.

Structural Health Monitoring System
for the new I-35W St Anthony Falls Bridge



Distributed fibre-optic sensing presents unique features that have no match in conventional sensing techniques. The ability to measure temperatures and strain at thousands of points along a single fibre is particularly interesting for the monitoring of elongated structures such as pipelines, flow lines, oil wells and coiled tubing. Sensing systems based on Brillouin and Raman scattering are used for example to detect pipeline leakages, verify pipeline operational parameters, and prevent failure of pipelines installed in landslide areas, optimize oil production from wells and detect hot-spots in high-power cables. Recent developments in distributed fibre sensing technology allow the monitoring of 60 km of pipeline from a single instrument and of up to 300 km with the use of optical amplifiers. New application opportunities have demonstrated that the design and production of sensing cables is a critical element for the success of any distributed sensing instrumentation project. Although some telecommunication cables can be effectively used for sensing ordinary temperatures, monitoring high and low temperatures or distributed strain presents unique challenges that require specific cable designs. This contribution presents advances in longrange distributed sensing and in novel sensing cable designs for distributed temperature and strain sensing. The paper also reports a number of significant field application examples of this technology.

Much of my research on the subject is dated from the last 5 years. That tells me we are close, but there is much work to be done. It does not matter to me about the intellectual property, I never expect to see a dime for my ideas. The best ideas make use of existing technology in new ways. I am still thinking the final solution will involve 'pre-casting' the fibers in the pipes or use resins. The resin idea is intriguing, because I am thinking about nanotube carbon fiber pipelines, with vitrified glass/enamel lining. you could easily embed fiber optics into the pipe. Right now, current technology has 500 psi pipe available up to 3 inches think and it is designed more as a structural piping and not for transporting gas and liquid. I wonder what can be done if the pipes were designed for transporting petroleum. I also know hydrocarbons break down resins.

Edit: Off topic alert. Picked it up from a local paper.

Florida man acquitted of cocaine trafficking
A Houston County Sheriff's deputy stopped the vehicle Fragger was traveling in on U.S. 431 North near Landmark Park for speeding. Deputies found about 2 pounds of cocaine in a duffel bag on the floor of the vehicle, along with $347 in cash.

Attorney Billy Joe Sheffield, who represented Fragger, said his client had a hold on him out of Florida for a traffic ticket in Bay County. Sheffield said his client testified in his own defense, denying any knowledge of the drugs in the vehicle.

"He borrowed his mom's rental car," Sheffield said.

The 'it was my mom's key of bam-bam defense'? And it worked? Leave it to a Florida jury.

Re: Five steps to developing a community-based energy project, up top.

The Lakota ethanol plant started out as a community based energy project. Shares were sold to local farmers and anyone else interested in it.

It was a big disappointment when they sold out to Minneapolis based Global Ethanol/Midwest Grain Processors. But early investors received multiples of the amount they invested. I don't recall the exact figures.

The Lakota ethanol plant is a good segue since it has wind turbines south of it. Iowa ethanol plants are mostly in the northern and western parts of the state in the same general area where most wind farms are located.


In this Google 3D view click on the top icon to turn the image at various angles to see the turbines next to the plant.


There are 7 of them in the same section as the ethanol plant as this 3D view shows.


This Street View shows the rail cars and plant with the wind turbines in the background: Hit the right or left arrow key for a 360 degree view.


When I deliver corn to the elevator with my little truck or tractor and wagon, a semi with a grain hopper trailer will haul it the rest of the way to this plant. My old ‘71 Ford gas truck only gets 5 miles to the gallon and holds about 300 bushels. The diesel tractor and wagon is more energy efficient but slow and the wagon holds only about 500 bushels. A semi trailer can hold about 1,000 bushels and is much faster and efficient.

That is one reason small farmers still deliver to their local elevator. The other reason is the corn must meet specific quality standards that sometimes a farmer’s corn will fail to pass. If I bring in corn that fails, the local elevator will dock me for it and blend it with some better corn so that it will pass the test at the ethanol plant. Ethanol plants do not have facilities to blend good and poor quality corn. They will reject corn that does not meet quality standards. Blending covers a multitude of sins.

Here is another Street View from Highway 9 showing rail cars lined up with DDGs ready to leave the plant. A while back a rail car returning from Mexico had marijuana stashed on it.


This plant produces 98 million gallons of ethanol/year. At 2.8 gallons per bushel it consumes 35 million bushels of corn per year. That is enough to power vehicles getting 20 miles per gallon for 2 billion miles.

The local price for corn is about $3.65/bushel so that works out to about 6.5 cents/mile cost for corn only.


Re: Judge to rule in 10 days on Cuccinelli climate case against University of Virginia

Rosenberg also argued that Cuccinelli failed to specifically identify in the civil investigative demand what Mann allegedly did wrong, which is required by law....

"There is reason to believe that in information he submitted for grants, there is manipulated data," Russell responded.

Anyone who has worked with large databases to attempt to find a pattern must "manipulate" that data to reduce the volume to some form which can be understood. That same complaint could be applied to the work of most of the denialist camp as well. It's called "analysis", something which politicians (and lawyers) don't do...

E. Swanson

The hounds/witch hunters are really starting to go after individuals in fairly vicious ways.

Locally, a professor who accurately took apart false claims of "Lord" Monkton is being harassed, and letters are being sent to his University demanding he be fired.

To the extent that such tactics make others think twice before openly stating truths about climate science, their terrorism will have won.

re 'Climate Winners' article.

In our section of north Vancouver Island we have had 1 cm rain in two months. Luckily, the snow pack was great this year and has allowed the tributaries of our local river to funnel in cold water, otherwise the impact on salmon runs could be terrible. We are supposed to get maybe 5 mm rain this week, however, there is nary a cloud nor wind indicator.

If climate change implies crappy hard winters and extended dry summers, this is not good. Our growing areas in Alta, Sask, and Man. seem to swing between floods and terrible thunderstorms to outright drought. Our interior is burning up and the beetle kill wood is a big box of matches, + the pine beetle moves relentlessly east across the boreal forest every year.

Climate change is a lot more than positive little newspaper articles promoting northern Mediterranean coming soon. Oh yeah, no fruit on our trees this year due to the cold wet spring. Great garden thanks to the well, but no fruit. I have lived within a 100 mile radius of this place for 45 years and the weather is getting weird and the calendar has shifted seasons.

I am sure this is echoed in one way or another for all of us.


To echo what Paul says, we've lived on our property in the Coast Range mountains (our elevation is 3,086') in northern CA for 31 years and this spring was the worst. In fact we didn't really have a spring. It was cold and rainy up into May. We even had some snow in early May. Our stone fruits were almost killed by the late cold when they were in bloom. Our apple set was erratic. In some cases only one side of the tree set anything probably because it was somewhat more protected.

I had started plants to set out at the "usual" time but had to wait about three weeks "late" to plant them - talk about leggy tomatoes.

The only positive is that we didn't have bad winter snows. We often get snowed in for a week or two but this year it was only for a few days.


PS Since we're talking about AG, I finally found a way to kill bracken fern - household bleach - and it's cheap. It beats the heck out of any regular herbicide I've tried (ranging from Garlon to various 2,4-D products to RoundUp). There is one that is suppose to work, Amsulox, but it isn't available here.

Your description could've come right from my back yard here in metro Portland. After a cold, wet Spring, there's not a single fruit on any of the apples, pears, or persimmons - although there are a scant few plums.
It's mid-August and not a single tomato has ripened; it's in the mid-forties again this morning, but still no measurable rain in months. Thank YHWH for the well.

If we see an ecosystem as just that, a system in balance, then any perturbation is going to cause disequilibrium and unforeseen consequences. Certainly, a warmer, drier climate here in Cascadia could very well trigger massive fires because of all the biomass lurking under the forest canopy. I don't know anybody who thinks that a warming climate is a good thing.

The irony is that the Denialists who are so politically motivated have only chosen sides based on deep-seated hatred for Al Gore and mistrust of "intellectuals" in general. If it had been Pat Robertson who broke the AGW story, telling his flock that we all need to protect God's Creation, then these same people would've become the most ardent supporters of carbon-mitigation strategies.

The monied interests that frame and steer our public discourse couldn't care less whether AGW is accepted or not, so long as the malleable electorate accepts "carbon offset/tax/cap & trade" or an infinite-growth BAU model, or whatever other scheme is concocted to liberate public money for the good of corporations.

"Your description could've come right from my back yard here in metro Portland. After a cold, wet Spring, there's not a single fruit on any of the apples, pears, or persimmons - although there are a scant few plums.
It's mid-August and not a single tomato has ripened; it's in the mid-forties again this morning, but still no measurable rain in months. "

Ditto, except that I do have plums, and the cherry tomatoes are ripening. The early corn (65 days) just finished; it was planted the weekend before Mother's day. The late corn (planted two weeks later) is about to start. I'm in Eastern Washington, so the irrigation is always needed, and provided by the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project.

As for "I don't know anybody who thinks that a warming climate is a good thing.", Dad lives in Wisconsin and has been rooting for Global Warming since he heard of it. Since he lives on a moraine, he has never doubted the existence of Climate Change. Nor is he convinced it will be a big deal when it does change once again, so long as the glaciers don't come back.

Unfortunately for your dad, and pretty much every one else, GW is not the cozy thing it sounds like. Increase in the number and severity of extreme weather events will be what most of us see.

A town in Iowa just got three inches of rain in 35 minutes. That's unheard of in the midwest, as far as I know. But wild extremes like that have been happening with greater and greater frequency around here and in many places. Your dad is lucky if he has dodged that bullet so far in his particular location. But deaths, injury, crop loss...from flash flooding are on the increase.

That's unheard of in the midwest, as far as I know.

OK, I'm rolling on the floor laughing, but it does seem to be a hard thing to Google. Something similar has happened in the Madison region more than once, to put it mildly, though it's not an everyday occurrence. (You can bet that some, though certainly not all, of those record rainfalls for April through August owe mainly to single thunderstorms.) The rate for the Iowa town is 130mm/hour or 5.2in/hour, which is a lot but certainly not out of the question.

At any rate, that much rain in that little time is bad enough without hyping every occurrence as unprecedented or "unheard of". It's not. Nor does such hype accomplish much of anything except to extend and amplify the ongoing and rather entertaining but unedifying "nyah-nyah it's cold outside", "nyah-nyah it's hot outside", "nyah-nyah it's raining cats and dogs", "nyah-nyah it hasn't rained in a month" contest. Face it: it's summertime in the Midwest. Severe and supercell thunderstorms are part of the normal pattern. Once in a blue moon the rain is very heavy indeed for a short time. That's why it's a lousy idea to plunk the business district down right by the creek, but only rarely do people learn. Mostly they go on piling more and more stuff smack dab in harm's way, same as they keep piling it on the beaches in Florida. Yawn.

I'd rather see deeper investigations than simply make arguments around isolated incidents. People do measure the frequency of extreme events and variation in rainfall likely has some significance.

I think it follows an exponential tipping point argument, whereby the amount of rainfall within a region can be described by variation in rates.

If you look at the link, there is one scientist in Greece who has been doing interesting work in this area.

Second the critique of "unheard of." It is astounding how much rain can fall from a supercell thunderstorm in 30 minutes. The world's measured record for precipitation rate occurred in Holt, MO, in 1947, when it rained 12 inches in 42 minutes. Because the affected area is often relatively small, and seldom occurs where there are official measuring stations, the phenomenon is believed to be badly underreported.

Certainly anyone living on the Great Plains has either seen, or seen video of, multiple inches of hail on the ground from a single supercell.

The most I experienced was (mountains of New Mexico) 4inches in five minutes. Also in Colorado springs I saw four inches of hail (which froze solid and took sevberal days to melt (in August)) in about an hour. Another storm that year deposited ten inches of hail in another part of town.

But during my twelve years in Wisconsin, I never saw the sort of large raindrops or rain rates that I experienced along the rocky mountain front. The biggest rain I saw in a dozen years in the midwest was four inches in an entire day.

Since, latent heat release in storms helps to power the very wind that feeds them, it is reasonable to postulate that in a warmer world more of the rain will come in extreme events. From what I hear, that is what is being observed. We are supposedly getting fewer moderate rains, but more intense ones. I saw the number of twice as many extreme rains for the asian monsoon. The other figure I heard was 20% more worldwide. Even this later figure is pretty amazing given an observed increase in water vapour of only four percent. So apparently the propensity for the storms to concentrate the precipiation in both time and space is increasing pretty quickly.

OK, I said "as far as I know" and I guess I don't know everything about rainfall in the upper midwest. I was reflecting the tone of the weather guy who was reporting it.

Still, this summer has been unusually active with weather extremes up here.

"Summer '10 Recap:

* Warmer & wetter, statewide (15-20" rain, that's 50% more than average for much of the state).

* Drought conditions ease across most of Minnesota (moderate to severe drought conditions linger over parts of the Minnesota Arrowhead).

* Average dew point: + 4 F. for the summer. Yes, we've had an unusual number of 70-degree dew point days, it has been more humid than "average."

* Warmer summer: based on cooling degree data from the NWS we've all spent roughly 38% more money than usual cooling our homes and businesses.

* Record summer for severe weather and tornadoes?

* Old record for most number of tornadoes in a single summer: 74 (2001)

* Preliminary tornado count for 2010 in Minnesota: 123 (!) Yes, we still lead the nation.

* 40+ tornadoes in a single day (June 17, the day Wadena was hit by an EF-4 tornado). This breaks the old, single-day record of 25 tornadoes (1993).

* Total number of severe storm reports statewide: 691 as of 10 pm Friday night (includes 123 tornado reports, 210 reports of large hail and 358 straight-line wind reports). Incredible.

- Professor Mark Seeley from the University of Minnesota has an excellent recap of the summer season in Minnesota in his weekly "WeatherTalk" update here [ http://www.climate.umn.edu/weathertalk/100820.htm ]."

Yeah, bit of a year sans summer. At least we have paved roads; a local wrote a book, "Song of Yamhill," with graphic depictions of what it took to get produce/livestock to Portland from Yam Co in the old days - the roads followed the hilltops, to circumvent the oceans of mud in valley bottoms. Eric Sloane's books cover the same (and sundry other) topic in a pan-US context, full of things we find contradictory nowadays, such as how winter was the good season for travel in snowy climes - all that ice to skid along on, and frozen over rivers/creeks.

Well, I watched a little of the 700 Club when I was young, and have heard Pat Robertson's comments in the news all my life.

He, nor anyone of his ilk, would never advocate that AGW is real or that humans should attempt to do anything about it.

Doing so would break his fundamental mindsets and those of his followers:

1) That mankind does not have the capability to alter the Earth's environment

2)Every thing that occurs has no better explanation that it is God's will...of course interspersed with great dollops of blame and shame for every disaster on mankind's sins, as delineated by Pat Robertson.

When people believe that their Earthly existence is but an infinitesimal flicker of time along the infinite continuum of time, including after their ascent to the afterlife, why would they possibly care about mortal matters which are unfolding and being micromanaged according to an almighty creator's plan?

Paradise awaits the faithful.

I have some relatives who have drunk this Kool Aid, and my wife and I talk with them as little as practicable.

Dear heisenberg,

I don't presume to spreak for Pat Robertson, but as a commited christian, I recognize that I am to be a good stewart of the earth and it fruits. We are to use things as we need them, and leave as much as possible for others in need.

abusive use of energy and all commodities, for that matter, is a grave offense. within limits (i'm married) I try to make as small a footprint in terms of the use of the good things of the earth, and that is in keeping with my christian obligation. If that's koolaid, so be it.

As far as AGW, What I am trying to do is all I can do. I can encourage others to follow, but I can't make them. Beyond that, I pray for everybody, and leave the rest in the hands of God. Peace, Joe B.

you sound like you must be from the sanity wing of commited christians. i am not of your beliefs, but i have a grandaughter who is. i am convinced that she is the product of positive peer pressure. that is a rare commodity, i know.


I hold no religious affiliation; I salute you.

I remember the service for my one Grandmother where the preacher lauded her as having lived her life quietly (non-confrontationally, non-judgmentally)as a good Christian...not brow-beating or preaching to others, but living a good, honest life helping her family and the community. Not planning and designing her actions to be a 'better than thou' example, but simply doing the right things and being an example without trying.

I realize full well that many religious people of all stripes care for their fellow humans and for nature; I respect your values!

It is a great pity that The Pat Robertsons, Bill Grahams (now Franklin), et al capture the lions' share of the attentions of folks. The 'blame, shame, and make money hand over first' charlatan crowd commands the spotlight, but the quiet folks who live their lives according to their values without tearing down others or attempting to mandate theocratic government are the true exemplars of religious faith; not the false prophets who have hijacked the media to further their hunger for controlling other peoples' lives and for making the almighty buck in the name of their false beliefs.

When people believe that their Earthly existence is but an infinitesimal flicker of time along the infinite continuum of time

Well you've just described exactly what life on this planet is all about. And I've more or less been an atheist all my life and am certainly not an evangelical Christian.

Do not presume that every rational person accepts secular humanism. Fatalistic pessimism is as good a response to peak oil and ecological overshoot as any.

Yeah, after all an optimist can't be pleasantly surprised. Or as Lily Tomlin put it, "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up."

Of course you and I and most other educated, intelligent folks know that our <~ 100 years lifespan is but a flicker in the timescale of Earth.

My point was that some folks believe that their essence will continue forever, in paradise, so that all that matters on Earth is earning that ticket to ride; this, for some, has nothing to do with environmental stewardship, since they believe that the earth will be devastated then transformed into paradise anyway in the course of events as described by their religious texts.

Of course, many secular/non-religious folks have an attitude of living the high life now, screw the future, because they know they will not be part of the future.

The difference between the two camps is that one's greed and selfishness and lack of empathy towards future generations of life is excused by their interpretation of their religion's prophesy of future events, and the other camp fronts no cover story for their actions.

It seems a rarity to find a person who truly values the future state of the biosphere even after he or she is long gone. We seem to have had such people in power in the past; Teddy Roosevelt's visionary efforts to establish national parks is one example.

From 2006 -

"Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has jumped into the growing chasm between evangelicals divided over the issue of global warming.

On his "700 Club" broadcast yesterday, Robertson told viewers that while he had not been a believer in global warming in the past, the record-breaking heatwave blanketing the U.S. was "making a convert out of me."

"We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels," he said. "It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air."

Robertson joins the chorus of evangelical leaders who have raised the issues of global warming and the environment to a place once reserved for abortion and school prayer by Christian activists."


Pat Robertson is actually surprisingly open minded. There is quite a bit of common ground between Robertson and Progressives. His belief in Biblical prophesy results in the media oftentimes quoting him out of context.

Robertson joins the chorus of evangelical leaders who have raised the issues of global warming and the environment

I hope you are right about him. He has a lot of followers. And if we get enough Christians into creation care, that could provide the tipping point needed for political action. I'm sure (if he has really changed his tune) that a lot of former allies will now turn on him. OTOH, in the spirit of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" I'll be happy to help him.

A single news article from 2006 is one thing...and by itself, it is not much of anything.

Where has Pat been since then? Was he floating a trial balloon to test the waters to see which messages resonated and brought him the most donations (profits)? Did his test marketing prove negative to his goals of raking in money?

With his bully pulpit TV media enterprise, he could create quite the ruckus spreading the good news of environmental stewardship.

Why hasn't he and his followers marched into the Washington Mall demanding more sustainable lifestyles? Why hasn't he had public audiences with Presidents and testified before Congress about incentivizing folks to conserve resources and to have no more than two children per woman per lifetime?

I remember quite a bit of fire a and brimstone about how 9-11 was God's punishment to America due to Gays,feminism, the ACLU. etc. More of the same crap when Katrina hit. Pat was part of the televangelist crowd spewing that venom.

Where is he lately (since this one media citation from 2006) on environmental stewardship, zero population growth, and sustainable living?

Or is he busy being on the 'Obama is a secret Muslim' bandwagon?

Honestly, there is no 'chorus of evangelical leaders' raising issues on the environment...if there were, why have I seen ZERO stories in the media? If they are there, they are buried in the back pages of the NYT and about 50 pages deep in Google.

Where has their advocacy for the environment been during the BP oil disaster?

Has Pat et al been on all the talking head TV programs, on the cover of the Rolling Stone and Time and Newsweek, etc preaching for sound environmental stewardship?

Sorry, without such proof support I do not buy this bill of goods.

Isn't this the "Dominionist" world-view? And are the people that follow this referred to as "minions"?
# An obsequious follower or dependent; a sycophant.
# A subordinate official, especially a servile one.
# One who is highly esteemed or favored; a darling.

We've had a very wet rainy season so far. No-one I have talked to remembers one like it. Lots of overcast, long rains rather than the sort sharp afternoon/evening storms that are normal. Many days temperatures are exceeding average and we are having days that are 'hottest for this day' since the turn of the decade. The cats are getting webbed feet.



Judge to rule in 10 days on Cuccinelli climate case against University of Virginia

I wonder if the people of VA know how much this witch hunt is costing them. It should be front page on every paper in the state. Maybe this guy will find a way to investigate Hansen for his latest:
http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20100813_WhatGlobalWarmingLo... ...........since he's already sueing the EPA.

From the article:

"The attorney general is the sole official charged with enforcing Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act,''

This guy needs to investigate himself.

Believe me, Cuckoo's personal political base is eating this up-I know a few of them, and they are utterly convinced that they have the goods on the man.

Personally I think the whole thing is a bad joke-but that something is to be learned from it.

Data collected by in part or wholly by tax money should be deposited raw in a free publicly accessible data base.

Then the people who are interested in whether is has been massaged or cherry picked can root in it like hogs to thier hearts content.

Personally I have no doubt that acc is real and that the effects of it are upon us already.But being a realist, and knowing that climate researchers put on thier pants and skirts Just like the rest of us every morning, I also have no doubt that human nature is a sufficient gaurantee that the raw data is occasionally interpreted in such a way as to get the results the researcher wants or expects.

This need not be a suprise to anybody-psychologists have terms for such behaviors, although they don't come readily to mind, except for confirmation bias, self fulfilling prophecy,and so forth.

A person who believes in acc will simply look harder for evidence of it than for evidence to the contrary.

A person who believes in acc will simply look harder for evidence of it than for evidence to the contrary.

I can't disagree with that. But, that is a far far cry from deliberate fraud, or massive conspiracy. Most of this data is available, and since the various gates erupted efforts are underway to make it a lot easier for interested parties to be able to access and process the data. Hopefully this can avoid the sort of harrasment via data request that was at the heart of the East Anglia hullabaloo.

It would be a case of "Confirmation Bias".

Strangely enough, scientists (even climate scientists) are aware of this little quirk of humanity and part of the peer review process involves looking for it.

Personally, I try not to believe in anything that requires belief.

Nalcor weighs risk against reward
Cabinet will make final decision on market options for Lower Churchill

From a generation perspective, Martin said, the project is better than its competition.

“I will tell you this — if you at the combined Lower Churchill project versus Romaine, Romaine is roughly … 35 to 40 per cent more expensive than the Churchill and Petit Mecatina would be 75 to 80 per cent more expensive. These are rough numbers.”

The Romaine is currently under construction by Hydro-Quebec. Petit Mecatina is next in the development queue. While those projects will compete with the Lower Churchill, Nalcor has identified 14,000 megawatts of installed capacity in four provinces set for shutdown by 2030.

Those provinces — Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario — are the most likely Canadian clients for new Labrador power.

Nalcor also believes there is an opportunity to displace greenhouse gas-emitting power sources.

See: http://www.thetelegram.com/Business/Natural-resources/2010-08-21/article...

Crossing my fingers and wishing Newfoundland and Labrador the best on this one.


The paradox of increasing GDP and Exports during Peak Oil in an Oil Importing country (Spain)
As you probably know Spain is financially broke, not as much as the Daily Telegraph says, but with 20% unemployment and the building bubble certainly it is in a bad shape.
Spain imports almost all the oil it uses (there's a small production in the Ebro Delta, Mediterranean shore), also almost all the coal and gas, which makes it totally dependent on imports, specially for transport like cars and trucks. The trains are not geared to the transport of goods and the people are fascinated with their wheeled machines, they drive two blocks to buy their cigarettes.

Nevertheless, after some years of negative GDP growth, Spain has managed to get some growth, 0,2% in the last quarter --and anyone can multiply it x4, but it won't be 0,8 in a year.

Spain has increased its exports (in euros), by 16,3%, its general imports by 14,5% --and the commercial deficit has increased by 8,6% !
(Warning: article is in Spanish).
The imports of all kind of fuels increased (in value) 31,4% specially oil, by 48,9% --on less volume, in barrels it has decreased three years in a row; Callahan has published very good graphics of that.

The way I see it, for an Oil Importing Country, if you increase the GDP and Exports, desperate to get some growth to fight unemployment (economic reality and history shows that very few jobs are created in Spain at growth of less than 3%) because of the strong correlation between growth in GDP and use of Oil (it is near 1) if you increase GDP and Exports you have to import more oil, and if it steadily increases in price your commercial balance is worse than before.

Commercial balance is not the only thing, as Spain has some Invisible Earnings from Tourism (in decadence also) and perhaps some Financial Services. Then of course there's Debt, although lenders are somewhat wary of late ...

The way I see it the Paradigm of Growth and Exports, so beloved of our Government, the Opposition, the Newspapers and all the Economists as the only possible solution to our predicament faces this two-horned dilemma: you don't grow then no new jobs; you grow some, no new jobs and you are worse off than before.

It would seem you would have to create massive solar/wind electrical capacity with lots of storage and use that to run your transport systems (trolleys/trams not cars) and export the rest to sun poor Northern Europe on large dedicated cables. This would eliminate oil imports and improve export capacity making Spain a sort of new North Sea for alt. energy supplies and help eliminate reliance on dwindling North Sea and Russian oil/gas supplies. Besides which it would be a huge jobs/investment programme annd would redirect the country for generations on a renewable path.

It's raining out, and I can't get into the garden, so I decided I'd post a few words on Immigration from my perspective, against my better judgement, since I've done this a number of times in the past, and just got worn out.

However, let me wade into this, again (one more time into the breach...)

I will preface this by saying I am an Immigrant to the US. A *legal* immigrant. I came in via a work visa, to work for the same company I was working for in South Africa, just launching new projects in the US and needing certain specific product expertise not available in the US. Part of my mandate, before anyone howls in indignation, was to train US employees to do my job.

Several hurdles have to be cleared in order to qualify for this kind of visa :-

1. A 4-year or equivalent degree from an accredited university
2. Job postings in various publications to ensure the job was not being taken from a US citizen
3. Approval of the visa as falling within the overall quota for that category for that year.

It took ten months from the time of first discussing the opportunity with the US recruiter to finally landing in the US.

It took five years for me to be in a position to "adjust status" i.e. qualify for a green card, due to various job changes, requiring refiling of paperwork, sometimes taking 180 days to get a response. Travel is curtailed during this time, and one has to apply for permission to leave the country - this paperwork could take over 90 days.

Again, there are qualifiers for adjusting status, such as minimum income requirements. i.e. not to become a "ward of the state". Fingerprinting, health exams, background checks. The list goes on. As part of my health exam I was revaccinated for childhood diseases - 9 shots in one day.

It took another 5 years after that to be in a position to naturalize - i.e. apply for citizenship. And, again, there are qualifiers.
I arrived in the US in May of 1995. My passport was finally in my hands in July of 2009.

If I want to bring either of my siblings, the wait time is currently around ten years from date of filing. Unless they win the visa lottery.

My point is, it is not easy to become a US citizen legally unless one marries a US citizen or has a child on US soil.

Which is why there are so many illegal immigrants - the filing requirements are expensive, onerous, very time consuming, the queues are very long, especially for certain countries like Mexico, and often fodder for shyster attorneys.

One could dial back the legal quotas to shut off legal immigration, but I doubt it would have any impact on illegal immigration, except to make it worse, as long as the incentives for people to take the risk are still good i.e. jobs and quality of life.

For more reading on the *legal* process, see below.


Which is why there are so many illegal immigrants - the filing requirements are expensive, onerous, very time consuming, the queues are very long, especially for certain countries like Mexico, and often fodder for shyster attorneys.

No. They're here because it's a better place than where they came from, plus the border is porous enough and the laws weak enough that most illegals can make a go of it.

My point being that as long as the incentives are there, this will continue.

In case you are interested, this link shows the different visa categories, quotas and wait times :-


Family preference categories for Mexico, as one example, are running 18 years behind i.e. they are processing 1992 applications now. Is someone really going to wait 18 years for a visa, or are they going to just walk in ?

By the way, the general worker category for Mexico is showing "unavailable".

Interesting circular logic! The US has an illegals problem because legal immigration is prohibited/restricted/slow? I suppose my neighborhood has a burglary problem only because homeowners lock their doors and forbid free entry to strangers.

BTW, I know all about it, since my S.O. took ten years+ to become a US citizen. We've begun the process to bring in her sister, which will take 12 years to complete.

It's not like foreigners have any right to enter at all, much less to speedy approval. You don't like the process? Well, then stay put.

You, yourself, said it was about incentives.

Did prohibition stop people drinking alcohol? No, just drove them to the speakeasies and to bootlegging.

It is simplistic to say that immigration should be stopped, without looking at the reasons people immigrate in the first place.

What *legal* immigration does do is give one some control over *who* enters. i.e. one can choose certain skills, as Australia does, for example, through their points system. Or one can screen to exclude people with criminal records.

Both of you know full well that immigration will only stop once the U.S. becomes a third world country.

As I see it, there are two ways this can happen. Either the country is so full of people desperate for jobs, that wages remain low, working conditions poor, life miserable, and nobody in their right mind from Latin America or Asia would even come here anymore.

Or, the U.S. is so screwed by peak oil/net export decline that the economy comes to a standstill, most everyone is stuck in place, and the government enacts draconian measures including restrictions on immigration/emigration just to keep people fed and docile.

Or perhaps a combination of both?

South Africa tried stopping the "brain drain" in the 80's by implementing exchange control regulations that said one could leave the country, but could only take a limited amount of money out.

The net result of that was that older and retired people with more at risk decided to stay, and younger people who owned less decided to leave.

What you end up with is a shortage of professional skills in the workforce.

In relative terms, the issue is whether the US will fall further than any one of its neighbor countries - or will it still be attractive compared with all the other options ?

"Both of you know full well that immigration will only stop once the U.S. becomes a third world country."

It shouldn't be long, then.

But really, the great increase in immigration happened when the US started dumping massive amounts of hugely subsidized and therefore super-cheap corn and other grains into Mexico and elsewhere, thus putting millions of Mexican farmers out of business. The cruel irony is that they then come up here and work for the very agribusiness companies that pushed through NAFTA and other laws that bankrupted them in the first place.

Could this be the very result that was intended?

The agribusiness multinationals get out of this arrangement:

>huge subsidies from the government (us)
>domination of the world food market
>an endless sully of cheap/slave labor with no rights

What do we get?

>inevitable higher taxes to pay for the subsidies that destroy people here and abroad
>a food system that kills us (cheap twinkies and salmonella eggs...)
>no jobs

Quite the bargain!

More idle curiosity than anything... How does this compare with other developed countries? How hard is it to emigrate (achieve full citizenship) from South Africa to Japan? Italy? Sweden? More to the point of the US's perceived problems, how hard to emigrate from Mexico to those countries?

IIRC, the Mexico/US situation is unique in the world in terms of the length of shared border, the total size of the two populations, and the disparity in per-capita income between the two countries. My own primary concern about the situation is that the US has acted as a safety valve (by some estimates, as many as 10% of Mexico's citizens live in the US) and has allowed Mexico to avoid addressing a number of structural problems. I suspect that this will eventually end badly.

I can only speak from personal experience, but my preference was a majority-English-speaking country.

Language and culture can be barriers to potential immigrants, but they generally solve this by gathering in "enclaves" of compatriots from the "old country".

South Africa has quite a number of its own unemployed non-skilled and semi-skilled workers, and therefore has a preference for skilled workers and professionals e.g. doctors. A large number of people have migrated to South Afica from Eastern Europe in recent years to fill the gap left by the "brain drain" of professionals in the 80's and 90's.

A Mexican doctor would have no trouble getting into South Africa. Not much need for agricultural workers.

South Africa has its own immigration issues with non-skilled illegal migrants from Nigeria and other African countries.

Of course, one also has to consider the costs of getting to another continent. Generally, the choice of South Africans has been England, Australia, Canada or the US, mostly where they have a job already set up, or a family member who can be a direct sponsor, where that is allowed.

It's much more seamless to go to a job where you already speak the local language, particularly if one is a skilled worker or professional.

The US-Mexican border is interesting in that people cross without necessarily having a job, but in an opportunistic way, hoping to find something when they arrive. Most other migrations require advanced planning.

Edit : Another thought occurred to me. Historically, the US has always taken in a lot of unskilled immigrants who were just willing to work hard to get ahead and make a better life for themslves and their kids.

I wonder if we have reached a point where this kind of upward mobility is no longer feasible. Public education is starting to fail. The middle class is shrinking.

Seems to me the US ought to be thinking about where to import necessary professional skills if we aren't creating them "in house". Of course, this would mean reducing the incoming number of unskilled workers, since we are going to have plenty.

Marrying a US citizen is not necessarily a guaranty of an easy road to citizenship.

My wife came to the US on a Fullbright Scholarship. This is a highly competitive program; there were two such awards to students from her country the year of her award. To give an idea of the type of person that this program attracts, she graduated college at age 16, speaks 9 languages and held the highest score on the Oxford English Competency exam ever achieved by a student from South America at the time I met her. Her score was later surpassed by one of her sisters.

These scholarships are awarded for graduate studies in the US. After spending some time in Europe on a different program she accepted the Fullbright and came to study in the US.

I met my wife while we were in graduate school. It was soon obvious that I had met a very rare person indeed and I soon offered marriage. She accepted.

It would seem to me that any sane immigration policy would be geared to offer citizenship to people with exceptional talent, however this proved to be exactly the opposite case here. Because of her special student status it made absolutely no difference that she had married me. It took 7 years to obtain permanent residence status, special dispensation from the US State Department, and a personal appeal on my part to President Ford. For a period of time my wife was under a deportation order while we were appealing an INS decision. She had illegal immigrant status during this period of time.

The fact that the President of the United States took action on my behalf in this case was stunning to me. I had been ignored by congressmen and senators; it was only a last desperate attempt that caused me to write to the President.

Wow, Dr.Dolittle, how does one manage to get a letter through to the prez? It's likely much harder these days, though I have some suggestions he may not have heard before ;-)

I've read about many people who have been in a tough situation like that - I spent a lot of time on immigration forums when I was in "adjustment of status".

The old INS was a nightmare to deal with, especially when they put a hold on processing and everything got backlogged.

Unless you had a really good attorney, the appeal process was particularly difficult. Luckily, your situation ended up happily.

I knew a lot of tech workers that had come in under H1B visas that suddenly had 30 days to leave the country when the technology market hit the wall in 2000. Many had bought homes that had to go on the market, and kids in school.

One can only hope for a saner policy.

Personally, I am quite fond of South Korea and Japan's policies.

My hearts out to you, ST. One of my good friends who just left for the UK was going through the same thing. He had a PHD. Since if he were to come back the clock would be reset to zero, I don't think we will be seeing him again. I think pre green card status employers aren't allowed to increase wages, or change the job description without triggering serious paperwork and additional delays. And as mentioned earlier if the job ends, the visa holder may have to leave the country on short notice. I think the wait times for green crads vary tremendously by country of origin, as each country has its own quota, but demand is not evenly spread. In any case the imbalance of power between the company and the visa holder seems ripe for abuse.

The Northwest Passage appears open as of yesterday. Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Extent for 8/20/2010

There is a short blockage of the Northeast Passage in the Laptev Sea, but it is likely that the ice there is single year ice and presents little impediment to icebreakers. It should open by the beginning of September as well.

It appears that the floods in Pakistan may be the 'black swan' event that could destabilize this region.

The (CRO) Congressional Research Service released a paper (Aug.03 2010): Security and the Environment in Pakistan. This report focuses on the nexus between security and environmental concerns in Pakistan .... Environmental concerns include, but are not limited to, water and food scarcity, natural disasters, and the effects of climate change.

The report examines the potentially destabilizing effect that, when combined with Pakistan’s demographic trends and limited economic development, water scarcity, limited arable land, and food security may have on an already radicalized internal and destabilized international political security environment. The report considers the especially important hypothesis that the combination of these factors could contribute to Pakistan’s decline as a fully functioning state, creating new, or expanding existing, largely ungoverned areas.

The potential for environmental factors to stoke conflict between the nuclear armed states of India and Pakistan is also a concern.

Preliminary findings by experts seem to indicate that existing environmental problems in Pakistan are sufficiently significant to warrant a close watch....

Another report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change Climate Change as a Security Risk goes into detail as to how AGW may destabilize this region along with other global 'hots spots' (e.g. Mexico, China, Africa, Middle East).

Re: Could Gulf-like disaster scar the Heartland?

Just to say it up front, the following is not intended to condone carelessness. The goal really should be never to spill a drop of oil anywhere.

If the question is, could a newly-constructed pipeline rupture and spill millions of barrels of petroleum in South Dakota, the answer is clearly "No". The pipeline is equipped with a full array of sensors. There are pumping stations and valves that can be shut off all along its length. Spills will happen, but the size would be a tiny fraction of what has happened in the Gulf.

If the question is, could a spill contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer (referred to in the article as the High Plains Aquifer), the answer is "Yes". How much damage a point-source leak could do is clearly limited. The Ogallala extends from the southern edge of South Dakota to the Texas Panhandle. Speed of migration of the oil through the aquifer is limited, and the farther it spreads the more diluted it is. If the question is, could a spill in Miner County, South Dakota, where the family in the article lives, contaminate the Ogallala, the answer is "No"; the Ogallala doesn't come within a hundred miles of Miner County.

Finally, consider the economic impact. Suppose we "lose" all of Miner County to a spill. Estimated 2009 population: 2,420. Population has been shrinking at roughly 13% per decade since 1920. Estimated per-capita annual income: $15,155. Total income per year: $36.7 million. TransCanada net income in FY 2009: $1.4 billion. In all honesty, TransCanada could fully support the shrinking population of the county, at their current level plus inflation, and probably not even consider it a serious expense. The Gulf mess, OTOH, will probably bankrupt BP America.

I'm a Great Plains kid. But I have to acknowledge the ongoing depopulation of much of the region, even if I'm saddened by it. Large parts of the Plains, by area, are quite literally on the verge of economic collapse: shrinking population can't support basic services, without services more people leave, death spiral.

L.A. County sheriff to unveil device intended to curb inmate assaults
Coming to a prison near you.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will unveil a new direct-energy device Friday that creates a burning sensation in its human targets and is being tested as a way to curtail inmate violence in jails.

The device developed by Raytheon is being assessed for its potential in jails nationwide. It is a scaled-down version of a weapon developed for the military to rebuff large crowds from entering an area. That device was tested on the back of a Hummer for crowd control overseas. ... Some civil rights activists have expressed concern about using such weapons in a civilian setting.

Put a fork in her, America's finished.

More like, "America is Toast", as in, "Don't toast me, Bro". Do ya think the cops in DC have a few of those Hummer mounted ones sitting in the garage in case some citizen protest turns nasty, like, the one next weekend with Beck and Palin???

E. Swanson

the country died when the masses accepted limiting free speech to pre-determined 'zones' well away from the actual event they were protesting so they would have no effect on them. while at the same time letting police brutally crackdown on anyone who actually tried to express their first amendment rights elsewhere.

The answer to the question would be: Yes

I want one of those.

A nice non-lethal way to keep pests out of the garden.

Leave it on for too long and it'll cook the veggies at the same time.

Like Granny would say:

How do you like yer possum, Jethro, fallin' off the bones tender or with a little fight left in it?

The IEA notes with sadness the recent death of Matt Simmons

The IEA notes with sadness the recent death of investment banker and oil industry provocateur Matt Simmons. A long-time advocate of peak oil and a sceptic on the long-term production capability of major producing countries, Simmons had more recently devoted his energies to R&D in the renewable energy sphere. Although the IEA did not always agree with Mr Simmons’ analyses, he was a lively and thought-provoking commentator, and a regular contributor to IEA fora. He will be sorely missed.

How do we pull off an Energy Transition - even locally - with Dysfunctional Capital Markets ??

From the archives:
FBI Warns of Mortgage Fraud 'Epidemic' - Seeks to head off 'next S&L crisis'

CNN Washington Bureau
Friday, September 17, 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rampant fraud in the mortgage industry has increased so sharply that the FBI warned Friday of an "epidemic" of financial crimes which, if not curtailed, could become "the next S&L crisis."

Today's Denninger:

Are Banks Selling WORTHLESS Loans to Fannie?

Are the banks knowingly dumping worthless paper on Fannie (and perhaps Freddie) - and if so are they fairly-disclosing the impairments?

... why Fannie would be interested in buying a long-delinquent second (mortgage) with no collateral behind it.

Realistically, what's that note worth? Are the banks being paid anywhere near face? Realistic recovery value?

Is this a back-door bailout of the banks that are holding hundreds of billions of worthless second lines and HELOCs?

Two presidents and their administrations have done nothing to put an end to the fraud.

Is this sustainable? If not, how does this affect our planning for local projects that might depend on functioning capital markets?

Venezuela oil exports dive

Venezuelan oil exports dropped sharply in the second quarter from the same period last year, a tendency likely to accelerate later this year as domestic demand increases when new thermoelectric power plants come online.

The government is installing dozens of new power plants this year, and has so far only connected 20% of the 6000 mw target it set itself this year. More thermoelectric plants means less fuel exports.

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet
He's alone in the Brazilian Amazon, but for how long?

The most isolated man on the planet will spend tonight inside a leafy palm-thatch hut in the Brazilian Amazon.

As always, insects will darn the air. Spider monkeys will patrol the treetops. Wild pigs will root in the undergrowth. And the man will remain a quietly anonymous fixture of the landscape, camouflaged to the point of near invisibility.

He's an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he's the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe.

They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development.

It's meant to be a safe zone. He's still in there. Alone.

...government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development.

About 5 x 6 miles. Not very big when you think about it.

Maybe someone should find him a girlfriend :-(

For a well written account of an earlier similar situation, I recommend "Ishi in Two Worlds" by Theodora Kroeber, wife the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, mother of novelist Ursula K(roeber) LeGuin.

No, 5x6 miles does not seem very big at all.

But doesn't this sound familiar"

If you go to Rondônia today, none of the local landowners will claim any knowledge of these anecdotal massacres.

But most aren't afraid to loudly voice their disdain over the creation of reserves for such small tribes.

They will say that it's absurd to save 31 square miles of land for the benefit of just one man, when a productive ranch potentially could provide food for thousands.

About the girlfriend. That is what I was thinking when they talked about being shot by the Lone Native while trying to make contact.

Any females from TOD want to volunteer as Bachelorette ???

It's been 15 years - he probably wouldn't turn down any of the males from TOD either.

A modern day Ishi ?

Ishi in two worlds


Wow, talk about synchronicity!

("pull up...pull up... pull up...")

Second Hindenburg Omen Confirmation In As Many Days, Third H.O. Event In One Week

Longs may be forgiven if they are sweating their long positions over the weekend: not only did we just have a second, and far more solid Hindenburg Omen confirmation today, with 82 new highs, and 94 new lows, but the Saturday is the day when Iran launches its nuclear reactor, and everyone will be very jumpy regarding any piece of news out of the middle east.

As for the Hindenburg Omen, the more validations we receive, the greater the confusion in the market, and the greater the possibility for a melt down (or up, as the case may be now that the market is unlike what it has ever been in the past).

Furthermore, with implied correlation at record levels (JCJ at around 78), any potential crash will be like never before, as virtually all stocks now go up or down as one, more so than ever before.

And should the HFT STOP command take place, the future should be very interesting indeed (at least for the primary dealers, and the Atari consoles which are unable to VWAP dump their holdings in the nano second before stuff goes bidless).

Mapping The Tipping Points

We can now overlay the Tipping Points onto this map. We arrive at the following.


•Commercial Real Estate – Finally forced to account properly for mark-to market valuations.

•Housing Real Estate – Option ARMS come due and FHA / FNM / FDE / FDIC are seen as insolvent.

•Corporate Bankruptcies – Unfunded Pension impacts and debt loads (gearing) on reduced revenues.

•State, City & Local Government Financial Implosion – Non Accrued Pension Obligations, falling tax revenue and years of accounting gimmicks come home to roost.

•Central & Eastern Europe – The ‘sub-prime’ of Europe will soon erupt on the EU banking network as evidenced recently by Hungary and the Baltic States.


$5T Quantitative Easing (QE II) Emergency Action
It will likely be triggered by a geo-political event or false flag operation.

•Entitlement Crisis - The unfunded and underfunded Pension charade ends

•Credit Contraction II – Credit Shrinks Violently

•Banking Crisis II – Banking Insolvency no longer able to be hidden through Extend & Pretend.

•Reduced Rating Levels - Falling Asset Values and Collateral Calls on $430T Interest Rate Swaps

•Government Back-Stopped Programs - FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie MA, FDIC go bust


Lending ‘Roll-Over’ – Game Ends

Great post snarlin, and sounds about right unfortunately.

My Sat. morning post is more sociological in nature. I read an article a while back about the current twenty something generation being the most coddled and confident generation yet. And being coddled vs. yelled and hit all the time probably would develop more confident individuals, however apparently there is another aspect to this phenomenon and that is covered in this article:


'What Is It About 20-Somethings?'

It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall.

One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever.

We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.”

Next door is a couple in their late 50's moving in that have a 30 year old son that will not move on, so istead of giving him some hard love and kicking him out, they bought a 2nd home for them to live in.

Across the street is a 15 year old boy that has vandalized us for 3 straight years, but we still cannot get the parents to discipline him or even talk to him about what he is doing. Their too busy coddling him.

Then it occurred to me this contrast between the baby boom parents, which were a mixed bag of some encouragement, but essentially a tough generation that were born in the depression then engaged in WWII that wouldn't hesitate to rack us up one side and down the other, and their offspring, the baby boomers who were much less violent, more loving and understanding of their kids. The result apparently is more coddling led to more confidence, yet due to a lack of the usual friction between parents and kids, the kids no longer feel compelled to move on down the road in the traditional manner.

By any other name it's called cause and effect.

Of course, with no jobs for just about anyone, there will be a lot more family "togetherness" no matter how much or little coddling has gone on.

Right now, all of my adult nieces and nephews have moved back in with their parents. One will be going to school out of town in the fall, and all think it will be more or less temporary, but I really do wonder. Heck, the whole extended family may end up moving back in with the grandfolks, if things get really hairy. I think they're the only ones that have a totally paid off house (though the realestate taxes are really starting to bite--and now a new 6.5% increase was just announced.)

Yep,us baby boomers are a scurvy lot,too right.Not only did we raise a bunch of kids who won't leave home but we actually expect those kids to help support us in our declining years,just as we did our parents.

Seems like that pre WW2 generation were about the last of the mixed bag cohorts.All of the following generations are sort of mass produced identicals - pretty sad if you believe it.

Property prices in my country rose steeply in the last decade or two, while job security has decreased and moving between jobs frequently is the norm. Such conditions are less conducive to getting a mortage and settling down in a place of your own like the previous generation did. Additionaly, the new wealth is enjoyed by the middle-aged, and children who stay at home benefit from this wealth. While this support might look like the main reason for this phenomenon, especially to people who distinctly rememeber not getting such a sweet deal when they lived at home, it's probably only a small contributory factor.

many experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change

If these "experts" are saying this then they are not experts at all. If it were true that individual weather events had no link to climate change, then climate change would not produce any changes in weather events. This is patent nonsense. Once in 1000+ year blocking events are indicators of climate change. There is observed widening of the tropics and a stronger Hadley circulation implies more active baroclinic instability on its subtropical flanks since the subtropical jets intensify.

These journalist twits can't help themselves spreading politically motivated BS.

many experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change

If these "experts" are saying this then they are not experts at all.

Well the "experts" are right here. It is not possible to 100 percent attribute a single event to CC. The best one can do is assign odds. We can certainly look at the statistics for extreme events over a broad area, and conclude that the statistical distribution is changing, but that is a different ketle of fish. (Note statistical evidence ought to be sufficient to inform policy, but probably not responsibility in a legal sense).

It is like I lost a throw of dice, and I discover the dice was loaded against me. I can't prove I wouldn't have lost anyway.


'Peak oil alarm revealed by secret official talks'

Behind government dismissals of 'alarmist' fears there is growing concern over critical future energy supplies

Speculation that government ministers are far more concerned about a future supply crunch than they have admitted has been fuelled by the revelation that they are canvassing views from industry and the scientific community about "peak oil".

the workshop distributed last year talks about secrecy around the topic being "probably not good", although it also suggests officials stick to the line that the "International Energy Agency is an authoritative source in this field" and stresses how the IEA believes there is sufficient reserves to meet demand till 2030 as long as investment in new reserves is maintained.

Relying on the accuracy of the IEA?! Oh really.

From Could Gulf-like disaster scar the Heartland?

The Sibsons said they didn't want it, but the pipeline operator, TransCanada, claimed eminent domain. That left the Sibsons and many of the neighbors with little choice but to allow construction.

Sounds pretty outrageous to me ... in Australia "compulsory acquisition on just terms" (aka eminent domain) is effectively prohibited, if the interests are to be vested in a private entity third party. Governments can do it to build a school, road, railway, or hospital, or for a project of very high national interest (whatever that is) - but ceding land to a private corporation is much more difficult, both at the federal and state level. In some states it is legally impossible.

I assume these farmers had freehold title - not just a leasehold of the surface. But whatever, when "energy security" is equated to "national interest" - all manner of corruption becomes not only possible, but very likely.

This is a thorny topic. Obviously, societal good requires pipelines, railroads, and highways and we all know we need more grid lines. How about malls or factories or hotels, as private entities with more public value than a house or fram?

To make any of these gov't-owned is one option, but then that grows the Fed gov't while most such projects could well be managed at the state or private level.

On the other hand, if you own the land, you should get to determine its use.

What if you own the best wind-farm location in the state for your 3000 acre farm - should the state go without because you don't want to sell? What if the gov't owns the best area but its in a park or forest - should the state go without because the gov't has policies against building in a nat'l forest?

Or per a thread a few days ago - who owns the mountains that may be needed for pumped hydro, and what right do local agencies have to complain about disrupting the view versus a need for power perhaps 500 miles away?

The "won't sell at any price" is irrational at the face of it, yet there is some emotional vesting in the human sentiment that says "but it's been in the family for 200 years".

If I know I control a valuable power resource, should I be compelled to sell today when power is cheap, versus 20 years from now when power could be much more expensive?

Of course for most of the needs above, an easement would suffice. The land can mostly still be owned and used as before. Should that sway the overall issue?

As society reaches a critical population density, and resources falter, it is obvious how this will end. We just need to come up with consistent treatment of the topic.

Although TransCanada paid the Sibsons an undisclosed sum in a sealed settlement to use the land, "It's really not about the money," said Mike Sibson. "It's actually about how they can come in and take your land and do whatever the heck they want with it."

"Property ownership" is an illusion on 2 levels.

First off, try holding onto your property without paying your annual fee(s) to the government.

And second, at least in North America, there was a time when most land was held in common. Some Native Americans had to either move or die in order for the first person to print up a piece of paper called a "deed". Yeah, some deed indeed.