“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hugh Hewitt and Ron Paul on the Financial Restoration Bill - Two Views

Hat tip: whit

Sunday, September 28, 2008
A Responsible Exercise of Representative Government

Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 7:46 AM

The outline of the deal reached by legislators and the Administration represents not just the restoration of confidence and liquidity for Wall Street and thus a breakwater for Main Street, but also a reassuring return of purposeful legislating by the Congress. I expect not to like many of the details, but my party is in the minority on the Hill, and cannot expect to carry such matters. President Bush and his team have been acting responsibly throughout this crisis and continue to do so. The most talented and mature Republicans in the Congress --I single out Senator Jon Kyl as I interviewed him on Friday and can thus say with assurance that he has been working hard to resolve this incredibly complex and perilous situation-- have been working to assure the package does what it has to do with minimum long-term disruptions to the market. From the account in the Wall Street Journal, Speaker Pelosi also played an important role worthy of her office in bringing the negotiations to a close. All Americans should thank her and the other responsible legislators for working to get this done before the markets opened on Monday.

As Bill Dyer notes below, John McCain has also been working hard to rescue the rescue, demonstrating a presidential temperament that will serve him very well if he is elected and must work with Democratic majorities. (For an account of Senator McCain's conduct in the White House meeting, see my interview with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan.) The next question is the the response of the House Republicans, which I hope follow that of the Senate GOP and the Administration. Some will not be able to sign on, I suppose, because they genuinely believe the package to be a disaster. Any sincerely held view should be respected, but I think the majority of the GOP House members will recognize that this is one of those rare moments where they must act as the Democrats did after 9/11 and through the following year --they must act to shape but not obstruct the will of the democratically-elected majority and the president in the course and aftermath of a crisis.

Such episodes as the one we are going through are always watched closely around the globe, and nowhere more so than in emerging democracies like Iraq's. If, as appears likely, the two parties which are on opposite sides of a deep ideological divide can work together to resolve a crisis and then immediately return to throwing hammers at each other for five weeks, this will be as great an example of the wonders of our system that can be imagined.


  1. Uh? A full article posted by Hugh Hewitt here at the Bar. I want to see his clusterfsck credentials!

  2. Folks, keep one thing in mind. This mortgage mess is a temporary, man-made problem. It's going to throw the world into a pretty good recession that's going to mask a problem, designed by God, using the method of "GEOLOGY," that is One Hundred times more dangerous than this little hiccup.

    By the time we come out of this recession we'll realize that there isn't enough Oil to go around. You can always rent a foreclosed house, but if you can't afford the gas to go to work you've got real problems.

    Alas, it's "human nature" to concentrate on "one problem at a time," but, in this case, we Really Need to be "Makin one, and Carryin One."

  3. don't worry rufus, those alternative energy sources are ready to fill the void...or so i've read at the bar

    read on the net they are having fuel shortages in the southeast - hope they ship in some of those electric and solar cars soon

  4. At BC I wrote:

    "Environmentalism means breaking the dependence on the oil mafia. It means energy independence. It means economic independence. It means geopolitical independence."

  5. Small, localized, decentralized, sustainable.

  6. Ron Paul asks, where do you get the authority? Bernanke answers, you gave it to us, and continue to do so. Seems right to me. If you don't like, legislate something else. You are the legislators.

  7. Environmentalism means breaking the dependence on the oil mafia.

    It has worked so well for the Europeans in relation to Gazprom

  8. I remember driving past absurdly expensive, oversized houses, sited cheek to jowl like like a Levittown monster movie. Each of these homes were over a million dollars and were being financed by someone and then to be filled with mostly imported goods.

    I thought about how much production machinery could be purchased with a like amount of money and fit-out a small 10 man manufacturing operation that would be able to generate $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 worth of annual production.

    Had we diverted investment to 50,000 such factories we could be in a totally different place. We will have to do something similar now.

  9. The Greenpeace guy, and the Gaia guy join hands in advocating nuclear energy these days.

  10. We also may need to put a moratorium on building new houses till the excess inventory is absorbed.

    The construction trades could be re-directed to refurbishing existing properties and bring their energy efficiency to current standards.

    They could also be used to convert ultra large homes that have no market demand to smaller more efficient and affordable units.

    Nothing will be easy, fast or painless.

  11. Deuce, we will soon be forced, by higher fuel costs, to start manufacturing more of our products for domestic consumption, here.

    The bad news is that this will hammer our "exports" (We ARE the number one exporter in the world.)

    The net will, almost certainly, be a "LOSS" of jobs.

  12. Uh, Deuce, perhaps we shouldn't move to a "Command" Economy just yet.

    Our problem wasn't caused by homebuilders building new homes for responsible people that could afford a new/larger house.

    It was caused by an unholy alliance of politicians and thieves (but, I repeat myself) putting people into "suicide mortgages" that they were sure to not be able to pay.

  13. It has worked so well for the Europeans in relation to Gazprom

    Which Europeans?

    I don't see Denmark having to deal with Gazprom. They're building a fleet of electric cars to store their excess wind power electricity. The Italians, like the Americans, go from dealing with Gaddafi to dealing with Putin to dealing with Gaddafi.

  14. Isn't a collapse of housing prices a free market moratorium on new construction?

    I don't like that word, moratorium. While I may be prejudiced, around here it was used by the no growth city council when discussing ways to lock up the city, freeze time, stop growth. In the case here, the idea was 'we are running out of water'--a totally unsupported affirmation--therefore, we must have a moratorium on new construction.

    The people were beginning to see through this ploy, and, when the city council over-reached itself, and turned down the Wal-Mart Super Store, which 80% of the people wanted, for it's services and low prices, the people revolted, and kicked the whole cursed bunch out.

    So, currently, there is no more talk of a moratorium of any kind here.

    I hope this lasts at least long enough for me to conclude my business in our fair community.

  15. What this country is going to need, and soon, is more rest homes. Where are we going to stack all these old farts that can no longer feed themselves? The city park? The benches along Main Street? The Greyhound Bus depot?

  16. denmark as the energy supplier for the rest of the EU; i look forward to reading about it in the future

    wind power electricity...fueling eighteen wheelers on an interstate soon

  17. wind power electricity...fueling eighteen wheelers on an interstate soon


    You can take your endless interstate highway and your endless urban sprawl and your one world government and shove it. I'm not interested.

  18. This Guy is Conservative. (And, as "Expert" as they come.) If HE says we can do it, We Can Do It.

    135 BILLION Gallons of Ethanol/Yr You want to know why the Saudis, and the Oil Companies are fighting so hard? 135 Billion gpy would replace ALL of our oil. All of it.

  19. I cringe at the concept myself. However, we are in an era of lesser evils. Deflation can mean blood in the streets. Housing prices must be stabilized. Adding to inventory in a declining market will not help a stabilization effort.

    My worry is the dollar and people's IRA's and fixed incomes from investments. We are in a predicament where we have to decrease domestic consumer spending, increase personal savings and at the same time do it in a way that will not depress aggregate incomes.

    In a consumer economy, increased savings and decreased spending means deflation and recession or worse. The reduction in consumer spending and increased savings must be offset. We need to increase incomes while reducing consumption, that requires capital formation.

    That can only happen in two ways, private or public investment. Look how hysterical the press gets at Xmas when spending is off.

    Private investments in job and income producing ventures would be best. Public infrastructure will also be necessary. Energy should be the number one priority.

    The market was dreadfully wrong with the McMansions. Market corrections yes, financial collapse no.

  20. Hell, Bob, all WE need is a park bench, and a wireless connection, right? No Problemo.

  21. Rufus posted what was to be a later post!

  22. I am very optimistic that we can get out of this mess. Don't ask me why.

  23. A park bench may sound ok to you Rufus, down there in the southland. Up here, we got something called winter. Like last winter, with 8 feet of snow.

    And don't give me that crap about a snow blankie.

    Out of solidarity, we got to stick together, and start thinking ahead in the little time we have left!

  24. At BC I wrote:

    "Environmentalism means breaking the dependence on the oil mafia. It means energy independence. It means economic independence. It means geopolitical independence."

    And, then somebody came at you with a 2 x 4. :)

    Environmentalism means living in a teepee.

  25. We are joined at the hip by our financial system.

  26. Brazil's Lula Calls US Bailout Unfair To The Poor

    It's odd, and a little heartening in a way, to see how every politician in the world seems compelled to comment on our affairs. Must be the subtle reach of our empire.

  27. Look Bob, I'll reserve you a place on a bench down here in the winter; and, come summer, I'll be showing up there. (try to find us a bench as close to the "campus" as possible, okay. Gotta be some of them little "snow bunnies" taking summer courses.

  28. Environmentalism means living in a teepee.

    Kfar Saba becomes first city to go green
    Sep. 20, 2008
    Ehud Zion Waldoks

    Kfar Saba became the first city in Israel, and perhaps the world, last week to adopt a master plan to become a sustainable, environmentally friendly city.

    A team of experts led by Prof. Uri Marinov spent a year compiling a comprehensive plan to overhaul everything from light bulbs to transportation to construction.

    Kfar Saba became the first city in Israel, and perhaps the world, last week to adopt a master plan to become a sustainable, environmentally friendly city.

    A team of experts led by Prof. Uri Marinov spent a year compiling a comprehensive plan to overhaul everything from light bulbs to transportation to construction.
    Kfar Saba had already adopted a green standard for building even before the report was accepted last Wednesday, he said. The city developed its own standard, which was very close to the green standard published by the standards institute, he said.

    "I understand the basics of the plan were presented at a national mayors conference recently and there was a lot of excitement. I think more cities will be adopting the green standard," Marinov added.

    The comprehensive plan presents solutions in the realms of building, transport, conservation of resources and landmarks, recycling, environmental education, water, open spaces, bike paths, waste reduction, energy reduction, renewable energy, and many other areas, big and small.


    Kfar Saba (literal translation: Grandpa's Village) is one of the most sought after real estate locations in Israel.

  29. What the "Right" misses, so often, is that, usually, "Greener" is More "Efficient, and, thus, CHEAPER!

  30. Sounds good, Rufus, and, I know just the bench for us here. Right there on "Hello Walk" mid campus, shady, and plenty of female traffic.

  31. Let me rephrase that. As Fossil Fuels Get More Scarce, and, thus More Expensive Greener gets Cheaper.

  32. Sounds like a "Plan," Bob. We don't need no stinkin McMansions.

    Give me some cute Co-eds walking by, and you can keep your mortgages.

    We could put up a sign, "Will Blog for Money . . . . or Love."

    Dang, I'm gettin excited.

    Woohoo, let's get'er done.

  33. Bring some kind of a push cart for groceries, Rufus, like an old golf cart or something, a sleeping bag, and a couple paper sacks, we'll be set for the summer. We might even be able to shower once in a while, over at the gym.

    I'll make up a "Reserved" sign for the bench.

    We can watch the squirrels play too, they're all over the place.

  34. A good article in today's NYtimes regarding A.I.G. It details quite nicely how Credit Default Swaps were, ummmm, problematic. It also raises some nasty questions about conflicts of interest though given the beautiful US governing process isn't really new:

    "Two weeks ago, the nation’s most powerful regulators and bankers huddled in the Lower Manhattan fortress that is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, desperately trying to stave off disaster.

    As the group, led by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., pondered the collapse of one of America’s oldest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, a more dangerous threat emerged: American International Group, the world’s largest insurer, was teetering. A.I.G. needed billions of dollars to right itself and had suddenly begged for help.

    The only Wall Street chief executive participating in the meeting was Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson’s former firm. Mr. Blankfein had particular reason for concern.

    Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that had seemed immune to its rivals’ woes, was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to six people close to the insurer who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in Goldman’s side, several of these people said."

    The whole article is worth reading. It gives some good insight into the big ball of wax.

  35. Chrysler Joins the Party

    Chrysler has decided to play with the cool kids and has unveiled three prototypes that use its new electric drive technology. The good news is that this isn't just for car shows; they intend to produce one of the three in late 2010, with a smaller number of EVs going out to fleets for testing in 2009.

    The three prototypes are a sports car, a minivan and a SUV. Read on for more details on each.

    Chrysler's EV technology has been designed for two different usages:

    100% electric cars, with only an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery pack and a power controller. "The electric-drive system is being developed for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive vehicle applications."

    "Range-extended" vehicles, which are basically series plug-in hybrids like the GM Volt. These would have all the elements mentioned above, but also a small gasoline engine to act as generator when the batteries run out of power. This engine would not drive the wheels directly, it would only generate electricity.

    Based on the Lotus Europa S, the Dodge EV prototype is an electric rear-wheel-drive sports car. The electric-drive system consists of a 200 kW (268 hp) electric motor that can generate a huge 480 lb-ft of torque pretty much from 0 RPM, a 26 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an integrated power controller.

    0 to 60 performance is under 5 second. Quarter-mile is 13 seconds. Top speed is 120+ mph.

    Chrysler Dodge EV Electric Car photo

    Driving range is 150-200 miles. It takes 8 hours to recharge the battery pack from a 110v outlet, but you can cut that to 4 hours with 220v.

    It is basically very close to the Tesla electric Roadster.

  36. It looks like this is going to fly.

    House Resolution 6899:

    (a) Requirement- Not later than January 1, 2018, each retail automotive fueling station owned by a major integrated oil company shall have at least 1 alternative fuel pump (and necessary infrastructure and storage facilities) available to dispense for automotive purposes a fuel referred to in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of subsection (c)(2) .
    (b) Penalty- A major integrated oil company that has failed to comply with subsection (a) as of January 1 of any calendar year beginning with 2018 shall be liable for a civil penalty in the amount of $100,000 for each automotive fueling station owned by such company that is not in compliance. Any such penalty may be assessed and collected by the Secretary of Energy by order. The Secretary may bring an action in the appropriate United States District court to require the payment of civil penalties imposed under this subsection, and such court shall have jurisdiction to enforce any order of the Secretary under this subsection.
    (c) Definitions- For purposes of this section:
    (1) The term ?major integrated oil company? has the meaning given that term in section 167(h)(5)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
    (2) The term ?alternative fuel pump? means a fuel pump that dispenses as a fuel for automotive purposes--
    (A) natural gas;
    (B) any fuel at least 85 percent of the volume of which consists of ethanol;
    (C) any mixture of biodiesel and diesel or renewable diesel (as defined in regulations under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act), determined without regard to any use of kerosene and containing at least 20 percent biodiesel or renewable diesel; or
    (D) hydrogen.
    (d) Regulations- The Secretary of Energy shall promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section.

    This would be a Monster. Let's hope.

  37. Economic Indicators [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

    Newt Gingrich, who yesterday called for Paulson's head, would, relunctantly, vote for the bailout:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: “Speaker Gingrich, there’s also, I think, a recognition, at least in some of the polls I’ve seen, that something has to be done.”

    SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: “Sure, look, something has to be done. … I suspect were I still in Congress, in the end George [Will] is right, and I probably would end up voting reluctantly yes, because I think when you’re given no choice …”

  38. Hydrogen!, natural gas, ethanol, diesel, bio-diesel--sounds like a service station just waiting to blow up, to me.

    I know segregation is supposed to be a bad word, but it might be a good word in service stations.

    GM had a contract to provide Uncle Sam with a few hundred or thousand natural gas vehicles lately. Unfortunately, two blew up on fueling, setting the program back a bit.

    Wife and I were just down at the gas station. If I'd had my camera, I would have taken a picture of the new Idaho Fish and Game Department Huge Pickup Truck, being fueled by an, admittedly, nice looking young lady. This is the government department that had, and probably still has, more pickup trucks than employees.

    These people don't need pickup trucks to drive around and check fishing licenses. We could cut the department back 50% with no harm to anything. Bet she makes50k-60k a year too, driving around. With a gas mileage of about 12mpg.

  39. It's a really sad thing to watch McCain sink in the polls over this financial stuff, when the democrats are mostly at fault. Life ain't fair.

  40. Why do housing prices need to be stablilized?

  41. Life SUCKS!
    (under the Messiah)

  42. LaBob,
    Sonia says I can live in her Palapa in perpetuity as long as my perpetual motion sex machine keeps working.

  43. Get Your Palapa Structure Here

    What? You and Art Bell?

    You need help?

    This may require some adjustment on your part, Doug.

  44. re: re: Free Sarah Palin [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

    And for a heavier interview, here's her interview with Maria B from CNBC from this summer, right before the veep announcement.

    I'd like to see this Sarah Palin this week. She even takes a hit at Joe Biden!
    McCain Campaign is STUPID!

  45. Where do I put my 16 ft Hi Def Screen?

  46. All you need to know to be an "expert" on corn ethanol co-products, and cattle feed.

    Basically, a confirmation of the numbers that I've been putting up for two years, now.

    The Real Deal on Corn/Distillers Grains.

  47. They get to "Pick One," Bob. They will, almost all, go with E85 (mostly) and B20 - biodiesel - (to some extent.

  48. Oh, I see, Rufus. I thought you'd be driving up to the pump, and maybe fueling hydrogen in your natural gas storage tank. Now it makes more sense. :)

  49. You can take your endless interstate highway and your endless urban sprawl and your one world government and shove it. I'm not interested.

    So, I guess we can assume that as the teat dries up, you'll be departing for the motherland?

  50. He's got this cool chair with pedals on it so the dental patients power those old tyme drills with the belts and pulleys.
    Anasthesia is provided by recycled bovine flatulence.
    Transportation is by 10 Speed.

  51. Hey, Ruf:
    How 'bout a link to that Number One Exporter Factoid?
    Hard to picture, what with our trade deficit w/the Chi-coms.

  52. It's all in the nozzles, Bob.

    Reminds me of a local fella back in the 90s. Whipped in to fillup his diesel Rabbit, and absentmindedly grabbed the unleaded hose. A manager. Had a lot on his mind. Got about a hundred yards down the street, he did.

    Speaking of nozzles, is there any truth to the story of a flight of jet fighters being ferried to SEA that had a nozzle compatibility problem over the Pacific? Something like the Marines used a different aerial refueling configuration than the Air Force? Seems far fetched.

  53. Small, localized, decentralized, sustainable.

    We agree, Mat.

    I'd add only that the adjectives need apply to policy as well as assets and infrastructure.

    As to how to get there, I've no magic dust, but the unfettered market seems a place to start.

    One of these days the price of fresh naval oranges in Montana will reflect the price of shipping. Why should they be priced there comparable to a supermarket in Fresno?

  54. More Couric for Palin!
    (Byron York at the Corner)
    P.S. One more thought. I know I stressed talk radio above, but it would probably have been wiser for the McCain team to have fashioned a rollout combining talk radio, the blogosphere, and local news outlets in key states. Debuting Palin on a network newscast seems like, well, an old-fashioned kind of strategy. It certainly wasn't a fresh approach.

    Now, none of that would matter if Palin just couldn't perform, but some fairly well-informed people in this believe that, even given her lack of experience in some national issues, she is still performing far below her abilities in these big network interviews, and they're trying to figure out why that is. So they think a better strategy might have helped. Perhaps. But the McCain team chose the path it chose, and now they have put an enormous amount of pressure on Palin as Thursday's debate approaches.

  55. Oops, you're right, Doug. We're No 3 behind Germany, and China. But, well ahead of no. 4, Japan.

  56. The two countries are also economically interdependent; 8.8% of German exports are U.S.-bound and 6.6% of German imports originate from the U.S.

    [40] The other way around, 8.8% of U.S. exports ship to Germany and 9.8% of U.S. imports come from Germany
    Where's all the made in Germany stuff @ Wal-Mart?

  57. The service sector contributes around 70% to the total GDP, the industry 29.1% and agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country's products are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods.[23] Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest, annual, international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt and Berlin.[70]

    Among the world's largest stock market signed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 37 companies are headquartered in Germany. The ten biggest are Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz (the most profitable company), Siemens, Deutsche Bank (2nd most profitable company), E.ON, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Metro and BASF.[71] Among the largest employers are also Deutsche Post, Robert Bosch and Edeka.[72] Well known global brands are Mercedes Benz, SAP, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Nivea.[73]

  58. Rachel Maddow looked as if she were about to leap into the air with excitement. The newly minted MSNBC host was crouched on a swiveling office chair, her feet propped underneath her, gleefully contemplating the day's sudden turn of events.


    "I'm trying to be influential," she said. "I'm trying to be part of the discussion.

    You reach people in television in a way that allows you to make more of an impact. If that's the game you've decided to play, you might as well try to win."

    Shows MSNBC is partisan

  59. Adidas -

    Didn't know that was German.

  60. Remember the gas panic in N.Fla days before Hurricane Ike? Similar panics have happened throughout the SE Unites States. The panic buying has left many if not most stations serving 5 plus million people have no gas.It took over a week for all the stations in my 200,000 people county to get back to normal. Fortunately, most everyone had plenty of gas in their cars.

  61. The have a run on toilet paper in Hawaii every time a Hurricane threatens!

  62. So, how can Japan be 929, and Germany 620, and Germany still leads Japan in exports?
    What services are global, other than financial.
    Are Big Macs a manufactured product?
    So many questions!...

  63. Me and Barack, just pickin it up as we go!

  64. The Secretary is authorized
    10 to establish a troubled asset relief program (or
    11 ‘‘TARP’’) to purchase, and to make and fund com12
    mitments to purchase, troubled assets from any fi13
    nancial institution, on such terms and conditions as
    14 are determined by the Secretary, and in accordance
    15 with this Act and the policies and procedures devel16
    oped and published by the Secretary.


    If the Secretary establishes
    2 the program authorized under section 101, then the
    3 Secretary shall establish a program to guarantee
    4 troubled assets originated or issued prior to March
    5 14, 2008, including such mortgage-backed securities.


    In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the
    25 Secretary shall take into consideration—
    protecting the interests of taxpayers by
    2 maximizing overall returns and minimizing the im3
    pact on the national debt;

    Discussion Draft

  65. Doug, population of Japan is 127 million. Germany 82 Million. With 60% more population I guess it stands to reason that Japan would use a considerable higher percentage of their manufactured products at home vs exporting them.

  66. The Holocaust memorial exhibit belonged to longtime postal memorabilia collector and activist Ken Lawrence of Pennsylvania. It was called "The Nazi Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe."

    The Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, based in Northbrook, Ill., recently bought the collection and has added to it.

    "The insured value of the collection is $1 million, but the educational value to future generations is incalculable," said Daniel Spungen, a board member of the foundation, in a statement.

    Concentration Camps

  67. Reminds me of a local fella back in the 90s. Whipped in to fillup his diesel Rabbit, and absentmindedly grabbed the unleaded hose,

    :) Which is exactly what my dad did the first time, after I had put my underground fuel dump in. Here dad is the key, save yourself some money over downtown, but remember to use.....

    Made it a couple hudred yards down the road, and never came back to my fuel dump again.

  68. bernake was hired to be the fed chairman precisely because of his critique of the fed’s handling of the 1929 stock market crash. He believed that the fed should have been much more proactive.

    My understanding is that — that crash and the crunch of the following years came precisely because of the kind of credit crunch which the fed led congress is now working hard to avoid. The fed at that time thought it best for the markets to work things out–ie no federal intervention.

    Four years later in 1932 — federal intervention came. But many say that the US didn’t fully recover until WWII when government spending outstripped everything that was done in the 30’s.

    The work of the last week has been done so as to concentrate the the federal work of 15 years into 15 days and avoid the 15 year zag that followed 1929. A stitch in time saves nine.

    How will capital be redeployed? I don’t know.

    Most capital deployed in the last 10 years in the west has been used to inflate real estate. In the east it has been used to build immense cities. The landscape of the world has been considerably redrawn in the last ten years.

    How about the next 10 years? It would be be best if capital in the west was used to do stuff like reinvent our energy & water infrastructure so as to create the preconditions for a successful 21st century,.

  69. "hmmm, you know, this tomato tastes like piss."

  70. I knew that about piss, Bob. I pee on my lime tree every now and then out in the back after throwing empty beer cans at it.

  71. Free market capitalism didn’t create this crisis. The Democrats’ "progressive" social policies helped stifle free market checks and limit appropriate regulatory oversight.

    The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop past abuses were the ones who blocked the legislative efforts that might have stopped them. While McCain is leading, Obama’s watching.

    Barack’s a great talker, but he’s remained inactive when he should have been part of the solution.

    Try a Mirror

  72. I'd add only that the adjectives need apply to policy as well as assets and infrastructure.

    I couldn't agree more. And not only to policy, but to political entities as well. The United States of America, and not the United State of America.

    As to how to get there. You don't theorize it, you just do it.

  73. Vinod Khosla says we can do 150 Billion Gallons/Yr from Cellulosic. pdf warning, Doug.

    He's about the smartest guy in the world; so he's probably right.

  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. The United Nations’ agency in charge of housing, UN-Habitat, has warned that the growth rate of slums in the country, in particular, and the continent at large, poses serious threats of diseases and environmental degradation.

    The UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN-Habitat, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, noted this in a document, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.


    Other areas the agency could assist include “human settlements planning, development and management to tackle the chaotic problem of rapid urbanisation through the Rapid Urban Profiling for Sustainability.”

    Slums in Nigeria

  76. You guys will love this new Palin Ad - Better than Barak Obama

    Except Trish, of course, but she's not in the "basement," tonight.

    I know this because I don't have a steaming pile of shit on my head.



  77. "SNL" was the highest-rated program of the night on broadcast TV.

    The show averaged a 6.0 overnight rating/15 share in the metered markets, Nielsen Media Research said Sunday afternoon. That's up 46 percent from the 4.1/10 of the previous season's third telecast, on October 13, 2007.

    It also marks a ratings gain of 52 percent compared with the first three episodes of last season, which began later than "SNL" did this year.

    Ratings Run

  78. You don't theorize it, you just do it.


    My neighbors and I've been doin' it for about 30 years and getting along fine. Now the urbane flatlanders have discovered the joys of rural mountain life, except they don't want to leave their nanny state support system behind, and are importing it to the hinterlands. I saw it coming about 40 years ago, though. Been lucky until now, I guess.

  79. Sam's comment:

    ...Other areas the agency could assist include “human settlements planning, development and management to tackle the chaotic problem of rapid urbanisation through the Rapid Urban Profiling for Sustainability.”

    Slums in Nigeria

    Sounds like a policy paper drawn up by the Fresno County Planning Department.

    Slums in Rural Fresno County

  80. discovered the joys of rural mountain

    You should explain to them that's what Country Inns are for. Jaime Lerner: City evangelist

  81. Rudyard Kipling satirized this arrogance nearly a century ago in his poem, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (a copybook was a primer in which British schoolchildren learned handwriting by copying familiar proverbs).

    Here's a verse rather relevant to the current moment:

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,

    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four –

    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it turns out, the moralistic platitudes you learned at your grandfather's knee – What goes up must come down; you can't get something for nothing– hold up better than the obscure incantations of Wall Street's pinstriped deities, those Masters of the Universe who have flattered their genius on the financial pages during our latter-day Gilded Age.

    Our Blame

  82. bobal said...

    Alcohol Can Be A Gas

    Alcohol works for me, so I followed the link.

    Came to a word that had me flummoxed.

    "Permaculturally." Had to look it up. Even my onscreen spell checker says, WTF?

    By gosh, it means something like "crop rotation for green people."

    Now I can impress my daughter.