“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, October 05, 2008

Palin Finds Her Sea Legs

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday slammed Sen. Barack Obama's political relationship with a former anti-war radical, accusing him of associating "with terrorists who targeted their own country."

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lashed out at Sen. Barack Obama's ties to controversial figure William Ayers.

Palin's attack delivered on the McCain campaign's announcement that it would step up attacks on the Democratic presidential candidate with just a month left before the November general election.

"We see America as the greatest force for good in this world," Palin said at a fund-raising event in Colorado, adding, "Our opponent though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

Palin made similar comments later at a rally in Carson, California.

Obama's Chicago, Illinois, home is in the same neighborhood as Bill Ayers, a founder of the radical Weather Underground, which was involved in several bombings in the early 1970s, including the Pentagon and the Capitol, and the two have met several times since Obama's 1995 campaign for a state Senate seat.

Palin cited an article in Saturday's New York Times about Obama's relationship with Ayers, now 63. But that article concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' "


  1. Why waste time in California, of all places?

    Colorado Obama +4.4
    Ohio Obama +2.0
    Florida Obama +3.0
    Nevada Obama +1.8
    Missouri McCain +1.7
    Virginia Obama +2.4

    California Obama +13.3

    From the folks at RCP.

  2. 2 reasons, Rat. That's where the money is, and to help a couple of the House races.

  3. Flip it on the highest resolution, look at Siberia, you can see the TransSiberia Highway corridor. Look at North and South Korea like Doug pointed out one time.

    jeez, India is lit up.

  4. A Florida senior citizen bought himself his first Corvette. He drove the brand new convertible out of the dealership, took a right and headed for the Interstate. Once he got on he took it up to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left.

    "Amazing," he thought as he flew down I-75, pushing the pedal even more.

    When he looked in his rear view mirror, he saw the highway patrol had pulled in behind him, lights flashing and siren blaring.

    He was doing 95 when he floored it and took it to 100mph, then 110, then 120. Suddenly he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this." He slowed down and pulled over to await the Trooper's arrival.

    Pulling in behind him, the trooper walked up to the Corvette, looked at the senior citizen, looked at his watch and finally said, "Sir, today is Friday and my shift ends in 30 minutes. If you can give me a reason for speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.”

    The old gentleman paused. Then said, "Years ago, my wife ran off with a Florida State Trooper. I thought you might be bringing her back."

    "Keep it under 80 and have a good day, sir," replied the Trooper.

  5. Want to bring down Iran? Forget bombs and missles, send over our investment bankers to set up a banking system for them.
    That will take care of them for generations.

  6. For Joe Biden:
    Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses

    October 3, 2008
    Climate Research News
    Two new studies summarised in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not ‘global warming.'

  7. Now this story tells US that unempoyment has not risen, because the "work force" has shrunk.
    Interesting concept, wonder where they went?
    The migtants are still coming, though at a slower rate, so the workforce did not go to Mexico.

    Must be those folk, out of work for so long, so unable to find work the become discouraged. The Government then drops them off the unemplitted roles, says they are unemployable.

    Muat need a Federal training program or some such.

    By Michael A. Fletcher
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Employers slashed jobs at the fastest rate in five years in September, marking the ninth consecutive month of job losses and providing another grim indicator of the deteriorating state of the U.S. economy, the government reported yesterday.

    Payrolls were cut by 159,000 jobs last month, a decline that did not affect the nation's overall 6.1 percent unemployment rate, but only because the job losses were offset by a reduction in the labor force. Overall, the nation's economy has lost 760,000 jobs this year, which analysts called evidence that the economy was severely weakened even before the financial crisis intensified in recent weeks.

    While Maverick McCain wants to talk about a 60's radical ...
    pointing backwards, forty years, to when Obamasan was 8.

    Team Maverick talks of turning the page, on the Economy.
    Fuckin' sad sacks.

    They should listen to their VP candidate

    "... there's a time, too, when Americans are going to say, "Enough is enough with your ticket," on constantly looking backwards, and pointing fingers, and doing the blame game.

    When there is no way to rightously blame an 8 year old in HI for the Weathermen attacks in DC.

    Ayers, himself, was forgiven, well, even after pleading guilty he did not do time. Guess he was not much of a domestic terrorist, after all.

    No Jose Pedilla, anyway,
    or Jim Hensley, for that matter.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Wonder why Mrs Palin did not highlight the "greed and corruption" at Choice/Silver State Bank, the greed and corription that led to its' failure, with Andrew McCain on the Board, providing financial oversight.

    Andrew, the chief financial officer at Hensley Dist., his stepmother's company.

  10. Interesting, that if you are out of work long enough, you are no longer unemployeed.

    You just do not count, why it's make the numbers "look bad".

    A lot like "core" inflation.

    Factoring out the discouraging news.

  11. toothless idiots for obama...

    drunks for obama...

    domestic commies for obama...

    child criminals for obama...

    american domestic terrorists for obama...

    palestinians jew haters for obama..

    hamas for obama....

    black racists for obama...

    homeless alcoholics for obama...

    yep my firends, it's time for change...

    I decided to embrace change...

    just fired 2 worthless part timers...

    betcha they will vote obama, he'll get them good jobs...

  12. Fired two parttimers? I thought you were ramping up, girding your firm for the continued export boom.

    Why, Obama is not even in office, yet.

    Vote McCain, for more of the same.
    Vote Obama, and his baby mommma

    Catchy phrases, aye?

    Barr '08

  13. Time to embrace the possibility that a terrorist loving pussy is about to steal the position of POTUS....

    Yep it's time to get the Glock.

    Once Obama is POTUS he will free all the 14-18 year "children" from prison.....

    Just read Ayers and Obama's views on crime reform...

    Forget growth these next few years, keep payroll SKINNY.

    Pay down debt, Figure out ways to screw taxes, and DONT think about hirings anyone extra....

    time to circle the wagons...

  14. A good shotgun, always an asset, wi"o".

    I prefer a good pump action, but if you do not have a lot of range time, a semi auto will surfice.

    Nothing worse than short stroking, when the fat's in the fire.

  15. Why shouldn't Palin point out Obama's associations? They are certainly germaine to who he is and the American public are entitled to know more about the mystery candidate than what the MSM have been willing to tell. For instance, for months we've only been told that he was a community organizer, now we're learning that he worked for ACORN. That bit of information is entirely relevant. Who is ACORN? Well, we're just beginning to find out, no thanks to the MSM who have whitewashed their vunderkind.

  16. desert rat said...
    Fired two parttimers? I thought you were ramping up, girding your firm for the continued export boom.


    good news? We are outputting 40% more this year with less people, just streamlining processes.

    But I wont keep any fat on the payroll, dont like the payroll taxes, unemployment & ss payments.

    Will be buying packaging machine instead of hiring labor...

    dr: Why, Obama is not even in office, yet.

    1 trillion of shit spending...

    I dont like the idea some sectors are rewarded for bad business when I have to actually EARN my success...

    dr: Vote McCain, for more of the same.
    Vote Obama, and his baby mommma

    Catchy phrases, aye?

    Very catchy...

    I will vote McCain, as a democrat. MY party the Democrats disgust me .

    From Barney Frank, to Pelosi, to Reid, to Obama, kennedy & carter

    makes me puke...

    I still have not forgotten nixon & his dirty tricks and all I see is the de's only being worse than he..


    So ALL i wish is to (legally & non-violently) PREVENT obama from stealing the election in 2008.

    But if the bastard child of a commie becomes POTUS MANY more will hurt MUCH more than me...

    In the end, I will be fine, but our nation will lose.

    I know, it's corny to actually think America is special.

  17. desert rat said...
    A good shotgun, always an asset, wi"o".

    I agree... nothing says I LOVE YOU BETTER than the SOUND of a pump action at 3am in the quiet of the night....

    I am leaning towards the 9mm Glock?

    I can get a Concealed Carry Permit and be able to have it in schul.

    The Glock would only be for going to synagogue.

  18. Even today, the NYTimes continues to gloss over the Obama/Ayres relationship.

  19. So i guess if obama wins it will be ok for GOP'ers to have "friends" around the burbs that 30 years ago burned down a few dozen black churches and committed just a couple of armed robberies....

    I pity my party...

    they will reap what they sow...

  20. Sometimes I think Rat is the most cynical guy in the world, but then--

    Barr '08

    --I'm reminded he's really just another partisan with an agenda.


    Gun lovers might remind themselves that Obama is after your guns, will be appointing Supreme Court Justices, might even try to increase the size of the court if he has Congress on his side, and this election is very serious, beyond cynicism.

    Palin/McCain won't be doing that, should they win.

    Barr 08---Just another wasted vote.

  21. Ayers and Bernadine whatshername were bad enough back in the 60's, it's what they want to do now that's even worse, as they might end up succeeding.

  22. Wonder if those pachyderms could throw it into reverse, and back off the bridge, Doug?

  23. Check out the new FN Herstal 5.7

    Comes with 3 20 round mags, 2000 ft. per second at the muzzle.

    Sarah Brady wants to take it off the market.

    Excellent reason to get one.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. McCain down another point overnight at Rasmussen. From Six to Seven. Jes sayin.

  26. Rat emails Jonah:


    I think you are grasping at straws if you think that the public will care about Ayers more than Keating. While Keating was covered by the news at the time, it has not been mentioned at all during this election cycle. If the public hears about both, Keating will certainly be more damning, as it is far more relevant to what McCain/Obama will actually do in office. And my guess is, given the economic climate, McCain will look desperate and petty for playing the "past associations" card this late in the game.

    10/05 09:43 AM

  27. gag reflex said...
    Check out the new FN Herstal 5.7

    Comes with 3 20 round mags, 2000 ft. per second at the muzzle.

    Sarah Brady wants to take it off the market.

    Excellent reason to get one.

    I aint a gang banger...

    I can do enough damage with a 22 long rifle and a scope to keep bad guys at bay during any civil strife. and besides, TONS of ammo for a 22......

    Also a 22 will nicely tumble inside the perp's skull and not exit and do collateral damage...

    I like a weapon that has zero recoil, something i can plink round after round out of without a sore shoulder or having to be pulled off the target

  28. Did I mention it was a handgun? Very little recoil. Round looks like a .223 short...

  29. Pat Lang is right:

    Obama/Biden will win election comfortably. The "Perfect Storm" has emerged to consign McCain's hopes to the "dust bin of history." The economy, the burden of Republican disunity, the Bush era, the doubts bout McCain's temperament. These are all greater burdens than any ticket could carry to victory.

    I find it interesting that there is a sign on a wall at Obama/Biden campaign HQ that says NO DRAMA. That's pretty good guidance.

    You can't go anywhere here without being asked who's going to win. (Same in every other foreign capital.) I have yet to cross paths with anyone who likes the answer. But they will have had plenty of time to digest and metabolize the probable. No nasty surprises. And that's important, too.

  30. " I ain't a gangbanger "

    Very funny

  31. I feel the same way about the inexperienced Presidential Candidate Obama as some feel about Vice Presidential candidate Palin.

  32. That picture was of Sarahsalmon, Doug, not Sarahcuda.

  33. If she'd been posinge with a caribou, she'd be Sarabou.

  34. WASHINGTON – Democrat Barack Obama's campaign called his Republican rival "erratic" in a television commercial released Sunday as both campaigns stepped up personal attacks.

    "Our financial system in turmoil," an announcer says in the ad. "And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy."

  35. To some extent, whit, how one characterizes the relative inexperience of Obama or Palin depends upon one's political predisposition. A favorable predisposition can translate "untested" or "inexperienced" into "fresh," "unsullied," "not jaded," etc.

    In re Ayers I believe that, were Obama's radical associations as pivotal for the majority as they are for, say, the Pajamas Media people, there would be no way - no way at all - for the guy to have made it this far. But in the same vein I also don't think Keating matters at this point for McCain.

    The election is about today and tomorrow. Perhaps for the bare handful that will decide it all, *quite literally* about today and tomorrow.

  36. And you know how much it pains me to agree with Rat.

  37. Keating, that convict Savings & Loan embezzler and fraudster, who gave Cindy and her dad, $250,000 while flying John and Cindy to the Bahamas, to vacation at his estate, in his private jet?

    Yep, that Charles Keating.

    The old boys @ Senate Ethics let Maverick slide, the checks were made out to Cindy, you see.
    So it did not influence John, not at all.
    Goin' along, to get along.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Barr '08, that's not wasted.
    Not at all.

    No more than voting for Maverick in CA or NY
    Or Obama in Idaho or Arizona.

    Vote for the percieved winner, bob, not what you believe in, that's the ticket that got US here.

    That is wasting your vote.

  40. If you live in New York and vote for McCain, you've wasted your vote.
    Sent no message and did not carry the State, regardless.

    Well, it did send a message, that McCains policy positions are ok with you
    On Immigation, Nato expansion in the Causcuses, the Bail Out, drilling in ANWAR, Saudi Princes, etc.

    McCain will not win, so why vote for him? Same goes for Obama, in Idaho. A wasted vote.

    But if all those that are disenchanted with the two majors, if they voted Barr, the next go round, the powers that be may listen, or live in fear of Plan B,
    B as in Barr.

  41. When Palin came out and parroted McCain's line about Wall Street greed, after a week of BREAKINGBREAKINGBREAKING Wall Street bailout (now "financial rescue") news, one had to wonder if the McCain people were unaware that the party more associated in the public mind with Wall Street and greed, respectively, is the Republican Party.

    Without presuming to know how you effectively get around that, following the liberal/populist lead (lede), seems a bad strategy even for a self-described Maverick.

  42. Since this morning, Ohio has gone to Obama +3

  43. If you're like some, and scratching your head, and can't figure the election out, just go ahead and vote for

    The Best Winker

    You'll feel a certain joyous lightness in your step after having done so.

  44. I think I've finally figured it out. I'm voting for the candidate that I think will lose (as it stands, now, that would be McCain.)

    There's a "method to this madness." They'll both be Terrible. I don't want to have to say I voted for whichever, particular mess we end up in. So, I'll vote for the Loser. That way I preserve my "right to bitch."


    Simple solution for a "simple" man.

  45. Ohio, another corn-producing state.

    Indiana, and Missouri will be next.

  46. That's a good theory, Rufus.

    I'd suggest, since things usually go a lot worse than hoped, it might carried over to all elections.

    And it fits with a basic idea of mine, that the human race, all of us, are basically ungovernable.

    It would allow, too, a man to always claim to be amongst the angels, never having had anything to do with the mess we're in.

  47. What about a green party?

    You mean, the live in a teepee, lean-to, or igloo party?

    A judge here ruled that a man's lean-to in the National Forests was his home, hence a search warrant was needed to enter it.

    You've got that argument on your side.

  48. Spreading Constitutional protections to domestic terrorists living in lean-tos in the National Forests.

    Not even Ed Abby thought of that.

  49. In Haifa, the Green Party is really making a difference. New rapid mass transport system, logistics of the old port moved and extended, new high tech parks, new walking promenades, cancerous oil refineries to be removed and replaced with green electricity.

  50. In all seriousness, Bob, I don't think the Republicans have a clue as to how "out of touch" with the American public that they really are.

    People aren't worried about "taxes." They've learned to adjust to taxes. But, Gas prices are Murderous. A young, go-getter out there calling on customers can be spending $40.00 - $50.00 on gas. That's a Killer.

    Health care is a "sentence to a lifetime of poverty" to a young person that draws the Black Ace.

    A young man with a family watching what should be good-paying jobs destroyed by ultra-cheap illegal laborers from Mexico is pissed off, and discouraged.

    Some of these things the Dems won't help, but, one thing's for sure, The Fucking Republicans certainly didn't.

    It's like old whazzizname in the Godfather said, "You've gotta have one of these things every ten years, or so. Get's rid of the Bad Blood."

    This is "one of those Times."

  51. What's good for Ashkelon won't work in Anchorage, alas.

  52. What's good for Ashkelon won't work in Anchorage, alas.

    True. But my guess is that most of the country is more like Ashkelon than Anchorage. :)

  53. I don't know, Bob. California's going to be using 24% renewable (green) energy in just a few years.

    The Republicans said it couldn't be done. (I, however, said it could.)

    And, this is bought, And Paid For by electricity rates. It's Not a factor in their current financial crisis.

  54. We'll have more immigrants under Obama, the dems have no clue about energy, they're the ones have screwed it up for so long.

    Health care, kind of agree. It's too expensive. Something ought to be done.

    Yet I'm pretty certain the quality of care will go down, down, down. Which isn't a concern if you haven't any, and are relying on the emergency rooms for your health care needs, like many do, especially immigrants.

    Folks may be out of touch with the republicans, but I'm certain things are going to get worse.

    It's a matter of voting in the less good, because the better weren't the best.

  55. A good deal of California's 'green' energy comes from nuclear power from elsewhere.

    Dr. Bill is always talking about these figures. Says it's distorting the facts.

    I just listen to the debate, mostly.

    California could get 70% of its power from nuclear in a few years, if they just would.

    Not a chance under Obama.

  56. A Green Party?

    Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!

    Their Presidential candidate is Cynthia McKinney!

    Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!Ha! ha! ha!

  57. Ho ho, ha, ha, he he! The Green joke!!!

  58. I don't know, Bob. California's going to be using 24% renewable (green) energy in just a few years.

    You sure about that?

  59. Yeah, but folks don't think that way, Bob. If things are bad, they just "Vote the Bums Out."

    And, "Our" Bums are getting voted out.

    McCain never did anything to help people get healthcare. His $5,000.00 "Tax Credit," to a poor person, is a really, bad Joke.

    McCain never did anything to help lower gas prices. He voted against, virtually, Every Alt. Energy Bill that came up; and, now he's siding with Big Oil against the Farmers, and Ethanol.

    And, he was the Biggest "Cheerleader/Advocate/Proponent" of Illegal Immigration.

    Man, you couldn't find a worse candidate in today's climate. Aren't we glad we got side-tracked on Mitt's underwear, and let the NYTimes, and the crossovers choose him for us?

  60. We have this financial 'crisis', caused mostly by policies insisted on by the democrats in the past, and, with an election near, it---benefits the democrats.

    Nobody can make any sense out of this kind of reaction. It's idiotic.

    We're going for a drive.


  61. Whit, I was watching the CEO of PG&E on CNBC a couple of days, ago; and he said that his company was over half the way there, and would be there in a few years. Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass, small hydro. He didn't mention Nuclear. Said it was, basically, a piece o cake.

  62. I saw your comment Whit, before departing.

    All shot in the back of the head, five thousand of 'em, buried in a field somewheres outside of Orleens.


    Put Cynthia McKinney on ice in an igloo for a winter, that will 'cool her down'.

    :) hahaha

  63. Ho ho, ha, ha, he he! The Green joke!!


    I'm thinking of what is an essentially a libertarian party. With a preference for localized green sustainable decentralized small government.

  64. Egged Faces Electric Bus Competition in Haifa

    August 20th, 2008 09:18 AM EDT
    Lior Baron

    ISRAEL - The Haifa municipality is bucking the trend set by Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; instead of building expensive light railway lines, it will establish a large-capacity electric bus route, the Metronit, set to begin operating in 2010.

    Sources inform "Globes" that the Ministries of Finance and Transport have approved the NIS 750 million prequalification tender for the procurement of equipment and operation of large-capacity electric buses. The tender was published ahead of the expiration of Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd.'s exclusive franchise to operate public transport in Haifa in early 2009. When the franchise expires, private bus operators will be allowed to operate in the city.

    As things stand at the moment, Egged will be able to participate in the bus rapid transit (BRT) through a subsidiary. If the company loses the tender, it could lose market share to a private operator. Transport industry sources believe that if Egged wins the tender, it will be forced to forego some bus routes in Haifa because the BRT tender stipulates especially high service levels.

    The main Metronit line will run for 20 kilometers from Bat Galim through the lower city to Haifa Bay. Later, a second line will link Hadar Hacarmel with Kiryat Ata. This stage of the project has not yet obtained financing.

  65. The Secrets of Curitiba

    By John Addison (4/30/08). Talking with the former Mayor of Curitiba and architect, Jamie Lerner, is like talking with Santiago Calatrava about designing buildings or having an imagined conversation with Frederick Olmsted about designing parks. Jamie Lerner designs cities. More accurately, he helps all create a strategic vision of cities for people, not cities for cars.
    I talked with Jamie Lerner at the EcoCity World Summit after he delivered his keynote speech to political leaders and urban planners from over seventy countries.

    As one of Brazil’s most popular mayors, Lerner was elected three times. He helped transform Curitiba from collection of shanty towns to a beautiful and sustainable city of about two million. At a time when many Latin Americans were disenchanted with their politicians, Jamie Lerner had a 92% approval rating. Following his success as mayor, he served as governor of the state of Parana for 8 years.

    In the late sixties, Curitiba had a contest for the best urban design for their city’s future. In 1968, the city incorporated many of the ideas of young architect Lerner into the Curitiba Master Plan. In 1971, he was appointed mayor of Curitiba.

    Facing a budget crisis, he had to search for big ideas that could be implemented with little money. He greened the city by involving citizens in planting 1.5 million trees. He solved the city’s flood problems by diverting water into lakes in newly created parks. He lifted some children from poverty by paying teenagers to keep the parks clean.

    Educating and involving children are at the heart of solving most problems, from poverty to transportation, observes Governor Lerner.

    Any leader will tell you that change is likely to be met with strong resistance. Thinking like an architect, Jamie Lerner wanted to beautify the city with pedestrian boulevards that were car-free. Shop owners were up in arms, fearing that the change would destroy them. Then Mayor Lerner convinced some to take part in a thirty day trial. Shoppers loved it. Before the trial ended, the merchants asked that the pedestrian zone be expanded to include more streets.

    Like most cities, Mayor Lerner saw a city with clogged roads that divided where people lived from where they worked. Jamie’s wisdom sparkles with humor, “A car is like a mother-in-law, you must get along but not have her run your life.” He envisioned solidarity. Ecocity Videos

    Lerner got the city moving. Curitiba could not afford the light-rail systems of Europe and the U.S. which often cost more than $20 million per mile. Curitiba invented rapid transit using buses.

    Bus rapid transit is successful for many reasons. Payment is simple, fixed price regardless of distance traveled. For those without prepaid passes, payment is made when entering bus shelters not while boarding the bus. Curitiba’s shelters are inviting transparent tubes with LED lighting that allow all to wait in safety. Express buses travel on dedicated lanes on major streets. The buses are double articulated to carry up to 300 people per bus, and up to 50,000 per day. Buses arrive frequently. Inviting pedestrian walkways and bikeways bring people to the stations.

    Since implementing bus rapid transit, Curitiba’s population of people has tripled, yet its population of cars has declined thirty percent. Governor Lerner explained that there were only 25,000 daily passenger rides on Curitiba buses in 1974. By 2008, there are more than 2.4 million passenger rides daily. In Curitiba, bus rapid transit is far more popular than cars. 85% of the systems use the rapid transit.

    Jamie Lerner, the inspiring architect and governor, has been invited around the world to help with new urban design and transportation solutions.

    Transit is getting more popular in the United States, with gasoline now at record prices in all fifty states. Increasingly the United States is adopting the secrets of Curitiba. In Los Angeles, when Richard Hunt, Executive Vice President of LAMTA, showed me the Orange Line, the lessons of Curitiba were everywhere. Stations were safe and inviting. Electronic signs displayed minutes until the arrival of the next bus. Fares were paid before boarding the bus, so that there would be no cue delays as people paid drivers. Articulated buses use dedicated bus pathways. During peak hours, buses arrive every three to seven minutes.

    The Orange Line has been so popular that ridership not expected until 2020 was achieved in seven months. Soon LAMTA’s bus rapid transit system will cover 35 southern California cities and cover 420 miles.

    Bus rapid transit invites millions in U.S. cities such as Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Oakland and Kansas City. As America falls into a recession while oil and gasoline prices soar, rapid transit and smart growth urban development provide solutions.

    Jamie Lerner has an answer, “cidade não é problema; cidade é solucão.” The city is not a problem; the city is a solution. Cities like Curitiba are model solutions from driving less and enjoying life more.

  66. CATO Institute on McCain's Health Insurance Tax Credit.

    They say it actually reduces taxes.

  67. Whit, you tell that to a family making less than $40,000.00 or a young, unmarried mother, or a young man who can't get a job w/healthcare because of a pre-existing health problem, and who can't cure the health problem due to lack of health insurance,

    And they'll look at you like you have three heads.

  68. man, I'm so surprised at some of your love for Palin. I mean, I thought Bush had trouble with speaking but Palin is EVEN WORSE. Then again many men are attracted to dumb blondes, but using that as a guide for a natinal leader??

    This also from her Colorado speech:

    "“This is not a man who sees America as you see it, and how I see America,” Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, said in Colorado, according to a pool report. “We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for all of us. "

    air head is what comes to mind.

  69. There are state plans as well as medicaid to cover some of those examples you listed, Rufus.

    We do a pretty good job of taking care of our own here without mandating universal health care.

    We're going nanny state, man.

    Ash, did you actually hear her speak or quickly glance over a quote or take that off kunstler's blog.

    BTW - Is he related to the notorius 60's era terrorists' attorney Howard Kunstler?

  70. Whit, when I was out running around, working, I would have said the same thing you just said.

    However, I have a lot more time, now, to wander down to the local coffee shop, and chat with the check-out girl. Those people think the Republicans live in another world. Literally. And, they're right.

    We could have listened to Mitt when he described what he accomplished in Mass, but we were too greedy. Well, now we're going to pay five times as much. If we're lucky.

    The vast majority of Publicans still deny we're peaking in oil. Bad for the Exxon stock, or something. They say that $4.00 gasoline isn't really all THAT bad. They're not driving 40 miles round-trip to work at a $9.00/hr job, and wondering where they're going to get the $1,000.00 Co-pay for the kids health insurance.

    Civilized Societies do the best they can for the poorest, and weakest, Whit. We're not doing that; and, the bottom half know it.

    We're on our way out the door, for awhile.

  71. Whit, I saw the clip you guys posted and it reminded me of the quote I read this morning

    Speaking of my days reading I came across this very interesting article which, I think, gives a very good insight on how we got where we are with our current financial difficulties:

    Economic View
    Pursuit of an Edge, in Steroids or Stocks

    Published: October 4, 2008

    "The forces that produced the current crisis actually reflect a powerful dynamic that afflicts all kinds of competitive endeavors. This may be seen clearly in the world of sports.

    Consider a sprinter’s decision about whether to take anabolic steroids. The sprinter’s reward depends not on how fast he runs in absolute terms, but on how his times compare with those of others. Imagine a new drug that enhances performance by three-tenths of a second in the 100-meter dash. Almost impossible to detect, it also entails a small risk of serious health problems. The sums at stake ensure that many competitors will take the drug, making it all but impossible for a drug-free competitor to win. The net effect is increased health risks for all athletes, with no real gain for society.

    This particular type of market failure occurs when two conditions are met. First, people confront a gamble that offers a highly probable small gain with only a very small chance of a significant loss. Second, the rewards received by market participants depend strongly on relative performance.

    These conditions have caused the invisible hand to break down in multiple domains. In unregulated housing markets, for example, there are invariably too many dwellings built on flood plains and in earthquake zones. Similarly, in unregulated labor markets, workers typically face greater health and safety risks.

    It is no different in unregulated financial markets, where easy credit terms almost always produce an asset bubble. The problem occurs because, just as in sports, an investment fund’s success depends less on its absolute rate of return than on how that rate compares with those of rivals.

    If one fund posts higher earnings than others, money immediately flows into it. And because managers’ pay depends primarily on how much money a fund oversees, managers want to post relatively high returns at every moment.

    One way to bolster a fund’s return is to invest in slightly riskier assets. (Such investments generally pay higher returns because risk-averse investors would otherwise be unwilling to hold them.) Before the current crisis, once some fund managers started offering higher-paying mortgage-backed securities, others felt growing pressure to follow suit, lest their customers desert them"

  72. rufus said...

    Whit, I was watching the CEO of PG&E on CNBC a couple of days, ago; and he said that his company was over half the way there, and would be there in a few years. Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass, small hydro. He didn't mention Nuclear. Said it was, basically, a piece o cake.

    Sun Oct 05, 03:03:00 PM EDT

    If that's my PG&E, you can factor in that for the other half they have nuclear, i.e., Diablo Canyon, and pumped storage at the old big hydro systems for peak demands, e.g., the Helms Project. Pumped storage hydro for peak loads is way cool. No need to warm up the turbines. Problem is that greenies want to rip out the dams, e.g., Hetch Hetchy, and ban further exploitation of the few remaining hydro-feasible watersheds (yes, there are a few). Once LA commuters plug in their electrics for an overnight charge, there goes your off-peak power to run the pumped storage systems. Green Peace has thrown in with the utilities in CA backing nukes.

    I'd like to see the numbers backing up the claims from the PG&E guy.

  73. Steve Bennan at the WaMontly:

    'TURN THE PAGE'.... Explaining the campaign's intention to shift from policy to personal attacks, Greg Strimple, one of John McCain's top advisers, told the Washingtn Post that the campaign is "looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis." It's a quote Strimple probably wishes now he hadn't made.

    The Obama campaign's Dan Pfeiffer told the Politico yesterday that McCain's "desire to avoid discussing the economy is something we will remind voters of everyday for the next month."

    And according to the prepared text of a speech Obama is scheduled to deliver today in Asheville, North Carolina, the senator is taking full advantage of the opportunity.

    "[O]n Friday, we learned that we'd lost another 159,000 American jobs in September. It was the ninth straight month of job losses -- more than three quarters of a million this year, including 24,000 here in North Carolina. And it came just as we finished a week in which our financial markets teetered on the brink of disaster.

    "Yet instead of addressing these crises, Senator McCain's campaign has announced that they plan to turn the page on the discussion about our economy and spend the final weeks of this campaign launching Swiftboat-style attacks on me.

    "Think about that for a second. 'Turn the page' on the economy? We're facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and John McCain wants us to 'turn the page?' Well, I know the policies he's supported these past eight years and wants to continue are pretty hard to defend. I can understand why Senator McCain would want to 'turn the page' and ignore this economy.

    "But I also know this: You're trying to pay your bills every week and stay above the water -- you can't ignore it. You're worrying about whether your job will be there a month from now -- you can't ignore it. You're worrying about whether you can pay your mortgage and stay in your house -- you can't turn the page. [...]

    "Senator McCain and his operatives are gambling that he can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance. They'd rather try to tear our campaign down than lift this country up. It's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time."

    The Obama campaign is laying the groundwork for the rest of the week very effectively, and with some ill-advised quotes, the McCain campaign is helping them. The next time McCain and his surrogates bring up Ayers (or Rezko, or Wright), the immediate and obvious question will be, "Why are you trying to stop talking about the economy?"

  74. LT, I can't think of any reason why he'd lie, or stretch the truth. He gets paid for producing electricity, and it's been mandated as to how he shall do it. He just simply said that it was going to plan.

    A lot of this stuff, solar/wind/etc is intermittent, and peak power, but biomass can generate quite a lot of "base" load, as can geothermal, and small hydro, I guess.

    Sure, Nukes need to be a part of the mix, and I'm sure they will. It's just that renewable isn't nearly as "impossible" as it sounds.

  75. Nukes also have HUGGGGE upfront costs.


    The sting of capital market segmentation
    Tyler Cowen

    Greg Mankiw shows that real interest rates are rising on inflation-adjusted government bonds. Paul Krugman shows that short-term Treasury yields are down. The state of California cannot get short-term financing. There is simply no one willing to lend. Yet I would have no trouble buying a second home and getting another mortgage at a reasonable rate of interest and I am hardly a rich man.

    Credit market segmentation is always there but it doesn't usually matter this much. The parts of the credit market that are paralyzed by fear are the major problem right now. And until that problem is cleared up, we will witness a step-by-step disembowelment of the American economy.

    The clock is ticking. We need very rapidly to get to the point where natural lenders are willing to lend and "cross-market arbitrage" is no longer a dirty word.

    October 4, 2008 at 05:58 PM in Economics | Permalink | Comments (23)

  77. Nukes and the monumental up-front costs: Every kid who played SimCity knows that.

    Sunday, October 5, 2008
    European Leaders Promise to Save Major Banks, But Fail to Adopt EU Plan
    Listen to this article. Powered by
    So far, the statement released this afternoon US time out of a Euro summit amounts to an attempt at reassuring hand-waving but in fact was merely a restatement of the status quo. The group of European leaders did agree on a set of principles, but it remains an open question whether they will be able to act quickly or boldly enough in the fact of the mounting financial crisis.

    And one principle was troublesome: that each country is on its own as far as its banks are concerned. Some banks, such as Deutschebank and UBS, are too big for their countries to save should they founder. Hypo was brought down by an Irish acquisition. The statement may have been crafted in part to keep pressure on German banks to support the Hypo rescue, and may be a practical necessity right now, since the public at large does not yet recognize the depth and extent of the risk in the EU, but it seems unwise to take a hard position on such a central issue.

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    European leaders pledged at a weekend summit to protect the continent's banks from the spiraling global financial crisis. Their resolve is already being put to the test as two European banks required fresh rescues.

    At an emergency meeting in Paris on Saturday, the leaders of France, Germany, U.K. and Italy said that, unlike in the U.S. where Lehman Brothers was allowed to file for bankruptcy, European governments would stand in to prevent any bank from failing.....

    Yet, so far, proposals for unified anti-crisis rules -- such as a mult-billion euro banking bailout fund -- have been abandoned for fear they would be impossible to govern. Instead of concrete decisions, therefore, the four EU leaders decided on Saturday to a list of principles. Among them: though the leaders agreed that each country will be responsible for handling problems within its own banking system -- including coming up with possible sanctions for the heads of any failed banks -- they promised to keep each other informed of their actions.

    They said they would jointly consider ways to amend some accounting standards -- such as the mark-to-market rule -- that have pushed several banks into uncontrolled, downward spirals.

    From Bloomberg:

    European leaders pledged to bail out their own nations' banks while stopping short of a regional rescue effort to deal with the global credit crisis.

    At a summit in Paris yesterday, leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, the European Central Bank and the European Commission agreed to ease accounting rules, seek tougher financial regulations and weaken enforcement of competition and budget laws.

    ``Each government will act according to its own methods and its own means but in a coordinated manner with the other European states,'' French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who called the meeting, told reporters....

    Europe ``is still a dwarf compared to the U.S.'' in terms of willingness to spend, said Laurence Boone, an economist at Barclays Capital in Paris. The statement on supporting banks ``is not a progress. It's the same as before the summit.''

    Germany appears to be the stumbling block. Again from Bloomberg:

    Hours before the summit, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, met Sarkozy to press the need for agreement. ``Collective action is even more necessary in Europe than in the U.S. because Europe is more complex than the U.S.,'' he told reporters. ``Action must be taken quickly and in a concerted manner.''

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's opposition underscored the hurdles to forging a unified front. ``Each country must take its responsibilities at a national level,'' she told a joint press conference after the summit.

    The group agreed on coordinated policies on deposit guarantees and on having another summit soon to hash out fundamental reform. Bloomberg again:

    Sarkozy said that ``all actors'' must be supervised, including rating firms and hedge funds. Executive-pay systems must also be reviewed, he said.

    ``We want a new world to come out of this,'' Sarkozy said. ``We want to set up the basis for a capitalism of entrepreneurs, not speculators.''

    Anticipating increased spending, declining tax revenue, and government bank takeovers, they called for ``greater flexibility'' in the application of European Union competition and budget rules.

    The last statement is an admission that the Stabilization Pact, which limits borrowings and fiscal deficits by EU members, is kaput.



    Asia Bubble Watch:

    September 30 – Bloomberg (Netty Ismail): “Asia hedge-fund closures jumped 19% this year, with the industry set to shrink for the first time as clients withdraw more money after funds in the region underperformed rivals in the U.S. and Europe. ‘It is likely that we’ll see a net reduction in the number of Asian hedge funds through this current year,’ Peter Douglas, principal of… GFIA Pte… said… ‘Almost without exception, the managers that we talk to in Asia are seeing capital outflows, some of it is minor, some of it major.’”
    Latin America Watch:

    October 2 - Bloomberg (Joshua Goodman and Sebastian Boyd): “Latin America’s fastest economic expansion in 30 years may be coming to an end as the global credit crunch stunts investment and squeezes demand for the region’s commodities. ‘We’re in a serious economic crisis,’ Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos said… ‘Financing is going to get scarcer and scarcer, and that means that investment is going to be difficult to attract.’”
    Central Banker Watch:

    October 2 - Bloomberg (Scott Lanman): “Commercial banks and bond dealers borrowed $348.2 billion from the Federal Reserve as of yesterday, an increase of 60% from the prior week amid a worsening credit freeze. Loans to commercial banks through the traditional discount window rose about $10 billion to $49.5 billion… The total surpassed the previous record after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Borrowing by securities firms totaled $146.6 billion, up from $105.7 billion. Under a new emergency program announced Sept. 19, banks borrowed $152.1 billion as of yesterday to buy commercial paper from money-market mutual funds, more than double a week ago.”

    October 3 - Bloomberg (Brian Swint and Svenja O’Donnell): “The Bank of England said it will extend the range of collateral it accepts… ‘In these extraordinary market conditions, the Bank of England will take all actions necessary to ensure that the banking system has access to sufficient liquidity,’ Governor Mervyn King said…”
    Unbalanced Global Economy Watch:

    September 30 – Bloomberg (Jennifer Ryan): “The U.K. economy grew at the weakest annual pace since 1992 in the second quarter as the financial crisis curbed investment, construction and industrial production. Gross domestic product rose 1.5% from a year earlier…”

    October 2 - Bloomberg (Brian Swint): “U.K. financial institutions plan to scale back loans to companies and households in the final three months of the year, threatening to deepen the economic slump. Banks reduced the availability of credit in the third quarter by more than they had anticipated and predict credit will become scarcer as both supply and demand for loans drops, the Bank of England said…”

    September 29 – Bloomberg (Jennifer Ryan): “U.K. mortgage approvals slid in August to the lowest since at least 1999 as the global credit squeeze prompted banks and building societies to curtail loans.”

    October 2 - Bloomberg (Svenja O’Donnell): “U.K. house prices had the biggest annual drop since at least 1991 in September as the financial crisis intensified, Nationwide Building Society said. The average cost of a home plunged 12.4% from a year earlier to 161,797 pounds ($287,658)…”

    October 1 – Bloomberg (Brian Swint): “U.K. manufacturing contracted at its fastest pace in 16 years last month, adding to concerns about a recession as the financial crisis cripples lending.”

    October 2 - Bloomberg (Brian Swint): “U.K. labor unions clinched bigger pay raises for employees in the three months through August as record oil prices pushed inflation to the fastest pace in a decade, Incomes Data Services said. The median salary settlement rose to 3.8%...”

    October 1 – AFP: “Ireland’s 12-month unemployment rate surged to 6.3% in September, the highest rate since November 1998, official figures showed Wednesday.”

    October 3 - Bloomberg (Simon Packard): “The slump in Europe’s commercial real estate market will be deeper and more protracted than expected, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts said, as an ‘explosion’ of 340 billion euros ($471 billion) in property sales hits the market by next year. Publicly traded real estate developers plan to sell about 20 billion euros of shops, offices and warehouses mostly in forced sales, according to estimates… The sales represent 7.3% of the companies’ assets… “

    October 1 – Dow Jones (Neil Unmack): “Spanish car registrations fell 32% on the year in September, Spanish car manufacturers' association Anfac said Wednesday.”

    October 1 – Bloomberg (Maria Ermakova): “Moscow’s decade-long building boom is falling victim to the global credit crunch as record high interest rates squeeze developers in the world’ third most expensive property market. ‘Loan rates have climbed to ridiculous heights and the terms are very short,’ said Dmitry Lutsenko, a board member at Mirax Group, the… company that’s building the Federation Tower, which will be Europe’s tallest skyscraper…”

    September 28 – Bloomberg (Denis Maternovsky): “Russian developers are cutting apartment prices in the regions as a decline in mortgages lowers demand for housing, Vedomosti repoted. Sales of new apartments in Rostov-on-Don are down 40% this month from August, while sales in St. Petersburg have fallen by half since the spring…”

    September 30 – Bloomberg (Jacob Greber): “Australian home-buyers increased borrowing at the slowest pace since 1986 and house-building approvals fell for a second month, stoking speculation the central bank will cut interest rates by half a point next week.”

    September 30 – Bloomberg (Mike Cohen and Nasreen Seria): “South African credit growth eased to an annual 18.6% last month, the slowest pace in more than three years, as higher interest rates crimped consumer spending on cars and furniture.”
    Bursting Bubble Economy Watch:

    September 28 – Wall Street Journal Asia (Bob Davis): “The success of the pending rescue of the U.S. financial system probably depends as much on the central banks of China and the Middle East as on the U.S. Congress and Federal Reserve. The U.S. is turning to foreign governments and other overseas investors to buy a good chunk of the as much as $700 billion in Treasury debt that would be sold to finance the bailout. Foreign investors are also needed to shore up the depleted capital of the nation's financial institutions, as evidenced by the plan of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to buy a large stake in Morgan Stanley, which is weighed down by bad debt and market distrust. This is a bittersweet moment in U.S. economic history.”


  79. Let's all sing:

    Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch
    We all picked the cotton but we never got rich
    Daddy was a veteran, a southern democrat
    They oughta get a rich man to vote like that

    Sing it...

    Song, song of the south
    Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth
    Gone, gone with the wind
    There ain't nobody looking back again

    Well somebody told us Wall Street fell
    But we were so poor that we couldn't tell
    Cotton was short and the weeds were tall
    But Mr. Roosevelt's a gonna save us all

    Well momma got sick and daddy got down
    The county got the farm and they moved to town
    Pappa got a job with the TVA
    He bought a washing machine and then a Chevrolet

    Sing it...

    Song, song of the south
    Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth
    Gone, gone with the wind
    There ain't nobody looking back again

  80. Rat, thanks for the PG&E link. I'm sure your information was well intended.

    I have to call bullshit on Mr Darbee and his visions, however.

    Reading the article closely, the writer also has his head up his ass.

    If thousands of electric cars are charged at night they also offer a possible solution to the conundrum of wind power in California, where the breeze blows
    most strongly in the late evenings when electricity demand falls, leaving electrons twisting in the wind as it were.


    “If these cars are plugged in we would be able to shift the load from wind at night to using wind energy during the day through batteries in the car,” Darbee says.

    Sure, plug in your car in the company's garage, sell your charge back to PG&E in the afternoon, and hitchhike home. :-)

    Darbee's a mouthpiece, tasked with keeping PG&E afloat in a vicious regulatory environment, and can be counted on to spew any pc spray necessary to keep up appearance. Rate payers will suffer the consequences of this crap. Smart meters, my ass. PG&E's already taking a big bite of my utility bill to pay for the propaganda mandated by the tax eaters in Sacramento.

    Darbee will join Carly before too long, when reality catches up.

    I do appreciate the link, though.

  81. I have no idea of what PG&E is doing, or why.

    Fortune used to be a respected magazine, though I was a Forbes reader, myself.

    It was the most infrmative piece I found, in a five minute search.

  82. “One of the beneficiaries of really having substantial numbers of plug-in hybrid cars is that the cost for electric utility users
    could go down,” says Darbee. “We have a lot of plants out there standing by for much of the year, sort of like the Maytag
    repairman, waiting to be called on for those super peak days. And so it’s a large investment of fixed capital not being utilized.”

    The nineties stop-gap solution of gas turbine plants, credited undeservedly to Gray Davis.

    In other words, more electric and plug-in cars on the road mean fewer fossil-fuel peaking power plants would need to be built. (And to answer a question that always comes up, studies show that California currently has electric generating capacity to charge millions of electric cars.)

    A steaming pile of bullshit.

    I understand the dilemma of 5 minute searches. My remarks are not targeted at the messenger.

  83. This piece was on the front page of the local Gannett paper, below the fold.

    Bailout's success riding on housing market

    by Stevenson Jacobs - Oct. 5, 2008 12:00 AM
    Associated Press
    NEW YORK - Washington's financial bailout plan is now law. So the credit spigot will start flowing again, banks will resume lending and an economic recovery can begin, right?

    Wrong. Experts say the most important thing that needs to happen before the $700 billion bailout even has a chance of working is home prices must stop falling. That would send a signal to banks that the worst has passed and it's safe to start doling out money again.

    The problem is the lending freeze has made getting a mortgage loan tough for everyone except those with sterling credit. That means it will take several months or longer to pare down the glut of houses built when times were good - and those that have come on the market because of soaring foreclosures - before home prices start appreciating.

    Who is trying to kid who?
    Months ... we're talking years

    Time to turn that page.

  84. Jeez, guys, try looking out a few years. You have kids/grandkids, right? How long do you think we can live off of a diminishing supply of fossil fuels.

    Sure, some of his ideas seem a little far-fetched, "Today." But, how would you have like to have explained laptops, wireless, internet, gene-splicing, cloning, nanosolar, pc speeds in the gigs in 1968?

  85. I realize that, lineman, and was not promoting the perspective of the piece, just spreading it around.

    You had asked, and that was what was easily available.

    Just to move the discussion along.

  86. I must say, though, that if the batteries being developed for the electric cars, giant cell phone type units, can really deliver, as promoted, then each house could be equipped with one or two.

    Then solar panels could begin to make a lot of sense, for individual homes and small commercial building.

  87. And, as predicted, the $700 billion is the beginning, not the end of Federal involvement.

    As duece posted a day or two ago, the challenge is $2 trillion USD larger than that $700 Billion, down payment.

    Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the Financial Services Committee chairman and a key negotiator over the past weeks, said the measure was just the beginning of a much larger task Congress will tackle next year: overhauling housing policy and financial regulation.

    But Team Maverick wants to turn the page and discuss a 1960's radical, one that never even went to jail.

    No harm, no foul.

    On FOX the boys were discussing Ayers, how "someone" would bring it up, but funny thing, at FOX Charles Keatings name never crossed a lip.

    Mickey Mouse, Sony and GE will not be as dicriminating in their analysis of the past associations of our candidates, believe you me.

  88. Now this fellow, from the Chi-town Tribune, he charts a way forward for Team Maverick, one that could succeed.

    Read it all, if you want

    A presidential debate, the Chicago Way
    John Kass

  89. A partial solution to predicting the real estate market bottom might come from application of the cost approach for appraisal as opposed to the comparable value approach.

    Value = [cost of land] + [construction cost] - [depreciation] + [profit].

    Most applicable to valuing relatively new or partially completed properties. More work for appraisers, but understandable to linear thinkers.

  90. but it all means squat if no one ponies up to buy it.

  91. This analysis, by Frank Rich, seems to hit pretty close to the mark.

    To understand the meaning of Palin’s “victory,” it must be seen in the context of two ominous developments that directly preceded it. Just hours before the debate began, the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan. That state is ground zero for the collapsed Main Street economy and for so-called Reagan Democrats, those white working-class voters who keep being told by the right that Barack Obama is a Muslim who hung with bomb-throwing radicals during his childhood in the late 1960s.

    McCain surrendered Michigan despite having outspent his opponent on television advertising and despite Obama’s twin local handicaps, an unpopular Democratic governor and a felonious, now former, black Democratic Detroit mayor. If McCain can’t make it there, can he make it anywhere in the Rust Belt?

    Not without an economic message. McCain’s most persistent attempt, his self-righteous crusade against earmarks, collapsed with his poll numbers. Next to a $700 billion bailout package, his incessant promise to eliminate all Washington pork — by comparison, a puny grand total of $16.5 billion in the 2008 federal budget — doesn’t bring home the bacon. Nor can McCain reconcile his I-will-veto-government-waste mantra with his support, however tardy, of the bailout bill. That bill’s $150 billion in fresh pork includes a boondoggle inserted by the Congressman Don Young, an Alaskan Republican no less.

  92. Tech Giant Intel Joins IBM and Applied in Big Solar Bet

    Following on the 2006 and 2007 announcements of technology giants Applied Materials and IBM moving into the solar sector, Intel has joined the fray in 2008 with the spinout of SpectraWatt, its newly created solar division.

    I had a chance to chat with Andrew Wilson, a longtime Intel guy who is the CEO of Spectrawatt, about what he is doing. The venture is the result of the last 3 years of extensive business planning, that Andrew said grew out of an off the cuff conversation he had internally four years ago.

    While they have very early stage development in the works for some new and novel technology to reduce the manufacturing costs of solar cells, they are not sharing details. The Spectrawatt core business today will be about building a company to manufacture crystalline silicon based solar cells. In the near term the business will be buying wafers and manufacturing cells. According to Andrew, they have a significant supply of silicon secured, and while he cannot say who the vendors are, at least one of those vendors will likely be announcing soon, as the Spectrawatt contract is a material event for them.

    So the first question is why x-Si and not thin film? Besides the obvious that it is far and away the biggest market today and a natural fit for Intel, Andrew added two more. Customers care about per kwh cost, and all things equal, how much energy they can get out of the real estate they have (read, efficiency matters). So they think x-Si makes a lot more sense than thin film, especially given the additional issues around stability, manufacturing complexity and materials resource constraints.

    Andrew did say that they may vertically integrate later. So I asked why did they start at cells? Andrew explained that since the business comes out of Intel, and Intel is accomplished at processing wafers into products, cells made sense to start with. And at the end of the day they hold the view that the biggest point of value in solar value chain is in creating the cell, moving from low value silicon to high value device. They consider it the largest single value add step.

    Andrew and I are in agreement that 2004 was a kind of a magic year changing what the photovoltaic industry is. Andrew stated it was the first year where the average company in every segment of the value chain in solar became profitable. So given today’s environment Intel and Spectrawatt could have conceivably started at numerous places in the value chain. This is where the vertical integration may come in. His view on the silicon supply is that no glut is coming, or at least not a long lived one. The end demand market is growing at 30 to 40% per year, and the silicon supply that is coming on line is in large part subject to long term contracts with fixed prices. The silicon supply additions then are pretty much already spoken for. In Andrew’s mind while growth at the margin will definitely cause some level of boom bust cycles, those long term supply contracts may moderate it more than other people believe. If he is right, and he has secure supplies, a horizontal business like cell manufacturing is a great place to be. If he is wrong, he sees continued vertical integration to manage the growth issue as one of the major avenues industry participants will go done. In this he and I also agree, rapid movements in supply cycles tend to reward vertical integration. And if he gets big enough with Spectrawatt, vertical integration could be a move Spectrawatt makes, too.

    It is great for the solar industry to see more technology giants like Intel joining the fray, and perhaps helping drive down crystalline product costs the same way Applied Materials and IBM are looking to drive down then film costs.

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. Got some pictures of some bighorns sitting on a rock outcropping along the Grand Ronde River today. Will try to post a couple when I can get my assistant poster to help me.

    Sanity still prevails in the countryside, at least.

  95. Here is a fellow from MI, says Maverick was still competitive, when he cut and ran

    McCain fails to tell his story in Michigan

    What's most baffling about the decision by Sen. John McCain to bail out of Michigan is that he has a story that should play here. But he hasn't told it well.

    Michigan is a state starved for competent, confident leadership. If he's nothing else, John McCain is a leader.

    Leadership starts with character. A week ago, I heard Karl Rove, the wizard behind George W. Bush's two presidential victories, speak in Dearborn about the strengths of McCain's candidacy.

    Rove didn't talk about policies and positions. Instead, he recounted the drama of McCain's horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, reminding the audience of the enormous sacrifice made and the unspeakable suffering endured on behalf of his country.

    You walked out of the room thinking about the other c-word -- character -- and believing that a guy tested under that sort of fire wouldn't shrink from anything Washington hits him with.

    But the war hero stuff hasn't made it into campaign ads. In Michigan, McCain spends most of his money ineffectively bashing Obama. The incessant and often insipid attacks contradict the traits that are most appealing about McCain.

    It is like he is trying to lose, with honor

  96. LT,

    What these technology companies know and what you don't, is that solar efficiency is scalable in the same way that microchips are. You Whit Bob and Rat to a certain degree, dismiss green technology and green thinking as something completely alien and unworkable when this is completely untrue. And I have to wonder out loud if you're not just political dinosaurs, waiting to go extinct.

  97. dismiss green technology and green thinking as something completely alien and unworkable

    No, I think most of us are for the all of the above approach.

    I think nukes are the fastest with the mostest, myself.

    Ah to be a bighorn, high on a crag, river winding below, sun setting, my girlfriends round about, with all the energy I need for my annual tasks.

  98. Trust me, rufus. Homesick Americans would not have survived this past quarter century without Alabama. THE staple of Marine happy hour and the After 10 playlist.

  99. mat, I have lived the Green life.

    Off the grid, where autos had no trails. Phone was satellite and electricity was home brewed.

    I live in the American West, where 230 miles is just half way there.

    There are major technological hurdles to Green. There are even greater social ones.

    A libertarian green proposition, it'd not get 6% support in an election, today.

    That's a reality.

  100. Ash, just for your info, the folks that count these things counted up Biden making around thirty whoppers in a short debate, to Palin's three or four. And, he couldn't even wink, botoxed up as he was.

  101. We could dam the Grand Ronde. It's a perfectly doable site. Flood out the bighorns. Lot better just to build that nuke plant in south Idaho where there's nothing but sand, light up Idaho and surroundings.

  102. Now something for you to consider, mat, is your limited frame of reference, from life experience.
    Your homeland of the heart, Israel has a total of: 20,770 sq km

    My home County, Maricopa, is but one of 15, in AZ, and is larger at23,890 sq km than Israel. Though we only have 4 million folk living here.

    It is a question of scale.

  103. mat, I have lived the Green life.

    Rat, that's like comparing a 1980's Atari computer to today's (Haifa designed) Intel core processors. You just can't compare the experience. That's what I'm trying to get across here. These chips are only going to get better.

  104. Biden answered some of the questions, Ms Palin did not answer any.

    She spoke to what she wanted to speak to, not to any of the questions.

    Which is fine, but not really a debate, just a scripted speech.

    Given is short segments

  105. They may well, mat
    When they do, there will be market acceptance.

    When those excellent batteries are available, they'll be utilized. I have been reading about them for decades. Always on the horizon, just one more break through away.

    When they exist, there'll be used, until then, they are just a pipe dream.

    Your entire country, Israel is smaller than my home county.
    Show us a Green Bus system that covers ALL of Israel, not a small hamlet or village within it.

  106. It is a question of scale.

    I understand, Rat. But like I said to Bob, most places look like Ashkelon than Anchorage. Nobody is saying to you can't drive your old Ford truck, what I'm are saying is that this old Ford truck is completely inappropriate for the city and for intercity commutes.

  107. She told a lot less whoppers, according to the whopper counters.

    I may have been a little high on thirty whoppers for Biden. The consensus seems to be between fifteen and twenty whoppers.

  108. Or, you could put 33.5 Israels in the State of Texas.

    Batteries are good; but we'll need liquid fuel, also.

  109. I'm not living in Ashkelon here, that's for sure, though sometimes I wish I were, and I never drive the old Ford anywhere, except to haul some gravel.

  110. Mat, what DR's trying to explain is that this is the U.S. We feed the world. It can be a hundred miles from the ranch to the nearest decent-sized town.

    Our concern isn't travelling from Abilene to Dallas to see Aunt Ruthie. We're concerned with going into town to get seed, and veterinary supplies.

    There are ranches in our west that can't be traversed to the property line, and back on the 40 mi. battery they're dreaming of.

  111. Batteries are good; but we'll need liquid fuel, also.

    For sure. But batteries will reduce oil imports to zero and the need to spend trillion dollar fortunes every year to secure and import foreign oil.

  112. BTW, folks, has anyone seen the article that says, "We'll be producing one million battery-powered cars in . . . . . . ?

    Everybody's going to be producing a "few" such cars in 2010, but the numbers aren't really looking very impressive, as far as I can see.

    Meanwhile, ethanol is powering the equivalent of 20 Million Cars, as we speak. And, that's just in the U.S.

  113. Some heartening news--

    Rasmussen reports 59% would vote to replace entire congress.

    (other than their own congresspeople of course)

    I'd be spending the night at Troy, Oregon charging up my battery, coming home tomorrow. (if the electric car would make it up Rattlesnake Grade) Which might not be that bad really, as I have no job to go to.

  114. There are ranches in our west

    I understand. But that doesn't account for 90% of transportation fuel.

  115. Rufus,

    As far as I read, 2011 is d-day for mass production EVs hitting the market.

  116. Mat:
    ...And I have to wonder out loud if you're not just political dinosaurs, waiting to go extinct.

    Sun Oct 05, 09:10:00 PM EDT

    I talk to myself, Mat. Often. I wonder the same things. I even have arguments, but I usually win those.
    I'll get back to you on this, have chores to do at the moment.

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. To pile on Mat here -

    Look, all this talk about what could be is just peachy keen but until it happens (as Rat stated) it doesn't really mean much. Sure you can talk about nifty electric cars recharged by renewalable power sources but until I can buy such a beast it is so much fantasy. If you really believe it (and this is the "American Way") then get off your butt, put down your keyboard, and make (or finance) the suckers. Really, I've for many a year fantasized, and questioned why we don't have, cars to plug in overnight to charge up and drive during the day. For any normal, regular city driving, it seems eminently feasible- but I'm a keyboard warrior. I've driven electric powered golf carts and they kick along pretty darn fine.

    We also have an electricity generating problem but, hey, why worry about that when we can ignore the pollution problem associated with those pesky batteries and dream of a simple oil free future powered by a cheap renewable clean power source.

    Like I said - 'piling on'

  119. I talk to myself, Mat. Often. I wonder the same things. I even have arguments, but I usually win those.


  120. Abe Lincoln asked a General whose name I can't recall, "You took 5,000 soldiers and conquered the Mexico City, but with 100,000 you can't take Charleston (I think it was?)

    The General's reply was: Mr President, it's those same 5,000 men that took us to the Mexico City that are holding us Out of Charleston.

    You fought all the way Johnny Reb.

  121. Johnny Horton - Southern Martial Music Night The Battle of New Orleans

    We grabbed an alligator an we fought another round!

    They just don't make music like that no more. YeeHaw

  122. Remember Woodstock?

    Only from the movies. :)

  123. "Rasmussen reports 59% would vote to replace entire congress."

    The rare purge I could get behind.

  124. "Without presuming to know how you effectively get around that, following the liberal/populist lead (lede), seems a bad strategy even for a self-described Maverick."

    It comes natural to him. Her ideas, if she has any strong ones on the subject, remaining unknown.

  125. "Rasmussen reports 59% would vote to replace entire congress."

    The rare purge I could get behind.

    Sun Oct 05, 11:38:00 PM EDT

    Unfortunately, there being no agreement amongst the 59% of why Congress should be replaced, such fantasies dissolve into a moreorless anarchic free-for-all - like most revolutions.

  126. And, as I call it a night, ladies, and gennelmuns, I leave you with Rufus's old theme song. Keeping the Customers Satisfied.

  127. Hey, that's the Northrop Grumman contractor song.

    I happen to know.

  128. One step ahead of a shoe shine...

    Three steps away from the county line...