“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."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

I was wondering why the price of oil has fallen so much. Obviously, "supply and demand" but the usual story about the US motoring public "altering its driving habits" didn't quite add up, if you know what I mean. This was an interesting report in yesterday's Telegraph.

Freight rates for containers shipped from Asia to Europe have fallen to zero for the first time since records began, underscoring the dramatic collapse in trade since the world economy buckled in October.

"They have already hit zero," said Charles de Trenck, a broker at Transport Trackers in Hong Kong. "We have seen trade activity fall off a cliff. Asia-Europe is an unmit­igated disaster."

Shipping journal Lloyd's List said brokers in Singapore are now waiving fees for containers travelling from South China, charging only for the minimal "bunker" costs. Container fees from North Asia have dropped $200, taking them below operating cost.

Industry sources said they have never seen rates fall so low. "This is a whole new ball game," said one trader.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which measures freight rates for bulk commodities such as iron ore and grains crashed several months ago, falling 96pc. The BDI – though a useful early-warning index – is highly volatile and exaggerates apparent ups and downs in trade. However, the latest phase of the shipping crisis is different. It has spread to core trade of finished industrial goods, the lifeblood of the world economy.

Trade data from Asia's export tigers has been disastrous over recent weeks, reflecting the collapse in US, UK and European markets.

Korea's exports fell 30pc in January compared to a year earlier. Exports have slumped 42pc in Taiwan and 27pc in Japan, according to the most recent monthly data. Even China has now started to see an outright contraction in shipments, led by steel, electronics and textiles.

A report by ING yesterday said shipping activity at US ports has suddenly dived. Outbound traffic from Long Beach and Los Angeles, America's two top ports, has fallen by 18pc year-on-year, a far more serious decline than anything seen in recent recessions.

"This is no regular cycle slowdown, but a complete collapse in foreign demand," said Lindsay Coburn, ING's trade consultant.

Idle ships are now stretched in rows outside Singapore's harbour, creating an eerie silhouette like a vast naval fleet at anchor. Shipping experts note the number of vessels moving around seem unusually high in the water, indicating low cargoes.

It became difficult for the shippers to obtain routine letters of credit at the height of financial crisis over the autumn, causing goods to pile up at ports even though there was a willing buyer at the other end. Analysts say this problem has been resolved, but the shipping industry has since been swamped by the global trade contraction.

The World Bank caused shockwaves with a warning last month that global trade may decline this year for the first time since the Second World War. This appears increasingly certain with each new batch of data.

Mr de Trenck predicts Asian trade to the US will fall 7pc this year. To Europe he estimates a drop of 9pc – possibly 12pc. Trade flows grow 8pc in an average year.

He said it was "illogical" for shippers to offer zero rates, but they do whatever they can to survive in a highly cyclical market.

Offering slots for free is akin to an airline giving away spare seats for nothing in the hope of making something from meals and fees.
No international shipping could certainly have a significant effect on the demand for oil. Today's good news/bad news story is that oil has fallen to near $36 per barrel. Essentially, the credit crisis and the pullback in consumer demand are having the same effect as Smoot-Hawley. The first round of stimulus (the tax rebates) did not work. The second round, the bailout of Banks, hasn't worked either. Bankers are not keen to lend and consumers do not want to borrow. Cash is king and debt is an anchor around one's neck. The economy is in a self perpetuating free fall. What we need is a Bono. Someone who can ride to our rescue and convince the world that what is needed is a complete cancellation of all debt... then we can get $200 and start over at GO. Until then,

Round and Round she goes and where she stops nobody knows.


  1. Other signs---the truckers calling into Coast To Coast say their loads are lighter, their jobs fewer, but, their fuel costs are down. Read that many oil tankers are floating around, fully loaded, out at sea, turning themselves into floating fuel storage units, waiting for a price rise. Or a pirate attack.

    And this--Chavez Quietly Courting Western Oil Companies Again

    Good news--heating fuel is less for the cold states.

    Guy running sporting goods at Wal-Mart told me yesterday, nope, no post Christmas gun sales, said he's having trouble getting stock, after the big run on guns and ammo post election.

    The Hartford Courant
    January 14, 2009

    ING Group will lay off 750 employees in the U.S., including 96 in the Hartford area, as the Dutch financial services company trims expenses in a recession that has taken a heavy toll on the stock market and property values.

    So when the fellow from ING says:

    "This is no regular cycle slowdown, but a complete collapse in foreign demand,"

    It becomes evident that his own company is taking action on his concern. They are cutting back.

    US imports from Asia, down 7%, about the same decline in miles driven in the US, I do believe I read.
    Not enough, in and of itself, to drive crude oil prices down over 70%.
    There must have been a whole lot of speculatin' goin' on. Enough to REALLY warp the supply/demand curve in that commodity market.

    Global: Huge decline in world cotton mill use forecast in 2008/09

    World cotton mill use is forecast at 24.5 million tons in 2008/09, down 7% from 2007/08. One of the most significant developments in 2008/09 is the expected 10% reduction in Chinese cotton mill use, to 9.8 million tons.

    China (Mainland) is the largest cotton consumer, accounting for around 40% of world cotton mill use. Cotton mill use is also projected down in India and Pakistan, the second and third largest cotton consumers.

    As a result of the decline in world cotton mill use, world trade is expected to fall by 17% in 2008/09, to 6.9 million tons. This would be the lowest level in six seasons. In particular, Chinese imports are projected at 1.5 million tons in 2008/09, down by 1 million tons from last season. Exporters are being forced to carry larger stocks than desired, putting pressure on world cotton prices

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. That oil storage story, bob, is really not much of one, yet.

    ... they are sitting on 327 million barrels at tank farms around the country, particularly at Cushing, Okla., a major storage hub and a crossroads for pipelines. That is more than 40 million barrels more in storage than this time last year, and more than 30 million barrels higher than the five-year average.

    327 million barrels = 34 days of imports at October's rate of 9.5 million barrels per day.

    The 30 million above average number of barrels in storage, three days worth of imports and only 10% higher than their five year average.
    10%, about the same as the drop in miles driven, in the US.

    The storage facility mentioned, just showing the supply chain backing up, due to less demand, not anything much more than that.

    Across the board, in that story, that is what is being seen, the supply chain filling up the empty space. Speculators thinking that we've reached the bottom.

    "It can't go lower"

    Or so they are betting.

    A months worth of imports, though, is all that is stored. That is the bottom line.

  5. Chip Minty, a Devon spokesman, said: “The volatility we have seen in the last year, and particularly the last few months, is making it more difficult to plan a drilling program that is funded through cash flow. Everybody is laying down rigs.”
    Oil volatility has complicated the efforts of automobile companies to figure out future strategies. Toyota had to suspend production at one plant that builds the Tundra pickup truck for several months when gasoline prices soared last summer. Toyota then delayed completion of a second plant meant to build the Prius hybrid when falling gasoline prices led to weakening demand for that fuel-efficient model.

    The gyrations in prices affect shipping and other businesses around the world. Cathay Pacific, one of many airlines that use fuel hedging strategies, recently acknowledged that it had hedging losses of hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the collapse in fuel prices.

    The slowdown in oil investment is so rapid that some analysts say they believe it is a matter of time before shortages appear that will push oil prices to new heights and damage the economy.

  6. Meanwhile gasoline prices are creeping back UP in Washington, now almost $2. Go figure.

  7. $1.44 9/10 here yesterday. I don't understand it. By all that's holy, you'd think the price would be lower over on the coast. I'm not sure why we have cheaper gas.

  8. Where Does Spokane Get Its Gas

    I'm not sure if this is right. But it might be. I thought it came down from Canada direct, this says from north through Billings to Spokane. And, from Pasco. It's trucked to here, I know that.

  9. The first vestiges of dawn are breaking across the Washingtonian world. Soon that light will really get intense. As it's only just begun.

    The country can certainly not use moral rhetoric against other countries on human rights issues if it is unwilling to shine light on itself

    Now this fellow is at the tip of the light, just one of many soldiers of the light, Federally funded propagandists.

    Investigating Bush's 'War On Terror'

    “The government cannot selectively apply the rule of law: It cannot exempt powerful people or people who are under duress in the pursuit of important and admirable goals such as national security.”

    ... a situation where a systematic, sustained bureaucratic and legal process sanctioned torture and rendition, some of which we know about, some of which we surely don't. The government cannot selectively apply the rule of law: It cannot exempt powerful people or people who are under duress in the pursuit of important and admirable goals such as national security. The country can certainly not use moral rhetoric against other countries on human rights issues if it is unwilling to shine light on itself on this incredibly high-profile case.

    Circumstances will constantly arise where it may appear the expedient way to prevent crime or terrorism is to ignore laws and treaties. Thwarting full investigation of the past is a certain way to set the wrong precedent for the future, no matter how often the new president says we won't do bad things again.

    Legal. Again, I know of no legal reason why the Obama administration should not let investigations proceed, though I see no clear obligation for the president to appoint a commission. But if congressional committees choose to probe, the new administration should comply and cooperate; if Congress votes to appoint an independent commission, the administration should go along with it.

    National Security. This is a difficult area to assess. Clearly, many soldiers in the so-called war on terror in the military and in the intelligence world would find investigations demoralizing and threatening. I doubt this is universal. Some, like John McCain, argue that clear renunciation of torture makes the country more secure and more respected — and investigations would be a form of renunciation with teeth, backed by action and not just words.

  10. Unfinished business

    ... bin Laden's simple survival has proved hugely important. To millions of angry Muslims and others chafing at US power, he has become a symbol of resistance. Even those who found his beliefs repulsive were somehow heartened by his defiance. And this is a message well understood by voters in the West. The Pentagon may think him a spent force; for millions of Americans, he is the proof of their own inability to bring him to justice.

    Too late, Washington has returned to a policy of decapitation with its intensive use of drones to kill al-Qaeda's leaders in Pakistan. This is proving extremely effective. But its real target remains untouched. Mr Bush leaves office, as his father did, with unfinished business abroad. It is a strategic failure and a brutal legacy for his successor.

  11. Kim Jong Il, son of Kim Il Sung, has reportedly named Kim Jong Un, his youngest 'Swiss educated' son, mid twenties years old, born of Ko Yong Hi, to succeed him, pissing off elder sons Kim Jong Chol, and Kim Jong Nam, who was born of Sung Hae Rim, an actress.

    "Jong Un has leadership (qualities) and a desire to grab power," Cheong told The Associated Press.

    Round and round she goes.

    (this is in the old Biblical style, where the younger one comes out on top)

  12. On March 8, 2008, Hadley made an extraordinary remark about how difficult it has proven to understand the real way Bush made decisions. "He will talk with great authority and assertiveness," Hadley said. " 'This is what we're going to do.' And he won't mean it. Because he will not have gone through the considered process where he finally is prepared to say, 'I've decided.' And if you write all those things down and historians get them, [they] say, 'Well, he decided on this day to do such and such.' It's not true. It's not history. It's a fact, but it's a misleading fact."

    Bob Woodward is an associate editor of The Washington Post and the author of four books on President Bush

  13. "Frosted Window" by the Famous Russian Artist V. Putin

    Russia's highest priced artist, this painting was whipped out in less than half an hour. The buyer certainly got frosted himself.

  14. Black Angus goes down, Citigroup falls below $5, mo money for Bank of America....

    Bob goes to renegotiate a loan....

  15. jeez, bob

    By Bob Van Voris

    Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- ARG Enterprises Inc., which operates 69 Black Angus Steakhouse restaurants in seven states in the western U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection, citing declining profits due to the economic slowdown in the U.S.

    ARG, with headquarters in Los Altos, California, said in its Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, today that it has between $100 million and $500 million in both assets and debts.
    Black Angus, which specializes in black angus steaks, prime rib and seafood, was founded in Seattle in 1964. It employs more than 3,600 people. The company projects revenue of $181 million for 2008, according to Poulin.

  16. Nouriel Roubini, a professor at the Stern Business School at New York University
    and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, is a weekly columnist for

    Here is a global breakdown of my forecast.

    The United States economy is only halfway through a recession that started in December 2007 and will be the longest and most severe in the post-war period. U.S. gross domestic product will continue to contract throughout all of 2009 for a cumulative output loss of 5%.

    One last look at 2008 will reveal a very weak fourth quarter with GDP growth contracting about -6% in the wake of a sharp fall in personal consumption and private domestic investment.

    I see the real GDP growth contraction playing out through the year as follows: first quarter 2009: -5%; second quarter 2009: -4%; third quarter 2009: -2.5%; fourth quarter 2009: -1%--adding up to a yearly real GDP growth of -3.4% for the U.S. in 2009.

    This forecast is much worse than the current consensus forecast seeing a growth recovery in the second half of 2009; I also predict significantly weak growth recovery--well below potential--in 2010.

    Canada entered recession at the end of 2008, and the outlook for 2009 is likely to be worse, with the economy contracting by an estimated 1.5% to 2% for the year.

    In 2009, Latin American countries will face a significant slowdown in economic growth. A combination of negative external shocks will slow down regional GDP growth to 0.8% in 2009. Under my scenario, all countries in the region will experience significant deceleration of economic activity in 2009.
    The latest cyclical upswing in the Eurozone was largely driven by a temporary but powerful boost to domestic investment from disappearing risk premia in the aftermath of the adoption of the single currency and by external demand from a buoyant world economy.

    Both demand sources fizzled out by the second half of 2008, leaving the Eurozone as a whole and its largest members exposed to diverging deleveraging patterns in the face of suboptimal EMU-wide automatic fiscal stabilizer mechanisms.

    The latest record-low readings of leading and sentiment indicators point to a severe recession ahead in 2009 that shapes up to be worse than the 1992-93 crisis. For the Eurozone, I expect a below-consensus contraction in real GDP of around -2.5%, with negative growth in each of the four quarters of the year.

    The United Kingdom economy is poised to shrink in 2009. Our forecast of a -2.3% growth in real GDP is below consensus as we do not expect a recovery in the second half of the year. Despite the relative resilience of consumer spending, investment should continue to collapse and the housing sector has yet to reach a bottom.
    We believe China will experience a hard landing in 2009, with growth unlikely to exceed 5%, a sharp slowdown from the 10% average of the last five years. The reversal of capital flows and high credit cost will pull down India's growth significantly, to around 5% in 2009 from an estimated 6% in 2008.

    Japan's domestic demand continues to be an unreliable growth driver, and its export machine--the growth engine of recent years--is stalling, given the global contraction and a stronger yen. Consequently, we foresee real GDP growth contracting 2.5% in 2009 after almost flat growth for 2008 as a whole.

    Australia's recession will likely end in 2009 after starting in fourth quarter 2008. Average annual GDP growth in 2009 will be flat to sluggish (0% to 1%) after registering an estimated 1.6% in 2008.

  17. I've brought this up, before, but here is the headman of Walmart telling us that part of his mission is cultural and social change.

    The method was proven by IBEC in post-War Italy and is now beig utilized across the globe.

    Here, there, everywhere.

    "Changing How We Change America"

    Lee Scott, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    National Retail Federation
    January 12, 2009
    New York City

    And I think the choice is clear.

    As businesses, we have a responsibility to society. We also have an extraordinary opportunity. Let me be clear about this point … there is no conflict between delivering value to shareholders and helping solve bigger societal problems. In fact … they can build on each other when developed, aligned and executed right.

    At Wal-Mart, we do not really see it as philanthropy or CSR or the Triple Bottom Line. All of those approaches have merit and can have an impact. But what we are talking about is different.

    We believe you can bring together the bottom line on a balance sheet … with social and environmental bottom lines. Societal responsibilities and how we fulfill them can align and strengthen the business. When you do that, things really start to take hold, build momentum and make a much bigger difference.
    The principles are very simple. Does how you want to contribute to larger societal issues work with your business model – so it will last during the both good and bad economic times? Does it fit with your mission and culture – so that all parts of your company are engaged, energized and contributing? Does it offer the opportunity to leverage your unique strengths – so you can scale your efforts and make a unique, powerful and meaningful difference? And we can make a special contribution as retailers.

    We are closer to working men and women and how they live their daily lives than any other industry. We listen. We have metrics. We are held accountable.

    We know what makes a difference and what does not -- because our customers tell us every day at our cash registers and our supply chain reaches all around the world. ...

    There are a lot of big issues out there. There is just as great a need and opportunity -- whether it is health care, diversity, responsible sourcing, immigration, or any other. This is especially true if we keep to the principles of putting solutions into the business. Each and every retailer – each and every business – can participate and make a difference. And if you do that in the way I have discussed today, I guarantee that you will be both a better business and a better company.

    I know we are at Wal-Mart.

  18. We believe you can bring together the bottom line on a balance sheet … with social and environmental bottom lines. Societal responsibilities and how we fulfill them can align and strengthen the business. When you do that, things really start to take hold, build momentum and make a much bigger difference.

  19. Rat

    do you agree with Mr. Scott or not?

  20. BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 7, 2009 --- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced today that Doug McMillon, 42, will be promoted to president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart International, the company’s second largest operating segment. McMillon, currently president and CEO of Sam’s Club, will report to Mike Duke who was named to succeed Lee Scott as the company’s president and CEO. Both will assume their new roles Feb. 1.

    “Doug is joining Wal-Mart International at a time of strength and momentum,” said Duke. “We have a strategy to win in all markets, and our international team is exceptionally strong across the board. We have never had a more talented group of regional leaders and country presidents. We will continue to focus on emerging markets with strong growth potential, as well as established markets that we believe have the potential to deliver consistently strong returns.

    “It is exciting to promote a long-term associate to lead our second largest business. Doug began his Wal-Mart career as an hourly associate, unloading trucks at a distribution center, while he worked his way through college. In his 18 years with the company, Doug has learned the business from the bottom up, with leadership roles in all three operating divisions. One of the best things about this company is that, as we grow, we are able to offer broad career opportunities to our associates around the world,” said Duke.

    “Doug is the right leader to continue to grow our international portfolio,
    export our culture and leverage our global strengths in every market where we operate. He also appreciates the broader role Wal-Mart can play in the world and has been a major driver of the company’s sustainability initiatives. He is committed to our associates and customers, and demonstrates the company’s culture and values every day,” Duke added.

    Culture is a byword, at Walmart.
    Something to export.

  21. Seems to me the whole thing leads back to banks unwilling/unable to make loans. What we need is new banks. Specialized banks.

  22. Well, gag, I agree that if you want to modify the culture of a society, Italy, Mexico, Iraq or the United States it must be done incrementally and from the bottom up, economicly.

    That Walmart and others are actively pursuing the "leveling" of global cultures, to a "Walmart" standard of basic consumerism, providing value across the spectrum of economic classes, undeniable.

    It also strengthens the hand of the central planners. With Walmart advocating 'progress' ... whether it is health care, diversity, responsible sourcing, immigration, or any other.

    If the issue is keeping Mexico from becoming a failed State, then Walmart/IBEC provides the best course forward. If Mexican interests do not matter, we'll need to build a West Bank security fence across the US/Mexico frontier. Which we are not doing.

    With the drug cartels shifting to local political actions, we'll find that they develop a revolutionary leadership within their own ranks.

    It's an economic battle, to raise the per capita GDP of Mexicans to near $25,000 per annum. To stave off political & social convultions as North American economic unification progresses.

    In China they are opening stores in the outlying cities, away from where most foreign businesses are locating. They will follow their model of rural expansion that has served them so well, developing Chinese markets for Chinese goods.

    Is that a 'good' thing? I'm not really sure, from a US point of view, but from the 'Rights of Man' perspective, it's fabulous.

    The Walmart/IBEC model is the only one I know of, that has been successful, in willfully modifying societies without destroying them, first.

    On the whole, I think it is a 'good thing' but that in detail it takes US where we may not want to go. With little, really no debate, on the destination the course will bring US to. ...

    and that I find a tad offensive.

  23. What we need to do, Mat, is to stop giving taxpayer money to banks, so that they need to make loans to make money instead. Right?

  24. The "Walmart Standard" is car dependent. As such, it is alienating, and it will ultimately be rejected because it is fundamentally antisocial and psychologically unsustainable, as is the American car culture.

  25. What we need to do, Mat

    Specialized banking, where banks are severely limited as to whom they can make loans. This way, when these banks get into trouble, the damage is limited, and the banks would not be too big to fail.

  26. It is not car dependent, mat, no more than the rest of US society.
    That is foolish talk.

    The model could be used anywhere. It is dependent on 100,000 sq ft or more of space and a supplychain of lower cost consumer products.

    The retail outlet just a large warehouse for the consumer to browse. Without the economies of scale the low retail pricing cannot be maintained, to the benefit of the consumer.

    How the consumer reaches the store, in China, Mexico or the USA, is by whatever means people traveled, in China, Mexico or the USA,, before the stores opened.

  27. stop giving taxpayer money to banks

    I'm against paying tax, period.

  28. Even if the Walmart model is car-centric, mat, which it does not need to be, everyone will have 'free' electric cars, powered by the sun. So no worries for car-centric business models.

    It's all good.

  29. It is not car dependent, mat, no more than the rest of US society.

    You don't know what you're talking about.

  30. everyone will have 'free' electric cars

    Everyone willing to spend $200,000/yr on license fees and the flight of fancy to drive that car between 1am and 4am.

  31. That part of the 'new' mat driving plan?
    If so the electric car leasing business will fail, in a spectacular manner.

    You're living in fantasy world of your own making, but which has no real world proto-type.

  32. You're living in fantasy world of your own making, but which has no real world proto-type.

    No, I became familiar with the Singapore model. And I think they have it right.

  33. Singapore, you say, aye

    It is 270 sq mi with a population of 4,117,700 giving them a population density of 16,392/sq mi.

    Think I'll pass on that piece of Utopia

  34. You still don't get it. Tel Aviv probably has a population density 20,000/sq mi. That's nothing. It's the size of the city and the immediate clean green space surrounding it that is important.

  35. Other signs included the amount of lending done to non credit worthy borrowers.

    I suggest you support this idea to let people use social lending as a way to correct the current crunch:

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Then Scottsdale is the premier, voted most livable city in America, couple years back.

    We have lots of parks and open space. You want central planning, when it's not required.

    Singapore, for the permenant residents ... no utopia

    The domestic transport infrastructure has a well-connected island-wide road transport system which includes a network of expressways. The public road system is served by the nation's bus service and a number of licensed taxi-operating companies.
    The public bus transport has been the subject of criticism by Singaporeans, the majority of whom are dependent on it for their daily commuting.
    Since 1987, the heavy rail passenger Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) metro system has been in operation. The MRT has been further augmented by the Light Rail Transit (LRT) light rail system, adds accessibility to housing estates. Established in 2001, EZ-Link system allows contactless smartcards to serve as stored value tickets for use in the public transport systems in Singapore.

    More than 2.85 million people use the bus network daily, while more than 1.5 million people use either the LRT or MRT as part of their daily routine. Approximately 945,000 people use the taxi services daily.

    Tel Aviv 390,100 folks in 20 sq/mi.
    19,505 per sq/mi. A mad house of neighbors that we in the US have rejected as a healthy lifestyle choice.

    a Lifestyle which you have rejected, as well, mat.

    Tel Aviv was ranked as the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 14th most expensive in the world

    And packed in, like sardines.

  38. a Lifestyle which you have rejected, as well, mat.

    Actually, even Tel Aviv is too big. Cities should be limited to a population of 300,000 that occupy no more than 300 sq km. About the size specs of the city of Haifa.

  39. Another thing that I thinks needs to be done, is enforcing laws where employers only hire employees that live within the city limits. This is being done more and more in Israel.

  40. Then Scottsdale is the premier, voted most livable city in America, couple years back.

    I was offered to go golfing in Scottdale, but declined due to limited time. Instead, I spent the day in Sedona.

  41. Back from the bush....quick hello. Neither of those bushes!

  42. Here's the kind of crap you run into. The County Planning and Zoning came up with a bunch of crap for our nuclear power plant here. These arses are just appointed, and advisory only. The literally just walk in off the street and report themselves available for service. Maybe they've lived in the area six months. I ran into the same thing with my tiny development. I lost in the P and Z 12 to 0, appealed it the the city council and won 5 to 1. It'll be a different story when it gets before some folks that are actually elected. I hope.

    In most places, Planning and Zoning Commissions ought to be done away with.

    I know Mat doesn't like the sounds of that.

    The Simco Road designated industrial zone recommended by Elmore P&Z cannot accommodate nuclear plant

    AEHI's proposed plant site is best suited for nuclear plant

    Jan. 15, 2008

    For more information, contact:

    Don Gillispie, CEO, 208-939-9311

    Jennifer Ransom, VP-spokesperson, 208-939-9311

    Don Gillispie, president and CEO of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc, gave an update Jan. 12 to the Mountain Home City Council on efforts to develop a large advanced nuclear reactor in Elmore County.

    In November, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against rezoning approximately 1,400 acres of land to accommodate the plant, saying heavy industrial development should be located in a zone near Simco Road, even as wind, solar and natural gas power are permitted elsewhere in the county.

    In response to a Mountain Home City Council member's question regarding siting of the plant in the Simco Road area, the following is Mr. Gillispie’s reply:

    “After some research we have concluded the Simco Road does not qualify for a nuclear plant and even if it did, there does not appear to be any property available. The following are some of the reasons:

    The Simco Road site has no water supply so a dedicated water line of more than 20 miles would need to be constructed. A large safety-related pipeline would add hundreds of millions in expense and create security and right-of-way concerns; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would disapprove the Simco Road site for the water supply security issue alone. Our current site is one mile from the Snake River, an ideal location for water access without a security issue.
    The Simco Road location has geologic issues that could make qualification expensive, if it is possible at all, on account of strict NRC requirements regarding geologic stability. Preliminary geologic testing confirms our existing site has no such potential issues.
    Key parcels along the Simco Road site are under option by other parties, making it unavailable for a nuclear plant site. Our current proposed site is optioned and ready for the development process.
    The Simco Road area is 7 miles from Boise’s industrial area and 21 miles from Mountain Home, along the Ada-Elmore county border. Elmore County would lose much of the employment revenue as employees would likely live in Boise, as suggested by our economic study. Elmore County would lose in housing starts and commercial and other economically beneficial opportunities. Our existing site is 12 miles from Mountain Home, thus in a better position of supporting economic development in Elmore County.

    Elmore County’s comprehensive plan is well-intentioned, but it did not foresee the development of such a major economic benefactor like our proposed plant and the associated regulatory requirements. We look forward to our presentation before the Elmore County Commission in April for the final word on if our plant – and the economic benefits it will bring – will become possible in Elmore County."

    The Idaho Energy Complex ( will be a large advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. Company officials plan to submit a Combined Operating License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. The approval process is expected to take three years and cost $80 million. Construction could begin as soon as late 2012 and finish with power generation beginning in late 2016.

  43. Think of the carbon credits this plant is worth, Waxman you fool. No CO2 here.

    Think of the number of Mat's electric cars and bikes this sucker can power!

  44. Don't have to litter up the countryside with bird killing windmills, or take valuable desert away from the jackrabbits for solar arrays!

  45. Planning and zoning should be a function of city hall. Elected by the people, of the people, for the people.

  46. I guess Harvard doesn't really produce the "best and brightest" after all does it? And I also know they don't call it "The Little RED Schoolhouse" for no reason!

    This is typical of how the left circles the wagons. We were led to believe that Geithner is the ONLY one who could handle the complexities of the "bailout". It is apparent that Geithner cannot handle the simplicities of his paycheck! Obama should pull his name and submit Pamela Anderson, Cher or the loud mouthed broads from "The View" to handle this instead, the end result would be the same, a giant cluster-F of humugous proportions the likes of which the world has never seen.

    Geithner's A Crook

  47. Think of the number of Mat's electric cars and bikes this sucker can power!

    Mat would rather people use small scale local power generation for their community needs. Mat is a big believer in small distributed power generation as opposed to grandiose central power generation stations.

  48. I agree Mat. Any body that passes on zoning ought to be elected. In my case, the city council had gotten sick of them, and was looking for an opportunity to slap them down. Even the city planner urged me to appeal. And this was before we got the good guys elected recently.

    The way it is, with unelected walk-in folks, it's just a waste of electricity.

    If you get in bigger towns, some of these decisions are worth a lot of money, so there's the corruption angle. The unscrupulous might start paying people to sit on the Planning and Zoning, etc. Here, it's voluntary. They don't get paid. What happens is you generally get ideologues, fanatics who think they got a cause. I can see that the global warmists might try to start to pack the P and Z Commission, for instance.

  49. Bob's a believer in some of both, but you that, already.

  50. Bob's a believer

    Mat's a realist. :)

  51. Mat the realist believes we really need to scale back on the scale we do things. Our current trajectory is simply not sustainable.

  52. Speaking of birds, they could have just caused a US Airways plane to go down in the Hudson River....

    Welcome back to a balmy January, Host!

  53. "Temperatures at the time of the crash in the city were just about 20 degrees, with the water temperature likely much colder."
    If that's not enough proof for ya that we got Global Warming, well I just don't know.

  54. They'll be talking about using that water to make free Eelectricity on late nite tonight.
    al-Bob will have headlines @ 11.

  55. 2 minutes out:
    Looks like the pilot did a hell of a job landing close to help.

  56. Holder Tells Senators Waterboarding Is Torture
    Eric H. Holder Jr., the nominee for attorney general, also came under close questioning for his role in the pardoning of Marc Rich.
    Slowly Baking to death in a Restaurant w/your family, otoh, is like a walk in the park.

  57. Flock of birds to blame...
    When T-Bone and Rufus get their way, we won't have to worry about that anymore.

  58. Suicide Flappers:
    "Government officials do not believe the crash is related to terrorism. "

  59. "Temperatures at the time of the crash in the city were just about 20 degrees, with the water temperature likely much colder."

    Nah, water's usually warmer than air, this time of year. Otherwise it'd be frozen.

    I know this cause I always take the Polar Bear Swim aka a Swedish Winter Bath.

    Looks like everybody made it out.

    Sure would wake a fellow up.

  60. We should have the results of the forensic exam of the UFO attack on the English windmill in a few days, Doug. I'll keep you informed.

  61. I imagine some of the birds are feeling worse than the passengers, if they're feeling at all.

  62. Ark a Medes Speaks:
    "Nah, water's usually warmer than air, this time of year.
    Otherwise it'd be frozen.

    NOAA's Ark, of course.

  63. Mayday! Mayday! We got Ourselves a Double Bird.
    "The plane apparently hit two birds simultaneously — one in each engine, or a “double bird” in the jargon of safety workers — and then descended. "

  64. "New York Police Department divers dove into the water to assist with the rescue as plane floated southbound on the river, possibly due to the tidal direction."
    Or somebody on the tail w/restless leg syndrome.

  65. And in the mandatory additional Spanish on all flights these days--Un parajo doble! Socorro! Socorro!

  66. Better Place and Ontario Launch Project

  67. Non-Glass Mirror-Film Promises to Boost Efficiency, Reduce Costs of Concentrating Solar Power

    A new “silver-metalized” mirror film invented by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and ReflecTech is a key element in testing an innovative concentrating solar power system that holds the promise of significantly lower costs and significantly higher sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies, making them more attractive to utilities and their customers.

    ReflecTech - the name of the highly reflective film as well as the company that co-invented it - has been applied on a precisely manufactured parabolic base of sheet metal, replacing the more costly, heavier and less durable parabolic glass mirrors typically used in concentrating solar power systems. An inner layer of pure silver protected by multiple layers of polymer films makes the mirror film highly reflective while also protecting the silver from the elements and oxidation.

    Albuquerque-based SkyFuel and the NREL in Golden, Colorado have incorporated the “glass-free” mirror film into SkyTrough, a new type of parabolic trough that has been mounted on NREL's Large Payload Solar Tracker.


  68. The crazy thing is that the Feds are going to have to allow Banks to make easy loans again. As I understand it, the only way to get a loan is to absolutely not need it, otherwise, no lender wants the risk. It may be that the Feds will have to either underwrite and guarantee the loans or go into the loan business directly. I understand that this was done during the Great Depression.

    The new home industry is dead in the water. That means the appliance, lighting, cabinet and equipment manufacturers are taking it on the chin. I'm probably wrong but this situation could get worse than Roubini, (the prophet of doom) expects.

    We are experiencing the perfect storm of crises. The simultaneous loss of confidence in our institutions of government, finance and manufacturing is unlike anything I have seen in my lifetime. Our leaders are seen as incompetent and corrupt and a sense of uncertainty and doubt pervades the whirled.

    Round and round she goes...

  69. As for me, my solution is to regress to my past.

  70. That's 11,500 or 12,000. Seems like a stretch to me also. Put my mom in better spirits 'though. Just passing along the info.

    I saw Fred Barnes say the other day that the 1st 350b did the trick. There's no need for the 2nd. The banks' balance sheets are bubbling over with cash. They're just not lending. Something has to be done to get them lending again.

  71. Just read up on Roubini. That guy IS a prophet. Holy cow.

  72. 10 Men of the Cloth, including Gay Episcopal Bishop who tore the church apart, won't base his BS on the Bible
    "out of respect..."

    ...but NO Catholics or Jews.

  73. ...don't pass go if you are not for Federal Baby-Killing.

  74. You're not going to attend the Inauguration, Doug?

    Don't want to attend the Hamas Ball? Or the Hezbollah Happy Hour? What about the Gay Guys and Gals Gala? Dance the night away against global warming? The Usurper Burper?

    I want passportgate investigated, but it sure as hell won't be.

  75. Celebrate the coming of a new 20 million citizens? McCain is said to be Obama's 'secret weapon' on this. You might meet up with John, join his new 'Country First Action Committee'.

  76. Talk over the Constitution with the Supreme Court Justices.

  77. Hope Soap on a Rope for sale in DC.

  78. That IS a secret:
    Who is this "McCain" guy?
    Any members know him up close and personal?

    ...VERY Personal, like 'Rat and...

  79. Why the Hell couldn't they put the Kenyan Grannie's Spear in w/the luggage?

  80. What a bunch of crap all around--

    “This sounds perverse but I think I will be a better Attorney General, if confirmed, having had the Marc Rich experience,’’ Holder said, referring to mistakes he made in the pardon of the fugitive financier.

    Holder Headed for Confirmation, Despite Republican Concerns
    Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Jr. apologized for his role in the notorious pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, and revealed plans for closing the Gitmo prison and moving its terrorist inmates into the United States. But he escaped serious questioning by Republicans, who complained their inquiry into Holder's record was blocked by Democrats.


    That pilot did a heck of a good job. It was geese that brought it down. The pilot used to fly for the Air Force.

  81. Come inauguration day, that final symbolic set piece, the transition will be complete. The rest of the world must become comfortable with a black American, not as a symbol of protest but of power.

    And not of any power but a superpower, albeit a broken and declining one. A black man with more power than they.

    How that will translate into the different political cultures around the globe, whom it will inspire, how it will inspire them and what difference that inspiration will make will vary. From inauguration day people's perceptions of Obama will no longer hinge on what he is but on what he does.

    What Obama Means to the World

  82. Hamas is angling for a one year "renewable" cease fire.

    In other words a hudna, renewable at their option.

    A "renewable hudna".

    Is that in the koran?

  83. This comment has been removed by the author.

  84. McCain, he is your Standard bearer, doug.

    He is playing his part, as prescribed. A true Republican that will open the borders and help unify America.

    From his birthplace to the remaining primival wilderness of ANWAR in Sarah Palin's Alaska

  85. What Rick Warren Should Ask Obama & McCain On Abortion (Guest Post by Eric McFadden) - Progressive Revival

    Busted yesterday as the Guru of Prostitution in Ohio, posting pornographic pics of minors.

    Kerry and Clinton's "Head" of Catholic outreach.

    Head of Faith Based Initiative, supporting Obama and abortion.

  86. Now Israel is getting traction:

    The Israeli Security Agency (Shin Beth) confirmed Interior Minister Said Siyam, 50, died in the air strike in the Jabaliya neighborhood in northern Gaza City. Siyam's brother Iyad, head of Hamas' security division, and Salah Abu Sharah, were also killed in the attack.

  87. You could listen to the Jihad Jazz Band, Doug---

    Inaugural Jihad

    Obama has invited Ingrid Mattson, the first woman president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to offer prayer at his inauguration

    ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the same Hamas funding case that named CAIR as a Muslim Brotherhood group. The Muslim Brotherhood's goal is destroying Western civilization from within.

    The Investigative Project on Terrorism chronicled the financial ties between ISNA and its affiliate organization, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and Hamas several times, including during the first trial against Home Land Foundation (HLF):

    Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from NAIT) an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook's wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.

    That is NAIT/ISNA money going to a top Hamas official, his wife, and a university controlled by Hamas. So the lawyers for ISNA and NAIT are admitting that both groups supported Hamas financially in the late 80's and early 90's, which, at a minimum, destroys ISNA's contention that the group has no ties to Hamas, let alone the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In its latest filing before the federal district court in Dallas on behalf of the ISNA and its affiliate organization, NAIT, in the Hamas-terrorism financing case, the ACLU has made a noteworthy admission.

    Rather than deny that there is copious evidence tying ISNA and NAIT to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, ISNA and NAIT admit that the documents tying their organizations to Hamas are "authentic," but that they are old.

    Clearly, Obama has no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood and its satellite organizations CAIR, ISNA and NAIT, nor the people who run them.

  88. Israel's foreign minister flies to Washington on Friday to cement U.S. guarantees on stopping the flow of arms to Hamas, a core Israeli condition for ending its 20-day-old offensive in the Gaza Strip. Tzipi Livni's mission followed a proposal by the besieged Palestinian Islamist faction for a year-long, renewable truce under which the Jewish state would withdraw its troops within a week and all Gaza border crossings would open immediately.


    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on his own visit to the region, said on Thursday the Israeli government was due to "make an important decision on a ceasefire" which he hoped would be the right one. Later he said it might take "a few more days."


    Hamas's Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshaal reiterated his group's demands: "First, the aggression must stop; second, the Israeli forces must withdraw from Gaza...immediately, of course; thirdly, the siege must be lifted and fourth we want all crossing-points reopened, first of which is Rafah (Egypt)."

    Border Deal

  89. Big John, protector of the Permafrost.

  90. Wait 'til you hear Grahmnesty Suck up to Obambi.
    Hard to take,
    even in these times.
    ...course Kudlow isn't much better, Noonan will be Swoonin.
    Good Times are Here Again.

  91. Guy was laid off because of budget cuts, give him a break---

    McFadden formerly served as director of the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives office under Gov. Ted Strickland. He was transferred to a job with the state prisons department in 2007 and laid off in March 2008 due to budget cuts.

    Everyone has to earn a living.

  92. Barkeep - St. Bernardus Abt 12 please
    What are you babbling fools talking about now?

    Their talking about microsats at Belmont, unless comments are moderated

    Lightweight microsatellites will be much cheaper to launch than their obese precursors. The idea is to send microsatellites into space in flocks. In this cluster, they would be reprogrammable, able to switch to new tasks when the Pentagon required it. They might be set in linear formation to conduct ground reconnaissance or grouped in a circle to serve as a communications satellite. “It’s like going from a mainframe computer to a network of PC’s,” Das says brightly. “Together, they’d form a larger virtual satellite.” Yet a flock could also be launched with separate missions. One microsatellite might refuel a larger satellite or upgrade its software. Others might scoot about with small on-board cameras to provide live video feeds from space — a capability no nation currently has. As I am escorted into a clean room to the see the first microsatellite under construction, one officer offhandedly confides, “It could also go right up to an enemy satellite and look at it real close-maybe even bump it.”

    Think the technology is Buck Rogers nonsense, check out this company’s website -

    Moreover, check out Defense Tech’s contribution -

    posted at EB - Monday Feb. 19 10:53, 2007

    Gazprom causing trouble in Europe?

  93. (they really never left with W, but we could pretend.)

  94. When the Gaza cease fire is declared, there will be foreign 'watch dogs' inserted and the blockade will be lifted.

    Hamas will have won, losing less than 10% of their 'fighters', even if the number of sasualties doubles, from the current level.

    The siege will be ended, with minimal Hamas losses and the Israelis ranked morally right next to aQ, as a bomber of UN facilities.
    Only the aQ bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad ranking above the willie peter rounds falling upon the UN Headquarters in Gaza, as a greater attack on the UN's efforts to stabalize the situation in a war torn region.

    Seems that those Israelis are always targeting the UN and its' "Peacekeepers", first in Lebanon, now in Gaza.

  95. We got Bailout funds Headin to Hamas as we write.

  96. Me, babbling? I'm takin' a piss in the river. I call it infantile living art.

  97. Israeli forces shell UN headquarters in Gaza
    By IBRAHIM BARZAK and AMY TEIBEL – 7 hours ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.


    U.N. workers and Palestinian firefighters, some wearing bulletproof jackets, struggled to douse the flames and pull bags of food from the debris after the Israeli attack, which was another blow to efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Dense smoke billowed from the compound.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to end the devastating offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers, demanded a "full explanation" and said the Israeli defense minister told him there had been a "grave mistake."

  98. Look at Waxman on Drudge. That guy could freeze a Snowman. Global warming, begone!

  99. Like each of the 43 presidents before him, Barack Obama has chosen which sport will become his - basketball. When asked, the president-elect said, "this is not just any old TV-watching, couch-potato type of basketball.


    The previous White House tennant seems to have leaned towards baseball, having at one time managed a baseball team until he decided to be governor of Texas. He sold the team for $14 million.


    Obama's choice of a "team" sport over a "personal" sport has great implications in world politics. Basketball as a partipation sport in the presidential sense is a global plus.

    Presidential Sport

  100. The U.N. compound struck Thursday houses the U.N. Works and Relief Agency, which distributes food aid to hundreds of thousands of destitute Gazans in the tiny seaside territory of 1.4 million people.

    "I conveyed my strong protest and outrage to the defense minister and foreign minister and demanded a full explanation," said Ban, who arrived in Israel on Thursday morning from Egypt.

    It had only that morning become a makeshift shelter for 700 Gaza City residents seeking sanctuary from relentless Israeli shelling, U.N. officials in Gaza said.

    John Ging, director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, said the attack at the compound caused a "massive explosion" that wounded three people.

    A senior Israeli military officer said troops opened fire after militants inside the compound shot anti-tank weapons and machine guns. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal army announcement later in the day.

    Ging, who was in the compound at the time, dismissed the Israeli account as "nonsense."

    Israeli shells first hit the courtyard filled with refugees, then struck garages and the U.N.'s main warehouse, sending thousands of tons of food aid up in flames, Ging said. Later, fuel supplies went up in flames, sending a thick black plume of smoke into the air.

    U.N. officials said the shells that hit the compound contained white phosphorus, which is believed to have been responsible for burns suffered by some Palestinian civilians during the war.

  101. Obama at center, Aquavelvejad at guard....Coach Osama....

  102. Israeli forces thrust deep into the city of Gaza on Thursday in what may be their final push against Islamist Hamas militants before agreeing to a cease-fire in the 20-day-old war.


    In Gaza, Hamas interior minister Saeed Seyyam was killed by an Israeli air strike on a house in Jabalya refugee camp, along with his son, brother and half a dozen others. Seyyam oversaw 13,000 Hamas police and security men.


    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said its compound, where up to 700 Palestinians were sheltering, was struck twice by Israeli fire and three staff members were injured.

    Non-committal on Hamas Truce

  103. Haven't the Israelis hit 3 UN sites in Gaza now. If my memory serves me correctly its been a school, a compound, and the last place an HQ. They've apologized for the mistakes though...

  104. Who you gonna believe? The Israelis, or Hamas and the UN? BBC, or Joe the Plumber?

  105. Didn't the school blow up from secondary explosions, Ash?

  106. The UN chief expressed outrage over the incident. Mr Olmert told Mr Ban Israel troops fired back after coming under attack from militants in the compound.

    A senior UN official in Gaza, John Ging, dismissed the Israeli claims as "nonsense".

    The al-Quds hospital caught fire after being hit in the Gaza city crossfire, as Palestinian gunmen fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades in an effort to stop advancing Israeli troops.

    Hopes Grow for Ceasefire

  107. Love means never having to say your sorry, ash.

    And yes, the HQ building, a hospital and a school have all been targeted by the Israeli, since the beginning of Cast Lead.

    Twenty rockets landed in Israel, Thursday, so the offensive has been unable to reach its' stated military objectives, regardless.

  108. Bobal, it's like shooting fish in a barrel - the Palis got nowhere to run - their penned in on all sides. The Israelis have admitted to hitting the UN sites and they have profusely apologized for doing so.

  109. "We demand a renewable hudna."


  110. They deserve it, the bastards.

  111. Not Joe the non Plumber, who has an aversion to the truth of his own story.

  112. The aid agency Care was forced to cancel distribution of food and medical supplies because Israeli bombs fell around its warehouses and centres. “This is the first day Care has been forced to totally suspend activities in Gaza,” said director Martha Meyers.

    She said this work was critical because it concerned the care of pregnant women, new mothers and babies. There are 40,000 pregnant women in Gaza and 170 give birth every day.

    Many cannot reach hospitals or clinics.

    Hospital Struck Several Times

  113. 7,000 rockets, month after month, gets irritating.

    What a hell of a way to pay your electricity bill.

    Don't weaken, Ash.

  114. What a fuckin' mess.

    170/day. What? Do all those guys do there is fuck, or what?

  115. Well, the Israeli fire was not directed against terrorists in the compound, as evidenced by the period of thime that the attack took

    The U.N. compound, made up of workshops and warehouses as well as offices, was struck about a half-dozen times over a roughly two-hour period...
    Israel's chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, said the military had not clarified the incident and that an investigation was under way.

    "If it becomes clear that we returned shots at the source of fire, we will say so, and if it turns out we operated by mistake, we will not hesitate to confess," Benayahu told Israeli television.

    Ging described the Israeli claim as "total nonsense" and "typical misinformation."

    He said his staff in Tel Aviv was told by the Israeli liaison office "that there were no militants in the compound. There were militants operating ... in the area, but no militants or any firing from our compound. That's the official position of the Israeli authorities that deal with us. It happens, to my knowledge here, to be representative of the facts."

  116. Them Jews got War Crimes in their blood.

  117. Baby killers and UN building destroyers, just like aQ Iraq.

    Same target lists

    Same moral authority, God.

  118. We should put Israeli Mortars around the UN in Ny City.

  119. Have you and Mat ever discussed

  120. I had a dream: Israeli Arab students, enraged by the war in Gaza, were protesting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A counterdemonstration by Jewish students erupted.


    Actually, I didn't dream this. Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at the university, related the incident, which occurred in the first days after Israel began its Gaza war on December 27.


    The high-tech security fence built to wall off the West Bank and the near-hermetic sealing of Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal in 2005 are in the end attempts to shut out reality. Palestinians have become a vague abstraction to most Israelis not within the range of Hamas rockets: out of sight, out of mind.

    Eyeless in Gaza

  121. Israelis, doug, that happen to be Jewish, or not.

    The two, Jews and Israelis are not one and the same.

    So do not paint them all with the religion brush. That would be a tad bigoted, to not judge them by their actions, but by their religion.

  122. The entire border with Egypt sounds like it's a ground squirrel maze of weapons smuggling tunnels.

    I believe I read the other day that the major hospital, the basement of it, was the jihadi command center.

  123. There once was a man named Obama, who had a Black Dad and a White Mama...
    Drink Pepsi

  124. The rocket fire, bob, the Hamas answer to the Israeli siege of Gaza.
    Tits for tats.

    mat is an enemy of liberty, doug.

    Unless you happen to agree with him. He'll leave you free to do that. He is the first to call for executing those that disagree, with him.

    I do not hear him calling for one man, one vote, across all of 'Greater Israel'.

  125. Mat's got Green on his hands, not Blood.
    I know that.

  126. Hamas has no other purpose than to fight Israel. They can't conceive of anything else. It's their reason for being. They say so, again and again.

  127. Tits for Kats.
    What's Knew Pussycat?

  128. You were reading Israeli propaganda, bob.

    That facility is full to overcrowding with injured casualties. Or so report the doctors and reporters present to witness the events, at the hospital.

  129. How many will die when we've gone Green, and the Sun has Grown Cold?

  130. Those who believe that the smuggling may be stopped by Egypt generally see the task as relatively easy from a practical point of view. “It can be done by filling the area with good intelligence and filing up the tunnels,” said Shlomo Brom, a senior research associate at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

    He said that since Egyptian security forces are working under the basic principle that all tunnels have exits less than a half-mile from the border, the forces could find the tunnels if they wished.

    There is no consensus on why Egypt hasn’t stopped the smuggling so far.

    Egypt on the Spot

  131. Mat and Ruf,
    Two Green Peas in a Pod.

  132. least you can drink Ethanol.
    ...must be why Hitler's Coal based Methanol Economy is so unpopular w/the Greenies.
    Don't they know Adolph was a Veggie?

  133. So what, bob?

    We win, they lose.

    That was Ronald Reagan's plan, with regards to enemies of the US. We all appaulded.

    Hamas feels the same way, as do many Israelis, especially those that do not live there.

    Since the day that Hamas took power the Israelis have been at war with Gaza, that is the essence of a blockade, bob, war.

  134. Bernie Ward should do the swearing in from prison.
    ...while getting raped in a post-racial manner.

  135. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests.

    The Lions Club--My Dad!--Was Behind All This

    I shoulda known.

  136. The Israeli are in a tough spot, no doubt of that.

    They're about out of time and have not come close to achieving their mission statement.

    To bad, really, but that's the truth of Cast Lead.
    The lead will have fallen short, the blockade will be lifted and Hamas will still exist to claim victory.

  137. Bernie can start felons, child abusers, and prisoners for Obama.

  138. No, bob, the rocket fire did not come first. The blockade by sea did.

  139. Alas, I kind of agree with you on that last. If they live, they will live to fight another day.

  140. al-Bob,
    My dad FOUNDED the Rotary Club in my hometown.
    With a Swede.
    (how DO you spell S....?)

  141. The Jewish Virtual Library states:

    The State of Israel set up a blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2006 after the terrorist organization, Hamas, obtained control of the area. In recent months, in response to barrages of rocketfire from Gaza into Israel, sanctions and security around the area have been increased.

    Although Israel has tolerated many months of rocket attacks on their cities, international outcry from the United Nations as well as worldwide media has focused almost entirely on the Palestinian plight in Gaza, which they assume to be a result of the blockade.

    The rockets did not cause the blockade, bob, the Israels did, to make Hamas vulnerable and unable to rule Gaza effectively.
    Whether Hamas ever wanted to, or not.

  142. To Stop Weapons Smuggling By Sea

    We can agree they've fired off a lot of rockets and mortars they got from somewhere. Not all homemade.

  143. No more chicken and egg for me tonight. :)

  144. Yep, those Israelis are firing US munitions at UN buildings, in Gaza. I'll agree that is happening.

    That the Hamas folk are recieving light weapons and ineffective rockets from outside the Strip, also seems to be accurate.

    Which is why International watch dogs are going to be required. The blockades lifted.

    That will be the eventual outcome, Israel will win the military engagements, but lose the battle. As predicted a couple of weeks ago.

  145. The groups originating the letter have called on others to join them in preventing another ill-conceived push into agrofuels similar to that which last year raised food prices and hunger levels to crisis proportions.

    "The last administration's enthusiastic foray into biofuels exacerbated global environmental destruction, land theft and hunger in just a very short space of time," explains Kathy Jo Wetter of the ETC Group. "Redoubling that biofuels push is a continuation of disastrous policies rather than the change we need."

    The groups originating the letter include some of the same U.S. groups that issued a call in early 2007 for an immediate moratorium on further U.S. incentives for agrofuel development: Global Justice Ecology Project, Rainforest Action Network, Food First, Family Farm Defenders, and Grassroots International. Additional groups making this call include: ETC Group, Institute for Social Ecology, Heartwood, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, and Native Forest Council.

    Green World

  146. The EU, which has voiced growing concern over the crisis as gas stocks in Europe run low, said the summit should not be held in Moscow but on EU territory -- a view echoed by the Ukrainian leadership.

    Gas-fired central heating has been reduced or cut off for millions of Europeans in the crisis, schools have been shut down and factories closed as a huge swathe of central Europe and the Balkans struggles to cope.

    The EU depends on Russian gas via Ukraine for a fifth of its total supplies.

    Crisis Talks

  147. Hoagland on Coast to Coast tonight!

    Big finding of microbial life on Mars.

    Thu 01.15 >>
    First Hour: Various speakers, including Richard C. Hoagland will commemorate the passing of author & astronomer Tom Van Flandern.

    2nd Hour: Hoagland comments on new Mars findings.

    Got to turn in early. Night.

  148. Transport ministers from 21 countries ended their three-day meeting in Tokyo and adopted a joint declaration calling for international cooperation and technical assistance to developing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.


    The 21 participating countries are the Group of Eight countries, including Japan and the United States, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Indonesia and Thailand, as well as Australia, India and South Korea.

    Among the 21, Malaysia participated in the meeting as an observer because its senior officials were unable to attend.

    Transport Sector

  149. "As predicted a couple of weeks ago."
    Why is everything so damned easy to predict these days?

  150. Who woulda known the bigwig @ CITY would oversee CITY, or a tax-cheat would lord over the IRS?
    ...that's like Kennedy writing the education bill, or Sutton puttin Border Agents away for aprehending Drug Smugglers.

  151. The dollar fell versus the euro and gained against the yen. Gasoline prices rose seven-tenths of a cent to a national average of US$1.799 a gallon.

    After the close, Intel reported a 90% drop in fourth-quarter earnings that nonetheless met forecasts. Shares gained modestly in extended-hours trading.

    Also, Bank of America said that it will report fourth quarter and full-year 2008 earnings Friday morning.

    Late Charge

  152. Conservatives are gonna stage a late charge.

    ...Too Late.

  153. Get ready for the market to take a dive tomorrow with that BoA report coming out.

  154. On January 8 President-elect Barack Obama called for doubling the nation’s renewable energy production over the next three years. Renewable energy has been growing at 1.5% for the last two years. So Obama's plan would double the rate of growth. Shouldn't be too hard given the amount of money they'll throw at the problem and the current momentum already built up.

    Renewable energy production currently stands at just over 10% of total US energy picture. Mostly its hydro and biofuels. Less than a percent of renewable energy is solar and wind. Hydro won't do any growing in the next 3 years. Solar and wind will grow at high speed growth but they come off such a low base that in three years they'll only acount for 3% of US energy output. Where will all the growth come from?


    That may be too what's helping hold down oil prices today.

  155. ...or it could be that below twenty degree water.

  156. I'd rather finance Mat's Solar Utopia than slash and burn big Agra.

  157. The Reborning Process

    Women Carry Around Reborn Baby Dolls


    Ladies, I want your attention on this. This is from ABC news, Eyeball News in Washington, WJLA: "Many people like to stop and play with newborn babies, but now some adult women are playing house with fake babies. Some women are even going as far as taking day trips with the fake babies to the park, out to eat, and even hosting birthday parties for them. Forty-nine-year-old Linda is married with no children of her own. Now, she says she feels like a mother because she has Reborns -- dolls made to look and feel like the real thing." Reborns, with a capital R.

    Linda said, "'It's not a crazy habit, like, you know, drinking, or some sort of, something that's going to hurt you. It's like a hobby and it doesn't really hurt anybody.' These women are paying big bucks for this hobby, from $100 to a few thousand dollars. For Reborn owner Lachelle Moore, the fake babies fill a void. 'What's so wonderful about Reborns is that, um, they're forever babies,' said Moore, who has grown children and grandchildren. 'There's no college tuition, no dirty diapers... just the good part of motherhood,' she added. In her Kansas City home, Moore even has an elaborate room for the dolls. She organizes birthday parties, bakes a cake and even invites guests.

  158. It'll take about 48 hrs. for yesterday's feat on the Hudson to enter the vernacular. As in, "I pulled a Sullenberger."

  159. Goooooooooooooood morning, Bogotaaaaaaaa!!!!

    My projected high today is 64. Sunny and with a light breeze.

    Traffic is "light" as half of Norte is still gone on holiday and school doesn't begin again until the end of the month.

    The ride back from the airport didn't make me vomit and someone left me a nice bottle of Santa Rita Cabernet and a pizza in the fridge.

    One of my palm plants is officially dead and that poor dog is still out on that balcony, but under the circumstances - there being many - it's a damn fine morning.

    Welcome back from the bush, dear host. Hope you've got your woolies handy.

  160. Pritchard at the Telegraph:

    Will China lead the world into depression?
    Posted By: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at Jan 15, 2009 at 13:27:42 [General]
    Posted in: Business

    Oh no!

    Albert Edwards at Societe Generale has issued another terror alert:

    Sell everything. Hide in a bunker with plenty of whisky. The S&P 500 index of US shares is about to crash through its half-century support line to 500.

    "Technicals say it is time to bail out. Cut equity expose and prepare for rout. US depression looking likely. While China's 2009 implosion could get ugly."

    Mr Edwards -- who is of an "Austrian" persuasion, ie hates excess debt -- was one of the very few economists to see this whole crisis coming, and to issue warnings clearly and emphatically (unlike others who now claim to have been seers, but in fact hedged). He said interests rates would be slashed to zero and that bond yields would fall to the lowest in history. All this has occurred.

    The key argument is that markets have been sold a pup on the China growth miracle and have massively underestimated the risks for the global FX and trading system as this unravels.

    "The Chinese economy is imploding and this raises the possibility of regime change. To prevent this, the authorities would likely devalue the yuan. A subsequent trade war could see a re-run of the Great Depression.... Do you really trust politicians to "do the right thing"?

    Mr Edwards has been tactically bullish on equities since the end of October when the MACD (Moving Average Convergence /Divergence Oscillator) for the S&P 500 broke upwards. This technical indicator broke down again two days ago.

    He said the CBOE put/call ratio had dropped to the lowest level in a year (a contrary indicator).. Don't ask me to explain.. I am a technical dolt.

    While a "deflationary quagmire" lies in store, this will not be a repeat of Japan's Lost Decade. Fed stimulus a l'outrance points to an inflation denouement down the road (2-3 years?).. hopefully not hyper.

    He notes that China's electric power output has fallen for three months. The OECD's leading indicator for China has fallen off a cliff. Exports have collapsed across Asia.

    "We continue to emphasize our long-held view that emerging economies are particularly vulnerable to a reversal in the global liquidity pump."

    Mr Edwards said investors have a "touching faith" that China's authorities are in control of events.

    "Could the economic situation in China become so bad that it threatens the regime itself? Of course it could. But before being swept away in a tidal wave of worker unrest it has one key tool in its economic armoury it has used before. MEGA-DEVALUATION. China has a track record of such things. At the end of 1993 the authorities devalued the yuan by 33pc."

    A replay would be the surest root to a Smoot-Hawley II.

    "Amid confidence that the ongoing, massive, monetary and fiscal stimulus will prevent a repeat of the Great Depression, will it instead be competitive devaluation and implosion of world trade that we should watch out for."

    This is not my view. I believe the Chinese leadership will hold the line and behave responsibly, as they did in 1998. I wouldn't want to bet the farm that Albert Edwards is wrong.

    What do you think?

    Comments from China especially welcome.

  161. Big finding of microbial life on Mars.

    No, they found methane. There could be a non-living chemical process which produces it. NASA likes to jump the gun on this crap to justify funding for more missions.

  162. Hurry now, that light is about to illuminate the criminal acts of Team43, both the blatant and sublime.

    First, Congress should continue to pursue its document requests and subpoenas that were stonewalled under President Bush. Doing so will make clear that no executive can forever hide its misdeeds from the public.

    Second, Congress should create an independent blue-ribbon panel or similar body to investigate a host of previously unreviewable activities of the Bush administration, including its detention, interrogation and surveillance programs. Only by chronicling and confronting the past in a comprehensive, bipartisan fashion can we reclaim our moral authority and establish a credible path forward to meet the complex challenges of a post-Sept. 11 world.

    Third, the new administration should conduct an independent criminal probe into whether any laws were broken in connection with these activities. Just this week, in the pages of this newspaper, a Guantanamo Bay official acknowledged that a suspect there had been "tortured" -- her exact word -- in apparent violation of the law. The law is the law, and, if criminal conduct occurred, those responsible -- particularly those who ordered and approved the violations -- must be held accountable.

    The writer, John Conyers, a Democrat, represents Michigan's 14th District in the U.S. House and is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

    There is going to be a feeding frenzy.

  163. The housekeeper, however, seems to have gone momentarily missing.

    Guess this means no waffles.

  164. That used to be called schizophrenia, Doug.

    The Democrats are shameless. Investigate Obama, investigate passportgate.

    If the CBOE stabilizes, and the OECD don't go off a cliff, and the MACD goes positive and China doesn't devalue too much, and OPEC plays ball, and the S and P holds, we'll just make it. Except the Democrats will screw it all up.

  165. It'll be called I did a "Sully". Amazing pictures, those people standing on the wing, like animals on a tip of land in a flood.

  166. That Obama deems America — in its current configuration — a spurious venture appears to be about as controversial as believing that water is wet.

    Questioning Obama's Patriotism

  167. That airplane had two engines, right? If both engines go out, how can you control the plane without any power? I realize it'll glide for awhile, but wouldn't the controls freeze up?

  168. Trish

    I can send you Pilar, if you wish. Extra good with base boards.

  169. trish said:

    "What do you think?"

    I think there is a real risk of a race to the bottom through devaluation (achieved via printing press) led by the US. I don't think the Chinese will devalue more than the US but just continue their peg to the US dollar, so, their leadership can be construed as rational and stable as it always has been. Unrest in China...who knows what the masses will do. They significantly rebelled back around Tiananmen Square (the protest were all around the country not just at the Square) but there is a strong culture of obeying authority so I'm not sure how radical they'll rebel if things continue to be ugly. Heck, how rebellious will the mobs get in the US if this nasty stuff continues? Mat will certainly lead the charge against the evil corporations but I'm not sure many will follow.

    What do I think about the Gaza situation - bah! The Palis and Israelis made their bed and they are lying in it together, uncomfortably. The Israelis, being the smarter more advanced folk, should some day wake up to the realization that oppressing, bulldozing, evicting, and killing folk who don't do what they want them to will only dig in deeper and more stupidly resist. Then again they may not and the grisly death dance will continue to spiral on its ugly track.

  170. It's ironic you are predicting international monitors Rat. All those years where the Israelis resisted that notion and now the Israelis themselves may be keen on the idea. I wonder if they'd accept them in the West Bank as well?

  171. Answering my own question---

    Losing Power in All Engines

    The pilots don't have much choice if they lose power in all engines. They're for sure going to have to land the plane. But don't panic (and your pilots won't be panicking either). Statistically you have a very good chance of surviving such a situation.

    If a plane loses all power, it does not then fall out of the sky. Instead it becomes a very big and rather clumsy glider, but it has the same controllability as with engines, although perhaps not quite as readily as before. It can still maneuver left and right, and can also vary its rate of descent, but it no longer can go up or stay flying level.

    A plane can land without needing to use its engines. Gliders (sailplanes) do it all the time, and there is no reason why a passenger jet can not land without engine power as well.

    Modern jets don't have sufficient batteries to supply power to the plane's hydraulics and control systems in the event of engine failure. However, an air driven generator will deploy into the airstream, and the air passing through its blades will spin this generator, enabling it to create some limited emergency power.

    It is likely that the plane's cabin pressurization will also fail. This would be a gradual failure, and then you'd get to see the oxygen masks dropping down in front of you. There is ten to fifteen minutes of oxygen supply through this system, and by the time it was used up, the pilot will have smoothly glided the plane down to below 15,000 ft, at which point you'll no longer need the breathing masks.


    The economic situation is so complex nobody can figure it out. And everyone is trying to do so, to get it over on all the others. Put the stock page up on the wall and throw darts, you'll do just as well. If you miss the page, don't buy or sell any stocks at all.

  172. Bay Area Pilot Hailed As Hero
    Praise came from all corners for Danville pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III after he carefully guided a crippled US Airways jet into the frigid Hudson River Thursday. Photos

  173. John Conyers:
    One of the few that will have me defending W all over again.
    ... always sounds like he's on Dope.
    Whether or not, he's still a worthless Dope.

  174. Sure didn't sully his reputation.

  175. Thanks, gag, but she's back. In all her sunny glory.

    I wouldn't miss the waffles terribly, nor mind ironing my own blouses, cleaning my own bathrooms, or getting my own coffee. What's irreplaceable is someone who moves about the place like Eliza Doolittle just back from the ball. That's damn near priceless.

  176. Europe gas crisis prompts jokes in Russia, Ukraine

    MOSCOW (AFP) — As the prolonged energy crisis between Moscow and Kiev shows no signs of easing, jokes about a dispute that has left Europe freezing have begun making the rounds in both Russia and Ukraine.

    Telling jokes about major issues of the day is a time-honoured tradition in the region, where people relied on their "anekdoty" for good cheer in Soviet times and the humour can provide a helpful insight into popular thinking.

    Here are some jokes making the rounds on Russian and Ukrainian websites:

    -- News from March 6, 2009: Gazprom has offered to sell Ukraine gas for 3,500 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. The management of Ukraine's Naftogaz says the optimal price is 50 dollars. The talks are continuing.

    -- They say Naftogaz will lodge a complaint against Russia with the Stockholm Tribunal.

    - So will Russia be put against the wall?

    - Unlikely. Ukraine, as always, will refuse to pay for the bullet.

    -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko are roasting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on a skewer.

    Lukashenko asks: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, why are you turning the skewer so quickly? He won't be cooked well enough."

    Putin: "Hmmm. When I rotate it slowly, he steals the coal."

    -- It's New Year's Eve -- the day before the expected cutoff of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine after talks between Moscow and Kiev collapse. A Ukrainian anchorman announces:

    Dear television viewers and radio listeners! We kindly ask you to put away any heavy and cutting objects which can harm your television and radio sets: we are beginning the broadcast of the President's New Year's address to the nation.

    -- A plane carrying Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and pro-Russian opposition politician Viktor Yanukovych is flying over Ukrainian territory.

    Yushchenko: I will now drop hope for the future on all Ukrainians and will become the most respected man in the country.

    Tymoshenko: And I will drop a promise to pay each client of the savings bank an additional thousand hryvnias and will earn even more respect.

    Yanukovych: And I will throw the two of you overboard and a monument to me will be erected in my lifetime.

    -- Tymoshenko honestly warned Ukrainians that they will have a very difficult year in 2009, as well as 2010 and the next 40 years until she leads the people of Ukraine out of the crisis!



  177. "It was not clear why Sullenberger did not land at Teterboro. "
    Probly thot:
    What the Hell!
    How many chances will I ever have to land in the Hudson?

  178. -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko are roasting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on a skewer.

    Lukashenko asks: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, why are you turning the skewer so quickly? He won't be cooked well enough."

    Putin: "Hmmm. When I rotate it slowly, he steals the coal."


  179. You're right, bob. It'll be known as a "Sully."

  180. The second lifeline brings the government's total stake in Bank of America to $45 billion and makes it the bank's largest shareholder, with a stake of about 6 percent.

    But the need for fresh government support to grapple with the newly revealed losses at Merrill Lynch, the brokerage firm he snapped up in a rapid-fire arrangement at the height of the financial crisis in September, raises questions about whether the bank has gone a deal too far.

    So the boss makes a bad decision and immediately gets bailed out. This is all going too far.

    Bank of America--America's Bank

    Well, 6% America's bank.

  181. Julie Andrews nailed it, Audrey Hepburn did not. In my opinion anyway...

  182. You thought of it first, Trish.

    I wish I had a maid.

    My room's needed cleaning for weeks.