“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, February 01, 2009

The Trilion Dollar Question: Will China Keep Buying US Treasuries?

An interesting little clip, this is.

It is clever word crafting. It is a shot over the bow at the US Congress on free trade, Buy America, Chinese purchase of US securities, Chinese selling of US securities, a stable yuan (read: quit pressuring the Chinese to re-value the juan) and it is all encapsulated with a term the Chinese love to use "everyone's interests."

Speaking of everyone's interest, how about this?

It would be a very good time to approach the Chinese and suggest a joint US-Chinese development of a common jointly designed and produced nuclear power plants. By hook or crook, the Chinese have our technology plus their own. The Chinese could get their plants on line much faster than in the US and it could be made into a massive stimulus and investment program.


Chinese Cautious on Treasury Notes

Published: January 31, 2009
LONDON (Reuters) —
China’s willingness to continue buying United States Treasury securities in large numbers will depend on its need to protect the value of its foreign investments, the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, said Saturday. He also said that a stable yuan is in everyone’s interests.

“Whether we will buy more U.S. Treasury bonds, and if so by how much — we should take that decision in accordance with China’s own need and also our aim to keep the security of our foreign reserves and the value of them,” Mr. Wen said.

His enigmatic remarks, made near the end of a visit to Europe, could raise new concerns about China’s commitment to continue purchasing United States government debt.


  1. This is more than a year a half old. I'd imagine the Chinese have made even greater progress since then:

    May 22, 2007
    China's Solar-Powered City
    by Xuemei Bai

    Buildings in Rizhao, a coastal city of nearly three million on the Shandong Peninsula in northern China, have a common yet unique appearance: most rooftops and walls are covered with small panels. They are solar heat collectors.
    In Rizhao City, which means City of Sunshine in Chinese, 99 percent of households in the central districts use solar water heaters, and most traffic signals, street and park lights are powered by photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. In the suburbs and villages, more than 30 percent of households use solar water heaters, and over 6,000 households have solar cooking facilities. More than 60,000 greenhouses are heated by solar panels, reducing overhead costs for farmers in nearby areas.

    In total, the city has over a half-million square meters of solar water heating panels, the equivalent of about 0.5 megawatts of electric water heaters.

    The fact that Rizhao is a small, ordinary Chinese city with per capita incomes even lower than in most other cities in the region makes the story even more remarkable. The achievement was the result of an unusual convergence of three key factors: a government policy that encourages solar energy use and financially supports research and development, local solar panel industries that seized the opportunity and improved their products, and the strong political will of the city's leadership to adopt it.

    As is the case in industrial countries that promote solar power, the Shandong provincial government provided subsidies. Instead of funding the end users, however, the government funded the research and development activities of the solar water heater industry.

    Mayor Li Zhaoqian explained: "It is not realistic to subsidize end users as we don't have sufficient financial capacity." Instead, the provincial government invested in the industry to achieve technological breakthroughs, which increased efficiency and lowered the unit cost.

    The cost of a solar water heater was brought down to the same level as an electric one: about $190, which is about 4-5 percent of the annual income of an average household in town and about 8-10 percent of a rural household's income. Also, the panels could be simply attached to the exterior of a building. Using a solar water heater for 15 years costs about 15,000 Yuan less than running a conventional electric heater, which equates to saving $120 per year.

    A combination of regulations and public education spurred the broad adoption of solar heaters. The city mandates all new buildings to incorporate solar panels, and it oversees the construction process to ensure proper installation. To raise awareness, the city held open seminars and ran public advertising on television. Government buildings and the homes of city leaders were the first to have the panels installed. Some government bodies and businesses provided free installation for employees, although the users pay for repairs and replacement.

    After 15 years of effort, it seems the merit of using a solar heater has become common sense in Rizhao, and "you don't need to persuade people anymore to make the choice," according to Wang Shuguang, a government official.

    Widespread use of solar energy reduced the use of coal and help improve the environmental quality of Rizhao, which has consistently been listed in the top 10 cities for air quality in China. In 2006, the State Environmental Protection Agency designated Rizhao as the Environmental Protection Model City.

    Rizhao's leaders believe that an enhanced environment will in turn help the city's social, economic, and cultural development in the long run, and they see solar energy as a starting point to trigger this positive cycle. Some recent statistics show Rizhao is on track. The city is attracting a rapidly increasing amount of foreign direct investment, and according to city officials, environment is one of the key factors bringing these investors to Rizhao.

    The travel industry in the city is also booming. In the last two years, the number of visitors increased by 48 and 30 percent respectively. Since 2002, the city has successfully hosted a series of domestic and international water sports events, including the International Sailing Federation's Grade W 470 World Sailing Championship.

    The favorable environmental profile of Rizhao is changing its cultural profile as well, by attracting high-profile universities and professors to the city. Peking University, the most prestigious one in China, is building a residential complex in Rizhao, for example. More than 300 professors have bought their second or retirement homes in the city, working and living in this new complex at least part of the year. Qufu Normal University and Shandong Institute of Athletics have also chosen Rizhao for new campuses.

    Xuemei Bai is a Scientist in the Urban Systems Program for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization in Australia. This article was adapted from an article that first appeared in the recently released report State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future, and was reprinted with permission from the Worldwatch Institute.

  2. Newark, Delaware Tests Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

  3. AWEA Says 8,358 MW Wind Installed in 2008, 85,000 Employed in U.S. Wind Industry
    January 28, 2009
    Source: Clean Edge News

    The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity (enough to serve over 2 million homes), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said recently, even as it warned of an uncertain outlook for 2009 due to the continuing financial crisis.

    The massive growth in 2008 swelled the nation's total wind power generating capacity by 50% and channeled an investment of some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country today along with natural gas, AWEA added. At year's end, however, financing for new projects and orders for turbine components slowed to a trickle and layoffs began to hit the wind turbine manufacturing sector.

    "Our numbers are both exciting and sobering," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "The U.S. wind energy industry's performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo, ready to deliver on the President's call to double renewable energy production in three years. At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development. We are already seeing layoffs in the area where wind's promise is greatest for our economy: the wind power manufacturing sector. Quick action in the stimulus bill is vital to restore the industry's momentum and create jobs as we help make our country more secure and leave a more stable climate for our children."

    The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally last year, according to initial estimates, and will avoid nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking over 7 million cars off of the road.

    The amount that the industry brought online in the 4th quarter alone - 4112 MW - exceeds annual additions for every year except 2007. In all, wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now stands at 25,170 MW, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of close to 7 million households and strengthening our national energy supply with a clean, inexhaustible, homegrown source of energy.

    Iowa, with 2,790 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517MW) in wind power generating capacity. The top five states in terms of capacity installed are now:

    Texas, with 7116 MW; Iowa, with 2790 MW; California, with 2517 MW; Minnesota, with 1752 MW; Washington, with 1375 MW

    Oregon moved into the club of states with more than 1,000MW installed, which now counts seven states: Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.

    About 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, up from 50,000 a year ago, and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more. About 8,000 of these jobs are construction jobs, and a significant number of those will be lost in 2009 if financing for the pipeline of new projects is not quickly restored.

    Wind power's recent growth has also accelerated job creation in manufacturing, where the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from under 30% in 2005 to about 50% in 2008. Wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers announced, added or expanded 70 new facilities in the past two years, including over 55 in 2008 alone. Those new manufacturing facilities created 13,000 new direct jobs in 2008. However, because of the recent slowdown in orders, wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers in different parts of the country are beginning to announce layoffs.

    "The hope is that provisions such as those included in the House stimulus bill to restore the effectiveness of the tax incentives for renewable energy will quickly become law and provide the capital needed to continue to build projects," said Bode. "Because wind projects can be built quickly, positive legislation from Congress will have immediate and visible effects. Looking forward, it will also be important for the new Administration and Congress to put in place long-term, supportive renewable energy policies to make the new clean energy economy a reality."

  4. ..more than a year ^and a half old..

  5. "Everybody's lost in Davos," said Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

    "No one seems to have a clear understanding of how big this crisis is and what we need to do to get out of it." he told AP. "My own view is that you really need to do a fundamental reexamination of the whole global system to see what went wrong, and nobody here is yet ready to ask these kinds of fundamental questions in Davos."

    There was widespread agreement that there's plenty left to do, starting at the April meeting of leaders of the 20 largest economies in London.

    "Now the hard work begins," the forum's founder, Klaus Schwab, said, calling for a redesign of the global systems of banking, financial regulation and corporate governance.

    "Everybody's lost at Davos" Why am I not surprised?

    This call for the "redesign of the global systems" is scary...

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Many people were blindsided by the recent events in the economy. One columnist who has been writing about many of the sources of these problems has been Gretchen RETCHEN MORGENSON at the NY Times. Her articles have appeared on the front page of the Sunday business section for a long time now and I'm surprised many seem to not see the connection, or they write the stuff off as the 'wringing of hands'. She has been pointing out for a long time the problems in corporate governance and how management and boards are not acting in shareholders interests but rather their own. This lies at the heart of the meltdown in my view.

    Today's column details problems with the SEC and regulatory oversight and the propensity in America to savage those the naysayers. I got the experience in a small way on blogs like this one for opposing the Iraq war but that is nothing like what those out in the real world get when they threaten those making buckets of money. Any the column illustrates nicely the revolving door from corporate to regulator and the use of lawyers ect. to essentially bury problems allowing allowing some to make buckets of cash and the shareholding public to get fleeced.

    "Fair Game
    Following Clues the S.E.C. Didn’t

    Published: January 31, 2009

    TWO events occurred last week that seem unrelated. But, as often occurs in our interwoven world, connecting the dots is revealing.

    First was Linda Chatman Thomsen’s testimony last Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. Ms. Thomsen, the director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, offered her take on how the nation’s top securities cop missed the Ponzi scheme Bernard Madoff is said to have run for decades, noting how assiduously the S.E.C. chases tips it receives.

    “Without fear or favor,” she said.

    The next day, shares in Allied Capital, a business development company that invests in small to midsize concerns, plummeted almost 50 percent. Allied, whose stock was favored by small investors for its rich dividend, said it was trying to renegotiate its own loans amid the credit crisis. Dividend in danger, Allied’s stock closed at $1.56 on Friday; last September, the shares touched $16.

    The two events are linked by this: Just as the S.E.C. failed Mr. Madoff’s investors as tipsters told the agency he might be up to no good, it also seems to have let down Allied’s shareholders by ignoring analyses of aggressive accounting at the company."

  8. You've got to actually read the whole article to see the details of what I was writing of.

  9. The move towards globalization has been very destructive. Very destructive to the planet and very destructive to all participating economies. This needs to be reversed. We should be moving towards localization sustainability and environmentalism.

  10. Wal-Mart's Incoming CEO Declares "Sustainability is not Optional"

  11. I sincerely believe that one of the problems is the size of corporations and government programs. If we had many more banks loaning their own money, this never would have happened.

  12. I got the experience in a small way on blogs like this one for opposing the Iraq war

    The life of a prophet was never was easy,
    A thankless, unprofitable task.
    The folk are hard of hearing, recalcitrant,
    Lonely and hard is the life of a prophet.

    Who you rooting for in the big game today, Ash?

    I'm for the folks from Arizona myself.

    Further, the final score becomes clear in my far darting mind--Arizona 28 Pittsburg 24

  13. Exactly, Deuce.

    The size of these corporations also allows them to be anti competitive.

  14. I imagine China is tickled to death with their US Sovereign investments, inasmuch as the value of US Treasuries have soared in the last year, or so (vs everything except the Yen, anyway.)

  15. There were two wonderful ads in this Sunday's fishwrap, one right above the other, though in different categories.

    One was--Homemade Chariot For Sale--this is the first Chariot I have ever seen for sale, homemade or not. Nice looker, two wheeler, room for a driver and one bowman. Ad says made for miniature horse.

    Other ad, right below, says--Miniature Horse For Sale--Nice looker, stout, strong.

    For about $2500 I could Ben Hur up, be well positioned when the gas stations go dark, fight my way to the grocery store.

    What red blooded Swedish/American hasn't dreamed of his very own Chariot once in a while?

  16. The Chariots of the Bobs.

    Put those little sharp metal spikey things on the axels, you're untouchable.

  17. Miniature Horse?!?

    I don't want no "Miniature" Horse. I want a great big, honkin, 8 Cylinder War Horse!

  18. With an eighty kazilion-watt sound system that plays "Flight of the Valkyries."

    And a cannon that shoots Napalm.

  19. I don't see the problem being the size of corporations specifically but rather the problem lies in thinking that a corporation acts like an individual and takes the necessary measures to protect itself. This was in essence at the heart of Greenspan's mea culpa in front of congress not long ago.

    I also disagree with mats belief in the almighty benefits of being locally accountable. The patchwork quilt of urban planning is testament to the problems that can arise from slavish adherence to local control of things. Again, simply because locals have control does not necessarily imply they'll do what is good for the whole.

    Another problem I have with the opposite of globalization is the tendency for the status quo to rule. You get big established entities that fight off any competition by protecting it from outside competitors. You also can get a lot of corruption and graft arising in protected markets because efficiency and competitiveness are not the driving force in decision making but rather political and already entrenched decision makers govern the process. There certainly is a problem with the global nature of the markets of late (especially the political power wielded by the titans of corporations who are neither beholden to their shareholders or subject to decent regulatory control) and the political shouting of 'if we regulate more the business will go elsewhere' has created many problems. Ironically, with respect to financial regulation the bogey man was London - the business of derivatives ect. will move to London if we regulate it. It is Ironic because Britain is one of the worse off countries post melt down. As far as wages go, well, yeah, if folks in place A are willing to work cheaper than those in place B they've got a right to work too. Shielding the coddled auto manufacture workers from more efficient competition elsewhere is a recipe for a declining productivity overall.

  20. Bowmen, Indeed. sniff

    No imagination. No wonder the Swedes haven't won a war in five hundred years.

  21. Bobal, I haven't followed the details of the NFL this year. Just not enough time. I'm rooting for the Cardinals simply because they are the underdog. I have a feeling their luck has run out and Pittsburgh is going to crush them. If I were putting money on the contests (sans spread) I'd bet Steelers but I've got no skin in the game so "Go Arizona!

  22. In the ads here, there's always money to loan, by private individuals.

    What do you have to do to start a bank?

    In Idaho, I think, but am not sure, to create a bank, you've got to go through a lot of paper work, and, show a need. I recall that from something long ago. Don't know if it is the same now. I'd think providing competition in the money lending business would be sufficient need. So if the requirement still exists, it's probably something the existing banks slipped through our legislature. If a bank were doing business across state lines the requirements would be a lot more complex I'd imagine. But I really don't know what the situation is even here.

  23. Well, we used to be good, Rufus.

  24. You want to see localization in action just compare the Detroit Auto plants to the Globalized transplant manufacturing facilities in the South.

    Localization is idiocy. It's arguing for the middle ages.

  25. Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

    Exactly, Deuce.

    The size of these corporations also allows them to be anti competitive

    While this can be true regulation is supposed to prevent predatory capitalism (i.e. selling below the cost to produce in order to drive out a competitor in a local market). While this indeed does occur there are instances where corporations have been thwarted from engaging in this practice. Stronger unbiased enforcement of existing regulation may be sufficient to address this issue as opposed to your more radical desire to ban all multi-nationals. I have found that as a small business we are more agile and adapt quicker than large corporations. Our cost of doing business can be lower and, particularly in tough times, business can increase as folk become more cost conscious and thus shun the big corporation and their entrenched costs and lack of responsiveness.

  26. Yeah, Bob, you were downright Great. People forget.

    Still got the prettiest wimmin.

  27. You want to see localization in action just compare the Detroit Auto plants to the Globalized transplant manufacturing facilities in the South.

    The problem with Detroit has nothing to do with Localization vs Globalization, and has everything to do with decades long anti competitive practices.

  28. What the hell do you think is entailed in "localization" other than to prevent competition from those 'not local'?

  29. A powerful local industry teams up with the guild to turn out an, ever-increasingly, un-competitive product.

  30. Econbrowser:

    The Consumption Collapse Continues

    Jim covered the salient aspects of the 2008Q4 advance release in an earlier post. A few additional points: (i) exports for sure are not adding to growth, (ii) the positive contribution from decreasing imports does not augur well for future growth, and (iii) nonresidential investment has now followed residential investment with vigor. But the key point is consumption is now collapsing at a rate comparable to the 1980 recession...

    I read the art., ash. Seems rather incestuous and that's not terribly surprising. Heavily regulated (which is not to say smartly regulated) industries will always have revolving doors, intimate knowledge and experience (and the quality of your Rolodex) being valuable and transferable between the private production side and the public policy side. For good and for ill.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. What the hell do you think is entailed in "localization" other than to prevent competition from those 'not local'?

    How about Ashley going back home to Jihadistan.

  33. A powerful local industry teams up with the guild to turn out an, ever-increasingly, un-competitive product.

    That's why the whole structure and infrastructure that allows corporations access to government needs to be reworked.

  34. But the key point is consumption is now collapsing at a rate comparable to the 1980 recession...

    An article I saw the other day was making the point that the boomers are rapidly moving out of the buying age, except for stuff like Depends. And the 'echo-boomer' generation's buying power won't hit hard until 2020.

  35. I think there's something to that, Bob. I know that with the damage the crooks have done to my portfolio I'm not in a very "consuming" frame of mind.

    With the developing oil problem I think we're in for a pretty dull, and messy decade. I expect we'll start to get a handle on it around 2020.

  36. I kind of expect the next 8 years to have a Carteresque/Nixonesque feel to them.

  37. Not to mention, Fordesque. :)

  38. Speaking of the Bad War:

    From the AP ...

    Allies of Iraq's U.S.-backed prime minister appeared Sunday to have made gains in the provincial elections, rewarding groups credited with reining in insurgents and militias, according to unofficial projections.

    Initial results from Saturday's landmark voting are not expected for days. But reports by Iraqi media and interviews by The Associated Press suggest candidates backing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had strong showings in the crucial Shiite heartland in southern Iraq.

    If the indications prove true, it would strengthen al-Maliki's hand ahead of national elections later this year and reflect a shift away from the more religious parties dominating the country.

    The fly in the ointment was a relatively low voting percentage, due to the outdated (Oil for Food) ration-card system that still serves to verify eligibility, and that left an awful lot of people unable to vote, having switched Provinces since the elections of 2005.

  39. I think Obama might have been able to avert this malaise if he had come out firing for biofuels, wind, and solar; But he's Not going to. The Oil Lobby is just too strong.

    We'll make a Serious commitment to biofuels in five, or six years when it becomes obvious we have to, but in the meantime we'll muddle through a couple more oil-induced recessions.

    It's a shame, but that's just the way we roll.

  40. We certainly did our small part to spur consumption over the holidays. But we're all consumptioned out.

  41. yes trish, as much as I tout regulation it certainly isn't the magic bullet and, yes, you definitely want people to draft regulation who understand the issues involved and that'll definitely include those folk that actually have experience in the industry. I'm not that keen on regulating industry per se but rather on more over-reaching things such transparency in markets in general (i.e. regulatory filings of audited financial statements, Corporate boards being responsible and accountable to share-holders, pollution regulation, food safety). There does seem to be a problem with folks working in industry, moving to government and drafting legislation, and then moving back to the industry side - you get the foxes regulating the hens and the hens don't seem to prosper for some reason.

  42. . Even the New Dealers despaired. "We have tried spending money," Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau said to the House Ways and Means Committee in the late 1930s. "We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . I say, after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . and an enormous debt to boot."

    FDR Was A Great Leader, But His Policy Isn't The One To Follow

    Situations are always different, nothing is ever quite the same. So, what to do, what to do.

    Expecting as I do that the middle east may well blow up, all these plans may be out of date, and have to be modified before they are even implemented.

  43. Years before someone came up with the not-too-bright idea of bestowing the Nationals on Washington, D.C., George Will explained the District's established status as a Football Town: What could better suit Washington than a sport comprised of violence and committee meetings? The Redskins could lose every game from here to eternity and they'd still be one of the most successful NFL franchises.

    In Western Pennsylvania, the Steelers rival the Roman Catholic Church in devotion and God knows the GiantEagle supermarkets are full to bursting right now with men, women, and children in Steelers regalia making their chip-and-weenie runs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    To those of us who couldn't care less...well, we couldn't care less.

  44. He said moose are solitary animals that could be more vulnerable to wolf predation. There is a smaller overall population of moose compared to elk and deer, so they would show signs of increased predation faster.

    G-damn the wolves, the Feds, the Sierra Club and the Courts.

    Big Salmon Run Predicted By Idaho Fish and Game(more pickup trucks than employees)

    This, actually, is pathetic. BD--before dams--they used to return by the millions. But, until we build some nuclear power stations and tear out the dams, there is nothing to be done about it, other than to waste more money studying the problem.

    Last year, the Upper Salmon River between Challis and Stanley got its first salmon season in 30 years, and anglers got a fall chinook season for the first time in about 30 years.

    Redfish Lake was called that because it turned red from all the spawning fish.


    In Western Pennsylvania, the Steelers rival the Roman Catholic Church in devotion

    In truth, probably exceeds the Church in devotion:)

    men, women, and children in Steelers regalia making their chip-and-weenie runs.

    Which is exactly what I have to do. Head to the grocery store in the ol' chariot. later

  45. So long as Government wants a say in Business, ash, Business wants a say in Government.

  46. China blames pollution as birth defects rise: state media

  47. yep, and well they should. When the lines between business and government become so blurred as they appear to be now,well, there is a problem. Conflict of interest maybe?

  48. An article I saw the other day was making the point that the boomers are rapidly moving out of the buying age, except for stuff like Depends.

    Au contraire, Bobbo. Many are regaining interest in the expanding product line of Trojan due to the untiring efforts of suppliers like Phizer.

  49. When the lines between business and government become so blurred as they appear to be now,well, there is a problem. Conflict of interest maybe?

    Sun Feb 01, 03:20:00 PM EST

    Sometimes it's not so much the blurring of the lines as the personal penchant of a given regulatory head, quite apart from any concrete conflict. One of the last guys to warm the chair at FDIC instituted "drive-by" audits, his professional opinion being that anything more is far too costly a burden on both the regulator and the regulated.

  50. We'll make a Serious commitment to biofuels in five, or six years when it becomes obvious we have to, but in the meantime we'll muddle through a couple more oil-induced recessions.

    It's a shame, but that's just the way we roll.

    Meanwhile, the silent masses who survive freezing winters and famine thanks to the contribution of oil availability continue to plod along, victims of a system that awards tax shelters and regulatory advantage to ill-proven alternatives based on popularity contests.

    Drill here. Drill now.

  51. Drill here. Drill now.


    More cars? More highways? More pollution? More dead streets and towns? More environmental terrorism? More dependence on oil? More fake wars? More bloated military spending?

  52. Yeah. I wouldn't either, Linear.

  53. "The Trillion Dollar Question: Will China Keep Buying US Treasuries?"

    A long answer: Yes

  54. Doug,

    This tiny island is damn near the size of the motherland. I'm in Adelaide. We're caught up in a heatwave that's been going on for 6 days now. Last Wednesday was the hottest peaking at 114'. 3rd hottest day on record. Supposed to be 102' today.

  55. So now you know first hand, sam, the importance of air conditioning and refrigeration.

  56. No doubt. Be pretty tough going without those 2 things. Not sure how people managed way back when without.

    Tough hombres.

  57. Pittsburg will probably win, but they don't deserve to, after kicking a field goal on fourth down from the 1 yard line. This is supposed to be the Super Bowl.

  58. I hear news of a big oil find out by Alice Springs, Sam.

  59. That was the fastest quarter I've ever listened to in my life.

  60. Didn't hear about the oil deposit, Bob. Thanks. I've got the plasma in the office here tuned in to the game. Here's some more on the deposit.

  61. Rescuers combed a tanker crash site in Kenya on Sunday where around 100 people were killed when oil they were scrabbling for caught fire in one of the east African nation's worst accidents of recent times.


    "Some people have to sleep on the floor, despite their serious injuries. But we are going to airlift the most critical to Nairobi to decongest the hospitals."


    Local media have been berating the government for poor safety standards and inadequate disaster preparedness. Kenya has a poor road safety record, with major accidents and multiple deaths common on its main thoroughfares.

    100 Killed

  62. jeeze, what a play....100 yard runback, they don't get any longer than that....

  63. Seems to be 1/2 hour delayed here.

  64. The world's biggest gathering of leftist activists ended on Sunday, after six days of discussions and protests that participants said showed there was an alternative to a crumbling global capitalist system.


    Natanael Karaja, a 26-year-old from Brazil's Karaja Indian tribe wearing a striking headdress and body paint, was drinking Coca-Cola and being interviewed by MTV.

    "This forum was very important because it is a place where every citizen is respected," he said. "In Brazil, politicians, businessmen and farmers have not respected the rights of Indians guaranteed in the constitution of 1988."

    Capitalism Seen Dying

  65. And?

    More cars? More highways? More pollution? More dead streets and towns? More environmental terrorism? More dependence on oil? More fake wars? More bloated military spending?

    Not at all, mat.

    Unless the dead streets and towns are owing to economic collapse, anarchy, and starvation.

    More environmental terrorism? We're enduring plenty of terrorism from you environmentalists right now.

    More dependence on oil? You're already maxed out on oil dependence. You just need to realize oil (and coal) is what will enable you to survive until the transition. The more you distort the reality of the situation, the longer that will take.

  66. Natanael Karaja, a 26-year-old from Brazil's Karaja Indian tribe wearing a striking headdress and body paint, was drinking Coca-Cola and being interviewed by MTV

    Coca-Cola and MTV :):)

    Well Long Live Brazilian shamanism!

    Long Live Natanael (Nathanael is a male given name that means "gift of God"-from Hebrew natan "-he- have given" + el "God") Karaja, he of the cognate Jewish name.

    I'm afraid globalization has already come to Nat the Shaman, and in the long run there's not much he can do about it, other than strike poses on TV.
    MTV, to boot. And maybe get paid for it.

  67. More environmental terrorism? We're enduring plenty of terrorism from you environmentalists right now.

    You don't even have an idea, do you? You are so ignorant, and so proud of your ignorance, that I actually feel embarrassed for you.

  68. For the willfully ignorant:

  69. jeeze, heck of a game, Arizona ahead, and now Steelers again.

  70. and mattie, true to form, when bested in the forum of ideas resorts to name calling. Typical.

  71. The Colombian government has recently stepped up pressure on the rebels, offering rewards to the guerrillas if they surrender and free their hostages. Earlier this month, two guerrillas fled their camp deep in the jungles of southern Colombia, bringing along two kidnap victims -- a 14-year-old boy and a male adult who were kidnapped in December.


    Although the government says FARC's military force has been severely compromised in recent months, authorities still accuse it of trafficking huge quantities of cocaine to finance its decades-old insurgency.

    Security analysts say FARC has about 9,000 to 12,000 armed guerrillas and several thousand supporters, mostly in rural areas.

    Colombian Hostages

  72. and mattie, true to form, when bested in the forum of ideas resorts to name calling. Typical.

    You god damn Jihadist sock puppet, did you even read the link I've posted?

  73. Meanwhile, the Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory raised the eruption alert level for Sakurajima in Kagoshima from 2 to 3 on Monday after several minor explosive eruptions were observed from Sunday morning to Monday at one of its craters.

    The tiny eruptions caused ash deposits to scatter as far as the volcano's fifth station, located between 500 and 800 meters from the crater, according to the observatory.

    The observatory warned of a possible increase in Sakurajima's volcanic activities as well as the possibility that large ash deposits or pyroclastic flow could reach areas of about 2 km in radius from the crater.

    Ash Deposits

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  75. Obama To Keep Renditions

    hehehe, gotta kind of laugh at this. Since we're closing Gitmo, maybe we'll use renditions more rather than less, leading to more torture of the real kind rather than less.

  76. The 52.3 mpg 2009 Toyota Aygo

  77. "Although the government says FARC's military force has been severely compromised in recent months..."

    That's one way of putting it.

    "Tipping point" is a phrase that came in for much scorn during the Bad Days of the Bad War, but here it applies. And what do you do when you reach that point?

    Make sure there's a long drop on the other side of them. And push.

  78. The defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in an interview with the newspaper The Island on Sunday, singled out CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera. “They will be chased away,” Mr. Rajapaksa was quoted as saying.

    He made his comments amid intensifying fighting between Sri Lankan forces and the rebels. The fighting has raised alarm about the fate of civilians trapped in a fast-shrinking zone still controlled by the Tamil Tigers near the island’s northeastern coast.

    It is impossible to know what is happening behind the front line because the government bars journalists from traveling to the war zone, except on guided tours of areas seized by the army.

    Journalists Chased Away

  79. Sometimes, bob, the inclination is to do the opposite (understandable but severely mistaken) and encouragement is needed to bring a long effort to its conclusion.

    Hopefully, Colombia receives that encouragement.

  80. Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

    AWEA Says 8,358 MW Wind Installed in 2008, 85,000 Employed in U.S. Wind Industry

    Same news release appeared in the local paper this morning with a different editorial slant:

    Power Play

    Wind Energy Groups Eye Aid--Industry Growth Slows With Economy in Tank

    Wind power advocates are pushing for billions in tax incentives and grants in the $819 billion recovery package moving through Congress, hoping to offset an economic slowdown affecting the industry.

    Rent seeking pigs are lining up at the public trough.

    Without this grant program or something very much like it, we're looking at a very difficult year in 2009 and maybe 2010 as well," said Greg Wetstone, senior director for government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association.

    A very difficult year, or two, because the private money is getting scarce, and lenders are looking at things like feasibility and return on investment.

    "With the banks and insurance companies (insurance companies? ed.) backing away from or out of this investment in wind market, that has really put a damper on wind," said Bob Gates, an executive with Clipper Windpower, Inc. "It's gone flip-flop within months."

    So, in the absence of real investment capital the industry lines up with hands extended for public funding in the form of tax credits, outright grants, and favorable marketing regulations.

    Watch them squirm when the bogus carbon credit trades dry up as the public decides these scams are no longer a luxury to be afforded.

  81. Yes, it's all a scam, LT. G'nite.

  82. And on that happy and congenial parting, I'll end my day too, with an old paleolithic prayer for us all(at least us men)--

    O WakanTonka, great Spirit of All, I am but a poor man. I want to kill an enemy, like the braves, give me strength. I want to kill many buffalo, like the great hunters, make my arrows straight. I want an agreeable woman, give me strength and many buffalo to impress her. I want a teepee of our own, and children. I have given you these joints of my left hand, give me my desires, O WakanTonka!

    (I stole this prayer from a book)

  83. Good Night, friend.

    That's 'Comrade Tavarish,' to you!