“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."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Enjoying Himself


  1. Many a night, when not falling asleep, i go to youtube and look for a twenty minute talk by someone who interests me. There are less than ten people who fit the profile. Hitchens was my favorite. I followed him for a long time.

    Hitchens shocked people because he was direct and honest. His opinion was often brutal to the ear but rarely unfair. If you asked him what he thought, he told you. I was not always in sync with his politics but always in awe of his intellect, wit and his going for the gusto in life. He had his fun. He paid his price. He is gone. Too bad that. I honestly do not know who I will replace him with.

  2. How about Quirk?

    He does that "dick" thing fairly well. :)

  3. The guy was as shallow as a water puddle on pavement regarding the things that count, and he drank way way too much.

    I hope he rests in activity, not peace.


  4. What kind of activity would that be, anon?

  5. "Burton was a delegate to the California State Democratic convention from 1968 to 1982. He was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and 1972.

    At the 1968 convention, he was a part of the delegation pledged to Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated after winning the California Democratic Primary in June.

    In 1973, Burton allowed a bill to go to the floor without a "closed rule"- a stipulation that there could be no amendments proposed to it- for the first time since the 1920s.[1]

    The ending of the closed rule created an infusion of federal lobbyists at the Capitol building; the lobbyists targeted members of Congress to add funding for lobbyists' favorite projects into bills.[1]

    For this reason, David Frum wrote that Burton "created the modern Congress" more than anyone else."[1]

    We saw Phil in '68 speaking for Clean Gene McCarthy prior to switching to Bobby.

    His brother John, born in 1932, is still Chairman of the California Democratic Party!

  6. Semprius to Produce Dot-Sized, Low Cost-High Efficiency Solar CPV Cells, Modules at NC Plan

    The venture capital investment further illustrates how federal government investment, scientific and technological research, development and support is being leverage by private sector companies.

    The DOE has invested $50 million in 35 solar start-ups participating in the SunShot Incubator Program. Private investment in these companies now totals more than $1.3 billion, a 25:1 multiple.

    Source: Clean Technica (

  7. Today more innocents die at the hands of released murderers than are innocents wrongly executed.

  8. Hitchens is a creationist. Now.

  9. China bans Muslim headbags, burqas, and beards. Where's the liberal outrage?

  10. Steyn and Hitchens both have British accents:

    I hear every word Steyn utters.

    Hitch, I strain to guess what he's talking about.

  11. WWII vets marveled at Caterpillar Tractors being dumped into the seas.

    Small potatoes compared to the M-1's left to the Iraqis tender mercies.

  12. Potatoes and Internets
    GOP Gifts to Arsociety.

  13. Obama 'demanded law apply to U.S. citizens'...

    As Levin said last week, it was the White House itself that demanded Section 1031 apply to American citizens.

    “The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved…and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section,” said Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

    Senator McCain also told Rand Paul during a hearing on the bill that American citizens could be declared an enemy combatant, sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely, “no matter who they are.”

  14. ""“It was the administration that asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee…we removed it at the request of the administration,” said Levin, emphasizing,

    “It was the administration which asked us to remove the very language the absence of which is now objected to.

    The Obama administration never had a problem with Section 1031 of the bill and indeed acted to ensure it applied to American citizens. Doubts over whether or not Obama would veto the bill only arose out of issues with Section 1032, which pertains to the military being required to take custody of individuals.

    “Confusingly, Obama threatened a veto for 1032, but NOT 1031. 1032 is UNRELATED to imprisoning citizens without a trial. Obama has never suggested using a veto to stop Section 1031 citizen imprisonment,” writes Wood.

  15. "Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

    ― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

    I believe Mr. Hitchens has been granted his wish.

    "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." --Jesus

  16. "Mr. Paul identifies himself as a believer in “Austrian” economics — a doctrine that it goes without saying rejects John Maynard Keynes but is almost equally vehement in rejecting the ideas of Milton Friedman. For Austrians see “fiat money,” money that is just printed without being backed by gold, as the root of all economic evil, which means that they fiercely oppose the kind of monetary expansion Friedman claimed could have prevented the Great Depression — and which was actually carried out by Ben Bernanke this time around.

    O.K., a brief digression: the Federal Reserve doesn’t actually print money (the Treasury does that). But the Fed does control the “monetary base,” the sum of bank reserves and currency in circulation. So when people talk about Mr. Bernanke printing money, what they really mean is that the Fed expanded the monetary base.

    And there has, indeed, been a huge expansion of the monetary base. After Lehman Brothers fell, the Fed began lending large sums to banks as well as buying a wide range of other assets, in a (successful) attempt to stabilize financial markets, in the process adding large amounts to bank reserves. In the fall of 2010, the Fed began another round of purchases, in a less successful attempt to boost economic growth. The combined effect of these actions was that the monetary base more than tripled in size.

    Austrians, and for that matter many right-leaning economists, were sure about what would happen as a result: There would be devastating inflation. One popular Austrian commentator who has advised Mr. Paul, Peter Schiff, even warned (on Glenn Beck’s TV show) of the possibility of Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation in the near future.

    So here we are, three years later. How’s it going? Inflation has fluctuated, but, at the end of the day, consumer prices have risen just 4.5 percent, meaning an average annual inflation rate of only 1.5 percent. Who could have predicted that printing so much money would cause so little inflation? Well, I could. And did. And so did others who understood the Keynesian economics Mr. Paul reviles. But Mr. Paul’s supporters continue to claim, somehow, that he has been right about everything.

    Still, while the original proponents of the doctrine won’t ever admit that they were wrong — my experience is that nobody in the political world ever admits to having been wrong about anything — you might think that having been so completely off-base about something so central to their belief system would have caused the Austrians to lose popularity, even within the G.O.P. After all, as recently as the Bush years, many Republicans were all for printing money when the economy slumps. “Aggressive monetary policy can reduce the depth of a recession,” declared the 2004 Economic Report of the President.

    What has happened instead, however, is that hard-money doctrine and paranoia about inflation have taken over the party, even as the predicted inflation keeps failing to materialize. For example, in February, Representative Paul Ryan, who is somewhat inexplicably regarded as the party’s deep thinker on matters economic, harangued Mr. Bernanke on how terrible it is to “debase” a currency and pointed to a rise in commodity prices in late 2010 and early 2011 as evidence that inflation was finally coming. Commodity prices have plunged since then, but there is no sign that Mr. Ryan or anyone else is having second thoughts.

    Now, it’s still very unlikely that Ron Paul will become president. But, as I said, his economic doctrine has, in effect, become the official G.O.P. line, despite having been proved utterly wrong by events. And what will happen if that doctrine actually ends up being put into action? Great Depression, here we come. "

  17. I want nothing more.

    This guy is already "dead".


  18. The poets say Jesus could cure anything except a lack of desire.

    I want nothing more.

    Neither does an unenspirited lump of clay.


  19. .

    Steyn and Hitchens.

    I used to agree with most that they wrote.

    Not as much anymore.

    Steyn is consistent but Hitchens was an original.


  20. Dirty white boys, self identifying themselves as Christians.

    Soldiers of Christ.

    Police investigating a Mississippi home invasion have broken up what they say is a paramilitary group that trained its members in "hand to hand combat skills, paramilitary training and scriptures."

    Officers with the Gautier Police department were already familiar with the self-styled vigilante group, dubbed "The Savior Unit"
    Minutes after receiving the alert, police apprehended the group's alleged "commander," 32-year-old Michael Shaun Schaffran, and its "captain," 18-year-old Cody Jacob Rogers. The pair are accused of kicking in the door of a residence while wearing bullet-proof vests and military clothing, dragging out three victims including a 70-year-old man, and assaulting them ...

    Shaffran and Rogers were each hit with three charges of kidnapping and burglary of an occupied residence.

    Home Invasion Suspects Are Part Of 'The Savior Unit,' Mississippi Paramilitary Group

  21. They obviously wanted something, more.

  22. For a meaningful meditation on kicking the bucket see As I Lay Dying by John Richard Neuhaus


  23. I never paid a Lot of attention to Hitchens. Of what I did, I don't remember anything particularly "earthshakingly brilliant."

    He was a natural for "stand-up."

    Thinking about it, he might have definitely made my top ten list of people to "check out" over a beer.

    The CPI fell a tenth of a point last month, and moved 0.0% this month.

  24. The SEC files civil complaints, but where are the criminal charges for fraud?

    NEW YORK—The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued the former chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, accusing them of misleading investors about risks of subprime-mortgage loans.

    The lawsuits, filed in Manhattan federal court, also accused four other former executives at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae of making false and misleading statements about the firms' exposure.

    SEC Sues Former Fannie, Freddie Executives

  25. Year over Year inflation is up 3.4%, and less food and energy prices are up 2.2%.

    Hard to have runaway inflation with China dropping slave-labor produced products onto your market holding down both prices, and wages.

  26. Bachmann won another debate.

    While everyone was asleep.


  27. The Austrians describe perfectly how to run a utopian, model economy where no one dies of starvation, and disease waiting for the supposedly inevitable final results (and, where laws are enforced, and corruption doesn't exist.)

    Keynes, however, tells you how to run a Real economy, in a country populated by Real people.

  28. While one half of the residents of the United States are now in the "Low Income" category.


    Stay the Course!

    Of course one could always support Mr Romney, who is "Obama White".

    Oh ...

    ... that should be "Obama Lite".

    Mea Culpa.

  29. "twas The Siren Song of Callista, Newt's Latest Humpette, That Is Responsible For His 'Conversion'

    'twas well timed too, just in time for a run for President.

    Have you ever noticed how conversions often take place, but not always, after arrests and convictions, or before great opportunities?


  30. PHOENIX -- The U.S. Department of Justice has determined the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has been racially profiling and discriminating against Hispanics. It also found a pattern of retaliation against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's critics.

    Outgoing Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon was one of those and he wrote the initial letter asking the DOJ to investigate.

    “Those findings from the Justice Department are really beyond even what I thought was going on,” Gordon said of the report.
    It was Gordon who wrote the formal letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, asking for an investigation into civil rights violations.

    “While he'll argue this is a political agenda,” he said of Arpaio, "this started under President Bush.”

    Gordon says after more than three years and dozens of raids, he is glad the DOJ is taking a serious look at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, even though he often wondered if it would lead to anything.

    “There is no glee in what I’m saying because so many people have suffered,” he said. “If I was the sheriff I would be worried on the criminal side too.”

  31. Family members of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry marked the first anniversary of his death Thursday by calling for criminal prosecution of federal authorities responsible for allowing hundreds of firearms to get into the hands of trafficking organizations.

    Terry, a member of the Border Patrol's elite tactical squad, was killed last Dec. 15 in a remote canyon near Nogales during a shootout with border bandits.

    Two AK-47 rifles found at the murder scene were traced back to Operation Fast and Furious, a controversial gun-trafficking case in which hundreds of weapons were allowed to "walk" into the hands of criminals and across the border.

    Read More

  32. There is no more chance that Federals will be indicted for their criminal behavior in "Fast and Furious" than the Fraudie and Fannie managers will be indicted for their frauds, tampoco.

  33. In a statement released through attorney Pat McGroder, the family said it was "incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian's murder.

    "We now believe that, if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable."

    McGroder said that his law firm represents the Terry family as victims in criminal cases linked to the gun-trafficking saga and that it may file a lawsuit against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

  34. Christopher Hitchens

    Christopher Hitchens has died from cancer. All there is to say about his life, Hitchens has already said himself.

    His facility at expression was such that it is presumptuous to try and add to his account.

    Nevertheless, he would probably appreciate being remembered by those who knew him; and I did slightly. Even the most modest of people like to think the world has shifted, even ever so slightly, because they lived, spoke and wrote.

    And Hitchens lived, and spoke and wrote.

    We might quarrel about the extent to which he or anyone has made a difference. But in one matter we are agreed; and he will surely pass over any differences if I raise a glass in his memory.

    As he explained to an Arab waiter once in Beirut about the virtues of whiskey, “all you have to do is pour it. My problem is to drink it.”

    Perhaps he was talking about life as much as Johnny Walker. So for those who are so inclined, please raise a glass of whatever you please, and down one for Christopher Hitchens.

    Well alright, Christopher. One is not enough. Maybe two is better.

  35. This is what I'm talking about. These people put 102 Kilowatts of Solar on a Car Dealership in 4 Hrs

    Don't get caught in 20th Century thinking.

  36. T:

    Do the unmarried children of God get to fuck?

    Living in sin in Heaven?

  37. I'll show that to our kid, Rufus:

    He's getting jacked around so much he's about to miss the December deadline to save 9 grand in taxes.

  38. If he does he needs to cancel even if it means taking the bastards to court, Doug.

    Prices are going to drop like a rock over the next couple of years (way more than 30%.)

  39. You probably have the same problem that L.A., and Newark have: ie. Humungous amounts of permits, and red tape. Of course, this is, basically, your utility at work behind the scenes.

  40. Doug, I'd have to look back, but I'm fairly sure that any job that is "Started" before midnight, Dec 31 will qualify for the tax credit/grant.

    An old Home Improvement trick is to "Spike" the job. In this case it would be to go out on the afternoon of the last day of Dec and install "One" piece of hardware "Somewhere" on, or in the house.

  41. They're easing up on SOME restrictions here.

    His problem is that his friend/sometimes partner is so busy with bigger jobs that the kid's house has been "delayed".

  42. wrt inflation:

    As 'Rat and I have pointed out several times, the money printing has been more than balanced by value liquidation.

    (forget the more common term)

  43. Fucking is different in heaven, Doug, than we are used to here below. It's not a high pompous priest entering by a low, damp, moist secret hidden place, but a total comingling head to toe, face to face.

    This, according to one of them pesky poets, William Blake.

    Billy B, to those of us who love the guy.


  44. Only a poet would expect a full body orgasm!

  45. that "value liquidation" you refer to Doug is what Krugman is talking about when he references the price of commodities.

  46. Which is of course an attempt to express the inexpressible by Billy B, who could write, and leaves us with something to look forward to, whereas the Hitch could scribble, and would leave us in despair, longing. And with the faux bravery of I didn't want nothin' anyways.


  47. Poets are, wo exception, self-absorbed dicks.

  48. Norman Cousin in his book Head First writes, "Consider the story of the two octogenarians on a park bench. One asked the other:
    "Do you believe in reincarnation?"
    "Well, Joe," replies Harry, "I've never really thought much about it."
    "Maybe we ought to start thinking about it," says Joe. "One of us is going to go first. Let's agree that the one who is left behind will come to this park bench every Wednesday at 11:00 A.M. and the one who has departed will find a way of getting a message to him at that time about reincarnation and all those other things that are beyond our ken."
    Harry agrees. One month later Joe dies peacefully in his sleep. Every week for several months Harry takes up his station at the park bench at 11:00 A.M. Then one Wednesday at the appointed hour, he hears a voice, as from afar.
    "Harry, Harry, can you hear me?" The voice says. "It's Joe."
    "Joe, for heaven's sake, what is it like?"
    "You wouldn't believe it, Harry, about the only thing you do up here is make love. They wake you up at 7:00 in the morning and you make love until noon. After lunch and a nap you're at it again right though until dinnertime."
    "Good Lord, Joe, what are you and where are you?"
    "I'm a rabbit in Montana!"

  49. Germany Leads the World

    And the U.S. is ‘the sick man of the West.’

    "...And perhaps the most irritating development in this sequence is the presence of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hopscotching across Europe, urging his hosts to replicate the American model of simply debasing the currency. The dollar and the Euro, according to the U.S. government, should regress to drachmas, lire, and pesetas together. The Europeans, for all their addled fables about Eurointegration and a conscientious paradise of social-democratic states (so admired by President Obama), have, under Germany’s iron leadership, maintained a strong and hard currency. American agitation to dilute it is disgraceful; bad advice in itself, annoyingly advanced by people in no position to counsel anyone on monetary and fiscal management. (A reliable currency was, along with national defense and an indissoluble Union, one of the reasons given by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin for convening the Constitutional Convention in 1787; this administration is in violation of that national raison d’ĂȘtre.)

    I continue to adhere to my prediction of last week, that Germany will agree to attach life-support systems to the Eurocountries that need them only when the reforms necessary for economic growth and deficit reduction have been adopted. France, which is not a basket case and merely needs access to backup for its mismanaged banking sector, can easily be accommodated.

    There is some parallel between the evolution of Franco-German and Anglo-American relations. The 19th-century British and postwar French started as senior partners, but as strategic facts changed and asserted themselves (U.S. growth and German reunification), the roles shifted. And instead of conducting a tutorial in world affairs for the junior partner, the French opposite the Germans, like the British with a risen America, now consider and represent their greatest strategic strength to be their special intimacy with their former sidekick. As financier and politician Sir James Goldsmith put it in 1996, “France thought it could ride the German stallion, but will discover that it is only the stable boy.”

    The wild card in this process is: Whither Britain? If their economies were measured in the same currency, Britain would pass France as the world’s fifth economy (after the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany). It could go back to leading a Euro outer tier, with Norway, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, and could also do something with the leading Commonwealth countries (which it shabbily deserted in its initial Euroenthusiasm), especially Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, and Singapore. It is not obvious that any relevant party possesses the imagination to pick up these pieces and connect them. But maintaining independent currencies in a cooperative bloc totaling a joint GDP of over $6 trillion — and enjoying free-trade arrangements with the EU and the North American Free Trade area, without the absurd overregulation of the Euro-nanny — has an appeal and a logic.

    There has been almost no such imaginative statesmanship in the Western world in recent years, unless, as I suspect, Chancellor Merkel is advancing stealthily but sure-footedly to remake Europe in the competitive image of her country, in fulfillment of former chancellor Helmut Kohl’s lapidary pledge and vision of “a European Germany and not a German Europe.” In Europe, something useful is happening. In policy terms, unfortunately, the United States is the sick man of the West."

  50. Rufus II said...

    Poets are, wo exception, self-absorbed dicks.

    Fri Dec 16, 02:17:00 PM EST

    Shakespeare? A self absorbed dick?


    You best stick with ethanol, where you can be wrong, as you often are, but in a way that nobody knows you are wrong.


  51. The main value that has been liquidated in the U.S. is home value. Home prices, the last I noticed, had dropped more than in the The Great Depression (over 31%.)

    There just isn't any way, in our system, that you can have runaway inflation when home prices are dropping like that.

  52. "Those that walk without sympathy walk to their own funeral dressed in their own shroud."

    Line by our self absorbed national poet, Walt Whitman.

    Honest to G-d Rufus, sometimes you take the cake.

    Time to exercise the hip at the Mall. I hate this time of day.....


  53. Ash,

    Commodities pale when compared to some "financial instruments," corporations, govt pension plans, and real estate.

  54. With regards to Europeons and their currency values, doug, German policy, it has crippled them.

    They have lost a sizable portion of their global share, of GDP, to the Chinese, while the US has not.

    China's gain has been Europe's loss, due mainly to EU monetary policies.

    Certainly not accountable to either "Central Planning" nor "Socialism", both of which the Chinese embrace, tightly.

  55. The Euros have, unwittingly, created the same conditions (in Europe) that led to the Great Depression.

    The 1920's were just a long struggle between the major countries to adjust their currencies in relation to one another (beggar thy neighbor.)

    Even when they got scared, and quit trying to bugger each other, and tried to ward off the depression, they found that their mechanisms were just to slow, and ineffective.

    Europe has killed itself with the Euro. The weaker countries' currencies aren't able to weaken, and adjust to conditions.

  56. Phoenix real estate values have dropped about 45%, since 2007.

    Not an inflationary environment.

    Not at all.

  57. The Hundred Years’ German War

    Germany’s dominance was won by national character, not arms or handouts.

    "...Where does all this lead? Right now to some great unknowns that terrify most of Europe. Will German industriousness and talent eventually translate into military dominance and cultural chauvinism — as it has in the past? How, exactly, can an unraveling EU, or a NATO now “led from behind” by a disengaged United States, persuade Germany not to translate its overwhelming economic clout into political and military advantage?

    Can poor European adolescents really obey their rich German parents? Berlin in essence has now scolded southern Europeans that if they still expect sophisticated medical care, high-tech appurtenances, and plentiful consumer goods — the adornments of a rich American and northern-European lifestyle — then they have to start behaving in the manner of Germans, who produce such things and subsidize them for others.

    In other words, an Athenian may still have his ultra-modern airport and subway, a Spaniard may still get a hip replacement, and a Roman may still enjoy his new Mercedes. But not if they still insist on daily siestas, dinner at 9 p.m., retirement in their early 50s, cheating on taxes, and a de facto 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. workday.

    Behind all the EU’s eleventh-hour gobbledygook, Germany’s new European order is clear: If you wish to live like a German, then you must work and save like a German. Take it or leave it."


  58. Rat said...

    "They have lost a sizable portion of their global share, of GDP, to the Chinese, while the US has not."

    The US has not?

    Can you link to evidence of that?

  59. VDH is a nazi dick.

    This will all end up backfiring on the Germans, also. They have benefitted greatly from a Euro that is priced probably 30 to 35% lower than their own Deutschmark would be.

    When the Euro implodes they won't be flitting around the globe sporting a $1.35 Euro; they'll be lugging a $2.00 Douschemark.

  60. He's linked to it a dozen times, Doug. The increasing share of Global GDP claimed by the Chinese has come, almost exclusively out of the Eurozone's ass.

    We dropped maybe 1 or 2%. The rest is on the Euros.

  61. It's funny how the "Rs" concentrate so mightily on a rather poor economist (uncle miltie,) and overlook the one place where he was Spectacularly correct - floating currencies.

  62. It turns out that, with our free trade agreements, and floating currency, the U.S. is NOT the sick man of the West. We're, actually, looking pretty damned good.

  63. Now, if we'd just do something about our inane Corporate Tax policy we might just get flooded with investment dollars.

    Remember, Europe, Not the U.S. is China's biggest export market. This coming Europe recession is already starting to impact the Chinese pretty hard.

  64. Germany may shine, when compared to Greece, but on the global stage, not so much.

    Historically, from 1992 until 2011, Germany's average annual GDP Growth was 1.31 percent reaching an historical high of 5.20 percent in March of 2011 and a record low of -6.80 percent in June of 2009.

    While the entirety of EU is in decline, due in great part to the monetary policies forced upon the EU, by Germany.

    The chart above shows the annual shares of real world GDP for four geographical regions (European Union 15, Asia/Oceania, Latin America and the combined share of Africa and the Middle East) compared to the U.S. share of world GDP between 1969 and 2009 (data here).

    What might be surprising is that the U.S. share of world GDP has been relatively constant for the last 40 years, and is actually slightly higher in 2009 (26.7%) that it was in 1975 (26.3%).
    It's also interesting that the EU15's share of world GDP has declined from about 36% of world output in 1969 to only 27% in 2009.

  65. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens ...
    ... said U.S. banks are well ahead of their European counterparts “in cleaning up their problems,” and “markets are still waiting for more complete information about the state of balance sheets in Europe.” The problems for Asian banks “are more likely to be those of exuberance,” he said.

  66. I thought that with Europe's more efficient cars, electrified rail, and, already high fuel price, as a result of stratospheric fuel taxes they would be more resilient to peak oil than the Americans. Boy, was I wrong.

    It turns out that they were, literally, the camel waiting for the very last straw, while, we have been able to start picking some very low-hanging fruit.

    Our people are buying more fuel efficient autos, and have substituted ethanol for 10% of our gasoline. The Euros have pretty much kept our ethanol out of their market through regulations, and tariffs. Great for Total (the oil company,) but bad for the citizens.

  67. Carpe Diem
    U.S. Share of World GDP Remarkably Constant

  68. Keep in mind, Doug, that, although Germany is a major exporter, their GDP per Capita numbers aren't particularly impressive, and they are a VERY Socialist country.

  69. In the last five years, German unemployment has declined from 9.6 to 5.5 percent.

    "By purposeful self-help, Germany now has an economy in which almost half of GDP is in exports, and most of that in very high quality engineered products, the fruit of the enviably diligent and capable German professional and executive elites and work force. In the last five years, German unemployment has declined from 9.6 to 5.5 percent. In today’s world economy, Germany, amazingly, now plays the strongest hand of any country, including China, which is slowing and stumbling with one leg stubbornly mired in the Third World of millennia of backwardness compounded by remnants of the Communist command economy.

  70. Germany has had an average of 1.31% annual GDP growth since 1992.

    from 1992 until 2011, Germany's average annual GDP Growth was 1.31 percent

    While the Heritage Foundation tells the whirled ...

    Since 1970, GDP growth has averaged 3.16 percent per year, after inflation.

    Don't look to Germany for solutions to US challenges.

    They're stuck in the mire.

  71. Germany is doing reasonably well, but only when compared to the rest of Europe.

    The policies that they have forced upon the EU is killing them.

    Ask the Brits, who are up close and personal, and opted out of the German schemes.

  72. Blogger Doug said...


    Commodities pale when compared to some "financial instruments," corporations, govt pension plans, and real estate.

    What baseline are you measuring these on Doug and what value liquidation has occurred due to the recent QE's?

    I am concerned that the Central Bank manipulations of late, while 'saving' the banks, are lending odd distortions to the economy (bubbles) and do not address underlying productivity, current account balance issues, and 'jobs' but the problem does not seem to be anywhere close to rampant inflation at the moment. Aggregate demand is down and that's posing a big problem for all...

  73. Oh, and I don't consider Shakespeare a "Poet."

    Besides, we don't know that Shakespeare wasn't a self-aborbed prick; we don't even know who he was.

    But, he was a hell of a playwrite.

  74. Although, basically, he bores me to tears.

  75. What the Heck is Black refering to, here, Rufus?
    ...seems like he cites contradictory stats a few sentences later.

    Finally, in this sequence, the United States, despite decades of shilly-shallying and self-indulgence, is, in physical volume, though not yet in dollars, an energy exporter after nearly 60 years in deficit.

    After the terrible distraction of the giant green canard of global warming, and the nonsense of windmills and elusive (i.e. nonexistent) green jobs, shale and other oil and natural-gas sources, and tighter transport-fuel-consumption rules, are cutting heavily into net energy imports. The U.S. has converted a 3 million-barrel-per-day importation of refined oil products in 2005 into a 600,000 barrel-per-day surplus in the last six months. The U.S. imported 60 percent of its oil in 2005 and 16 percent of its natural gas in 2007, and those numbers are now down to 46 percent and 9 percent, respectively, and falling steadily — causing appropriate discomfort to deserving foreigners, such as Russia’s Gazprom.

  76. Just a convicted fraud (google conrad black) with an agenda, Doug.

    It's total nonsense. We still are still a huge net oil importer.

    We have, in recent months, started to export more "Products" (diesel, gasoline, etc) than we import. It's a fairly small number, and not nearly as large as our oil imports.

    Taking oil, and products, together, we still import over half of our transportation fuels.

  77. Ash said...

    What baseline are you measuring these on Doug and what value liquidation has occurred due to the recent QE's?


    I was refering to the Trillions in vaporized CDOs, and similar Trillions lost in the Real Estate Crash.

    ...the QE's I don't know:
    What do you think?

  78. We, also, export a bit of ethanol (we're the world's largest exporter of ethanol, but, again, it's a fairly small number.)

    A lot of guys like this will use an "expanded" definition of oil, and, for accuracy, should be saying "Total Liquids." This definition includes "refinery gain" (most of which come from refining Imported Oil,) Natural Gas Liquids (which isn't really used in transportation, but is used in refinery operations, Propane, etc, And Ethanol.

    Of course, we have increased our oil production a small amount in the last few years, but the main driver of the lower Percentage of imports is Decreased Gasoline Usage, and Increased Ethanol, and Biodiesel Usage.

  79. Maui's got the World's first Bio-Beetle Rental Fleet!

  80. For instance, we used 4.5% Less Gasoline in the last four weeks than we did in the corresponding 4 weeks a year ago.

    When you consider that the economy has technically expanded during that period it's worth noting.

  81. Well, there went 3 hours sposed to be spent on "chores"


  82. Forgot how to make links? :)

    Gettin' old is a bitch, eh?

  83. All my chores, today, involve spending money. I'm in no hurry. :)

  84. I am sure Hitchens would prefer to be getting old.

  85. I would prefer that Hitchens was getting old. He was a lot of fun to listen to.

  86. Doug wrote:

    "I was refering to the Trillions in vaporized CDOs, and similar Trillions lost in the Real Estate Crash."

    How can you lay that at the feet of printing money? More easy to place the blame on lack of regulation for that fiasco - I mean, come on, lending money to folk who have little hope of repaying while being allowed to pedal the resulting paper to others to use as collateral for more loans to gamble on whatever.

  87. I would like to pay my respect to Christopher Hitchens, a human being and pray to God to forgive him for he knew not what he was doing. May peace be upon him - Amen

  88. 62 is old.

    25 is young.

    Anything in between is getting along in life.

    Over 62 is ancient, and, getting to be time to go, to try to look at the landscape as if for the last time, to set the sails....

    I don't feel sorry for the Hitch.

    He doesn't need any forgiveness.


  89. I feel sorry for the lightbulbs

    The traditional incandescent light bulb won a nine-month reprieve late Thursday from new federal rules that would have led to its demise.

    The deal to avert a government shutdown starting Friday night includes a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from spending any money to implement or enforce the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that is set to start going into effect for 100-watt bulbs in 2012.

  90. 90% of everyone I know hates the damn idiotic replacements.

  91. How taxpayer money was wasted?

    SAN FRANCISCO—A federal judge on Friday sentenced Barry Bonds, baseball's home-run king, to probation and home confinement for obstructing justice during a grand-jury probe into a company that sold steroids to athletes—a sentence that a federal prosecutor in the case called a "slap on the wrist."

  92. Federal prosecutors chasing baseball players, instead of the thieving bankers and gun walkers.

    What a waste of government resources.

  93. Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in NRG Energy Inc. (NRG)’s $1.8 billion Agua Caliente solar project, the billionaire’s second investment in solar this month.

    The 290-megawatt power plant is being built in Arizona by First Solar Inc. (FSLR), which expects to complete the installation of its panels by 2014, Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG said today in a statement. Terms of MidAmerican’s purchase weren’t disclosed.

  94. Ash said,

    "How can you lay that at the feet of printing money? "

    Where did I say that?
    I asked YOU about what you thought of the QE's

    Actually, tho, Greenspan's money printing did contribute.
    Government Regulation:
    Exactly what CAUSED the Meltdown.
    Reno threatening to sue if they didn't make bad loans.
    Clintonista's in Fannie making hundreds of millions pushing bad loans.
    Bush and Company not stopping much of it.
    Barney Frank and Chris Dodd covering it all up.
    Now the same two crooks have plastered it over with MORE shit.

    More regulation, that'll do it.

    Glass Steagle, a badly needed exception.

  95. desert rat said...
    Federal prosecutors chasing baseball players, instead of the thieving bankers and gun walkers.

    What a waste of government resources


    Blago gets 14 years for doing the same things that got Barry into the Big House.

  96. That's the second Solar Purchase Buffet has made in the last week. hmm.

  97. Ash and Doug agree on Bulbs.
    Almost all CFL's here.
    Why give away money to burn oil when you don't have to?

  98. Does Mr Bonds have a "Big House"?

    Seeing as he is going to do his time, at home. 10 days.

  99. Ash said...

    Have you tried LEDs?

    Not ready for prime time. Light is directional, not omnidirectional, and too blue, like the headlights on a Beemer.

  100. You forget:
    Ash is extraterrestrial, no need for omnidirectional.

  101. Barbara Walters:
    "Why was the crackdown so brutal?"

    Bashar al-Assad:

    "What happened?

    "We don't kill our people," he said.

    "No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."


    Sandusky's New Lawyer:

    "Maybe He was teaching them how to apply soap."

  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

  103. ms T.,

    the BMW headlights are halogen, and, yes, the LED's tend to be more of that hue. Mind you many use halogen lighting in their homes. Tungsten, which is the traditional bulb, does have a more warm color to it while Halogen tends to the blue. Those pesky flourescent tend to green. I think it is the flicker and weak illumination that bug me about those HFC's... is that what those new fangled flourescents are called, HFCs? Anyway, I don't like them. I am intrigued by the ned LED's out but I don't have any in my home yet.

  104. Blogger Doug said...

    Ash said,

    "How can you lay that at the feet of printing money? "

    Where did I say that?

    ummm, isn't that what you were referring to in your original comment (well, original in the context of this train of thought) where you wrote:

    Blogger Doug said...

    wrt inflation:

    As 'Rat and I have pointed out several times, the money printing has been more than balanced by value liquidation.

    (forget the more common term)

  105. All we are saying,
    Is give piece a chance.

    Naw, what we are saying is that the printing of money has yet to become wildly inflationary because it has been offset by the massive loss of value in financial instruments and real estate.

    Money printing, + 6

    Real Estate, ---- -6

    = 0


  106. Halogen lights are a great way to collect on your fire insurance.

  107. That girl at 5:55.


    L/ (that's a leg kick)


  108. Communication Breakdown:

    desert rat said...
    Does Mr Bonds have a "Big House"?

    Seeing as he is going to do his time, at home. 10 days.


    I knew I shoulda said "White House" instead of "Big House"

    I was talking about Barry OBAMA doing the same thing that Blago did that got Blago 14 years.

    Blago just a much less professional crook, pays the price.

    Good to learn they spent what seems like more than five years and millions of dollars to punish Mr. Bonds with ten days at home, tho.

  109. The hostess dancer, Doug, is named metaphorically Happiness in Accomplishment and Surprise; the girl at 5:55 is metaphorically named Joy in Being.

    Just for your info, and fuller appreciation and enjoyment....


  110. The host dancer is metaphorically named Second Banana.


  111. Ms T tells us of the madrassa in Pakistan that was abusing the students that were enrolled, while in Holland ...

    Tens of thousands of Dutch children were sexually abused by priests and other Roman Catholic figures, but church officials failed to take adequate action or report problems to police, a panel finds.

    Reported in the LA Times.

  112. This episode echoes the USS Liberty, the characters have changed, but the story remains the same.

    The attackers claim the attack was an error in identification. And claim there was no possible motive to an attack on an ally.

    The major difference the victim reuses to echo those claims.

    Not caring of the attackers alleged lack of motive, but using radio intercepts and timelines to make their case of deliberate aggression against them.

    Pakistan military insists NATO attack was deliberate

    Could NATO forces have mistaken the two border posts on the Afghan border for extremist bases, as U.S. officials have suggested?

    Highly unlikely, the senior Pakistani defense official said at the briefing. First of all, the structures stood in plain view on the top of a barren ridge -- a place he said, which terrorists probably wouldn't be inclined to use as a hideout. Photos of both posts that suffered the attack show the structures made of stone and sandbags sitting on high ground.

    A slide at the presentation called "Mistaken Identity Not Possible" tried to casts further doubt on the U.S. argument.

    An interesting read.

  113. The political and financial pressure the US could bring to bear, not enough to change the Pakistani leadership's version of their truth.

    The official would not speculate as to why NATO would deliberately attack two Pakistani outposts about 300 yards from the border, but would only say this was the official conclusion of the Pakistani leadership.

    But attack it, we did.
    With NATO officers apologizing for it, as it happened, in the Pakistani version of the story.

  114. Everybody with a brain knows you can't trust Dutch Clergymen.

  115. Seems to me, doug, that the two stories, that from Holland and the madrassa in Pakistan, lead to a simple truth.

    The Abrahamic religions are basically equivalent.

    Any bets against the idea that those indicted in the Penn State case are self-identifying Christians?

  116. Those folks teaching personal hygiene to teens?
    Being that part of Penn, and Coach Paterno being Italian, I'd wager quite a few of them are not only Christian, but Catholic.

    Dedicated teachers instilling good habits in their young chargers, er, charges.

    "“Some of these kids don’t have basic hygiene skills,” Rominger told the television station, presumably with a straight .

    “Teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body.”

  117. That attorney oughta moonlight as a writer for The Onion.

  118. Some of them don't even know how to give a decent blow job.

  119. Too early; back to the rack. later

  120. I had some great riff about public defenders back in the Larsen Days.
    ...washed away by the years.

    What the heck happened to Larsen?