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Too Stupid To Survive

     Coming home from the annual meet-up of the New Urbanists, I was already agitated from the shenanigans of United Airlines — two-hour delay, blown connection — when I waded into this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine for further evidence that our ruling elites are too stupid to survive (and perhaps the US with them).  Exhibit A was the magazine’s lead article about California’s proposed high-speed rail project by Jon Gertner.
     The article began with a description of California’s current rail service between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. A commission of nine-year-olds in a place like Germany could run a better system, of course. It’s never on schedule. The equipment breaks down incessantly. A substantial leg of the trip requires a transfer to a bus (along with everybody’s luggage) with no working toilet.  You get the picture: Kazakhstan without the basic competence.
      The proposed solution to this is the most expensive public works program in the history of the world, at a time when both the state of California and the US federal government are effectively bankrupt.  By the way, I wouldn’t argue that California shouldn’t have high-speed rail.  It might have been nice if, say, in the late 20th century, some far-seeing governor had noticed what was going on in France, Germany, and Spain but, alas….  It would have been nice, too, if the doltish George W. Bush, when addressing extreme airport congestion in 2003, had considered serious upgrades in normal train service between the many US cities 500 miles or so apart. The idea never entered his walnut brain.
     The sad truth is it’s too late now.  But the additional sad truth, at this point, is that Californians (and US public in general) would benefit tremendously from normal rail service on a par with the standards of 1927, when speeds of 100 miles-per-hour were common and the trains ran absolutely on time (and frequently, too) without computers (imagine that !). The tracks are still there, waiting to be fixed.  In our current condition of psychotic techno-grandiosity, this is all too hopelessly quaint, not cutting edge enough, pathetically un-“hot.” The fact that it is not even considered by the editors of The New York Times, not to mention the governor of California, the President of the United States, and all the agency heads and departmental chiefs and think tank gurus and university engineering professors, is something that will have historians of the future rolling their eyes.  But for the moment all it shows is that we are collectively too stupid to survive as an advanced society.
     Ironically (if you go for gallows irony) a sidebar in the same issue of The NY Times Sunday Magazine featured the latest architect’s wet dream of an airport-of-the-future (p.35). Note to the editors and architects: commercial aviation is toast (we just don’t know it yet). We’re back in the $70-plus a barrel-of-oil aviation death-zone for airlines.
     Also ironically proving that America is not alone in techno-triumphalist mental illness was another big article in the same magazine featuring French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s neo-Modernist fantasies for vast new construction projects in Paris.  Note to Sarko: the developed world’s metroplexes are headed for shocking contraction, not further expansion. I know this is counter-intuitive, but a little applied prayerful research will bear it out.  And, by the way, the last thing any city on earth needs is more skyscrapers — i.e. buildings that have no chance of ever being renovated when they reach the senility stage of their design-life.  For really mind-blowing statements, this one from that article is a standout: “Paris’s current problems as a city can be traced to the very thing that makes it most delightful — its beauty.”  Right.  So, the solution will be to make it more like Houston.
     Actually, I doubt the French people consider these schemes anymore plausible than ur-Modernist Le Corbusier’s 1924 proposal to bulldoze half of the Right Bank and replace it with dozens of identical skyscrapers. The French people laughed at Corbu, and put their vertical slums outside the city center, but notice that we Americans actually did it, replacing our old human-scaled center cities with priapic arrays of glass-and-steel tubes surrounded by parking lagoons. Anyway, nobody in the OECD world will have the energy to carry out anything like this again, not even France with its nuke plants.
      Which brings me back to the New Urbanist annual meet-up last week in Denver. Given the gathering conditions of what I variously call The Long Emergency or the economic clusterfuck, they have had to shift their focus starkly. For years, their stock-in-trade was the greenfield New Town or Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND), a severe reform of conventional suburban development.  That sort of reform work was only possible when 1.) the continued expansion of suburbia seemed utterly inevitable, requiring heroic mitigation and 2.) when they could team up with the production home-builders to get their TND projects built.  To the group’s credit, they realize that these conditions are no more. Suburbia is now cratering, both as a repository of wealth in real estate and as a practical matter of everyday existence.  They get that the energy crisis and all its implications are real and that our response to it had better be deft.  They understand that the capital resources we thought we had for Big Projects are flying into a black hole at the speed of light. Mostly they see that he time for “cutting edge” fashionista techno-triumphalist grandiosity is over.
     To put it bluntly, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is perhaps the only surviving collective intelligence left in the United States that is producing ideas consistent with the reality.  They recognize that our survival depends on down-scaling and re-localization. They recognize the crisis we will soon face in food production, and the desperate need to reactivate the relationship between the way we inhabit the landscape and the way we feed ourselves. They recognize that the solution to the liquid fuels crisis is not cars that can run by other means but on walkable towns and cities connected by public transit.
     This is exactly what you will not find in the pages of The New York Times or the political corridors of power.  Oh, by the way, the Obama administration contacted one of the leading lights of the New Urbanism in the weeks after the inauguration.  He never heard back from the White House.  I guess they’re not interested.

P.S. (Added 2:45p.m. Monday):
     Some commentors here have got the mistaken idea that I am against “urban density” or cities per se.  This is a very dumb mis-reading of what I have said many times.  I am strongly in favor of the urban human habitat at all levels, from village to city, and indeed I am in favor of “tight” urban design at the fine grain.  I just don’t believe that our giant “metroplex” cities will continue to exist in their current form.  They are not scaled to future energy realities.  They may well re-densify at their old centers and waterfronts even while they contract in population and total area of governance.  Now, why is this so hard to understand???
____________________________________?
My 2008 novel of the post-oil future, World Made By Hand, is available in paperback  at all booksellers.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

327 Responses to “Too Stupid To Survive” Subscribe

  1. Empedocles June 15, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    There’s a post over at Front Porch Republic, the localization and community webzine, mentioning Kunstler and the Congress for New Urbanism. Check it out here: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=4034

  2. mosetose June 15, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    I live in France…and the running joke about Sarkozy is…”George W. Bush left the office with his a** clean, because Sarkozy was licking it all th time…” Sarkozy, as Mr. Kunstler has pointed out, wants to transform Paris into Houston…and apparently he would do it…whether or not the masses need or want it…
    As far as trains, fast and slow, are concerned…only Nuclear energy is the answer…unless they start selling cold-fusion based energy from tomorrow…Anybody who has read JHK’s long emergency knows that all other hip alternate energy solutions are hopeless at best and hoaxes at worst…
    Either US should do what they are doing (attacking countries with oil, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq etc…They are’nt that dumb after all your ruling elites…Vote for Bushobama/repdem/MSM…which everybody already is doing…) or try to develop some nuclear pretty fast…this is their best shot at getting out of the crisis

  3. Goldismoney June 15, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Indeed Howard, we are too stupid to survive collectively. Sigh….. Samsara. every week I try to engage my colleagues on peak oil and realize that! The math is really not that hard. I decided to quit high paying gig, move back to the states, from SE Asia, to apprentice on a organic farm for a 100 dollar a week. Smartest investment I’ll make this half of the year. If Peak oil is around the corner, all the Krugerrands in the world won’t save your ass, unless you can get a piece of land and water, never mind the zombies. Oh well, we’ll all die one day, but it’s really about how you live, in this moment, and in this time. I want to live & die farming. Thank you for your work. Be well.

  4. mosetose June 15, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    As far as the long emergency is concerned…the U.S. has already the solution…attack those who have oil…under different pretexts…and once a safe oil availability window (of 10 to 15 years )is secured…develop nuclear and switch to it…all this humanity, human rights bullshit emanating from US is actually what it is…bull shit…

  5. farmboy June 15, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    What are they thinking? They should take a walk down main street and the suburbs and note all the empty, closed stores and empty, foreclosed houses, and check the lines at the unemployment offices. It’s over. The carnival has folded its tents and silently stolen away.
    I live across the street from the county’s huge mall and can view all the dark windows and silent interiors. A strip mall was built next to our condo complex five years ago. Of the twelve boutiques, nine have never been occupied. New construction continues while clerks stand around, waiting for the occasional shopper. The acres of parking are mostly a vacant wasteland, while vegetation sprouts triumphantly from the cracks in the griddle-hot concrete. I look out my home office window and watch the shriveling trickle of fossil fueled dinosaur semi trucks on the expressway. The stimulus (sic!) money fuels road and highway construction, which I refer to as building new stables for dying horses.
    Let us all awake from the failed dream of gorging ourselves on depleted resources and live like Victorian America with trains again. Giddyup!
    Robert

  6. jporcelli June 15, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    JK,
    I drove up to Newbrugh Ny this weekend with my wife. It is situated across the hudson from Beacon NY. If ever you could see the disparity between cities served by rail and one that is not, this is it. Beacon, now the home to DIA arts center was thrivingand has Metro North connection to NYC. Literally across the river, Newburgh is nearly abandoned. Blocks of homes abandoned or for sale. Many of the remaining residents working on broke down cars in the street. A few hardy souls were hanging on with small businesses and well kept houses, but parts of it looked like the Gaza Strip. We found one grocery store.
    The outskirts of town, looking like the all too familiar descriptions you have given of closed car dealerships, fast food and box stores. It is hard to tell if it is a city dying or if it can be revived. We hope it can be revived.
    JVP

  7. TedC June 15, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    I too ponder the ‘too stupid’ meme. I am lately thinking that this is perhaps intentional. The events of the last year surrounding the bailout of the bankers have truly illustrated who ‘calls the shots’ these days. I accuse the wealthy of a sociopathic desire to return to the good old days of the pre – plague middle ages, where the wealthy controlled everything, and the masses were little better than slaves, in fact, if not in name. Reading Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ illustrated how even the kings were limited in their power over them. The masses are allowed just enough bread and circuses to prevent revolution, and no more. The wealthy do, occasionally, overplay their hand, and troubles come. We are valued no more than a farmer values his sheep. I like this quote: “They only call it class warfare when we fight back”. This fight has been going on as long as we have been a nation, and indeed through all of man’s history. I am still undecided whether to fight here, or to simply move somewhere more just, while I still have the freedom to do so. “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it is profitable to continue the illusion”.

  8. grantman June 15, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    The SF Bay Area already has a train system that works pretty well – BART. It’s based on 1970’s train technology, it’s electric, and it seems to mostly work pretty well (top speed of about 70 miles an hours). The BART rail lines are either underground or built alongside freeways. Why is there no discussion of simply expanding the “BART model” to the rest of CA, instead of the high-speed fantasy that has “Big Dig” written all over it.

  9. FARfetched June 15, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    By some cosmic coincidence, my iPhone started playing Shout Out Out Out Out’s “They Tear Down Houses, Don’t They?” as I was reading this.
    I think the 1927-style rail is what will get built, if anything. You start with a “ooh ahh” project to get everyone’s attention, then when it comes down to actually funding it, the usual suspects will balk and gripe about the costs and want to scale it back. I tend to agree, a rail system that’s maintained & runs on time is the bird in hand while the bullet trains are two in the bush. But if Biden had instead started with “let’s upgrade the current rail system,” the usual suspects would have balked & griped about the costs & wanted to scale it back. That’s how things are done in DC, ask for the moon when you want LEO.
    There aren’t too many bullet trains running around in the FAR Future, and the trains that do run in 2036 might delay for a day or two if the ridership is light. In Episode 92, The Boy, after being feted in DC, is on his way west. (Oh, BTW, I give the blog a makeover this weekend, so it looks a lot different.)
    Dunno if I’ll be around much this week, we’ll see.

  10. pcnot June 15, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    “The tracks are still there, waiting to be fixed.”
    Not in central Indiana, most are long gone or converted into trails. The greeies would have a hissy fit if you tried to go back to rail.
    I think we’ll probably find Planet of the Apes to be our final destination. Hell, we’ve already elected the head ape.

  11. Josh Vanderberg June 15, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    ” And, by the way, the last thing any city on earth needs is more skyscrapers — i.e. buildings that have no chance of ever being renovated when they reach the senility stage of their design-life.”
    I write this from a desk in one of the oldest skyscrapers on the planet – a 16 story buidling built in the 1890s in Chicago. It’s been constantly renovated and upgraded with the times. Almost all of the early skyscrapers in Chicago have been renovated and upgraded – either turned into loft living spaces, or retrofitted with all of the conveniences of a modern office space.
    I am consistently amazed at Kunstler’s antipathy towards dense urban environments. They are, by far, the most walkable, most efficient means of resource sharing humans have ever invented. Kunstler’s fantasy of spreading 300 million people amongst little tiny agrarian towns connected by trains, is just that – pure fantasy. There is a reason dense urban environments exist – they are tremenously efficient, and they must be a part of any post-“happy motoring” future.

  12. Laura Louzader June 15, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    We need to immediately stop depending on our governments to do anything right. They never have and they never will. The more money you hand the authorities to do stuff that is really not their turf anyway, such as building railroads or deciding how and where people will live, they screw it up in a big way and it becomes another permanent boondogle that just sucks up more money year after year and starves things that would be the appropriate solutions.
    First, they built a highway system that sucked the life out of our cities and deposited their populations into tacky suburbs. Then, they finished off the murder of the cities when the FHA redlined perfectly good, decent, livable city nabes and steered borrowers to these crappy post WW2 subdivisions. By the same path, subsidies and allocation, they spent the tax revenues generated by healthy eastern and midwestern cities to build mega cities in the middle of the high desert-St. Louis, Newark, Memphis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia were effectively destroyed and big burgs like NYC and Chicago seriously damaged and turned into Tax Hells to build Las Vegas and Phoenix, along with the pharaonic water diversion projects that made it possible to maintain settlements of 2 to 4 million people in one of the driest regions on the planet.
    NOW, they’re gonna do rail, and they’re going to do it the only way they know how, which is to throw tens of billions of dollars at building super-high-speed lines in places where it’s almost guaranteed they will be underutilized. There will of course be about 35 layers of bureacracy involved in this, and it will all be Amtrak.
    They COULD do something like clear away all regulatory obstruction and punitive taxes applied only to railroads in the deliberate move to murder them 50 years ago. They could also de-subsidize their competition and stop throwing $14 billion a year at the failing, energy-guzzling airline industry. But we are ruled by lobbyists, and their talents are utilized to lobby for subsidies and for legislation to obstruct competition.
    The attitude seems to be that if the solution is obvious, simple, and economical, then it’s too primitive.

  13. pleighton June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    http://features.csmonitor.com/economyrebuild/2009/05/29/a-rust-belt-city-tries-to-shrink-its-way-to-success/
    We have reached a point in history in which comparing what has happened in the past (20th century trains running on time and who deserves the credit) will have no bearing on our future. Kunstler makes a valid point (cost effective and efficient rail service vs a project more expensive than sending a man to Mars). The link above leads to an article that resonates in the same way.

  14. loninappleton June 15, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Trying to put the “new” in New Urbanist is like pulling teeth. Only recently have I become
    aware of Will Allen’s Growing Power non-profit here in Milwaukee, WI US. What makes GP unique
    to my knowledge is that it’s been going since 1995. And unique is not an exaggeration: Will
    Allen in the recipient of the McCarthur Genius Award for Innovation for 2008.
    If the New Urbanists want to see things that work, I encourage readers here to learn more about
    Growing Power. Will Allen gives a superb and encouraging lecture describing all the things
    Growing Power has accomplished.
    http://www.growingpower.org/

  15. Dave Eriqat June 15, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    California’s “most expensive public works program in the history of the world” is no more harebrained than a $1.5 trillion expenditure to overhaul the health care system, at a time when the government is hemorrhaging money, and which will undoubtedly leave us individuals poorer in both dollars and health care. Or a broke nation expanding its war fronts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
    I guess the powers-that-be figure “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Might as well pull out all the stops, throw reason to the wind, and see what happens.
    Or one can look at it as I often do, that humans are just intelligent enough to destroy themselves, and not quite intelligent enough to avoid doing so.
    Dave – Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

  16. UTAH VALLEY COHOUSING June 15, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Mr. Kunstler is on to something in the title of his commentary. When “complex societies” collapse (see J. Tainter, The Collpase of Complex Societies), elites do not fare better than ordinary folk. In fact, quite the contrary: their wealth insulates them from signals that stimulate others to take precautionary measures. When the system changes, they are often the least prepared for the new reality. Look what happened to the senatorial class in Rome circa 500AD.
    Who does better? I suggest the mostly middle-class folks who are building COHOUSING communities will. They are creating the small sustainable communities that will not only survive, but flourish as America de-complexifies itself. Our little community, the Utah Valley Commons, will have its own single-point PV array; a closed-loop geothermal heating/cooling system; and 40 acres of organic gardens. That, we believe, is the wave of the futre.
    Will Mr. Kunstler pay a visit to one of these commnities — say, Ecovillage at Ithaca, New York — and comment?
    Hope so!
    Charles W. Nuckolls
    UTAH VALLEY COMMONS
    -a cohousing community-
    http://www.utahvalleycommons.com

  17. Danm June 15, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    I am consistently amazed at Kunstler’s antipathy towards dense urban environments. They are, by far, the most walkable, most efficient means of resource sharing humans have ever invented. Kunstler’s fantasy of spreading 300 million people amongst little tiny agrarian towns connected by trains
    ————-
    That’s one part of his logic I don’t get.
    He keeps on talking about the death of burbs and now I see that he also believes in the death of cities with skyscrapers.
    In my mind, his agrarian towns will start in the burbs.

  18. bud4wiser June 15, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Yes, JK – “we” are too stupid to survive. We pass our textual accomplishments back and forth as if they had meaning and value.
    I’ve been musing over the meaning of appointing of “big” Ed Whiticare to run GM. The only reasoning I can come up with is that he already established all the channels of “influence” with Congress during his years at AT&T.
    Again, Obama picks the antithesis of the type of person you would want to hand over billions in loans and guarantees to.
    Sommers, Geithner, and now Whitacre, – here’s three people who have collectively “gamed the system” beyond the wildest dreams of ordinary con-artists – and they sit the most important tables in the country.
    Now, James or Howard, or whatever, I don’t want to discourage your “stream-of-consciousness” Monday-morning rants – but I got a tell ya – whatever “common good” transpires as a result of doings of these rotten bastards will surely come as much an accident or oversight rather than design.
    Talking trains, gardens and “grown-up thoughts” is all well and good, but review your perspective about who IS and who isn’t stupid. So far the only ranting Washington listens to is from people with bank accounts with 12-digit balances…..
    And if you don’t realize that’s the reason for the prevailing public commentary about choo-choos – you are stupid.

  19. terry egan June 15, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Hey Josh. Enjoyed your comment. 16 stories is a tall building, not a skyscraper. I understand where you are coming from, but in reality, where exactly do you plan on getting your food should the trucks stop delivering it or for that matter any of the other basic survival needs you most likely take for granted. I hope for the best future, but…. prefer to live small town where I hope to not have to defend my garden against the starving hordes of happy city dwellers such as yourself at some future time. Nothing personal of course, you read JHK so you must at least be in touch.

  20. Danm June 15, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    prefer to live small town where I hope to not have to defend my garden against the starving hordes of happy city dwellers
    ———-
    Argentina has great agriculture potential. So much so that its farmers should be rich.
    But for some weird reason, most are struggling. Somehow the leaders manage to squeeze them and send all the fruits of their hard labor to city dwellers. Imagine that!

  21. M.F. June 15, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Neocon Alert! Neocon ALert!! Warning, Will Robinson! Jim, reading these comments is good, isnt it? It gets a bigger picture out Jim, you have been talking about the long emergency for years now, and its all unfolding in front of our eyes as we speak. This blowhard talking about GE and MSNBC, the only half truth news outlet there is, at least has the guts to tell us what the Bushies have done to us, and having guests like Naomi Klein on to tell us why. Lets all put a hypothetical book mark on this day in time to look back on in a couple of years.

  22. James Howard Kunstler June 15, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Josh Vandenberg writes:I am consistently amazed at Kunstler’s antipathy towards dense urban environments. They are, by far, the most walkable, most efficient means of resource sharing humans have ever invented. Kunstler’s fantasy of spreading 300 million people amongst little tiny agrarian towns connected by trains, is just that – pure fantasy.
    Jim’s reply: This is because you evidently misunderstand my writings — in which I have stated times beyond counting that I am in favor of dense human environments at all scales: neighborhood, village, town, city. I just don’t believe our cities can continue to exist at the metroplex scale.
    –JHK

  23. KunstlerClubs June 15, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Want to do something to increase the resilience of your neighborhood in preparation for the Long Emergency? Join or start a Kunstler Club!
    What is a Kunstler Club?
    A Kunstler Club is a small group of neighbors who are taking concrete steps to increase the resilience of their neighborhood in the event of economic collapse, energy or resource shortages, and/or natural or manmade disasters. Click here to learn more.

  24. Uncle Al June 15, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Earth’s vastly unproductive reproductive five billion and growing are charitably fed with Green Revolution excess. The Green Revolution assumes warm and not too wet climate. The Green Revolution is hugely fueled by Global Warming (normal interglacial Holocene weather). A quiet sun has awarded three years of cold wet Global Cooling with much more to come,
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm
    A new strain of wheat rust well beyond plant breeders’ ability to diddle Mendelian selection has exploded out of Africa northwest toward Europe and northeast toward India. A Caltech summer class could gene-gineer survivable high-yielding wheat, but That Would Be Wrong (Franken-food). A billion dusky-dermal parasites will starve to death. This will be an Official Tragedy as the home team finds $10/loaf bread palatable. Perhaps Washignton will assure ample supply through subsidy, rationing, and a Linguini Czar. We must win the War of Production!

  25. James Howard Kunstler June 15, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Josh Vanderberg writes: I write this from a desk in one of the oldest skyscrapers on the planet – a 16 story buidling built in the 1890s in Chicago. It’s been constantly renovated and upgraded with the times. Almost all of the early skyscrapers in Chicago have been renovated and upgraded…
    Jim replies: The historic buildings you mentioned were 1.) Not very tall, 2.) built long before our financial system was destroyed by debt. The newer, 20-story=plus glass towers will not be renovated. Don’t make the mistake of thinking conditions now are the same as they were. –JHK

  26. James Howard Kunstler June 15, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Josh Vanderberg writes: I write this from a desk in one of the oldest skyscrapers on the planet – a 16 story buidling built in the 1890s in Chicago. It’s been constantly renovated and upgraded with the times. Almost all of the early skyscrapers in Chicago have been renovated and upgraded…
    Jim replies: The historic buildings you mentioned were 1.) Not very tall, 2.) built long before our financial system was destroyed by debt. The newer, 20-story=plus glass towers will not be renovated. Don’t make the mistake of thinking conditions now are the same as they were. –JHK

  27. thomas99 June 15, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    The article about paved roads reverting to gravel in Michigan isn’t nearly as interesting or noteworthy as the comments submitted on the article. A lot of seething, antigovernment rhetoric and anger from what are likely mostly well-armed rural Michiganders. Isn’t that where Timmy McVeigh got his start?

  28. highrpm June 15, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    when it comes to government clusterfucks, few talk about one of the biggest, the public education system: every year NEA crys for more money for their latest fix-all ill-conceived and executed progams like “no child left behind”, while their silence on worsening academic perfomance is deafening.
    this country has a GDP catastrophe that no amount of government stimulus is going to fix. quality education would, but the country does not have it. (but, hey, the teachers salaries are good. so were the uaw’s until they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.)
    every year, the academic performance for “no child left behind” lowers (but the NEA keeps )

  29. lancemfoster June 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    The problem is that we find it much easier -and more exciting- to focus on change on the material (energy, technology, etc.) than behavioral change.
    Many of our cities and towns are very inhabitable and can be fitted to small-scale entrepreneurship (home repair, cottage industry, etc.) and food production (home chickens, gardening, etc.). Examples of these provide little glimmers of hope.
    The problem is often in zoning, tax structures, large businesses trying to squash these efforts to avoid competition (as when the national agricultural industry even tried to squash the White House garden’s use of more organic methods).
    We are focusing on the wrong things. We need to focus on local change to local laws that will give more Mom-and-Pop scale operations (backyard chickens, community gardens, home salvage and repair) opportunities to survive and grow.

  30. walt June 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    I live in central Phoenix (if blobs can be said to have “centers”). There are empty lots, empty buildings, and a general sense of overall decline. The periphery looks nicer but the residential streets lined with endless For Sale signs tell a similar story. This metroplex is in profound trouble. Are people worried? For themselves, yes.
    It’s been nearly 40 years since environmentalism became a buzzword. What’s amazing is that as much as we learned about complex systems, overload, carrying capacity, and various feedback loops, we couldn’t construct a compelling argument for sustainability. And by now it should be fairly obvious why we couldn’t. We’re robots with only the tiniest capacity for disinterested action.
    We’re not going to solve the problem of an overstressed global civilization by reinventing it in the form of small agrarian communities. This is utopianism. True, it could happen despite our best efforts but it’s unlikely to happen as a result of them. Paradox is history’s inevitable shadow.
    Contraction is not necessarily bad news, but the really big story for the time being is climate change. How would a radically decentralized civilization address it? You would still need governing authorities with enough power to regulate society’s use of carbon. I know, I know: all those benign organic-farming, co-housing, hobbitvilles won’t emit greenhouse gases. One of humanity’s most enduring fantasies is its own goodness.
    For better or worse, clocks move in one direction. We need to do many things as individuals, of course, but if we want to survive either as individuals or a species we better contruct an argument that is as compelling as our wishful thinking.

  31. Cthulhu June 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    “What are they thinking? They should take a walk down main street and the suburbs and note all the empty, closed stores and empty, foreclosed houses, and check the lines at the unemployment offices. It’s over. The carnival has folded its tents and silently stolen away.”
    Dedicated to Dave Matthews

    The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

    Outside
    The storm clouds gathering,
    Moved silently along the dusty boulevard.
    Where flowers turning crane their fragile necks
    So they can in turn
    Reach up and kiss the sky.
    They are driven by a strange desire
    Unseen by the human eye
    Someone is calling.
    I remember when you held my hand
    In the park we would play when the circus came to town.
    Look! Over here.
    Outside
    The circus gathering
    Moved silently along the rainswept boulevard.
    The procession moved on the shouting is over
    The fabulous freaks are leaving town.
    They are driven by a strange desire
    Unseen by the human eye.
    Someone is calling.
    The carinval is over.
    We sat and watched
    As the moon rose again
    For the very first time.

  32. Mark Ancona June 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    America is in the midst of a crisis, one which threatens to erase all of the progress we have made since the industrial revolution. We are a nation of arrogant overweight pinheads, and deserve what we get out of it all.
    Rather than utilize the trillions of counterfeit dollars being printed as I write this, to prepare for the inevitable massive declines in world oil production, we are pumping bloated corpses of the banking system full of cash, somehow hoping that everything will get better, and folks will start borrowing money again to buy a new GM car.
    I decided long ago that the Government was not a part of any solution, and resolved to localize my life so the dual impacts of inflation and peak oil would have a minimum impact on our lives. We are transitioning to the new paradigm and having fun while doing so.
    We have built a pantry, and are stocking it with delicious foods to sustain us through what will certainly be a painful transition from first world masters, to second world has-beens. Weaning a family off of fossil fuels is difficult, bur possible. I recently scored 20 used solar panels, which should offer at least some return on the labor investment through lower electric bills. As we turn off unneeded lights and appliances, we remind ourselves that we didn’t even have most of these things when we were children.
    Our solar oven project will soon get priority time, with the heat of summer upon us, and the need to reduce indoor heat sources mounts. All of the politicking in the world will not bring us back to abundant oil. America needs to wake up in this new century and realize that the current model is no longer suited to our future. With a return to locally sustainable agriculture, and repudiation of the urban sprawl that destroys so much farmland, we can realize a comfortable return to reality.
    For those who are non-believers, I hope you enjoy standing in the bread lines.

  33. Josh Vanderberg June 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    “Jim replies: The historic buildings you mentioned were 1.) Not very tall, 2.) built long before our financial system was destroyed by debt. The newer, 20-story=plus glass towers will not be renovated. Don’t make the mistake of thinking conditions now are the same as they were. –JHK”
    Au contraire, Chicago if full of skyscrapers, old and new, 20+ stories, that are being and have been renovated. They are actually very durable structures. Newer skyscrapers are no different.
    I have no idea why you think that newer skyscrapers are somehow different. If anything they are built with renovation and flexibility in mind, and are an extremely efficient use of land, building materials and limited energy resources (per square foot, a skyscraper is much more energy efficient than the equivalent area of low-rise buildings).
    As for your commentary on “metroplexes” – Chicago has a vast amount of urban and suburban area which is reachable entirely by light rail and bus. In a pinch, there are perhaps 5-6 million+ people in the Chicago area who could get along just fine (if inconveniently) without a personal car. The remaining 2-3 million might have to move in a bit closer to a rail line or bus terminus. The exurbs would indeed wither and die without cars – but the Chicago metro area will survive quite nicely.

  34. Neon Vincent June 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    @thomas99: McVeigh was actually from upstate New York (Lockport to be exact). It was his co-conspirator Terry Nichols who hailed from the rural Thumb of Michigan.
    Speaking of Michigan’s economic troubles and government’s efforts to cope with the new reality, check out this article from the Daily Telegraph (UK).
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/5516536/US-cities-may-have-to-be-bulldozed-in-order-to-survive.html
    US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
    Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic “shrink to survive” proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.
    By Tom Leonard in Flint, Michigan
    Published: 6:30PM BST 12 Jun 2009
    “The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.
    Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

    In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside.”
    Much more at the link, including 780+ comments and counting. Hat tip to Calculated Risk for bringing this article to my attention.
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/06/cities-downsize-to-survive.html
    There are also 300+ comments on the Calculated Risk entry.

  35. ASPO Article 1037 June 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    It may be some small encouragement to interested parties to hear that the skeletal contingent of railroad savvy people in America have steadily been putting back selected parts of the secondary branchline network. The American Shortline RR Association has some 600 members, and it has fallen to them to assess, in their respective locales, prioritization of rehab efforts. The imminent gas/diesel rationing (Federal Executive Order) comes when overseas suppliers balk at dollar payment. Then everyone’s hat is in the ring.
    US railroading is accomplished on two tiers: Trunkline Mains, result of mergers over the last fifty years; and the 100’s of viable feeder lines salvaged or spun-off from the merged mega railways. Kunstler’s book, “The Long Emergency” helps frame the picture that fosters attention to deliberate rehab of branchline rail connection to many places now truck-dependent. Places near dormant rr corridor not of interest to operating shortline operators will need to approach operators, and form local consortiums or partnerships to reconnect.
    A more orderly and effective way in some States might be re-commissioned Railroad Operating & Maintenance Battalions under US Army/National Guard auspices. ANG rail units add assistance in disaster recovery, and save Defense Dept. money in domestic transport activity. Trucks are used where the rails don’t go, the incentive is again there to increase the rail coverage. All HQ Company office adjutants should have available accurate maps of their respective region’s rail footprint past & present. Quick way is to obtain same from spv.co.uk. Also, copy of GCOR (the railway rules) can be downloaded.
    Past military railway doctrine is outlined in James A Van Fleets “Rail Transport & The Winning Of Wars”, dated but interesting comments on folly of depending on imported oil, and need to hedge against homeland attack, etc. Get Van Fleet’s book from American Association Of Railroads library (202-639-2100) and visit your National Guard unit. Military rr units, even deminimus, provide seedstock rail savvy people for the private sector rehab needed across the US.
    By now, we know the Feds are following Peaking Oil, and probably are waiting for another shoe to drop, whether it be attack or weather event, or inability to chase adequate imported oil by financial collapse.
    It’s time to start tweaking, via the local congressman or senator. The web offers letter forms. Has every elcted official gotten their personal copy of “The Long Emeregency” and Swan’s “ELECTRIC WATER”? Hand delivery with a chat is very effective. Personal contact (I claim visit with Senator Reid, and staff in both CA Senator offices, congressmen, Boards of Supervisors and Planning Agencies) is certainly doable by many. Do your Peaking Oil homework, be familiar with critical rail connect needing rehab in YOUR respective locale.
    Thank You, Jim, for plugging away. We know about catching the flak, but what’s coming is orders of magnitude worse! As usual, must mention CalTrans’ CEO Will Kempton, asking him to get out copies of the 1995 (Unabridged)US50/I80 Reno-Tahoe rail Corridor Study to Northern CA planners.
    Other 49 State leaders can get local rail on the table too. Gov. Palin? How about you, Gov. Huckabee? Corporate execs, what about you-all at Wal-Mart, UPS, Georgia Pacific? GM…

  36. ASPO Article 1037 June 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    It may be some small encouragement to interested parties to hear that the skeletal contingent of railroad savvy people in America have steadily been putting back selected parts of the secondary branchline network. The American Shortline RR Association has some 600 members, and it has fallen to them to assess, in their respective locales, prioritization of rehab efforts. The imminent gas/diesel rationing (Federal Executive Order) comes when overseas suppliers balk at dollar payment. Then everyone’s hat is in the ring.
    US railroading is accomplished on two tiers: Trunkline Mains, result of mergers over the last fifty years; and the 100’s of viable feeder lines salvaged or spun-off from the merged mega railways. Kunstler’s book, “The Long Emergency” helps frame the picture that fosters attention to deliberate rehab of branchline rail connection to many places now truck-dependent. Places near dormant rr corridor not of interest to operating shortline operators will need to approach operators, and form local consortiums or partnerships to reconnect.
    A more orderly and effective way in some States might be re-commissioned Railroad Operating & Maintenance Battalions under US Army/National Guard auspices. ANG rail units add assistance in disaster recovery, and save Defense Dept. money in domestic transport activity. Trucks are used where the rails don’t go, the incentive is again there to increase the rail coverage. All HQ Company office adjutants should have available accurate maps of their respective region’s rail footprint past & present. Quick way is to obtain same from spv.co.uk. Also, copy of GCOR (the railway rules) can be downloaded.
    Past military railway doctrine is outlined in James A Van Fleets “Rail Transport & The Winning Of Wars”, dated but interesting comments on folly of depending on imported oil, and need to hedge against homeland attack, etc. Get Van Fleet’s book from American Association Of Railroads library (202-639-2100) and visit your National Guard unit. Military rr units, even deminimus, provide seedstock rail savvy people for the private sector rehab needed across the US.
    By now, we know the Feds are following Peaking Oil, and probably are waiting for another shoe to drop, whether it be attack or weather event, or inability to chase adequate imported oil by financial collapse.
    It’s time to start tweaking, via the local congressman or senator. The web offers letter forms. Has every elcted official gotten their personal copy of “The Long Emeregency” and Swan’s “ELECTRIC WATER”? Hand delivery with a chat is very effective. Personal contact (I claim visit with Senator Reid, and staff in both CA Senator offices, congressmen, Boards of Supervisors and Planning Agencies) is certainly doable by many. Do your Peaking Oil homework, be familiar with critical rail connect needing rehab in YOUR respective locale.
    Thank You, Jim, for plugging away. We know about catching the flak, but what’s coming is orders of magnitude worse! As usual, must mention CalTrans’ CEO Will Kempton, asking him to get out copies of the 1995 (Unabridged)US50/I80 Reno-Tahoe rail Corridor Study to Northern CA planners.
    Other 49 State leaders can get local rail on the table too. Gov. Palin? How about you, Gov. Huckabee? Corporate execs, what about you-all at Wal-Mart, UPS, Georgia Pacific? GM…

  37. polyorchnid octopunch June 15, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    The big problem with skyscrapers is that they require elevators to work. No elevator means no use for the building. Also, while older and smaller highrises were not built with climate control in mind, newer ones are completely dependent on climate control to be able to maintain reasonable air quality… and that’s an even tougher problem than the elevator problem.
    If there’s a massive social breakdown caused by energy scarcity, how will they be maintained in a way that actually allows most of these buildings to be used by human beings? It’s not clear that there’s a real answer to that. In Toronto, one of the things that has been done has been to use deep lakewater from Lake Ontario to maintain cooling in the buildings, but most cities won’t have that kind of option, and that solution requires that it be started before energy scarcity really bites in. And, despite that, it still doesn’t solve the problem of air quality or elevators should the electricity infrastructure stop working effectively without fossil carbon to run the generators.
    All that said, I personally think that our city centres can be viable… but it will absolutely require that most of the exurbs be returned to being productive farmland so that food doesn’t have to travel far to get to where the people are. Many European cities have that solution in place far better than most North American cities do. In that sense, the plan to start bulldozing empty burbs in Flint is a good place to start….

  38. Michael Dawson June 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Jim, I don’t think it’s plain stupidity blocking low-tech rail. I think it’s the same-old same-old — the defense of the business interests of the auto-industrial complex.
    High speed rail lines will be (if they ever actually get built) the equivalent of jet travel, namely very expensive items enjoyed occasionally by the upper third of the society. As such, they are only a mild threat to cars-first/corporate interests.
    Low-tech rail, however, would be a real threat to cars-first.
    Hence, it’s “not on the table.”
    Obama isn’t stupid. He’s merely a whore.

  39. Colorado Greg June 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    LM Foster wrote: “We need to focus on local change to local laws that will give more Mom-and-Pop scale operations (backyard chickens, community gardens…”
    But what is Washington doing instead? Check out Monsanto’s dream bill HR-875 at: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=12671
    As a local clean-food producer (market gardener and pastured poultry grower), this “law” will put me out of business if passed. Furthermore, since we raise organic poultry and grass-fed beef for local market, we are in the crosshairs of big agri-biz conglomerate cannons through the USDA’s wonderful “National Animal ID System” fascism. Check it out at:
    http://nonais.org/but-what-is-nais/
    Big Biz is using Big Gov to go exactly the wrong direction where local, small-scale food production is concerned.
    Keep preachin’, Jim. You’re okay.

  40. wardad June 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    “head ape”
    That’s just fucked up.
    Do you want to walk that racist shit back or do you need help?

  41. dale June 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    I remember taking a train trip from the Central California coast to southern Washington back in the early 90’s. At one point we were delayed on a siding waiting for another train to come through, we waited about 20 minutes, and finally a train load of scrap metal came through. The train employees were pissed that junk was given a higher priority than people. Truth be told, train companies are more real estate companies than train companies, and they couldn’t care less about hauling people around.
    I doubt that high speed trains are in our near future. In urban settings they often make more sense, but even there, the greater flexibility and lower cost of buses makes far better use of existing resources than building complete train systems from the ground up. Look for vastly expanded bus systems when/if energy cost spike for good.

  42. mayberrymachiavellian June 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    Timeless quote cited above:
    “They only call it class warfare when we fight back”.
    Thanks for that one…

  43. TedC June 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    To those above who complain that government doesn’t work: It depends on who you assume it’s supposed to work for. The CEO / Banker class is almost certainly VERY pleased with their investments in politicians. The rest of us? Who cares. Money talks and BS walks. Go back to you beer and television and STFU. The opinions of the sheep are of no interest to the farmer. The quiet sheep are fleeced, the noisy ones are stewed… Get it? I thought so.
    One of my small business ideas for the near future is being a pitchfork and torch vendor. Guillotines, gallows, etc. are complicated and fiddly. We all like instant gratification, after all. To the ramparts mes amis!

  44. Dr Doom June 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Since I note Jim is replying to some comments today, I would like to ask a “follow-up” question. You mention that in the future, high rises in our cities over 20 stories will not be repaired or updated, presumably because of lack of capital. Do you mean a future starting about now, and if those types of buildings cannot be affordably repaired, what about costly highway bridges, and other necessary infrastructure (e.g, city sewers, water supply/treatment works, electrical grids)? It seems to me you are implying a whole lot less service than just loss of the interstate highways due to the loss of “level of service”.
    Also, when you do think the federal government will no longer be able to spend money to stimulate the economy? And wouldn’t that be “game over”?

  45. david mathews June 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Hello Everyone,
    The world is beautiful today …
    http://www.flickr.com/dmathew1
    It was beautiful yesterday, too. It is pretty much beautiful every day.
    I hope that Iran can resolve its political crisis peacefully. Peaceful revolutions have occurred and, with a bit of luck, perhaps this world can avoid another unnecessary war.
    As for myself, I’ve devoted my attention to watching the sun rise and set, the birds, the dolphins, the manatees and the flowers.
    If our civilization is going to die I am perfectly well inclined to let it die. Until it does, though, I’ll devote my attention to more important and enduring things.
    ***
    Oh, and one more thing … the Peak Oil movement’s long-promises oil catastrophe hasn’t materialized. It is unlikely that the Peak Oil catastrophe won’t occur until the rest of this world’s problems have overwhelmed and destroyed our civilization.
    For that reason I encourage everyone to stop wasting any time talking about Peak Oil. Peak Oil is a non-event, nothing much more than a footnote in the history of our civilization’s collapse.
    Let it go.

  46. turkle June 15, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    For anyone who is wondering, the train system in the Bay Area, California consists of 3 components: Caltrain, BART, and Muni light rail.
    Caltrain is an above-ground set of two parallel tracks that runs from downtown San Francisco to San Jose. It is perfectly adequate for getting most places on the Peninsula, coupled with a short bus ride, a (probably) long walk, or a moderate length bike ride. But it isn’t used even close to its capacity, because the economics simply do not make sense to people. It is almost $12 to get from San Francisco to Palo Alto and back. The same trip by car would cost you (maybe) $6 or $7 in gas money. So that’s not much cheaper than the train, but what if you have a family of 4? Then you’re talking almost 50 bucks to ride the train versus $7 by car. It is a no-brainer. When gas spiked at just under $4, the Caltrain ridership went way up. But then what happened? Gas went back down and the new riders hopped back in their cars.
    BART is a little better but the service is quite limited on the Peninsula. The East Bay service is great, and many people use this system to commute around the Bay Area. I would be in favor of scrapping Caltrain and extending the BART line down to San Jose, because it is underground, and hence much safer than Caltrain, which inevitably kills someone every couple months, whether it be accidental or someone deciding to end it all.
    Muni runs some light rail lines in SF, mostly East-West routes. This seems to work okay, though the traffic in SF is so horrendous and driver manners are so poor that the lines are chronically late once they get on surface streets.
    Now, under budgeting pressures, all of these services are seeing one or more of cutting lines, increased time between trains, and fair hikes. They just slapped on a $2.50 surcharge to take the train to the airport.
    So really, I’m pretty pissed, and so are a lot of people. The state government is dumping all this money into the high-speed rail boondoggle and meanwhile, the local transit is suffering terribly.
    What CA needs between LA and SF is exactly what JHK talks about, an approximately 100 mph train line. High-speed rail is too much of a NIMBY vortex, and it costs too much money.
    But I don’t expect adult behavior coming from Sacramento, anymore, nor really from many of the citizens of this state. You will be told by people driving $40,000 luxury German automobiles that they can’t afford to pay more in taxes. I mean, people’s attitudes are really beyond selfish. Complete myopia and narcissism rule the day.

  47. RyeBeachBum June 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Too Stupid right on Jim, The Powers that Be starting from Mr Obama, and Jolton Joe Biden are trying to fix a system that is totally broken.
    They are not going to have the time or resources to get our rail system back to 1927 standards never mind 21st century ones.
    Problems with Rail,
    First in many places the tracks are gone, in example Maine just pulled up 87 miles of inactive rail bed in Washington and Hancock counties to put in a rail trail, and sold most of the rails for scrap, these tracks were still viable, they needed some new ties but the actual rails, many decades old, were still in working shape,
    The infra structure to mill new rail is long gone, the restoration of thousands of miles of rail bed would require new track as what was there originally has been scrapped and reused.
    To restore interurban street cars systems in even a few cities and even a part of the dismantled interstate rail system would require billions just to buy new track,
    If the Old colony Greenbush line in Massachusetts is an example there is no enough time or money,
    The trains ran on this 18 mile line until 1959 and on a part of it until the 1980’s when the track was removed.
    The restoration of service in 2007 took nearly 25 years and cost $512 million for 18 miles of track and seven stations. The trains run a speeds far lower than 100 mph than that of High Speed rail advocates speak of.
    The cost is equal to over $28 million a mile, and the state already owned the rail bed, and the right of way but because of the need to rebuild bridges and new tunnels the costs skyrocketed, I ask do we have the time or the money or the resources to rebuild the nation’s rail system?
    And even though these new trains will allow for rail service through out the area, the stations need for large parking lots meant that they were built outside town centers and the lack of local transit to them means that most passengers will have to drive to the stations in the first place.
    Obama wants to spend what $8 Billion on rail? (but $500 billion to AIG and friends)
    Best remember that Massachusetts spent over $500 million for 18 miles of low sped rail, so what does 8 Billion get ya another 250 or so miles of train travel. Better to spend the money on rehabbing the tracks that are still in place and pray that there will be some infrastructure that works before the oil economy totally collapses.

  48. James Howard Kunstler June 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Dave Matthews writes: You mention that in the future, high rises in our cities over 20 stories will not be repaired or updated, presumably because of lack of capital. Do you mean a future starting about now, and if those types of buildings cannot be affordably repaired, what about costly highway bridges, and other necessary infrastructure (e.g, city sewers, water supply/treatment works, electrical grids)? It seems to me you are implying a whole lot less service than just loss of the interstate highways due to the loss of “level of service”.
    Jim replies: Yes I mean “about now.” About now is when we are bankrupt, when credit is vanishing, when no one can get loans to do construction, when commercial real estate is hemorrhaging value (and “underwater” on its financing). Lookit, there have been scores of new condo towers built in NYC and Chicago alone the past 10 years. Very few of them have entered the rehab zone (a few have, actually). How about when they DO require renovation and we are 30 years past peak oil? Maybe by then we’ll be running on “dark matter” (but I wouldn’t count on it). There are also the self-evident problems with electricity, elevators, heating and cooling, replacement of high-tech cladding materials, etc. The truth is, most of these buildings were one-shot deals. They will not be fixed when their time comes. –JHK

  49. wagelaborer June 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    The difference in high rise buildings from the past and today is definitely climate control. You can’t open the windows of the new buildings!
    I have taken Amtrak since 9-11 and the onset of the military in the airports and the oppressive gauntlet that they make you run.
    Amtrak was horrible until this year. I have been up to 7 hours late. But this year they changed the rules and amtrak now has priority over freight trains. I went from Chicago to Sacramento (to the Jazz Festival) in May, and arrived on time both ways.
    Chicago does have a good transit system, comparatively speaking. And there are people working on inner city gardens, like Julie Samuels, Green Party candidate for Lt Governor in 2006.
    If I have to depend my food growing skills, I will starve. Sat I went harvest my cherries, and they had already been extremely efficiently harvested, every last one. By birds.
    I prefer to live in a cooperative society, where people trade skills and labor to help each other live decent lives.
    Of course, you’d have to get rid of the profit skimmers, speculators, war profiteers, and the like, and live in a non-profit, cooperative, sustainable society.
    So that’s what I advocate.

  50. turkle June 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    “Peak Oil is a non-event”
    You are non-intelligent.

  51. wagelaborer June 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    As for the money to rebuild, scrap the Federal Reserve System and have the government issue money directly, to pay for needed improvements, like rebuilding the rail system, and creating local sustainable electric power production and grids.
    The money earned by people building for the government will be spent in their communities, for food and the like, and thereby keep a local commerce going.
    The problem is that this government would probably issue money for prisons, weapons and roads. Clearly, we need a different government.

  52. nina June 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    I voted for the high speed rail in CA. We all have regressions in vibrational levels. Now I love it for what it was. A burp in the time space continuum.

  53. Danm June 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    I agree with Jim that our resource allocation is inefficient and will surely change but I am not sure I agree with his death of burbs and metroplexes.
    2 things come to mind when I try to forecast the evolution of our social structures:
    1. The Pyramids. They managed to build those things despite a lack of oil and technology.
    Obviously, the future of our living arrangements will mostly depend on our leaders and those who own the wealth and not necessarily on social justice and efficiency.
    2. The Palm Islands in Dubai. If oil was peaking, would the Arabs be building such extravagances? I keep on wondering if they are plain stupid or if there is still more oil than we think there is.
    I think there will be changes but I don’t think all burbs and metroplexes will disappear. I think dfferent environments and climates will call for different strategies.

  54. Dr Doom June 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Thanks for the reply Jim, but you got me mixed with David Mathews, perhaps not that far off, however, opinion-wise.
    I guess another point I was raising is it’s moron than just high-rise elevators not working in our cities in the future (starting now), it may also be lack of basic sanitation, like no trash pick-ups by heavy diesel trucks funded by non-existent taxes from its underemployed denizens, and sporadic grid power, if at all. Add a few natural disasters like river floods or hurricanes, earthquakes, and we are back in the early 1800s or worse.

  55. turkle June 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a high speed rail line connecting the Bay Area, Sacramento, and LA?
    Yes, of course.
    But the NIMBY issues alone are going to sink the project. No one wants a 200 mph train whizzing past their backyard, and it will be tied up in court for 10 years even if approved.
    For that matter, Californians don’t particularly like trains. A more car-obsessed bunch you would be hard pressed to find.
    And now that the state has something around a $23 billion dollar yearly budget deficit, I don’t see it happening at all. I mean, they are talking about shutting down ALL of the state parks, cutting deeply into social services, among other draconian measures. So there is zero money for grand plans like a gee-whiz “boy I’m jealous of France” rail boondoggle. We are at the other end. It is major triage time.

  56. Anne June 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    I’m curious as to what the optimal urban density would be. It seems to me that cities with a high urban density are extremely undesirable places to live in general. To imagine that they’re all going to be developed into lovely walkable places seems naive at this stage of the game.
    Where would you start, in, say Los Angeles? I just can’t imagine the retrofit or whatever you’d call it, that would transform even this one area, much less all the major US metropolitan areas, given the current and projected resources.
    What I would imagine happening is little islands in the morass, like downtown Pasadena. This particular much-lauded renovation is delightful to visit, but has done little or nothing for Pasadena overall.

  57. Dr Doom June 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    “Oh, and one more thing … the Peak Oil movement’s long-promises oil catastrophe hasn’t materialized. It is unlikely that the Peak Oil catastrophe won’t occur until the rest of this world’s problems have overwhelmed and destroyed our civilization.
    For that reason I encourage everyone to stop wasting any time talking about Peak Oil. Peak Oil is a non-event, nothing much more than a footnote in the history of our civilization’s collapse.”
    Dave, a lot of folks, me included, think that Peak Oil triggered the steep fall into the global economic recession-depression we are experiencing now. I’d say that Peak Oil, which happened in July, 2008, was every bit as fearsome as many suggested it might be, which is far from being a “footnote in history”. It is indeed historic.

  58. turkle June 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    “It seems to me that cities with a high urban density are extremely undesirable places to live in general.”
    Places with high population density are “extremely undesirable”? Hardly! That’s just personal opinion. San Francisco, Chicago, New York, etc. are great places to live, especially for young and/or single people. Millions of people think so. That’s why these places have such high population density in the first place, because, you know, people like cosmopolitan areas where they don’t have to hop in their cars and drive 10 miles to the Olive Garden for dinner. Once you live in a place where you can walk or bike or take a bus or train for everything, it is kind of difficult to go back to American Road Warrior on a daily basis.
    To me, living in an urban area is all about not driving unless I really have to. (I do own a car that I use once in awhile, like the occasional commute or special outdoors trip.) I love having good public transit, and I hate being on the roads with the general populace and their land barges, everyone going 10 mph over the speed limit and jockeying for position like it’s the Daytona 500. I have found most Americans to be generally okay people one-on-one, e.g. pretty tolerant and polite, but then you get them into cars and they turn into complete a-holes. And that’s what suburbia is all about and what small town America has turned into, a bunch of spoiled, law-breaking heavy footers who believe that their automobile is the end-all-be-all. Well, if that’s the “low density” way of doing things here, then you can count me out. I’ll take the train whenever I can over being run down by Joe Q. Fatass’s Canyonero.
    I can see why Obama is jealous of the French rail system. They make us look like a bunch of savages. Of course, it costs $50 in tolls to drive across France, but that’s part of the reason they have such a nice public transit system in the first place.
    Of course, that’s a lot of my personal opinion. I don’t like driving that much. If you do, there’s always great places you can live like, uh, Phoenix and Las Vegas, at least for as long as the cheap Go Juice lasts.

  59. zwick June 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    Before any type of rail can be built the planners have to go through the DEP for environmental impact studies (months-years) and have to use Eminent Domain laws to throw the inconvenient people out of their homes and businesses that are in the way (Years), and follow that with the primary issue, which is …who will fund this? All this takes so much time, people, that before the system runs your grandchildren will be poking through the rubble of what were once American cities looking for metal to fashion into spear points. Even if our messiah (blessed be his name) O-Man fast tracks this by throwing all laws out the window, who the hell is going to fund it? The Chinese? C’mon! And to those who say “We’ll just use existing rail lines”, all I have to say is “Bwahahaha!” Good luck with that!

  60. lancemfoster June 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Although dense urban cores will last for some time, I think Kunstler is getting at two parts to the problems with refurbishing skyscrapers IN THE FUTURE.
    1. The decrease in energy and money means most large structures, including skyscrapers, will face greater and greater challenges to refurbishment and renovation due to the amount of money available generally. So there will be a general degradation due to cost rather than ideals.
    2. Certainly, even those skyscrapers will continue to serve as shelter and business for decades even if there isn’t a lot of money for renovation. But once the places aren’t as nice due to deferred maintenance, and once the elevators begin to decline due to decreased maintenance and energy expense, the upper stories will become harder to reach and far less attractive to work/live in, past the 10th story or so. Not many people want to walk up and down even 5 stories several times a day.

  61. RyeBeachBum June 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    Just a point about new sky scrapers vs old, The older ones had steam powered lifts, later (1870’s) hydraulic pressure was used they were not walk ups, those lifts were updated years ago to the modern ones we now have, the older high rises have been modified so if the electrical grid gets iffy those buildings will be affected as well, if the power to lifts becomes intermittent then the floors of the buildings above four or five stories will become effectively useless as being trapped in an elevator even once will dissuade their use.
    As for the newer office parks with a few stories, (or older rehabbed buildings tall and low) the lack of consistent heating or cooling systems. Especially as they were all mostly hermetically sealed the in ability to open a window to cool down in the summer will in an era of intermittent power or energy shortages render those buildings useless for human activity for large amounts of the work week.
    The demolition of our older low scale buildings during the 1960’s some to be replaced by sky scrapers with the others replaced by parking lots and highways to the cities will render the urban core of most cities useless because there will be no money or will to even put in windows that open in the summer or awnings never mind passive heating and cooling. In all but a few buildings, the ones with projects in the pipeline now might stay relevant but the rest won’t.

  62. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    One of my small business ideas for the near future is being a pitchfork and torch vendor. Guillotines, gallows, etc. are complicated and fiddly. We all like instant gratification, after all. To the ramparts mes amis!
    Machetes proved quite effective in Rwanda (and quite a graphic and horrendous end to things as well!), although given our country’s prediliction for firearms, my money’s on them.

  63. lancemfoster June 15, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Rationality in the decision-making process is often only a footnote.
    “2. The Palm Islands in Dubai. If oil was peaking, would the Arabs be building such extravagances? I keep on wondering if they are plain stupid or if there is still more oil than we think there is.”
    Re-write this as:
    2. Easter Island. If wood is disappearing in order to make canoes needed to fish for food, would the Easter Islanders be cutting down the last trees?

  64. SJH51 June 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    Urban survival is not an oxymoron. In the Seattle area, we have formed dozens of sustainable groups, in city neighborhoods as well as in the suburbs. The umbrella group is called SCALLOPS – Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound.
    http://scallopswa.org/
    Some of the things we focus on: learning and teaching urban farming skills, retrofitting our houses with solar power and rooftop rain-harvesting; alternative energy like bicycle transport, building greenhouses, chicken coops and community. Are other cities starting sustainable neighborhoods?
    Most of us do not trust any government for help surviving the current hard times that which will result in the Great Emergency. All levels of government from the feds down to the cities are on the edge of bankruptcy. Washington State is making horrendous cuts in services, like health care, education, and environmental protection. Even our city streets have potholes that have been around so long they should be listed on the National Historic register.
    Seattle’s idiot mayor proposes multi-million dollar beautifuckation projects, while sending cops to raid homeless encampments. He claims to have reduced the number of homeless people in our city. In fact, during his tenure the number has reached an all-time high.
    For some reason, Mayor Greg Nickels has a national reputation as a “green” mayor, but it’s completely undeserved.
    Our area also has many empty storefronts and mall shops. The feds tell us that “except for food and energy,” inflation is very low. The fact that you can buy a new car or big ticket electronics at record low prices is irrelevant. The price of the stuff we HAVE to buy – like medical care, food and energy – is going up every week.
    Don’t be fooled by federal government reports on inflation or about the number of people out of work. They manipulate the numbers and lie in order to keep us complacent. We are not in another cyclical recession. We are heading toward the deepest economic depression imaginable.
    I love the quote “They only call it class warfare when we fight back.” Does anybody know the source of the quote?
    Susan
    Seattle

  65. RyeBeachBum June 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    I guess the questions I have is the Obama administration going to continue wasting its efforts propping up the BAU crowd or will they realize that the situation has changed because of Peak Oil,
    and if Obama is going to spend his first and what will probably be his only term chasing rainbows how much longer to the collapse of society does his over borrowing and give a ways to broken industries and Bankers and inaction on PO bring us?

  66. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    Best article I’ve read yet on forces at work behind the still emerging world wide financial meltdown. Written by a PhD economist and rather long-winded (in a good way IMO), its written in layman’s terms and really spells out the scope of a problem that is enormously larger than is being let on in the popular press.
    http://blogs.ft.com/maverecon/2009/06/after-the-crisis-macro-imbalance-credibility-and-reserve-currency/
    Executive Summary: due to the almost unimaginably large amount of “toxic debt” clogging the system, which should it be allowed to continue to clog the sytem would hamper the effectivness of any attempt policy makers made to bring about recovery, policy makers had what the author aptly called the choices of a horrible end (let the banks fail) or endless horror (try to re-inflate the system and hope that the system can work out the bad debt in a time frame that doesn’t make us wish we’d chosen the first option).
    Obviously we chose the latter option. The author then sees a prolonged period of massive government deficit spending intervention in an effort to fend off what would otherwise be a rapidly deflationary environment – in short – the worst of both worlds – as government inflationary pressure battles to a standoff with the otherwise normal deflationary pressures of unwinding all that bad debt. Of course, US fiscal solvency and its questionable ability to continue to stand in opposition of what would otherwise be a virtual tidal wave of deflationary unwinding is the wild card in the mix, and the one that should give anyone pause when they consider that we’re now reinflating the bubble once again, doubtlessly with even more NEW bad debt, in addition to previous debt that was either swallowed by the government or simply allowed to remain on the vine due to current bailouts.
    The implications of all this should be sobering, especially if you consider a likely scenario that would be supported by this paper: the economy stagnates (or worse) under Obama, and continued oil price spikes further contribute to a general feeling of public malaise and increased discontent with Obama’s promise for “Change You Can Believe In.” The midterms show a sizable shift to the right, and what little legislative momentum Obama once had gradually bogs down to a standstill, followed by a Conservative groundswell in 2012 to totally reverse course.
    Stimulus spending is immediately stopped, social spending gets first the axe and then the fire, massive regressive tax cuts get passed to stimultate business spending (which also fail to work, due to the fact that the same toxic debt that prevented stimulus spending from working still clogs the system), followed finally by a long overdue pent up tsunami of deflationary unwinding that virtually wipes away society as we know it, all without the benefit of any remaining social saftey net.
    Granted, not a pretty scenario, but one that everyone would be wise to consider.

  67. turkle June 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    The NYT article on the proposed high speed rail is REALLY good. Thanks for posting it.

  68. heavyenlightenedone June 15, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Howard,
    Don’t worry about having to live in a Clusterfuck nation – most of the developed world seem bent on a similar direction, and you’ll have plenty of company.

  69. orionoir June 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    the collapse of 2008 seems to have acquired the mysterious power of myth — no matter what you want to see, you’ll lehman bros’ demise is where you’ll see it.
    peak oil caused the housing boom? i thought it was greenspan’s insistently cheap credit, all that monetary ritalin meant to steer the markets through various rocks and hard places. or was it that most insidious foe china, gorging on our paper because it had nowhere else to sock the dollars that came flooding back from the fine nation of consumerism, in which case should we not blame all of us, you and me, walmart shoppers to the very end?
    i blame the wall street rocket scientists, the ones who weren’t very good, the ones whose supervision was even worse. supposedly they were paid the big bucks because they were good; bummer that they weren’t.

  70. georget June 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Highrpm,
    The basic purpose of public education systems is to create compliant work slaves to create more capital to be siphoned off by the parasites that control the majority of the world’s wealth.
    Almost every school child comprehends at some point that they are incarcerated against their will when they are in school. Being allowed to go home, for them, can be likened to work release for prison inmates at ‘correctional’ facilities.
    Preparation for this school incarceration begins years before they enter kindergarten, because it became clear from the beginning to parents and the government that the children would revolt when given forced training during a significant part of their waking day. Behavior modification is used from an early age by parents and the media to create a more acceptable psychological state in the child so they aren’t as resistant when the time comes to be ‘educated’ in a secured facility.
    Public Educational facilities act deliberately when they don’t emphasize the ability to critically think. School is all about indoctrination and regurgitation of authorized information. The whole coercive educational system would collapse immediately if the students/inmates were allowed to critically evaluate it. Very few students go through the educational system and still retain this ability to critically think. The more years of ‘education’ a child has, the less the chance they will retain this ability.
    A critical thinker would view the whole affair as forced incarceration and game it in any way possible.
    A critically important question here is why so many people have been conned into believing that public education is ultimately beneficial to their children. This notion has been masterfully propagandized and indoctrinated into generation after generation.

  71. J:Lai June 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    JHK, I am a fan of your work, especially “The Long Emergency” which was one of the first books to really open my eyes to the magnitude of some of the problems we face.
    However, it is extremely aggravating when you make assertions with little or no support other than anecdotes or the simple tautology that you have made the same assertion in the past. For example, this week you assert that high-speed rail of the type proposed in CA is a boondoggle because the resources to build it do not exist (I am paraphrasing but I think I have the gist of your argument.) You also claim that skyscrapers, and large “metroplex” cities in general, are not sustainable living arrangements (classifying them with sprawl suburbs/exurbs in terms of sustainability.)
    I have read a large amount of your writing, and none of it, to my knowledge, contains any real evidence to support these statements beyond speculation and wishful thinking.
    Regarding high speed rail, while you could argue that it may not be a good allocation of resources, it would be hard to make a convincing case that it can not be done with current resources. Regarding skyscrapers, again, it is not at all clear that moving air, water, and mass up a vertical and densely populated tower is less efficient than moving the same things laterally across a lower density population.
    There is a lot of merit to what you have to say, but it weakens your arguments when you include poorly supported, “knee-jerk statements like the kind above.

  72. CAG June 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    Welcome to the world turned upside down or as I like to call it the first level of hell. Peak Oil is real get used to it. It is doubtful that anybody posting on this blog works in the Oil Industry or Oil Service Industry however I do. The number of world wide oil & gas projects that have been canceled and postponed in 2008-2012 are approaching 130 Billion US.You might want to add the following to your vocabulary: peak natural gas. The fuel that is going to bridge us to the future however long that is and to where ever the bridge ends. The estimates on population growth into 2025 are insane. Get used to the hydrocarbon roller coaster.

  73. turkle June 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    georget,
    Well, gee, I’m not sure about your assertions that public education is a bad thing. I certainly benefited from it.
    For starters, try comparing the countries in the world that have compulsory K-12 education with those that do not. Which ones are doing better economically, socially, etc.?
    You can spout rhetoric about your dislike of the public schools, but the facts don’t back it up. Country’s which don’t have mandatory education are places like Nigeria and Afghanistan. Can you provide a single counter-example of a modern society that has no compulsory K-12 education and is doing well by any standard…social, political, economic, or otherwise?
    Bottom line is that level of education is highly correlated with income. And the wealth of countries is also closely tied to the education levels of its citizens. I hardly think that either of these facts is a simple coincidence.
    If you want to talk about a lack of critical thinking, this is easily explained by the pervasiveness of brain-draining media like television and video games, which lead to a certain mental state that is not particularly conducive to logical thought. Books, on the other hand, or reading in general, have the opposite effect. It doesn’t have to do with education so much but people’s desire to simply plug themselves into the soma box and not think about anything important, because it is too scary or difficult. If anything, schooling fights against this attitude, but it is losing that battle.
    In other words, you can teach critical thinking all day long, but if all people want to do is soak up half hour television shows and commercials or play World of Warcraft until 3 am every day, it won’t get through to them, anyways.

  74. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    For the most part, I’ve gotta agree with Georget above. Although I’m sure he’s employing a little “creative license” in his description of the current state of affairs, I think for the most part he’s got it right.
    After completing high school and my first “career,” I went back to school and got a BS (an apt moniker if there ever was one) in Business and an MBA at the ripe old age of 49. Although I’ve always thought school entailed at least a small part of personal responsibility if it was to be worthwhile, I was quite surpised to find that very little had changed in the 30 years I had been out. The college students I was surrounded by were even more cynical and lackadaisical as a group than I remember my high school counterparts being, and virtually none were surprised by the economic concept of “signaling” (or as John Robb referred to it over at Global Guerillas, “credential mining”) when that was introduced as a key rational for higher education/certification in MacroEcon. Even my Profs discouraged me from staying another semester and pursuing a second major, telling me that it was really just about getting the piece of paper anyway, and that my efforts would be in vain (they were too).
    I think its probably fair to say that school is still, for the most part anyway, what you make of it. That said, it increasingly seems to be an uphill battle to maintain that view. That’s as much an indictment of our overall societal view of education, as it is the system itself, which, for those without a great deal of potential and/or motivation, amounts to nothing more than warehousing (with social perks for some).

  75. Francis Marion McSwan June 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Not sure if this interests anyone.. but its relevant in tersm of the need for the urgent national and international discussion of radical new paradigms for thinking and doing and RELOCALISAATION… so here it a brief overview..
    FYI…
    Parallel Goals: Economic Relocalisation & Political Secession:
    Act4: ? Economic Relocalization of Local Communities for Self Sufficiency ?
    Act4: ? Worldwide Peaceful Secessionary Movements Peaceful Political Secession!!! ?
    Sign the HARTSSTARH Legal and Political Petition to the Nobel Institute: Norwegian Nobel Committee
    Notice of Legal and Political Request to:
    (I) Withdraw Nobel Peace Prize’s from Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for (a) Intellectual Dishonesty & Hypocrisy; (b) Moral, Political and Religious Prostitution; and (c) ‘TRC-RSA’ Fraud and Betrayal; and
    (II) Accept Nobel Peace Prize Nominations for Dr. Albert Bartlett; Dr. Garret James Harden, and Dr. M. King Hubbert, for Intellectually Honest and Politically Honourable Ecologically Sustainable, Human Rights, Peace and Social Justice Advocacy.

  76. Dystopic June 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    Dear Jim,
    I want to say this the right way. I am a fan of your work. I respect you.
    The choices you have made to market yourself, I do not respect. This is not you. Kunstler Clubs? Duuuude. You don’t like cookie cutter architecture or strip malls, why on earth would you Disneyify your “brand” in this manner? I know you want/need to make money, but doesn’t something in your soul tell you that this is rotten to the core, that you are replicating and turning into the problem you are railing against? That you are being coopted?
    I would have never bet on this, never. Kick yourself in the ass friend. You have lost your edge. Clusterfuck nation will now drown in the vanilla flavored white noise of the blogosphere.
    Never thought you wanted “followers” dude. If I want to do the things you suggest in my neighborhood, I could use the ideas but I would never present it as a Kunstler Club. They’d kick my ass and laugh me out of the gathering.
    Tell your handler that you don’t have an ego this big and the way this is all being presented is poisoning your message rather than promoting it.
    You will see this as hateful spew, maybe even ban me, I will look on to see. It actually comes from a loving place.
    Don’t fuck this up. Keep hating sagging pants and tattoos if you like, but stay real, please.

  77. turkle June 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Jimini,
    What are you saying, that since the MBA you got turned out to not be a golden ticket, education is bunk?
    That is just pure psychological projection, my friend.
    I’m not saying that getting a degree is a 100% guarantee that you will get a great job in that field. Of course not. America is a very competitive place, and a degree guarantees you nothing. You have to compete with everyone else for a job. You have to take advantage of every little connection and internship you can. I’m sure most jobs these days are horrendously competitive, where a firm might interview 50 people for one position and then not even end up filling the position at all. So I feel your pain. The job market just plain sucks, especially in traditionally strong areas like business admin and finance.
    But statistically speaking, the correlation between income and education level is incredibly clear. The salary for a college-educated American is in general far above someone who only graduated high school and forget about people who didn’t graduate HS. You’re talking minimum wage territory. There are some exceptions, like the trades and police/fireman, but even these fields can have various levels of training and educational requirements.
    And those societies with the lowest levels of education in their populace are also the worst in all the other areas, including per capita wealth, overall quality of life, level of technology, etc. Take your pick.
    For instance, a country like Afghanistan has no compulsory schooling and what education it does have is often given an Islamic slant. It has virtually no institutions of higher learning. And look at where that country is at, mired in medieval politics, religious superstition, and tribalism.
    That’s what a modern society looks like without a comprehensive educational system. Whether you like it or not, that’s the other end of the spectrum. I’ll take our flawed system over that. I’m not saying we couldn’t improve, far from it, but writing the whole system off as just producing useless paper credentials is pure, unsupported hogwash.

  78. quietcassandra June 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    peak oil a ‘non-event’?
    peak oil causing the housing boom? (faulty logic evident in this clumsy phrase)
    For years now those who warned of the effects of peak oil made a simple broad prediction – prices would rise, the economy would falter, prices would drop, the economy would stutter into life, prices would rise …ad nauseum.
    To say these claims haven’t come to pass putting hte blame for this meltdown squarely at bankers’ feet is inane.

  79. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Hey turkle, good response, and rest assured, we don’t have much to quarrel about. I think its safe to say you have a little more “emotional investment” in the current state of affairs than I do, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I’ll qualify my arguments, and we can reach some sort of common ground.
    When I think of a “basic education system” (and when I think you do as well, as evidenced by your “third world arguments”), I think MUCH more basic. Such as a basic functional education which acquires basic linguistic and mathematical literacy, and a VERY broad and simple overview into the social sciences, the basic purpose of which would be to identify those who had the aptitude and interest to go further, and to send the rest onto some sort of vocational training (with NO PEJORATIVE CONNOTATIONS(!!!)) or other. FROM THERE, we could devote all the resources thus freed up to the REALLY SMART and DEDICATED, who clearly wanted to and deserved to be lavished with such resources.
    IMO, the current system, which wastes such enormous amount of resources on the many, who are not only unwilling and undeserving of the expense, but who are ONLY THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE in a slavish desire to appeal to a nameless and faceless “system” that demands that they attain a certain “credential” in order to succeed, is NOT ONLY ridiculous and tremendously wasteful by any account, it is TRANSPARENTLY SO on both accounts, such that even aspiring “credential seekers” see through the facade, thus undermining what LITTLE value the process might have had to all but the most deserving.
    In short, the young may not always be smart, but they’re almost ALWAYS observant. They see through our hypocrocies in ways that we have long since lost the ability see. Never more so than when it comes to education.

  80. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    I second what Dystopic said. Kunstler Clubs? I’m not diggin’ it.

  81. abbeysbooks June 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    Take a good look at all the intentional communities. There is Dancing Rabbit just north of Columbia MO and it is an eco village started by a group of Stanford graduates. There is East Wind, a looser and freer group in Tecumseh MO that now has pleanty of money thanks to its nut butter business started as a little side thing. Now a multi-million enterprise which has been a surprise to them. And of course there are thousands more all over the world. I forgot to mention the Land Institute started by Wes Jackson who still is there. Beautiful. Revolutionary in growing and harvesting. Not quite as revolutionary as Fukuoka but close.

  82. DebWNJ June 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    I didn’t find much in the magazine to inspire me, either.
    Of course, California hasn’t cornered the market on NIMBY. Southern NJ wants to extend a light-rail system and already the resistance is rising. One woman actually said: “We need public transit to get to Philadelphia. We need better roads to go north.”
    When I got bored with the magazine, I watched the History Channel show about life after people.

  83. abbeysbooks June 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    They don’t think because they don’t see. Kunstler sees because he has trained his eye by painting landscapes. Painting is about seeing, not about brushes and paint.
    A new paradigm is needed and no one is around hawking it. And the oldsters are not going to.

  84. abbeysbooks June 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    I agree with you Laura. Our govt is not composed of the brightest bulbs in the box. Mediocre minds will come up with mediocre solutions. Go into any classroom and have them work on a problem.
    More De Bono learning in school. Oh wait….that’s the UK and SE Asia that works with his ideas. His is the kind of thinking that is needed.
    The minds that got us into this mess are not the minds that will come up with a solution-Einstein (paraphrased).

  85. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    By the way turkle, statistics are INDEED useful, but in the current world context, they are more often than not ENTIRELY OVERRATED. INTERPRETATION is the key, and rest assured, the modern education system is not heavily invested into that discipline (one of the FIRST things my current employer told me after completing THEIR sponsored MBA program!). Ain’t THAT A BITCH!

  86. piltdownman June 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    When I was in college in the 70’s in Western New York (where Jim was malingering nearby, I think) — I used to take the Amtrak train back and forth to school, from the Mid-Hudson Valley, out to Rochester. Other than the fact that there were never enough cars and that we’d have to slow down or stop for various unknown reasons, the TRAINS WORKED! All it would have taken to fix the problem was a few million here or there. Renovated roadbeds and new rolling stock would have done it. And people would STILL be taking those trains today….
    My point is that Jim is right. We don’t need The Jetsons; we need The Honeymooners!
    I’ve taken the Thalys and other bullet trains in Europe. They are wonderful. But getting from Paris to Amsterdam a few hours quicker is, at the end of the day, not all that important. I would have been just as happy to have taken a “normal” train and spent the extra time reading or napping….

  87. econ101 June 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Abbysbooks- How about “If you ‘re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Eldridge Cleaver
    The real problem with our world is that there are too many people. In the mid 1800’s just as we began to understand how to harness oil for energy the popultion was between 1.2 billion (1850) and 1.6 billion (1900). Now there are 6.5 Billion or 4 times a century ago. Without oil tht population must return to that 1.6 billion level.
    If you have read ecology population stories you should remember the one about the Kalibab plateau in Arizona. We are, as a world, in that situation.
    Hunker down!

  88. abbeysbooks June 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Anyone who has read Toynbee lately will see that it is hopeless. The signs he emphasizes in disintegrating cultures and empires are so profuse now I don’t think there is any way to keep our “former glory” shall we call it. We are going to become a nation that does not call the shots. And China and India evidence all the signs of a growing civilization so hand the baton on.
    All we can hope for Obama to do is what Augustua Caesar did for Rome. He stalled the downfall for 300 years while Christianity grew strong enough to take its place in Europe. The roads Rome built enabled Christians to communicate and form a solid mass to take over the Roman Empire.
    And we see Putin trying very hard to re-establish the Soviet Empire. That was done before too (Persia?) but the second one didn’t last too long.
    Really if you read Toynbee (2 volume condensed is great) the foundation is clear and firm for all to see. Too bad our congress doesn’t read, not even the hundreds of pages in a Homeland Security bill.
    Disgust is all I feel.

  89. abbeysbooks June 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Anyone who has read Toynbee lately will see that it is hopeless. The signs he emphasizes in disintegrating cultures and empires are so profuse now I don’t think there is any way to keep our “former glory” shall we call it. We are going to become a nation that does not call the shots. And China and India evidence all the signs of a growing civilization so hand the baton on.
    All we can hope for Obama to do is what Augustua Caesar did for Rome. He stalled the downfall for 300 years while Christianity grew strong enough to take its place in Europe. The roads Rome built enabled Christians to communicate and form a solid mass to take over the Roman Empire.
    And we see Putin trying very hard to re-establish the Soviet Empire. That was done before too (Persia?) but the second one didn’t last too long.
    Really if you read Toynbee (2 volume condensed is great) the foundation is clear and firm for all to see. Too bad our congress doesn’t read, not even the hundreds of pages in a Homeland Security bill.
    Disgust is all I feel.

  90. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    econ101,
    Agreed. We are all collectively on an exponential growth equation treadmill, driven in my opinion by modern theories of economics and finance. As in, such a level of investment at such a level of return will result in such a level of economic growth, which will result in such a level of infrastructure growth, which will enable such a level of population growth, etc.
    Psst… The exponential growth model is illegitimate when applied to human endeavors. Spread the word.

  91. Colorado Greg June 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    “…identify those who had the aptitude and interest to go further, and to send the rest onto some sort of vocational training…”
    Fully agree. I employ young men with college degrees (to move hay bales and schlepp feed bags) who cannot describe to me what their education taught them. I did not have the luxury of going to college, but it is I who employs them.
    They are simply educated beyond their intelligence.
    The “system” should never have let them waste public resources (grants, student loans, etc.) for something that is now of no use to them as they serve coffee and tend bar (their other jobs). And sadly, they generally are very poor employees anyway; I’ll take the ignorant farm kid any day of the week.
    Our land grant colleges have become little more than diploma mills.

  92. stevo_au June 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    Here is Western Australia our government is still in the process of shutting down our grain railways in the farming areas west and southwest of Perth.
    This is how we used to get the grain to ports/market etc. The reason – ‘we can’t afford it’.
    The total cluelessness of politicians everywhere is staggering.
    Meanwhile everyone in Australia has a smug look on their faces as they say we have ‘dodged’ the worst of the global downturn like it was just a temporary thing that could be dodged. A sucker run on the ASX just seems to be the the bait to drag in the gullible mums and dads again.
    Meanwhile the layoffs continue and we fired our last not debt stimulus months ago.

  93. littleplanet June 15, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    Somewhere in Shanghai is a rather large room with a rather large table (possibly the size of the new Yankee Stadium) and upon this table is a model of the…future Shanghai. I’ve only seen it somwhat vaguely in pictures…
    It is a fascinating thing. Something one gazes at, much the same way they would at a writhing nest of rattlesnakes. It is quite horrific.
    What it represents is something sort of like Manhattan, only grown to the size of Long Island itself. This is supposed to be Shanghai’s future.
    Although only small parts of the model represent truly gargantuan skyscrapers…of Empire State height….it’s all tall buildings…tens of thousands of them, it seems.
    One gazes at this, then ponders the amount of energy it would take to run it all. All those elevators….
    This was the best choice, it seems…of what to replace the old slums with. Something designed to hold the population of California in an area perhaps the size of greater Los Angeles.
    Hard to believe that this is someone’s bright idea – and that anyone ever took it seriously.
    I have no idea what percentage of what’s on that table has already been built, but I would guess they’re probably honing in on the halfway point by now…

  94. Jimini June 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    I’ll take the ignorant farm kid any day of the week.
    CG, ain’t the final shit of it all? If they’d only left “well enough” alone, we’d have ALL come out better in the long run!
    Oh well, so much for social engineering.

  95. k gleason June 15, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    SO A COLLEGE DEGREE IS B.S.!!!1
    HAHAHAHA…I RECALL AN EVENT HERE IN SANTA MONICA CALI WHERE A ‘TOWN PLANNER’ TYPE TOLD ME PROUDLY THAT 1 IN 3 CLASSES THE LOCAL JC WAS OFFERING WAS ..YIKES…ONLINE….
    TO WHICH I TOLD HIM IT WAS TURNING THE SCHOOL INTO A DIPLOMA MILL..
    BUT ITS NOT JUST WHAT HE SAID ITS HOW HE SAID IT..
    like..im a city planner…we have solved the congestion at the school by turning it into a virtual U…

  96. k gleason June 15, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    5 billion??
    id wager 6.5 billion….perhaps 7 billion..
    and here in USA we have lost 90% of our topsoil!

  97. k gleason June 15, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    EDUCATION= SOCIALIZATION=INDOCTRINATION
    FOR a read on how that works in Psychiatry theres a best seller called ‘ FINAL ANALYSIS’

  98. jonabark June 16, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Also in Abu Dhabi They have started building the worlds largest green city called Masdar City to be carbon and car free. So they may be using their oil wealth to be preparing for times of less abundant oil. Anyway as Oil depletes it will soar in price and having made Dubai a safe home for the ultra rich including Haliburton HQ they will likely be able to enjoy prosperity for longer than most.

  99. rocco June 16, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    Greetings:
    Logic, and rational thought, critical thinking very dangerous items not only to the right wing, but also the left wing. Evidenced based decisions require work, sometimes a lot of it. So lets go with happy thoughts,”Drill baby Drill” and for the left,”Natural herbs will solve all our probelms”. I love the Kunstler club idea, you have to have a starting point. JHK, after our visit to Walt’s kids, off to KSC,and see the glory of space conquest. All the Senior Citizens I spoke to( they usually speak freely) are sad and see the end of NASA,but I understand the hope folks have in beating peak oil. During the tour you see that America had serious set backs, but we won out in the end. I understand the tech gang that is positive they can keep us running without oil, the Star Trek effect.

  100. abbeysbooks June 16, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Montessori, John Holt, Herbert Kohls,A.S. Neill,Sylvia Ashton Warner,Alice Miller,John Dewey,and many many more. We just won’t listen, will we? And if you are teaching and try to work in the fashion suggested by the above, you won’t have a teaching job for very long.

  101. Jaego Scorzne June 16, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    Not all intellectuals are academics. And not
    all academics are intellectuals. The second type
    is the problem. Very intelligent but lacking any
    real interest or vision, they can use their minds
    like a tool to learn anything-if the reward is
    high eneough. Unfortunately, this type excels in
    the highly competitive world of Academia. And from
    there, they branch out into goverment and indus-
    try. They are by definition uncreative; all they
    can do is crunch data. And of course, they resent
    the truly creative. There as so many of them that
    Academia caters to them now. After all, we need
    bureacrats and comissars! They might be all right
    in Medicine or Business, but the Liberal Arts and
    the Social Sciences?
    As for your idea of limited education: that’s
    gone. You can’t get there from here. It would un-
    dermine the essential illusion of Liberalism: that
    all men are equal. That would be graphically ill-
    ustrated by the dearth of Black and Brown faces
    among the gifted. We have torn our Society apart
    for a complete lie-that they are our equals in
    intelligence. The average African American IQ is
    85. The average Mexican about 90. As America be-
    comes more Black and Brown, the test scores will
    continue to fall. It cannot be otherwise. The Dead
    White Guys were right about this and their fears
    about the dullness of universal Public Education
    are begining to look prescient as well.

  102. jonabark June 16, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    The question is what will large cities offer in exchange for food as core resources become scarce? banks?, pole dancers?, investment strategies?, college degrees, retail sales marketing strategists? What gets made in America?The question is how will a desperate and well armed population keep from breaking down into small warring political units. This is not just about the inconvenience of trying to run a suburban America without Oil, or the turmoil of climate change, it is about the the population limits of a world feeding itself with oilbased agriculture. The US has become a fat, aging, bankrupt population trying to scare everybody into loaning us money as though their life depended on it and then using the money to eat out and sending bankers , investors and armies to steal their resources. Now they have the machines and the industrial work force and tradable goods and the software engineers and plenty of resources. Soon a new international reserve currency will be announced and our copper coins will be worth more than our dollars. What will we do with our armies then ? Go to war with China, Russia, India and South America all at the same time. Call on the coalition of the willing?
    Offer them McDonald’s franchises and sugar water? Hey it’s the real thing.

  103. jerry June 16, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    I enjoy reading what James speaks about in regards to the New Urbanism, and the direction our President should be going in. But the fact is that he, and Congress are derailed, and will not be set right on the tracks because there are too many corporate thieves stealing from the treasury and the economy. A working nation, both in vibe, as well as through hands-on work, is not what these corporate thieves want.
    The point of stupidity running rampant throughout this nation is so clear. I had been a serious community activist in my own adopted hometown of 23,000 people for over 10 years regularly battling the stupid minds of small-minded school board officials, and township supervisors, as well as township manager in the pocket of developers. Trying to convince people that a town center, sidewalks accessible to buses, and smart growth development would be good for the community, went constantly on deaf-ears.
    Most communities are not so much different. By the time opinions are changed to accept the new American paradigm that business-must-not-be-as-usual, it will be too late.
    I believe that is the reality. Unless the nation is led by a rational idealist wanting to demand the country turned onto a better course, it just won’t happen. Obama has already failed, but so has the American people. There are no protests in Washington DC by tens of thousands of people saying to Obama–No We Can’t. America is made up of millions of lazy, hollow and stupid people.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com

  104. eightm June 16, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    Just a simple technical note: if you need mass transit from LA to SF and in between, you can get it up and running in maybe a few months and at less than a billion dollars by using BUSES. Luxury BUSES, quiet BUSES, all kinds of BUSES, that can be route analyzed through the internet (CA startups can optimize internet calling of simple BUSES), etc. Why not BUSES ? Why not a few hundred more very quiet comfortable BUSES, with private compartments for those that want it, etc. ? Because it would take 8 hours of highway trip ? So who cares ? equip them with internet lines inside, computers, etc. You could travel in top luxury, comfortably and quiet, and also work on the BUSES and be connected. Intermediate stations could also have BUSES. Maybe HYBRID BUSES ? Half electric, or methane or Natural Gas, or any other alternative fuel ? Where on earth are all those smart California startups ? Can’t any of them propose any private new compnaies that can provide such services ? Are BUSES not exciting enough ? Are they not advanced enough ?

  105. eightm June 16, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    You can also think of it this way: when a society that ALREADY has a very optimized BUS network, that does the job greatly gets rich enough, then they could take mass transit a step further and design the high speed lines. You wonder how was it possible for the USA to go to the moon in 8 years, and a BUS network across the USA is virtually impossible …

  106. Andy Williams June 16, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    hello again from sunny Wales in the UK (or to give it it’s welsh name – Cymru).
    I used to be a soldier in the British Infantry. In the 1980’s I was based in Hong Kong for 3 years. We used to patrol the border with Red China catching illiegal immigrants etc (it’s funny how people who escaped Soviet Russia at that time were considered refugees, but people who escaped Red China were seized and sent back. Smacks of racism). Anyhow, we watched them develop a small fishing village called Shenzhen over the space of two years into a bustling metropolis of over a million inhabitants complete with factories, tower blocks, shops, roads, schools, hospitals – the full hit. In two years. It was all real, we used to get day visas from the chinese embassy in Hong Kong and go their for a day on the beer (you could get absolutely smashed for about US$2).
    But it always used to trouble me. How could the west compete with a countyry that could build a city of a million so quickly from nothing.
    I fear the answer is, it can’t. We are watching the death of the western world. It will probably take a couple of hundred years to finally fully collapse and we are plunged back into a new Dark Age of illeteracy, serfdom and raiding barbarian hordes, but the game is up.

  107. St. Vitus June 16, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    Standard rails are already, more or less, in place between SF and LA, and buses (rubber/asphalt) are much less efficient than trains (steel/steel), i.e. rolling resistance. Let’s do it right. Minimal stops, frequent service, 100-130 mph trains, given the right of way would be perfect for this route.

  108. Laura Louzader June 16, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    The reason government programs to do anything but govern- that is, keep the sidewalks clean and repaired and protect us from criminal aggression within and without- do not work, is that governments do not have to deal with the constraints under which private entities labor and that forces them to be creative and “fine-tune” their responses to market signals, and to be very sensitive to those signals. Governments on the other hand, can continue on with a failed program because they have an unlimited supply of causeless money and cannot be held accountable for bad results. They have unlimited budgets that they manage always to overshoot, and when confronted with a problem, their first impulse is to throw unlimited gobs of money at it, and keep repeating it until they somehow, by accident, get it right, which they almost never do.
    They are deaf to the “feedback” that would tell them whether or not their programs were truly working, and they have the power to get into the public for whatever amount of money to put into place sweeping multi-decade programs. By the time the unintended consequences set in, the program is so set in stone and has so many people dependent upon keeping it going, that it becomes its own purpose no matter how negative the results are. The massive failure and damage to cities caused by public housing is one prime example, another is the interstate highway system.
    A few weeks ago, my family came to Chicago on Amtrak, and we took a jaunt down to the Museum of Science and Industry. The California Zephyr, the incomparably elegant and swift train once run by Burlington Northern, was on display there, and is the exhibit I love, for this train is one of the most beautiful vehicles ever built. But it makes me weep to see what some people in this country were capable of in 1934 and what is being done now. Why aren’t Burlington Northern and C&NW and Union Pacific running passenger service? The market is there, for a fact. I can almost guarantee that if one of these railroads decided to reclaim one of the numerous old interurban rights-of-way between Chicago and St. Louis, say,and offer limited stop,luxury service that ran dependably and frequently at 80MPH average, that thousands of business and leisure travelers who pack the planes that run like buses between these two cities would happily ditch the brutality and incivility of the airports for the train. The fact is that the private rail carriers confront so much obstruction and regulatory strangulation, in addition to an extremely uncertain and treacherous tax situation, that they could scarcely get the project underway for fighting the airline lobby and dealing with local obstruction across the state.
    So we’re stuck with Amtrak, the government’s solution. Now, I don’t want to dis the bulk of Amtrak employees, who are trying their best to do things correctly under difficult conditions- like having to run on beaten-up freight track that belongs to other carriers, yet being liable for mishaps that occur because of the ratty track. Or having to run trains that make 8 stops in 300 miles. It just couldn’t help but be run badly, for it is a government entity, and thus a political football, and will always be.

  109. Funzel June 16, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    GEMEINNUTZ GEHT FOR EIGENNUTZ !

  110. Goldismoney June 16, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    What’s the matter? did your mammy drop you on your head as a baby or did your Uncle Billy from Alabama molest you? I really HATE people like you and when it goes down, there will be a lot of semi auto Shotguns for POS like you. My boss is the smartest guy I know and Black, and the only reason I would stay on my job. He has travelled and worked in 30 different countries. Incindentally, he’s from Alabama, and a grandson of Sharecroppers. I don’t think he knows your Uncle Billy though. When it all comes down, and I mean it all, there will be hell to pay for POS like you.

  111. Goldismoney June 16, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    I’m familiar with the nut butter group. Thanks for reaching out. Very thought and much apppreciated. A 1000 blesings.

  112. Danm June 16, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    IMO, the current system, which wastes such enormous amount of resources on the many, who are not only unwilling and undeserving of the expense, but who are ONLY THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE in a slavish desire to appeal to a nameless
    —————-
    I couldn’t agree more!
    It used to be that Universities were for the love of learning. That’s where the name came from. Now it’s to get that paper to get a job.
    MOST jobs out there don’t require the skills of a university degree but just you try getting a job if you don’t have that piece of paper. The whole sytem is a joke!
    What a waste of resources! We are paying for 16-20 years of kids sitting on a school bench when most jobs don’t require to know what they are learning. With a grade 6 and 7, my grandparents ran a butter factory. On top of making most kids study for too many years, the courses are misaligned with their future real life needs.
    Our system starts grooming our 5 year olds to be University material instead of workers. The reality is that most will just be workers, not great thinkers and philosophers! They should be learning language, math, life skills and some general work skills. Those who show more interest for critical thinking somewhere along the way could be offered something more.
    The person who attacked the public system was not very clear. Is it a private vs. public debate? Or ist it just a quality judgment? When you already have a 50% drop-out rate, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to get an entire poipulation into critical thinking. I think that’s a pipe dream.

  113. Danm June 16, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    The average African American IQ is
    85. The average Mexican about 90. As America be-
    comes more Black and Brown, the test scores will
    continue to fall. It cannot be otherwise.
    ———–
    Give me a break with that racist crap!
    First of all IQ tests are dubious.
    IQ test results have more to do with culture than intelligence when comparing different racial groups.

  114. JD Moore June 16, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    I want to respond to Georget first. Both my brother and I from Day One (first grade) have thought of school as a prison-like existence, in spite of what the apologists say. To turkle, one cannot take critical thinking too far. If one doesn’t follow the indoctrination, one ends poor. Why? Because employers want docile and compliant employees. Otherwise, word gets around that this person is “uppity,” thus not fit to work. Blacklisting still happens! There is far too much “higher education” out there. I see all sorts of entry restrictions for easy jobs. Corollary to this are those “intangible qualifications” for jobs in social services that have to do with one’s way of being rather than any actual skill or competence. This has spread to many other lines of work.
    This all won’t matter is the loss of cheap oil means that people will have to grow some of their own food, sew their own clothing, fix their own houses, etc. I hardly believe that large masses of the ME generation (or succeeding generations) is capable. For most of them they will find out the hard way what a waste all that theoretical knowledge is.
    To abbeysbooks, I have observed the efforts of “intentional communities” not only in the present day (Twin Oaks, The Farm of Tennessee, etc.) and of the past (Amana, Oneida, New Harmony, etc.). They seem elitist to me; if a person in their eyes doesn’t “fit in” they will cast that person out. Will they take up arms when the starving masses discover them?
    Jimini, From what I read and observe in the field of education, it seems to be subject to fads. Remember “relevance” in the 70s? Nothing’s really changed since the 20s when the present system of mass education by an authoritative teacher at the front of the room became the most palatable way to get the taxpayers to finance community education. It’s cheaper than what John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and Froebbels were advocating in the early 20th century.
    Abbeysbooks, I’m reading “A Study of History” for the third time and wonder myself if we’re starting the “rout-and-rally” period. Conversely, we may be able to keep our self-determination and last a little longer. China has the best shot of getting ahead but they have a totalitarian government (state-run capitalism, as it were) and a “universal state” was the sign of a decline. The Sasanian Empire lasted four centuries, I thought, a lot longer than the Achaemenian Empire. All this while constantly at war with the Byzantines.
    As much as I like rail transit for trunk lines, I do feel there is a place for buses, too, maybe only as a stopgap measure, or as a supplementary part of the rail system. They serve well for places too far off the track. The Green Tortoise still runs. Eightm, those are all good ideas and I expect that smart money will go there to implement those ideas you propose (luxury buses, equip them with internet lines inside, computers, etc.). Boston to New York is already a hot market, has been for well over ten years; expect this to spread elsewhere. I’m more concerned with road maintenance when there is no more gunk at the bottom of the fractionating tower. Talk with the DPW lately and find how much paving material costs these days?
    Someone, the person from Maine mentioned that the infrastructure for building rails doesn’t exist. Hell, a rolling mill is really easy to build and tool up. The USA had one in the 17th century in the town I grew up in. Making rails is basic iron and steel technology. On flat country, rail line are easy to rebuild; look at how long the Confederacy lasted at the end of the War Between the States because of overnight repairs. It’s the bridges over gorges that are expensive.
    One more note and this is to Laura Louzader. I live near Boston. Cambridge has public housing that looks just like the neighboring apartment buildings. They also rehab buildings; one would never know it was public housing. The city of Boston has torn down some of the worst projects (Mission Hill & Columbia Point) and build mixed income housing instead. We can’t build them fast enough here. Crime is way down in both places. I believe New York is heading in that direction, too. In some places, the days warehousing the poor are over. Of course all this is moot if the shelves are empty at the grocery store.
    Laura, I hope you’re a member of NARP (national Association of Railroad Passengers). “Trains, a choice Americans want.” Let us keep making noise to Congress and try and get US off this insane death spiral we seem to be stuck on.
    Thank you, James, and the intelligent commentators we have here.
    It’s an investment, not a subsidy. Please call it such when we think of Amtrak and the possible public-private partnerships with the rail lines.
    JD Moore

  115. James Howard Kunstler June 16, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    Turkle writes:
    The choices you have made to market yourself, I do not respect. This is not you. Kunstler Clubs? Duuuude. You don’t like cookie cutter architecture or strip malls, why on earth would you Disneyify your “brand” in this manner?
    Jim replies:
    I have nothing to do with this embarrassing idea.
    –JHK

  116. George Burdell June 16, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Take a good look at the dollar bill in you pocket. Look at George Washington’s. Really look at it. He seems to know something doesn’t he. There is a select group of people that rules this world. We understand what is wrong with the system and we are fixing it right now.

  117. jonabark June 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    I do not see how your thoughts are in any way a reply to mine, so perhaps you could explain that, but in my experience the libertarian philosophy you espouse and the ideas about the automatically superior expertise and quality of private enterprise is a kind of religious or philosophical belief system and has nothing to do with reality or history. The problem with our current government system is that it has become a subsidiary of corporate interests, The results of de-regulating corporations which your ideas support have been disastrous. We hoped for change, but Obama, it is now obvious, works for the same bankers and military contractors and private medical companies that the idiot Bush worked for.
    Free enterprise can provide many marvelous technologies and often produces elegant solutions to problems it can also engender slavery or freedom, as it can result in enormous fraud, waste, predatory violence, and environmental destruction. The earliest corporations were tied to the British government and engaged in slave trade, mercenary takeovers, land theft and drug and liquor sales. Without a political system that is dedicated to just distribution of power and shared commitment to the common good, free enterprise is as likely to be the economic model of Fascism or the one-party system of China as it is to be part of healthy egalitarian society. It does not automatically generate the best solutions to the human condition. Only a realistic and balanced view of economic models and a lively intellectual culture can give us the wisdom and flexibility to evade the terrible consequences of our current system and the simplistic ideas and allegiances that dominate public discourse.

  118. jonabark June 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Jim
    I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the Shanghai Cooperation Orgnization meeting taking place in Russia? Will they replace the dollar as reserve currency and how might this play out?

  119. turkle June 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Jimbo,
    The poster’s name now appears ABOVE their name. I didn’t say nothing about no Kunstler Club. :)

  120. trippticket June 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    I’m just wondering what all you New Urbanists are going to eat?
    French-fried Freegans?
    There are a few acres per capita available on Earth at current population levels. I suggest grabbing a spot with some residual fertility and getting a handful of fruit trees in the ground as soon as you can.
    Stop worrying about the elevators.
    Permaculture.
    One more time. Remember the word:
    Permaculture.
    They’re the ones you’ll be turning to for survival when TSHTF. Just like they did in Cuba when the Soviet Union collapsed….

  121. TxRengade June 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Mr. Kunstler, have you read the new book The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome By John Wasik? What did you think?

  122. wagelaborer June 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    The trains in Chicago are always packed, the buses almost always empty. The trolleys in SF are the same, most people prefer them to the diesel buses. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because when you get on a bus,who knows where it’s going? A train stays on the tracks. Plus, diesel stinks and it’s noisy.
    The ruling class began its attack on the working class with the less educated union workers. Over the years, their incomes fell faster than the more educated. Somehow, that got twisted into “educated workers are better than non-educated”. They’re not. They were just better paid, but that is now dissipating.
    Still, even the idiot Bush, a poster child for the inequities of affirmative action, Yale and Harvard both letting him enroll, recited the mantra. Faced with increasing unemployment, they call for more education. This is absurd. A 50 year old, working in a washing machine factory for 30 years and laid off, is now going to go back to college and complete with the 20 year olds, 70% who are unemployed when they graduate?
    We need a living wage for all.
    http://wagelaborer.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-about-stupid-lazy-moral-and-crazy.html
    As for IQs, you can make other correlations- here’s one that compares IQs and religion.
    http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm

  123. zwick June 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Leave JHK alone, he’s making a living. As for the folks who talk-talk about solar and buses and trains and wave power and nuclear and recycling this and that, I got some bad news for you. It’s over. That’s right-over. Instead of saving the planet or saving the nation, save yourselves. The bad things aren’t coming, they are here. It’s too late for any of the wonderful things you intelligent, well-informed people are talking about. There’s no money and no will left in this country. Just concentrate on saving yourselves. Don’t be distracted by all the happy talk from MSM, that will kill you as sure as your hungry neighbor will. Forget about hope, THAT has always been a #1 killer of thoughtful people. Prepare for the worst before the rest of the shumucks figure it out. Don’t be a victim of your ideals.

  124. Al Klein June 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Much talk about the utility of high-rise buildings. Some say they have a lower energy load per square foot. That assumes that there is no energy shortage. Problem is, high-rises have a MINIMUM energy requirement to workable at all. I was in St Thomas after a category 4 hurricane in 1996. Power was out in the whole island. The multi-story hotels there were uninhabitable. No light. No AC. Windows would not open. Elevators did not work. No water. Toilets did not flush. People were better off living on the street. At least they could relieve themselves without creating a major health hazard. I can easily speculate what a future would be like for high-rises when electric power is neither plentiful nor dependable. Not pretty. Think about it.

  125. econ101 June 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    “Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” Betrand Russell
    Andy Williams raises a chilling point, I doubt it will take 300 years the way Rome held on. I think it will be like wall street, Bulls (good stuff) walk up the steps but Bears (bad stuff, like now) fall out of the window.”

  126. Funzel June 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    jonabark,my comment was just a general remark not directed at your contribution,sorry it came out that way.

  127. WalterW June 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    JK started his blog with: “Coming home from the annual meet-up of the New Urbanists, I was already agitated from the shenanigans of United Airlines — two-hour delay, blown connection….”
    Why do we still fly around on jumbo jets with fire-hose size fuel requirements to attend conferences, meetings, conventions, seminars, colloquiums, symposiums, forums, summits, etc.?
    Ever heard of computers?
    Teleconferencing?
    Folks, if it doesn’t truly REQUIRE changing the position of an actual physical object with respect to a reference position, with all the accompanying energy requirements, then don’t “move the mass”.
    Viva la virtual!
    Walk the walk Jim!
    Walter

  128. georget June 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    Wagelaborer,
    I’ll tell you why the buses are almost empty in Chicago and SF. Because people will take any other option possible to get from A to B. The only reason buses tend to be more full in places like New York or Los Angeles, is there is a large population of poor native born and immigrants who live way too far to walk to work or, believe me, many of them would. And here’s why…following is a comment by a recent bus rider in SF:
    “My ride last night might have been the first time where I consciously thought about how awful the bus experience is/was, while I was riding the bus.
    The bus would come to these sudden halts, and then it would jerk over to the right, and stop, and start, and go diagonal, and slow down, and jerk back to the left, or forward, or diagonally left and forward, and everyone would slam into each other, and everyone’s guts would be rearranged — it was pretty much exactly how I remembered it — it was pretty much like every other city bus ride I’ve ever been on. Riding the bus in the city is just an awful experience.”
    This doesn’t even take into account the motley crew of denizens, exhibiting the full range of physical, mental and emotional health, that are collected and deposited by these giant rolling vector points. There’s the doctor bound infirm, complete with terminal sounding cough, the disoriented out-patient (thanks Ronnie) incoherently mumbling to himself, the tattooed punks with hostile twisted sneers , the drug freaks reeking of BO or patchouli, the clumsy drunk reeking of booze, the restless children with powerful voice projection and the mixed bag of disgruntled and disgusted commuting workers reeking of BO and/or assorted obnoxious perfumes and oils.
    Vivid images of Ratzo Rizzo stagger across the mind. The air quality is far below EPA grade and the olfactory experience can burn a memory that even age won’t clear.
    And oh those bus interiors, with the standard vinyl seats, coated with sedimentary layers of grime lovingly treated with greasy palm vinyl protectant or the standard issue plastic seats, guaranteed to contort, compress and pound your ass until all you can feel is the searing pain of bones and flesh beating against plastic coated steel.
    By the way, anyone out there riding buses on a regular basis? Jim?

  129. Laura Louzader June 16, 2009 at 11:15 pm #

    I ride Chicago buses and trains on a regular basis- I ditched my car when I moved to Chicago 22 years ago, and while I encounter the types of fauna you describe on our buses, Wagelaborer, they are not the largest group of passengers.
    I ride the 147,22, 36, 155 and 151 buses regularly, and used to ride the 146 and 145. The majority of the passengers are white collar workers who work downtown and live on the lakefront. I usually take the Red Line el as it is faster, and the Red is packed, hauls 125,000 people a day.
    The reason most people in Chicago’s outer neighborhoods don’t use buses is because once you are west of Western Ave, the city begins to sprawl like a suburb. There are immense pockets on the northwest, west, and southwest sides that are totally inaccessible without an automobile, and these unfortunately tend to be some of the least affluent neighborhoods, where people will soon be badly needing an alternative to their cars
    We need more rail lines badly. We would at first blush look adequately served by rail what with 5 CTA lines and 7 Metra lines, but you’ll notice that they all radiate from downtown and that there are no crosstown lines to connect them. The direst need for more crosstown lines is on the congested north side- it’s easy to go north to south on a train, or northwest to southeast, but moving east to west over Chicago, Fullerton, Belmont, or Lawrence Ave is absolutely hellish. A crosstown line over Chicago Ave from downtown out to Harlem, and another between Lawrence and Belmont up north, would make the city much more negotiable by transit for denizens of outer neighborhoods, and would make commute by train feasible for people who have to travel between the lakefront and the western edge of the city.
    Mayor Daley needs to be made to scuttle plans for the wasteful airport express, geared only to the needs of tourists, and concentrate on things that would make the whole city easier to negotiate by transit.

  130. Jaego Scorzne June 17, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    I said the average Black American IQ is
    85, not that no Black Americans have high IQ’s.
    Do you understand what an average is? I’ve met
    smart Blacks too. So what? It doesn’t change the
    facts. Liberals meet the Black Elite and think
    that all Blacks are like that. And they are very
    careful not to meet regular Blacks. I get around
    a little more than you do and read more widely as
    well. Remember, the worst kind or racism is racism
    against your own race.

  131. Donny-Don June 17, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    Dear Dr. Doom,
    I’ve watched specific “Peak Oil” dates confidently cited a number of times over the last four or five years. Including, at least once, by JHK. Only to later see them fall by the wayside time and time again.
    You yourself stated in your post above: “Peak Oil, which happened in July, 2008″ …
    Really. Do you care to place a bet on that? (Specifically, that global petroleum production will never exceed that of July 2008?) If so, I’ll gladly take that bet!
    I predict the July 2008 production will be easily exceeded at some point within the next four years … possibly even within two or three years, but that depends how quickly the world climbs out of its current deep economic funk. China, with its burgeoning new middle class of automobile-hungry consumers, will provide an irresistible economic incentive for existing producers to ramp up the exhaustion of what remains left.
    In short, global dependence on unsustainable patterns of consumption and growth is going to get worse before it grows better. It will only get better when the reality of Peak Oil and Peak Energy hits consumers between the eyes like a stray cannonball. That day may well be 10 or 15 years away. At which point, of course, it may be too late to turn our doomed ship of fools around.

  132. Dr Doom June 17, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    Hi Donny-Don,
    Perhaps you’d like to read this recent article by ace (Tony Ericson) over at TOD before making a bet with me, link here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5395#more
    If still not convinced, I suggest we wager the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate the day global production tops the current record made in July, 2008.

  133. eightm June 17, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    Quick MASS TRANSIT SOLUTION: Every local suburb – area can have a small local PRIVATE TAXI CLUB, a group of friends, or people that know each other or even just decent – honest strangers that can use a small pool of private taxis, somewhat like carpooling, but managed by a few private drivers that are paid according to distance – ruote etc. Cheap price level, many unemployed – underemployed young guys or gals that have cars and are willing to tranport people from point A to point B, maybe with internet calling, ruote optimization, etc. It can be done, some smart startups, people living in outer suburbs can reach local mall quickly with no hassle, call your club – friend driver.
    There are solutions out there if people will use their brains, we need good mass transit, everywhere worldwide, good comfortable – quiet – not jerky – BUSES that take honor in doing a good job, for the common good. What the heck, is it really so hard ? What the heck ….

  134. turkle June 17, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    Wagelaborer,
    You have it all wrong.
    You don’t need to ride the bus in New York, because the subways are so good. Why would you want or need to when the subway can take you anywhere and much faster? New York being the horrendous traffic nightmare that it is, I never even bothered with the buses when I lived there. Subways were perfectly adequate and all I needed to get anywhere in that city.
    You haven’t the first clue about the SF bus system. This is one of the best bus networks in the United States. Many of the buses run on electricity, and the coverage is comprehensive. All buses have GPS devices so you can go to nextmuni.com and see when your bus will arrive.
    The Muni is used by a whole range of people, from low to high income levels, and young to old. A lot of tourists use it. Many people use it to commute across town to work, generally from west to east (downtown). Since driving and parking is such a PITA, many people prefer it.
    The SF buses are empty? Uh, no. Whatever gave you that idea? Most lines are far from empty, except at off hours or on underutilized lines. The main lines like the 38 are almost constantly busy. There are even a decent number of riders on the main lines during night owl service from 1-5 am.
    I find your description of people on the bus pretty insulting and also typical of an insulated, snobby American. Not everyone in this world looks, talks, or smells like you. Some people have tattoos and look mean, a few people are having a conversation…so what? Cry me a river. You’re just a thin-skinned weenie.
    The buses “lurch” to the side of the road?! It is called making stops to pick people up and drop them off. That’s what buses do, genius.
    Really, you sound like a typical member of the car crowd, e.g. an incessant whiner who wants all public transit to be as comfortable, clean, and private as a $40,000 German sports car for your incredibly generous $1.50 fare. Well, sorry, Charlie, that’s not public transit and never has been. You have a very unrealistic view of urban life, and, frankly, I am pretty sick of all the whining about public transportation from intolerant crybabies like you.

  135. turkle June 17, 2009 at 5:28 am #

    eightm,
    Your model for public transportation is….drum roll….a glorified car pool.
    Fail.
    An ideal public transportation system is made up of trains, buses, bikes, and your feet, just like in civilized countries such as France and Japan, where they have thought long and deeply about such things (unlike you…and yes, it is hard to get right).
    And, you know, if I can ever swing moving over to either of those places or someplace similar, I will.
    Because I’m pretty sick of the car entitlement culture here and the way it warps people’s minds into thinking that getting from A to B must always involve a personal land barge with built-in cup holders, climate control, and a DVD player.

  136. eightm June 17, 2009 at 5:46 am #

    Public transit in those and other countries is made up of BUS + TRAIN + FEET. Bikes is completely out of the question, they can work in only very small towns – cottages, on flat lands. They are just a feel good luxury for middle class greens.
    Now in the USA, a well designed BUS fleet, done seriously, both public – private could very easily be deployed. I know that some more progressive companies like Microsoft, Google and others already have a company BUS fleet that take their workers to the offices by their BUSES. BUSES can be quickly deployed and experimented with, the routes can be laid down and tested tried, etc. But people have to also want it, try it, companies have to deploy them , etc.
    A small private taxi club is another possible idea. There are many other ideas all in between, but people have to want it.
    The countires you talk about, France , Japan are completely different from the USA, they have very high density living, their entire country stretches along for not more than about 1,000 km. In such a small area, high speed lines really are great, they serve millions, but in the USA, the country is really too stretched out.
    Also, you may want to ask yourself why do people want to go from LA to SF ? What does SF have that LA doesn’t ? Is so much travel necessary ? Is it a luxury ? Same with airline travels ?

  137. rocco June 17, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    The bus to work is a 2 and 1/2 hr adventure, costing daily the same I spend on gas each day, I work 2 jobs at the same health care place 7 days a week. I got to pay the NYS Senate parties. The bike 50 minues, canal trail, broken in parts, but ok, and to walk 2 hours and it’s free. If the bus does come on time, if not 3 hours each way. Take the daily bus same or even more than a week of gas, plus 5 to 6 hours of your day lost, hurtful when working 10 to 12 hrs per day. I use to fly when oil was down in the 30’s.

  138. rocco June 17, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    The bus takes 2 1/2 to 3 hrs to get to my job. Live near my job, too expensive big University Hospital no cheap places for a family of 5. The bike takes around 50 minutes along the canal trail, broken pavements, broken glass,but with care doable for a large man. Crime along the trail. I can walk to work in 2 hours and 5 minutes. The bus cost a bit more than buying gas for my small car. I work 7 days a week, 2 different jobs at the place. I got to pay for the New York State Senate parties. IF the bus is on time, but usually not over 3 hours each way. Work a 10 or 12 hour day, you say hell, I am driving, 18 minutes total. How can I preach peak oil?

  139. Jimini June 17, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    I was gonna post this before and forgot. Google Maps now has street view for many of the major cities in Europe and some of the countryside as well. They’ve also improved the “move forward” option, making it possible to move around alot quicker, more like riding a car or a bike rather than walking (slowly!). I took a little tour up the famed L’Alpe D’Huez in France that was TRULY the next best thing to being there (and without the oxygen debt).
    I was browsing through Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, and GB yesterday. Take a look at the inner cities and compare to the US. The smaller cars, the narrower roads, the GREAT MANY areas that are pedestrian only or limited automobile (often a narrow single lane service lane down the middle, with pedestrian only walkways on both sides). Notice the number of people you see on the streets (and the cyclists!), many ACTUALLY WALKING somewhere and not just waiting for a ride. Notice the difference in cleanliness and upkeep in the public places (even in Italy). The differences are immediately apparent and TRULY REMARKABLE!

  140. DCC June 17, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    Jimini,
    Kunstler has given a few “virtual walking tours” on the KunstlerCast podcast.
    http://kunstlercast.com/shows/GoogleStreetView.html
    The point about being able to actually see pedestrians on the street was noted in the Paris tour and also in the Detroit tour (which lacked pedestrians).
    The way those Google Street View podcasts work is that you listen to the show and follow along with the Google Street View windows.

  141. FARfetched June 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Laura, Atlanta’s transit system seems to have to same problem as Chicago’s — it’s all hub & spoke. But that’s OK, the freeways are pretty much the same way, except for I-285 (aka the Perimeter) which just circles the city & incidentally is the borderline for the 404 area code. There was some talk about an Outer Perimeter a few years ago, and they actually broke ground on the northern section, but it lost steam & probably will never be built. I think they settled for widening GA20 from I-85 west to Cumming. (old joke was that they were going to rename Roswell & Alpharetta so going north on 400, you’d pass Foreplay, Intercourse, and Cumming)
    Anyway. Getting across the northern or southern burbs can be a real b!+chfest here. You either have to go in to I-285 then out again — and at rush hour some say it’s faster to go all the way into Atlanta than to sit in I-285 traffic — or crawl across two- or four-lane state highways with stop lights every few hundred yards.
    Last time I was in one, the local buses weren’t too bad. A bit slow, but they’ve started widening the freeway shoulders where they can & designating those as bus lanes, so bus riders might still be moving at rush hour when the drivers aren’t.
    As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, part of Atlanta’s problem is suburban phobias (taxes and blackses), so MARTA doesn’t reach the burbs. The other part is that a lot of the business action has relocated to the inner or mid burb areas — and you need a car (or a *lot* of time & patience) to get there from just about anywhere.
    I’m not sure why EightM thinks bikes can’t be part of a transit solution — many buses have bike racks on them, so you can ride to the nearest stop then ride to your final destination after getting off. Works great if your transit system is mostly or all buses.

  142. georget June 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    Zwick,
    Well said.
    It is understandable though, why people would rather focus on feel good solar powered buses and wind powered 200 mile per hour trains zipping through the lush green countryside, rather than the harsh reality that is knocking on their door. Well maybe it’s only knocking on their neighbor’s door… so far.
    After all, most individuals, are still in the denial phase of this cluster, with several intense phases to go.
    Many of the national citizens are so saturated with fantasy laced mediated experiences that they have no idea what reality is.
    As the reality of the changes occurring begins to crack through their attention grabbing diversions, they tend to look for more and more intense diversions to keep their attention from focusing on the harsh realities,and for most, this will continue until there’s no longer anything intense enough to keep reality at bay.

  143. wagelaborer June 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    Well, Turkle, how kind of you to comment on my post. Unfortunately, your insults were mis-aimed. I wasn’t the one who talked about the people on the bus.
    And when I lived in SF, I always used public transportation, including when I worked the graveyard shift, and had to take 3 buses to get to work at 11pm.
    Clearly, you have misjudged me. As I mentioned, when I travel I use Amtrak, not auto or plane.
    If I go to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, or Sacramento, I use public transportation.
    All I said was, I prefer light rail to diesel buses. Apparently that is enough to set you off.
    What’s more, I like the variety of people on buses. It’s entertaining, unless they get in your face, which is extremely rare.

  144. turkle June 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    “[Bikes] are just a feel good luxury for middle class greens. ”
    Uh, no. You’re wrong there. Paris, France has around 15-20% of ALL trips done solely by bicycle.

  145. turkle June 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    “All I said was, I prefer light rail to diesel buses.”
    Yeah, me too, actually.
    Sorry for the ranty nature of my post. God, I’ve been reading too many comments on sfgate, haha. It is so trollish over there, and people seem to be constantly bitching about the Muni.

  146. turkle June 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    eightm,
    I believe the idea of the LA-SF line would be to replace air traffic, of which there is quite a lot. In France, they judge which corridors are candidates for high speed rail by looking at how much air traffic there is between the two locations. So by this standard, SF-LA would be a very good candidate for high speed rail.
    I’m not sure necessarily WHY people need to get between these two cities. Most long distance trips are, after all, quite optional.

  147. turkle June 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    The comment about the distances being too far for rail in the US makes no sense what-so-ever. How do you think people went on long trips in the States before cars? Trains, my friend! And we used to have the best ones (back in the stone age). While many at first came via wagon trails, the Western US was ultimately opened up by Stanford’s rail line.

  148. donjo June 17, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    The financial crash has done some serious damage to local business in my small Missouri town.
    The following local merchants have gone under:
    *the only local dairy store
    *only locally owned Italian restaurant
    *only locally owned bar-b-que place
    *several small retail specialty stores
    *local coffee shop hanging on, with shorter hours
    Walmart, Target etc. still at work wrecking what’s left. I’m SO glad that we must have Globalization or suffer the alternative of a severe economic recession.

  149. horizonstar June 17, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    The JHK choo-choo fan club certainly comes out in droves at the mention of a world populated by trains. Of course anyone who has spent time in the civilized world — Denmark-France etc. has a kernel of understanding that a society based upon a core rail transport system and a reasonably fair distribution of income might actually have advantages over the world built by Henry Ford.
    Spock to Earth— the USA is not part of that world, and it ain’t going to evolve into a nice landscape of livable walking villages connected by clean, efficient rail transport. We have used up our bonanza of cheap petroleum energy, and all the shock and awe we can muster isn’t enough to steal enough of the remainder from the rest of the world to sustain a SUV future.
    Nor is their enough wealth left over after the latest Bankster heist to completely reconstruct the built infrastructure we have created around the automobile. Good luck waiting for the gubmint to build a rail line to your village—-. What we have built is what we will have to live with for the next few decades. (or until the full impact of the collapse of the Greenland ice cap redefines our world.)
    Of course transportation within the suburban wasteland need not depend upon made-in-China Humvees and Henry Ford’s newest Expedition. In April of 2009 a Canadian company called Future Vehicle Technologies submitted a two passenger gas-electric vehicle to independent testing and evaluation. It deliverd 275mpg at an average of 30mph in the city, and 165mpg at 62mph average on the highway. And by the way, it goes 135mph and corners like a BMW. The APTERA vehicle from California is potentially even more aerodynamically efficient.
    Within the next 15 years most of the cars now on the road will die a natural death and be replaced (or not). The suburban houses not abandoned to foreclosure will still be there, perhaps with a few more vegetable gardens in the front lawns. And if we exercise even a modicum of economic rationality in our individual purchases, we will be making most of our trips in vehicles that challenge the passenger/mile efficiency of the few rail systems that actually get built.

  150. Ed June 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    I wonder how long the runways will be on the airports Kunstler mentioned. They will have to be VERY long to hold the enormous, miles long rubber bands needed to launch the glider airliners of the future and to give them sufficient hypersonic speed to glide 50 or 100 miles prior to requiring another rubber-boost. Without fuel, all they will be flying will be gliders.
    Ed

  151. farmboy June 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    reply to highrpm:
    “every year NEA crys for more money for their latest fix-all ill-conceived and executed progams like “no child left behind”, while their silence on worsening academic perfomance is deafening.
    re: worsening academic performance…
    crys (?) progams (?) perfomance (?)
    Hmmm…glass houses?

  152. St. Vitus June 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I think highrpm perfectly illustrated his/her point… uhm, yeah.

  153. FARfetched June 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    «[The runways] will have to be VERY long to hold the enormous, miles long rubber bands needed to launch the glider airliners of the future and to give them sufficient hypersonic speed to glide 50 or 100 miles prior to requiring another rubber-boost.»
    Ed, think “steam catapult” — use a solar concentrator to make steam. Air travel won’t be for the very old or very young… or moderately heavy.
    Launch blimps might be a more gentle way to get a glider off the ground… keep the blimp on a tether so you can get it back down for the next takeoff.

  154. george June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Frankly, I don’t think JHK has been fair to the Obama administration. I’ve read enough of Obama’s writings to know that he is acutely aware of the predicament the United States is in regarding energy and suburban sprawl. The fact that he is hamstrung by a complex and archaic political process that favors the interests of NASCAR idiots, parasitic corporations like Walmart and big land developers like Donald Trump shouldn’t cancel out the vitality this administration brings to the body politic. Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that he is the perfect candidate to lead the American people into The Long Emergency.

  155. jackysbrother June 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Its difficult to see people point the finger at Obama. This man and his administration is not the issue, its D.C politics and the collective stupidity and selfishness of the majority.

  156. piltdownman June 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    WageLaborer –
    Loved your depiction of the average bus ride…and I agree with it.
    I used to occasionally take the bus in Pittsburgh and it was always an adventure into the freak zone….attended by all the denizens you describe. Even in a city that is relatively free of street crime, I never felt safe on a bus…and yea, they were all crappy and smelly and just basically horrible….
    One of the troubles is that, on a bus (vs a train) a small number of crazed malcontents can have a larger influence than they might on a train…where there are, generally, a larger number of “normal” people. So a bus ride with “Out-Patient-Eyes-Larry” is lot more scary than if he was one of 300 people spread out across several rail cars….
    But I feel the pain of urban port authorities; if they were to improve the buses, their “lesser” passengers would likely trash them anyway…and the more upscale passenger would still stay away. I don’t know how you fix that problem.
    Rail is a good alternative, and a great deal of roadbed still exists — just waited to be cleaned up and put back into service. But…and it’s a big one, the hub concept of rail is no longer appropriate for many businesses, who, over the past couple of decades, have decamped for the burbs. So a train traveling from a large suburb to a downtown nexus simply can’t get the people to where they need to do. However, I have to think that the changes we are seeing might make those dense urban centers more viable again….and that would make the idea of train service more viable as well…
    As to Obama? He was definitely handed a major shit storm on Inauguration Day, and I am willing to cut him some slack — but his recent financial overhaul concept seems horribly weak and wimpy to me; meant to appease Wall Street rather than fix would is happening out on Main Street. And his health care ideas suffer from the same lack of big thinking. I fear that he is too much the ying to Bush’s yang — too much a thinker and not enough of a doer….
    Pilt

  157. turkle June 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Pilt,
    Why would you feel unsafe on the bus? You think someone is going to rob you or beat you up on the bus in front of everyone? I don’t think that happens very much. Worry more about looking both ways before you cross the street, IMHO. You’re much more likely to die or be injured by a speeding car than someone messing with you on the bus.

  158. eightm June 19, 2009 at 3:36 am #

    “I don’t know how you fix that problem.”
    1) Company can have a fleet of BUSES that bring employees to company.
    2) Private BUS clubs, where decent people pay a little more, but travel with same social class and type of people.
    3) Don’t allow crap people on BUSES.
    4) Have 3 or 4 different class BUSES, according to price and according to the type of person you allow.
    5) Have some security on BUSES, that control said freaks.
    6) Use higher end LUXURY BUSES in suburbs where they would be used by same social class.
    The solutions are endless, if desired, but since it is not desired it will never be implented. If peak oil is true, then buses will have to be used, there will be no choice.
    By the way, peak oil is not the real problem facing western society (the 3 macro regions of USA, EU and JAPAN, and some others Canada, South Korea). But PEAK WORK – LABOR. There is not enough justifiable work available anymore, there is not any kind of work – profession that justifies the pay levels and amount of employment needed. There is no real financial or technical imperative that forces societies to have so many people at work 8 hours a day. The real mega problem is that work is disappearing, becoming obsolete. The real problem is not the end of energy, but the end of any kind of work, and especially any kind of high paying work.
    Check out:
    http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=168540

  159. Danm June 19, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    The solutions are endless, if desired, but since it is not desired it will never be implented. If peak oil is true, then buses will have to be used, there will be no choice.
    ————
    Everything in society needs to change. There is so much red tape everywhere it’s not funny. From zoning to bylaws, there is no end!
    We had a bus strike this last winter and that’s when we found out about all the laws and regulations around car pooling!
    Everything is set up to protect the “haves”.
    It’s going to get ugly over the next decade or two.

  160. budizwiser June 19, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    Hey,
    Thanks for the attention – getting kicked off your Blog is more recognition than I deserve.
    However, the validity of the post you seemed to be offended by remains. Essentially, James, you have become as much of the problem as any solution.
    Offering weekly distractions to hundreds – to muse about technology and criticize “as stupid” those “other people” who are being influenced by “their paychecks.”
    People who have “played the game” well – and have successfully “gamed the system” are not too stupid to survive – they will remain comfortable no matter how often you write about PO or choo-choo trains.
    Face it James, it is not stupidity that guides our nation’s officials, its greed. And if you continue to state otherwise – you are too “stupid?” to survive.

  161. SNAFU June 19, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    budizwiser Agreed the problem is greed; however this greed is definitely not confined to the “officials”. Is there any doubt in your mind that the “haves” out and out procure, cajole, and force the vector of the US and all countries on the Earth to follow their decrees such that their status quo grip on power and wealth is absolute? Is it not apparent that one of the cleverest mechanisms to accomplish this end is to allow the have nots a modicum of the good life such that their reluctance to loose any of the crumbs they have been afforded keeps them marching in lockstep arms raised in a reverent salute to the benevolent shepherds? Perhaps greed is a universal characteristic of all living critters; although, my observations of the non-human critters on the farm in my corner of the Earth leads me to believe that critters other than the smart apes appear to be content with much less than having it all. The greed is in the exhorts of the religious leaders who encourage their parishioners to “go forth and multiply” ad nauseum, such that their religious order will contain more members than their rivals obviously proving the gods favor them. The greed is in the ass sucking of the economic gurus pedaling their exponential growth of human population to expedite the rate of increase of wealth for the haves thereby driving the have nots father and farther into debt. The greed is in the minds of the vast majority who have no concepts of physics, mathematics, …..or any of the hard sciences espousing their beliefs in religion, astrology , prayer….. the multiplicity’s of wishful thinking; who think that peak oil, global warming, too fucking many humans poisoning the land, the air and the water, destroying the flora and fauna …….. are lies created by liberals. As I proposed previously if you want to save the Earth from the human scourge “sterilize every dick and testicle swinging human” and give the Earth a 15 – 20 year breather without an increasing human population. If the remaining human population at that point in time has not pulled it’s collective head out of it’s ass and become a thinking realistic organism then we don’t deserve the fantastic planet the Earth once was.

  162. FARfetched June 19, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    «my observations of the non-human critters on the farm in my corner of the Earth leads me to believe that critters other than the smart apes appear to be content with much less than having it all.»
    Ken, you’ve never seen an alpha bull “interrupt” one of the other bulls trying to get laid? For certain values of “it,” many non-ape critters want it all and don’t scruple to get it. That doesn’t take away from the rest of your point about greed, though. Most people just don’t seem to have an “enough” switch. But the answer isn’t to sterilize *everyone*, just those who have certain traits that are obviously detrimental to species survival (violence, greed, xenophobia, willful ignorance, to name a few).
    Bud, you got booted for that? It would have merited a warning, maybe, but after what certain people have gotten away with week after week after week, that seems a little draconian.

  163. george June 19, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    The near-idiot leader of my country, King Stephen the Harper, has put any plans for new government spending on mass transit on ice. According to the apparatchiks that kiss King Stephen’s ass and tell him it smells like daisies, none of the plans to improve mass transit in Canada’s major cities will be complete by 2011 which means the bulk of new infrastructure spending will be on roads and highways. And JHK thought the Obama crowd was clueless.

  164. george June 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    The near-idiot leader of my country, King Stephen the Harper, has put any plans for new government spending on mass transit on ice. According to the apparatchiks that kiss King Stephen’s ass and tell him it smells like daisies, none of the plans to improve mass transit in Canada’s major cities will be complete by 2011 which means the bulk of new infrastructure spending will be on roads and highways. And JHK thought the Obama crowd was clueless.

  165. St. Vitus June 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    EIGHTM said: “By the way, peak oil is not the real problem facing western society (the 3 macro regions of USA, EU and JAPAN, and some others Canada, South Korea). But PEAK WORK – LABOR. There is not enough justifiable work available anymore, there is not any kind of work – profession that justifies the pay levels and amount of employment needed. There is no real financial or technical imperative that forces societies to have so many people at work 8 hours a day. The real mega problem is that work is disappearing, becoming obsolete. The real problem is not the end of energy, but the end of any kind of work, and especially any kind of high paying work.”
    Don’t worry about work shortages. Peak oil, when it kicks in in earnest, will take care of any and all such shortages. Where do you think your food, for example, will come from without oil to drive that fancy fossil-fuel hungry machinery that has displaced so many millions of human workers? Serf’s up!

  166. wagelaborer June 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    I agree that greed is the problem. But most people aren’t greedy unless they are advertised to.
    The problem is that the way our system is set up, unscrupulous, greedy people win.
    Most of us are happy with plenty of food, hot and cold running water and some entertainment.
    The Dick Cheneys of the world seem to be insatiable. After a certain point, more money doesn’t make people happier, but maybe happiness isn’t the point for the sociopaths. Money, power and prestige are real enticements for them.
    If we can’t set up a system that provides a modest standard of living for all without rewarding the sociopathic greedy, we are indeed doomed.

  167. seriously June 19, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    So, JHK writes about peak oil and the wastefulness of air travel – then he takes a trip via United Airlines. When I last checked, both Saratoga Springs and Denver are served by Amtrak. If only he could power his future society with hypocrisy.

  168. Johnny Rico June 20, 2009 at 2:50 am #

    @ seriously –
    Good point. I was actually thinking this previous to this week’s post. The hypocrisy is amazing. JHK probably has no idea what a plane trip burns in fuel.
    I’ll be doing some major writing on this topic in the next week.
    The good news is JHK actually engages on his own blog now(to a slight degree).

  169. Colorado Greg June 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Rico & Seriously, concerning:
    “…JHK writes about peak oil and the wastefulness of air travel – then he takes a trip via United Airlines…”
    Get real (serious), boys. Whether or not JHK buys a plane ticket today or tomorrow is not going to keep the thing out of the air. They fly the route anyway. The problem is not about current usage (as if boycotting airline travel will change anything soon), rather it is the foolish efforts to keep them flying for the indefinite future. Same as with our national auto fleet.
    To accuse JHK of hypocrisy is shallow and stupid. Get a clue.

  170. Colorado Greg June 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Rico & Seriously, concerning:
    “…JHK writes about peak oil and the wastefulness of air travel – then he takes a trip via United Airlines…”
    Get real (serious), boys. Whether or not JHK buys a plane ticket today or tomorrow is not going to keep the thing out of the air. They fly the route anyway. The problem is not about current usage (as if boycotting airline travel will change anything soon), rather it is the foolish efforts to keep them flying for the indefinite future. Same as with our national auto fleet.
    To accuse JHK of hypocrisy is shallow and stupid. Get a clue.

  171. Colorado Greg June 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I see now how some comments get posted twice: when you click the “Submit” button, you get an error message which forces you to re-do. Posting gets duplicated. Sorry.

  172. seriously June 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Whether or not JHK buys a plane ticket today or tomorrow is not going to keep the thing out of the air.
    And what’s the difference between that attitude and the the “happy motoring lifestyle” that is so readily mocked in this space? Shouldn’t we continue supporting freeways to serve suburbs and exurbs because they already exist?

  173. dale June 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    I’ve never really understood the notion that just because JHK doesn’t believe “happy motoring” or air travel will have a long future, that he should therefore ride a bike or walk everywhere he goes. That is the same argument that the Right wing uses every time someone makes a comment about global warming or helping the poor; ‘why don’t you give up your big house and give them your money’. It’s just bullshit really. Now, if you have a real strong view of global warming or other ecological beliefs that you want to support, I can understand that, but I don’t recall JHK being a proselytizer regarding those type issues. So, while I don’t agree with the guy, or his attitude a lot of the time, I don’t think he has shown himself to be a hypocrite in this case.

  174. Johnny Rico June 21, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    “shallow and stupid”
    Whoa. Careful there, Cowboy. Those are some mighty big words. Are you sure you are licensed to use those?
    By the way, where do you learn how to practice such word smithery? Do they have lessons at that same place where I can get clues?
    “I see now how some comments get posted twice: when you click the “Submit” button, you get an error message which forces you to re-do. Posting gets duplicated. Sorry.”
    Thanks for learning me the internet. You Colorado boyz are okay.

  175. Danm June 21, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    Logic problems, that is one of the reasons why we won’t be able to fix the problem on our own and at one point Mother Nature will help us.
    You can believe in global warming, PO anjd all kinds of doom scenarios and still keep on polluting and over-consuming without being illogical or a hypocrit.
    Having no faith that you or the masses can make a difference is probably the strongest reasons. Why would I want to live in a cave and reduce my consmption to prehistoric levels if we’re destined to get hit by a meteorite within a year or two?
    Let’s face it, if we individually want to reduce our footprint, we’re better off dead ASAP and our bodies should be left there to decompose naturally. In terms of minimizing your footprint, it’s probably better to die swiftly from cancer at 50 than to linger from 60 to 90 needing constant care for a multitude of chronic ailments.
    The question is where do you draw the line in your life choices? As soon as you do anything, you pollute. Watch TV, you pollute. Exercise, you pollute.
    And on this note, if JHK was to cut his footprint to make everyone happy, he would not be able to get his word out.

  176. seriously June 21, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    If someone says X is a problem to society or the planet, it’s not illogical to look askance at that same person if he says that he just engaged in X.
    If I were reading a log about STD epidemics, I would be similarly concerned if that writer related that he spent the weekend having sex with multiple partners, but didn’t feel like using a condom.
    But maybe I’m wrong in my inference that JHK contends that running out of oil and using more fuel-intensive technology when more efficient alternatives exist is a bad thing. Which is fine, many people (like Amish communites) see pre-industrial society as a good thing.
    But then we should be honest about what this blog is, it’s not a warning, it’s not a canary in the coal mine, it’s just cultural snobbery. JHK isn’t writing about the danger of depleting resources, he’s just denigrating the inferior taste of people who choose to live in suburbs, drive SUVs and shop at Wal-Mart.

  177. djcrow22 June 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    A brief change of subject to the abject failure of Barack Obama and his administration to do what Americans elected him to do. I voted for him, if only out of total rejection of corruption, war crimes, torture, racism and economic destruction. I did not realize at the time that it would be the last time I would exercise my right to vote in what is no longer a democracy or a republic. It is stunning that it has taken less time to lose trust and respect for Barack Obama than it did for George Bush. As the Republican Party continues to denigrate and expose itself as racist, ideologically bankrupt and corrupt, the Democrats have taken a golden electoral opportunity and squandered it with a complete lack of courage, abdication of responsibility, rejection of accountability and ignoring the mandate of the American people. The following two articles perfectly sum up my feelings and beliefs after only six months of the “Democrat” regime. Although the Globe article perfectly describes the eight years of Bush/Cheney, ask yourself what has really changed? The McClatchy article answers that question. I have not seen Asoka post here in a while. I would challenge him or any other Obama supporter to refute ANYTHING in these two articles as being without basis or fact:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/70384.html?storylink=MI_emailed
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/06/21/orwells_time_tested_warnings/

  178. billdrake June 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    With regard to reviving the rail system – who says that the new trains have to look like trains have looked in the past, and even today? Why not 60′ long ultralight railcars made of carbon fiber, monocoque shells, weighing no more than a few tons fully loaded with passengers. Then put a helium bag in the roof to further reduce the weight footprint on the rails. Voila – rather than havimg to spend millions of dollars a mile to lay track that has to support hundreds of tons of steel equipment we could lay inexpensive lightweight rails – they could be extruded plastic, not even steel. Extruded right along with lightweight ties that can be essentially stapled to the ground. Railbeds – not even necessary. Just unroll the rails right down the medians of interstates. Want to change the route – roll up the rails, put them on flatbeds, and haul the rail line to a new location. Locomotives? Forget the 250 ton iron horses. A lightweight solar or natural gas-powered tractor could move a train of helium-levitated carbon fiber cars at a hundred miles an hour with ease.
    Forget MagLev – that’s still in the ‘tons o’ steel’ tradition. Forget TGV – also ‘tons o’ steel’. Train builders just can’t get away from the need to build big metal monsters, even high-tech monsters. We should be thinking light, sleek … even fun!
    Want to see how this vision might play out? Please visit
    http://home.ktc.com/bdrake/horsesailing.html
    Cheers – Bill Drake

  179. billdrake June 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    With regard to reviving the rail system – who says that the new trains have to look like trains have looked in the past, and even today? Why not 60′ long ultralight railcars made of carbon fiber, monocoque shells, weighing no more than a few tons fully loaded with passengers. Then put a helium bag in the roof to further reduce the weight footprint on the rails. Voila – rather than havimg to spend millions of dollars a mile to lay track that has to support hundreds of tons of steel equipment we could lay inexpensive lightweight rails – they could be extruded plastic, not even steel. Extruded right along with lightweight ties that can be essentially stapled to the ground. Railbeds – not even necessary. Just unroll the rails right down the medians of interstates. Want to change the route – roll up the rails, put them on flatbeds, and haul the rail line to a new location. Locomotives? Forget the 250 ton iron horses. A lightweight solar or natural gas-powered tractor could move a train of helium-levitated carbon fiber cars at a hundred miles an hour with ease.
    Forget MagLev – that’s still in the ‘tons o’ steel’ tradition. Forget TGV – also ‘tons o’ steel’. Train builders just can’t get away from the need to build big metal monsters, even high-tech monsters. We should be thinking light, sleek … even fun!
    Want to see how this vision might play out? Please visit
    http://home.ktc.com/bdrake/horsesailing.html
    Cheers – Bill Drake

  180. billdrake June 21, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    With regard to reviving the rail system – who says that the new trains have to look like trains have looked in the past, and even today? Why not 60′ long ultralight railcars made of carbon fiber, monocoque shells, weighing no more than a few tons fully loaded with passengers. Then put a helium bag in the roof to further reduce the weight footprint on the rails. Voila – rather than havimg to spend millions of dollars a mile to lay track that has to support hundreds of tons of steel equipment we could lay inexpensive lightweight rails – they could be extruded plastic, not even steel. Extruded right along with lightweight ties that can be essentially stapled to the ground. Railbeds – not even necessary. Just unroll the rails right down the medians of interstates. Want to change the route – roll up the rails, put them on flatbeds, and haul the rail line to a new location. Locomotives? Forget the 250 ton iron horses. A lightweight solar or natural gas-powered tractor could move a train of helium-levitated carbon fiber cars at a hundred miles an hour with ease.
    Forget MagLev – that’s still in the ‘tons o’ steel’ tradition. Forget TGV – also ‘tons o’ steel’. Train builders just can’t get away from the need to build big metal monsters, even high-tech monsters. We should be thinking light, sleek … even fun!
    For more, just Google ‘horsesailing’
    Cheers – Bill Drake

  181. billdrake June 21, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    With regard to reviving the rail system – who says that the new trains have to look like trains have looked in the past, and even today? Why not 60′ long ultralight railcars made of carbon fiber, monocoque shells, weighing no more than a few tons fully loaded with passengers. Then put a helium bag in the roof to further reduce the weight footprint on the rails. Voila – rather than havimg to spend millions of dollars a mile to lay track that has to support hundreds of tons of steel equipment we could lay inexpensive lightweight rails – they could be extruded plastic, not even steel. Extruded right along with lightweight ties that can be essentially stapled to the ground. Railbeds – not even necessary. Just unroll the rails right down the medians of interstates. Want to change the route – roll up the rails, put them on flatbeds, and haul the rail line to a new location. Locomotives? Forget the 250 ton iron horses. A lightweight solar or natural gas-powered tractor could move a train of helium-levitated carbon fiber cars at a hundred miles an hour with ease.
    Forget MagLev – that’s still in the ‘tons o’ steel’ tradition. Forget TGV – also ‘tons o’ steel’. Train builders just can’t get away from the need to build big metal monsters, even high-tech monsters. We should be thinking light, sleek … even fun!
    For more, just Google ‘horsesailing’
    Cheers – Bill Drake

  182. Socrates June 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Given a choice between riding the rails or being packed like sardines and hurtled through the troposphere in jetliners, I’ll take the train any day. I have ridden on passenger trains in both the United States and in Europe and have always found this mode of travel to be highly satisfactory. Trains are, without question, far more civilized forms of travel than jets.
    First and foremost, when boarding a train you do not have to pass through a gauntlet of brain-dead, psuedo-Nazi, TSA thugs making you strip down in public places and endure other indignities that a free people should never willingly submit themselves to.
    It is also a delight to actually be able to leave your seat during your travel and actually move about without having to wait for permission to do so. I especially like being able to leave me seat to take my meals in a railroad dining car that offers a restaurant-like experience, instead of eating airline swill that must be consumed from a dining tray while you remain wedged in your coach-class seat – elbow to elbow with your fellow fliers.
    All things considered, the only thing a jet offers that surpasses a train, is speed of travel, but I’m not convinced that this benefit is of sufficient value to offset the brutishness of traveling by air in the modern age. If air travel dies out due to Peak Oil, I will not mourn its passing and will happily ride the rails across our fair continent or embark on steamships across the oceans without complaint.
    As for bus travel….well, the person who described the stark reality of what that is like was not exaggerating. I’ve ridden buses at various times in my life both in the U.S. and abroad and have never enjoyed the experience. Buses are filthy and disgusting and so are the majority of the people who ride upon them. As traveling experiences go, bus travel is even more uncivilized than air travel.
    There is a reason why people who are forced, (usually by economic circumstances), to ride buses, all secretly yearn to own their own automobile. Any sane, civilized person who has the option of a private auto vs. a bus will opt for the automobile every time. Why, because rational persons will do almost anything to avoid dangerous and/or uncouth people and to enhance their own personal safety, comfort and convenience. This is not an evil impulse. It is common sense. Only persons of the fevered-brow persuasion……for whom ideological correctness is everything…..will willingly subject themselves to unhealthful, annoying, dangerous, and inconvenient modes of travel just to make a political point.
    I have no doubt these views will offend the delicate sensibilities of the usual suspects: i.e. the unwashed hordes of tattoed, nose-pierced, saggy-jeans wearing, Obama-worshipping, drug-impaired, genetically challenged, PC morons, who parade around in Che Guevara T-shirts and run their credit cards up to their limits ordering porno and male-enhancement pills. You know the type. The mindless vermin who’ve done such a crackerjack job of destroying our once fair republic over the past half-century or so.
    Yeah – I figure this post will really tick them off. Maybe even worse than the post by the guy who said that blacks and Mexicans have lower IQ’s than whites. Well – free speech can be a real “bitch” – to use the modern venacular – don’t you think? Stalinists always hate free speech. Let the howls of outrage begin….

  183. Socrates June 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    Given a choice between riding the rails or being packed like sardines and hurtled through the troposphere in jetliners, I’ll take the train any day. I have ridden on passenger trains in both the United States and in Europe and have always found this mode of travel to be highly satisfactory. Trains are, without question, far more civilized forms of travel than jets.
    First and foremost, when boarding a train you do not have to pass through a gauntlet of brain-dead, psuedo-Nazi, TSA thugs making you strip down in public places and endure other indignities that a free people should never willingly submit themselves to.
    It is also a delight to actually be able to leave your seat during your travel and actually move about without having to wait for permission to do so. I especially like being able to leave me seat to take my meals in a railroad dining car that offers a restaurant-like experience, instead of eating airline swill that must be consumed from a dining tray while you remain wedged in your coach-class seat – elbow to elbow with your fellow fliers.
    All things considered, the only thing a jet offers that surpasses a train, is speed of travel, but I’m not convinced that this benefit is of sufficient value to offset the brutishness of traveling by air in the modern age. If air travel dies out due to Peak Oil, I will not mourn its passing and will happily ride the rails across our fair continent or embark on steamships across the oceans without complaint.
    As for bus travel….well, the person who described the stark reality of what that is like was not exaggerating. I’ve ridden buses at various times in my life both in the U.S. and abroad and have never enjoyed the experience. Buses are filthy and disgusting and so are the majority of the people who ride upon them. As traveling experiences go, bus travel is even more uncivilized than air travel.
    There is a reason why people who are forced, (usually by economic circumstances), to ride buses, all secretly yearn to own their own automobile. Any sane, civilized person who has the option of a private auto vs. a bus will opt for the automobile every time. Why, because rational persons will do almost anything to avoid dangerous and/or uncouth people and to enhance their own personal safety, comfort and convenience. This is not an evil impulse. It is common sense. Only persons of the fevered-brow persuasion……for whom ideological correctness is everything…..will willingly subject themselves to unhealthful, annoying, dangerous, and inconvenient modes of travel just to make a political point.
    I have no doubt these views will offend the delicate sensibilities of the usual suspects: i.e. the unwashed hordes of tattoed, nose-pierced, saggy-jeans wearing, Obama-worshipping, drug-impaired, genetically challenged, PC morons, who parade around in Che Guevara T-shirts and run their credit cards up to their limits ordering porno and male-enhancement pills. You know the type. The mindless vermin who’ve done such a crackerjack job of destroying our once fair republic over the past half-century or so.
    Yeah – I figure this post will really tick them off. Maybe even worse than the post by the guy who said that blacks and Mexicans have lower IQ’s than whites. Well – free speech can be a real “bitch” – to use the modern venacular – don’t you think? Stalinists always hate free speech. Let the howls of outrage begin….

  184. Johnny Rico June 21, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    If you click on the link “schedule” on this blog you can see Jim’s itinerary for the first three months of this year. Whether he flew, drove, or took a train (I’m not sure if there is service from New York to South Africa) – if you extrapolate the miles to a full year, it is clear he has a fossil-fuel, carbon footprint at least 30 times the average American and possibly as much as 50 times higher.
    I haven’t done the math yet, but it looks like Jim might use more oil every year than a NASCAR race.
    Danm says: “if JHK was to cut his footprint to make everyone happy, he would not be able to get his word out.”
    What message was that again, Dan?

  185. Danm June 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    If someone says X is a problem to society or the planet, it’s not illogical to look askance at that same person if he says that he just engaged in X.
    —————
    Yes, it is quite illogical actually.
    I think one of the huge problems today is that there are too many people on this planet. So with your logic, I am a hypocrite and illogical for not killing myself.
    My logic is that I want to stay alive and hope that I wont be affected.

  186. SNAFU June 22, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Farfetched, What kind of farms/ranches have you been visiting? Have you ever watched a cowboy movie wherein the cowboys were herding cows? Did they say lets move those bulls out or did they say lets get those steers moving? Most bull calves are castrated when they are a few months old. If you want to consider getting “it” to be the procreative piece of ass that all of Earth’s fauna participates in to propagate the species you are welcome to do so; I do not. Humans have no qualms about neutering their food animals and their pets; nor do they have any qualms about eliminating to extinction any animal they “feel” is infringing upon their god given rights to go wherever and do whatever their little brains desire. My concept is simply to utilize some form of chemical castration neutering agent that allows the swinging dicks to keep their testicle and fuck their brains out, all shooting blanks. However; now that you have encouraged my beady little brain to cogitate a bit, perhaps mechanical castration would be more appealing. Back in the 80’s when I raised grass fed beef steers I did my own castrations using the testicle banding technique. Most I ever did at a sitting was about 50 but I reckon if push came to shove I could do a couple hundred a day today even as I push 70. Get a bunch of us old ex-farmers and ranchers together we could probably make short work of banding the Earth’s out of control fucking humans. I am sure there would be a bit of whining and crying as they were herded up into the chutes but once those bands were snapped onto their scrotum above their testicles they would quickly go numb and in no time at all they would find their testicles had shriveled up and dropped off. No sorting; do them all, give the Earth a 15 – 20 year break with no new humans. With all of that testosterone removed from the human population the Earth would suddenly become a much happier place; would not that be nice?

  187. Dr Doom June 22, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    Ya, Johnny, it’s clear Jimbo has been bitten by the travel bug. I’m sure he can best manage his own defense, but I guess part of it would be he’s trying to make a living giving guest lectures and these appearances also assist selling his books. Therefore his time is money, and rapid transit is preferred, even if not politically correct. Another part may be first-hand inspection of the wheels falling off 20th century enterprise by direct participation? Dunno.
    He’s responding to questions from his blog now (about time, I’d say) so maybe we’ll hear from him directly viz the recurring hypocrite charges. Be prepared, Jim doesn’t mince his words.

  188. Dr Doom June 22, 2009 at 2:15 am #

    BTW, Bud4, what the hell did you say/write to get banned and come back as Budiz? I can’t find the offending post.

  189. Johnny Rico June 22, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    @Ken –
    Heydrich & Mengele called. They want their ideas back.

  190. FARfetched June 22, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Hi Ken,
    I live next to my in-laws’ farm, which raises factory chickens and range cattle (the latter might qualify as organic except for the pesticides used for weed control). I often end up helping with various things there… so I do have first-hand experience. The cattle operation isn’t that large — maybe 100 at any given moment — but there isn’t a steer among them. The young bulls get sold off rather than nicked. The Big Bull gets rotated out every couple of years to keep the gene pool fresh.
    The logistics of lining up everyone with a Y chromosome are impractical, but why not play along… what’s the (ahem) cut-off age? And if you’re going through that much effort, why not identify and spare the most intelligent and least violent?

  191. FARfetched June 22, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Doc: Bud got sarcastic on JHK, suggesting that he himself might be “too stupid to survive” — I guess that post got deleted. See my June 19, 11:47 AM comment.

  192. writer6 June 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Maybe I am naive, but maybe you could consider engineering innovation in railway construction. This would provide jobs on many levels, making construction more economical and speed the cycle time. What I am suggesting, is to figure out an efficient way to grade or use elevated modules of factory constructed infrastructure. In factory inspections, less on site inspections, create an industry and help America catch up and innovate with the rest of the world. What is the point of relentless doomsaying?

  193. george July 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    If one thing puzzled me more than anything about the death of The King Of Pop, it had to be the outpouring of grief from the black community. Back in The Gloved One’s heyday around 1984 [I was 16 and a hardcore heavy metal fan] there were few blacks in my high school would admit to being MJ fans and fewer who would talk about him. The black kids who would talk openly about Jackson called him a race traitor and a complete disgrace to blacks everywhere. The thought that one day African Americans would be grieving en mass for MJ after his demise was ludicrous back then. Micheal Jackson fans were overwhelmingly white, pimply-faced adolescents who wore braces and dressed like clowns. Does the black community have so few decent role models that they had to turn to Jackson?

  194. k gleason July 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Apparently
    OJ…..tookie williams……mumia abdul
    heros to some…killers all!!!!!

  195. k gleason July 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    also
    Jessie jackson and son
    REV Sharpton who is a creation of the white owned media
    any other ‘honorable’ mentions ??
    mike tyson

  196. k gleason July 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    lets not forget the LOVELLE MIXON MEMORIAL
    accused child rapist
    here goes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lovell Mixon…..
    Once again race and blood stained tragedy has visited Oakland, California. This time 4 white police officers were shot down by a convicted black man attempting to evade an arrest warrant issued for parole violation. Three of the police officers Mark Dunakin, 40; Ervin Romans, 43; Dan Saki, 35, are dead. Motorcycle officer John Hege, 41, was declared brain dead Sunday morning and remained on life support to preserve his organs for donation. Lovell Mixon, the killer, was killed in an exchange with SWAT team officers.
    And from yahoo answers
    And people, listen. Regardless of your feelings of Mixon’s actions, along with the officers’ families, HIS family also lost someone and is having to deal with the hatred and negativity that you all are demonstrating here.
    I don’t think Mixon was a hero here either, and it’s sad that FIVE people died that day, not just the four officers we all hear about. But there are real consequences of the everyday brutality and force that Black men in Oakland (especially) deal with constantly.
    I’m not justifying his actions. I’m saying that there are always multiple sides to a situation. Look at the bigger picture. Structural forces at work in general. All that’s happening now is the racism, hatred and power exerted over Oakland’s young people of color manifested into a war between police and civilians.
    And facebook
    Funeral for Lovel Mixon – Monday, March 31, 2009
    I left my job in downtown Oakland and arrived at the funeral home on International near High St. a little after 11:30 am. There was standing room only and I would estimate that there were about 400 people paying their last respects, as the seating capacity was posted as 303.
    The mood was not as somber as I was expecting although the casket was open the whole time I was there during the services. According to the obituary, which was a very nicely done full size, full color program, Lovell was one of 12 children by both his father and mother. Little did we know that he was a certified plumber and had worked as a custodian. He was married to his “puppy love” sweetheart and was a father. All the loving sentiments that only family can speak on were in the obituary.
    There were many ministers who spoke and even many more clergy who were in attendance and were asked at one point to stand to be recognized. Min. Keith Muhammad was the first of many to speak and spoke on the psalms of David and brought up that Lovell Mixon did walk through the valley of death in these streets, but he feared no evil.
    All the ministers had kind and loving words to offer the family, a couple spoke kindly about the police and that did not sit too well with some people in attendance, including a very well dressed middle age man standing behind me who could not believe it when a minister said we should call the police when we need them.
    One minister even said that God used Lovell Mixon to bring us all together.
    Many of the ministers were trying to reach out to young people by offering them counseling and other support services. One minister who also worked for the city of Oakland with recovery and re-entry type services spoke to the people in a real hip kind of way that people could tell was genuine.
    Another minister asked everyone to hug the person next to them and tell them “I love you,” which everyone did and that truly lightened the mood and he reminded folks that you can’t just say things to people you have to touch them. He also asked all the saved women to go up and give Lovell’s wife a kiss and tell her you love her and give her support.
    Around 12:30 I had to leave and go back to work. I did observe that there were no police (visibly) around and no TV news trucks or vans. There may have been one print media person there who was very low key.
    Before attending the funeral, I learned that the street memorials for the cops as well as for Mixon had been removed. The one for the cops had supposedly been burned. So I decided to do a little investigation of my own and drove over to MacArthur Blvd. I did not see the memorial for the cops. When I drove down 74th to see the memorial in front of the apartment where the final shoot out occurred, parked on the left was an unmarked police car, on the right side of the street directly in front of the apartment building, a green “Crime Investigation Unit” van was parked and posted up in the front doorway of the apartment building was a big uniformed cop. I did not notice the memorial to Lovell, however, since there was such a big police presence my “investigation” was cut short and so I ‘m not absolutely sure that the handwriting on the wall was there still. And I mean that literally, but you can take it figuratively if you want.
    by Sista T
    And east bay
    The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) sponsored a march, rally, and vigil for Lovelle Mixon on Wednesday, March 25th. Lovelle Mixon’s mother, his wife, several of his brothers, and at least one cousin were present. Many people were upset with the all of the official sympathies expressed for the four police officers who died Saturday, while none was offered to the family of Lovelle Mixon and the Oakland police continue to level new allegations against Lovelle Mixon in the media every day. That the media reports all of those allegations — and does not hold the police accountable for the numerous people of color killed by Oakland police every year — was a great source of anger.
    While some speakers at the rally allowed the possibility that some of the allegations made by OPD against Lovelle Mixon may turn out to be true, and others worried about “eye for an eye” thinking, no one was happy with the general hostility shown by Oakland police officers who live in the suburbs and then all too often abuse and kill citizens of Oakland.
    Funeral for Lovel Mixon – Monday, March 31, 2009
    I left my job in downtown Oakland and arrived at the funeral home on International near High St. a little after 11:30 am. There was standing room only and I would estimate that there were about 400 people paying their last respects, as the seating capacity was posted as 303.
    The mood was not as somber as I was expecting although the casket was open the whole time I was there during the services. According to the obituary, which was a very nicely done full size, full color program, Lovell was one of 12 children by both his father and mother. Little did we know that he was a certified plumber and had worked as a custodian. He was married to his “puppy love” sweetheart and was a father. All the loving sentiments that only family can speak on were in the obituary.

  197. McKillop January 19, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    Looks like the subject is “Can we make cities sustainable in a low(er) energy future ?”
    Here is my cut:
    MAKING CITIES SUSTAINABLE
    See: http://www.eukn.org/eukn/themes/Urban_Policy/Urban_environment/Environmental_sustainability/Making-world-cities-sustainable_3006.html
    CITIES AND SUSTAINABILITY
    We can be sure that cities, defined as relatively dense and large human settlements, have existed for at least 8000 years. Uruk for example, probably dating from 5500 BC, extended over at least 6 square kilometres and probably attained 50 000 to 75 000 population (see for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruk or http://www.ceveni.com/2008/03/iraq-archaeological-expedition-mapping.html).
    Today’s population of what remains of Uruk, or Ur, is low and oriented to the vagaries of tourism, archeological research, and the sequels of the oil-driven Iraq war (see eg.: http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/196802/ur.of.the.chaldees.htm ). We therefore cannot be sure cities are sustainable, if we extend this adjective to mean ‘permanent’ or ‘very long lasting’. Ancient cities, we can say, started with small or very small populations by modern urban standards, then downsized even further in the fullness of time !
    Both the terms ‘city’ and ‘sustainable’ are in fact complex, if apparently simple. Cities of more than 1 million population, for example, only exist since the late 18thC. Ancient or traditional cities never attained more than about 100 000 population. These ancient or traditional urban areas, such as those found at the centers of many old European, Asian and African cities today, were high density, unsuited to car traffic, often administrative and non-industrial, often highly race, language or religion-sorted, and often had special and symbolic cultural or ritual social functions. Other distinguishing features from current mass urbanism, driven by the economy, were also present. In particular their economic role was often weak, in other words many ancient cities had no primordial economic function. We can go on to ask what relation these very small, traditional or ancient cities have or had, relative to giant cities of today’s global economy.
    Another question we can ask: What is the relation of today’s global economy to sustainability ?
    Sustainability to political deciders, business leaders, journalists, and celebrity communicators could seem to be a crusade to develop soft energy, build millions of electric cars, sort out household garbage and throw away a little less than previous, driven by ‘apocalyptic visions’ of runaway climate change ending in Biblical-style floods ‘at the end of the centry’ if CO2 emissions are not reduced a little or a lot. Opinion polls on the subject of sustainability yield different results, starting with the simplest possible definitions.
    Public knowledge of the sustainability issue has moved ahead fast in the past few years (see eg.: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6523447.html). Polls in different countries yield the following responses: Sustainability is that which lasts a long time, tends to enable people to live more autonomously, has a degree of social responsibility, and is able to work with natural ecosystems and the environment on a longer-term basis of respect.
    These popular responses to the question ‘What is Sustainability?’ tend to exclude economic growth, we can note, with economic sustainability itself drawing a long list of component issues and concerns from opinion poll respondants.
    The global economy means growth, but economic growth itself is now an endangered species, simply because of its previous excess, rather than success. Being an endangered species is however nothing special in an era of mass extinctions, like today, an era many scientists call the 6th Mass Extinction. This is unlike previous mass extinctions in geological history because it is man made and because species are being lost, that is wiped out by human beings at the fantastic rate of about 30 000 per year (see http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html). Back of envelope calculations on a long, and increasing list of critical basic resources, from energy, water and food through to lithium metal and soil resources, show that conventional or ‘classic’ economic growth is for the least fragile and unsustainable. In other words conventional economic growth does not and cannot last a long time, and does harm the environment.
    One particularly easy back-of-envelope calculation is what oil supply would be needed for China and India to achieve or attain average OECD oil consumption rates, of about 14 barrels per person per year in 2008. In China’s case its present oil demand would need to expand more than 5 times, and India’s current oil demand would increase by 9 times. This is entirely impossible.
    THE CHALLENGE OF GROWTH
    Other kinds of growth – population growth, running at about +70 million a year worldwide but heavily concentrated in the poorest nations, is itself a ‘pump’ of economic growth for many economists and political deciders. The subject of economic growth concerns us first and most when we try to treat the subject of Cities and Sustainability.
    Using data from UN agencies and major NGOs, the world’s urban populations are forecast to grow fast to 2030 and beyond. Taking about four-fifths of each year’s world population increment of around 70 million, adding population at about 55 million persons a year from a current total of around 3 Billion, by 2030 world cities could be home to about 60% to 63% of the world’s forecast population of 7.75 Bn.
    In other words world cities are forecast to grow by around 1300 million in 20 years. This is 3 times the total population of the European Union’s 27 member countries today, and equivalent to increasing world urban population by about 175 times the present population of New York, or 125 times Tokyo or Bombay’s present population, or 100 times the present population of Istanbul, in a period of 20 years from now.
    Who thinks this is possible ?
    Apart from, but related to increasing population size, economic growth, and rising energy intensity of the global economy, world cities for at least the last 50-100 years are consistently and quite rapidly increasing their geographic size, that is tending to fall in average density. This is what we can call the ‘transport function’. Other factors including the physical, administrative, economic or other definitions of a city’s exact area affect this conclusion. This process of greater size and greater area easily leads to cities becoming ‘predatory’ on their hinterlands or even large regional and international areas, in terms of resource demand per capita and urbanization’s impacts on local and regional ecosystems. This is shown by the very high dependence, in city regions, of imported food, building materials and goods from outside the region, and internationally. Depending on density and type of urbanisation, depending on technological and industrial factors, depending on environmental and ecological factors, in brief on the resource intensivity of a city, the sustainability of a city and its urban area can be forecast.
    To be sure, increasing urban population size and geographic area is a historical process but as we already noted above, it is not possible to prove the sustainability of historical or traditional large cities. Population profiles for cities, through time, have historically tended to peak, then fall away. One interim conclusion is that long-term sustainability of today’s great cities, and those being built in the coming few decades is questionable. Analysis of city sustainability now notably includes the key criteria of geographical coverage and areal density, which has a major influence on the carbon and resource footprints of cities and their regions (see for example: http://www.irows.ucr.edu/conferences/globgis/papers/Chase-Dunn_Weeks.htm).
    A quick impression of where the world’s urban areas are located, and their physical as well as functional interrelation and interdependence is given by night sky light pollution mapping. This clearly shows, in a negative way, the vast potentials for catch-up urban growth in Africa and Latin America. It also clearly shows the extreme energy intensity, and regional population density of today’s urban systems in Europe, Eastern USA, and to a lower extent West Asia and India (see for example http://www.lightpollution.it/download/mondo_ridotto0p25.gif).
    Functional and physical globalisation of world cities is most simply traced to cheap energy and ever faster, higher volume transport and communication systems. This process, certainly for the last 50 years or more, tends to erase the formerly ‘classic’ rank-size relations of cities that are described in many urban studies, and are essentially historic or traditional relations (see eg: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~copyrght/image/monog08/fulltext.pdf ). The growth of what we can call ‘undifferentiated’ urban-type mass settlements, is certainly a worldwide phenomenon.
    DANGEROUS CITIES
    The widely recognized threat of runaway, chaotic urban growth spilling across formerly productive land and coastal areas can be summarized as the fear that the world’s present overloaded, congested and polluted urban systems will simply go on growing, like an untreated cancer (see eg.: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2629/the_new_slum_dwellers/, http://www.unhabitat.org/content.asp?cid=3008&catid=312&typeid=6&subMenuId=0) . This threat is recognized. Numerous international projects and programs exist for counteracting unplanned and counterproductive urban growth. This especially concerns low income countries where chaotic urban growth tends only to produce more run-down mega slums, the breeding ground not only of misery and disease, and global terrorism, but also of lose-lose paradigms for urban and national economic change, through draining scarce resources to central city urbanism.
    Effort directed at mitigating slum growth is however contradicted and opposed by the global economy and its growth paradigm. The global economy accelerates urban migration, or the depopulation of rural areas. Urban migration is only partly a ‘pull’ phenomenon; the ‘push’ factors include conventional energy and resource intensive development of farming and food production. Both the urban pull of employment in modern sector activities, and the rural push of conventional agribusiness are only sustainable as long as economic growth continues. When growth breaks down for any reason, it is urban areas that first show the effects.
    Some historians describe the second World War, in Europe, as a European urban civil war generated by economic crisis and mass unemployment. As we know, this context was a fertile breeding ground for political extremism, targeting national and ethnic minorities, and feeding off the social stress caused by long-term economic recession. Most historians identify the Great Depression as at least a major or even root cause of European totalitarianism, race politics, and the breakout of World War 2 (see eg.: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761568245/Fascism.html, http://www.johndclare.net/Weimar7.htm, www2.dsu.nodak.edu/users/dmeier/Holocaust/hitler.html).
    About 53% of world population is now urban, and the global economy sets urban norms, aspirations and values for all peoples. In lower income and emerging economies this accentuates the urban-rural divide, as shown by typical oil intensity of rural versus urban areas. In low income African states, rural populations often consume less than 0.75 barrel of oil and oil products per person each year, while their urban counterparts need 2 barrels per year or more. Similar disparities exist for electricity demand, energy intense food products and construction materials. Under conditions of low economic growth and continuing demographic expansion we can expect, or fear that urban focus economic, social and political tensions will be the flashpoint for any future world scale armed conflicts that can be triggered by global economic recession. Due to cumulative and converging economic, energy and environment crises we can go on to make a simple conclusion.
    Conflict in our cities is a rising real world threat. This threat can only get worse if we lose the present opportunity, the social and political momentum for making world cities more sustainable, more resilient and perhaps more autonomous. The risk is made stronger by the fragile economic outlook, again due to the real world context of converging and intensifying economic, energy, climate and environmental adjustment challenges.
    CITY STATES AND URBAN CULTURE
    In Ancient Greece, probably before 1200 BC, city-type dense nucleated settlements with populations in the thousands, built on a grid-iron rectangular plan existed, but these were abandoned for unknown reasons for 400 or 500 years in what are sometimes called the Greek Dark Ages. However, population growth and change of technology continued, and deeply changed the structure of society. Cities returned for good, as the previous tribal organization of a gathering and hunting society was forced to give way to a society based on domestication of animals and agriculture, firstly in Ionia, then across the E Mediterranean and W Asia. (see eg: http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/25739/subject/AncientHistoryCulture/).
    It is tempting to suggest, other than easy economic theories, that cultural and social adaptation to city living was partly responsible for this half-millenium delay. In any case, this phase was followed by full development of an urban economy and stratified society of administrators, soldiers, merchants and slaves, economically linked by transport and trade to large areas of West Asia and East Europe. Culturally, the previous totemic unity of worldview started breaking into separate categories, like religion, art, philosophy and technology, also reflecting and driving social segmentation by class. When the division of labor had already reached a high level of development, by the 5thC BC, its interpretation became a basic theme, either directly or indirectly, of theater, entertainment and philosophy. One example of this was Heraclitus, who claimed each thing, including cities has a special “essence,” with its own place in the cosmic system. Many other Greek philosophers, for example Thucydides, went on to set out their views on the ideal polis, or city state (see eg.: http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/degrood-heraclitus.html).
    Ancient China, in roughly the same time period (Confucius and Socrates being almost exactly contemporary, about 500BC) moved towards very similar concepts, with direct land use and city design implications. Beijing’s earliest imperial or Forbidden City dates from the Qi dynasty of about 220 BC, but like early Athens was of minor importance relative to other city states of the time (see eg.: http://library.thinkquest.org/18778/forbidde.htm). In a very ancient and special form of bioclimatic design, Beijing’s street plan, building orientation and fenestration complied with Chinese belief that the north was a place of bad omens, full of deserts with scorching heat during the summer and freezing cold during the winter. Thus all palaces, temples, and homes faced south, the direction of good omens and smiling fortune.
    In the Chinese case the “whole man”, citizen of a polis, came to exemplify the same ideals as those of the Greek poleis. Citizens, a term excluding at least 60%-75% of city inhabitants we should note, ideally existed in a fusion of state and society. The question whether the state was separate from society or not, was basically irrelevant to either Ancient Chinese or Ancient Greeks. We could say that city, state, nation and citizen were almost identical concepts, in the ideal case described by Ancient Chinese and by Ancient Greeks as the most harmonious (see eg.: http://www.confuchina.com/01%20zong%20lun/times%20of%20heaven.htm; teachtext.net/bn/cpc/cpc_95theses.html; faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~dvess/ids/fap/aschina5.htm).
    The modern term for the often contradictory views and advice from Greek philosophers is direct democracy. Without any exaggeration at all we can call the 1918-1919 Spartakist movement of Germany, ending in massive loss of life, an attempt to apply direct democracy of the type idealised by Greek or Chinese philosophers, and itself named for Spartacus. Marxist states since 1923 have usually claimed to represent direct democracy. Defenders of the greed-is-good New Economy claim that spending power democracy is also direct, and the most effective way for enlightened, or at least greedy rulers to stay in power.
    Conflict for political power is probably at least as old as any city, making treatement of the subject delicate, in the real world. Calls for more democratic and local decision making are nearly always born in cities. One form of urban democracy is City Mayor status, power and privilege for usually elected officials who in some cases can, if they want, make unique and powerful decisions on shifting their city towards Sustainability. Democracy, however, not only brings up the question of decision making in all areas of urban life, but also the thorny questions of the nation versus its cities, and the city’s power or rights to usurp national resources. After that, we have rich world-poor world conflict over resources, certainly incorporated and included in OECD and Chindia (China + India) policy stances on who is responsible for ‘historical’ or accumulated climate change, and who must act first and cut most in the area of CO2 emissions reduction (see eg.: http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=1828).
    INTER-LINKED CHALLENGES
    The various and numerous challenges to moving cities towards sustainability, some of which are described above, are inter-linked and all are underlined by the current global economic recession. The basic question is how do we finance and fund the break with traditional or conventional economic and financial ways of doing things, to carry out urban transition to sustainability ?
    To be sure, many people think or believe the present economic crisis was triggered by “purely financial” causes, specially the US subprime crisis of 2007. This ignores the clear role of energy and food commodity price rises in triggering or intensifying economic slump. Basically, the subprime financial business model needed two-only conditions to survive and thrive: economic growth, and consumer revenues held up by low energy prices and low food prices. With those conditions guaranteed, US consumers would have had the disposable income to pay back their subprime loans, even as monthly repayments sums were racked up. When food and energy prices rose sharply in 2005-2008, due to converging long-term environment, climate, resource and geological factors and limits, and financial speculation, this radically changed those wishlist conditions.What happened next is economic history.
    In the new context, US homebuyers had less ability to bear their rising monthly loan repayments. Economic growth trended lower, unemployment increased. As we know, there was a quick knock-on to the financial pyramid of inter-related and inter-dependent financial instruments such as interest rate derivatives, credit default swaps and currency swaps. The rout soon extended right across the bank, insurance and financial services sector. Recent estimates by the USA’s “troubled assets” purchase program administrators, using borrowed and printed government funds to shore up the bank, finance and insurance sector, are that up to 23 700 Billion US dollars may be needed for the TARP over a number of years, stretching to 2015. (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aZ27ITF7gaoQ ). This we can note is well above one-third of world total GDP for the whole year 2008, using IMF definitions of the value of world economic activity.
    As we also know, the tightly knit global financial system responded quickly to the US economy’s domino collapse of what economists call “confidence”. This loss of confidence and massive selling of almost worthless ‘securities’ affected private investment banks, many high street retail banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and other financial sector ‘players’, before impacting all credit dependent sectors of the economy, specially the car and housebuilding industry. The net result is the present, very classic and global economic recession, described by the IMF as the worst-ever global economic slump since 1945.
    Real economy indicators including world trade, world exports, shipping indexes, steel production, cement production, car manufacturing, and so on, indicate severe if declining recession. For energy indicators, the IEA forecasts that 2009 will likely see the first-ever decline in world electricity consumption since 1945. Electricity demand in 2009 will probably be about 4.5% below 2008. World oil demand contracted by about 3.5% or around 3 Mbd (million barrels a day) in 2009. World natural gas demand has also ceased to grow, instead of rising by about 5% a year. Coal and uranium demand is also affected, with demand growth in 2009 falling far below previous growth rates of more than 6% a year. The knock on to urban development includes sharp reductions of investment in infrastructure and the freezing or abandon of several high cost and prestigious “ecological” new city and in-city development projects, in countries including Russia, China and the GCC countries. These we can note, often have extreme high investment costs per urban inhabitant (see eg.: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=9&art_id=67641&sid=19488136&con_type=1&d_str=20080624&fc=8)
    END OF AN ERA
    This could be the end of an era we can call ‘The Petro Keynesian Growth Interval’, a swan song to all previous models of resource crunching, oil burning, climate changing, environmentally predatory economic growth. Back-of-envelope calculations of what would, in theory, be needed for full globalisation of all urban populations, to achieve present OECD average per capita consumption rates of energy, food, water, metals and minerals, and building materials simply indicates one bottom line: it is not possible. One basic result of this impossibility, which accepts the reality of resource, environment and climate limits, is the fast emerging theme of “Cleantech and Sustainability”. This applies right across the economy and society, and to urban systems.
    This theme is overdue for new resource efficient operation, and restructuring of present cities, the rational planning of new cities, and organized engagement in sustainable urban and urban regional expansion. As we know, among the key concepts driving interest in “Cleantech and Sustainability” we find a recurring focus on resource economizing. This in turn generates a simple slogan with profound real world implications: Use less and use better.
    To be sure, life goes on. Economic indicators may paint a somber picture of global economic downturn, but growth goes on in other areas. Using data from FAO, other UN agencies and major international NGOs, the number of underfed and starving persons in the world grew by about 75 million or more than 9% in the year to October 2008, to reach 925 million, despite a temporary trimming of world food prices due to good harvests and cheaper oil, in 2008.
    By an interesting coincidence the world car fleet, over 98% oil fuelled, grew to about 925 million units in 2008, but its annual growth was only 55 million – far below the yearly increment of starving persons in the new globalised economy. According to MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) about 3 million children below 5 years age die each year from simple starvation and disease linked with poverty and untreated water. This annual death rate is about equal to 30 times the maximum populations ever attained in the world’s most ancient cities, such as Uruk, Akkad, Nippur or Thebes, which are estimated by most experts to have not exceeded 100 000 population before about 900 BC. (see for example: http://faculty.washington.edu/modelski/WCITI2.html ).
    As already noted above, demographic growth and cheap energy has enabled both the growth of city population sizes, and their geographic area. Transport is a key to city growth, and to restructuring cities for resource efficient, sustainable operation. Electric cars and vehicles (EVs) are now almost a mantra for the world’s car industry and government planners, sometimes described as an epochal, do-or-die choice for the car industry (see for example: http://www.theage.com.au/national/plug-in-or-perish-car-industry-warned-20090722-dtle.html) – but getting to the EV future from the oil fired present is going to need a lot more than words, and massive amounts of lithium metal.
    Restructuring urban transport and transit systems is likely a much more efficient and productive option for addressing the basic need for making cities more sustainable, while noting that other resource problems will jump to the head of the list. These start with water supplies and feeding both the present, and future world population.
    BASIC NEEDS
    Any problem concerning world food production and feeding our cities also concerns water. Water is a key natural resource and economic product, a basic part of any plan or program for urban sustainability. Learning to use less water in agriculture, and in our cities is however going to be relatively easy – because Nature will help with this task. Incremental water supplies are steadily increasing in cost, and are unable to keep pace with the combined onslaught of food production, urban expansion, consumer lifestyle choices, and the pincer movement of rising energy prices and climate change. The only bottom line is higher water prices, and forced cuts in consumption (see eg.: http://www.unesco-ihe.org/Research/Research-Themes, http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ocga/testimony/Water_Supply_Challenges_for_the_21st_Century.asp)
    Water supply problems are nothing new to low income farmers, societies and nations. In a large and growing number of lower income countries and their urban areas, water scarcity continues to increase irrespective of recession or economic growth. As we noted above, there are converging and self-reinforcing reasons for of this. In many cases the bottom line is stark: we now have a permanent struggle for water supply between growing cities, and water for the agriculture to feed those cities. Both need more water but supply is hard to increase, or in some cases decreasing.
    This paradigm and basic conflict also applies to urban energy supply. As noted above, urbanisation in low income and emerging countries leads to an almost stepwise increase in per capita energy and resource needs. When we take the OECD urban and suburban growth process, and typical per capita resource demands, this model is completely opposed to actual, and emerging resource supply constraints, over and above any voluntary or forced cutting of fossil energy burn to limit climate change or improve national security.
    Another basic need is therefore identified. This is the culture change needed to accept that current trends, processes and structures are not adapted to a sustainable future. All sustainable future models are by necessity obliged to focus the utilitarian satisfaction of basic needs, before addressing other urban aspirations, notably in the cultural and political domains that cities are created for to satisfy, or attempt to satisfy.
    ENERGY LIMITS
    It is very easy to find data on average per capita energy demand for urbanised areas – always higher than national averages including rural areas. This author has described the real and growing energy limits we face for over 35 years (see eg.: http://www.flipkart.com/final-energy-crisis-andrew-mckillop/0745320929-n5w3foxbgd). Peak Oil is no longer a whipping boy theme for denial advocates blindly defending business as usual, but is well documented and fully described. The near-term reality of Peak Oil probably accentuates the rush of world political and business leaders to promote “clean energy”, usually under the fig leaf of loud concern for climate change events that will probably happen by 2035 and after. Climate change from land use change and burning fossil fuels are however now recognized as totally interrelated.
    The near-term prospect for world traded energy prices, we can note, can only become more volatile, extreme and opaque as we move off the current “peak oil plateau” and start losing annual average supply capacity. In turn, this could or might again lead to attempts at carrying out one more, or one last regime change experiment, on Iran. On this subject we can only note that attempts at Iran regime change would be catastrophic for keeping a lid on oil prices. Reason will, we hope, prevail as an intensification of moves towards the sustainable economy and society.
    What we find in fact is that “green energy” supply, and cutting energy demand is now the only long term energy management solution. In urban areas, we will find that using less energy, water and other limited resources will in most places be easier, often much easier than finding supply side solutions.
    The real solution to declining fossil energy supplies, to be sure, is a global energy transition plan operated at multilateral level, with new and powerful institutions such as an International Energy Fund (modeled on the IMF), and an institution controlling the production, supply and price of all fossil fuels, partly modeled on the current IEA of the OECD group, of mostly oil-importing countries. I have many times described this sane person’s response to coming oil shortage (see for example (http://www.petroleumworld.com/sf08111601.htm; http://www. aspo-spain.org/aspo7/home.php).
    Energy underlines linkage. We can prove this by checking the link between biofuels and water. This linkage is another simple reason these fuels are now close to gimmick status in world energy terms. Taking the example of maize-based bioethanol car fuel in the USA, producing one barrel of this fuel needs about 240 000 litres (240 tons) of water, with a very clear knock on to food prices (see for example: http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/testimony/Rosegrant20080507.asp). Net energy yield or energy return against the energy used to produce the biofuels based on food crops, is low. Land use change for producing biofuels, for example in the case of Indonesian palm oil biodiesel, can release so much CO2 it totally swamps any reduction in CO2 emissions from using the biofuels instead of petroleum based fuel.
    What we find is simple: Water, energy and food are basic building blocks of civilization. This applies directly to cities. Adding transport, we arrive at a shortlist of building blocks for sustainable cities, that is sustainable supply and efficient use of energy, food, water and transport.
    EFFICIENT RESOURCE ALLOCATION
    The future sustainable city and its urban area, like the future sustainable economy will feature efficient resource allocation. This is a lot easier to define than what we find on the subject in New Economy text books, where resource exhaustion is often described as a “creative opportunity” for developing new resources, and depleting them while casually ignoring “externalities” such as long-term destruction of the environment and natural living systems. Efficient resource allocation means finely adjusting sustainable supply to reasoned and sustainable demand. This cannot only or exclusively be operated through and by the economic system. It implies social and community participation in the decision making process – which is made easier by IT communications and the Internet Social Networks (ISN).
    How we improve resource utilisation at city level will surely need improved communications, and also decentralisation of economic decisions, and real world democratisation of the economic system – which in theory is not only possible but perhaps easy. Efficient resource allocation is in fact one basic definition of what is called “Cleantech”, for Clean Technologies.
    Demand for sustainable energy and resources is triggered and reinforced by the pressing and urgent need to substitute and replace oil, because of geological depletion of world oil reserves, as well as to limit CO2 emissions. While climate change is a long-term crisis, a poisoned legacy for generations of the 22nd Century, Peak Oil concerns the period starting right now in 2009. As Matt Simmons likes to say, attempting to maintain current global oil and gas supplies could cost as much as 100 000 Billion US dollars in the 20-year period 2009-2030. IEA estimates are for oil and gas sector spending needs attaining about 1 000 Bn US dollars a year by 2015. Since these amounts of spending are totally impossible, neither Simmons or the IEA adds, we have to get used to world oil and gas supplies declining – rather fast for oil from 2010-2011.
    Actual net losses of world oil export supply, after new projects, upgrades, remedial investing to stem losses at the scale forecast by the IEA, massive increase in synthetic tarsand oil production despite its vast CO2 emissions, and so on, may attain 2.5 Mbd lost each year from next year, 2010. This is about equal to current total oil import needs of Germany or South Korea, we can note.
    We therefore have no problem repeating that sustainable cities of the very near-term future will be operated with increasing attention to the new paradigm: Use less and use better, focus Demand Side Management (DSM), while also developing and deploying non-fossil energy sources and sustainable supplies of water and food. The key slogan for energy is: “Negawatts not Megawatts” (see for example http://newstrust.net/stories/39341)
    URBAN ENERGY TRANSITION
    Energy Transition to renewable and alternate energy is now not only the target of Cleantech fund promoters, but also world political and legislative deciders, Davos Forum business leaders, and citizen action groups round the world.
    Energy saving particularly concerns existing cities, not drawing board new developments. Habitat and buildings take about 40% of all energy, in OECD countries. In per capita oil demand terms this is about 5.75 barrels a year, over one-half of which is for personal transport. Also in OECD cities, around 10% of all electricity demand is wasted on advertising and publicity lighting operated 24 hours a day “for economic reasons”, for “cultural” reasons, or even for “security” reasons. Weekend and night-time lighting of unoccupied high rise office blocks in city centres is another example of the “cultural need” to waste energy. Turning off useless city lighting, we can show with a few clear figures, will yield a lot more CO2 reduction than shifting to halogen based hi-tech light bulbs.
    It is comforting to know wind electric power might provide 30% of world electricity by 2030, but today it supplies about 1.5% even if its share is growing fast. In today’s real world, close to 50% of real electricity comes from coal. Reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning needs urgent attention to coal burning, which is only just behind oil in world total energy supply. As oil fades out, or gets too expensive, it is coal and natural gas that fill the gap, making it necessary to first cap their growth, and pay urgent attention to reducing waste and loss. For natural gas, waste in production and transport, both by pipeline and LNG carrier ships, is truly vast. Flared and lost gas at oil wells round the world is equivalent in quantity to more than a third of Europe’s total gas burn. Gas wasted at gas wells, in pipelines and LNG shipping is probably as much again. World coal losses are even more impressive: about 150 – 200 million tons a year, uselessly burning and emitting CO2, other greenhouse gases, mercury, other heavy metals, and radionuclides in abandoned mines and coal spoil tips.
    In city contexts of high to medium population density we find excellent potentials for both DSM (energy saving) and efficient supply of heat-and-power. Significant development of these potentials is moving ahead in many countries, with additonal great potential for ‘full value chain’ capture, that is systematic energy demand cuts, and replacement of fossil by renewable energy, throughout the nexus of habitat-place of work-food-transport (see eg.: UNU booklist of thematic publications at http://www.unu.edu/Unupress/unupbooks/80757e/80757E0b.htm).
    SUSTAINABILITY
    The sustainability agenda is presently linked to global economic crisis, which as noted above was not only or entirely due to traders and their finance sector friends betting other peoples’ money in the 24-hours-a-day casino of world financial markets. The economic crisis is now increasingly described as structural and long cyclic. One reason for this ‘structurality’ is becoming accepted: unsustainable economic and social models tend to be fragile and unpredictable. However, even in recession, we find that due to their urban, economic and social infrastructures, the mostly slow-growth or no-growth OECD economies continue needing huge quantities of oil, gas and coal, and continue polluting their land and sea environments.
    Changing this to achieve Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges we face.
    Starting with urban food supplies, we can note that Japan, Holland and England, the three OECD countries with the most oil and energy intensive agriculture (reaching an astounding 88 GJ or over 14 barrels for each hectare of rice, per year, in Japan !) are also the most densely populated. High population density reinforces a supposed “no choice” paradigm for agriculture to feed city populations. Yet we also know, that dense urban areas are the most energy efficient – depending on their economic structure and social expectations. This creative duality or apparent opposition in fact shows one clear avenue for making our cities sustainable, by maintaining high density ‘islands’ while achieving sustainable interstitial urban regions.
    We know today that petro-and-pesticide farming is totally unsustainable. We know that massive car ownership in cities is not sustainable. Whether economic crisis or not, we will find climate change goes on under this “no choice” model, resources will go on being depleted, and biodiversity will continue to be lost. Transition to the sustainable model is not only the best solution but will soon be the obligatory No Alternative.
    This long-term “latent crisis” of adjustment to new imperatives and transition to sustainability is in fact only intensified by the global economic slump, but this can aggravate the transition process. Many examples exist. Economic investment in urban services like transport, health and social housing, and infrastructure investing, have tended to fall quite fast in most countries since 2008, both in the OECD region and in nonOECD countries. Contraction rates are often 25% or more, but even if this slows change, the drivers for transition which were there before the economic recession, will in no way disappear, in fact the reverse. In particular we can note, new forms and types of urban infrastructures are critical to achieving sustainability, and in some cases these new infrastructures will not, and cannot be low cost.
    THE WAY AHEAD
    We have to accept that current economic models, processes, policies and solutions do not apply to the transition imperative, including urban transition. Plenty of persons focus on, and describe only the climate change threat as the worst-ever challenge faced by civilization. Unfortunately, the list of other, sometimes related and converging, but also unrelated crises is long.
    Since urban societies are growing everywhere, and cities are generally considered the “hearths of human culture”, and surely the location of national administrators and financial deciders, it is right to pioneer change for sustainability with alternative and sustainable economic solutions in our cities. Another reason for this is the cultural, as well as social dimension of transition to sustainability. Using less, but for the same social or economic result, is easier when there is culture change. To some, this culture change is simply “going backwards in time”, but in fact this ignores the inherited and structural changes occurring both in the economy and in society and culture. A really simple example can be given: if a city authority stops building large numbers of car parking spaces and urban highways, and limits urban car ownership, the authority will have more to spend on sustainable urban mass transit and community transport solutions.
    We are in fact moving forward to a context of diversity, innovation and ingenuity. Unleashing and channeling the forces of change, after a long period of imposed, uniform and standardized economic and social choices, is a key opportunity for achieving democratic, voluntary and sustainable change.
    In other words we have many different outlooks for urban transition. There will be different perspectives for resource and energy supply substitution, versus cutting down and cutting out through using less energy and resources in better ways. This fact is at last beginning to be recognized among the most wasteful users of the world’s energy and natural resources, not only the US but also for example in the European Union plan of “3 x 20% by 2020″.
    This was voted by the EU council of ministers in Dec 2008 and targets a cut in total energy demand of the EU by 20% relative to 2005 demand, plus a 20% cut in CO2 emissions, and 20% of EU energy coming from renewable sources, by 2020. The urban focus is clear in this program (see for example http://energie-cites.eu/IMG/pdf/ec_info_34_fr.pdf). For several lower income EU countries this target is already a challenge, recognized in various special funding measures and regulatory waivers being negotiated, for this program. Here again, we will find that transition to sustainability, including sustainable urbanism, will not be the same for everybody.
    CONCLUSIONS
    To be sure, one size will not fit everybody. After the tunnel effect on options, values and choices dictated by the Global Economy interval that we can place at about 1985-2005, we are moving fast towards a new era featuring a swath of options and strategies. All will however include the key basic target of Sustainability. Our cities, already home to more than one-half of Humanity, will be featured in these multiple transitions.
    Knowing where we have to go is not the same as wanting to go somewhere we saw in a dream – knowledge delivers the means for the first, but also encourages dreaming that the second is possible. Forgetting real world limits and the complexity of Nature was the basic fault of decision making and policy, reaching its ultimate peak through the last 25 years or so. Today, time is short and the backlog of needs are pressing – we will therefore move fast, sometimes pushed and forced by events. The challenges are almost open ended, meaning the need for dialogue, debate, discussion and public information is also open ended. Sustainable cities will be 24-hour-a-day labs and education tools for the long transition that is signaled by meetings like the December Istanbul EcoCity Summit.

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    28. Zhang said: Because loved, so compassionate; as to understand, so tolerant.

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  218. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

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  219. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

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  220. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

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  221. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

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  222. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

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  224. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

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  225. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

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  226. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

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  227. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

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  228. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

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  229. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

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  230. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

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  231. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

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  232. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    95%? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?/??156?3O35?8O89??-?-?-?
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    2-?-?-?-?-(?-?-?-?)-25kg/-?-?-?-1ooo-?-/?-?
    3-?-?-?-?-25kg/-?-?-?-18o-?-/?-?

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    9-?-?-?-?-???-?-??-5?-?/??25?-?/-?-?-?-46oo-?/?-??
    1o-?-?-?-5-?-/-?-25kg/-?-?-?-7oooo?/?-?
    11-?-?-?-1kg/-?-?-?-12ooo-?/?-???
    12-?-?-?-25kg/-?-?-?-48oo-?/?-????????
    13-?-?-?-?-?-5??/?-25kg/-?-78oo-?/?-????
    14-?-?-?-?-?-25kg/-?-28oo/?-??????????
    15-?-?-?-?-?-2okg/-?-1ookg/-?-5oo-?/?-????
    16-?-?-?-25kg/-?-8oo-?/?-????????????
    17-?-?-?-?-?-25kg/-?-?-?-?-8oo-?-/?-???
    18-?-?-?-?-25kg/-?-25o-?-/?-?

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    ——————————————————————————?-?-?-?–156?3O35?8O89

  233. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

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    9. ?- ? -?-?-?????? 5??/??25??/? ?? 46OO?/??
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    12. ? ?? ?? 25kg/? ?? 48OO?/??
    13. ?? ? ?? ???? 5??/? 25kg/? 78OO?/??
    14.? ????? ??? 25kg/? 28OO/??
    15. ?? ???? ??? 2Okg/? 1OOkg/? 5OO?/??
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    17. ????????? 25kg/? ??? 8OO?/??
    18. ?????? ? 25kg/? 25O?/??
    ? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ? ??
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  234. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

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  235. fb43dm09d October 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

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  236. Hgzuga229h October 4, 2012 at 3:18 am #

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  239. polopaschrb8 November 21, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Mixtape Daily still goes, though. Today, gorgeous It girl, , makes her return to these parts. She has a few stories to share about her and the crew getting down onstage and off and what they’ve been cooking up in the studio.

    Nicki Minaj and roll like brothers and sisters. So it was no surprise when Nicki told us about a playful spat they had on tour at the .

    “We’re super-close,” she explained. “Before all of this started, I would tell him, ‘You’re a star.’ And he’d be like, ‘You’re a star.’ And we’d kinda been each other’s biggest fans. To see his dreams come into fruition, it makes me very happy. And my mentor is the great Lil Wayne. I have great influences around me right now. I’m looking to raise the bar and not let them down.”

    Nicki’s one of the featured acts on Lil Wayne’s Young Money family album, dropping the same day as his solo LP on November 24. Minaj already has a few favorite tracks.

    Shock to the heart. No Main Pick today. We decided to fall back in order to make our grand announcement that we start rolling out picks for the 2009 Hottest MCs in the Game on Monday, August 17. Get on point, get your arguments ready — we look forward to hearing from you about our picks.

    For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out .

    “There’s a song called ‘Girl You Know,’ ” she revealed. “I’m just gonna say the Barbie dolls are gonna love it. I think Omarion is on that one. Of course, Tyga, [Jae] Millz and Drake, Gudda Gudda, Wayne. It was so well put together. I think that’s gonna be a big one. We have another one called ‘Young Money’ salute. Not sure if that one’s gonna become a single, but it’s real spittin’. It brings us back to times when he had teams that where invincible, like the Bad Boy movement, the Cash Money movement.”

    “Actually I think is wack and I don’t think he deserves [his accolades],” she joked. “I’m sorry. We just had a fight in the back. I was about to punch him dead in his face. [One of his mangers] Cortez intervened.”

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    The O.D.: A Mixtape Daily Exclusive

  240. xiaxiav6n9s2 November 25, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Earlier the price tagged to the Classmate PCs announced by Intel was sub $400. Though it may not be exactly like the OLPC machines but the newly announced price tag of “sub $300″ for the Classmate PCs is certainly attention grabbing and it might slash down to $200. Another interesting thing is that these machines will boast “several GB of memory, depending on the requirements”. Here are some more fine shots of the Classmate PC.

  241. xiaxiav6n9s2 November 25, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    The Epson is offering new laptops in built to order (BTO) category. The Endeavor NJ2000 one of the laptops in this new BTO series is a professional laptop with a 15.4-inch display and screen resolution of 1280×800. It has got integrated 945GM Express graphics, up to 2GB RAM and a 160 GB SATA disk. The laptop has 3-in-1 memory slot, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi with the battery support of 5.5 hour. It weighs only 2.8 kg and you can switch between 4:3 and 16:9 display modes. The price of the laptop starts from Rs. 98,700 which comes to around $831.

  242. LannyTyndal November 26, 2012 at 2:56 am #

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  245. fb43dm09d December 14, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    ? ? ? ? ? ?156?3035?8089? ? ? ? ? ?/?/? ?
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  246. ccseo222 December 15, 2012 at 5:53 am #

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  247. 8p4n23t06t December 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Your present position: > > > text: Wang Baoan of undersecretary of Ministry of finance deepen reform should really implement investment record system 2012-12-15 12:10:48 source: people.com.cn the role of the government and the market boundary is still not clear, the government some of the tube, pipe, tube also not bad things, while some of the and no good thing tube tube tube in place or not.
    Wang Baoan of undersecretary of Ministry of Finance published an article yesterday pointed out, the transformation of the mode of economic development lag is the crux of system mechanism, especially the government functions should be further transformation.
    The future should reduce the price control and deepen the reform of monopoly industries, and really implement investment record system, further implement the market main body of investment decision making authority.
    “The role of the government and the market boundary is still not clear, the government some of the tube, pipe, tube also not bad things, while some of the tube and no good things or not tube in place.”Wang Baoan said, “for example, the government has not yet been completely withdraw from the general area of competition and existence offside, the protection of consumer rights in areas such as the existence of obvious absence, in the public service and the respect such as income allocation has not been good or no tubes in place.
    “In addition, Wang Baoan points out, the government’s economic management means of administration, microcosmic problems are very obvious, approval, approval process, administrative still more.For example, the government investment management is still in the administrative examination and approval or approval, nature of the approval record, business investment autonomy has not been fully implemented; the elimination of backward production capacity is still on the administrative means “shutting down, the lack of market self-organization function administrative allocation of resources, not only reduces the efficiency and benefit, and economic structure is maladjusted the root cause.
    “Other problems include the government decision-making behavior constraints is relatively less, leading to government policy and capital to use efficiency assessment supervision insufficiency.To this, Wang Baoan suggested, the future should be to advance the price of factor of production and market monopoly state-owned enterprises reform as the core, perfect system of socialist market economy further.
    The measures include accelerating the factor of production price system reform, reduce the price control behavior, set up to reflect market supply and demand, resource scarcity and environmental protection cost of energy resources and pollution discharge right trade price formation mechanism.
    In addition, also should deepen investment management system reform, the real implementation of investment record system, further implement the market main body of investment decision-making, as well as to deepen state-owned company especially the reform of monopoly industries, further expand market access, to form effective competition market structure.

  248. ccseo222 December 21, 2012 at 2:30 am #

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  249. ccseo222 December 22, 2012 at 4:47 am #

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  250. coastery1 December 23, 2012 at 2:07 am #

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    Written by AdministratorSaturday, 24 January 2009 17:18A Family approach to Celiac Disease

    For protein lovers, Celiac disease is one thing they wouldn’t want to inherit from the family genes. Fortunately, its treatment can also be ensured within the family and in the home.

    Celiac disease is a digestive order that can run from one generation to another. The disease causes severe damage to the small intestines as a reaction to gliadin or a gluten protein, and results to inflammation and flattening of the lining of the small intestines.

    The person with Celiac disease is unable to absorb gluten, which is a group of protein common in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Hence, the disease imposes a gluten-free diet for those who are affected. This proves to be a difficult task since gluten is the second most consumed ingredient next to sugar, and hence difficult to avoid. Also, it is difficult to monitor since some may not experience any symptoms. But already knowing that the person and his or her family are prone to the disease can provide a head start on how to mitigate the damages.

    Indeed, the home is the best place to start addressing Celiac disease. A family approach to knowing the disease and understanding how it affects everyday life will provide the battle gears for coping. This is especially helpful for the children, who would need all the support and guidance they could get.

    A family that eats together heals together. This can be a reasonable motto for families afflicted with the history of Celiac disease. Several measures can already be taken if these families consider carefully their eating habits. One step is taking into heart what food to buy, grow, store, prepare or eat at any time of the day. By this, it is not just about ensuring that food is gluten-free but also ensuring that the needed nutrients are sourced from other food groups.

    The family can also seek help from dieticians for the information on gluten-free foods. This includes help on how to read labels that may not specify gluten but contains it nonetheless. An example is the hydrolyzed vegetable protein that may be sourced from wheat. Familiarization with these gluten-free foods may be hard at first, but with the aid of a food diary and the collective memory of the family members, it will soon be easy.

    Remember also that it is not just about knowing what to avoid, but rather knowing what to eat. For example, fruits are very much encouraged since these reduce other stressors to the digestive system, such as constipation. Further, in planning what meals to prepare and what other food to stock in the kitchen, the family can treat this as an opportunity to monitor and ensure balanced nutrition and sufficient calorie intake.

    But what happens when family members, especially the children, need to eat outside of the home?

    Again, it is important for the family to plan ahead. Children and teens should be part of the whole process of learning about gluten-free food. To engage their interest and to ensure that they like what they eat, children and teens may be entrusted with the responsibility of choosing what gluten-free meals to prepare. In this way, they would be able to prepare for food they can either eat at home or have as packed lunch or snacks. But in cases when they have to buy food outside the home, their knowledge about gluten-free food would enable them to discriminate which meals to buy. For young children with Celiac disease, their parents can also talk to teachers about the food requirements of their children. Or talk to the parents of their children’s friends, in case they visit or sleep over at houses of their friends.

    In the end, a realistic talk among family members is the best approach. Each member, especially the children and teens, needs to know the consequences of eating meals with gluten.

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    Written by AdministratorSaturday, 24 January 2009 17:24Consolidating credit card debt Is consolidating credit card debt a good option?

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    Written by AdministratorSaturday, 24 January 2009 18:19Forensic Nursing Certifications Can Qualify Registered Nurses

    Registered nurses who have been practicing health care for years now have the option to shift their careers if they want to. New graduates of the nursing course can check if they can divert from clinical nursing to a seemingly more challenging career in forensics. Nursing practitioners or even physicians, can obtain forensic nursing certifications if they want to shift their careers or they just want to upgrade their skills.

    The primary role of hospital nurses is in care giving. A forensic nurse can be a clinical nurse, who has great observation skills, can recognize and identify evidences, collect them and document them properly for use in convicting perpetrators of crime. This clinical nurse must of course, go through training and certification first before she can begin practicing professionally.

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    * Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner – SAFE

    * Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner – SANE

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    * Sexual Assault Nurse Clinician – SANC

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    Thos who undergo any of the training programs have classroom hours and hands-on hours that are supervised by trained forensic doctors and nurses. The following are the most recognized methods on how one can acquire forensic nurse education or training:

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    2. Via continuing education programs that professional nurses undergo for renewal of their licenses.

    3. Via undergraduate or graduate nursing courses or elective subjects on forensic nursing that are often offered as part of a certification program

    4. Via Masters of Science with a degree in Nursing, which also offers special subjects on collecting evidence, forensic law and science, etc. These programs also offer internship in forensic crime laboratories, medical examiners’ offices, shelters for crime victims, and the forensic psychiatry units of hospitals,

    The International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), which was formed in the early 1990s as a result of a convention attended by 70 sexual assault nurses, has developed a certification program for all sexual assault nurse examiners. SANE-A Certification is a professional certification for sexual assault nurse examiners of adults and adolescents. SANE-P is intended for examiners of pediatric and adolescent patients.

    The SANE is considered the stepping-stone to forensic nursing,NFL Jerseys China. The IAFN requires the trainees to be registered nurses. They are subject to 40 instructional hours and another 40 hours for on-the-job duties. During the training, the nurses’ skills are honed in collecting various evidences like hair strands, fibers, and fluids for DNA testing.

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    Many forensic nurses can be seen in emergency rooms of hospitals so they can be on the lookout for shooting or stabbing cases. They gather the bullets and other possible evidences in the form of debris or fluid that can shed some light in the cause of the crime. Only a nurse that has undergone forensic nursing certifications can properly handle all these tasks.

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    Written by AdministratorSaturday, 24 January 2009 17:27Experience the Thrill and Excitement That Only Deep Sea Diving Can Provide

    Most people that are laid back are those who gets satisfaction in life by simply having a job, family, and simple thrills. However, there are also those who want to make the most out of life. These people are naturally adventurous and want to try out everything that the world can offer. These people try extreme sports, such as skydiving and they also find great thrill in scuba diving. If you are such a person, then you will find that deep sea diving can offer you the thrill, adventure and excitement that you have been looking for.

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    Although there are dangers in deep sea diving, you have to consider that few incidents occur thanks to the rigorous training. Technical divers have scuba diving skills that are superior to that of the open water diver.

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    Leaf’s eagle imitates a Buddha to in the sky drop down a big gold Dan, pleased not from win, have never thought tortuous, enchanting sight in spring time, originally five Yin holes is to own test, although is painful,after all supported to come over, can also do obeisance this a few old Jings were strange for the teacher, sawed to the road of fixing the fairy, haded a bright future.

    ……

    Fix the road of fairy, way, through, ZTT4de0327 teacher, essential to have, if the unknown teacher points out and rides a blind horse such as the blind man, the midnight faces deep pond,

  272. bzsizki1 March 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Magic weapon, but is all mankind, monk refine, do work elegant, China is colourful riotous, Long Zu is BE not likely to do out, leaf’s eagle at this time bright, immediately shocked cluster dragon.

    Cheng green jade the coral is equally rare, Luo Hu joss-stick go into fire burn, the joss-stick smells 100 inside, is also a rare thing.The chicken blood stone contains the matchless and pure blood works properly of spirit, to old Long Ao Hong’s blood Long Da Dun Fa, have the best effect.

    “Ha ha!Is very good!”

    The old dragon sees the gift of leaf’s eagle, Long Yan Da Dun Yue, even if leaf’s eagle is some rude of walk to appear on stage a rank without authorization, also be not care very much.

    “There aring also two Longing Jings who turning a crystal period Ultrasaurus is unintentionally got by leaf’s eagle, especially the idea dedicates to the Ao Hong.”Leaf’s eagle takes out bright flickering Long Jing again.

    “Ha ha!”The Ao Hong looks up at sky to laugh wildly, he fights Ao lately horizontal, swallowed Long Jing whom the several turns a crystal period Ultrasaurus, the capability greatly increases and and took to eat thousand dragons to dedicate a great deal of ZTT4de0327 dragon blood of , including the blood of a great deal of bewitching monster on their own initiative recently, blood Long Da Dun Fa already break into the fourth heavy, turn crystal the period still keep fixing into a highest point, is bad front line can turn crystal is Dan, breakthrough to fly state dragon.

    See at this time leaf’s eagle dedicate Long Jing and no longer doubt more, these two Long Jing, to it help biggest, give sufficient time all chains turn, make him break.

    “Leaf’s eagle, you are very good, absolute being Long Wang is astute and courageous, can’t maltreat you, you may well leave, is assisted to me and create a thousand years big industry together on thousand dragon islands, a thousand years big industry.”

    The Ao Hong is from the leaf’s eagle hand a caught Long Jing, a see Long Jing have no breakage, completely can take, not from get

  273. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:12 am #

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  274. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:15 am #

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  275. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:33 am #

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  276. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:42 am #

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  277. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:45 am #

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  278. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:47 am #

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  279. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:50 am #

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  280. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:53 am #

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  281. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 8:55 am #

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  282. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:08 am #

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  283. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:11 am #

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  284. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:16 am #

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  285. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    ? ? ? ? ? ?131 7O85 9399? ? ? ? ? ?
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  286. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    2013 ? ? ? ? ? ? ?155-O25O-5OO6?? ? ? ? ? ? ??????(?? ? ?)
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  287. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?……?????? ????“??”?

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    4. 1  ?  ?  2  ?  ? (?  ?  ?  ?) 25kg/? ? ? 1000?/??
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    6. ?  ?  ?  ?           25kg/? ? ? 180?/??
    7. ?  ?  ?  ?           25??/? 2800?/??
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    9. ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?     160kg/? ? ? 100?/??
    10. ?  ?  ?             25kg/? ? ? 700?/??
    11. ?  ?  ?  ?          25kg/? 250?/??
    12. ?  ?  ?             5??/? 25kg/? ? ? 70000?/??
    13. ?  ?  ?      &nbsp,??;      1kg/? ? ? 12000?/??
    14. ?  ?  ?             25kg/? ? ? 4800?/??
    15. ?  ?  ?  ?  ?       5??/? 25kg/? 7800?/??
    16. ?  ?  ?  ?  ?       25kg/? 2800/??
    17. ?  ?  ?  ?  ?       20kg/? 100kg/? 500?/??
    18. ?  ?  ?             25kg/? 800?/??
    19. ?  ?  ?  ?  ?       25kg/? ? ? ? 800?/??
    20. ?  ?  ?  ?  ???  ?  ?? 5??/??25??/? ? ? 4600?/??

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  288. fb43dm09d March 30, 2013 at 9:47 am #

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  289. 7x99qt1q9 April 1, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    tactics as shall be seen

    Carbs are basically complicated sugars, which are burned for power, unless they are unneeded. Unfortunately most of the foods that taste the finest are loaded with carbs. However, they are not altogether negative, but eating as well many carbs can trigger you to acquire weight.

    And the pests could possibly be annoying, gross, creepy, bothersome pests. Or, they may essentially be harmful, like termites or bees. Unlike ants or the completely-gross-but-can cockroach, bees sting, and that can be specially undesirable if you allergic.

    If the particular person tends to make eye contact and displays positive physique language, but you cannot get up the nerve to talk to him or her or you have to get off at the subsequent stop, create down your phone number or e-mail address on a piece of paper (a newspaper will perform), smile at the person as you get off the bus or train, and hand them the piece of paper. If the individual calls or sends you a note, excellent. If not, no significant deal.

    This brings a lot a lot more pressure to carry out within the timelines and budget. For a project manager the responsibility delivering quality final results with restricted resources normally builds up stressful working predicament. Importantly as a very good project manger you are expected to function against all these odds and nonetheless carry out..

  290. Schuepfer April 3, 2013 at 7:21 am #

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  291. dseis4558270 April 4, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

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    ‘s Guangdong Province. Early risers, carrying on their usual morning exercise, did not expect to see a big name. The park was not cordoned. There was no red carpet nor were there people waving welcoming banners. A middle-aged man in a dark suit, and a tieless white shirt, laid a wreath at the park’s statue of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Then he walked into the surrounding crowd and began a casual chat. The visitor was Xi Jinping, the newly elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. During his visit to Guangdong, Xi called on the entire Party and people from all ethnic groups to unswervingly adhere to the path of reform and opening up and put greater focus on pursuing reform in a more systematic, integrated and coordinated way. Xi vowed no stop in reform, and no stop in opening up. In his first visit outside Beijing as the top CPC leader, Xi went to Guangdong, the forefront of China’s reform and opening up, following the route Deng had toured 20 years ago when the country was at a crossroad. Media reports remarked that Xi is a leader who brings a fresh breeze to the country’s political life, unswervingly pushes forward reform and opening up, and is beginning to lead the Chinese nation in realizing the China Dream. Xi, 59, who was elected to his new role at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Nov. 15, is the first top Party leader born after 1949, the year the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded. He now leads the 91-year-old CPC, the world largest political party with more than 82 million members, as it rules China, the world’s second largest economy. The whole country and the world are putting their eyes on Xi: – What will he do to lead the CPC to better serve the people – What will he do to lead China’s 1.3 billion people to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in 2021 Furthermore, what will he do to lead the people to achieve the goal of building an affluent, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious modern socialist country by the time the PRC marks its centennial in 2049 – What will he do to lead the country to make its due contribution to world peace and development As he met the press on the November day the new leadership was formed, Xi summed up the CPC’s mission as comprising three responsibilities – – to the nation, the people and the Party. ADVOCATE OF CHINA DREAM “The people’s longing for a good life is what we are fighting for,” Xi said in his first public speech as general secretary on Nov. 15. Shortly after taking office, Xi and the other six members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee visited the exhibition “The Road Toward Renewal” at the National Museum of China. The comprehensive display illustrates the huge challenges China has surmounted on the road to national revival since 1840. “Nowadays, everyone is talking about the China Dream, “he said.” In my view, realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the Chinese nation’s greatest dream in modern history. “To achieve this sacred goal, Xi has clarified his positions on various aspects of the country’s development: On the country’s economic development, Xi opposes a blind focus on growth and upholds the principle of scientific development, which seeks sustainability in terms of both resources and the environment. On political development, he stresses the idea that all power belongs to the people, and calls for active and steady political reform while adhering to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He also stresses the rule of law and exercising state power according to the Constitution . On cultural development, he highlights developing human talent and fostering a Chinese national spirit, especially as typified by the words of the national anthem: “We will use our flesh and blood to build our new Great Wall.” On social development, he proposes continuous efforts to safeguard and improve people’s lives through economic development. He also supports building a harmonious society and realizing a good life for the people based on hard work, while taking into consideration the country’s practical circumstances. On ecological progress, he emphasizes a national strategy of resource conservation and environmental protection and a sustainable pattern of development. From the Loess Plateau to the southeast coast, from localities to the central leadership, Xi has had a well-rounded political career and has developed a deep understanding of the conditions of his country and people. In 2007, he was promoted to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th CPC Central Committee, after working for decades in various locations, including Shanghai Municipality, the provinces of Shaanxi, Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang, as well as serving the army. He served concurrently as a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and as president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. In 2008,abercrombie pas cher, he was elected the country’s vice president. Over the past five years,abercrombie france, he has participated in the creation of major policies for the Party and the country, and has gained rich leadership experience in all respects. During that time, Xi was in charge of Party affairs and attached great importance to Party building. He reiterated that the Party must police itself with strict standards as well as listen to the call of ordinary people. Beginning in 2008, he worked intensively on the campaign to study and implement the Scientific Outlook on Development. The year-and-a-half campaign further made the Scientific Outlook on Development a consensus of the whole Party and country, and a driving force for economic and social development. He also led a group of officials in drafting the 17th CPC Central Committee’s report to the 18th CPC National Congress and the amendment to the CPC Constitution, which were adopted at the congress and have become important guidelines for China’s future. Xi has had a connection with the armed forces since his early days. After graduating from university, he worked at the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC) for three years, a job that deepened his affection for the army. In the following years, he served concurrently as Party chief for military subareas in addition to holding his Party and government titles. He was familiarized with grassroots military affairs. He became CMC vice chairman in 2010 and was named CMC chairman at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November 2012. Xi is also familiar with work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. His 17 years in Fujian gave him a deep understanding of Taiwan and enterprises from Taiwan. The first Taiwan chamber of commerce on the mainland was established in Xiamen when he worked in Fujian,ASEAN should play a dominant role. He solved many problems for Taiwan compatriots, and has been seen as a good friend by many of them. As a top leader in charge of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, Xi helped work out a number of important policies on the long-term stability and prosperity of the two special administrative regions. In 2008 and 2009 when Hong Kong and Macao were seriously hit by the international financial crisis, Xi visited the cities to show his support,abercrombie paris. In 2008, Xi was also tasked with heading up preparations for the much-anticipated 2008 Olympic Games and the subsequent Paralympics, both in Beijing, playing a key role in China’s hosting of these high-standard events with distinctive features. MAN OF THE PEOPLE Xi has expressed his deep feelings for the people on many occasions, saying for example, “How important the people are in the minds of an official will determine how important officials are in the minds of the people.” His
    love of the people stems from his unique upbringing. A son of Xi Zhongxun, a Communist revolutionary and former vice premier, Xi Jinping did not live in comfort as a boy. Beginning in 1962, when his father was wronged and fell in disgrace, Xi experienced tough times. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), he suffered public humiliation and hunger, experienced homelessness and was even held in custody once. At the age of 16, he volunteered to live in a small village in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province as an “educated youth.” That area, part of the Loess Plateau, was where the Communist revolutionaries, including his father, rose to found New China . Life there was tough for an urban youth. In the beginning, fleas troubled him so badly he could not even fall asleep. In the Shaanxi countryside, he had to do all sorts of harsh labor, such as carrying manure, hauling a coal cart, farming and building water tanks. As time passed, tough work became easy. Xi became a hardworking capable young man in the villagers’ eyes. By gaining their trust, he was elected village Party chief. He led the farmers to reinforce the river bank in a bid to prevent erosion, organized a small cooperative of blacksmiths in the village, and built a methane tank, the first in landlocked Shaanxi. He was once awarded a motorized tricycle after being named a “model educated youth.” However, he exchanged the tricycle for a walking tractor, a flour milling machine and farm tools to benefit the villagers. Although he was not in school, Xi never stopped reading. He brought a case of books to the village and was always “reading books as thick as bricks,” recalled by villagers of Liangjiahe. He formed close ties with the villagers during his seven years in the province. After he was recommended for enrollment at Tsinghua University in 1975, all the villagers queued to bid him farewell and a dozen young men walked more than 30 kilometers to take him to the county seat for his trip back to Beijing. Xi has never forgotten the folks in the Shaanxi village. Even after he left, he helped the village get access to power, build a bridge and renovate a primary school. When he was Party chief of Fuzhou City, he returned to the village, going door by door to visit people. He gave senior villagers pocket money, and schoolchildren with new schoolbags, school supplies and alarm clocks. When a farmer friend got sick, Xi, then a senior provincial official of Fujian, at his own expense, brought him to Fujian for better medical treatment. Years of toiling alongside villagers allowed him to get to know the countryside and farmers well. Xi has said that the two groups of people who have given him the greatest help in his life are the older revolutionary generation and the folks in the Shaanxi village where he lived,hollister uk. He arrived in the village as a slightly lost teenager and left as a 22-year-old man determined to do something for the people. Xi’s affection for the common people influenced him as he made a number of critical decisions,louboutin pas cher. In the 1980s when many of his contemporaries were going into business or leaving to study abroad, Xi gave up a comfortable office job in Beijing and went to work as deputy Party chief of a small county in north China’s Hebei Province. Later he became Party chief of Ningde Prefecture in southeast China’s Fujian Province, one of the poorest regions at the time. The people weigh most in Xi’s heart and grassroots units are where he pays most visits. In Ningde, he sometimes traveled for days on the mountain roads to reach the farthest corner of the prefecture. The roads were so bumpy that he often had to take a break to recover from back pain before arriving at destinations. He once walked nearly five hours on a rugged mountain road to get to a township called Xiadang, which was not accessible by highway, and received the most passionate welcome from local residents, who said Xi was “the highest-ranking official who has come to the village.” He also helped thousands of farmers in Ningde renovate dilapidated thatched huts and guided fishermen to live better lives on the land. When working as Party chief of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, he took the lead in the country in establishing a mechanism for officials to meet with petitioners face to face. He introduced the same mechanism in places where he later served. Once, he and other senior officials in Fuzhou met with more than 700 petitioners in two days. While working in east China’s Zhejiang Province, he went down into a coal mine nearly 1,000 meters underground and walked more than 1,500 meters along a narrow and inclined shaft to visit miners and see their working conditions before the Spring Festival in 2005. Xi attaches importance to communication with the people via news media. He wrote a popular column for the Zhejiang Daily, using the pen name Zhexin. In his 232 columns, he discussed everyday problems of interest to the common people. As mild a person as Xi is, he is very tough in policing officials and preventing them from harming the interests of the common people. In an investigation into illegal housing construction by officials in Ningde, he grew angry and pounded the table, saying, ” Shall we offend hundreds of officials, or shall we fail millions of people “Also, a number of officials in Zhejiang were punished during his tenure of leadership for failing to fulfill their duties. His work style earned him the nickname “secretary of the people.” “Officials should love the people in the way they love their parents, work for their benefit and lead them to prosperity,” Xi said. LEADER WITH FORESIGHT On several recent occasions, Xi showed a strong sense of responsibility towards the future of the nation and declared his determination to push forward reform and opening up. Throughout his political career, people have seen his foresight and resolve as well as his willingness to sacrifice personal gain and one-time fame for a bigger cause. When working in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian, he took charge of drafting a development plan for the city from 1985 to 2000 and lobbied for preferential policies from the central government, both of which benefited the city long after he left the province. When working in Zhengding, Hebei Province,abercrombie, he saw potential business opportunities when he learned that the crew of “The Dream of Red Mansions,” a popular novel-turned-TV drama, was looking for a filming location. He then proposed building in Zhengding a large residential compound featured within the novel. The compound, which was used by the TV crew, later became a tourist attraction. Tourist income from the compound exceeded 10 million yuan the year it was completed, paying back more than the investment. The compound has been used as the set for more than 170 movies and TV dramas, with up to 1.3 million tourists every year. In Fuzhou, after intense deliberation and discussion, he and his colleagues devised a strategic development plan for the city for the coming three, eight and 20 years. All the main targets set by the plan were achieved years ago, and a number of enterprises that were set up or brought to Fuzhou when Xi served there remain the industry leaders, playing a significant role in the city’s development over the past two decades. Working as Fujian governor, he was the first in the country to launch a campaign to crack down on food contamination. In 1999, he first put forward the idea of ??improving IT infrastructure and introducing information technology to help the public. Fujian had been the only province in China where all hospitals were linked by computer networks and shared digital medical records by 2010. In 2002, Fujian launched the reform of the collective forest property right system, becoming the first in the country,abercrombie pas cher. During Xi’s tenure, Fujian was among the first provinces in
    China to adopt special policies to restore ecological balance and protect the environment. This has made Fujian the province with the best water and air quality as well as the best ecology and environment in the country. After his transfer to Zhejiang Province in 2002, Xi put forward numerous development targets for the economy, public security, culture, the environment and the rule of law. He initiated local industrial restructuring, transforming the province’s extensive, less-efficient growth pattern,hollister france, and encouraged quality enterprises from outside the province to invest in Zhejiang. In addition, he proposed a development mode that would give equal weight to both manufacturing and commerce, a mode based on Zhejiang’s own conditions. He also supported enterprises’ efforts to expand overseas and supported start-ups by ordinary citizens. At the same time, he encouraged more cooperation among Zhejiang, neighboring Shanghai Municipality and Jiangsu Province in order to tap their potential as an integrated economic powerhouse. In 2004, under Xi’s leadership, Zhejiang made an attempt to improve grassroots democracy. Villages there set up residents’ committees to supervise the village Party committee and administrative committee on public affairs, a move that received a positive response from the public. Village supervision committees, which sprang from the Zhejiang model, were later introduced in an amendment to the Organic Law of Villagers’ Committees in 2010 by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top Chinese legislature. Shanghai was Xi’s last local post before he was promoted to the central leadership. Despite a relatively short term in the country’s financial hub, he left his mark by promoting the economic integration of the Yangtze River Delta and enhancing Shanghai’s leading role in the region. Xi added “enlightened, sagacious, open-minded and modest” to the official wording of the Shanghai Spirit slogan, which previously had just read “inclusive and sublime.” The Shanghai Spirit was intended to capture the essence of the city. Media in Shanghai remarked that these emendations helped present Shanghai to the rest of the world in a deeper, more thoughtful way. These changes were also noticed by people outside Shanghai. BEING IN FRONT RANKS REQUIRES SOLID WORK “Making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical work can help it thrive,” Xi said during a visit to “The Road Toward Renewal” exhibition in Beijing on the 15th day after his election as the CPC’s new helmsman. To put “practical work” in place, Xi presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee that adopted eight measures to improve Party work style and tighten the bond with the people. The measures include more meetings with the people, traveling light with a small entourage and using fewer traffic controls, shortening meetings and speeches. The new measures have earned acclaim both at home and abroad. “Only solid work ensures that one will take the lead,” Xi has said. He has demanded concrete effort to tackle issues the people care about most. He believes that without implementation, the best blueprint will be nothing more than a castle in the air . When he served in Zhengding County, Xi said that developing human resources was the key to shaking off poverty and backwardness in the county. He attended to the job himself by inviting professionals to the county and drawing up recruitment advertisements for talented personnel from across the country . In the winter of 1983, he traveled to the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang to invite a cosmetics expert to work in Zhengding. Without a detailed address for the expert, he went door to door asking where the expert lived and finally found him at night after yelling his name near his home. Xi and the expert talked until midnight and Xi finally persuaded the man to work in Zhengding. The expert later created more than 300,000 yuan in revenue for the county within the first year. In the same year, Xi decided to publish nine ways for recruiting talented personnel, something that was rare at the time and became a front-page story in the Hebei Daily. He wrote more than 100 letters to experts and scholars, as well as colleges and research institutions, and paid visits to dozens of experts. Within two years, Zhengding attracted 683 talented personnel and hired 53 well-known experts as economic counselors. Xi, together with his colleague Lu Yulan, then deputy Party chief of Zhengding, despite heavy pressure, told superior authorities about the excessive burden faced by the county due to compulsory grain purchases. The issue was eventually resolved. In Ningde, Xi was also practical and realistic. He pooled resources to implement aquaculture of the large yellow croaker, a local specialty, and greatly increased the income of local farmers. He also ordered Party and government offices to make things convenient for the people. When serving in Fuzhou, he advocated the principle of “special procedures for special issues, and do things now” to make the government more efficient. This principle was attractive to numerous Taiwan enterprises and helped boost the local economy. He also proposed the compilation of two handbooks on government procedures for residents and overseas businesspeople. In 2000, Xi initiated a move across Fujian to make the government more efficient,hollister. He proposed changes in government functions and procedures to reduce the number of matters that require government approval. By the end of 2001, the number was reduced by 40.4 percent, or 606 items. In 2001, Fujian became the first province in China to enact a policy making government affairs public,toms outlet. In August 2002, Xi published an article on a major newspaper on “The Experience of Jinjiang,” which emphasized the importance of the private economy in the development of the county. Also in 2002, he published an article on Nanping City’s effort to send officials to work in villages. The practice of Nanping was later introduced all over the province, thus enhancing ties between officials and farmers and making officials more oriented towards grassroots achievement. In Zhejiang, Xi stressed provincial development in the fields of public security, the environment, culture, the rule of law and the marine economy. To achieve these goals, he made an individual case study in addition to making overall arrangements. In order to know how the localities were affected by provincial policies, he went five times to a less-developed mountain village called Xiajiang within less than two years. He paid special attention to the marine economy. In December 2002, he put forward the goal of building Zhejiang into a province with a strong marine economy, followed by guidelines and plans to realize this goal. The marine economy in Zhejiang has since developed quickly, with annual growth of 19.3 percent. It accounted for nearly 8 percent of the Zhejiang economy in 2005. He pushed for the integration of Ningbo and Zhoushan harbors. In 2006,toms shoes, Ningbo-Zhoushan harbor had 420 million tonnes of cargo throughput, ranking the second in China and among the world’s top three. He also pushed for the construction of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, an icon of cross-sea bridges in China and once the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. In 2003, Xi proposed that rural communities should be more like urban communities, and efforts should be made to reduce the urban-rural gap in quality of life,oakley lunettes. Zhejiang had realized the development targets one by one during Xi’s tenure. The province had the highest rating in ecology and the environment among all provincial-level regions in 2005. In 2006, 94.77 percent of the people were satisfied with the province’s public security, making Zhej
    iang one of the safest provinces in the country. When Xi was in Zhejiang, the province’s GDP exceeded 1 trillion yuan in 2004, GDP per capita exceeded 3,000 US dollars in 2005 and stood at nearly 4,000 US dollars in 2006. The province ranked the fourth in sustainable development in 2006, next to Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. Furthermore, all the province’s poverty-stricken counties and townships shook off poverty during the period. In 2007, Xi was appointed secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. Within a month of his appointment, Xi conducted research on the people’s livelihood, development, the Shanghai World Expo, and the fight against corruption. The ninth Shanghai municipal congress of the CPC was successfully held, which invigorated local officials, rebuilt Shanghai’s image and set forth a blueprint for Shanghai for the next five years. Xi has said that a county Party chief should visit all the villages within the county, a city Party chief all the townships and a provincial Party chief all the counties and cities. He visited all the villages in Zhengding. In Ningde, he visited nine counties within the first three months, and traveled to most townships later on. After he was transferred to Zhejiang in 2002, he visited all 90 counties in just over a year. During his tenure in Shanghai, he visited all 19 districts and counties in seven months. After he came to work in the central authority, he visited all the 31 provinces, regions and municipalities on the mainland. STATESMAN AIMING FOR BETTER EARTH During a recent meeting with foreign experts working in China, Xi said that China, as a responsible country, will not only manage its own affairs, but also properly handle its relations with the rest of the world, so as to foster a more favorable external environment and make a greater contribution to world peace and development. “China needs to know more about the world, and the world also needs to know more about China,” Xi said. Whether working at the local level or in the central leadership, Xi attaches great importance to international exchange and making foreign friends. He has taken every opportunity to meet foreign guests visiting China. Within the past five years, he traveled to more than 40 countries and regions across five continents and has had extensive contact with people from all walks of life. He frankly and honestly introduces to foreign friends how the Chinese people view their own country and the world , and is always willing to listen to them as well. In the eyes of many foreign dignitaries, Xi is a confident, sagacious and amicable leader. He often tells foreign friends that the international community has increasingly become an integrated one with a common destiny. China’s continuous rapid development depends on world peace and development,it is an all-day. It also provides opportunity and room for other countries, so together they may achieve win-win results and common development through mutual respect and pragmatic cooperation. At a World Peace Forum organized by Tsinghua University in July 2012, Xi noted that a country must let others develop as it seeks its own development; must let others feel secure as it seeks its own security; must let others live better when it wants to live better itself. In a meeting with Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, Xi said not all strong countries will seek hegemony. China will stick to the path of peaceful development, a win-win strategy of opening up and the pledge of never seeking hegemony, now or in any future generation. Xi’s foreign visits have sent out signals that countries should work together to establish a more equal and balanced global partnership, so as to safeguard the common interests of all human beings and make Earth better. During his five-day visit to the United States, Xi participated in 27 events and engaged in exchange with US politicians and the public alike. “As long as the Chinese and US sides grasp the thread of common interests, they can explore a path of new partnership for major powers to live in harmony, engage in positive interaction and achieve win-win cooperation,hogan. “His remarks elicited positive feedback from many in the US. In a recent meeting with former US President Jimmy Carter, Xi called for more “positive energy” for the China-US partnership. During his visit to Russia, Xi showed the strong importance China attaches to developing bilateral relations. The Sino-Russian strategic partnership of coordination has become the closest, most dynamic and most profound between major powers,so Nanshan play its due role in the highway opened to traffic, and developing relations with Russia is always a priority of China’s foreign relations. Xi attended the second meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the Chinese and Russian ruling parties, and had extensive and in-depth discussions with leaders of various parties in Russia, further enriching Sino-Russia relations. Xi highly values ??relations with developing countries. He has said consolidating and developing relations with developing countries is the starting point and object of China’s foreign policy. In South Africa, Xi attended the fourth plenary session of the China-South Africa Binational Commission, looking forward, together with the South African side, to a bright future of bilateral cooperation. In a speech delivered at a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Xi underscored China’s friendship with Africa, emphasizing that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” In Saudi Arabia, he said a more prosperous and open China will bring great development opportunities to the Middle East and countries in the Gulf. In Chile, he proposed that China and Latin America should be good partners in the fields of politics, economics, culture and international affairs, when speaking of the relationship over the next decade. Xi has been pragmatic and efficient on the international stage. In the course of only one day, while attending the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, Xi exchanged ideas with leaders from more than 20 countries and international organizations. During his visit to Germany and four other European countries, Xi attended five signing ceremonies for economic and trade agreements, six economic and trade forums, and pushed for the signing of 93 cooperation agreements involving a total of 7.4 billion US dollars. Xi has also emphasized the role of cultural exchange in the building of a harmonious world. When addressing the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009, he said that through exchanges between different cultures, people from different countries have come to know Confucius from China, Goethe from Germany

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