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Puke Time

     Our county fair put me in mind of that American classic, Moby Dick, this year. So many white whales among the try-pots bubbling with rendered blubber, where crews of savages from all corners of the world toiled to bring forth batter-dipped Mars bars, Pop Tarts, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and other rarities of the deep fryer… and then the whales ventured a little further down the midway where they mounted the engines of swirling cosmic death, and were flung about in the centrifugal pods of fate on the ingenious mechanical arms of innovation, until their sickened souls gave forth with a mighty spewage of corn byproducts that rained down upon the moiling innocents below….
     Like most metaphors, this one limps a bit, as did Captain Ahab himself, with his whale-bone peg-leg. But when everyday life gets detached from reality, metaphor is all you’ve got left. And in this ridiculous, sickening culture, with its toxic stream of electronic simulacrum politics sucking all the oxygen out of the collective brain-space, the mind is left wandering numbly across a kind of wilderness where twisted sign-posts point to mutant evangelists, freakish ideologies, false prophets, deadly miracle cures, phantoms on horseback, angels with bat-wings, and the ghost of Spotted Elk lying dead in the snow with his stiffened arm beckoning the way to extinction like Melville’s Ahab corded to the hump of his sounding white whale. Oh, America, pull your head out of your electronic ass while you still can! And look out below!
     No place is more lost in metaphor these days than Washington D.C., the metaphor of “recovery” being the reigning hallucination. Now it’s all going up in a vapor, and the credibility of all involved is going up the spout with it. The rising Tea Party movement had some good innings off this creeping disillusionment on primary day. At least they have their inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and idiocies because their opponents, the sitting-officeholders in the chambers of power, have nothing, not a shred of a clue of an idea.
     What continues to amaze me is that there is no corresponding rise of an intelligent opposition. How did it come to be in our time that Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Stanford and all the other incubators of supposed statesmanship have produced no figures of conviction and good intentions to demonstrate what it means to be resolute amid this grand failure of will?  How have we managed to turn out two generations of lackeys, toadies, stooges, and flunkies from these citadels of power? If there are some competent, resolute adults waiting backstage — undistracted by phantoms related to Darwin’s theories or birth control or religious doctrine of one kind or another — they better enter the scene soon, or the fate of this country will be left in the hands of malicious, dogmatic, nincompoops beating their drums for Jesus, war, and the death of the planet.
     How, for example, can Energy Secretary Steven Chu avoid spelling out the reality of our oil predicament, which goes way beyond any statement that America depends a little too much on oil from foreign lands. We are one international incident away from being put out-of-business as an advanced civilization. We’re fooling ourselves that wind power, solar electric, and other “alt.energy” schemes will allow us to keep running our stuff the way we do. Our luck is running out, and luck is all we’ve got left.  
     Mr. Chu is not alone in his thoroughgoing lack of conviction, his political and professional cowardice. His limp position is the norm. He deserves to be hounded out of office – and so does everyone else inside the Beltway in both parties, including the feckless President Obama. But does it have to be at the hands of ignorant yahoos like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh? (Can you imagine what James Madison would have made of Limbaugh?). Do we have to wait for the Millennials to grow up to hear somebody with half-a-brain call “bullshit” on the way we do things in this land? 
     This is the moment when the illusions fall away. This is the season when the comprehensive contraction becomes unmistakable and we have to make provision for its mandates: to get smaller, leaner, more local, more earnest, more truthful, and more willing to endure the discomforts of changed circumstances. Mr. Obama didn’t have to promise “change.” Change was happening all around us in the disintegration of our something-for-nothing dream of entitled exceptionalism. Tragically, the Tea Partiers want to claw back that absurd dream. They’re obviously too dumb to know the difference between dreams and realities.
     But where are the men and women who do know the difference? And why are they too timid to step up and say something? Can it be that precious a thing to hang on to some mere appointed position just because the pay is good and you get to circulate in places where free canapés are passed around? What kind of chickenshit society have we become?
     Well, brace yourself for a wild season. The Pequod is going down and the crazed harpooners are looking to slaughter everyone on board. Captain Ahab is down below the quarterdeck brooding on the mysteries of the cosmos and don’t count on him coming up from there to set things straight. Round and round we go as Moby Dick circles the ship, making a vortex with his gigantic flukes. I’m already in the water, waiting for Queequeg’s coffin to bubble up out of the cold blue sea.


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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 the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

631 Responses to “Puke Time”

  1. nik September 20, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Big Frist.

  2. Ruff Limblog September 20, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Kunstler For America 2012…

  3. lemme howdt September 20, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    The pretenders that now make up the powers that used to be just simply should be ignored. If we cannot build ourselves up at a local level, with local sovereignty, then we drown in the miasma of country fairs. A good analogy, Jim – eat well, be well; eat sh*t …

  4. okie September 20, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Any great leader worth their salt would be howled off the podium if he/she were to propose real solutions – like how to downscale gracefully. Once we start scarping bottom, people might listen, though that is way to late to get-a-clue.

  5. maineiac September 20, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    What kind of chickenshit society have we become?
    A wussified, immature society that is totally unable to face reality, much the same way a child covers his ears when he doesn’t want to hear something. Unfortunately, these children have guns and are prone to violence.

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  6. Lynn Shwadchuck September 20, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Jim, I’m surprised at the way you continue to be surprised that the political system doesn’t favor the common good. We’re on our own, so you’re on the money when you say, “get smaller, leaner, more local, more earnest, more truthful, and more willing to endure the discomforts of changed circumstances”. You and I are both painters. Let’s take painting as a bellwether. My gallery owner has not sold a painting (not just mine – anybody’s) in a whole year. He told me seven out of ten galleries in Manhattan have closed. The game is pretty much over. I’m much more interested in my root cellar and compost these days than in finishing my latest painting. And so it goes…
    Diet for a small footprint and a small grocery bill

  7. Smokyjoe September 20, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    “Do we have to wait for the Millennials to grow up to hear somebody with half-a-brain call “bullshit” on the way we do things in this land?”
    Actually, yes you do.
    I teach this generation, and though they have been pampered by over-involved parents, they are smart and connected to each other. They learn fast as hell.
    They have great BS filters and are tolerant of those with different skins, faiths, national backgrounds, and sexual orientations. They understand that ecological protection is non-negotiable. They may be too technophilic, but they’ll grasp the nature of the problem of resource depletion.
    This generation will give us the next James Conants and Rachel Carsons we need to have a shot at fixing the disaster that is modern American life.
    The undereducated and the elderly white folks of the Tea Party will have to die, retire, or get the hell out of the way when these kids take over. Given the intelligent leadership in the modern military, Millennial leaders can count on some muscle if the Corn-pone Nazis get too out of hand.

  8. Unconventional Ideas September 20, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    One of the reasons for the WWII internment of the Japanese Americans was the failure of political leadership in the United States.
    Cowardice was evident then though nowhere near as widespread as it is today.
    When political leaders fail to demonstrate moral courage, all bets are off as to the future of the country.
    I believe though the disenfranchised Millenials who have moral courage will give us new hope.

  9. norlight September 20, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Lynn is right. For now, we are on our own. The house is on fire, and if you aren’t doing something to take care of yourself, you aren’t much better than our leaders. I don’t have any illusions of totally insulating ourselves from the difficulties, but there is much we can do. It would be nice if JHK shifted focus and started info about folks who are making some good moves.

  10. dymphnite September 20, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Isn’t Nader representative of what happens to principled opposition? He is marginalized to the point of outright ridicule. To this day you can provoke rage in the establishment/Ivy League left by bringing up the 2000 election.

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  11. MisterbadExample September 20, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    You expect far too much from Mr Chu and others in this administration. there is absolutely NO upside to being the one to tell the American people that happy motoring and all its accessories has ended. My suspicion is that the people in charge will continue to kick the can down the road and will try not to draw attention to certain creepy milestones–the first time auto sales fall below 10 million units, the bankruptcy of iconic amusement parks, etc. It’s the effect of a controlled crash landing–all the crew know what’s going on, but the passengers won’t be told until the fuselage and engine nacelles start tearing divots out of the cornfield.
    The DW and I were discussing this on a trip to Orange county this weekend, where many of the residents commute 150 miles daily to the city. Clearly this is unsustainable, and you’d have to be blind to not see the problems. And she pointed out that NOBODY’S GOING TO TELL THESE PEOPLE IT’S OVER. There will be no attempt to inform them of the coming disaster, because to do so would imply some responsibility for figuring out a solution. So we’ll just continue to drift toward the crash while the flight attendants continue to hand out bottled water and peanuts.

  12. cheesemoose September 20, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Remember – we are in the midst of another Kunstler Unit (one of countless 6-month windows of doom, called down upon us by JHK). This time he’s called for the world to end by Halloween. This means our boy is getting itchy for his prediction to materialize. America is not crashing quickly enough for him, so what better way to pass the time than go make fun of fatties at the county fair? There’s always some good mileage to be had there.
    I wonder what keeps Jim living here among us stupid fatties? I’m sure he can find a place where slim, witty people snack only on healthy foods.
    The reason there is no intelligent political opposition is that we just spent a year electing an intelligent politician who was supposed to oppose all the aggressive stupidity of the previous administration. For whatever reason, he choses not to. What are we supposed to do, get all excited about another savior?
    The game has been rigged by the Supreme Court’s decision to open the floodgates of corporate money. Nothing to do now but drop another Mars Bar into the deep fat fryer and wait for the end of the world.

  13. messianicdruid September 20, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    “O my people, can’t you see what fools your rulers {g-o-d-s} are? They are leading you down a pretty garden path to destruction.”

  14. Mike Lieber September 20, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Thank you, Automatic Earth, for all the superb analysis and the excellent writing. Please keep it up!
    For those of us in the U.S., a constitutional convention is the only recourse left to take control of our national government and stop the insanity. Members of Congress have openly admitted that the bankers are running the show on Capitol Hill. Government by special interests was most certainly not what the Founders envisioned 233 years ago.
    The facts are quite clear: The national government is broken and we, its owners, must fix it. It’s a simple choice: We take control of government or it will soon control us.
    I have written more extensively on this topic. Please see http://fb.me/IFmaoWNL if you are interested.

  15. Uncle Al September 20, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    A empirical assay of polity intelligence and committment is scheduled. We can only hope and, yes, pray that outrageously unexpected large numbers are met with the same Central expression of compassion evinced by the Bonus March on Washington (1932), Richard Daley’s Czechago (1968), Waco, TX (1993), and armed drones vs. Afghanis every day today.

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  16. John T Anderson September 20, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Actually, Jim, we don’t have to wait for the Millennials to come into power (and that would be waiting too late anyway). Our former U.S. Senator, conservative Republican Alphonse d’Amato, was on Fox Business recently and called a Tea Partier’s commentary “racist bullshit.” If I’d known about his views, I would have written in his name for governor, and would not have had to choose between Messrs. Paladino and Lazio. Can we persuade some of these old war horses to come out of retirement?

  17. zen17 September 20, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Those men and women you are looking for are out in their gardens growing their own food, practicing their Tai Chi and learning skills that are going to be of use in the world to come. Trying to hold together a whale of a government, poisoned by Corexit is not their priority now.
    The system is broken. The only help coming is what we can do ourselves. Detox your body from all the chemicals in the food and meds. Train your body to be fit and healthy. Unplug from all the frivolous distractions and calm your mind.
    then…..be ready to adapt to Change.

  18. walt September 20, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    There are really two tracks here to the future. One might be called Techno-management Rationalism. That’s Steven Chu, Obama, and the sundry liberals who read the Times and listen to NPR. The other track would be the doomers, localizers, cultural pessimists, and survivalists. Obviously, Kunstler is one refuge for this camp.
    Obama wasn’t elected to dismantle industrial civilization. If he even hinted at the thought, he’d be impeached. And if Obama is failing to resuscitate the beast, well, we can still appreciate that he’s a negative-image Ahab, trying to reconcile madcap farce to the tragedy of Spenglerian decay.
    The world will not bend to our outrage. It’s fucked and so are we. Our busy-beaver matrix will continue to solve problems by creating new ones. There’s no way out.

  19. jeff September 20, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Every Monday morning I have read these pieces and wondered of the excruciating pain you must be in Mr. Kuntsler. I personally agree your posts most of the time but am at a loss at the “Purpose”of them?
    I have chosen to be an isolationist most of my life. Meaning I don’t believe one thing our government or our polititians do or say.
    I have a deep seeded hope, that the teapartywhatever, even though they may seem dislodged,discombooberated and just plain unorganized. The message is Loud and Clear. This message is going out to all of us that hold hope in this country and actually believe there is a solution. In my opinion you will see a great awakenong this November, for the ones that will be counted are not even here!

  20. wisewebwoman September 20, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    it is time to focus on what the rest of us are doing to sustain ourselves in the coming slow cataclysm of collapse. The porky pols have no intention of saving US, it is all about THEM.
    BO was just a stooge, given the hopey changey words to keep business going as usual and panic stalled while the rest of the till was cleaned out by his bros on Wall Street.
    Sustainable community life is where its at now, my friend.
    You’re preaching to the choir.

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  21. Pepper Spray September 20, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    It’s time for a third party, the Republicrats have done nothing but lie cheat and steal while pretending to be at odds with one another.
    Short of that it is certainly time to prepare for rising crime and social deterioration. First stop should be to stock up on personal protection devices because if the 1970s was any clue to how economic hardships influence behavior, simply going to the store is bound to become more of an adventure in the near future!

  22. CaptainFructose September 20, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    JHK’s metaphor works on another level as well. The 19th century whalers were scouring the world’s oceans desparately trying to sustain an unsustainable dependence on whale oil for illumination. They were lucky that the discovery of “rock-oil” was just around the corner, to save their hides for another 150 years. What will save us? Oh, I forget, we have creative financial instruments. I wonder how they taste?

  23. Imagainstit September 20, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Jim really has a case of the vapors this morning.

  24. hugho September 20, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Jim you really overdid yourself with metaphor this time! You ask: where are the leaders who will tell the american people the truth and lead us to the promised land of conservation and walkable shopable non car-able communities? You know the answer if anyone does. They are here, you are there and we exist. Problem is, planning for such a future requires intelligent sacrifice and for a populace hooked on cheap energy and mobility, such a message would not be welcomed and politicians are not elected promising less.

  25. Cash September 20, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    What kind of chickenshit society have you become? How many kinds are there?
    People are sheep. Right thinking people adhere to “centrist” ideas, they want to be seen as “moderate”.
    Awful thing to be branded as just not quite with the program and be cut out of the Georgetown social whirl. People that express off kilter notions are laughed at, until they are proved to be right, and then they are laughed at some more.
    A lot of people are in the pockets of large corporations. A few years ago a large bank tried to recruit me (I didn’t accept the job). The employment contract stated that participation in public affairs by employees is encouraged but speaking out on issues of public import is to be done, and I quote, “with discretion”.
    What they mean is shut your hole little man, you are not to air your little opinions and the day you do is the day you’re out kicking stones.
    Freedom of expression is a right only meant to be fully exercised by certain people like corporate and government mandarins, people of independent means or people that have nothing to lose. Do you work for a large corporation? Do you value your employment? Then mouth your little opinions with your little friends in your little neighbourhood barrooms like a good little fellow. Otherwise shut it.

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  26. Paul Kemp September 20, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    You are in good form today, JHK! I loved the phrase “deadly miracle cures”, which has special meaning for those who study the insanity of our guaranteed-to-fail health care system.
    This new generation of Washington’s “best and brightest” are not that different from the geniuses that have risen to positions of influence in past administrations. These Ivy League ex-spurts who brought us sideshow attractions like the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Vietnam War, and concepts like Mutually Assured Destruction, the Space Race, the Arms Race, etc. It’s all about distracting the public with a scary threat to their way of life, so as to facilitate picking their pockets.
    Nothing new in Washington these days — it has just become more institutionalized. We have seen it so often, with all the trappings of power and prestige, that the common folk have learned to accept it without questioning. The booboisie have more appealing pastimes to look forward to, such as the County Fairs.
    Our American Way of Life needs to go. We just can’t face that reality, the reality that it is not working for us, anyway. But, as Jim points out, our leaders keep investing us deeper and deeper in stopgap measures to try to keep the party going.
    Getting the majority of the American population to come to their senses on the energy question and how we shall live is too big a project.
    To my mind, it makes more sense to spend our energies in getting our own lives in order, so we can survive the coming storm. Survival of the fittest is the order of the day at http://www.healthyplanetdiet.com

  27. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Back around the time Enron scandal hit, I told all my friends that “the end” was in sight. My rationale was this: Far too many of our leaders, i.e. pols, captains of industry, just did not seem to care about their reputations any more. Why, I pondered. Well, my theory was that they, the “leaders” were the canaries in the mines. They were more interested in short term gain (i.e. loot) than reputation. What type of scenario would make such behavior beneficial (regardless of ethics). My conclusion was simple. Our “leaders” were betting on ultimate near-term collapse. Why else would you jettison a good name for immediate gain? Sure, some will say that the “leaders” are stupid folk and are just greedy. I would say that theory is flawed. These characters are very clever, they are just not ethical. So their behavior is rational and not whimsical. They KNEW (and know) the end is near.
    I still maintain my theory explains why the current crop of “leaders” are keeping up the charade. The are hoping against hope, keeping lids on things, while they grab as much as they can before the collapse occurs. That’s why we get no meaningful, intelligent direction from above. The silence is deafening, as JHK opines.

  28. piltdownman September 20, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    All those ivy leaguers sold out. It’s as simple as that. They didn’t seek to create a better world, they only sought to create a richer one; for themselves.

  29. antimatter September 20, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Maybe the assumption that intelligent people out there see the problem and want to change it is wrong. What if those kinds of people have sold out in a silent fashion, and have thus joined with those who are working so hard to bring the country to its collective knees? Tea Party, funded by a handful of wealthy folks who love right wing politics, such as the Koch Bros., is going to fake a lot of its followers out—just as Obama’s masterful ‘change’ campaign drew in millions who believed. We’re in for it now, I’m convinced. The GOP wins? We get depression, unemployed vilified, jettisoned, entitlements such as retirement and social security eliminated or stolen. The Dems win? Same thing, but with a reality distortion field that broadcasts ‘we care’ while Dems continue to do the GOP’s bidding.
    Imagine that we, the US population, are nothing more than employees of a thing called The US Government, Inc. The board of directors—Congress–hates employees and all the trouble they bring. The CEO–White House—agrees. And the system sets forth to marginalize the employees, and lay them off, taking their benefit packages. This is where we are. And it will not be different if the GOP or the Dems win. If we work locally, maybe in 50 years we can restore the country to a sane place to live and work. Right now, we are about to suffer, I mean REALLY SUFFER. No amount of blogging, alternative media, will save us in the short term. Except the top 1%, comprising 14,000 households, which owns 95+% of all wealth in America, will be able to fly above the clouds—just as the wealthy do in a third world country. Our Congress and White House are seeing to it that we are fired. IMHO.

  30. Peaksurfer September 20, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Interesting analogy, Spotted Elk and Ahab. Flipping the metaphor, the Ghost Dancers, reduced to poverty and having surrendered to the Army, had become completely dependent on the carbine to hunt with and survive. Given the choice between giving up their guns and dying of starvation and facing the Hotchkiss Guns and dying quickly, they chose the latter (although the choice for the group may have been made by one deaf man). Spotted Elk is beckoning to us, as was Ahab, from beyond the grave… come with me, keep your obsessions or addictions, go down fighting for them.

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  31. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Piltdownman, yes, the Ivy Leaguers did indeed sell out. But I submit that the unstated underpinnings of their sellout was an abiding sense of futility. If the general notion is that “it” cannot endure, then grabbing as much as you can makes perfectly good sense. In other words, if sustainability is really not on the table, personal survivability will be the driving force. My proof? Look at many of the posts on this blog. Many write that this boat, she be goin’ down! So learn to grow your own food and and how to keep warm. Well, imagine that same motivation, except that you’re a Brahmin (I’m making the assumption that most of us on this blog were not born with silver spoons in our mouths.)
    In some sense, our goose is cooked even if the future is not really as bad as it looks. In the realm of notional behavior, what seems is reality.

  32. Mike Drabik September 20, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    In a nutshell:
    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold . . . the best lack all conviction, while the worst
    are full of passionate intensity.”

  33. Prelapsarian Press September 20, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    This isn’t my experience teaching college kids the last few years at schools a notch below the Ivies. Whatever the term soul means — a curiosity about life and desire to know truth, a determination to make life better for ones self and others, whatever — none of these kids has one. You see the houses out there in front of you, but there are no lights on, and no one seems to be home.
    It’s not their fault, of course. They are the products of a society that is at war with truth on every front, so how could they be expected to value it?
    What’s up with our MIA elites? One indicator might be the fact that about 90 percent of a recent graduating class at Yale interviewed on Wall Street. They want to get a share of the boodle while they can, and that’s all they want. All they’ve been taught to want.

  34. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Antimatter, I think your theory is spot on. Your analogy of US Inc. where we are all employees is quite apt. Especially the part about the “management” hating the employees! Where else have we seen such sentiments coming from the political leaders? How about Cambodia under Pol Pot?

  35. helen highwater September 20, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Smokyjoe, you refer to “Intelligent leadership in the modern military” – where exactly? Iraq has been left in a terrible mess, and they seem to think “more troops” are going to make a difference in Afghanistan. Neither war is ever going to be “won”, and the people of the Middle East seem to hate the West more than ever. How intelligent is that?

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  36. messianicdruid September 20, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    The last official act of government: LOOT THE NATION.
    “We, in America, were not guiltless. For decades, we saw the disease spreading in Europe and Asia, and many of us knew when the infection had reached our own country. But too many of us were greedy; we saw opportunities for individual gain and profit if we supported the emerging tyrants in Washington. Tyrants are so full of pleasant promises; they are so skillful in false suspicions, false hatreds, false envies, and natural human greed. When we Americans should have stood together, defying with our votes and our voices and our anger each tyrant as he appeared, we turned our innate and instinctive jealousies and dislikes upon our neighbors. We betrayed each other. The disease entered our souls, and we sold our honor for a handful of silver, whether we were workingmen or capitalists, farmers or bankers, bureaucrats or clerks, industrialists or shopkeepers.”

  37. welles September 20, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    What kind of chickenshit society have we become?
    Yeah so what are you doing besides revomiting your tired stereotypes while desperately trying to impress us with your SAT english vocabulary?
    JHK, you’re pretty intelligent for an overeducated Princetonite, maybe you could learn to swing an axe, you’ll be mildly useful to people like trippticket who’re permaculturing, or to folks working the land, baking in their kitchens and selling locally.
    someone on this board said kunstler needs to highlight the positive steps folks are taking to downscale and rightsize. my laudations to said person.
    jhk can be alright.

  38. wardoc September 20, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    “We’re fooling ourselves that wind power, solar electric, and other “alt.energy” schemes will allow us to keep running our stuff the way we do.”
    This reflects a huge fantasy for both my generation (boomers) and younger generations (e.g my son’s generation, the millennials). The millennials, especially, seem to think that solar is going to save us, and that means, of course, continue happy motoring. Boomers, in the main, are just in pure denial, thinking they’ll all be dead before the energy runs out. Good luck.
    I have a greenhouse “powered” by very high quality solar; I have $4k worth of solar panels and almost $2k worth of batteries and controllers. Top notch, high end system. On a SERIES of bright sunny days (here in Tennessee), the system kicks ass and can run fans, grow lights, and other assorted gadgets….all from the sun…very very cool! But, let the sun hide behind clouds for more than two or three days, and I spend days trying to get the batteries pumped back up, unless I shut them output off completely (or go to a grid charger). And heat during the winter; forget it. I can run heaters for a few hours, then that’s it: battery depletion alarms go off. Electrical heat (and AC) requires massive energy input, far in excess of what even a high end solar power system can produce, especially if you’re running anything else, e.g lights. Of course, if you have $20K worth of panels and $10k worth of batteries, and you live in Arizona, you might be able to run a space heater 24/7 during the winter; then again in sunny areas you may not need a heater.
    The point is: solar power is a fun and interesting hobby level process. It is very cool to get power from the sun and have a greenhouse that is off grid (sometimes). All my friends are impressed and say, “wow.” BUT, when the proverbial shit hits the fan and electric power from the grid becomes sporadic (think 3rd world), solar will be pitiful. It will be used, but it will not provide anywhere near the power we’re accustomed to at the flick of a switch. It will only provide basic 3rd world energy for a few lights and that’s pretty much it. And, wait til we get a few coronal mass ejections; all solar panels and batteries not covered by seamless metal and buried, will be fried and become useless. (already this summer, I lost two batteries to the intense heat, and one solar panel was lost to heat burn). You don’t hear this stuff from the solar dealers or moron greenies.
    Wind, forget it! Less efficient and more weather dependent that solar.
    Hydrogen….Please…..more energy in than out!!
    When the grid becomes less present and eventually goes down for all civilian purposes, people are going to really freak. Imagine the soccer moms dressed in their $500 tennis outfits having to use scrub boards and clothes lines (not much time will be left for manicures and lunches). And imagine the SUVs they drive covered with solar panels from hood to truck, while towing a 20 foot trailor to hold the rest of the solar panels needed to go no more then 5mph. 🙂
    Alt.energy may be cool and interesting, but it is truly a pathetic joke when it is asked to support what we’ve developed. And the jokes on us!!!
    End of rant.

  39. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Prelapsarian, the simplicity and elegance of your assessment of our young-un’s is striking.

  40. reniam September 20, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Keep this article in mind whenever you are tempted to exalt government above the normal rank and file of society. Government is above all else a corporation of man-made process and effort, many of its individual members as self-serving as any bank executive, and as given to violent and harmful behaviors as anyone you might encounter in the world.
    “get smaller, leaner, more local, more earnest, more truthful, and more willing to endure the discomforts of changed circumstances.”
    Yes indeed.

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  41. Cash September 20, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    I agree with you. What matters to these guys is that they get theirs and screw everyone else.
    I think central banks have been complicit in the financial debauchery we’ve been watching and getting screwed by for a generation or more. Our captains of industry gutted our economies by offshoring. So what to do now? There’s only a shell of our manufacturing and the towns and cities supported by it are rotting hulks. My home town is one of them. Near term collapse is right.
    It seems to me that central banks have been doing their level best to help the Wall Street/Bay Street/Canary Wharf glitterati and their cohorts in corporate bardrooms. The Fed creates torrents of liquidity to grease the wheels of the financial casinos so the hard eyed con men can play their rigged games and cash out. You, the average mutual fund owner, are meant to be holding the bag when it all stops.
    Don’t complain, it’s the natural order of things. Who do you think you are anyway wanting some for yourself? You need to understand that you don’t count, you never have, you are nothing, a zero, a piece of meat with eyes. Don’t you know that the free market means anything goes? Your job is going to some craphole in China or India, be grateful you had one for a while, and now your lot is to let the robber barons steal whatever you have saved up.
    Are you not on board with this? So invest, invest, invest, you would be foolish not to, everyone is doing it. Invest for the long run, do it now, the robber barons need your money.

  42. Newfie September 20, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    “We are one international incident away from being put out-of-business as an advanced civilization.”
    You got that right Jim-boy. All it will take is one passenger jet, on its way from Tehran to Riyadh, highjacked over the Persian Gulf, and crashed into the worlds largest oil terminal at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia.
    Ka-boom! 15% of the worlds oil supply will be taken off the market instantly – for a long time. Gasoline will skyrocket to $10 a gallon overnight. And that will it – the world economy will crash and burn and we will be living back in the 9th century in a matter of months:

  43. Redgunenr September 20, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Haven’t you heard, the recession ended in June…Sue it did.

  44. anotherplayaguy September 20, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Not quite the time, Ishmael. The market (LOL) is up over 100 points, and more to the point, the economists have declared the recession over as of June, 2009. Whudda thunk it, with 20-30% unemployment?

  45. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Cash, I remember back in the early 1960’s when there were still many small manufacturing firms. By the late ’60s they were selling out in droves to the large corporations. What was the inducement? Stay at home and clip coupons and cash dividend checks. No more do you, Mr. Small Businessman, need to worry about the gas pains of your workers. We’ll take care of them, said Captain Conglomerate! And so they have. No longer do our companies’ leaders feel responsible for their workers. The workers are the enemy now! Cost to be reduced.
    We have been reduced to a commodity. Welcome to the new reality.

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  46. Cash September 20, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Mr K writes about the County fair and its deep fried horrors. Has anyone ever seen that program Man vs Food where the host of the show travels from one roadside diner to another and attempts to eat monstrous meals like 5 lb hamburgers on massive buns with all the toppings in an hour? In return he gets his photo on the restaurant wall of “honour” for accomplishing this feat of massive over eating. I saw a couple of episodes and I’ve got a strong stomach but I have to say that it is revolting. At the end I felt sick. Kind of like a culinary Jerry Springer.

  47. Mike Lieber September 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    A constitutional convention is the only recourse left to Americans to take control of their national government. Members of Congress have openly admitted that the bankers are running the show on Capitol Hill. Government by special interests was most certainly not what the Founders envisioned 233 years ago.
    The facts are clear: The national government is broken and we, its owners, must fix it. We either control government or it will control us. It’s our choice.
    Please see my Daily Kos post (http://fb.me/IFmaoWNL) if you are interested in a more fully developed article on this important topic.

  48. George S. September 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    You are a bit dyspeptic today. 😉
    Counting on the ‘Millenials’ to save us caused me to choke on my Cheerios. They have become a kind of pod-people – they look alike, are all plugged into the same happy horseshit, and eerily have this look on their faces that says ‘You made this fucking mess, I’m checking out’

  49. empirestatebuilding September 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours this morning n the Long Island Expressway. I am hoping for Peak Oil, but so far I do not see any tangible signs of it.
    Oh and the word came down from on high this morning that the Great Recession ending in June 2009. Someone ought to let the labor market know.
    Aimlow Joe was here.

  50. MoneyMouth September 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Great blog! Glad I finally figured out how to sign in. I’d like to write more, but I’ve got to go start a dog-poop compost hole (not kidding), and hop into the solar shower before I head off to work at the State Psychiatric Hospital (business is good)

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  51. mika. September 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    “What continues to amaze me is that there is no corresponding rise of an intelligent opposition.” -JHK
    There cannot be, and will not be such, as long as the banking/corporate mafia controls the show.

  52. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Obama is a big disappointment. I list my political affiliation on Facebook as “Get out of Afghanistan.”
    I was hoping for two big accomplishments by now from Obama.
    1. Get out of Afghanistan, duh.
    2. Shut down Guantanamo and punish those responsible for torturing anybody.

  53. nothing September 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Ah, Jimbo, still searching for a Messiah, a strongman, to come and rescue us? Well, Jimbo, we the people, we nincompoops, we ordinary folk, may have more answers than you think.
    My son, a pretty bright kid in IT, says most of his contemporaries in the tech world understand the goals of the Tea Party. They could care less about the culture–they are a tolerant bunch–but they know solutions will come from the people, not from the bunch in power.
    Get ready. Freedom is messy. And get this: The Tea Party types want to get elected so they can LEAVE YOU ALONE.

  54. nothing September 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    And by the way: Buy gold, the dollar is history.

  55. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    If a politician runs on a platform that calls for sustainable living, and the media ignores him, does he make a sound?
    Apparently not.
    Green Party candidates are running on issues that JHK and people here should support, but because they aren’t backed by oil or finance money, they are dissed as “unviable”.
    Here’s your choice. You can have intelligent candidates calling for a different lifestyle that have no money, or you can have media-trumpeted idiots.
    But don’t say that there are no people out there calling for sensible solutions!!

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  56. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    And here is a specific platform, which acknowledges peak oil-

  57. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Excellent rant. Your conclusions about wind and solar are right on target. My brother is CFO of an electric company. He’d be happy if solar and electric worked, but sadly, the numbers just don’t add up. His company sells power to a windfarm in Wyoming because the wind doesn’t generate enough power to keep the inner workings of the windmills warm enough to operate.
    His conclusion. At some point in the future, the grid is will be intermittent at best. Too bad.

  58. Cash September 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I’m well acquainted with the new reality. My last employer was eaten by a much larger predator who then proceeded to gut the old company. My old job was outsourced.
    I predicted to my friends and acquaintances for years before this happened that the company would be bought and that all the stuff I slaved and sweated over for years would quickly end up in boxes, then shredded and recycled.
    I don’t need my work to be immortalized in stone but it would be nice to know that it wasn’t for nothing. That’s the story of my life and I think the lives of many others: tumult, upheaval, restructuring, merger, acquisition, divestiture, mess and disaster. Dragging our sorry asses from one barely achieved deadline to the next. And for what? What was created? For whose benefit? Fine, we got a paycheque but I look back on a life’s work and what do I see?
    The modern breed of CEO is not an “executive” in the sense of being an expert in getting things done. IMO businesses operate despite the CEO. The CEO is typically not a manager, one who spends his time staffing, planning, training, directing, controlling, motivating. The CEO rarely understands the business he is “managing” so the CEO does not create “value”. For the sake of his bonus the CEO creates chaos, nothing more.

  59. Newfie September 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    “At some point in the future, the grid will be intermittent at best” -WARDOC
    Check out the Olduvai Theory:
    Industrial civilization = electricity

  60. Prelapsarian Press September 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Thanks. I like that of George S even better — “pod people” … “plugged into the same happy horseshit.”

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  61. Jeff September 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    No reason to think it’s different at the Ivies, and some reason to think it isn’t.
    For example:http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2010/sep/02/yale-dems-pull-support-for-tillman-documentary/

  62. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Oh the fun I had this weekend…
    “Speaking of Idiots
    Check out this douche….”

  63. DigCatDaddy September 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Great Post! Looks like your stepping up your game. I think your writing improves the more pissed-off you become.
    Keep up the good work!

  64. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    You also have a Green choice, John.

  65. Robert Roth September 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    I have two sorts of answers to the questions you raise, Jim. On the one hand, there are no leaders because the ones who hold power have been bought off. There are fringe figures in the corridors of power, men and women who take principled stands. They are few but one way I identify them is by endorsement by Progressive Democrats of America. Those who rise to the top, however, requires the approval of the Real Money, and that seems to be preoccupied making more of itself at all costs, whether in denial of the results or because its owners expect to live behind walls or on private islands inaccessible to the chaos they’re turning the world into, I don’t know.
    The Real Money exercises its control in considerable part through the mass media. You seem to underestimate entirely the power of propaganda, which is funded in the billions on a continuing basis. Although the questions asked may not get to the core problems you focus on, polling data consistently shows the public to be much more understanding, constructive, and favorable to fair positions than you could ever tell from our political structure. That is, the public is consistently to the left of the White House and Congress. The propaganda machine is there to keep the democracy deficit in place, to keep these positions from melding into coherent objections, precisely to keep people preoccupied with trivial matters and materialist, much as you often allude to. Noam Chomsky gave a brief but cogent outline of the origins of that system in Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind, a short talk available in various forms from Alternative Radio, 1-800-444-1977.
    Meanwhile there are many voices saying more sensible things than we get to see in or hear about from the mass media. Most of those voices, like yours, are more prominent than mine, but I have put together a rudimentary program that would go roughly in the sort of direction you’ve been advocating for some time. My latest iteration, with a focus on trade policy reform, is at http://www.zcommunications.org/trade-reform-for-economic-recovery-and-global-justice-by-robert-roth, in case you want to take a look. A differently focused piece that in part reacts to the Obama $50 billion transportation infrastructure bill you wrote about but more broadly, calls for more federal stimulus along what might loosely be called Kunstlerian lines is at http://pdamerica.org/articles/news/2010-09-08-09-14-11-news.php.

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  66. ASPO Article 1037 September 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Wardoc is on to something, but it is not new: half measures are going to fall short. Try Moshe’ Dayan: “The minimum required effort to produce the minimum acceptable result”…
    Solar thermal for washing water. Just one added feature that helps bridge the gap from falling short to de minimus comfort. No one said we can expect to maintain full bore parity with the oil tarbaby lifestyle. Money partly invested in alternative is better than money hoarded until the grid collapses.
    Valero has joined the Koch block to pass California’s prop 23, language aimed at delaying incentives to alternative power generation indefinitely. That cadre’ will rue the day they win, and be held up to shame by their offspring…
    JHK comments on the highways/aviation/rail formula in the jobs bill. What is, is. It falls to wiser heads in the industries, as well as outside agencies, thinktanks, and planning consultancies to maintain speed with the Peak Oil newsfeed from places like theoildrum & “LATOC”. Chris Skrebowski offers a recent update on oilwell depletion simple enough for entrenched leadership (corporate and elected) to understand. If each contributor to this page passed on the report to their congressperson, or favorite Tea Party candidate, the leadership spectrum would be saturated, with no excuse for ignoring the Oil Interregnum.
    -Time on target, as they say in the USAF.-
    — JHK gave his token mention of “Passenger Rail” expansion, no doubt alluding to recalled USA railway matrix of the 100 years after Congress passed the “Post Roads Act (July 10, 1838) making all US railroads codified elements of the US Postal system. The railway mail service faded after WWII, as the Feds found every means possible to subsidize aviation, paying stipend for weight. Airlines complied by stuffing bulky books, even bricks, in air mail pouches.
    The “passenger railroad”, big ones like Pennsy and Southern Pacific, down to the smallest electric interurban like Sacramento Northern, existed to haul FREIGHT. Please, Jim, include a few lines for dormant branch line rebuild, lines needed to haul ag products. Also include adding container handling enroute the mains of today, so rail/truck facilities are not juicy sabotage targets 100 miles apart.
    The 1838 Post Roads/Railroads Act fits need for requisite “Guarantor of Societal & Commercial Cohesion” going into the Oil Interregnum just as it was crucial before oil dominated politics & commerce. Remaining oil should be used for making things & growing food, not burned. SHAME on the Kochs and the Valeros for knowing the highest & best uses for oil, yet finding every possible means to burn it up as fast as possible. They KNOW about oilfield depletion, making them culpable and criminally negligent. Oil exec children would love them more for intellectual honesty, promoting sustainabilty & Parallel Bar Therapy instead of stifling (prop 23) alternative energy entrepreneurs.
    Railroad has an interesting attribute: it requires almost no oil to function. Electric railways have been in the USA for over 120 years. An average size wind generator has equivalency to annual power requirement to an average electric locomotive, according to Asian & European railway planners. Graduates, the 10% with circumspection and wisdom, see the “OFFICIAL GUIDE” circa 1920-1960, or US Rail Map Atlas: spv.co.uk. Learn existing and dormant rail footprint near your locale, and then talk to planners, elected ones, and the Short Line Rail Operator nearest (ASLRRA). Doomers, relax, see Daniel Chapter 4:v15, have a smoke, stay the hell off the tracks…

  67. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Jimmy sez:
    ” Mr. Obama didn’t have to promise “change.” Change was happening all around us in the disintegration of our something-for-nothing dream of entitled exceptionalism. Tragically, the Tea Partiers want to claw back that absurd dream.”
    The “Tea Partiers” want nothing to do with that dream, you fucking ignoramus. They want to do away with “something-for-nothing.”
    And you want to associate “entitled exceptionalism” with the fucking Tea Party? Are you really this stupid? They believe our country is exceptional but not through entitlements. They believe entitlements are what is threatening our country.
    Did you read today’s papers James? Sweden just elected some conservatives for the first time in decades. Part of this was due to their immigration problems but part was due to an economic downturn. Did you see where the Russian’s are laying off over one hundred thousand bureaucrats?
    The world is waking up to the fact that someone has to pay for all these silly socialist dreams. The gigs up Jim. But you are too stoopid to smell the fucking coffee.

  68. lbendet September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Say hello to the little backwater that is US
    Yesterday I posted something I found on lifeaftertheoilcrash:
    It described how the Bush administration had politicized the DOE to such an extent that they destroyed the conduit of discussion on peak oil and global warming.
    I remember during those years all too well. NASA scientist, James E. Hanson stood up to threats that he better not say anything to substantiate global warming officially.
    Now Obama was supposed to be the educated science oriented guy, right. Well think again, his administration is not much better, we find them nibbling around the edges of the issue of Peak oil and speaking platitudes of energy innovation which will be implemented in China rather than here because of the crazy trade laws.
    Steven Chu et al have probably been convinced that telling the people about it would jeopardize national security.
    If you’re familiar with Alvin Toffler’s Megetrends and Third Wave, his description of transnationals having far more power than governments will resonate.
    Scientists are being marginalized in this culture, while getting big corporate money to go against scientific knowledge. You can find scientists speaking for BP about how safe the gulf water are after the oil spill + corexit. I bet they’ll tell us it’s so safe we can drink it.
    Now they’re against stem cell research with our favorite Tea Partier, O’Donnell stating that they are experimenting on mice, who now have fully functioning human brains. Now, tell me, what do you think the power elite think of the people in this country?
    I still say the mice should file a class action suit against the scientists. Who asked for fully functional human brains anyway, especially with these limited little furry bodies, without good thumbs! It’s a bit like the Frankenstein monster telling Frankenstein he’d rather have remained dead, thank you very much!
    Speaking of energy, when Reagan pulled the plug on fusion research and went for “Star Wars” I knew we were not going to be the great energy innovators.
    I had not actively followed energy issues until someone I was cold calling for work told me about the website I referred to earlier, lifeaftertheoilcrash around seven years ago. Looks like we’re going nowhere in slow motion. Only the oil companies matter.
    We are about to see a new far rightist agenda dominate this country while China and other countries will sail right past us.
    The Right contends that Government is the enemy of the people, but government is the people. That’s why we elect our peers to do the work for us in government.
    It’s the corporations that have so much money that they dominate “We the People” and drown out our voices. They want to starve the government that is supposed to protect us from corporate fraud, not to mention poisoning our food and environment.
    The bottom line is that without campaign finance laws, we are doomed. We have allowed corporate interests to squander our future.
    When the Tea Party addresses corporate globalism and the balkanization of this country, I’ll pay more attention to them. Otherwise, they are just useful idiots of the transnationals.

  69. Zev Paiss September 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    I say the Emperor has no clothes! Read a bit more at: http://zpaiss.blogspot.com/

  70. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Actually, that quote should be attributed to SJmom’s little brother, who shall remain nameless.

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  71. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I think that you nailed it, Al.
    The rich are doing the same as the people on this blog, preparing for the future as individuals, instead of members of a society.

  72. Zev Paiss September 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    And the politicians throwing stones
    So the kids they dance they shake their bones
    Cause its all too clear we’re on our own
    Sing ashes to ashes, all fall down
    Ashes to ashes, all fall down.
    -Greatful Dead

  73. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    “Our “leaders” were betting on ultimate near-term collapse. Why else would you jettison a good name for immediate gain?”
    Bra-vo. They set the example, and we should learn quickly from it. Stop worrying about the student loan payments and start planting some f’in’ food. Wherever you can. I’m going to go get the fall salad bed ready right now.

  74. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    “The bottom line is that without campaign finance laws, we are doomed.”
    I would amend this by adding: ‘without campaign finance laws, or, even better, an abrupt awakening of the average “consumer unit” to a reality that stirs punishing boycott of corporate products, we are doomed.’
    Otherwise, great post. Relocalization cures all.
    OK, NOW I’m off to the compost pile.

  75. richsob September 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I read this blog every week but something is all wrong with Jim’s thinking. Yea, it’s nice to think “local” when you’re going to buy some fruit or veggies. But if I’m going to feed a NATION I have to think about what works best for approximately 300,000,000 people and local farmer’s markets sure as hell won’t do the trick. Example: If you let me, I can tear out all the fences in a big area of Kansas or Oklahoma and use huge equipment to farm the acreage at a far greater yield (and at less cost) than several hundred farmers doing it all on their own. That may not sit well with the PC crowd but it’s the truth. There are efficiencies of scale in production. There are NOT efficiencies of scale in stone losers like government. I can farm 100,000 acres with huge equipment with less fuel and manpower than several hundred farms can by doing it all on their own. I can move those crops to town faster and with less trouble or simply use them on sight for feeding operations. You get your kicks knocking the system but the real problems are because the damn bureaucrats have their hands in the private sector when it isn’t needed. I’m not talking about reasonable regulations that protect society; I’m talking about how we need to turn the free market lose in this country, not tax it to death and allow the best of the best to succeed with a minimum of interference by the government. The “local” concept has its role but it can not be The Answer.

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  76. welles September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Stop worrying about the student loan payments and start planting some f’in’ food
    Seriously, if everyone on this board plants one tree it’ll do more to right things than 10,000 years of blogging.
    My unemployed buddy here in Brazil just started selling little home-made cakes, very small just a two-bite deal, for $1.15 each. He and his wife mix, bake and wrap everything in their tiny kitchen.
    Guy’s pulling in about $300/day walking into companies and selling to folks. Awesome.
    Now, Americans, go and do something on your own too. Grow something, build something, bake and deliver some home made bread, get independent, it’s super satisfying. Involve your kids or friends and do something right where you live, and make plans to help each other.
    Weird, here in Brazil it feels like the old days in the States. Our downstairs neighbor’s about 65, we leave the keys with her if someone needs to come and fix the plumbing or install the internet while we’re away at work during the day.
    She cleans the apartment and sews/patches/mends clothes if we need it, we pay her $5-25. She’ll bring up homemade cake sometimes. We sit on the steps outside our building and chew the fat with her sometimes too.
    Ain’t perfect but it’s neighborly and increases wellbeing and it benefits everyone moneywise. Win win win.
    Those 350 gladiolus I planted in july…sold about 100 for $1 each, less than i’d wanted, but it was late in the season, & those customers’ll be coming back next summer. it’s my all-organic Dollar Menu, i’ve got super-fragrant Peacock Orchids (Acidanthera) for $1/bulb as well.
    My nice iris rhizomes were popular too, for 30c to $1 apiece. Just throw ’em in the ground and leave alone.
    So none of you come back til you’ve done something with your hands — created something to sell — isn’t everyone lamenting that the US doesn’t manufacture anymore? well, manufacture something yourself, it’s dead simple to make chocolate for example.
    advertise locally for free on craigslist, for example, or in the pennysaver.
    hell, famous amos’ cookies started that way, plus prolly plenty of other going concerns.
    trippticket….any good starter ideas?

  77. cougar_w September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Hey JK — the “angel with bat-wings” Fortran says Hi. I’ve got a new one in the works with her sister Diamond extracting confessions at the tip of a knife. It’s what she does best, steering humans back onto the narrow path of redemption. It’s a kind of charity, you understand …
    See you in the funny pages.

  78. Mr. Purple September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Interesting link on the Olduvai Theory. Although I’m not sure if I would mark the start of industrial civilization as late as 1930, but more like the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Taking the 100-year span as accurate, that would make the end point shortly after World War Two. Hmmmm….

  79. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Your entire response assumes that we will, or could, continue to live the way we always have. You talk about inputs to production as if a steady supply of inputs is the only option. We’re talking about a future without those inputs, friend, and I guarantee you that you can’t produce ANY food that way without the necessary fertilizer/pesticide/diesel inputs. It’s not only a less reliable system in the long run, it’s a NON-system at some point. Ask the Cubans.
    But they figured it out. And it all came down to doing it organically, and locally. Turned Havana into a garden in the process. Close the cycle. Our only hope is to start recycling, reducing, reusing, repairing, and refusing everything. The point you’re trying to make doesn’t exist.

  80. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    “Although I’m not sure if I would mark the start of industrial civilization as late as 1930, but more like the middle of the Nineteenth Century.”
    I would call 1930 the official birth of the oil economy, and that’s the one that’ll end the American experiment when it fails. Hence all those charming young men and women in camo scurrying about trying to secure the rest of the supply.
    Personally, the Olduvai Cliff makes sense to me in ecological terms.
    Haven’t seen you in a while, Mr. Purple! How do?

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  81. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Aaaah, sandwich down, back to the soil…

  82. Anne September 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    The graduates of institutions like Yale, Princeton, Stanford, et al are all about making money in the capitalistic system. Short term profits, baby. This philosophy is completely at odds with what we need, which is long term planning.
    There are a lot of people out here who understand very well what is going on. But do you imagine that anyone wants to listen? I voted for Obama based on the premise that he was going to be honest, but it quickly (day 1) became clear that he was not and would not be truthful about the current situation. When those of us who understand what’s happening do speak up, we’re met with hostility and derision. So being sensible folks, we are doing what we can to prepare for the coming collapse. Strategies, not solutions. Oh, I still try to help people understand what’s going on, but even among liberals (i.e., reality- and evidence-based thinkers) it’s an uphill battle.

  83. Mr. Purple September 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    “I can farm 100,000 acres with huge equipment with less fuel and manpower than several hundred farms can by doing it all on their own.”
    I don’t think you understand how the Long Emergency will change farming. Small-scale (a.k.a. non-industrial) farming won’t be more productive than petroleum-driven farming, but it will be possible in a world of increasingly scarce petroleum. After all, what fuel is going to power your huge equipment?

  84. dplainview September 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    “How did it come to be in our time that Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Stanford and all the other incubators of supposed statesmanship have produced no figures of conviction and good intentions to demonstrate what it means to be resolute amid this grand failure of will? How have we managed to turn out two generations of lackeys, toadies, stooges, and flunkies from these citadels of power?”
    If there remained any integrity in these “incubators” they would have issued recalls on or at minimum disclaimers for the brand of legacy leadership they’ve produced. Could anyone of a reasonably sensitive intellect take pride in sharing alumnae status with a “43?’

  85. Laura Louzader September 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    One reason that the people who know the score will not name it is that these people are not the people who are in political office, and the people in office who DO know the score are mindful that nobody ever got elected in this country for telling the brutal truth.
    However, the major reason that our leaders with elite educations are so confused and rudderless is because of the failure of philosophy in the Western World. Since the late 19th century, our universities have been dominated by 19th Century German collectivist philosophies, and the socialization of this country, with the privatization of profits and socialization of costs and risks, began in earnest in the early 20th century. We have been on the road that led to the complete failure of our financial systems and financial destruction of the American population since about 1913, and every policy promulgated since has hastened the movement of American money to the back pockets of the New York banking cartel, as well as the dictatorships of the third world, and failing industries here with well-connected principals.

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  86. Mr. Purple September 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Doing pretty well here, Tripp! Things have been busy, but are manageable. How are things with you?
    Planted more heirloom tomatoes this year, but didn’t prune them as I should have, so production has been low. Also, it’s been a cool summer, which probably hasn’t helped. Still, I’ve had enough production to trade for some green beans and crookneck squash with some friends. The compost heap is growing nicely.
    This fall, I am planning a raised bed between the fence and the southern edge of the house, which is otherwise unused space. The facing of the house (east/west, with minimal lot space on the north and south ends) is not ideal for raising food, but keeps the temperature comfortable all year.

  87. Mr. Purple September 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Excellent point about the beginning of the Petroleum Age being around 1930. I suspect areas with hydro-power will become popular manufacturing sites again.

  88. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Just a reminder to all you CFN readers: Peak Oil was declared to have arrived in 2010 by Germany’s Bundeswehr (Defense Ministry). This was recently reported in Der Spiegel, Germany’s Time Magazine. This seems like very big news to me, since it represents mainstream recognition that Peak Oil is real, and not a political posture. This means things will get very “interesting” very soon. Personally, I think this will mean the advent of a very hot three letter word.

  89. John Wilson September 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Jim: You still don’t get it. The America you write about no longer exists. America is more of a mindset today than a place on a map. I have tremendous respect for you grinding out a living by writing and speaking engagements. You are a rare breed in this country of government entitlement whores. Most people are bought and paid for hook, line, & sinker. Everyone is either in a made up government job or on a government program. These people do as they are told! No thinking required. They spend their lives pretending they are successful and have never produced, created, or risked a god damned thing. That includes the flunkies in academia who push the masters agenda. You are mistaken to think that Harvard, Princeton, and Yale produce anything more than indoctrinated stooges albeit at a higher level. These people benefit tremendously from these same made up government jobs, they just get the good ones! There are no leaders because Americans are pushovers who are dominated by management at all levels. They are scared little pussycats who know better than to challenge their owners. Do I need to remind you about Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Kent State shootings……Americans know what happens when you challenge your master. The Federal Reserve printing press allows them to put as many goons as they need on the payroll. Add to all of this the perpetual debt slavery of 30 yr mortgages, 6-8 yr car loans, student loans, and credit card shopping sprees and no one is in a position to stand for anything. People are corrupt and will push any agenda as long as they benefit from it. I know , I know….what about the good people in government? Yes, there may be five or six but they are neutralized by policy, regulation, and law. The gangsters who own and run this country are brilliant. They have diced and sliced this population into a million little nothings. There is no “were in this together” crap…Americans only care about who they can screw over and what is their cut of the action. Might I recommend two books to help you understand what is going on …1) Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky and 2) The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. Enough for now have a wonderful day! Remember don’t challenge your owners or you will be dealt with!!

  90. richsob September 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Everyone here seems to think we are going to run completely out of petroleum products in the future. That is not going to happen. The supply of affordable petroleum products will get tighter over a period of time but that is missing the point I was making. My point is we have to feed about 300,000,000 people in this country. Assuming God isn’t going to start showering manna on us, we have to raise our food the cheapest way we can and like it or not petroleum will be a big part of that equation. If you are going to use a million gallons of diesel to raise food, it makes sense to maximize the return on that usage. That means you increase your scale of operations, not reduce them! I’m not talking about switching from a Yugo to a Hummer. I’m talking about farming a set amount of acreage for the lowest amount of time, energy and other costs invested in the process. Petroleum will become extremely expensive in the future and thinking you can feed 300,000,000 people by not maximizing efficiencies is laughable. By the way I own farmland and I am also in the oil & gas business. I am not talking theory here, folks.

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  91. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    “I suspect areas with hydro-power will become popular manufacturing sites again.”
    You and I agree on that one. Water’s going to be a huge deal in all this. Maybe one of the earliest limiting factors to continued expansion. And by that I mean that it already is (I have first-hand knowledge of that part of the machine). That’s why I’m always on about water catchment, recycling, graywater, composting toilets. Just about anyone in my climate could go water-independent with the right equipment and a small attitude change.
    Personally, I’m looking forward to some renewed respect for water.

  92. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    John: Well you’ve certainly got the system pegged! I would disagree with one point, though. That is your admonition to JHK to not challenge his owners or he’ll be dealt with. JHK (or anybody else) has nothing to worry about unless he gets real traction. As long as its just a rant, he’ll be allowed to say anything he wants. The “dealt with immediately” faction were the Soviets. The American method is far slicker and requires less energy input and risk. Let the ranters wear themselves out and things will still go on just as planned. That’s the American way!

  93. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Adding to my prior response to John, that’s the beauty of a modern Democracy. “Citizens” get to say anything they want, to criticize anything they want. They have the “rights” to do that. What is unsaid, however, is that they will be promptly ignored, no matter how compelling the message, if that message is at odds with “the masters”. That clever system is one reason why the more ridiculous the message is, the more its right to be stated is trumpeted by TPTB. The flood of pornography, for example, is justified on the basis of free speech. You can be sure that pornography, no matter how base, represents no threat to TPTB. And even better, the fact that it is not suppressed is clear evidence to “our” commitment to Democracy and freedom of speech.

  94. helen highwater September 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    In reply to nothing re “Tea Party types want to get elected so they can leave you alone” – yeah, right, alone to educate my children because there is no tax money to pay for schools or governments to run them; alone to fix the roads and bridges in my neighbourhood because there is no tax money for infrastructure; alone to read books I buy at the store because there is no tax money for libraries or librarians; alone to live hungry in a tent city because there is no tax money for unemployment payments and no government food stamp program if I lose my job; alone to defend myself against burglars and other criminals because there is no money for policing, and no government to oversee police forces and no laws or courts either; alone to set my own broken leg because there is no money for hospitals; alone to die if I have no retirement savings and Social Security doesn’t exist anymore….do you get the picture? The Tea Party morons who want to abolish government and taxation and laws, which is what they really mean by “leaving us alone” don’t have a clue as to what that would really be like. Seriously, folks, try to imagine what life would be like without all the services that are currently provided by government. If government is gone and tax revenues are gone, who exactly is going to provide these services? Sounds like what they really want is for people who can afford to do all these things for themselves will get to live and everybody else won’t. Not saying the current government and taxation system is any good, but get real, folks, no government wouldn’t be any better. You’ve got to come up with a better plan than “leaving us alone”.

  95. John Wilson September 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Al : I agree completely with your observation. It makes me sad but the only thing that is going to change the criminality that goes on in Washington DC and the real powers on Wall St and the Federal Reserve gangsters is violence. That is all our owners understand and the only thing that gets their attention. Anything else is futile. They have weaseled their way into these positions and like all gangsters throughout history the only way they give it up is through being on the losing end of violence. That’s why they have so many goons on the payroll to control and dominate the domestic population…..any real threat is their own population. I’m a big proponent of voting with your feet. The best way to screw these people over is to leave. One less slave to tax and feed the criminal Pentagon system and their made up never ending wars. On a side note I’m always fascinated with the hypocrisy of Americans. They make a big deal out of other countries having nuclear weapons and our gang of thieves is the only country to ever use them. If I was another country I would definitely want my own nuclear weapons to defend myself against those lunatics in Washington DC. What if I have something they want…they will just invade me and steal it. You and I both know they hate using those “markets” to buy stuff at a fair price. Why pay for it when you can steal it….anyone questions it and you send in the Marines! you gotta love these sick bastards!!

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  96. Al Klein September 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    I can posit a plan that might work better. How about if everybody in the nation were committed to creating a dollar’s worth of real value (i.e wealth) for every dollar received in payment or created by the Fed. That would represent a great philosophical foundation upon which to build a future. Agreed? Or maybe not. Can anybody in this blog say who else suggested such a program as a path out of a current societal financial dilemma?

  97. myrtlemay September 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    You, Tripp, and a few others always have something positive and practical to say. I’ve been thinking of giving up reading this blog. Frankly, JHK depresses the living daylights out of me. Thanks for making me consider sticking around a bit longer to see what you guys are up to!

  98. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Sometimes you pick on the wrong people, and this is one of those times.
    No one in the US government has MORE of a clue than Steven Chu. He is faced with an extraordinary set of circumstances, and he is trying very hard to deal with them. These problems include climate change and fossil fuel depletion, among others. He is proposing a wide range of solutions, including alt energy, big efficiency improvements, grid upgrades, big improvements to electric batteries, etc. The DOE has already taken the lead in these areas, and we are in far better shape there than under Bush. The DOE is pouring money into alt.energy research projects, efficiency improvements, etc.
    What would you have him do? Throw up his hands in despair and tell everyone to start planting cucumbers?
    If you don’t like the positive rhetoric, well, I’m sorry. Do you really want an official in the US government telling everyone that we’re doomed and everyone should start building a windmill and collecting seeds? We have Glenn Beck and Fox News if we need unsubstantiated Chicken Little nonsense. It simply isn’t constructive or beneficial for those in positions of power to play out worst case scenarios, future predictions, and the like for the populace.
    At least he is proposing a range of solutions and ideas to our problems. I don’t see “the other side” (Tea Parties?) having any clue what-so-ever on these issues. In fact, many of these clueless morons seem to think that there is “plenty of oil” and that climate change is some kind of socialistic, commie hoax. I’ll stick with the Nobel Prize winning physicist rather than the Loonie Toons. Thanks.

  99. Kitaj September 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    You aint so smart. All you point to is just really stupid people blindly reacting to the destruction of their fantasyworld. I dont remember these people saying one freakin word of protest during the whole Cheney-Bush regime.
    I aint no fan of Obama. However, it is quite easy to see that these teapartylunatics are freaking out because he is black. And the utter scumbag psychopaths these teamorons love – people like Beck, Palin, O’Donnell – all of this represents the ultimate dumbing-down of this country.
    Such right-wing people as the teamorons have been dragging this country down since their ilk helped put Reagan in office and they have been holding this country hostage with their stupid fundamentalist christian horses**t ever since!
    THEY have been destroying democratic solidarity against the MIC-financial elites in this country since the conservative construction workers – proto-teamorons – were beating up anti-Vietnam-war protesters in the 70s.
    Move on dude, we aint buyin this bulls**t line people like you are selling.

  100. Kitaj September 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Above reply should be to tzatza. My mistake. In a hurry.

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  101. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    “By the way I own farmland and I am also in the oil & gas business. I am not talking theory here, folks.”
    Maybe not, but you’re speaking from a completely different paradigm. One that only exists with growth and expansion. Sure we’ll crank down the ratchet as supply decreases, and continue to try to do things the old way, but general human behavior will be dictated by energetic realities, not USDA policy. I’m surprised you don’t see the tidal movements growing around you. The Organic market sector just keeps getting hotter; gardening and keeping chickens is back in; so is canning, freezing, sewing, and horse logging of all things.
    In a big way I understand what you’re saying because you see the greenwashing job being done in the name of energy efficiency. That’s not the sustainable I’m talking about. I’m talking about large-scale behavioral innovation becoming our only choice. We’ll be redefining what a “need” is in some pretty big ways. But industrial farming is only the cheapest way if you don’t use a complete accounting system. One that factors in the cost of environmental and human health damages that arise from its practices. That balance has always been mobile and postpone-able until now. Without growth there is no ability to push back those factors. Your logic begins to fall apart, not because it was wrong at the time, but because it doesn’t apply anymore.
    The problem is not running out of oil. No reasonable person here is suggesting that. The problem is that everything our economy does is based on growth. Without growth things stop functioning. Like banks, and insurance ponzis, I mean companies, even agriculture. Agricultural subsidies are one of the largest entitlement programs ever suffered by the people. And their health is suffering, just look around, because we are more intent on HOW MANY mouths we can feed, instead of how well can we feed a reasonable number of mouths? What are we going to stop paying first? The military, the police, or the ag subsidies? Schools perhaps? Are we going to be able to keep paying tons of people like me to clean up the messes, or will we just have to stop making a mess? Or would we rather just deny and obfuscate ourselves to literal death? These are some real questions that ought to be considered.
    We’re not talking about cutting piano lessons here. We’re talking about figuring out how to get through a very plausible population keyhole event. Because of the oil you mention we’ve overshot the planet’s probable carrying capacity. Collapse is the next part. The idea that farming will continue to operate in the usual way is the part that is laughable.

  102. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Where does JHK get the impression that the US government is, top-to-bottom, utterly clueless on all topics of import? This is complete and utter horse s***.
    The Federal Reserve and the Treasury absolutely understand our dire financial position. That’s why the bailout and the stimulus occurred.
    The DOE is taking the lead on climate change and peak resources. Gobs of money are being poured into these areas right now.
    It is your average Joe Plumber American that doesn’t have a freaking clue. How many “Jesus Saves” bumper stickers have you seen on a big old American pickup truck lately? These people just seem to get dumber and dumber, believing that real world issues can’t possibly affect them because Jesus saved them. These are the same people that believe the ME should be turned into a “glass parking lot,” that we need to “drill baby, drill,” and that government needs to “get out of their lives.”
    And you want US gov to tell this Bible-thumping collection of paranoid half-wits that the end is near, their way of life is going away, and they’ll need to start a home garden?
    Yeah, great idea there Jimbo. That’ll turn out real well.

  103. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    “The problem is not running out of oil.”
    Um, yeah genius, it is a problem. Why do you think America is in Iraq? Get a clue.

  104. welles September 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Jeez Myrtlemay, you read my Mind right as i was thinking just what you Wrote. Seriously, as much kinder oldtyme Real Americans used to say, ‘It just ain’t right’ all this europeanesque lugubriousness here, folks.
    Modern Americans would say ‘fuck this shit’.
    buck up, success is 80% just showin’ up (*tip of hat to woody allen*), go out and buy a freekin pack of seeds and put your damn hands in the soil and plant ’em.
    you’ll be amazed at the Cosmos of Growing Things that welcomes you.
    Ok folks let’s officially hijack this Kunstler Krap & everyone bring one positive Way to Prosper to the Table.
    Mine: plant a 6×6 bed of potato(e)s (*tip of the hat to dan quayle*) & fuckin’ put ’em in the cellar. and buy 1 gram of gold (ca. $40) as it’s Real Money & is hard to debase (in other words the Fed has a hard time effing with it).
    substitute tomatoes & can ’em if you don’t have a cellar.
    Now myrtlemay, let’s have a thick italian sausage for dinner, maybe two of ’em lol…

  105. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    Well, I just bought 100 shares of Apple (in addition to the 20 shares I bought earlier today) and 100 of Baidu. Since August 27th, APPL has gone up almost without pause and has just about never dipped. The one dip I clearly saw was an off an after-hours high last Thursday-Friday. It looks like it will hit $290 by Thursday and $300 next week. The Fed Reserve will pump up the market more tomorrow and it looks like the doldrums in housing will be ignored and deal-making and high earnings will be appreciated.

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  106. John Wilson September 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Turkle; Right on man. That is exactly why we are in Iraq. Please forgive me I’m still trying to overcome my government education. Why did the criminal ownership class invade Iraq instead of just buying that oil in the oil markets? Oh, I forgot the American ownership steals what they want, sends the bill to the taxpayer (if there are any of those left) and then keep the profits for themselves. All that free market rhetoric just comes in useful when they want to club the working class over the head. The ownership demands state protection and they love stolen money from the government.

  107. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Humans have never lived “on their own”.
    We are herd animals, like cattle or sheep, as so many people have pointed out. There has always been safety in numbers for our tribes.
    Yeah, now there are so many of us that our tribal sense is breaking down.
    The ruling class uses it to wage their wars, but not so much to help us live in a decent society, which requires cooperation and respect for each other’s contribution.
    I hear tea party types all the time, bragging about how “self-sufficient” they are. No government welfare for them, no sir.
    What they invariably mean is that they are employed and therefore are able to buy enough of the fruits of other’s labor to have a comfortable life.
    Which comfortable life, as so many have pointed out, requires much less food and energy than current Americans use.
    Yes, it is true that we can’t sustain our current energy usage with renewable energy sources.
    So what? We waste energy in truly disgusting fashion, burning it wildly, as if determined to turn our atmosphere into something too toxic to breathe.
    We can have decent lives with much less energy. We did it before. Energy use has skyrocketed in the last few decades, and most people look back to the days of lower energy use as the “good old days”, not realizing that part of the good life includes much more housing density and fewer cars, leading to more human interaction with members of our tribe.
    Plus, of course, we need fewer people.

  108. CowboyJack September 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    I wonder what James Madison, Washington, Frnaklin, etc. would make of Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Frank, Franken, Dodd, Axelrod, Emanuel, Geithner, etc., etc., etc..
    VOTE in November like your country is in DANGER ….. Because it IS.

  109. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Dick Cheney was talking about the US having enough oil going forward all the way back in 2000. And, regardless of what you think of him, he knows what he’s talking about in that area.

  110. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Afraid of the Democrats. LOL. Amazing. Have you been in a coma the last 10 years?

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  111. turkle September 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    How about instead of voting based on fear, you use your brain? Do you really want to put in power a bunch of people who seem hell bent on attacking and destroying the government?
    I’ve always thought it was an odd career choice for someone who is anti-government to run for office. Would you trust a school teacher who hated kids?
    Most of these Tea Party dingbats are shills for the Koch Brothers, funding this whole movement because (boo hoo) they want to pay lower taxes.

  112. Smokyjoe September 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    To Helen, who asked about my earlier comment.
    We’re an Army family, but I did some contract work for the USMC a few years back, and I have been astounded by the breadth of education by officers from the Captain’s through the Brigadier General level.
    Modern officers learn critical thinking, history, and leadership skills to a degree that would have baffled earlier generations of officers.
    I’ve less faith in the higher echelons, and any failings in our two wars come from cultural insensitivity in the ranks or bad leadership under Bush’s team. Obama inherited this mess, and he’s getting us out of Iraq at least. I suspect budget and weariness will wind down the Afghan mission too.
    And then, both of those houses of cards will fall with a thud. Mission accomplished, as an ADHD guy in a flight suit once said, on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

  113. lbendet September 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    If you’re in the mood for a full case of bulimia, might I suggest you listen to an interview with Jim Willie on Max Keiser. Listen to it all!

  114. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    OK, the market went above 10,700. You win. Please don’t share ALL your stock purchases.

  115. constitutionorslavery September 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Well the Dems are in power, the stock market just had a huge rally, maybe we ARE headed in the right direction? Maybe your just negative.
    I have the same expectations as you Jim for this great collapse. But they seem to be able to just print ever more money to keep things going…
    Maybe you and I are wrong? All we have to do is print and borrow more money?
    Well then I’ll take mine supersized thank you very much….

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  116. turkle September 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    “Maybe you and I are wrong? All we have to do is print and borrow more money?”
    Yeah, what could possibly go wrong. o.O

  117. LewisLucanBooks September 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Finished “The Witch of Hebron.” At first I couldn’t quit get into it (and I had read “World Made by Hand”). Maybe it was just my mood. But then one character would catch my interest and I’d skip ahead a few chapters, just to follow their story, and then go back and fill in. Pretty soon I was just steaming through.
    I thought the sex was handled pretty tastefully. Nice to see ol’ Jim can write a pretty good love scene.
    One thing that I was wondering about. The ‘Lord of the Manor,” Bullock. Apparently, he and the Misses don’t have any children, that I can remember. What is going to happen to his wonderful empire when the two of them pass on? Who is going to carry forward their island of organization and civility?
    I find some of the paranormal stuff a bit ‘out there.’ But strange things have happened in my life, so I just go with the flow. I wish I could remember the exact quote from the book. Something about so much lost that there is now plenty of room for the paranormal to flow in and take up some space.
    On another topic mentioned, young people today. Now, some of them are bright as buttons. And some of them are thugs. But the ones that spook me are the ones who are rather affectless. Almost as if they have a touch of aspergers.

  118. LewisLucanBooks September 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Oh, and another thing. After reading the book I finally got up off my ass and had a little chat with the coin dealer a couple of doors down. He’s got rolls of old silver dimes or quarters. Around $14 per dollar face value. So about $70 for a roll of dimes and $140 for a roll of quarters.
    Might not be such a bad idea to buy a couple and just tuck them away. I keep thinking each silver dime might buy a loaf or two of bread or a really good meal.

  119. Cavepainter September 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Yeah, sure: where was their critical thinking when it came to honoring their duty oath, which by doing would have had them refusing to participate in all the un Constitutional military adventures since WWII? We’ve become a militarist nation, with the armed forces a class apart, with its own set of cultural values and loyalties, paying political favor just as the founding fathers feared a professional military would do. No more citizen soildier, just another corporate cult. Mercenary, really,

  120. richsob September 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    We are not going to run out of oil. But there will be a shortage of oil, hence the price will skyrocket. The shortage will be because of two factors: less oil to be found with existing technology at a reasonable price and an exploding world population with a ravenous hunger for energy. The only way to survive what’s coming is to either maximize the benefits from the petroleum we will still be forced to use for farming and at the same time cut out all the frills that society has been spoiled with during the past 80 years. The other alternatives would be to kill off a huge percentage of the world’s population or to just blindly continue on our merry way and wait for the inevitable to happen: collapse. It doesn’t take a genius to see we have to make some hard choices; some that you won’t like if you think the future is going to have solar tractors and we’ll all be eating something like soylent green. If you know a better way to feed THREE HUNDRED MILLION Americans then enlighten us. How do you do it? It sure as hell won’t be with little vegetable gardens fertilized with grass compost and kept moist with gray water sprinkled out of a recycled milk carton.

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  121. asia September 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    I was at venice beach this summer…saw, for a few seconds before i turned away, an eating contest.
    can the canadian champ eat more dogs than the other guy?
    it was revolting.

  122. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    “Um, yeah genius, it is a problem. Why do you think America is in Iraq? Get a clue.”
    Like I said, no reasonable person here thinks that;)

  123. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Everything is more complicated than what I write here. People write books on this stuff.
    Anyways, my thinking on farming here in the USA is that we have LOTS of room to conserve and improve.
    Any of the following might be viable ways to deal with declining oil inputs to agriculture…
    -Eating less meat. Raising meat requires an enormous amount of feed, which could instead go directly to people.
    -More home gardens. You scoff but just ask people in Russia about this in their post-collapse period. It works, not as a 100% replacement for store-bought food but as a good supplement. That’s why Michelle Obama planted the garden on the WH lawn. This is the future, whether or not you think it is silly or not.
    -More high yield greenhouses. You can produce an enormous amount of food out of a properly constructed and run greenhouse. You can also do things like integrate it with fish raising, etc.
    -Cutting down on waste. Supermarkets and other institutions waste incredible amounts of food, everyday.
    -Cutting down on how much we eat. Most Americans are overweight and eat too much (of the wrong stuff).
    -De-emphasizing giant agri-business operations in favor of local, organically grown food (already happening across the country).
    You can run tractors on bio-diesel. Heck, you can make hybrid tractors.
    No, the food scarcity issue is going to be a huge problem for areas that are already food insecure. Places like Bangladash and Ethiopia come to mind. We’re not even close to that bad yet. The US exports an enormous amount of grain and corn into the world market. If food supplies became a problem, we would likely cut back on these exports. This screws other countries, not us.
    Also, plenty of countries have terrible problems with food supply (many in Africa, for instance). If food supply problems start to kick in here, we’re not going to automatically go Mad Max with a huge die off.
    In the US, the main problem will be transportation, as the current infrastructure is based almost entirely on roads and gas-powered cars. The trucking industry is in for a huge shock in the near to mid term future.
    Price of all goods will go up as oil prices rise. This will be a big problem for the middle and lower classes.
    In the long term, soil erosion and depletion will be a huge problem, across the world (already is) as population continues to skyrocket. But this will probably not reach terminal velocity for quite a while.

  124. bproman September 20, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Don’t forget to watch out for those toxic torpedo terds rising from the depths of the Black Lagoon.
    That’s after you’ve placed this weekend’s electronic pro line wager on your team to cover the spread. Who can afford a tank of gas to go to the ball game anymore ? Is the system about to be royally flushed ?

  125. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Aha, touche.
    Well, I don’t think that we will “run out” of oil in the near future, as in zero drops left in the barrel. It is just a common phrase when talking about things like oil scarcity, Peak Oil, and such. For most middle class people, oil scarcity does have the potential to look like “running out,” e.g. if you can’t get any gas or if it is too expensive, if it is rationed, etc.
    That said, the world WILL run out of oil in the next 100 years, because oil recovery will eventually become too energy intensive to justify the investment. I mean, if world oil demand is 85 million barrels a day, and we get to the point of extracting much less than that, say half or less, isn’t this for all intents and purposes much like “running out” ? Or at least it will look this way to many countries and people.

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  126. richsob September 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    You’ve got to be a moron. The war in Iraq doesn’t have anything to do with the production problem I was talking about. But since you’re a one trick pony I’ll make it easy for you. Yes the war in Iraq is for oil and to assuage George Bush’s feelings of inadequacy as a man and as a son. I spent two tours in Vietnam as a combat Marine. I was at Khe Sanh when we got hit during the Tet Offensive. I have killed and have seen death up close so I fucking hate war. Got it? So don’t give me some nonsense about how I don’t understand Iraq and I should get a clue. Your type is what’s causing the problems on the Left. Then we have the Bush/Palin/Limbaugh types on the Right. This country is doomed if no one can get past their ideology and start working on some reasonable solutions. Tell me how you would feed three hundred million Americans with a reasonable approach and I’m all ears.

  127. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Author Profile Page San Jose Mom 51 replied to comment from treebeardsuncle | September 20, 2010 4:10 PM | Reply
    OK, the market went above 10,700. You win. Please don’t share ALL your stock purchases.
    Ok. I was just looking for feedback to see if people here had anything to contribute. Other than Asoka who had a lot and you had one useful thing about the gadgets coming out for xmas folks here had only the following to offer:
    Evidence of their SOCIAL ISOLATION
    TALES about digging in the dirt
    obsessions with trains
    You folks are NUTS! That is why you come on here!

  128. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Electricity generated by coal is being legislated to go out of business–and rightly so. My brother won’t tell me when his company is planning to close the doors, but the writing is on the wall–and they are not planning to go into a painful, slow, legislated, death spiral. But no one is stepping up to the plate to figure out what to do to replace it. Nuclear is the obvious replacement, but it takes how many years for a nuclear plant to be built and go online? Wind and solar are nice, but it’s just a wet dream.
    So get ready for brown-outs and obscenely high electricity bills.

  129. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Here’s how I see Iraq (feel free to throw in your two sense).
    Iraq has somewhere between 150 and 300 billion barrels of oil in reserve. Now whether you take the low or high end of these numbers, that is A LOT of oil. Furthermore, compared to its neighbors, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Iraq has sub-par oil infrastructure. The Iran-Iraq War destroyed a lot of it, as well as Gulf War I and the current war. So as far as the oil gurus can tell, there is a massive amount of, uh, untapped potential there, especially in the next 10-15 years, as other countries pass their peaks and go into decline. The big Iraqi reserve will just be coming online. Beautiful eh? Like a neo-con wet dream.
    Before the invasion, these fields were under the control of the Iraqi national oil company, well Saddam really, so the big international oil companies were shut out of the production chain. Saddam was also making statements about selling his oil in Euros instead of dollars. Now this would be a problem for the US, because petrodollars drive the US economy.
    Enter the Bush-Cheney crew, which was basically a front for the international oil companies. You had Cheney, former BP of Haliburton, a major oil services company, acting as VP. Condi Rice, Sec of State and then NS advisor, used to work for Exxon and even has a tanker named after her. And Bush himself used to run an oil company. There are many more examples of this.
    So now, after the invasion, the Iraqi fields are to be worked by a whole range of international oil companies, who now have access to this market. Iraqi oil will be sold in dollars. There was a lengthy article about the bidding procedure that went down, and now a whole smorgasbord of international oil companies will be able to get in on the action.
    Basically, the US government runs a protection racket for the major oil cartels. There are books written about this if you want some references.
    One that comes to mind…
    A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order by William Engdahl
    The writing is on the wall for Saudi Arabia, which is in decline (see Matt Simmons book) and whose population is consuming ever more oil domestically. The international oil companies are hoping Iraq turns into the new Saudi Arabia, but they couldn’t do this without the backing of the US government and military to open this supply to them.
    That’s how I see it, after reading quite a few articles and books on the issue (too many). Anything to add? I’m not going to call you clueless. You probably knew all this.
    Removing a “crazy” dictator was just a side show. There are plenty of other crackpots throughout the world we could decide to take out, but Saddam just happened to be sitting on a whole mess of oil that other people wanted to get at.
    Pretty simple to me. That’s how world politics have been run for years now. Do you somehow see it differently?
    “Tell me how you would feed three hundred million Americans with a reasonable approach and I’m all ears.”
    See my previous post. I don’t think this will be the primary problem in the United States in the near to mid term, because the country still has vast amounts of arable land and huge potential improvements in efficiency.
    Food scarcity will be (and already is) a problem in places like India, China, Bangladash, and many countries in Africa. These were the countries hit hard by the recent food price hikes. In Haiti, you had people making food from dirt (literally), because they couldn’t afford corn. We are not even close to being this bad yet. Hell, we probably throw away more food than most countries consume.

  130. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    What’s wrong with digging in the dirt and being obsessed with trains? 🙂

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  131. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    turtle sez:
    “The DOE is taking the lead on climate change and peak resources. Gobs of money are being poured into these areas right now.”
    And what, pray tell, is the DOE going to do about the climate changing with all the money pouring in? And their solution for peak resources please? Try. I repeat, try and get a fucking clue. Pretty please.

  132. IntegralResearchSociety September 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Maybe you can appreciate this…Herman Daly in “Beyond Growth” quoting Jim Hightower: “Let’s keep our factories and jobs here and move our corporate headquarters to Mexico, Korea, or wherever else we can get some reasonably priced chief executives.”

  133. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Solar and wind could potentially supply around 15-20% of our total grid power needs. Germany already gets about this much of its energy supply from renewables. So it isn’t just a wet dream. It is potentially a significant piece of the energy pie.
    I find it funny that you write how solar is a wet dream from California, of all places. California weather is so well-suited to solar energy production (sunny almost every day) that you can easily produce enough excess that you have no energy bill and the energy company pays you. How’s that for a wet fact?
    Solar is also good because it produces power when people are using the most energy, e.g. during the day. It produces little to no power at night, but guess what, people don’t use much energy while they’re sleeping.
    Now if you had started to talk about the storage problem, I’d know you had some clue on this topic.

  134. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Ok. You may be a nice guy so I won’t be too mean this time. Digging in the dirt is a reference to the permaculturists which, though they would not care for the comparison, is similar to agriculture in that it is basically a form of food production. There are a couple problems with that. First they need to secure the territories where such food production will be occuring. Second, food production, generates little wealth, unlike electronics, software, legal action etc. Such folks will be poor and relatively powerless. Second, trains are not going to be used. It is going to be cars and planes or folks walking or lying and dying here in the US. Also it is time for the US of A to go as a country and be replaced by local and regional entities, probably not even the states. The whole US is a fictional bureacratic creation like most fiat states across the world. Only a few have real coherence like parts of China, Japan, England and a few others.

  135. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    The DOE under Obama has a lot of programs related to climate change and peak resources. I don’t feel like listing them.
    Why don’t you go find out for yourself or do I need to do all your research for you?

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  136. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    You call other people clueless and then lay down this humdinger…
    “Also it is time for the US of A to go as a country and be replaced by local and regional entities, probably not even the states.”

  137. okie September 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    One problem – sustainability. the green revolution is not sustainable and I seriously doubt your uber-mega-green revolution would be either. Just the fact that you picked OK and KS tells me you don’t know how throughly unsustainable agricultural water usage is here. I do agree that farmers markets, as they exist now, will not cut it or even come close, but I also know that there is a whole lot of land out there supporting useless horses, 10 acre tracts getting mowed within an inch of their lives, the ubiquitous McMansions are eating some of our very best agricultural land, and so on. We could be using our land more wisely, and it could feed us. And I don’t think you blazing in with your bigger-and-better machines even comes close to wise, or sustainable, land usage.

  138. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    For the curious, here’s what the DOE is doing on climate change.
    I love these people who know absolutely nothing about what their government actually does on these issues and then claim the government isn’t doing anything. Because they didn’t get a personal email or letter about it, I guess. Or it wasn’t on Fox News. Funny stuff.

  139. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I often ask if anything about civilization in its current form is really sustainable, especially relating to agriculture.
    North Africa and modern day Iraq used to be considered the bread baskets of the world. The Romans got 2/3 of their grain from North Africa. Now these places are deserts, and all because of what farming does to the land over a couple thousand years. It takes viable ecosystems of plains and forests and turns them into dead deserts. What happens is that farming strips the land of trees and plants that hold the soil in place. Soil erodes over time, leaving only the sub-layers of hard, non-cultivatable clay/rock.
    Food for thought.

  140. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    “I love these people who know absolutely nothing about what their government actually does on these issues and then claim the government isn’t doing anything. ”
    So, you are claiming that the government is doing something about climate change? What would that be? Because the government is spending a lot of money, are you telling me that the climate is no longer going to change? Please, enlighten me. What the FUCK good will come of the billions of dollars the government throws down the “climae change” hole?

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  141. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    You mad?

  142. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    You stoopid?

  143. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    California has the whole freaking Mojave desert, but we aren’t allowed to build transmission lines to L.A. because it will block the view of the beautiful desert. Diane Feinstein was a big player in blocking the route for tranmission lines.
    So glad you know everything.

  144. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    “So glad you know everything.”
    Turk knows what he knows. And that ain’t much.

  145. turkle September 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    BTW, I just linked a page showing what they are doing, and it is quite a lot. Try reading it. You might learn something.
    Isn’t it money well spent to come up with new sources of energy, to improve existing ones, and to increase efficiency? Seems like money better spent than on lobbing high yield artillery at Muslims.

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  146. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    “Isn’t it money well spent to come up with new sources of energy…”
    What would those “new sources” be?

  147. turkle September 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    What does that have to do with my post on installing solar panels on your house?
    And, yes, we should have solar/heat installations in the Mojave, and we need to jump over the political stonewalling to do it. No argument there.

  148. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    “Seems like money better spent than on lobbing high yield artillery at Muslims.”
    So you choose a reprehensible way of spending money to justify a stoopid way of spending it? My how original! (And sophomoronic.)

  149. turkle September 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Why don’t you read the official DOE web page on climate programs that I linked and get back to us with your conclusions?
    Because according to you, I don’t know much. So I’m confused as to why you’d continue to seek information from me if that’s your opinion.

  150. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    “And, yes, we should have solar/heat installations in the Mojave…”
    Then get busy with it. Why do you need the government if this is such a brilliant idea?

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  151. turkle September 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    My last reply to you.
    Anger Management. Look into it.
    Buh bye now.

  152. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    “Why don’t you read the official DOE web page on climate programs that I linked and get back to us with your conclusions?”
    Because I’m not claiming this is some sort of wise and noble expenditure of our tax dollars, you are. I’m saying it a waste of money and I’m asking you to site some positive out comes from the billions being spent. And you can’t. Because there are none. The climate will continue to change. Always has…always will. Period. Now shut up because you are proving yourself to be quite a moron.

  153. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Hardly. Morons always have to have the last word.

  154. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Hey turkey,
    Some of my friends have solar panels on their houses and are very happy to be giving up energy to PG&E (well, duh…you can’t store energy) and having no electricity bill. But guess what? The $30,000 they plunked down (actually they borrowed it) doesn’t represent the full cost the the panels–as the government heavily subsidizes it. In ten years, they’ll still be paying that loan and guess what, their solar panels will be generating only a fraction of the energy they are today. By then the government won’t be shelling out thousands to support buying new panels.
    PG&E installed solar panels over most of the parking lots in our school district. Makes for great covered parking AND our district doesn’t have to fork over money to keep the lights on.
    But guess what? The district won’t be able to afford replacement panels when they deteriorate because they hardly have enough money to pay teachers…..let alone capital improvement projects that don’t last more than 10 years.
    All school solar panel projects have stopped entirely because our state’s budget is in DEEP

  155. Dostoyevsky September 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    JHK you wrote
    “Do we have to wait for the Millennials to grow up to hear somebody with half-a-brain call “bullshit” on the way we do things in this land?”
    JHK why don’t you put your hand for Governor or Senator or some other influential position as an independent candidate?
    You have much to contribute and the USA would benefit from hearing you call “bullshit” on the public platforms that reach far more people than this blog and the other forums to which you contribute.
    You would need to craft your message a little softer and more practically focussed, such as the effect on sheeple’s weekly or monthly bottom line (because that’s about all they do understand) i.e. “Hey large person your’e unlikely to be able to afford those cheese doodles any more and the cost of the diabetes medication will likewise become prohibitive, so you will likely die… ” or something like that.
    Come on JHK, you could exponentially increase your already great contribution to the debate about America’s future.

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  156. Freedom Guerrilla September 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    “Any great leader worth their salt would be howled off the podium.” Damn right.
    “What continues to amaze me is that there is no corresponding rise of an intelligent opposition. How did it come to be in our time that Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Stanford…”
    Why is this amazing? All the intelligent opposition is working farms in the midwest or policing up all their gold coins and heading to Belize.
    American politics isn’t failing. It has FAILED. I’m not sure why we’re even talking about it anymore.
    “Do we have to wait for the Millennials to grow up to hear somebody with half-a-brain call “bullshit” on the way we do things in this land?”
    Is this a way of asking, “do we have to wait for somebody else to unfuck what we’ve done?” The answer is, NO. Go ahead and get started. No waiting necessary.

  157. tzatza September 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    ” By then the government won’t be shelling out thousands to support buying new panels.”
    This is one of turkey-lurkeys brilliant examples of what the government is achieving. Only he won’t defend the moronic waste of tax-payers monies because he can’t.

  158. Dostoyevsky September 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Beautifully put.

  159. ChicagoLee September 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I love it. Here’s a visual to go with your intro.

  160. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    Hey TBU,
    It’s true that most folks on this blog aren’t candidates for the optimist club. It’s one giant pity party…but lots of interesting ideas to consider. 🙂

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  161. UtilityT September 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    To Wardoc:
    I agree with your posting regarding electricty production 100%. Only a fool (or someone who can’t do ordinary math which would apply to many Millenials and Green Party types) would believe that “renewables” is the final answer going forward. I started my first full time employment as a utility grid control room operator about 36 years ago now (at age 19), and I can assure EVERYONE that producing the amount of electricity to supply 300 million Americans requires several THOUSAND large power plants each running in synchronism with it’s neighbors. And all every American has to do physically to access this potential energy is flip a switch or press the TV remote “on” button. No concern about maintaining proper voltage levels, or frequency mismatches or phase angle differential or transformer heating issues or storms over top a transmission corridor or fuel supply issues or capacity problems or high cooling water temperatures or megavar reserve or mechanical failure of any element from source to sink. I get a real laugh out of the “progressive” left thinking that if just everyone would slap up a solar panel, all those nasty coal burning power plants would just disappear from the landscape and life would be simple again. As Wardoc intimated it’s all about volume; if each household decided to use about 100 watts total, we maybe could power that about 30% of the time (maybe 8 hours per day), when the wind blows or sun shines. But would they (or anyone for that matter) want to be rationed to just 100 watts. Do you understand just HOW LITTLE – say 100 watts – really is? Try a couple of 50 watt reading lights. An ordinary 2 slice toaster consumes approx 1500 watts at 120 volts. An electric clothes dryer has a 2k – 3k watt appetite at 220 volts. Try to produce those amounts of energy with your residential solar panel – Good Luck!.
    The reality is our average households require so much (as in aggregate) energy, no current technology (nor no new technology for the forseeable furure) can produce the vast amounts of energy that we use, really almost without thinking. Just jumping up and down and yelling if we pour more money into renewables, there will be a big leap in efficiency. Sorry folks, improvements in modern technology is incremental at best. Wishing is fun for kids but adults need to understand that exponential improvements in technology take decades based on human experience over the past thousand years. Innumerable blind alleys and false starts await the effort. What looks promising today turns out to be impractical or impossible tomorrow. Think “cure for cancer”. We don’t stop trying to improve, but reality says “not in our lifetime”.
    Back in the 40’s and 50’s, most rural folks had a wind generator connected to banks of batteries to supply their minimal electricity requirements. Why didn’t they keep their old wind generators when the rural electrification rolled by? Because the rural electrification program allowed them to use many times as much as they had before. Grandma didn’t have to spend hours labouring with a scrub board for the clothes and Grandpa could suddenly substantially increase his farms productivity by converting many previously labour intensive activities over to electric. Productivity essentially was multiplied many times over by doing nothing more than hooking up to that single wire up on that power pole running down the lane. And almost without exception, everyone was on board. The old hardware was ripped out and no one looked back whistfully at the forlorn windmill behind the barn. So Western society jumped on board electrification with both feet. And our standard of living improved exponentially. Anyone want to jump back into the past when a couple of low voltage DC lights and maybe a radio were all that could be run? Not me and sure as hell not you either!!!.
    Modern democracy depends on it’s very survival with energetic debate and thoughtful reason. But having some goof who hasn’t “carried his own water his whole life” spout fashionable avante-garde phrases like “renewables will bury ugly old King Coal and those scary radioactive Nuke plants – Cherynoble’s every one – )” should sign up for remedial math (and throw a few high school physics classes in for good measure). Maybe then there could be an energetic debate and thoughtful reason.
    The electrical grid has been described as the most complicated device ever invented by man – and that’s no mean exaggeration. For those with half a brain, checkout the NERC (North American Electric Reliability Council) website. Lots of very basic information about what drives and supports human activity on a second by second basis. For those that really want to expand their technology horizon, read the 2003 Eastern Blackout Report – it will give you a glimpse into the real world. By the way, the report was written so that the average citizen could understand the basic operational principles behind the electrical grid. Then read it over and over until the concepts truly stick.
    So the next time some day-dreaming save-the-world wannabe starts to spout those tired worn-out cliches about “saving the earth”, ask them why Megavars (wattless power) are integral to power production. If you get a blank stare response then consider the fool unable to contribute anything worthwhile to the conversation (and to the solution).
    Jim, you sometimes do make some legitimate points. But it’s effectiveness gets lost in the froth and tone of your writings. Eat a little humble pie once in a while and admit that even someone right-of-center can contribute to the solution.

  162. Pangolin September 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    The millenials that are going to name brand universities have been trained to suck whatever the present Daddy or Mommy figure puts in their mouth. They have little interest in original thought past starting up the next Facebook/Google/Ebay clone. Actual production of commodities is beneath them.
    If you want to see leadership in the upcoming elections you have to look at the kids now graduating from “State.” Those are the people who are experimenting with practical bicycle transportation, group living arrangements, small scale organic farming and low-embodied energy building techniques.
    Anybody who has to get elected is dealing with an electorate that is wallowing in the luxury of voluntary ignorance for one last time. People know shit’s gone bad; they can see the boarded up stores and they drive on ever crappier roads. What they are more sure of is that personal sacrifice on their own part doesn’t mean jack if the bank repos the house.
    The elites know shit is bad too. So bad they let Noam Chomsky talk on the BBC this morning; an unthinkable event three years ago.

  163. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Turkle, let me say that I respect you and enjoy your posts, but, I’m disagreeing with you about this one.
    I saw Obama on TV bragging about his jobs stimulus package. He said that the road-building project would be enough to circle the Earth 6 times. Really? Is that really what we need?
    Then he said they are building a few thousand miles of rail, also. It should be the other way around.
    Meanwhile, there are bulldozers and many men ripping up two farm fields next to me. They didn’t even wait to harvest them first!! Just mowed and then started in on destroying them. What’s the big hurry?
    I had one of the construction workers from one of the fields in the ER, so I asked him what they were building, since there was no announcement, no sign, no mention in the paper, and my daughter’s friend’s mother, who works at City Hall, didn’t even know.
    He said “Low income housing”.
    Why the hell would they put low income housing out in the middle of farmland, when poor people have no cars?
    And why is the low income housing in the center of town being depopulated?
    So I went to the DOE site you linked to. OK, the two specific ideas were nuclear power and Future Gen.
    Really? We are talking about trillions of dollars, by the time you are done.
    Here in Illinois, the politicians are BIG on Future Gen, because we used to have a lot of coal miners here.
    But those days are gone. Coal mines have shut down, laying off thousands of workers, and then they reopen, hiring non-union workers, and not very many of them, because you don’t NEED as many workers nowadays, with mechanization.
    This is the biggest boondoggle you can imagine. They want to burn coal, then pipe it thousands of miles and bury it underground!!
    How destructive is that to the environment?
    Sure, there will be lots of pipe laying jobs for a while.
    Really? That’s the best we can come up with?
    How about conservation and renewable energy?
    Construction companies are never mentioned in the Bad Guy scenario, but I’m starting to think that they’re right up there with the military-industrial complex. Which actually is heavily about construction!
    I think that the government could do much more good helping every family put a solar panel on their rooftop, thereby reducing the need for more power plants.
    Germany has the equivalent of 20 power plants, or something like that, in individual solar energy production.
    As Progressive says, why do taxpayers pay for nuclear power plants, and Future Gen plants, but each homeowner is expected to buy their own solar panel?

  164. wagelaborer September 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    I respect those people who keep my electricity coming, especially in ice storms and tornadoes, when they are out repairing poles.
    No, of course I don’t want to live without electricity. I love electricity.
    But we WASTE it!
    I work in a large building that keeps it so cold in the summer that we have to pass out heated blankets.
    My daughter works in a building that they keep so overheated in the winter that they have to open windows to cool off.
    Does every door have to open automatically? Does every business have to keep lights on all night when no one is there?
    Does Las Vegas have to exist?
    I am a Green Party type, and I think that the environment is just as important as your right to sit in your car and have your garage door open for you.
    Stomping your feet and screaming, because you don’t want to change your wastefulness is not helpful to the situation.

  165. ozone September 20, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    “Ok. I was just looking for feedback to see if people here had anything to contribute. Other than Asoka who had a lot and you had one useful thing about the gadgets coming out for xmas folks here had only the following to offer:
    Evidence of their SOCIAL ISOLATION
    TALES about digging in the dirt
    obsessions with trains
    You folks are NUTS! That is why you come on here!” -TBU
    Oopsie! You missed one:
    (Which is generally how I would dispose of things that have no relevance or import as to reality.)

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  166. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Thanks for this post. Lots to chew on.

  167. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Sometimes the conventional wisdom is correct and the malcontents are wrong.
    Why We’re Buying Apple

  168. AMR September 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    Economies of scale in agriculture work to a point. They also require huge inputs of herbicides in place of mechanical weeding and pesticides in order to keep down populations of detrimental insects. Megafarms in Kansas and Oklahoma will be in bad shape should UG-99 or a similar wheat rust fungus take hold in the United States; smaller farms would fare better.
    Broadly speaking, many large-scale Midwestern commodity farms are not sustainable. I don’t mean this as a political or philosophical criticism; the soil on many of these farms is heavily depleted and eroded, and consequently reliant on huge inputs of synthetic fertilizers (manure might work, but it’s not as efficient to transport and apply). The Oglalla Aquifer is still being depleted for irrigation purposes in most counties overlying it; this is very ominous in the long-term.
    The Oglalla Aquifer, by the way, is more or less Dust Bowl Country. Economically ruinous ecological disasters from aggressive farming practices have infamous precedent there.
    The problems with commodity monocultures are far from just ethical in nature. These monocultures indeed are needed to feed America and the world as our agricultural system is currently structured, but it is foolish in the extreme to assume that they are not brittle and vulnerable. We put all our eggs in this basket at our peril.

  169. AMR September 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    Las Vegas would probably be more or less the size of Barstow were it not for the unholy alliance of mobsters, entertainment industry shysters, and craven politicians who built the Strip. The electrical output from Hoover Dam would go a lot further if Las Vegas weren’t Hoovering it up, as it were, to power gratuitous, ostentatious displays of wastefulness.
    It is a testimony to the perversion of our leaders (in government, broadcasting and other areas) and our populace that Las Vegas isn’t widely scorned as a national disgrace. There are some universal elements of human sin at work there, too, but it certainly speaks to profound weaknesses in our national character that such a place has been constructed, let alone celebrated. The only other countries I’m aware of that have succeeded in imitating the grotesque wastefulness of Las Vegas are some of the Persian Gulf states; what great company we keep! I’d say that this isn’t just a matter of opportunity and wealth. If this were so, why did France, Japan, Australia and Canada never attempt something so outlandish?
    No other city exemplifies out-of-control American wastefulness as Las Vegas. It’s a sick but accurate charicature of our national materialism.
    Nevada would take a financial hit, but the rest of the world would be better off if Las Vegas were the size of Barstow. The world would also be better off if Vegas partook of Barstow’s culture rather than imposing its own upon the world. Despite its tweakers and other low-lives, Barstow is in many ways a more normative place than Las Vegas.

  170. ozone September 20, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    Aha! So you do agree with JHK that “alternatives” in nearly any aggregation will not allow us to continue on our present course and style [of consumption]?
    So then, further…
    What do you see as the eventual upshot of energy production as fossil fuel inputs become too expensive to grind out power at the “current levels”? (Please keep in mind that extraction of nuclear fuel is HIGHLY energy-inefficient and poisonous.)
    As an experienced technician, what’s your take as to the future?

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  171. BeantownBill September 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I guess you know what you’re talking about. You did say, though, no new technology will produce sufficient energy for the forseeable future. I take this to mean that some new technology, eventually, would be able to do this. Would you be able to venture a guess as to how much time is needed? 25 years? 50? 100?
    Also, how many nuclear power plants, with state-of-the-art technology would we need to supply 300 million people? Just curious.
    Also, your figures are based on a population of 300 million. What if our population increases at a faster rate than the rate of our potential new energy generation? We’re screwed, then, right?
    BTW, I recently read a thriller by a popular writer about a man who tries to bring the NY City electrical grid down. Very interesting read. I just can’t remember the author’s name right now. Senior moment.

  172. San Jose Mom 51 September 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Las Vegas is ghastly.
    Trust me, as bed bugs become more and more prevelant, people are going to travel less and less– either that or try out camping.
    Las Vegas will wither due to lack of customers.
    If you want to freak out, go to the bedbugregistry.com. San Francisco is infiltrated, as is New York and lots of the big cities in Canada.

  173. piltdownman September 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Aside from the comments on the NYTimes site, this is my favorite place to cruise for alt.ideas. Jim makes a lot of us THINK and that’s a great thing. I don’t agree with all of you, but I am very often enthralled by the depth and breadth of the ideas presented here. Thanks. It’s a good thing!

  174. bubblesthecat September 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    The tea party will win the next election because they represent the closest ideology to America’s mainstream population. America’s true ideology is christian television, Sarah P will run on jingles and soundbites just like a gooey cheese ad and you will buy it hook line and sinker every single time. Your gullibility knows no bounds except this time your going to vote in pure ignorance to all matters domestic and foreign. Mr and Mrs trailer park don’t care about fiscal responsibility or JHK’s re-organization of remaining resources all they care about is nascar, beer & bibles. Sarah is TV brought to life by you, she is what you get when you no longer question anything, she is a mirror image of you, mentally challenged and slothful. Sarah will bury this country and you will clap and go WWWooooooooooooooooo! this will be fascinating over the next 3 years watching all of the 300 tv channels convert their content to extreme right wing evangelical christianity…its entertaining watching the US go broke.

  175. turkle September 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    “Also, how many nuclear power plants, with state-of-the-art technology would we need to supply 300 million people? Just curious.”
    France has around 62 million people and 59 nuclear power plants, so that’s about a 1 plant to 1 million people ratio. Using the same numbers, that would mean around 300 nuke plants to supply power to the entire United States. Of course, that’s a rough estimate. There is still 20-some percent from other sources in France, and per capita energy consumption is higher here.
    To really get an accurate number, you’d have to take total power consumption in the US and divide it by the output of a “state of the art” nuclear plant to get the number required. Wouldn’t be a hard calculation but I’m lazy atm.
    BTW, France has the most comprehensive energy plan of any country, by far, with a very well developed and advanced nuclear program. They reprocess almost all their fuel and are left with far less waste than from the types of plants we use in the States. They have an energy plan that extends out to 150 years. I think they’re counting on fusion, though no one really knows if it will be a viable form of energy production. I saw a presentation on the ITER project, and my impression was that it is far too complicated and unsafe for general use in its current form, not to mention that the energy return is not positive at this point and can’t be sustained.

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  176. helen highwater September 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Richsob, there are quite a few resources available to contradict your statements that 300 million people can only be fed by large-scale industrial agriculture using huge expensive fossil-fuel powered equipment and chemical fertilizers. One you could check out is an excellent article by John Michael Greer at http://www.realitysandwich.com/two_agricultures_not_one
    Another is Sharon Astyk’s book A Nation of Farmers.
    It’s true that some crops such as grains may be better suited to larger-scale mechanical production, but nobody has to “feed a nation”. All we have to do is have enough farmers to feed each local community, and with many people out of “jobs” there should be plenty of hands available to do that. All animal waste and human waste can be used as fertilizer if properly handled, instead of becoming a pollutant as is done nowadays.
    Meat animals can graze on marginal land instead of farmers having to grow corn to feed them, and people could eat a lot less meat and still be healthy. Many countries around the world feed their populations without the use of industrial agriculture techniques, although currently misguided “development” agents are trying to convince those folks to do it our way. We should be learning from them instead. Another great book is Farmers of Forty Centuries by F.H. King. He writes about generations of farmers in Asia that had farmed on the same land for 4000 years and fed their families as well as raising cash crops without any fossil fuel inputs, and without destroying the soil. And of course there is Permaculture, which advocates growing far more perennial crops. This might involve somewhat of a change of diet, but would be easier on the soil and require less water and less work than annual agriculture.

  177. progressorconserve September 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    This is one hell of a great discussion thread. Even (most of) those posters who are just flat-out wrong express themselves with conviction and usually with politeness.
    And JHK continues to hammer home his message.
    This week he says we must:
    “get smaller, leaner, more local, more earnest, more truthful, and more willing to endure the discomforts of changed circumstances.”
    Damn right, and the sooner we get started the better for the future –
    And to wrap this whole piece of work up in Moby Dick metaphors – a classic tale of exploitation and obsession.
    Just remember that most of the characters in Moby Dick just wanted to collect the blubber and go home.
    That pretty well sums up the attitude of most Americans right about now.

  178. BeantownBill September 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Americans have already collected the blubber – they’re carrying it around with them. lol.

  179. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    That is why Democracy and America should go.

  180. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Most people are not qualified to vote. They should not have electric power, cars, or detached single family houses either. Put them in cramped high-rises in cities and let them walk and use laundry mats and clothes-lines.

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  181. mika. September 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Efforts to tame America’s ballooning budget deficit could soon confront a daunting reality: Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history.
    At the same time, the fraction of American households not paying federal income taxes has also grown—to an estimated 45% in 2010, from 39% five years ago, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization.
    A little more than half don’t earn enough to be taxed; the rest take so many credits and deductions they don’t owe anything. Most still get hit with Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes, but 13% of all U.S. households pay neither federal income nor payroll taxes.
    “We have a very large share of the American population that is getting checks from the government,” says Keith Hennessey, an economic adviser to President George W. Bush and now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, “and an increasingly smaller portion of the population that’s paying for it.”
    The dimensions of the budget hole were underscored Monday, when the Treasury reported that the government ran a $1.26 trillion deficit for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, on pace to be the second-biggest on record.
    Obstacle to Deficit Cutting: A Nation on Entitlements – WSJ.com – http://goo.gl/fTDp
    Clusterfsck nation, indeed.

  182. treebeardsuncle September 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Asian stocks are up and S&P futures are little changed. The US indices turned on August 27th. It is time to ride the raging bull for the invested class. Unearned income is the way to get ahead. Jobs are for suckers and losers.

  183. BeantownBill September 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    Okay. Let’s say nuclear can provide 80% of our energy, and we can get 20% from other sources, like in France. So we would need, in fact, 300 power plants. How much would it cost to build a plant, including soft costs? $2 billion? Times 300 plants would mean an investment of $600 billion, or about 20% less than what we’ve paid to bail out our TBTF banks. Kind of makes you wonder where our priorities lie, huh.

  184. CaptSpaulding September 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Hi Helen. I just voted to raise my taxes to fund our local school. My kids are long gone, but I figure I need to help finance the next generation as well. Taxes should be paid by everyone, however big businesses and the wealthy get away with murder. Mostly I try to avoid confrontation with irrational types, however on occasion, I have recommended moving to Somalia for those who are tired of taxes and all those pesky government regulations. Plenty of room for people with an entrepenurial flair, and no government interference in your business whether it be piracy or smuggling or whatever.

  185. scmtneer September 20, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    One gets into an IVY league school in this age by the furious and constant building of your student achievement resume which means you’ve spent your childhood doing everything you can to please your teachers and other authority figures (so they can write those glowing recommendations).
    your family is super rich and donates the kind of money that gets buildings named after it.
    In either case, its hard to see too many independent thinks arising from this group. I personally went to a state school and I say that without fail every “student leader” I ever met was interested in one thing – kissing up to college administration and other big wigs.
    The other day I read the biography page of Willie Morris on wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Morris
    I’ve known several Rhodes Scholar candidates and even a couple winners over the years – there was no one even resembling a Willie Morris among them.

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  186. mika. September 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    How much would it cost to build a plant, including soft costs? $2 billion?
    Try $15 to 20 billion. Then there’s the question of getting the fuel (think peak uranium). Then there’s the question of providing the cooling water. And then there’s the problem that 30% of nuke plants simply fail to function properly.
    A much smarter approach would be distributed solar for the south, hydro and wind for the north, and to set an absolute limit on power generation. The most important point here, is the limit parameter. That will then force design solutions (think city planners) and industrial policy to accommodate the set limit. And that, I think, is what JHK is really agitating for.

  187. asia September 20, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    waste..there was a time when roads were sprayed with OIL to keep the dust down!
    meanwhile…the media ignores…..a way they fund global jihad
    Muslim Persecution of Hindus In India — The Story You Won’t See In the Western Mainstream Media
    By Phyllis Chesler
    They are crossing the border illegally and violently displacing the indigenous population whose homes and possessions they either destroy or occupy. They are attacking the young, the elderly, and especially the girls and women, whom they kidnap, forcibly convert, or traffic into brothels. The locals are terrified of them. The police rarely come to their aid, nor do the politically correct media or government. Both are terrified by the criminals and terrorists who are riding these immigrant waves.
    I am not talking about illegal immigrants to Europe or North America. I am describing Muslims who are penetrating India’s West Bengal region. These Bangladeshi immigrants are becoming conduits for criminal activities (arms, drugs, and sexual slavery) which also fund global jihad.
    You won’t read about this in the Western mainstream media—or even in the Indian media, which has turned a blind eye to this ongoing tragedy because they are afraid to be labeled “politically incorrect” or “Islamophobic.” They are also afraid of reprisals. When Islamic zealots ransacked the office of the renowned newspaper, ‘The Statesman’ in Kolkata, in retaliation for a mere reproduction of an article condemning Islamic extremism, the Indian press remained silent. The editor and publisher of the newspaper were arrested for offending Muslim sentiments and no action was taken against the rioters.
    Fortunately, there are a few very brave Hindus who are taking a stand against the Muslim terror campaign in India. One of them is Tapan Ghosh, whom I had the privilege of meeting recently when he came to New York City to talk about anti-Hindu persecution in his homeland. In 2008, Ghosh founded “Hindu Samhati” (Hindu Solidarity Movement), which serves persecuted Hindu communities in both West Bengal and Bangladesh.
    As Ghosh emphasized in our interview, the Muslim persecution of Hindus in India is nothing new. Over a period of 800 years, millions of Hindus were slaughtered by Muslims as infidels or converted by the sword. In 1946-1947, when British India was divided into India and Pakistan, Muslims massacred many thousands of Hindus in Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, and all along the fault line which separated India and Pakistan. Anti-Hindu riots and massacres continued during the 1950s and 1960s, but it was in 1971, when East Pakistan broke away to form the country of Bangladesh, that things worsened for Hindus in the area.
    As Ghosh explained to me, “The liberation movement for Bangladesh was characterized by an escalation of atrocities against the Hindus and pro-liberation Muslims. Hindus were specifically singled out because they were considered a hindrance to the Islamisation of East Pakistan. In March 1971, the government of Pakistan and its supporters in Bangladesh launched a violent operation, codenamed “Operation Searchlight,” to crush all pro-liberation activities. Bangladeshi government figures put the death toll at 300,000, though nearly 3 million Hindus were never accounted for and are presumed dead.” U.S. officials in both India and Washington used the word “genocide” to describe what took place.
    According to Ghosh, there has recently been a sharp increase in incidents of “Muslim rioting during Hindu festivals, destruction of Temples, desecration of Deities, and large-scale, provocative cow slaughter.” Worse: “Hundreds, thousands, of Hindu girls have been kidnapped, trafficked into sexual slavery, or taken as second or third wives for wealthy Muslim men. In recent years, Ghosh’s organization has rescued nearly 100 such girls, and one of his main missions has been to help reintegrate those survivors into their families and societies.
    Ghosh wants the Indian government to stop the illegal immigration from Bangladesh and to force the return of undocumented Muslims; to ban madrassas and polygamy; to enforce a single standard of law and education; and to arrest and prosecute known Muslim mafia kingpins and terrorists. He challenges the media to report on the anti-Hindu atrocities and to address the issue of religious apartheid.
    Ghosh is not optimistic. “The establishment of massive Saudi-funded Madrasas across rural Bengal is only contributing to the growing religious extremism among Muslims, [and] implementation of Sharia laws by [Islamic] courts is quite prevalent in many villages.” His greatest fear, he tells me, is that one day shouts of “Allahu Akbar” will ring out across the land and that Muslim zealots will demand that Hindus either convert or leave West Bangal—or die.
    Ghosh came to America not just to appeal to Indian-Americans with family and historical ties in West Bengal and Bangladesh but to appeal to all Americans for their support. As he sees it, the battle against Muslim persecution in India is just one front in a much larger battle against Islamic expansionism and terror throughout the world.
    All Americans must realize, he told me, “that the war on Islamic terrorism cannot be won without curbing religious extremism amongst the Muslim masses, be it in the suburbs of Detroit or Delhi or villages in rural Bengal. And this will require the active support and cooperation with each other, ranging from cooperation at the highest level to those who work at the grassroots level. We hope that Americans and Westerners will come out and support the Hindus in Bengal in raising resources and creating awareness about our on-the-ground realities.”
    Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is professor emerita of psychology and the author of thirteen books including “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman” and “The New Anti-Semitism.” She has written extensively about Islamic gender apartheid and about honor killings. She once lived in Kabul, Afghanistan. She may be reached through her

  188. trippticket September 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    “So don’t give me some nonsense about how I don’t understand Iraq and I should get a clue.”
    I didn’t, but thanks for the level head.
    “Tell me how you would feed three hundred million Americans with a reasonable approach and I’m all ears.”
    You’ve got to ease up on yourself, man, before you have a coronary. I don’t intend to feed 300 million Americans. Continuing to feed everyone is suicide for the species. I intend to help teach the few who will listen, including myself, how to feed themselves when your model falls apart. Even the natives could only support 50 or so million on this continent. Assuming we aren’t ALL needy raging a-holes, we might do a little better with our improved crops once oil is cost prohibitive. But I doubt it.
    Please, feel free to hold onto your convictions. You certainly aren’t swaying mine.
    Oil-based agriculture creates prosperity. Until the population catches up. Then it’s just the same bullshit with twice as many motormouths. So we scream about the need to genetically modify our crops to make them produce more with fewer inputs. But mister, by 2050 there will be 11 billion mouths to feed! How can we do that organically, and at a local scale??
    We can’t. Any more than we can do it with John Deere and petrol. It’s a non-argument. Move along.

  189. asia September 20, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    ‘Tell me how you would feed three hundred million Americans with a reasonable approach and I’m all ears.’
    rice and soy..one meal a day..maybe 1800 calories.
    but we are 310 moving to half a billion!
    and when mexico implodes get ready for the real adventure! that may be when the 2 nations are formally merged!

  190. asia September 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    ‘And, regardless of what you think of him,’
    i know hes a liar…what i think of him is not important…yeah trust dick and gw!

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  191. Puzzler September 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    I recently read a thriller by a popular writer about a man who tries to bring the NY City electrical grid down. Very interesting read. I just can’t remember the author’s name right now.

    That sounds like Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver. I just finished reading it and yes it was quite interesting.

  192. asia September 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    ‘As Progressive says, why do taxpayers pay for nuclear power plants, and Future Gen plants, but each homeowner is expected to buy their own solar panel?
    Why? why not???? ok mr[s] bountiful!
    solar for homes is a toy for the rich…solar for industry does have some applications..have you read TLE?

  193. Laura Louzader September 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    This is one of the most informative posts on many threads. Thanks for posting this.
    The most important mission you have is convincing the “green” liberals that the “renewables” simply will not work.
    Greens need also to know that solar, wind, and geothermal have environmental consequences. Wind and solar have massive land footprints- a solar farm theoretically (and I emphasize “theoretically”)capable of producing as much power as the twin Braidwood IL nuclear plants has a land footprint of about 16 square miles, and a cost per KwH of .35 best case. Mostly more.
    Solar plants use prodigious quantities of water, and wind turbines are extremely noisy and potentially dangerous- you don’t want to be near one when it topples over or throws one of those giant blades.
    Geothermal can cause earthquakes.
    And solar and wind both need a fossil fuel backup because they are intermittent and unreliable by themselves. Why do people thing T. Boone Pickens loves wind turbines so much? Could it be that they guarantee demand for natural gas.
    There’s no Free Lunch when it comes to energy production, and it’s sheer lunacy to use an inefficient, diffuse source of power that when we have something like nuclear available. The thorium fuel cycle utilizes a much more efficient and intrinsically safer technology than the Gen 3 uranium plants, and the LFTR can be built at a factory using cheaper skill sets than the big Gen 3 reactors, and can be shipped by rail or truck, sealed and ready to roll, to the site. I believe the only reason we are not yet embracing thorium is because there are so many parties who make so much money from building the conventional big uranium reactors, that they present the biggest obstacle to commercialization of the LFTR.

  194. Steve M. September 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Good thing we have the Witch of Wilmington who banshee wailing foretells a race of mouse men coming to take over ! 😀

  195. Cavepainter September 20, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Oh yeah, sure; the entire population of North America — all the disparate affinity/affiliation/identity groups (religious, sectarian, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, partisan, economic strata, etc., etc.) – is going to coalesce into one single, harmonious bloc. All will come to accept that resources are growing more scarce and reconcile to a central, unitary distribution authority without question or doubt as to whether inequality exist in the allocation of remaining resources. Yeah, sure.
    Then too all nations will agree to open borders whereby population can become evenly distributed. Of course, population will decline because all religious persuasions to have large families will be willingly abandoned. Yeah sure, I can’t wait.

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  196. asoka September 20, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    Mika said:

    Try $15 to 20 billion. Then there’s the question of getting the fuel (think peak uranium). Then there’s the question of providing the cooling water. And then there’s the problem that 30% of nuke plants simply fail to function properly.

    All those issues are red herrings. It would be silly to build problem-laden, expensive uranium power plants when you can avoid all those problems by using thorium as the fuel source.
    Building a 1-gigawatt uranium plant today costs about $1.1 billion. Building a 1-gigawatt thorium plant will cost only about $250 million, or less, because meltdown concerns can be tossed out the window. This fundamentally changes the economics of nuclear power. We can call this the capital cost benefit of thorium.
    Fueling a 1-gigawatt uranium plant today costs $30 million/year. Fueling a 1-gigawatt thorium plant will cost only $1 million/year, because thorium is four times more abundant than uranium and does not need to be enriched – only purified – prior to being used as fuel. We can call this the fuel cost benefit of thorium.
    Staffing a 1-gigawatt uranium plant today costs $50 million/year. With greater automation, and (especially) fewer safety/security requirements, we will decrease that cost to $5 million/year. Instead of requiring 500 technicians, guards, personal assistants, janitors, and paper pushers to run a nuclear plant, we will only need a small group of 30 or so technicians to run the plant. (When the technology reaches maturity.) Generation IV nuclear plants will be designed to be low-maintenance.
    Based on these numbers, over a 60-year operating lifetime, both plants produce 60 gigawatt-years of power. The total cost for the uranium plant is $4.9 billion, at a rate of $81.6 million per gigawatt-year. The total cost for the thorium plant is $490 million, at a rate of $8.16 million per gigawatt-year. Thorium power makes nuclear power ten times cheaper than it used to be, right off the bat.

  197. Eleuthero September 20, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.
    I teach the bastards (which is why
    I’m retiring in March after Winter
    Quarter) and “pod people” about says
    Do ALL of these fuckers wear ski-caps
    in 80 degree weather?? Is the ONLY
    place where they DON’T have ADHD when
    they’re playing Grand Theft Auto or
    texting to their pretend “friends”?
    What’s with the color selection for
    their clothes that includes an exciting
    array of: 1) Olive drab, 2) Black, 3) Gray,
    4) Mushy colors with no name that are
    brownish green or greenish brown??
    You’ve got to admit … these Millenials
    are a caricature of themselves. Do they
    call each other up for get-togethers to
    make sure that all attendees have ski-caps
    and other grunge/prison wear?? 🙂 🙂

  198. asoka September 21, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    The sacred refuge of CFN, the “laws of physics,” do not preclude us meeting future energy needs.
    For global survival, we need to launch a rapid regeneration of the nuclear power industry. The replacement of the present fossil fuel industry requires a doubling time for alternative energy sources of 5–7 years and only nuclear energy has the capability to achieve this.
    The liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactors (LMFBR) have the best breeding criteria but the doubling time exceeds 20 years. Further, the use of plutonium in these systems has the potential of nuclear proliferation.
    The Thorium Molten-Salt Nuclear Energy Synergetic System [THORIMS-NES], is a symbiotic system, based on the thorium–uranium-233 cycle. The production of trans-uranium elements is essentially absent in Th–U system, which simplifies the issue of nuclear waste management.
    The use of 233U contaminated with 232U as fissile material, instead of plutonium 235U, makes this system nuclear proliferation resistant.
    The energy is produced in molten-salt reactors (FUJI) and fissile 233U is produced by spallation in Accelerator Molten-Salt Breeders (AMSB).
    This system uses the multi-functional “single-phase molten-fluoride” circulation system for all operations.
    There are no difficulties relating to “radiation-damage”, “heat-removal” and “chemical processing” owing to the simple “idealistic ionic liquid” character of the fuel.
    FUJI is size-flexible, and can use all kinds of fissile material achieving a nearly fuel self-sustaining condition without continuous chemical processing of fuel salt and without core-graphite replacement for the life of the reactor.
    The AMSB is based on a single-fluid molten-salt target/blanket concept. Several AMSBs can be accommodated in regional centers for the production of fissile 233U, with batch chemical processing including radio-waste management.
    FUJI reactor and the AMSB can also be used for the transmutation of long-lived radioactive elements in the wastes and has a high potential for producing hydrogen-fuel in molten-salt reactors.

  199. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    Interesting post, UT!
    Wage, above asked some good questions and made some GOOD points about conservation and reducing waste.
    I’d like to hear your answers.
    Then you say,
    Only a fool (or someone who can’t do ordinary math which would apply to many Millenials and Green Party types) would believe that “renewables” is the final answer going forward.
    Take it easy on the invective, right out of the chute, if you would. Because ultimately, something “renewable” is the ONLY possible answer, unless civilization ends and/or we go extinct.
    I mean there is no doubt that oil, coal, and conventional uranium are finite, correct? Now, I’ll grant you that the “renewables” may be some version of Laura’s thorium reactors – instead of conventional “green” “renewables” – maybe??
    There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with dispersed power generation – and it lowers economic and environmental costs of power distribution.
    And percentage conversion efficiency of solar PV, wind, or whatever is unimportant IF (I’ll admit it’s a big IF right now) the cost per KW is low enough.
    Consider this ONE single acre of PV in Georgia:
    This installation will produce 310,000 KW of electricity which GA Power will purchase as peak power at $0.18/KW. The contracts are signed and this thing is built and working NOW.
    Speaking of which – does anyone know of a website that has actual $/KW figures for PV, nuclear, coal, etc?
    I’ll completely agree with you, UT, that the electrical grid in the US is an amazing piece of engineering. And no one should be arguing that some large percentage of baseload power should not be supplied by coal or nuclear – maybe *forever.* ?
    But isn’t it time to look at the whole package and plan a strategy that leaves some coal, uranium, and oil in the ground for our kids and grandkids – who may need it a whole lot worse than we do?
    UT, sure there are challenges. But power generation is basic applied physics, chemistry, and biology. These are things at which America used to excel – and can again – with enough time and the right incentives.

  200. asoka September 21, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    Pretty much any way you want to look at it Thorium represents a sustainable alternative. The chemistry, economics, safety features and nonproliferation aspects of the thorium/uranium fuel cycle represent a potential solution to today’s problems of climate change, climbing requirements for energy in the developing world, and the threat of diversion of nuclear materials to illicit purposes.
    It’s not the “laws of physics” touted by so many on CFN that are standing in our way to a sustainable energy future. It’s a stubborn psychological attitude, which I have seen summed up nicely, over and over again, in the CFN mantra: “We’re so fucked!” That is a counterproductive attitude that paralyzes and demoralizes and prevents the emergence of creative solutions to our dilemmas.

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  201. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    Muslims –especially Arab and black muslims –do this whereever they go once they have a critical mass in a population, somewhere around 10% and in concentrations of a couple hundred or more. They are doing the same in Europe and will soon in America. The politically correct liberal losers of the world will be destroyed and replaced by Islamics, Asians, blacks, and latinos.

  202. jim e September 21, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    Thank god it’s over…

  203. asoka September 21, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    Laura said: “I believe the only reason we are not yet embracing thorium is because there are so many parties who make so much money from building the conventional big uranium reactors, that they present the biggest obstacle to commercialization of the LFTR.”
    Laura, the nuclear industry is being penalized because of the wastes produced by big uranium reactors. By statute, the U.S. government has sole responsibility for the nuclear waste that has so far been produced and has collected $25 billion in fees from nuclear-power producers over the past 30 years to deal with it.
    Inaction on the waste front, to borrow the words of the Obama administration, is not an option. Many feel that some of the $25 billion collected so far would be well spent kick starting research on thorium power to contribute to future power with minimal waste.

  204. Terry David September 21, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    The “pretend” friends thing mystifies me. It seems like a bunch of self-involved people getting as “friended” as possible for little more than bragging rights. I suppose it’s a nice affirmation until you realize that none of those people will help you move.
    The Doghouse Diaries – Keeping Tabs

  205. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    Americans have a great deal of contempt for physics, chemistry, and biology and anyone skilled in them. Americans value the crudest, most hostile, anti-intellectual things. They are fans of lying, cheating, stealing, waste, and hurtful sports.

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  206. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    Americans don’t have relationships or brains. They are fat, and stupid and getting uglier too.

  207. Laura Louzader September 21, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    What a tragedy that we here in the U.S. can’t think of anything better to do with this extremely valuable nuclear “waste” than store it somewhere.
    There is no such a thing as nuclear “waste”. Not only is there much fissionable uranium remaining in fuel rods after they are “spent”, but there are many other isotopes that are the byproducts of fission that have a great deal of value and are very rare and expensive. A few are useful in nuclear medicine.
    In Europe, where resource scarcity has been a fact of life for 300 years or more, and people do not waste lightly, “spent” fuel is recycled. Only here do we take our resources so for granted that we can think only to stuff these leavings in a mountainside or cave somewhere…. and MUCH WORSE, only the U.S. Dept of Energy would consider destroying something so very valuable as our stockpile of U-233, which is used to start the Thorium cycle, which produces more U-233. At this time, the Dept of Energy plans to commit this act of destruction, and nuclear scientists are trying to stop it. You have to be the sort of person who would dissolve pearls in vinegar to even contemplate destroying the U-233, except that the latter substance is much more valuable.
    We are really the most criminally wasteful bunch of people on Planet Earth.

  208. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Asia, you say,
    “waste..there was a time when roads were sprayed with OIL to keep the dust down!
    meanwhile…the media ignores…..a way they fund global jihad”
    So are you saying that WE, in the oil consuming world, are funding this jihad – if so, I agree.
    Then you say,
    ‘As Progressive says, why do taxpayers pay for nuclear power plants, and Future Gen plants, but each homeowner is expected to buy their own solar panel?
    Why? why not???? ok mr[s] bountiful!
    solar for homes is a toy for the rich…solar for industry does have some applications..have you read TLE?”
    I disagree. My family’s share of two new Southern Company nuclear reactors is something approaching $15K.
    And I’m not happy about that, but I’m sure as hell not paying it upfront.
    Actually the GA Public Service Commission just gave permission to increase rates in advance of construction of the damned things – only for individual ratepayers – not for industrial customers – ain’t that a kick in the crotch all the way around.
    And yet people on the right raise hell if any tax or financial incentives are offered for PV or alternative energy.
    And the Southern Company won’t put $15K worth of solar on my roof – and they won’t even pay me what the peak power (on a hot sunny summer day!!) is worth if I try to sell it to them – they pay wholesale rates, about 4.5 cents/KW. When they are charging me about 10 cents/KW for what they sell back to me.
    The Golden Rule – who has the Gold, makes the rules.

  209. asoka September 21, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    ProCon said: “Speaking of which – does anyone know of a website that has actual $/KW figures for PV, nuclear, coal, etc?”
    The MIT study, The Future of Nuclear Power, originally published in 2003 and updated
    in 2009, shows the capital costs of coal plants at $2.30 per watt versus $4 for light-water nuclear.
    A principal reason why the capital costs of LFTR plants could depart from this ratio is that the LFTR operates at atmospheric pressure and contains no pressurized water, along with several other factors that make it economically attractive.
    Thorium is more common in the earth’s crust than tin, mercury, or silver. A cubic meter of average crust yields the equivalent of about four sugar cubes of thorium, enough to supply the energy needs of one person for more than ten years if completely fissioned.
    Lemhi Pass on the Montana-Idaho border is estimated to contain 1,800,000 tons of high-grade thorium ore. Five hundred tons could supply all U.S. energy needs for one year.
    Do the math? CFN loves math. This energy problem is not intractable, especially if combined with lifestyle changes which result in demand destruction, and combined with efforts to REDUCE reproduction. Get your vasectomies, people.

  210. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    Sort of down on your Countrymen tonight, aren’t you Tree?
    “Americans value the crudest, most hostile, anti-intellectual things. They are fans of lying, cheating, stealing, waste, and hurtful sports.”
    Sadly, there may be some truth to what you say.
    But it was not always so, especially among our leaders, movers, and shakers.
    What happened?

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  211. asoka September 21, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    By the way, this is not “new” technology. Thorium is “old” technology that has been proven.
    The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory operated successfully over four years through 1969. Online refueling was demonstrated. Graphite structures and noncorroding Hastelloy metal for vessels, pipes and pumps proved their suitability. Oak Ridge also developed chemistry for separation of thorium, uranium and fission products in the fluid fluoride salts.
    Thorium is being “rediscovered” and, of course, improved along the way; a living, breathing example of techno-triumphalism in the making. I imagine to the chagrin of the CFN pessimists … oooops … I mean CFN “realists” … ha ha ha.

  212. San Jose Mom 51 September 21, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    How long have you been teaching at a university?
    I’m not exposed to that many college students — just my friend’s kids. I think their learning is fear based — with narcissistic, hovering parents who demand that their kids attend Ivy-league schools. They all do massive amounts of volunteer work, not because it’s from the heart, but because it’s required for their college resume.
    It’s kind of a rubber stamp thing….they all do Amigos de las Americas, all the kids who serve as deacons and elders at our church either go to Bellarmine or Presentation because church leadership is going to make them a stronger candidate for Stanford/wherever. I don’t detect a hint of true spiritual inquiry in these kids.
    Heck, you turn your back on these teenagers aren’t even nice or well-mannered.
    My daughter’s former best friend had absolutely no time for friends this summer. Because she hadn’t met her dad’s goal for advanced math placement, (Dad has a PhD in math), she spent the summer enrolled in Catholic school math. She hates math. Then they wisked her off to Europe.
    Her older sister, who has the personality of a box of hair, and the confidence of a hamster, is at Smith–her mother’s Alma Mater.
    I’m sure they look at me and wonder why I don’t push and shove and cajole my kids. I’m grateful that my kids have friends and a sense of humor.
    My kids have no chance of making it to Harvard — oh well.

  213. mika. September 21, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Good. We’ll take ten dozen. The only thing I would insist on is that the nuke industry back up asoka’s claims (and any cost overruns) with their own money. No gov financing and no gov loan guaranties. Let the nuke industry pay for asoka’s accounting miracles out of their own pocket.

  214. Eleuthero September 21, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    Good, and humorous, point, TD. One
    thing I’ve noticed about Millenials’
    opposite sex hetero relationships is
    that, unlike those naive times before
    1990, there isn’t a lot of handholding
    with your gal, sneaking a smooch,
    nuzzling, etc.. I swear to God …
    I have a much more difficult time now
    even detecting whether a hetero pair
    walking down the street like or hate
    each other.
    It’s almost like a total disbelief in
    the very concept of “love”. We’ve
    clinicalized or vulgarized are higher
    human emotions or acts. A kiss is
    “sucking face”. Sex is an “exchange
    of bodily fluids”. Anonymity in sex
    is becoming a RULE rather than an
    exception (read “Generation Me” by
    Jean Twenge).
    Not that this horror is limited to
    Millenials. If I see another Cialis
    or Viagra commercial, I think I’m going
    to vomit. Sorry, hipsters, but if your
    partner doesn’t turn you on without
    chemical assistance you’re not high
    enough on the other person.
    Hetero sex is becoming as anonymous as
    the “glory hole” sex in gay bathhouse
    bathrooms and saunas. And that’s all
    due to the acceptance of complete social
    relativism … the idiotic idea that we
    can throw out 5000 years of human social
    history and put farting, crapping, and
    belching on the same category of “release”
    as an orgasm.
    You can’t make a baby with a fart. Simple
    facts like this are lost on Human Race 2.0.

  215. asoka September 21, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Mika said: “Then there’s the question of getting the fuel (think peak uranium).”
    The US DoE has a 3200-ton stockpile of Thorium – enough for years of meeting all US energy needs without mining.
    And that’s not all. Mining of ‘rare earths’ typically yields abundant Thorium as a byproduct – a free fuel!.
    Cheer up, people… energy abundance in the future is not our problem.
    We have three serious problems:
    1) Our penchant for destroying our ecosystem (the one we depend on for survival!)
    2) Our unconscious reproducing like rabbits (get your vasectomies!)
    3) Our killing ourselves for fun and profit (when this goes nuclear it will no longer be any fun).
    Energy is the least of our problems.

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  216. Eleuthero September 21, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Hi, SJ Mom. I think you’re actually
    dealing with kids several cuts ABOVE
    what you see in the world as a whole.
    You really get the broad view by seeing
    who works at a Peets Coffee or a greasy
    spoon restaurant, etc.. As often as not,
    it’s the “tramp stamp in exposed butt
    crack” type of person.
    This week’s CFN missive by JHK is also,
    sadly, very accurate. I, too, can hardly
    believe the enormous aglomeration of
    humongous lard asses I see at company
    picnics or get-togethers at the local
    Imagine those rather soulless kids you
    described, take away about 20 IQ points,
    add 50 extra pounds per person, and take
    away any intellectual curiosity at all
    and you’ve got the non-college sector
    of Gen-Y.
    Even in tony Palo Alto, at the local Peets,
    most of the female employees AVERAGE 200
    pounds at an average age of 24 and with
    unimaginably inartistic body “plumage”.
    And on top of all that … they really
    don’t want older people to mentor them
    one iota. They already think they’re a
    lot more worldly. Yet they’ve never been
    in love, hardly read, and walk around with
    Prozac-world zombified faces. Sigh.

  217. Terry David September 21, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    “But it was not always so. . .”
    Just today I was having a conversation with my 83 year old mother along these lines. While going through some things at home, I came across some old Metropolitan Opera librettos. As it would turn out, she would regularly attend the Met when they would come through Cleveland.
    These performances were at Cleveland Public Hall -we’re talking about 10,000 seats filled for every performance. This was late 1940’s through early 1950’s. There were a LOT of “regular” people going to see them! Obviously NASCAR wasn’t invented yet. . .
    On the public education end, during the same period, Cleveland Public Schools had achieved a reputation for being among the best in the nation. Seriously. I came across this pdf of a publication on Cleveland’s Supplementary Education Center from the mid 1960’s. The center focused on arts, sciences and history. Check out the public and private support this place had. I was there. It is difficult to put into words what an incredible experience the “supplementary center” was to me as a small child. Everyone was always excited to go.
    Come to think of it, I now recall walking to kindergarten (we did such things in the 60’s) to find a couple of cows in the recess area next to my elementary school. They taught us how to milk cows and how to churn butter. Taught us where it all comes from! Remember this was a public school in urban Cleveland.
    It certainly seemed to me that our community leaders at that time were interested in having an educated public. The movers and shakers seemed okay.
    Take a look at this. Maybe it means far more to me than it will to you, but it is such a poignant reminder of what’s been lost. I don’t think Cleveland is alone in this loss.
    Supplementary Education Center, Cleveland
    And then it all collapsed. By the mid 1970’s that whole culture was displaced by corruption, decay and cynicism. I still grieve the loss of what was once great.

  218. asoka September 21, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    More on Thorium LFTR as a future energy source: http://energyfromthorium.com/

  219. BeantownBill September 21, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    All this is another by-product of rapid change. I don’t think we evolved to be able to handle very well such a disconnect between the generations. Unfortunately, by your description, the survival characteristics of each succeeding generation are on a downward slope.

  220. asoka September 21, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    Mika said: “No gov financing and no gov loan guaranties.”
    Government is good. Big government is better… like rural electrification projects. Big government efforts create jobs and create the infrastructure which may then be privatized… and if that happens I damn sure want government regulation of anything private industry does that is nuclear in nature. No government regulation (think BP) means spills & explosions occur. Government should strongly regulate and hold the private sector accountable.

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  221. LewisLucanBooks September 21, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    Jim would have had a coronary. The other day a couple wandered into my bookstore. She was heavily pregnant. He was a good looking young man with a nice head of hair. Around 30. And, heavily tattooed. Face included. The one tattoo that stands out in my memory is the black star that spread entirely across one cheek. The circus was not in town.
    Now I’m kind of an anachronism in that I’m probably the only merchant on our main drag that regularly wears an ironed shirt and tie. (I do my weekly shirt ironing, by the way, to Jim’s podcast.) My look is calculated. I’m a piss poor salesman and suffer from Cassandra Syndrome. People don’t believe what I say :-). The shirt and tie give me a little gravitas.
    It think the point is I treated the couple like human beings and they approached my store in a respectful manner. There was a successful transaction (they bought a couple of Stephen Hawkings books) and left.

  222. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    “Cheer up, people… energy abundance in the future is not our problem.”
    As soon as you build an affordable car, that doesn’t create by far its biggest impact during mining, manufacturing, and distribution, and runs on “free” thorium, let me know.
    When the oil culture dies, life will change radically around here. And I’m afraid it can’t come soon enough to save our collective sorry ass from ourselves.
    I wish people would stop thinking of this as an energy keyhole, and start thinking of it more as a wake-up call.

  223. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    “The replacement of the present fossil fuel industry requires a doubling time for alternative energy sources of 5–7 years and only nuclear energy has the capability to achieve this.”
    So wipe ourselves out sooner then?
    We’re really simple animals, aren’t we? More energy means more people. More people means more impact on the biosphere. Period. Same as for any other animal.
    Let it go, man. It’s never going to happen. Focus your energy on low-tech survival systems instead. Doesn’t this role of ridlin-stabilized executioner ever get old for you?

  224. Jim from Watkins Glen September 21, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    It’s a wonder to me that Mr. Kunstler seems able to draw on an endless reservoir of righteous indignation. Most people eventually throw up their arms and give in to our collective idiocy, but this guy finds the gumption to keep screaming for us to wake up. Many of us are too busy getting cheese out of the mousetrap before it snaps to look that far ahead.
    Strongly recommend the Witch of Hebron–excellent read.

  225. Funzel September 21, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    This is for all you people that worry about Muslims in India and claim wind generators are too noisy.
    Do without toilet paper for a month and report back to me.

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  226. lbendet September 21, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    The realities of the system we live in:
    But where are the men and women who do know the difference? And why are they too timid to step up and say something?
    “All you have to know is Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Bullets, banks and bombs”—Gerald Celente
    I can’t help making parallels to fascist Germany when I think of a highly sophisticated country where people who “knew better” let things happen. Good people in a rogue society are ensconced in a system in various ways that stop them from taking action. Maybe it’s just having enough money for them and their families to not rock the boat. Maybe it’s threats that they better not say anything–or else. As I mentioned earlier, scientists can be bought and sold. Everyone has a price in this commodity-driven culture.
    Everything from religion and history are being twisted into rationalizing a bad paradigm that worships money as an end in itself. It’s called “freedom” by some who would tell you compassion and humanity are godless. Money can set you free…
    I recently showed my work to a gallery dealer who told me he could sell my work internationally if I chose to continue making art in particular direction I took a few years ago. He said that on that level, people didn’t buy art for anything but investment and that their attention span was virtually non-existent. A totally different world than that of the late 50’s when there was context and content. It’s depressing when you do something for love, but you realize the world doesn’t operate that way–I remembered how much I hated painting the same damn picture over and over again, because that was the one people commissioned me to do. In the end it all depends on what you want and how badly you want it. Maybe I have my price too.
    This weekend the Pope was in England and he commended the British for their stand against the Nazis. Wow, I thought to myself, where was Pope Pius XII? What was his moral stand against the Nazis? And what about about Ratzinger, himself. Was he less than honest about his own membership in the Hitler Youth?
    We’re not the only country out of whack. I would say that the whole of Western civilization is pretty FUBAR and I’ve thought so most of my life. The whole moral fiber has lost its gravity a long time ago. We are just living in it’s wake.

  227. Dana September 21, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Dear Jim:
    I always look forward to Monday’s columns–they never disappoint. This week’s description of fatties and their feeders is perfect and very funny.
    I do want to put in a kind word for graduates of the Ivies and Seven Sisters. Not all of us are deluded corporate flunkies like Obama, Chu, both Clintons and the rest. But the chance of those who are not so deluded rising to national prominence is about nil. The powerful and their media–that is, their propaganda team–won’t permit today’s Cassandras to have much influence.
    To get national recognition, you have to tow the line or be so completely nutty that you will, by accident, feed the coffers of corporatism. The fact that thinkers like you, Richard Heinberg, and Matt Savinar get much less air time than Christine O’Donnell–well, that says it all, I think.
    So, we’re limited to working locally, and perhaps that’s best anyway. The government-corporate apparatus is so broken, my hunch is that there’s no fixing it from the inside.
    Thanks for the gift of your writing.

  228. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Mika, I do believe you’ve got it:
    A much smarter approach would be distributed solar for the south, hydro and wind for the north, and to set an absolute limit on power generation. The most important point here, is the limit parameter. That will then force design solutions (think city planners) and industrial policy to accommodate the set limit. And that, I think, is what JHK is really agitating for.
    And it’s been a while since I’ve been able to agree with you about something important! 😉
    And, WOW, sonofagun – I agree with Asoka in the same night! He says:
    We have three serious problems:
    1) Our penchant for destroying our ecosystem (the one we depend on for survival!)
    2) Our unconscious reproducing like rabbits (get your vasectomies!)
    3) Our killing ourselves for fun and profit (when this goes nuclear it will no longer be any fun).
    However, your points 1 and 2 can only be controlled *in the US* by reducing ALL types of immigration into the country, IMO.
    Of course we’ve grappled about that before, no need to restate our points unless the nebies on CFN want them explained – and these points are really pretty obvious.
    I’m totally with you on #3 – don’t know who would not be.

  229. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Funzel says:
    This is for all you people that worry about Muslims in India and claim wind generators are too noisy.
    Do without toilet paper for a month and report back to me.
    Do we get to keep using soap and running water?
    If so we might be OK! 😉
    Seriously, I get your point. It’s hard to be worried about other peoples problems if your own anus is inflamed.
    How’s that for a metaphor for next week, JHK?

  230. networker September 21, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    hile I would surely not be “right-of-center” enough for UtilityT, I would like to add to his intelligent overview of our electrical system these facts as well: this Internet that everyone thinks is run by magic is entirely, deeply, and profoundly dependent upon that same electrical grid. Every switch, every router, every server, every protocol dies the second the power goes out, and unreliable or intermittent power sources can quickly create chaos on any given network, choking it and slowing it down, taking down yet more equipment. In the course of my work, when even a single Internet router goes down (for instance due to defective equipment) the entire network is affected. All of its protocol traffic is diverted to the remaining routers and they become overloaded, because in this just-in-time corporate culture, very few companies planned for real redundancy because it just plain cost too much, and the bottom line is the only thing that exists to their way of thinking. The captains of industry don’t like to think about their dependency upon the power grid any more than the average Joe does.
    For those folks who think we are all going to “save energy” by telecommuting and selling/buying online during power brownouts or intermittent service, you are living in la-la land. Without nuclear or coal-derived electricity, the Internet will not survive, period. (And I haven’t even mentioned all the petroleum and rare earth required to build said equipment or the cables and wires it all runs on.) I am not a particular fan of nuclear plants, I am just saying that certain things won’t exist without them, given current technology. However I am not someone who advocates technological advances so much either, despite my former career. As far as I am concerned, too much technological thinking is what got us into this mess. I spent the last several years working in cable head ends on the huge-capacity ONS (optical) substructure that those massive routers require (and working on the routers and switches themselves) and I have to say that the ordinary person is clueless as to how much power is required to keep it all going. For an example in the dead of WINTER, if ONLY the air-conditioning goes out in a given head end, every single piece of equipment begins to literally melt down in minutes – this kind of gear runs so hot their cards will fry without fans and 24/7/365 massive AC units the size of Volkswagens. And if the power goes out? Well, like I used to say to customers when they complained “it’s not working”: Well, no Blinky Blinky!
    The problem is, people don’t want to give up anything, so they simply ignore what’s too difficult to think about. Nuclear plants take ten years to build too, and I would venture to guess they have a few parts that need to be machined as well, which means it will be more and more expensive as time goes on. Personally, since I quit that stressful network scene to grow a garden and raise chickens, I think a nice solar water pump and home hot water heater might come in handy in the future, and our wood stove will become critical later on. I think it’s more important to begin weaning ourselves OFF of things like television, clothes dryers, and the Internet now, while we can still work out how our households are going to do it.
    P.S. to Helen Highwater and trippticket: hear, hear! Another thing folks miss repeatedly is how critically important manure is to the growing of food and forage. The problem is not “eating meat.” The problem is industrial farming – of crops AND meat – destroying the soil and polluting the water. Run properly, and the only way to do this properly is on small farms, animals and crops support each other, make proper use of the soil and water, and in the process the human gets to eat and live a good life.

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  231. asoka September 21, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Tripp said: “Doesn’t this role of ridlin-stabilized executioner ever get old for you?”
    I don’t know what you are saying here Tripp. I take no drugs (not even aspirin) … I don’t even drink coffee or alcohol.
    I am with you on permaculture, on reducing global population (but not on restricting on which side of imaginary lines people live; I believe in freedom of movement), etc.
    I also see the value in BIG GOVERNMENT projects, like TVA (which you are still benefiting from in Georgia decades later.)

  232. ozone September 21, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    “We have three serious problems:
    1) Our penchant for destroying our ecosystem (the one we depend on for survival!)
    2) Our unconscious reproducing like rabbits (get your vasectomies!)
    3) Our killing ourselves for fun and profit (when this goes nuclear it will no longer be any fun).
    Energy is the least of our problems.” -Asoka
    Thinking near term? I certainly concur.
    How we’re going to cope after these problems shake out will have to be dealt with at that time. As “little people” we won’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

  233. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Great post Jim. But I tend to agree with some of the comments. It’s time to turn our gaze away from the criticism, and start discussing and sharing solutions.
    Cooincidently, the cover story of our national news magazine, MacLean’s, depicts a close-up of a tattered US flag. The headline reads: Is The US Going Third World?
    Here’s the article:
    In the preamble (not online) it warns Canadians not to get too smug as we sit here watching things unravel to the south. It reminds us that our economy is intrinsically tied to yours, despite our more preferable outcomes of weathering the economic storm.
    And perhaps we can actually THANK our governments of old for allowing the manufacturing sector to be completely and utterly gutted more than 20 years ago. That action, back then, has allowed us some time to build (some) resiliency into our economy that the US otherwise has not had the chance to do.

  234. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Real nice post – made me think about some things.
    I keep hoping there is a PLAN. For example – will continuous grid power be routed to the servers and networks you mention even as brownouts are allowed to roll across plain old suburbia?
    And I live back IN the WOODS. I’ve not yet (2 years) bought a gasoline generator – mainly because we’re totally prepared for a 2 to 3 day power outage. The only reason we’d even crank a generator would be if someone wanted a shower instead of a old fashioned tub bath.
    But for longer outages we’ll need something. I’m thinking about investing in a 240 volt inverter big enough to run the well pump and some lights and electronics.
    Eventually we’d invest in the +/- $4000 worth of PV panels to power the inverter. In the meantime I’m *pretty sure* I could run it off my trucks and cars wired in parallel. I’m looking into that – if anyone can suggest a website.
    You also make me think of how fragile modern electronics are. I truly don’t understand how anyone will pay for an ephemeral Kindle book – when for the same money they can have the real thing that they can leave in the rain or use to swat bugs occasionally.

  235. Cavepainter September 21, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Never mind the bombs: Religious fundamentalism threatening the greatest terrorism upon the world is that issuing injunctions to have large families. On that account “Homeland Security” would be best served in the long term by denying immigration to people embracing such religions dictums.

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  236. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Hello? Been saying this time after time: Micropower for homeowners (be it wind, small scale hydro or solar depending on local conditions). That leaves the large generation plants adequate capacity to meet the needs of the remaining customers… PROVIDING there is a SUBSTANTIVE and MANDATORY power reduction program mandated Federally, State and Provincially across the board… no exceptions. Amen.

  237. JD Moore September 21, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Trouble is, Mr. Kunstler, the social engineers took most of us out of the system many years ago. There was this joke 40 years ago about New College in Florida being something the CIA set up to get all the malcontents out of the system. It was an “anything goes” type of place, something to placate such malcontents. Even when it was (and still is) “five grams, five years” for pot in Florida, the worst that happened was that campus security alert the responsible people when the city police saw some cannabis plants in plain view of the main highway. All the city police did was confiscate the plants. This all came to an end a few years later when the college went broke and the State of Florida now runs it as their “honors college.” Needless to say, the students now are after the quick buck like everyone else. Even when there are sane people out here who know what is going on and there is still some good things happening in my part of the world, the masses will believe whatever they want and will heed only what will fit in with their beliefs, regardless of events or other evidence to the contrary. That is the way judgment works.

  238. JD Moore September 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    By the way, I’ve also finished “The Witch of Hebron.” There is much thinly disguised local color, life “World Made by Hand.” I’ve had fun checking it all out when I have been touring the area. It would be a real test to walk all those back roads. I have a friend who moved out of my area and set up shop in Cambridge (a part of the “Union Grove” picture, also include Greenwich and Salem). He would have some interesting observations to make about the local color, I’m sure. I would like to see some comparisons to Richard Russo who has also written local color stories about the area. He has preferred the Amsterdam-Johnstown-Gloversville area himself. I find the endings of both books highly improbable. Really, heroic medical procedures? People used to try opium for anesthetics; it didn’t always work.
    What I miss, too, is what would happen to clothing and footwear. NO ONE knows how to spin, weave, card wool, gin cotton, tan leather anymore.

  239. progressorconserve September 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Couple of more things:
    To the guy in NC with the solar greenhouse. Electric resistance heating will absolutely CHEW THROUGH KW’s like nothing else.
    Think about some kind of heat pump.
    I’ve got a 5000 BTU water heater heat pump. 900 watts of power in gives me 1800 *equivalent* watts of hot water out. Plus 5000 BTU of cool air – a handy thing to have in the South in the summer.
    I will be able to run the thing on 5 200 watt PV panels.
    And Networker,
    My dad was involved with grid power his whole working life. When I was a kid in the ’60’s I could climb in the truck and go on calls with him whenever I was out of school.
    We used to go to the FAA installation south of Atlanta, drive through the gate, and just walk right in – no ID or anything. He knew all the engineers and some of the flight controllers by name. Those guys took me and him (I’m ten years old, right – amazing to look back at those times) on some of the most awesome tours through the mazes of electronic gear they had.
    Talk about bulletproof gear. Huge banks of vacuum tubes – wired together with honest American copper wire and honest to God solder – racks of fans blowing heat out into the Georgia summer air – that equipment could have survived anything – except changes in the times.
    And UtilityT,
    I hope you continue to post here. I spent a summer as a laborer while my dad’s crews were hanging banks of capacitors, regulators, and oil reclosers all over Middle Georgia – so I’ve got a pretty good frame of reference on some of the issues you are bringing up for us.
    I do believe it will take ALL points of view understanding each other if we’re gonna get our US of A out of this situation.

  240. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    One word: TELEVISION

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  241. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    So the parents live their lives through their children who are not interested, unhappy, apathetic, and indebted?

  242. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    There is a reason why the lower classes are lower.
    You move in low places.

  243. networker September 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks, progressorconserve. I wish there was a plan. But, but there simply isn’t. Even hospitals must keep generators when the power goes out. Internet providers all have gigantic gas-powered generators in those COs and head ends too – they last a few hours and a bunch of guys in bucket trucks make trips to the gas station to keep them running – but it also doesn’t do much good for you if the modem in your house has no power. The whole “no blinky blinky” thing is something very few people really get their heads around – if you think about your statement asking if continuous grid power could be selectively routed to the servers and networks – that would entail retrofitting the electrical grid with its own routers and servers to manage that rollout, and (UtilityT can probably speak more lucidly on this topic than I) as far as I know that hasn’t happened, nor is it likely to, given the cost. Hell we barely have enough capacity. In addition, it also side-steps the fact that the very nature of a failure makes it almost impossible to fix reactively – because you don’t know where the next one is going to happen until it does. (Or, as occasionally happens, engineers warn of an impending failure, recommend spending money to fix it, then management ignores it UNTIL it fails.) The only way to have more surety is to plan for failure at EVERY point (prohibitively expensive) or simply expect that there will be outages in places you didn’t plan for it – i.e. hospitals and Internet routers. The only reason the Internet runs as well as it does right now is because we have continually kept the lights on too.
    Another problem is that the very beauty of the Internet – its interconnectedness – is also its downfall. It is ridiculously easy for ordinary “packet monkey” crackers to run scripts to control enough bandwidth to take down huge banks of web servers, and it would also be ridiculously easy to cause a widespread Internet blackout to large geographical areas, simply by concentrating that bandwidth toward a few strategic regional routers. Large Internet providers, as a further expression of bottom-line gazing, also bought into the idea that streamlining their networks and consolidating was a good idea. In my experience, no one in the management of companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, etc, especially at the C level, understands the technology of the business they are in, much less physics. The engineers do, but they don’t get to decide what the money gets spent on. The marketers sell these ideas to management, calling it fancy names like “network convergence” and “service oriented innovation.” Stuff like that. What it really comes down to, is How Much Bandwidth Can We Sell With As Little Investment As Possible? (Which includes paying as few people as possible to do the work too, I might add.) What you end up with are single points of failure, and aging, overloaded gear that is only replaced after said failure (often with no spare onhand.) But hey, they are “meeting business challenges” and “maintaining flexibility.” Bah. I’m not sure I would want the electrical grid anywhere near that network – if someone does cough up the dough to make the grid smart, I hope they firewall it off – keep it the hell away from the Internet!
    I suppose I should have added that networks “go down” due to equipment failure and misconfiguration quite regularly – which is why people like me have jobs working on networks. One thought that haunts me is that the entire banking and financial system runs on electricity and computers – how easy it would be to shut people out of their bank accounts, instantly? Sure would prevent runs on banks. They are already documenting large cash and gold transactions. And I am glad you mentioned your dad’s truck – I want to add to everyone, don’t forget the entire FLEET of maintenance trucks each equipment company, whether electric, telephone CO, optic, or ISP, must keep running. 24/7/365.
    P.S. That FAA equipment could have survived anything – except a power outage! Both our clothes dryers and our computer equipment become big expensive doorstops without electricity. 🙂

  244. Mr. Purple September 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Speaking of oil in Iraq, a review of Iraq’s history of oil exporting reveals an interesting thing for the conspiracy-minded out there: while the Saudis and Gulf oil states have been pumping oil virtually uninterrupted for quite some time, Iraqi oil has had very few periods of uninterrupted maximum output. Almost as if it was being “kept on the shelf” for later use. Perhaps it is merely coincidence.

  245. turkle September 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    I’d assume that has something to do with the Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War I, and the current Iraq War. In all these conflicts, a lot of oil infrastructure was damaged or destroyed. Plus, Saddam did not put all that much investment into the state oil industry compared to the size of the reserves.
    Where’d you see this anyways? Got a linkie?

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  246. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    “NO ONE knows how to spin, weave, card wool, gin cotton, tan leather anymore.”
    All slowly making a comeback, especially “brain tanning,” just like canning, sewing, animal husbandry, fruit grafting skills, etc. Energetic realities are pretty powerful driving forces, despite what some of the analysts here might tell you!
    Thanks for the post!

  247. Mr. Purple September 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    “If you know a better way to feed THREE HUNDRED MILLION Americans then enlighten us. How do you do it?”
    You can’t. And once you realize that you will start to realize why immigration* poses such a problem for the future: there may be more than FOUR HUNDRED MILLION Americans by 2050, according to current estimates**.
    * And I’m not talking about immigration from any particular place… the population growth itself is the problem, not the culture of the immigrants.
    ** http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/natproj.html

  248. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    “There is a reason why the lower classes are lower.
    You move in low places.
    Yeah, and when hyperinflation overtakes us all, the great equalizer will smite the haughty hardest. If you’re currently living as an elite I hope you have the real character to hold that post once money-for-nothing is no longer an option. Otherwise you will just get tossed out on your ear with nothing valuable to offer the common predicament.
    I hate this racist/classist horseshit.

  249. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    It’s the meek who will inherit the earth.
    Jesus said so himself!

  250. Mr. Purple September 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    “Only a fool (or someone who can’t do ordinary math which would apply to many Millenials and Green Party types) would believe that “renewables” is the final answer going forward.”
    I would include most workers on Wall Street in the category of those who can’t do ordinary math. ;^)

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  251. turkle September 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    It takes approximately 1000 years to create 1 inch of topsoil. Typical depletion from farmland is around 1 inch per year. You do the math. The lack of fertilizers and pesticides isn’t going to be the problem in the future. We’re not going to have any dirt left if things keep up like this. Regions such as the ME and North Africa that used to be good for growing grain. Now they are generally deserts and can support (at the most) olives, grapes, and goats. This is because civilization creates aridity, e.g. desert environments, because agriculture is so destructive to the earth.
    So I’m not so worried about the internet shutting off. We can all deal with this. But if we run out of topsoil, well, all bets are off.

  252. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    I wish people would stop thinking of this as an energy keyhole, and start thinking of it more as a wake-up call.

    You are, for the most part, preaching to the converted here Tripp. 😉 But it just goes to show how difficult a message it is to get across, even here.. the so-called “converted”.
    So our goal is to get our message “out there” in any way we can.
    There is a great keynote address that Ray Anderson (Chairman of Interface) gave at the US Green Building Council convention back in Atlanta 2005. His premise was that destruction is happening one ‘event’ at a time. The corollary is that the healing can also occur one ‘event’ at a time. That’s what we must do.
    I wish I knew of some way to share it, it’s very powerful.

  253. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    I heard someone on the radio the other day referring to our soils here in North America as “growing mediums”, because the nutrient values of the soils have been all but depleted due to over-fertilization and chemical dousing. Without these inputs, that “soil” does fuck all.
    I recommend reading “The End of Food” by Thomas Pawlick.
    While you’re in the reading mood, read “Sea Sick” by Alana Mitchell. Atmosphereic changes are going to pale by comparison to what’s happening with the planet’s oceans.
    Mother Nature… she’s the toughest boss you’ll ever work for.

  254. mika. September 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Thanks, PC.
    I think I’m making progress. 🙂
    Ten years back I’d say our world view was pretty much identical. But I’m now a little better read, a little wiser, more knowledgeable, and more aware. My conclusion is simple. Basically, government is a racket, and the bigger the government the bigger the racket.
    With the exception of asoka (who truly has a malignant and evil heart), most everyone here is decent and noble. Even vladik, though deeply misguided, is basically a good guy. Your heart is in the right place, PC, but you’re caught in their partisan circus and their web of propaganda. Anyhow, I would encourage you to dig deeper, do your own research. Follow my twitter stream, you should find many good references.

  255. networker September 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    And read Holy Shit, by Gene Logsdon if you want to learn how to rebuild the soil.

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  256. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Here is a doctor who researched population decreases in the USSR after the fall of communism. It’s an interesting observance on what happens when TSHTF.

  257. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    When it comes to power disruptions, most people (for obvious selfish reasons) think of how it’s going to affect them. But have you ever thought of the impact on prison systems?
    Your prison systems (and ours here in Canada) have large generators as well. But under duress, or in turbulent times, may not have steady supplies of fuel for those generators.
    I have worked on penetentiaries and one does NOT want those systems that keep them running to ever fail… even for a short duration. This may be a good time to take a VERY hard look at the notion of rehabilitation vs. incarceration as a truly long term solution to crime. (Don’t get me started on “tough on crime” politicians!)

  258. Mr. Purple September 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I don’t have a single specific link, but Iraq in the Petroleum Age has been much less stable (and thus less able to export oil) than its neighbors.
    Here is some background on 20th Century Iraqi history (and it’s depressing):
    And here is a pretty good page with some information on historical oil production:
    Note that Iraq’s production graph ( http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/PAPRPIQ.gif ) is much more jagged than OPEC’s ( http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/PAPRPOP.gif ) or Iran’s ( http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/PAPRPIR.gif )
    I hope that’s a bit of what you were seeking.

  259. Mr. Purple September 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Fascinating link. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

  260. networker September 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Enviro, no actually I hadn’t thought about the prison systems in particular. It’s not an easy task to just sit and think for a long while, about every single thing in our society and how utterly dependent upon electricity we all are now. It makes one a little crazy. Everything from machine shops, to surgical units, to rechargeable batteries, to refrigerated trucks, to subways, to salt refineries, to LED manufacturers, you name it – all of it is not possible without full-on powerful electricity. My biggest worry is water pumps.

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  261. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Thanks for the tip.
    (Holy Shit.. by LOGSdon? LMAO!)

  262. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Part of that loss is due to the diversity that has been thrust upon us. Folks don’t care about people much different from them. All these blacks and hispanics and muslims are bringing the country down.

  263. Cash September 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Good idea. Find the cheapest craphole you can find to locate the CEO.

  264. Cash September 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Coney Island Fourth of July contest – 54 hotdogs in 10 minutes was the winning amount
    winner said he was trying for 70 dogs.

  265. networker September 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Enviro, I kid you not. Check out his blog posts too, he’s great:
    God Treebeardsuncle, must you be so one-note tiresome? I saw a great bumper sticker the other day. It read: Welcome To America. Now Speak Cherokee.

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  266. turkle September 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    “Folks don’t care about people much different from them.”
    Speak for yourself, white man.

  267. turkle September 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    America consumes what, like 25% of the world’s resources (more?) with 5% of the world’s population.
    And all you can do is complain about brown people, as if they are the cause of all your problems.
    What a tool.

  268. turkle September 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    And then treebored complains about Muslims after the US has killed, oh, you know, half a million or so of them, perhaps more. (Who’s counting?)
    Righteous indignation of the oppressed white man. Funny stuff.

  269. Cash September 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Enviro, the talk about penitentiaries reminded me about my grandparents’ neighbour (long deceased)in my hometown.
    He immigrated to Canada after WW2. He was in the Polish Army during the war. When Germany invaded Poland, the USSR did likewise. Poland gave up the ghost and he was taken prisoner by the Russkis.
    Anyway, he spent years in a Siberian prison camp. He said that there were no walls or fences because it was so isolated. It was in a howling wilderness. The guards didn’t mind if the POWs tried to escape because in a couple days they’d be back exhausted and starved. He said a couple guys tried and they came back as expected. The guards didn’t care. There was no retribution.
    We have lots of wide open spaces on the prairies. Good place for prisons. No place to escape to. Pack would be escapees a lunch and gather to wave goodbye. In a few days they’ll be back.
    Have you ever driven the Trans Canada from the Ontario border to the Rockies? I’ve done the drive a couple times. Man oh man.
    I have time on my hands, what can I say.

  270. San Jose Mom 51 September 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Networker….I agree with you, water pumps are very important. San Jose is planning to build a $1.5 billion dollar waste water treatment plan, but I wonder if they have an analog back-up plan?
    Probably not. If the electricity goes, it’s going to be unpleasant.

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  271. sportrdr70 September 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    “He deserves to be hounded out of office – and so does everyone else inside the Beltway in both parties, including the feckless President Obama.”
    I KNEW Jim would get it eventually….just say no to our two-party joke of a political system!

  272. DeeJones September 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    UtiliT and Networker, are you familiar with The Oil Drum site? If not, they had an interesting article posted in August titled: The US Electric Grid: Will it be Our Undoing? – Revisited (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6817#more)
    You might want to read this, but the conclusion is that the current grid is really on the verge of complete failure, due to the lack of maintenance & upgrading critical infrastructure components, all of course due to the myopic focus on the “Bottom Line”.
    So, no electric grid, no internet….
    Say, the USA might soon be just like Costa Rica, where the power goes out without warning for no apparent reason at all. And so does the water.
    But I’d still rather be here than there, in the Belly of the Beast.
    Dee jones

  273. Heller Levinson September 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I was disappointed to see, right next to Jim’s rightful diatribe against our electronic nation — “with the electronic stream of electronic simulacrum” — an advertisement to download is new book, and below that, an ad for a kindle.
    A false prophet?
    Professional cowardice?
    Or, just a chickenshit?

  274. turkle September 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    I think you missed the point of the post if you think Jim was talking about e-books.

  275. trippticket September 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    “Now they are generally deserts and can support (at the most) olives, grapes, and goats.”
    Well, if you can only grow 3 things, you’d have a tough time finding a better trio!
    Bravo! Spot-on, Turkleton. Two days worth of frustration arguing with someone who thinks that industrial agriculture is the most efficient way to feed people. And it is! Just as long as you don’t count the ridiculously cheap fossil inputs (which is really all of the inputs); the constant loss of topsoil and latent fertility; the dead zones in our premier estuaries that severely compromise the oceans’ food chains; and all the cavities, diabetes, stroke, cancer, loss of IQ, etc, that come from food grown for quantity instead of quality. Or worse, uniformity and shelf life. No thanks, I like to taste my food.
    And we certainly can again, but it takes time. This guy was promoting a false dichotomy: bigger, faster industrial ag OR small-scale, self-fertilizing systems (organic by definition). It’s not either/or, it’s gradually moving from one to the other as our energetic reality changes from one that is ecologically and economically adaptable to the hidden costs of modern agribusiness, to one that isn’t.
    We have to start building topsoil again, the ones of us who want to live anyway, but thankfully we can do it faster than 1 inch/millenium. The original topsoil might be gone, but heavy mulches and dynamic soil life can convert subsoil to topsoil on the order of inches per year.
    I know because I do it. And I’ve been to broadacre permaculture water-storage and soil-building workshops in California, where they are sequestering atmospheric carbon in pasture soils and improving soil organic content by a 1-4% in ONE year. That’s immense. Put another way, if we could convince the masters of every acre of pastoral land on the planet to adopt these practices, we could easily bring the carbon load down 100 ppm, and under the so-called magic 350, by this time next year.
    Now, how much organic mulch one will be able to acquire is a function of how late in the piece it is when they go looking for it. These are real-world limitations that we children of the oil age really have no clue about. If we want fertilizer, organic or conventional, we can just go buy it, or pick it up free by the sackful every autumn on every curb in the land. But one day we will be fighting for it.
    I’m not a stock trader, I’m a fertility trader (so way more important for 99.999% of human existence), and I say get in the game ASAP! to everyone out there who would like to meet their grandchildren. Build bathouses or keep a flock of pigeons to harvest phosphorous, which is probably more of a limiting factor than oil; grow very tall trees on your land to harvest blowing dust; retain every grain of organic matter you find on your land and elsewhere. You want to hoarde something valuable, create and hoard humus.
    Just my .02
    Great post, man.

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  276. networker September 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    DeeJones, thank you for the link – it is a good overview of the problem and no I had not read it before. I do remember reading the ASCE report giving our energy grid a grade of D a few years ago. We have apparently hauled our score up to D+ now. Woohoo!

  277. envirofrigginmental September 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Food. It’s all going to be about the food.

  278. San Jose Mom 51 September 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi TBU,
    I was just sharing some thoughts on modern parenthood as it relates to parents being enmeshed with their children — their personalities are kind of fused so that the kids ability to develop an authentic self is very limited. E.I., you better go into medicine and go to Berkeley because the parent’s ego needs wouldn’t be met if the kid decided to go say, San Jose State.
    Maybe this just happens in families with “affluenza” — I don’t know. The other day I was shopping at my favorite Italian grocery store and ran into a mom I used to car pool with..she spilled her guts and said that Alexa had only been accepted to UC Santa Cruz. I said, “What’s wrong with that? Santa Cruz is the most beautiful campus in the entire UC system and they have many great programs!”

  279. turkle September 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Probably hoping Jimmy will become a doctor or lawyer (or even a doctor-lawyer!) to pay for mom’s retirement, because her 401k took a beating and the house is underwater.

  280. networker September 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Speaking of phosphorus in particular, as Logsdon points out on his blog, “Dog and cat waste is particularly valuable because, compared to most manures, it is higher in phosphorus, the plant nutrient most difficult for organic farmers and gardeners to come by naturally.”
    Read his always-entertaining post here: http://organictobe.org/2010/08/18/gene-logsdon-throwing-away-billions-of-dollars-in-pet-manure/
    To my mind composting pet manure is a lot better than using drinking water to flush cat litter down the toilet or sending dog poop to the landfill in little plastic bags.

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  281. ozone September 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    “I’m not a stock trader, I’m a fertility trader (so way more important for 99.999% of human existence), and I say get in the game ASAP! to everyone out there who would like to meet their grandchildren. Build bathouses or keep a flock of pigeons to harvest phosphorous, which is probably more of a limiting factor than oil; grow very tall trees on your land to harvest blowing dust; retain every grain of organic matter you find on your land and elsewhere. You want to hoard something valuable, create and hoard humus.” -Tripp
    Damnit, Tripp!
    There you go again, injecting reality (i.e. food and water) into our perfect fantasy land of never-ending profits, growth, and energy! (Not to mention that “dominion over the earth” thang that we had goin’ for us……….until recently.) Out of cheez doodles AGAIN??? What is this country coming too?
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :o)

  282. San Jose Mom 51 September 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    And less face it, college isn’t cheap.

  283. asia September 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    LA Times yesterday…
    Colin Powell says illegals an important part of america!
    now if thats not sick what is…
    and [always looking for slave labor] the chinese are importing lots of vietnamese.

  284. ozone September 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    That’s good; I thought I might be flinging stuff that was a bit “strong” out on the gravel grunge here. Guess not. The cat does a booming business in a box of cedar chips, which I broadcast when it gets a little on the saturated side.
    Good kitty! ;o)

  285. asoka September 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    “NO ONE knows how to spin, weave, card wool, gin cotton, tan leather anymore.”
    All slowly making a comeback, especially “brain tanning,” just like canning, sewing, animal husbandry, fruit grafting skills, etc.

    Right on, Tripp!
    All you have to do is look around you.
    Government institutions are helping people become more self-sufficient through government-sponsored community college technical programs, through government-sponsored university non-credit continuing education classes, through government-sponsored extension services classes.
    It is a GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY to help people learn canning, tanning, sewing, welding, wood construction, etc. It is a GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY to help people become more self-sufficient.
    Here are some examples from a GOVERNMENT educational institution (note most of the classes filled up!)
    **Learn all about fish and fishing in this perfect summer class. We’ll fish lakes and rivers all week long while learning about fish biology, ecology, bait, lures, rods and reels with some of the best fishing guides around. A fishing trip by canoe or raft will help fine-tune your skills to land the big one. Status: Class full
    **Experience the fun of felting your own fabric and turning it into a unique piece of clothing in this exciting class. Students will be taught how to lay out cloud-like compositions in fluffy tufts of wool and then work them into a sudsy froth to create felt. Students will then learn how to turn the felt they’ve created into wearable items such as hats, scarves, purses and jewelry. Status: Class full
    **Grab a hammer and torch and discover working with metal. Students will learn the basics of metal construction, including pattern making, sawing, soldering, forging and a variety of surface techniques to create small shiny creations. Status: Class full
    **Create a hand-woven scarf or shawl, or fabric for a purse in this beginner weaving class. Students will learn the basics of setting up a loom and weaving to create their own wearable cloth items. Status: Class open
    **This class is a must for anyone interested in fashion art and design. Students will create designs on paper and transfer them to fabric. Some in-class sewing may occur, but students do not need sewing experience to participate in this class.
    JHK titles this week “Puke Time”…
    Continuing education is certainly nothing to puke about given all the opportunities we have for self-improvement that are sponsored by GOVERNMENT.
    Not to mention all the voluntary associations, and entrepreneurs who are teaching useful stuff through neighborhood associations, coops, Granges, religious organizations, etc. People are helping each other in mutually useful ways. Cooperation is our nature. We are social beings.

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  286. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Well, this was going on in the 70’s and 80’s too. It is part of what white and Asian and Jewish upper middle class parents do. The question is how do the kids do after they have finished their schooling.

  287. asoka September 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice…”
    ……. SOURCE: Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
    Who is “the government”?
    We are the government. We elected them. We have rights to speak, organize, run for office, etc. We also have the right to ignore them all and focus on creating our little Epicurean garden.
    What makes little sense to me is to criticize “the government” as if it is a foreign entity.
    We are the government.

  288. lbendet September 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Bizzaro World
    Good point, Asoka. The government is supposed to protect the rights of the people. That’s why the revile it.
    The sad thing is that the neoliberal kant has blended with some basic conservative ideology: government is bad and total privatization of all assets is good. Cut taxes for the wealthy for job creation. You know the numbers between the Clinton administration and the Bush. Proof that this assertion is false.
    But, the economy is global so government money goes overseas to corporate interests and privatized military contractors and the American middle class looses. It’s like some deep dark secret that nobody addresses. The amazing phenomenon is how the people who can least afford this ism back it. There can be no job creation here with the incentives to send investment and manufacturing to the cheapest labor markets, bypassing American labor laws of the 20th century.
    Jerry Nadler sent a newsletter stating that he voted for the H.R. 5175, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. Yeah, don’t you think part of free speech would be the disclosure of who is funding ads and elections. Whether foreign entities are contributing to our elections. How is this even controversial?
    Yet Newt Gingrich would be against that while pontificating to a clapping and cheering crowd that we should not allow Sharia law to be instituted anywhere in the US and that laws need to be passed to ensure that. He is accusing Democratic appointed Supreme court judges to lean toward allowing Sharia law to be instituted. It’s like Bizarro World. But those who are clapping in the audience are the real problem. They can’t distinquish fact from fiction. I see this cynical manipulation as a real problem coming up in Nov. as the most revanchest group have won the primaries on the right.
    Do we have a voting public that understands basic issues? The more crazy the statement the more they accept it without question.
    JHK says about Chu:He deserves to be hounded out of office – and so does everyone else inside the Beltway in both parties, including the feckless President Obama.
    But right now what’s on the other side is a potential nightmare. These people hate science and deny basic realities. With the extreme right wing in congress, what is going to happen here? Why would anybody elect people into office to eviscerate government and make their kant a fait accompli?

  289. asia September 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    ‘ Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history.’
    yes, the corporate media was gaga over % of people in the usa in poverty!
    1 in 4 mexicans here is poor! and its be many more if not for give away programs.

  290. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    You guys will love this.
    It classifies the various kinds of sheeple:
    the happy-go-luck variety (Yuppie shoppers)
    the pseudo-intellectual (academics, economists, some scientists etc)
    the working class idiot (You know the kind. Think Nascar, whiskey, trailer parks, fat women and skinny weasily men or big bubbas, fox news, etc)
    the new-agers
    the quasi-activists
    Here is the link:
    Sheeple: Signs That You Might Be Part Of The Herd…

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  291. Vlad Krandz September 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    The people who beat their swords into ploughshares will do the ploughing for those who don’t.
    Jesus meant that we should be humble before God. But a respecter of persons? Never. He advises his disciples to buy swords in fact. But not live by them certainly. Try to find the balance Tripp. It might be the difference between surviving or not.

  292. messianicdruid September 21, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    “The whole moral fiber has lost its gravity a long time ago. We are just living in it’s wake.”
    Nope, it’s the precursor to the whirlwind.
    “We have sown to the wind, and we shall reap a whirlwind.”

  293. mika. September 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    What you don’t understand, is that when it comes to gov mafia, there’s no such thing as a give away program.
    Unfortunately, people are ignorant and cannot appreciate how a simple concept as a leveraged buyout is used against them — their own resources used to destroy them. But what can I say, enjoy your kitchen money, your give away programs, I really don’t care to school you, life will do that anyway, sooner or later.

  294. mika. September 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    We are the government.
    No you’re not. And never were. Stop lying.

  295. messianicdruid September 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    “What makes little sense to me is to criticize “the government” as if it is a foreign entity.”
    Maybe it {the people we allow to run things for us} should quit acting like a foreign entity.

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  296. gritame September 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    “This is the moment when the illusions fall away…” Reminds me of Mark Twain’s observation that you cannot tell the truth (about governmnet lies) till the miscreants have been long dead.
    Dominant cultures have come and gone so we have some perspective on what is happening to this one, but the difference between us and the others is that this is the big one, the Long Emergency, the loss of What Could Have Been. None of us are able to bear the scorching truth of it, but I think, Mr. Kunstler, that you have come as close as anyone can, and it gives me hope.
    I don’t think you need to apologize for the limitations of your metaphores. We need the light and the humor.

  297. treebeardsuncle September 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    This is especially for trip. I bet he and others will like it a lot.
    How to shrink a city
    Not every great metropolis is going to make a comeback. Planners consider some radical ways to embrace decline.

  298. UtilityT September 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Great to see the comments and questions about my first (I am, or rather WAS a newbie)post! I will try to answer the questions as best I can so here goes:
    Ozone – said I must then agree with Jim K that any aggregation of alternatives will not allow us to continue at our current level of consumption. My answer: JIM K. has it COMPLETELY correct with his statement. There is NO WAY possible that alternatives can be the predominant factor in electrical supply. Most average utilities will do very well to max out at 15 – 20% of renewables. The problem is for every Megawatt of installed renewable, you must have a Megawatt of backup (likely in the form of a fast start facility such as hydro or more likely, simple or combined cycle gas fired combustion turbines). Wind blows according to weather patterns (constantly changing, essentially) which is why it’s capacity factor (output averaged over a period of time – say a year) is relatively low. Think in terms of 35% Capacity Factor (CF) would be ranked as Outstanding! in terms of Wind generation. Indeed, most installed Wind Farms would be thrilled to have that level of production. The average Wind Farm would expect to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30% CF. Yes, when they do run, every Megawatt of output means no smokestack emission from a thermal plant, (which makes me happy as a citizen too) but always remember there are units sitting quietly standing by (and you as the consumer either have already paid for them – or WILL BE paying for them in one way or another) to cover the deficit when the wind dies off.
    PV, while more stable (it generates beginning with the rising of the sun and is gone in the evening) also has it’s pitfalls. Clouds for one, have a rather dramatic impact on output. And because a PV facility is concentrated in such a small geographical area, it’s either on or off – no halfway output. I accessed Progressorconserve’s link to the AlbanyHerald.com. Since the article was rather well done let’s assume the numbers they quote are correct. Here goes: Installation size is 2oo Kw. It generates 310,000 Kwh per year. The 200 kilowatt facility covers one acre. Production peaks at 35 kilowatt hour during the best (sunniest) point of the day. Georgia Power pays him 18 cents/kilowatt hour for the output. Let’s do some simple math to convert to numbers we can all understand: Installation size is 200 nominal kw. This is 1/5th of a Megawatt. The facility covers one acre. So to scale it up to a one megawatt output facility will take 5x the acreage. Therefore we can expect approx 5 acres of land to produce 1 Megawatt (nominal output) via PV (our standby generators at one of our critical infrastructure facilities produce a little more than 1 Megawatt and take about a 10 x 15 foot square!!). Production peaks at 35 kwh during the best hour of the sun’s availability. This means it’s Capacity factor for the hour is 35 kwh/200 kw or 17.5%. Georgia Power pays the facility 18 cents per kilowatt hour which converts to $180 per Megawatt hour. Let’s assume the facility owner has a great day and he gets 35 kwh for each of the 10 hours that the sun shines (I know, I know, the sun lasts longer than just 10 hours, but I’ve compensated for that by giving him maximum production for all 10 hours, not just one). Each day his total output is 350 Mwh (35 kilowatt x 10 hours), so to get paid the $180 per Megawatthour, it will take the farmer 3 days of output (1,000 kwh – a megawatt hour – divided by 350 kwh/day). So now let’s really put things in perspective. The Pecan farmer gets paid $180 per Megawatt hour. I checked my own personal power bill today and last month I used 987 kwh for the Month of August. Spitting distance to a Megawatt hour. My cost (retail essentially) for this megawatt from my local power provider was $65.00. Had my provider said I had to pay what Georgia Power’s paying the Pecan farmer, my energy charge instead of $65 would have been $180. Only $135 more! I think of it as 3x as much! Am I glad my bill was only $65 instead of $180? Better believe it!. I don’t have air conditioning. I am sensitive to the amount of power I use so lights are not left burning unnecessarily, TV’s not left on when I’m not watching, I go around behind my 25 year old kid snapping off lights and fans and his computer etc. So I am not extravagant with my usage. I do have a couple of fridges going (hey, who doesn’t have a beer fridge) and a freezer for extended frozen food storage. I guess I’m like most consumers – I try to keep my power bill as low as I reasonably can because the power bill is one which I can have direct control of. Further, during these economic times, I would expect most consumers are making a significant effort to reduce expenses where and when possible – Power being one of them. By the way, I alternatively calculated the Capacity Factor for this PV facility (what it did produce over a year divided by what it theoretically could produce over a year). Math: 310,000 kwh actually produced divided by (24 hrs x 30 days x 12 month x 200 kw installed) = 310,000/1728,000 = 17.9% C.F. so I’m comfortable with stating approx 17 – 18% Capacity Factor for PV. Granted this is only one example that I had to work with but it’s a very recent build so it should be the most recent in terms of technology. Unfortunately, there was NO MENTION of total cost. If anyone reading this can track down a cost, make a post with it so we can work it vs. other generation. (Or was it there and I missed it?)
    Off the top of my head about installed costs for the various types of generation:
    $1 million per Mw for large thermal (ei coal)
    $ 2 – 3 million per Mw for hydro
    $ 1.5 – 2.5 million per Mw for natural gas fired.
    $ 2 – 3 million per Mw for nuclear (probably 3 – 4
    with a realistic valuation of fuel costs, decomissioning, spent fuel storage are factored in – this for the 2nd and early 3rd generation Light Water and Pressurized Boiling Water reactors).
    Wind = I’m still working to find honest numbers
    PV = same as wind but I KNOW they are significantly more than nuke, even with all of the “hidden” nuke costs.
    Before you blast nuclear understand as “way too expensive” please consider that unit availability is of critical concern. Nukes typically run 80 – 90% Capacity factors – often running 2 – 3 years between outages. That is one large unit running STEADY for a tremendous length of time. Like a fine tuned Rolex tick tick ticking…….never missing a beat. That goes a long way to meeting the requirement for a RELIABLE supply.
    Hydro is the 2nd most reliable supply to the grid. Essentially, only variability being the water supply volume in the forebay. The larger (and deeper) the forebay, generally the more steady and higher the C.F. can be.
    3rd in line is gas fired thermal. While the newest combined cycle units are 60% efficient with their fuel (compared with approx 35 – 37% efficiency of coal fired units), they are more suitable for “peaking” types of operation. Consider the prime mover is basically a “jet engine”, most jet turbines have Time Between Overhauls of 3 thousand to 4 thousand hours of operation. That’s 4 to 6 months of continous operation between major overhaul, but if you only use them for peaking, you can easily get several years between overhauls. Works out to a C.F. of 45 – 50%. By the way, an overhaul is a significant financial outlay for an electrical utility. Parts, labor (all highly specialized); and don’t forget the increased cost for replacement energy. Think $20 – $60 million.
    Then comes good ole’ King coal. Coal units tend of have capacity factors of 80% – low 90%. Older units at the lower end of the scale and new units (using Supercritical boiler technology and computer controlled control systems) at the upper end. Wind and PV are trade off’s in my view. Wind has a higher CF but it much more unpredictable. PV has the lowest C.F. by a long shot but is relatively (clouds notwithstanding) steady. I hate to quote costs because it’s very difficult to get your hands on ’em. PV and Wind (like nuclear) get a substantial “green” subsidy from State and particularly, the Federal government. And State PUC’s are rather willing of late to grant much higher payment levels for “boutique” generation sources. example: see above Georgia Power paying a generator $180 for his Megawatt and charging me in the neighborhood of $60 to $70 for that same megawatt. Somebody somewhere (can you say every ratepayer and every Georgia state citizen somewhere picked up the difference. And to boot, sounds like Georgia Power helped subsidize the construction of the facility at the front end. I believe Ontario Canada pays even higher rates for “renewables”. But the taxpayer is getting eaten for every Megawatt produced.
    Notice something above? A relationship between cost per installed Mw and perceived “dirtiness”. It’s obvious – the “dirtier” the generation source, the cheaper it is. Don’t blame the utility for this – everyone complains to their state Public Utility Commission (PUC)about not wanting to have expensive power bills – what project do you think the PUC is going to respond with by approving? The utility’s main concern is to be able to serve the customer load out there. Of course, profit is inevitably part of the picture – when is it not in our society? But if the PUC has it’s hands tied too tightly by it’s general citizens, each of those same citizens will get exactly the level of electrical service he deserves. I hope you get what I’m saying.
    Someone asked about the current grid load to service the US population. Since the US and Canada are so tightly interconnected and load aggregation is done on an “Interconnection Basis” you have to say what is the total North American load. I believe Canada has 35 Million or so souls and the US has what? 350 Million (give or take 30 million), let’s assume for ballpark sake there’s about 380 Million or so. I did some digging (I used to have these figure on the top of my head but with hair loss comes loss of brain function) and found a number of somewhere in the 800,000 Megawatts range. This number can vary by maybe 20% depending on time of year, time of day, where in the economic cycle the country is, cloud cover and a gazillion other important, albeit minor factors. So if you assume you want to new build enough brand new generation to phase out the pre-existing stuff, call it 800 one thousand or 1600 five hundred megawatt generators. To have even more fun with zero’s, assume because of a mix of the various types of generation just multiply 800,000 times about 1 million (for the coal burners) or say 3 – 4 for current nuclear types. My math says likely a trillion (at a minimum) and up to say 4 trillion for the more pricey types. Not chump change but it gives you an idea in relation to all the TARP/HARP/SHIT programs extended to Wall Street. And what did Wall St. provide back to the taxpayer? Anything of real value?
    What do I hope I see in 30 years? As a country I hope I see thorium nuclear power (4th and 5th generation reactors) providing 60%. With hydro adding maybe 10% to the effort. I see natural gas providing maybe 15%, and Wind and Solar filling in the rest. King coal will be rapidly descending proportional with the ascent of the thorium nuke ascension. I also see somewhat of an improvement in efficiency at the load end (LED reducing – but far from eliminating completely -incandescent lighting etc). Education helps too. A light not turned on is a light that doesn’t need to be served by a generator somewhere. Distributed generation (in modest amounts – constrained mainly by production cost) will assist in smaller proportion.
    There is a challenge here: the country needs a sound, fiscally viable and politically palatable energy strategy. France (of all the haywire nations) has one but somehow we can’t get one? I guess it depends on priorities, right?
    So why thorium nuclear? Because it fulfills the promise of energy production that was originally promised to the American citizen back in the 50’s and 60’s. Safe, clean, enormous energy production potential, scalable, and what every consumer wants on his power bill, value per unit delivered. Before you anti nuke types have a heart attack – check it out. One interesting discovery I made was that thorium was considered equally with Uranium as a fuel back in the 40’s. But the reason thorium was discarded is that it didn’t produce plutonium which is what the national authorities wanted first and foremost. Back then, the principle reason for a nuclear reactor was to breed plutonium for military purposes. And thorium doesn’t provide plutonium as a by product of fusion/fission. In fact a thorium reactor can use the spent fuel from a conventional uranium type reactor as it’s primary fuel input. And the spent fuel from a thorium reactor is far less dangerous than “current” spent fuel. And thorium is available literally in every cubic yard of earth. Truly a natural resource that could last eons! Also, I understand hydrogen gas (think hydrogen powered automotive transportation) is also a by product. So let me ask a question: Why hasn’t the President marshaled national forces to look long term? Maybe there’s not going to be a long term? Cheerleading aside, any number of bloggers on the internet can give many valid reasons why we’re going downhill economically speaking.
    One blogger here talked about how the internet piggybacks on the electrical grid. He’s too is 100% correct. Utilities in North American do NOT provide a “secondary network” or standby supply” or any other service to ISP’s in any way, shape or form. When the grid goes down, it’s down everywhere baby. THE ONLY EXCEPTIONS ARE THOSE WITH THEIR OWN STANDBY POWER GENERATORS OR WITH BATTERY BACKUP. PERIOD. Hospitals, airports and other vital infrastructure will always have their own installed backup generators but yes – fuel supply storage limitations exist. So, no functioning electrical grid, no internet, lights, industry, public civility, food production, NO NOTHING except the clothes on your back and the food in your pantry. Fortunately, utilities practice blackstart restoration exercises and training for grid operators, plant operators and transmission maintenance personnel. And it’s a skill that takes years to develop. BTW, this was one area that received significant reinforcement following the 2003 Eastern Blackout. While it was painful for the folks in Ohio and Ontario and Pennsylvania and Michigan, the industry captains (the CEO’s with all the power) assigned significant resources to the issue (read $$$$$$). Enlightened utilities at that time already did these things – it was those utilities and entities that starved their operating departments of funds and personnel who woke up to the reality of the situation.
    So yes, Jim Kunstler and I, while likely on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, recognize the same reality. Going forward, we will have to learn to live with, and use, less of earth’s resources. I’ve got grandkids that deserve a shot at a life like I had (and have) and I endeavor to leave an environment that my grandkids will be proud of too.
    Jim’s view that “bouquet” generation sources realistically will at best only incrementally increase our ability to meet our needs is right on. If you want to drive a high school football team to a game, rent a bus – not a Yugo or a Beetle. The real neat thing with the electrical grid is that production MUST ALWAYS EQUAL DEMAND each and every second. Simplicity itself: power out always must equal power in.
    So I ask, where are our great leaders? A great leader is simply an ordinary leader who rises to the unforeseen monumental challenges. I suggest we have not had a great leader since the early 60’s. But we HAVE had them in our history. And we desperately need one now…
    Ideas anyone?

  299. neckflames September 22, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    Your post brought to mind the massive amounts of energy used to transfer water from N. California to LA. The largest pump is visible from the I-5 at the southern end of the San Joaguin Valley, a huge massive thing that pumps the water up and over the Angeles mountain range. About 1/3 of the energy spent is recaptured as the water flows downhill towards LA, but even so it is a huge expenditure of energy that goes on 365 days a year. My guess is that there’s no backup energy source for this should the grid go down; Growing up there it always seemed to me that So. Cal. was probably the most fossil fuel dependant place on the globe, and where things could get really desparate should the flows of energy be interrupted. Marc Reisner’s book ‘Cadillac Desert’ is a classic text for beginning to understand the complexities of water use in the Western US. Do you know of anyone who has worked
    on the energy infrastructure of that system? Talk about a potential clusterfuck…

  300. San Jose Mom 51 September 22, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    Thank you for a very informative post.

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  301. mika. September 22, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    The economics of nuke energy are a hoax. Nobody believes the industry’s BS, including myself. That’s why they can’t get any private financing to back them up without government guaranties. Their only hope is to again hoodwink the public and have taxpayers shoulder their lies, future lawsuit liabilities, and inevitable cost overruns, and maintenance “externalities”. Let me be clear. Nukes are THE MOST EXPENSIVE option. Anyone that has diligently looked into this subject, and I have, will quickly learn this.
    Take for example Ontario Hydro. Ontario should have the lowest electricity rates on the planet due to the HUGE hydro bonanza that is the Niagara river. Instead, Ontario has some of the highest electricity rates due to the cost of the Pickering nuke plant. As I said earlier, government is a racket. And that’s exactly what the nuke/military industry survive on.

  302. UtilityT September 22, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    I know very little detail about the California infrastructure. LDWP, SoCalEd, PG&E, CalISO etc. are familiar at a very high level but that’s it. I likely could access publicly available info and infer something from that, if I felt the need. However I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to comment on SPECIFICS internal to California. Simply because it’s not my business
    and secondly, it would serve no good purpose to broadcast what I did find, assuming anything is available publicly.
    If I was an L.A. citizen I would HOPE and PRAY there is a backup somewhere. But I don’t think you could find a worse place (physically speaking) to build a city if you tried.

  303. neckflames September 22, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    Yes, I think you’re right. There would have to be some kind of backup capability. I’m going to look into it out of my own curiosity. So. Cal. – a beautiful place geographically but way, way, way too many people.

  304. networker September 22, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    “One blogger here talked about how the internet piggybacks on the electrical grid. He’s too is 100% correct.”
    Just a quick correction, not that you could have known, but I am actually a “She.”
    I don’t know much about thorium nuclear, but it at least sounds better than the nuclear we use now. Unfortunately the powers that be seem hell-bent on throwing good money after bad and it would likely take ten years for Congress just to make the decision to develop thorium nuclear, and another ten to build a prototype, by which time I will be seventy years old and my chickens in their fifth or sixth generation!

  305. UtilityT September 22, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    I’m telling it like I see it. You want coal to continue – fine. But CO2 production is significant and the world we live in suffers degradation that is over time, cumulative. Current nuke technology has issues and everyone would likely agree with that. Gas fired generation has the same CO2 issues as coal (just not quite as much). Hydro is clean from a pollution point of view, but productive arable land is irretrievably lost for the water storage process. Not to mention watersheds are altered which tends to lead into long term issues. Which leaves the “re-newables” which simply won’t cut it volume wise (by a huge factor).
    Ive told you what will work. So realistically, what’s your answer? Give me a solution.

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  306. asoka September 22, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    UtilityT asks: “Where are the great leaders?”
    Well, fortunately for us, the majority of the American electorate is intelligent and they elected the most intelligent president we have had this century. President Obama is well aware of the grid problems and has actually done something about it.
    Recovery Act funds and private dollars are accelerating the rate of technology innovation for batteries and renewable energy.
    Recovery Act investments are leveraging private funds to accelerate the build out of a 21st century infrastructure – from fiber lines in underground trenches to wireless towers that beam signals across large distances.
    Not only are many of these investments innovative, but they can be transformative. They will create a platform for further innovation and entrepreneurship across all sectors of the economy and address many of the country’s priorities including clean energy, health care, education, and public safety.
    High-speed internet, also known as broadband, is on of the great infrastructure challenges of the 21st century, akin to electricity during the last century.
    By investing in broadband, the U.S. is laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth, well-paying jobs, and global competitiveness, as well as enabling technologies that will allow for innovations that today cannot be anticipated. Broadband is also a central component to addressing America’s health care, education, and energy challenges.
    Fueled primarily by private sector investment and innovation, the American broadband ecosystem has advanced rapidly. The ten largest network service providers have annual capital investments in excess of $50 billion.
    The results of these investments are impressive: in 2000, only eight million Americans had broadband at home; by 2009, that number had grown to 200 million.36
    But more needs to be done. Approximately 100 million Americans still do not have broadband at home. They are operating with a 20th century infrastructure in a 21st century economy.
    The Recovery Act provides $6.9 billion to expand broadband access and adoption. More than $2.5 billion of this investment has gone to the Department of Agriculture to focus exclusively on infrastructure projects that help bring broadband access to rural and remote communities in America.
    The remaining $4.4 billion has gone to the Department of Commerce to support infrastructure projects that benefit anchor community institutions (e.g. hospitals, schools), public safety broadband networks, state broadband mapping and planning efforts, public computing centers, and sustainable broadband adoption.
    Awardees will build out broadband infrastructure, teach Americans the skills necessary to use high-speed Internet, and outfit public computing centers to provide easier access to high-speed Internet.
    So how, specifically, is this going to help?
    In one instance in rural Georgia, access to broadband has allowed a community to preserve fresh water and manage the water supply efficiently. Farmers have been able to access current data relating to soil moisture readings and rainfall quantities using the broadband network. This information has allowed them to make changes to the amounts of water used to irrigate their crops. The increased data, accessed through the broadband network, has enabled farmers to save 267 million gallons of water over a two-year period, lowering their costs and decreasing their impact on the environment.
    SOURCE: Source: Christine Griffiths, “Conservation Goes Wireless to Preserve Fresh Water,” The Nature Conservancy: Where We Work.
    Smart Grid technology combined with supportive policy allow for smarter use of energy, largely by increasing the transparency, measurement, and control of energy used by the various players who supply, transmit, and demand it. Through automated sensors and controls as well as dynamic pricing, this intelligent infrastructure will make the electric system more reliable, empower consumers and ultilities to use energy more wisely, help manage peak demand, enable larger scale use of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and reduce U.S. dependence on oil.
    The Recovery Act Obama successfully got through Congress also provides for development of a Smart Grid. With the Smart Grid, utilities can significantly reduce service interruptions and the associated economic losses, which is important to consumers and the economy.
    The average U.S. customer loses power for 214 minutes per year. That compares to 70 minutes in the United Kingdom, 53 in France, 29 in the Netherlands, six in Japan, and two minutes per year in Singapore. These outage durations tell only part of the story. In Japan, the average customer loses power once every 20 years. In the United States, it is once every nine months, excluding hurricanes and other strong storms.
    In a 2004 study, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) estimated the annual costs of U.S. power outages to be $22 to $135 billion.
    However, major black outs like the ones that the U.S. and Canada experienced in 2003 are not the main contributor to this annual cost. The study found that the costs of short interruptions of five minutes duration or less caused two-thirds of the economic losses. And of these losses, 72 percent are borne by commercial customers, whereas industrial customers shoulder 26 percent of the loss and residential users only two percent.
    In a push that will bolster the integrity of the U.S. electric grid, the Recovery Act is accelerating the deployment of 21st century Smart Grid technologies in America’s electric infrastructure.
    The U.S. electric grid, named the greatest engineering accomplishment of the 20th century by the National Academy of Engineers, was not designed for today’s energy-intensive economy or increased electricity trade. As it operates today, the grid is increasingly stressed, which can result in reliability concerns, is vulnerable to storms and human disruptions, and confronting a new series of challenges with the use of more intermittent sources of energy generation such as wind power.
    A smarter grid can help utilities reduce service interruptions and the associated economic losses. For example, smart technologies are capable of detecting events such as a line down due to a fallen tree and then alerting operators or triggering automatic responses. By improving the reliability of power, health and safety threats are lessened, economic losses are reduced, and quality of life improves.
    To improve system reliability, the Recovery Act will install an additional 875 transmission system sensors, or “Phasor Measurement Units,” that can alert system operators and help prevent minor disturbances from cascading into large outages. Recovery Act funds will help install enough of these to cover the country’s entire transmission system.
    For further system reliability, the Recovery Act funds will help equip 700 substations with automated devices to detect and respond to system irregularities help avoid outages. If an outage does occur, smart technologies can potentially speed the restoration of power, minimizing cost and inconvenience. Recovery Act funds also are being invested in the installation of over 200,000 advanced transformers capable of sensing conditions associated with failures and alerting system operators. When an alert is received, crews can be dispatched to repair or replace the transformer, thereby averting an outage.
    Moreover, the Recovery Act recognized the opportunity to accelerate the deployment of components that make up a Smart Grid to support a modern, low-carbon economy and create a platform for innovation for new energy management and information services in homes and buildings.
    The combination of Recovery Act funds and private investments promise to add 18 million new smart meters to the eight million currently in use.
    This means 26 million smart meters will be in use by 2013 on track to reach 40 million by 2015 through public and private investment.
    In an effort to catalyze innovation in the Smart Grid ecosystem, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce is spearheading the development of open interoperability standards, allowing new technologies and applications to support integration of distributed and renewable resources, give consumers new tools to reduce energy usage, and enhance the reliability and security of the grid. This work is supported by over $15 million in Recovery Act funding from the Department of Energy and Commerce.
    Like I said, UtilityT, fortunately we elected a LEADER who not only has the electrical grid on his radar, he already has taken positive action to address it… and the money is appropriated to build it. Likewise for the digital grid (broadband access).
    The Recovery Act investment in Smart Grid is proving to have a powerful financial multiplier effect across the economy. In addition to the benefits linked to the deployment of smart devices, there also has been a positive impact on the U.S. manufacturing sector.
    The Recovery Act has invested $23.2 million in 48C tax credits to seven companies in Smart Grid-related manufacturing. A related Smart-Grid supply chain is emerging as a result of the billions of public and private dollars being invested. Device manufacturers have added workers to meet orders placed by recipients. Technology and software developers are coming up with solutions to new challenges associated with Smart Grid projects.
    Infrastructure is not sexy, does not get you more votes to get re-elected, but it is important and has positive consequences. Only LEADERS make it a priority.
    All is not doom and gloom, if you look at actual facts. Here is an example, from just one project, to illustrate how Obama’s infrastructure efforts are working:
    In Georgia there is a project — encompassing 42,000 households, 9,200 businesses and 367 community anchor institutions — which intends to enable a new technology-based economy in North Georgia by deploying a 260-mile regional fiber-optic ring and improving broadband service in under-served areas, while stimulating economic growth and job creation in eight counties in the North Georgia foothills. Some of the benefits include:
    **North Georgia College and State University (NGCSU) will be able to offer Internet-based language and other educational programs to numerous high schools in the region.
    **A Lumpkin County business that provides rapid-response laboratory analysis for dozens of rural Georgia hospitals, surgical centers, and doctor’s clinics will be able to expand its business and create 300 new jobs, eventually fueling a new $40 million dollar economy from its Dahlonega offices.
    **The project will allow for distance learning and parent-student-teacher interaction by bringing broadband to the estimated 13-30 percent of families with children that do not have broadband Internet access at home.
    **The project will give eight counties in the North Georgia region the broadband tools they need for serious economic development.
    **Region will be more competitive in recruiting businesses and allows for current businesses to pursue expansion plans.

  307. asoka September 22, 2010 at 1:58 am #

    Hey, TBU… did you see this? Nothing to puke about. Apple is not only an industry leader in terms of product, it also leads in the customer satisfaction index.

    The Index evaluates customer satisfaction with PCs alongside other manufacturing/durable goods such as major household appliances and consumer electronics.
    Of the various PC manufacturers listed on the Index, Apple scored highest with 86 points out of a possible 100, a 2-point rise from 2009. Acer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard each scored 77 points, while Compaq (which merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2002) placed lower with 74 points. An “All Others” category, featuring a handful of smaller brands, scored 77 points.

  308. mika. September 22, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    The CO2 issue is completely bogus. Just another pernicious and sinister NWO plot for more big gov and greater centralized control. That said, I’m against the use of all fossil fuels, including (radioactive) coal. My answer is the same as JHK’s — downsize, decentralize, localize. The age of enlightenment managed fine without fossil fuels and we can relearn our way back to it again.
    People need to be aware that most of our problems stem from our money system, legal system, corporate abstraction, and the shadow government. All of which were created by the old aristocracy and the power elite for the purpose of thieving thru zero cost extraction. Once we get rid of this parasitic burden, things will become easier to deal with.

  309. networker September 22, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Asoka, you sound like the Marketing department at my old job (I was a network engineer for a very large national Internet Provider.) I mean, come on: “a platform for further innovation and entrepreneurship across all sectors of the economy and [will] address many of the country’s priorities including clean energy, health care, education, and public safety.”?
    Did you not read anyone else’s posts first? At least my observations are based on actually working on broadband equipment and not on some political campaign platform, which is apparently where you cribbed this from. Now that you have pasted all of that, how about pretending for a moment that you cannot learn everything you need to know about this subject from a Sales pitch and listen to those folks who have first hand experience working with it?
    Unfortunately for all those “innovative” projects you name, underground fiber, wireless towers, smart grids, etc – they STILL need constant, reliable, powerful Blinky Blinky in order to work. And they all, even the batteries and renewable energy technology itself, require massive amounts of electrical energy input, in order to design, develop, create, manufacture, install, and THEN continue to manage and repair them. As I mentioned previously, and Asoka’s post is a perfect illustration, most people are in La La land when it comes to electricity and networks. I am sorry Asoka, but you have absolutely not ONE clue what it will take to actually DO the things described in your advertisement, much less what an interoperability standard is, or what a fiber optic ring is. Spouting big words is a long way from making it work, and every engineer in the world bitches about Marketing departments being the bane of his/her existence.

  310. george September 22, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    “But where are the men and women who do know the difference? And why are they too timid to step up and say something?” You know exactly where they are JHK. They’re carefully weighing the impact of their words before they talk, lest they offend the gods of political correctness or incur the wrath of the self-appointed leaders of indentity politics. Case in point: on a recent public affairs show here in Detroit, two talking heads, one white and male and the other black and female, locked horns on the issue of urban farming here in America’s Motorless City. The white male made the excellent point that urban farming was a great way to make use of unproductive urban land and pointed out that agriculture was once a vital part of Detroit’s economy . The black woman compared the urban farms to the old slave plantations of the South and asked why urban blacks would willingly return to a way of life their ancestors had abandoned to become part of America’s Industrial Revolution. Where the hell is America’s next Booker T Washington when we need him?

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  311. asoka September 22, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    Networker said:

    As I mentioned previously, and Asoka’s post is a perfect illustration, most people are in La La land when it comes to electricity and networks.

    Networker, I provided specific examples (North Georgia) and gave specific elements of the projects.
    If you don’t want to take my word for it, take the Governor of Georgia’s word. He knows exactly where the money is going in Georgia and how many jobs have been created in the private sector.

    Consistent with my commitment to transparency of ARRA funds, this website has been updated to reflect spending and jobs activity for each ARRA program in Georgia’s State Government through June 30, 2010. The updates include the latest 1512 reports, as well as data from other ARRA programs that do not submit 1512 reports.
    The website provides a map that lists ARRA funding by county, a dashboard that shows spending, jobs, and performance data for each award, and detailed reports for programs, sub-recipients and vendors.
    Information from these web features will provide citizens with up-to-date insights on the use of stimulus funds and will further demonstrate that State agencies are working hard to ensure that these funds are used to the fullest benefit for Georgia citizens.
    Sonny Perdue

    PS: I really do know what interoperability standards and fiber optic rings are and why they are important. More importantly Obama knows.
    We have a leader in the White House who has successfully implemented concrete proposals. Deal with it, instead of participating in the scare fest regarding the grid.

  312. Smiley073 September 22, 2010 at 3:35 am #

    And why are they too timid to step up and say something?
    It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  313. Eleuthero September 22, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    TBU wrote:
    “Asian stocks are up and S&P futures are little changed. The US indices turned on August 27th. It is time to ride the raging bull for the invested class. Unearned income is the way to get ahead. Jobs are for suckers and losers.”
    You have undoubtedly surfaced as the most
    hilarious loser on CFN. If everybody thought
    like you, there would be no one to collect
    the trash, no one to give your kids polio
    shots, no one to serve you in a restaurant,
    etc. etc. etc..
    What’s more than funny is that you’re like a
    small time winner in Vegas … the market is
    at 1999 levels but because you’ve made a little
    scratch in the last couple of months you think
    you’re Mario Gabelli or Peter Lynch.
    Little people like you are despicable but
    Darwinian selection makes you very forgettable
    in the grand scheme of things. Marie Antoinette
    was an absolute humanitarian compared to you.
    You want to genocide all non-whites. Hell, dude,
    I’ve admitted that I have trouble with the
    black and Hispanic communities but I don’t
    think a Hitlerian solution is the answer.
    You ought to read the totality of your shitty
    little posts. Greed, hate, and death are what
    you’re about and you have the gall to declare
    that OTHER CFN’ers are mean-spirited?!

  314. Eleuthero September 22, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    TD wrote:
    The “pretend” friends thing mystifies me. It seems like a bunch of self-involved people getting as “friended” as possible for little more than bragging rights. I suppose it’s a nice affirmation until you realize that none of those people will help you move.
    Unfortunately, even middle-aged and older people
    are often “retrofitting” their personalities to
    be as “hip” as the Millenials. Yet it appears
    that our arithmetic knowledge is such that we
    cannot COUNT. If you are tweeting and Facebooking
    and emailing to dozens of people a week, there is
    no TIME for DEPTH.
    I marvel that such simple common sense doesn’t
    seem to be in play. Many books about Millenials
    (“Generation Me”, “The Dumbest Generation”, etc.)
    decry the loneliness of the young. Hell, how
    can you have the TIME for INTIMACY when you are
    interfacing with fifty people a week??
    You might be able to be intimate with two or
    three people but not with fifty. We can’t
    count nor, apparently, can we reckon what
    a simple count tells us.

  315. Eleuthero September 22, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    Yes, BTB, I would, indeed, say that the
    “survival characteristics” are going downhill
    for succeeding generations. Boomers bought
    into a LOT of nonsense (wife-swapping in
    the 1970s, human potential groups like EST
    that were just money scams, etc.) but we
    still believed in things like doing your
    job with conscience and competence, sex as
    an intimate act (at least most of us), etc..
    Jean Twenge, in “Generation Me” describes, in
    the chapter “Generation Crude Meets Generation
    Prude”, the idea of “Hooking Up” in Millenials.
    Basically, it’s the idea that the less you know
    about a sex partner, the better. It’s hetero
    “glory-hole sex”. Any penis or vagina will do.
    There’s not only a terrible emotional FLATNESS
    in Gen-X and Gen-Y, but also a scary lack of
    idealism that has been the hallmark of youth
    since way before Alexander the Great.
    Indeed, one of my mantras lately, is that I’m
    more enthusiastic than 90% of my students. Gee,
    aren’t I supposed to be the old “burnt-out
    professor” while they are the passionate,
    knowledge-yearning, idealogues??
    It’s damned scary to see this in real life with
    500 students a year. Of course, there are
    enough notable exceptions to keep a smile on
    my face … but they are exceptions.

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  316. Eleuthero September 22, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    You long post that included mention of
    Ratzinger was a beautifully-crafted,
    highly intelligent work of art, wordsmithing,
    and truth-telling.
    Indeed, our entire PLANET has become like the
    Ferrengi on Star Trek … a race of petty little
    gnomes who want little else but money … with
    a little sex on the side. The Ferrengi are
    depicted as effete, comical, and despicable
    and yet these kind of “little people” seem
    to dominate our entire world ethos.
    We’ve gone from a world where people believed
    in love, beauty, ideas, and principles to the
    idea of “if I can’t eat it, fuck it, or spend
    it, I ain’t interested”.
    Beautiful post, LBendet. You are truly a
    singular being on this site.

  317. Eleuthero September 22, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Well, Helicopter Ben spoke today and promised
    another helicopter drop. What’s odd is that
    Ben is a Republican yet buys like Krugman are
    sure to applaud the money-printing. Yet the
    “Commies” in Europe are opting for austerity.
    Well, it’s because those “Commies” in Europe
    realize that if you print a lot of money and
    it ends up as sovereign debt in too-big-to-fail
    banks, it will end up as speculative profits for
    the banks and BUPKUS for the working man.
    These newly-printed monies are a joke. If people
    aren’t buying houses with 4.3% 30-year mortgages,
    they sure as hell won’t care if interest rates
    go to 3%. The Fed is pushing on a string AND
    will magnify the already embarrassing wealth
    disparity between the rich … and the rest.
    The Europeans have the good sense to end the
    madness of deficit spending even though it
    virtually ensures a new recession for them.
    It takes vision to see that living within
    your means NOW creates the possibility of
    a more abundant life LATER. It also takes
    vision to see that merely delaying the
    inevitable just socializes the losses into
    the future.

  318. Kiwi Nick September 22, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    Hi Neckflames, your previous question about visiting New Zealand: North Island would be February (warm), and the South Island (Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown) would be October (not raining).
    Of course, if you want to ski, go during winter (July-Aug-Sep).

  319. gavin September 22, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    So, the question is, “why does nobody step up, and show some actual leadership?”
    My explanation is that to attempt to do so would be pointless at best, dangerous at worst. Since, according to your article, metaphor is all we have left, I’ll offer my own.
    Suppose you’re in a bar, and you see a big, rowdy redneck making a lot of noise down at the other end. Let’s just say that you are familiar with this redneck. You know that he is getting old. You know that his heart, liver, and other important bits are teetering on the edge of failure due to a lifetime of bad choices, and addictions. You also know that he still retains a terrible strength, and that he will win any fight because of that strength, and because he doesn’t care about culpability or consequences of any sort. He’s the District Attorney’s nephew or something, and the town good ‘ol boy, so he’s not worried about going to jail, even if he kills someone.
    He has lost all ability to make any sort of positive change in his life. Or, he just won’t, because he will forever maintain that he has a perfect life, and that he’s a really great guy, an honest, stand-up fellow, and he prays to jeebus every day, and jeebus always tells him that he’s doin’ real good, amen.
    Now you, down at your end of the bar, are not going to change this guy, no matter what your skills are at oration, or leadership. The only thing you can do with this wreck of a man (and stay alive) is to let him grope the barmaids, monopolize the pool table, punch the jukebox, etc, and know that soon he’ll stumble out the door (without paying his tab) and either drop of a heart attack, or a stroke, or wrap his pickup truck around a tree. So why not let him? Buy him a few rounds even, or let him bum some smokes.
    Okay, perhaps a REALLY awesome leader could walk into the bar (not me) and somehow get this belligerent drunk bastard to acknowledge his failures, and thereby change his wicked ways. It’s doubtful though. This bar isn’t what it used to be. People of consequence no longer come in here because it’s no longer the “it” place. It’s practically a dive already.

  320. welles September 22, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    The age of enlightenment managed fine without fossil fuels and we can relearn our way back to it again.
    What a wonderful ‘imaginotion’, it conjures up Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 where the protagonist finds the community of people who’ve memorized the great written works of western literature and philosophy.

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  321. lbendet September 22, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Thanks Eleuthero for your comps.
    I try not to think too much about people’s response to my posts, but sometimes wonder whether anyone has read them.
    I admit it’s gratifying to get feedback like yours.
    I just try to be an honest broker and point out my own complicity in this crazy world.
    Photo journalist David Hume Kennerly had a post on his facebook page about Daniel Patrick Moynihan and I could only say that it is tragic for this country that we don’t have leadership of that caliber anymore.
    Wouldn’t it be a different country if our elected officials used their minds instead of worrying about losing funding and votes because the electorate no longer understands the issues?

  322. lbendet September 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    This is a must-read article that says it way better than I can about the sorry state of this country and its inability to grasp reality.

  323. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    “Government institutions are helping people become more self-sufficient through government-sponsored community college technical programs, through government-sponsored university non-credit continuing education classes, through government-sponsored extension services classes.”
    I can get down with this. The problem I see is that they aren’t SAYING anything about why. That seems to be OUR job. Their MO is to assist Americans, one at a time, in acquiring useful energy descent skills, but definitely one at a time!
    Perhaps that’s for the best, given our propensity to panic, although I think we’re going to need it faster than that. So how bout you and the rest of us keep working on the broad patterns of contraction, and keep spreading an era-appropriate message.

  324. welles September 22, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Friend, you need to get Salvation from believing in Right v. Left, both parties chuckle at you as you continue paying lifedraining taxes, all the while dissipating your energy on Hating [insert political leaning here].
    You matter not one Hoot to TheOneParty, but your Friendship and Help are priceless to your family & your Neighbor.
    Grow something Today.

  325. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    Love the metaphor. And I think brains will beat braun in the end, so you’re obviously going to be fine!

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  326. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    “he will forever maintain that he has a perfect life, and that he’s a really great guy, an honest, stand-up fellow, and he prays to jeebus every day, and jeebus always tells him that he’s doin’ real good, amen.”
    That one’ll keep me chuckling all damn day.

  327. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown September 22, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Puke Time indeed. CNN just did a fluff piece on county fair cuisine, and the two items featured were deep fried butter and deep fried jelly beans.

  328. Cash September 22, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    This business of “hooking up” or “friends with benefits” is great for young guys but not so great I think for young chicks. So it too shall pass. I read a few years ago that girls did not like this social pressure to put out, that they felt miserable and used.
    So I think there’s going to be push back. One magazine carried a story about this issue. The article told of boomer parents actually encouraging sexual experimentation by their teen and young adult children and encountering resistance by their female offspring.
    Plus we have an influx of more conservatively or traditionally minded people from other non western countries. From what I know about Muslims, Hindus, third world Christians etc this kind of sexual anything goes-ism does not fly in their cultures and I think their attitudes will eventually permeate the broader population. This expectation of self restraint no doubt sets liberal boomer teeth on edge. But, you want multiculturalism you get multiculturalism. I think this is one place where multiculturalism can work to our benefit, you get thinking outside the mainstream box, you get people questioning prevailing wisdom or lack thereof.

  329. ozone September 22, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Thanks for that comprehensive response and overview of generation; a LOT to chew on there!
    You’ve included some socio-economic problems/predicaments which certainly apply to energy usage/distribution as well. (whew) I think that’s terribly important, so thanks again for the perspective of the realities we should be directing out energies toward…..um …..sometime around YESTERDAY!

  330. networker September 22, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Asoka said,
    “Networker, I provided specific examples (North Georgia) and gave specific elements of the projects.”
    No, you didn’t. You provided specific examples of an ADVERTISEMENT for funds being spent on projects and programs. You don’t seem to understand the difference between politicians blowing their own horn, and the actual work on the ground that needs to be done. It’s not a “scare fest” Asoka. What UtilityT and I are saying are facts based on having worked on these systems personally for many years. If you choose to believe publicity blurbs instead, that is your prerogative, but at the very least you could allow that the people who make these infrastructures run might have a bit more perspective on it than you do. While you may be frightened by the thought, it doesn’t make it false that our electrical grid (and Internet backbones) have serious integral problems. It never ceases to amaze me, the depth of denial folks will go to. (As to knowing what an interoperability standard is, did you have fun Googling that?)
    You really, truly, have not one clue what you are talking about. But do not worry, folks like me and UtilityT will continue to work hard to make sure that you, Asoka, have an Internet on which to spout your idiocy.

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  331. ozone September 22, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Well, not too imaginative, but I think those with small hydro infrastructure should start USING it. The abundance of weirs, flumes, and spillways in the NE (that used to be used for waterwheels) could be used for turbine generation. There are a bunch of abandoned factories that have this infrastructure; where’s the foresight to get this going? (Which goes back to our suspicions about “leadership” qualities and motivations.) I’m thinking in the direction of “micro” vs. “macro” for supplementation.
    I believe small manufactories will be a big factor in determining future “quality of life”, IF they’re pursued seriously.
    Among other concerns, I always think of power tools as an amazing (damn nearly miraculous) resource. They eat a lot of electricity, and they don’t make the best doorstops. ;o)

  332. ozone September 22, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    OUCH! That certainly doesn’t inspire “confidence”! ;O)

  333. asoka September 22, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Networker said: “But do not worry, folks like me and UtilityT will continue to work hard to make sure that you, Asoka, have an Internet on which to spout your idiocy.”
    I am not worried. You and UtilityT are the chicken littles saying the sky is falling.
    But with you guys on the job at home… to keep the lights on, and the troops shooting 13 year-olds in the back of the head abroad… to keep me free, why worry?

  334. Cash September 22, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    I can’t abide even the thought of a cell phone. I don’t want to walk around with a bell in my pocket that anyone can ring.
    I think people are pissing away time, they’re not dealing with stuff that needs prolonged spells of attention and concentration because of constant distraction from these devil devices.
    I see people with those things on the subway, in buses, on the streets, talking, talking, talking, texting like mad. About what?
    You see guys with their families on the beach. And what are they doing? They have their wife and kids around them and they’re on the fucking Blackberry.
    You see them in restaurants. Oooh look at me, it’s Friday 9pm and I’m so important, I have to take this business call. Bullshit. It’s Miller time. Tell your boss to fuck his hat.

  335. Cash September 22, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    I’m glad to read your posts. I didn’t know until I read your reply to Networker that shooting 13 year olds in the back of the head is an integral part of US military rules of engagement.
    So tell me, are 13 year olds rounded up and shot in the back of the head execution style or do the psychopaths in your army go on hunting expeditions in the alleyways of Baghdad? The latter would be more sporting don’t you think? Are there prizes/medals for most kills?
    I’ll bet Networker feels bad now. But, in the end, the truth never hurts right?

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  336. ozone September 22, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    “Now you, down at your end of the bar, are not going to change this guy, no matter what your skills are at oration, or leadership. The only thing you can do with this wreck of a man (and stay alive) is to let him grope the barmaids, monopolize the pool table, punch the jukebox, etc, and know that soon he’ll stumble out the door (without paying his tab) and either drop of a heart attack, or a stroke, or wrap his pickup truck around a tree. So why not let him? Buy him a few rounds even, or let him bum some smokes.” -Gavin
    This is my thought/approach to the matter!
    Why are folks calling for “less polarization”? I’m in favor of people coming right out of the woodwork and plainly declaring their “beliefs”. Just as with the power grid, we’re a lot more interdependent than we’d like to believe. Thus it’s important we know our enemies as well as our friends; those bent on self-destruction are going to have to get where they’re going without my hindrance.

  337. networker September 22, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Cash, when I recently quit the networks to garden and raise chickens, I was all too happy to give up my cell phone. And what a blessing it has been, too.
    As for Asoka, nobody can teach him a single thing, because he already knows everything there is to know.

  338. MoneyMouth September 22, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    So many comments, so much to read! So much wisdom! If only I had more time. Today, I have to go out and cut up a few more logs (winter is approaching fast here in Vermont)and then , alas, I go clock in for another shift at The Cuckoo’s Nest. Who REALLY has the time to read all these bits of wit?

  339. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    For those of you who have progressed a little farther down the timeline of self-reliance and systems collapse, this might be interesting. Regular Ball and Kerr canning lids contain BPA, which is a concern in my house with very young children for sure, so we’ve been looking for an alternative. This might do it, and judging by the quantities on offer, the company might have an idea about what’s going on.

  340. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Mexicans cause poverty. So do blacks. That is one of the reasons why they should not come here.

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  341. Cash September 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    I have the time. These bits of wit are interesting and illuminating. I’ve never met anyone like interesting characters that post here like Tripp/Myrtlemay/Ozone and others. I’ve met more than one Asoka in my life and never fail to cross swords. I should let it pass but I can’t. I also frequently lock horns with Vlad and take issue with his racial theories… much spirited discourse.

  342. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Thanks. That is good to see. Noticed that something like 80% of iphone users plan to get another iphone but only 42% of RIM blackberry users plan to get another blackberry.

  343. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    How do you explain the disappearance of glaciers, polar icecaps, permafrost, and coral reefs then?

  344. Debit September 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    As for the lack of ‘intelligent opposition’:
    1. Those who carry influence work for institutions which are sponsored by various private concerns.
    2. Private concerns buy academic influence in order to further the former’s agenda. This is not unlike how (medieval) kings, emperors, and sultans have established legitimacy. It was not enough to claim their power based on their military clout. To smooth out otherwise crude power base, they needed religious support.
    3. In the past, most of political infighting took place among the ranks of aristocrats. Not a whole lot different today: Instead of one aristocrat vs. another aristocrat, party politics. Instead of battlefield or royal court as the arena, we now have the three branches of the government.
    4. Even in revolutionary scenarios, it has never really been aristocrats vs. the people. A group of disgrunted or ambitious upstarts exploit the populism. More than anything else, the advantage the aristocrats and elites have enjoyed over the centuries has been their organizational skills, something the poeple have lacked.

  345. Cavepainter September 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Well, what do you expect from a society that has romanticized youthful rebelliousness as having value independent of social purpose? Teen age rebellion is a developmental stage that is supposed to result in character building. The challenging of senior authority that occurs at that stage gets tempered (supposed to, anyway) by push-back from the seniors who typically still wield the greater power. Subsequently the youngster is forced to make distinction between simple adolescent willfulness as opposed to actions and ideas that garner serious consideration for having appearance of delivering benefit to society (read tribe) as a whole. In other words, doesn’t appear to be simple self aggrandized indulgence.
    Our mercantile society though has identified youth (and its distinguishing trait) as just another “market demographic” to be exploited. To that purpose marketing panders to adolescent impulsiveness, championing it as heroic even in its most inane and arbitrary manifestations. Being a significant “market share” has validated youthful rebelliousness as having significance unto itself, separate from and even elevated above the guidance of “wise elders”. That’s why today kids can traipse about arrogantly in preposterous get-ups that mock more civil standards of public behavior. In essence, the critical function of adult influence and guidance to youth has been neutralized.
    To make the point: consider Eugene Delacroix’s painting of 1839, “Liberty Leading the People”, wherein Delacroix includes himself in the painting as embodiment of inspired youth committed in rebellious cause of substance and social purpose. Then contrast that with the marketing of youthful rebellion since the James Dean movie “Rebel Without a Cause”. The latter is a romanticizing of youth in such way as to make more mature bearing seem a decline into stodgy, joyless existence. In consequence our society has become a youth cult wherein much of the population remains developmentally arrested at adolescence.

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  346. DeeJones September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    “Tell your boss to fuck his hat.” YeeHa! Thats the BEST line on here yet!!!
    You know, the most pathetic things I have seen in the past couple of years are: A Mom-Droid walking thru the supermarket trailed by her two Kid-droids, one talking, one texting on thier cells, while she was on the phone with Dad Droid asking what kind of beer he wanted.
    The other was at the airport: Some Jr Execu-Droid was on his C-phone, while doing something with his AHole-(i)phone, and also doing something on his laptop. With a bunch of similar Droids all sitting along the wall nearest the power outlets so they could plug in thier various electronics.
    I’ve always thought it was nice that crAppel made the iphone nice and lozenge shaped so that it could be readily shove up someones ass.
    How pathetic is this? Get A Fucking Life Already!!!

  347. BeantownBill September 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    I get this mental picture of Mexicans and Blacks at their secret meeting place plotting ways to increase poverty in the USA.
    “I know,” says one, “Why don’t we refuse to work, or if we do, not take jobs that pay more than minimum wage? Boy, that’ll really help us accomplish our goal. I’m so happy we’re about to take positive action in making ourselves so poor.
    TBU, you really bring out the sarcasm in me. I may disagree with some of the posters here, but I respect their right to their own opinion. I don’t respect yours.
    BTW, most of the Blacks in this country are here because their descendants were unwillingly taken away from their homeland.
    Also, until toxic debt is removed from our economic system, bad financial times will continue. Some day the market will drop down to 4-6000 points, at least. I hope for your sake you will have been smart enough to have already taken your profits by then.
    Eleuthero’s reply to you was right on, and much more elegant and metaphorical than mine. I’m afraid all I can say to you is that you have a small mind, which shows through in your mendacious and bigoted comments.

  348. DeeJones September 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Cavepainter, I couldn’t agree more. Rebel WOAC is the perfect example. Look at how the authority figures are all portrayed as weak or powerless, or ineffectual. The guard at the observatory, the fathers, even the cops.
    And what was the whole point anyway?
    I feel that we need to bring back some corporal punishment. really.
    And TBU: “Mexicans cause poverty. So do blacks.”
    This has to be one of the most asinine things I have ever read. Just think it thru, will you?
    Does some Mexican really come to the USA just to ‘create poverty’? I don’t think so, they come here to make money, which they mostly send back home.
    The ones creating poverty there in the USofA are those at the top, the Powers that Be, the so-called Masters of the Universe. How, might you ask? Simple, but eliminating jobs for US Citizens and ‘outsourcing’ those jobs out of the country.
    What the fuck is someone supposed to do if there are no fucking jobs? So don’t go blaming those who go to the USA and actually work thier asses off, at low pay, sometimes working 2-3 jobs, and trying to ignore the actions of those who are really responsible for “creating poverty” there.
    Again, just to pound it into your itsy, bitsy little, tiny brain: Its the Captians of Fucking Industry who are responsible for creating the poverty there, no one else is responsible.

  349. BeantownBill September 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    And so many lead lives of quiet desperation.

  350. LewisLucanBooks September 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Tripp: I see older canning jars around all the time with reusable glass lids. Garage sales with boxes of the things. I think people think they’re either ash trays or furniture leg coasters.

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  351. LewisLucanBooks September 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    The Black Swan? What with the comments on this thread about the grid, generating plants and all, this is an interesting article (perhaps I should say alarming article) about some new weaponized malware.
    Reading this just really creeped me out and gave me a cold chill.

  352. Dan Treecraft September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Rabbi Kunstler,
    It’s good, at last, to hear you (all but) calling Mr. Obama the Oreo Cookie he has been for at least the past two years. It is no particular surprise to me and my wife. We have studied some over the years, and realize that no matter how cynical we become – it’s hard to keep up.
    Long an admirer of you and your work (OK – only five years or so), it puzzles me, yet, that you are so resistant to theories conspiratorial.
    You rightly point at the fecklessness of the Current Occupant, and that of his cohorts and two generations of Ivy Leagued predecessors, and wonder, yet, how it can be that the Wasp Temples of Privileged Indoctrination manage to turn out row after row, year after year, the same articulate, well-dressed servants to the status quo. They serve the powerful elite. That is their purpose. If they are not on that track early, and if they stray from it, ever, they are omitted.
    I’m no unmitigated fan of Carolyn Baker, but on page 5 (or 6) of her (otherwise fluffy) book Spiritual Demise, she states something like: “No candidate seeking the US presidency, can even obtain his party’s nomination, much less have any chance of winning election to the office – without being firmly in the pocket of American business interests.” (please forgive my very rough quote)
    Baker’s assertion is not something that jumped out of nowhere. As dumb and clueless as most Americans appear to be, surely she and I are not the only ones who believe that the game is quite effectively rigged to support the interests of those who have the most power. What’s the point of having power? Of course, the conspiracy seldom works like the Swiss railroad, but the “powers that be” do have plenty of influence – and they certainly use it. And, yes, like a doomed airliner that’s going down, the robots are now fiddling with the levers, as the live, savvy crew floats to safety on their silk chutes.
    Virtually all of our “elected national leadership” are puppets working for the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and who are doing their best to enrich and protect themselves in the process. Those who “do what’s expected of them” can expect to be given table at the villas of the powerful business interests.
    James… am I saying anything either radical or profound?
    I doubt it.

  353. UtilityT September 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    To those who can contribute useful insights and response to posts here: I thank you. We need more of your types.
    To the Askoka, Mika types etc: In your own very special way, you enlighten the rest of us. But don’t stay long, your perscription is ready at the pharmacy.
    To networker: You’ve got your shit together. You would have made a great transmission/grid operator.
    Take care, one and all

  354. Dan Treecraft September 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Notice to all:
    If I had taken the trouble to read what “Debit” wrote a dozen-or-more comments previous, I could have saved myself the trouble of writing my own prattle, as well as spared any of you from reading same. Debit is quite obviously much better acquainted with history and politics than I am. (dt)

  355. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Sounds like someone was dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck. White males win because they are the most dynamic and creative people and think rationally as well oftentimes. Blacks are stupid criminals and black Americans see most everything here in the states as being done in terms of racism. If they are not happy here, they should go back to Africa. Actually I would like to see them leave whether they are happy here or not.

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  356. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned this before, but the US Army has retained the services of several of permaculture’s brightest stars. Toby Hemenway, author of “Gaia’s Garden,” and Scott Pittman, director of our Permaculture Research Institute stateside, have both shared interesting information about what they and others are doing with the army.
    I can’t find the post that lays out specifically what is being taught, but I know it’s for aid in Afghanistan for starters and probably the Fertile Crescent down the road. Some courses I remember right off the top of my head are:
    Top-bar honeybeekeeping
    Water catchment
    Greywater recycling
    American/French intensive garden systems
    Keyline design
    Ecological succession
    Fruit tree guilding
    Sheep and goat husbandry (not stump-breaking, you pervy wankers;)
    Poultry tractors
    Rotational livestock grazing
    Passive solar architecture
    The actual list is pretty amazing, and sparked some heated discussion about whether or not permaculture should meet potential practitioners via an occupying army. I think the conclusion was that we desperately need permaculture NOW, worldwide, and who delivers the knowledge is irrelavent. To their credit, the soldiers involved are absorbing it readily, and exhibit community cooperation on a level rarely seen in mainstream permaculture.

  357. Qshtik September 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Gavin, your post sparked a fond memory.
    I used to hang out in a bar just like the one you described. I’m going back about a decade or so. My routine on a friday night, with a week’s worth of torture by an asshole boss behind me, was to close the bar with a significant alcohol buzz on and proceed from there to a place called “The Bottom of the Hill” where there was a line of nighthawks at 2:30 – 3:00AM buying coffee, cigarettes, bagels w/cream cheese, etc.
    My routine was a cup of coffee and 3 large chocolate chip cookies. I’d go home with this treasure, turn on the PC and play hearts interactively with folks around the world till 5 – 6 AM or till I dozed off, whichever came first.
    So anyway, I entered The Bottom of the Hill (which I always referred to in conversation as The Bottom of the Barrel due to the typical denizens one found there in the wee hours, 20 paces from the New Brunswick train station) and got in line behind a large guy similar to the one you described “at the other end of the bar.” He was essentially the same dude but with the additional charm of tattoos and body piercings from heard to foot and way less than a full complement of teeth. This was in an era just before seeing such a spectacle of a human became unremarkable.
    I observed the multiple ear, nose and lip rings, bolts and studs and the tatts that came up from below collar level and extended up and across the neck and face, front and back and disappeared into his hairline. I quickly calculated the odds that he earned his living as a business consultant at 10 to the 17th power vs motorcycle mechanic at 2 to 1, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    These observations plus the instant judgement that I was way older than anyone in the place (and therefore how unseemly it would have been for someone to simply beat the piss out of me right then and there) emboldened me to blurt out in a voice loud enough for all to hear “If there’s one thing in this world I can’t stand it’s tattoos and body-piercings!!” And to the credit of the spectacle ahead of me in line came the instant reply, “Yeah, well how good are you at standing PAIN?” after which all present erupted in laughter.

  358. myrtlemay September 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Tip of the hat to you, sir. Surely honored to be placed in such high company. 🙂 I’m not worthy! Confidential to Tree: I personally see a lot of Mexicans that work their MF asses off every single day! They’re not “stealing” anyone’s job. Get a hobby!

  359. Russ A September 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    The answer to your question is very simple, and it is the reason politics has become so polarized in this country, and why the rightwing nuts can be so boisterous:
    It is because the vast majority DO NOT want to hear the truth! Period. About anything.
    Simple as that.

  360. LewisLucanBooks September 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Back to one of the original questions, “what happened to the intelligent opposition” a real eye opener is the movie “The American Ruling Class” with Lewis Lapham (past editor of Harper’s Magazine.) It’s a kind of fictionalized documentary. To quote a review…
    (Lewis Lapham) “…as he introduces two Ivy League graduates to America’s elite in an effort to examine the roll of class and moneyed privilege in American democracy.”
    Pretty interesting as these fellows struggle between integrity and the promise of a life of wealth, ease and power. Netflix has the DVD.

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  361. networker September 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    trippticket holy cow, I was just wondering yesterday whether or not anyone made some kind of reuseable lid – thank you for the link, because I can extensively. Do you happen to know what materials they are made of? And that is fascinating about the US Army and permaculture. Incidentally, I’ve got a top-bar beehive all ready to go for Spring.
    LewisLuc – I have lots of old glass-topped jars, but they don’t create a safe reliable seal like the newer ones do, and the rubber seals that fit them degrade quickly. I use them to hold dried herbs and spices.
    And thanks UtilityT – I appreciate your real-world perspective in return; we need to hear more from the people on the ground who are tasked with putting into practice the pie-in-the-sky dreams of those in charge.

  362. San Jose Mom 51 September 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the link. Stuxnet makes me yearn for analog solutions.

  363. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    “Incidentally, I’ve got a top-bar beehive all ready to go for Spring.”
    That’s wonderful! Building one is on my winter to-do list. Have you read “The Barefoot Beekeeper”? I still need to!
    Don’t know about the lid material. If you find out something bad let me know.

  364. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Sounds like I have gotten under your skin, you tired dried-up old prune of a wasted shell. Am having fun here. You are not.
    Am up about $1800 from last Thursday in the 3 accounts I own. Unearned income is great!
    Fuck off, dillweed.

  365. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    While everyone here is following our own brilliant advice by planting food this year, plant something for the honeybees too! They are disappearing rapidly and we will be in a world of hurt without them.

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  366. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m surprised to see you succumb to pissant disease. I thought you had something to offer.

  367. BeantownBill September 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Why, TBU, I’m surprised at your attitude, since you are obviously a man of color, too. You have your head so far up your ass, that when you pull it out, it comes out brown.

  368. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    By the by, Happy Autumnal Equinox, everyone!

  369. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Well look how they behave in their own countries. They are stupid uneducated incompetent criminals who can’t run anything effectively without European and Asian supervision.

  370. jerry September 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    James, you asked where are those with a full brain, common sense, and an understanding of reality and who are intelligent enough to run for Congress?
    James, unless you have $7 million of your own money, or a number of large funders, such as the Dick Armey-types, then forgetaboutit.
    The TeaBaggers winning elections are funded not by Grassroots groups, that they pretend to be supported by, but by the very corporate elite who want to make sure that they continue to siphon the nation’s wealth for themselves once their Low Hanging TeaBagging Fruit become Congressional seat warmers, and the new crowd of Obama voodoo doll pin pushers.
    This crowd will become the new deniers. They will deny peak oil, deny alternative energy, deny the need for campaign reform and election reform, deny corporate reform, deny an end to imperial wars for oil and gas. They will deny and then, deny again.

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  371. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Netflix is on a tear. Blockbuster is going backrupt. It will announce its entry into bankruptcy perhaps as early as this Friday or maybe next week. NFLX went up 8% today. Its stock has done even better than Apple’s and Baidu’s the last 3 years or so. I bought 60 shares of it today, high yes, a new yearly high in fact, but it is going higher. I am crawling over the corpse of Blockbuster to suck some blood-money out of it. Fun, Fun, fun! The 3 accounts I own and the one I manage are up $2300 from last Thursday.
    For more information see
    Blockbuster nears bankruptcy
    The one-time video-rental king could file for Chapter 11 as soon as this week.
    My, what you can learn in the main-stream media!!!

  372. Nick Allen September 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    You ask where is the educated and in-tuned opposition to these policies, where is the organized protest? There isn’t one. A person whose mind is capable of seeing the weaknesses of the status quo understands vividly enough that its problems are not merely one of resource depletion but rather a structural problem inherent to the whole Western design.
    There will be no organized counterargument to the Tea Party because the only way to fix the system is to tear it down… and those clowns seem like the right ones for that job.

  373. Nick Allen September 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    What does that have to do with today’s blog?

  374. trippticket September 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    “They are stupid uneducated incompetent criminals who can’t run anything effectively without European and Asian supervision.”
    You mean without the European and Asian supervision that is responsible for destroying the planet? God, if only we could all be mega-consumers…
    I don’t think Papa Doc Duvalier speaks for the black race.
    Despots come in all hues. Just look at Washington and Beijing. Covert and corporate-sponsored misbehavior is probably the most damaging kind. Selling Haiti to the World Bank barely registers comparatively.

  375. Nick Allen September 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Yeah, the words “coming collapse” don’t resonate well with sensible people. It implies a highly unlikely sudden implosion. You might try substituting a term like “growth restricted future”, I’ve found that breaks the ice much more easily.

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  376. BeantownBill September 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    I agree with you, except I don’t think the Teabaggers are the right ones for the job. We need competent rabblerousers to bring the whole corrupt system down. And since nature supposedly abhors a vacuum, we’ll need brilliant, free-thinking people to put things back together to form a new,improved model.

  377. treebeardsuncle September 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    I don’t give a shit about JFK’s delusional fantasies. Lucan Books suggested ordering a film from netflix. I was responding to what he wrote instead of what JFK wrote.

  378. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    networker said: “As for Asoka, nobody can teach him a single thing, because he already knows everything there is to know.”
    Just for the record, this is not a true statement.
    I provided concrete numbers for a variety of data points to make an argument about the actual grid, inlcuding comparative numbers with other nations’ grids… and I cited my sources.
    The response is ad hominem and sarcasm, instead of a substantive response based on the facts I provided.

  379. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Once more, with feeling… you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant excepting Alice. You can get electric smart grid technology to provide integrated communication, automation and control of entire electric systems, from generating plants to the operation of electric equipment inside homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants.
    Smart grid investments by electric coops and public utilities are an essential part of the country’s energy infrastructure, as much so as large investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
    Though the average coop/public utility serves approximately 13,500 customers, compared to the IOU’s average customer count of almost 500,000, there are nearly 3,000 coops and public utilities providing electricity to more than a quarter of all U.S. electric customers and they also maintain electric distribution systems covering many times the geographic areas served by IOUs.
    Obama’s plan to for rejuvenating our electrical and digital infrastructures includes the coops and public utilities as well as the investor-owned utilities.
    The entire grid will be modernized over the next decade. Oh, you thought Obama was going to solve all our problems in two years? Get real. His is a long-term plan to revitalize the American economy with American manufacturing, support for small business, and national infrastructure investment.

  380. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    By the way, there is a business case to be made for small utility smart grids. Critical smart grid technology issues confronting electric coops and municipal utilities will be addressed at the Texas A&M University Smart Grid Conference, “Evaluating the Business Case for Smart Grid Investments,” Nov. 8-9 in Austin, Texas. Smart grid has both economic and green advantages. Beats the hell out of mountaintop removal until there are no more mountaintops.

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  381. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Cash said: “…an integral part of US military rules of engagement. ”
    Cash, sometimes in war the rules of engagement go out the window. You know that.

  382. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Here is another concrete example of how business is going at the development of smart grid in power line communications. Texas Instruments just announced the new PLC Development Kit based on the industry’s only PLC modem solution capable of supporting multiple modulation and protocol standards on a single hardware platform.
    The new kit provides everything developers need to network systems and implement monitoring capabilities and other new services that reduce device maintenance cost while increasing system reliability to create greener, more efficient products.
    Developers will now be able to quickly evaluate the suitability of using PLC-based communications and then jumpstart development for Smart Grid applications ranging from smart electrical meters to intelligently controlled industrial applications, including lighting, solar, home automation, building control, plug-in electrical vehicle and energy-managed appliances.
    TI’s PLC modem is a modular, fully programmable solution comprised of separate microcontroller (MCU) and analog front end (AFE) modules and a complete software framework designed for flexibility and adaptation to various application and regional requirements.
    The MCU module is based on TI’s proven real-time control C2000TM architecture and offers excellent performance while interfacing seamlessly with the AFE and application processors to which the PLC modem communicates.
    The AFE module is self-contained and fully isolated, reducing design cycle time, lowering power consumption and reducing system cost. \
    I think TI is the only company able to deliver all of the key components required for today’s advanced Smart Grid applications, and, according to networker, I know everything! LOL!

  383. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    And going back to networker’s claim that I don’t know what “interoperability” is (I did not google it!), I just learned that today Echelon Corporation announced that it has partnered with the Energy Services Network Association (ESNA), a non-profit corporation composed of utilities, manufacturers, and integrators, to publish and standardize the Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP) as a European and International standard. This is a big deal!
    OSGP is the protocol used by Echelon’s Networked Energy Services (NES) System, a market leading smart grid infrastructure. By publishing OSGP as an open standard, it will enable independent implementation of interoperable meters and other smart grid devices from multiple vendors on the same network.
    This gives electric utilities the ability to buy “best of breed” products and to avoid vendor lock-in that increases costs and reduces innovation.
    More than just a protocol for smart meters, OSGP provides secure, scalable control networking services for any device connected to the low voltage power grid, as well as critical information about the health of the distribution line itself, which further improves reliability and lowers operating costs.
    The Open Smart Grid Protocol has become a de facto standard for smart meters and smart grid infrastructure communications with more than three million meters already installed or with orders to be installed over the next few years
    SOURCE: Gordon Pedersen, President of ESNA and head of smart grid projects at SEAS-NVE, the largest consumer-owned utility in Denmark.
    Built on open ISO/IEC and IEEE standards, OSGP adds additional security and reliability services necessary to properly network and manage devices in the smart grid. With millions of devices deployed worldwide, OSGP brings field-proven reliability and scalability to the smart grid.
    The market is demanding openness at all layers and for all devices, not just meters. I think OSGP provides needed control networking services for smart grid devices and creates an open playing field for innovation that is absent in the market today… and remember: I know everything, according to networker! LOL!

  384. asoka September 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    While there is plenty of opportunity for small private business and entrepreneurs, the big companies are also getting in on the green localized smart grid revolution, big like Intel and IBM.
    West Coast Green, the world’s leading interactive conference on green innovation for the built environment, will open its doors at San Francisco’s iconic Fort Mason Center on September 30th.
    West Coast Green 2010 will be the launch pad for new companies focused on sustainability and the premier platform for industry leaders rolling out strategic green initiatives. This powerful combination forms the foundation for community-scale solutions!
    West Coast Green is the rare opportunity to interact with more than 175 industry leaders and see more than 300 cool tech and hot products in the green space. This landmark event is also an exclusive opportunity to hear “what’s next” from the technology and industry leaders creating business solutions that will shape our sustainable future,
    Maybe a pardigm shift is happening when IBM is collaborating with leaders in a range of industries–from power companies, to automakers, to health care providers — in making sustainability a 21st century business imperative.
    On Friday, October 1st, Al Zollar, general manager, Tivoli Software, IBM Software will be a featured Keynote, introducing new innovations in eco-efficiency for managing business operations and integrating their systems with smart urban infrastructures like smart grids, intelligent transportation systems, and advanced water systems. If you’re on the West coast, and are interested in smart grid technology, it might be worth checking out.

  385. asoka September 22, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    networker said: “I appreciate your real-world perspective in return; we need to hear more from the people on the ground who are tasked with putting into practice the pie-in-the-sky dreams of those in charge.”
    networker, it ain’t pie-in-the-sky… it is the revitalization of the nation’s infrastructure through smart grid applications and it is happening now.
    For example, PGE just completed installation of a system-wide wireless smart metering project consisting of 827,000 end points and featuring a series of business process automations that will produce $18.2 million U.S. annually in operating savings. Maybe $18.2 million seems like pie-in-the-sky to you, but multiplied all over the country it adds up to real money.
    PGE’s new system is a two-way wireless fixed network. It features 46 collectors positioned throughout a 4,000-square-mile service territory.
    By Sept. 1 PGE rolled nearly 700,000 meters over to network reads and was successfully capturing nearly 100% of the required daily billing reads. PGE scaled up the company’s meter data management system to handle register reads from 1.2 million meters, interval data from 100,000 meters and storage for up to 7 terabytes of validated meter data.
    I trust you understand what I’m saying here, networker… it is real, not pie-in-the-sky. It has to do with the real activities of what you call “the people on the ground tasked with putting into practice the pie-in-the-sky dreams of those in charge.”

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  386. Belisarius September 22, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Mostly agree, but it is worse:
    “We’re in for it now, I’m convinced. The GOP wins? We get depression, unemployed vilified, jettisoned, entitlements such as retirement and social security eliminated or stolen. The Dems win? Same thing, but with a reality distortion field that broadcasts ‘we care’ while Dems continue to do the GOP’s bidding.”
    Yes we ARE in for it, but the GOP is not in charge. The bankers finance both parties and “He who pays the piper calls the tune.
    “Imagine that we, the US population, are nothing more than employees of a thing called The US Government, Inc. The board of directors—Congress–hates employees and all the trouble they bring. The CEO–White House—agrees. And the system sets forth to marginalize the employees, and lay them off, taking their benefit packages. This is where we are.”
    Imagine that we are aphids and the ants (CorpGov) who are usually happy to “milk” us have learned winter is coming and decided to let most of us freeze outside the “nest”.

  387. asoka September 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    And for all you green-shoots deniers, here is some news: Over the next five years, the smart grid market in the U.S. will grow more than 70%, from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $9.6 billion by 2015, according to the findings of a new report from GTM Research, U.S. Smart Grid Market Forecast: 2010-2015.
    This near-term market expansion will be driven by federal ARRA grants (THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT) for utility modernization, increased market competition and consolidation, and enhanced technology synergies, as large-capped IT players (I mentioned Intel and IBM earlier) turn their investment dollars toward smart grid companies.
    GTM Research’s U.S. Smart Grid Market Forecast: 2010-2015 examines the industry’s growth by analyzing key trends in four core technology sectors — Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Distribution Automation (DA), Home Area Networks (HAN) and Smart Utility Enterprise — and compiling outlooks for each sector that fold into the report’s overall market forecast.
    But none of this is real according to networker. It is all “pie-in-the-sky” and is all dependent on “blinky blinky” that I suppose she thinks is going “bye bye” any day now, but networker provides no data, no numbers, no evidence to support her opinions, and cites no authoritative sources.

  388. asoka September 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, today announced it will host the first Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) in Europe, to take place October 11-13 at Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    The IEEE ISGT Europe 2010 conference is sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society and hosted by Chalmers University of Technology. The Conference will be a global forum for participants to discuss the latest innovations in smart grid technologies.
    ISGT Europe will feature international experts on smart grid presenting information in panel sessions and tutorials, representing nearly 150 papers from 32 countries around the world.
    Delegates will hear keynote speeches on a broad range of topics, including:
    — “Smart Grid Applications and Recent Deployments” John D. McDonald, IEEE Fellow, and Director, Technical Strategy and Policy Development, GE Energy, USA;
    — “Networks as the Enabler for the New Energy World” Anders Olsson, Senior Vice President, Business Division, E.ON Sweden AB
    — “Experiences from Deploying Real Smart Grid Projects” Wanda Reder, Chair IEEE Smart Grid and Vice President, S&C Electric Co., USA
    — “Impact and Opportunities of the Mass-Market Introduction of Electric Vehicles on Future Grids” Thomas Wiedemann, Technical Director of FP7-Project G4V, RWE Rheinland Westfalen Netz AG, Germany;
    — “What Comes after the Smart Grid” Bo Normark, President, Power Circle, Sweden.
    — “Making money out of the Smart Grid” Alice Waltham, IPA Economics, UK
    networker should go and present to them, representing the pessimists on CFN, to let the whole smart grid industry know that it’s all bullshit because it depends on “blinky blinky”

  389. asoka September 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Puke time indeed. Think twice before you vote Republican or Tea Party.

    While American Republicans were turning climate change into a wedge issue, the Chinese Communists were turning it into a work issue.
    “China is changing from the factory of the world to the clean-tech laboratory of the world,” said [Peggy Liu]. “It has the unique ability to pit low-cost capital with large-scale experiments to find models that work.” China has designated and invested in pilot cities for electric vehicles, smart grids, LED lighting, rural biomass and low-carbon communities. “They’re able to quickly throw spaghetti on the wall to see what clean-tech models stick, and then have the political will to scale them quickly across the country,” Liu added. “This allows China to create jobs and learn quickly.”

    SOURCE: THOMAS L FRIEDMAN. (2010, September 20). Aren’t we clever? International Herald Tribune

  390. Kiwi Nick September 22, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    One more thing (update for neckflames): visiting Christchurch will be a waste of time for the next 12 months … it suffered a 7.1 rictor earthquake a couple of weeks ago, but the Airport is OK (eg connecting flight).

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  391. networker September 22, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Asoka for the love of god, you sit there regurgitating the same corporate-speak crap that vendors spew to company presidents to get them to buy their products. It’s like reading Cisco’s home page – the one that CIOs look at when they need verbage to justify their budgets.
    You have cited no source, and you have provided no facts. You did provide lots of copy and paste of press releases however. Then, you did it again. And then again. Are you really so dense that you cannot understand the difference between saying something and actually doing it? As I told you repeatedly already, the concepts and plans you are listing are only that: concepts and plans. There is a huge difference between building proof-of-concept small smart grids, and then applying it to an entire region of the country. The problem we are telling you about is not that we don’t have the technology, idiot. The problem is time, money, physics, resources, and logistics. Putting it all into practice is the sticky part, and if you ever were to listen to those people who build, configure, and maintain networks every day, you might actually learn something.
    And you totally Googled. You Googled every single advertisement you pasted. In fact you appear to have spent hours doing it. Asoka, whether or not the protocols used are open source has absolutely nothing to do with anything we have been trying to tell you. Whether or not the IEEE gets involved has absolutely nothing to do with what we have been trying to tell you either. You just happened upon some cool concepts and buzzwords that are new to you, so you think it will impress everyone by talking about it. I know all about rolling out new technologies – and it never, ever, EVER goes the way the press releases claim they will. Plain fact.

  392. networker September 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    tripp – I just got the Barefoot Beekeeper book! I have scanned through it but haven’t found time to fully read it yet – it’s on my Winter Reading pile for now. I spent all summer planting as many bee-friendly flowers as I could afford – in particular borage, bee balm, coneflowers, zinnia, susans, hyssop, salvia, lupine and goldenrod, all jumbled together. I had petunias and snapdragons wandering around my beans as well, and a large, tall canopy of morning glories over my gate. I attracted a lot of bumblebees that worked incredibly hard all summer, so I also plan to build a couple of boxes for them as well. But my primary motive in setting out the top-bar hive is to simply attract more honeybees to my property.
    TBU and Eleuthero, just wanted to point out that dillweed is quite valuable actually 🙂

  393. myrtlemay September 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    Just a minor fyi: Today I felt fairly good about myself via a general, yet favorable comment made by a fellow poster. I’m very humbled. Perhaps we should all try to be a bit more civil to each other in the future in these posts (I will be taking my own advice, I hope!). My entire life, I have practiced and will continue to seek and adopt practices that will advance our society for the better, come what may. I’m well past 80 yrs. I’ve fought for a lot of Civil Rights. (Asock, I hope you remember earlier posts!!) Q is probably my closest old age poster out there(coming on 70 as I recall). Anyhow, to give the rest of anyone who might be interested in who I am (was),”Youtube” has a very excellent copy of Leslie Gore in 1963/64? of a song, “You Don’t Own Me”, if you care to look it up. I was at the time told I looked like Miss Gore, and had her same politics(not that it freaking matters, and I had no freaking talent at all, lol!). Anyway, a feminist I was, then and now! I believe in every and all right(s) for every person! Yeah, I get discouraged, but I won’t quit…didn’t then, won’t NOW! Cheers, CFN!

  394. networker September 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh and by the way Asoka, since I actually worked for years as a network engineer on regional networks, and since UtilityT actually worked on the grid for decades as well, we ARE the “authoritative sources” for exactly what we are trying to get through your thick skull. I would tell you to think about that, but it’s probably asking too much.

  395. asoka September 23, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    networker said: “Oh and by the way Asoka, since I actually worked for years as a network engineer on regional networks, and since UtilityT actually worked on the grid for decades as well, we ARE the “authoritative sources” for exactly what we are trying to get through your thick skull.”
    Did you work as a network engineer in a smart grid or were you working on the old networks?
    I suspect you gave it up for gardening long before ARRA kicked the whole game into high gear. I doubt you have the experience to be an “authoritative source” on smart grids. If you were involved in electrical grids it was probably back when buildings were dumb loads at the end of a wire (consuming 72% of all electrical energy consumption).
    I think you do not appreciate that a national smart grid will take years to develop and is NOT simply more efficient operation of the current electricity system. It is a transformation of the electricity system as we know it, as you and UtilityT knew it back in the day.
    The key these days is building load responsiveness. As buildings approach net zero energy consumption there is no longer a need for a big pipe; the utility becomes a back-up power supply. With the addition of storage, a micro-grid produces and manages its own power needs independently of the grid.
    In the smart grid buildings play a significant role, they are an integral part of the grid as virtual power plants, market participants, energy storage centers, etc. Is that the environment you were working in before you retired to your garden?

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  396. neckflames September 23, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    Thanks, Nick. I mean, ‘Good on ya, mate!’.
    I might do the North island and Abel Tasman NP this February.

  397. networker September 23, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    Asoka, I gave it up about two months ago. I am not retired, moron. I decided to get out of the business and change my life. If you had actually paid attention to what I said earlier, you would know what I worked on: regional routers, switches and optical gear for a large national cable Internet provider, commonly known in the business as an MSO – Multiple System Operator. I was the person who stayed up all night working maintenance windows to fix problems in IP networks that run on the massive gear that routes Internet traffic between my region’s towns, cities, and states. That’s the environment I was working in. What makes a grid “smart”, Asoka, is the IP NETWORK that is built upon that electrical infrastructure. And an IP network is an IP network, no matter where it is being used. See what I mean? You completely misunderstand even the simplest part of all this.
    You have fallen prey to an unsupported load of magical thinking here. You read promotional releases on the Internet about shiny new projects and you think that elves will snap their fingers and make it all just happen. In the same way that most people think computers “go” to “places” on “the Internet,” forgetting that it is nothing but electrical impulses sent between circuit cards, you pretend that what your eyes see is all there is to look at.
    As for smart grids being willy nilly rolled out across the land, did it ever occur to you that there might be *inherent* structural issues that need to be addressed first and that those issues just might be bigger and more costly than you realized? Of course it didn’t. Because it all just works by magick for you. (Sure, everything always works. Until it doesn’t.) And now you suddenly admonish us that this will “take years to develop” when that is exactly what we told YOU to begin with.
    I have years of direct experience with fixing broken computer technology, often the same things repeatedly, broken for all the reasons I stated in previous posts. I must unfortunately point out again that you have absolutely have no clue, not one, about the realities involved. As UtilityT very articulately pointed out at the beginning of this discussion:
    “Just jumping up and down and yelling if we pour more money into renewables, there will be a big leap in efficiency. Sorry folks, improvements in modern technology is incremental at best. Wishing is fun for kids but adults need to understand that exponential improvements in technology take decades based on human experience over the past thousand years. Innumerable blind alleys and false starts await the effort. What looks promising today turns out to be impractical or impossible tomorrow.”
    Asoka, the blind alleys and false starts are still in our future. Do you get it yet?
    Ok, since this reminds me of staying up all night on the goddamned laptop, and Asoka you are so not worth the effort, I say goodnight now.

  398. asoka September 23, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    networker, do you routinely call people “moron” and “idiot”, or is that honor reserved for special people? Just for the record I don’t consider myself a moron or an idiot, but then, according to you I have no clue, not one. I will never call you names or insult you. I like to keep it on the level of ideas, like insisting that interoperability protocols do matter in the development of a smart grid. I say goodnight now.

  399. Shakazulu September 23, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    And the fat shall inherit the earth…
    ummmmm, fried chocolate. oil. life is good.
    quit whining and be glad you don’t live in Haiti.

  400. networker September 23, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    I routinely do not call people morons. I reserve that honor only for special examples like you. If you want to discuss “at the level of ideas”, then you had better start exercising and conditioning your brain so that you will be able to do so.

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  401. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I discovered a metaphor for this week’s post and subsequent thoughts in my garden this morning, relating to why we stick with methodologies as long as we do.
    I planted a Pink Brandywine tomato back in the spring that grew quite nicely and had regular blooms on it, but to date hadn’t set a single fruit. So I went to the garden this morning with my pruners and the intention of cutting it out, harvesting all the sweet potatoes, and clearing space for broccoli and fall greens. Well, what do you know! There were a couple of small fruits set this morning! Not many, but I have put so much energy into that tomato bush that even one would be worth coddling, just to see what it’s like. In the process of examining this tomato I also discovered that the bed was sprouting very healthy looking green peas all over the place! I forgot that I had planted those with my daughter on September 11th. (Planting peas – say it with n ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’ – get it?;)
    So those wonderful little nitrogen-fixing peas should boost the sweet potatoes to finish off nicely, add some nitrogen-rich biomass, and once gone, the bed, in this climate, can still probably grow cold-hardy winter greens like spinach, tatsoi, and mache.
    So the lesson I took out of this is two-fold: one, it’s very hard to abandon an entrenched cultural methodology, even if the fruit is obviously de minimis in value. And two, something unexpected and useful can always grow out of previous labors, something that just might alter your plans in radical ways.

  402. welles September 23, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    reminds me of my compost heap, all the ‘dead’ things i’ve chucked there just grow and grow, including the bean soup leftover we dumped there, it’s sprouting beans! lol
    nature forgives

  403. welles September 23, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    I lived in Iceland for ten years. my father in law and mother in law there were born in sod houses. they told me that in much more ancient times icelanders commonly lived above their sheep and cattle, to take advantage of the heat those animals throw off.
    stink’s pretty bad, but you get used to it. women washed their hair sometimes with fermented cow’s urine, lends a nice sheen to it.
    here in brazil, in the news the other day, they showed a family in colombia they found living in a cave, the kids speak their own made up language that they apparently understand. now they’re being taught spanish and put in foster care.

  404. lbendet September 23, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    asoka | September 22, 2010 8:28 PM | Rep
    While American Republicans were turning climate change into a wedge issue, the Chinese Communists were turning it into a work issue.
    Good point. The problem with the Republicans is that every issue has been reduced to ideology which then gets politicised.
    The revolving door of lobbying and representation of the people have been so completely mucked-up, that we are going in circles when it comes to where power and control are concentrated.
    We’re stuck, unable to pass any law that can effectively change course when it comes to energy or anything else we need done here. The anti-trust laws have long been abandoned in favor of globalism and we have created a monster in these corporations who feel entitled to constant increases in profits.
    That’s pretty much what the Republican party has to offer. You know the tax cuts to the wealthy with a paltry job growth. The wealth trickled down to China, India and Brazil.
    Recently a pundit on MSM said that the poverty level in other countries is so miserable, that we want to bring those people up to the standards of the American poor which “isn’t so bad”. If you read between the lines, I guess they are trying to bring the middle class here to the same living standard. Just enough to buy some Chinese made goods at Walmart.
    Trump who in an interview with Blitzer, said that his Chinese friends cannot believe that we’re letting them get a way with this uneven trade. Same as Japan in the ’80’s.
    Trump suggested barriers to entry. But this goes against the ideology and the WTO and Chamber of Commerce will not allow that to happen. Manufacturing will not come back here if they can help it. The transnationals no longer need the American marketplace and our wars are making the world safe for McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken (let alone cheese doodles).
    But what really struck me recently is the low level of discourse we are getting from the Tea Partiers. Christine O’Donnell isn’t the only dingbat out there by a long shot. Here in NY State, we have a contender for governor, Carl Paladino, Republican running against Andrew Cuomo, Democratic. Paladino has put out the most appalling ad depicting Cuomo in the shower washing off human feces from his skin. It reminds me of the many epithets they have thrown at Obama, calling the mild mannered Neoliberal Globalist everything from Stalin, Hitler and The Cannibal King with the big nose ring. I liken it to throwing dog pies at the man and seeing what they can make stick. They don’t know what Stalin is, but the historically illiterate get taken in by this nonsense.
    The Republicans think that they can fool us by talking about a new contract for America, but it’s just the same Milton Friedman model they’ve put before us before. —And it has already been proven disastrous.

  405. Cash September 23, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    You think that Black people and Mexicans are inferior.
    OK, so what do you say about Germans and other Europeans after what they accomplished last century in WW2 ie the destruction of Europe, the slaughter of 6 million Jews and others in industrial scale killing operations, the destruction of European self belief and self confidence, the destruction of European belief in the worth of their religion, heritage and civilization, in short, they arguably brought down western civilization itself. You know the history. Look at where things are at now. Really hard to put a positive spin on things. In the immortal words of one of your former Presidents: this suckers goin’ down.
    What about the idiocies of WW1 where doddering Victorian generals of all European nationalities, who thought that the highest honour was to die for your particular European aristocrat, managed to kill off a generation of Europe’s young men. Hard to get stupider than that but somehow it was done. Twenty short years later, well within living memory, what did we get? WW2. Not brilliant.
    What about the idiocies of Communism which, after all, was a European creation and a direct result of the depredations of European industrialists. Look at the admirable results: two generations of oppression and immiseration of half of Europe, the murder of 8 million Ukrainians, a nuclear arms race, a multitude of conflicts worldwide, a Cold War which pissed away a torrent of resources…you know the history.
    Actually, if we’re counting, this is the second time Germanic peoples brought down western civilization, the first being about 1,500 years ago at which time they managed to bring about roughly 500 years of barbarism, illiteracy, abandonment of European cities…you know that history too and you know that I know that some historians have tried to put a positive spin on that debacle, you know, that the Dark Ages weren’t so dark, that they brought about the re-invigouration of Europe etc.
    You would also know that I’m not buying that argument. IMO the Dark Ages were shit, Europe was under seige by Asiatic nomads, by northern seafarers and by more accomplished civilizations from the Middle East and North Africa. Europe survived but not by much, by withdrawing into its hilltop forts. It managed to preserve its Judeo-Christian, Greek and Roman heritage but it took 500 more years to climb back. In short, 1000 years pissed into the sands of time.
    Asians are no better. Want just a partial list of barbarisms? OK here’s one: The Great Wall of China and the millions sacrificed to build that edifice, Japanese militarism and the resultant 10 million dead, give or take, depending on who’s doing the count, the Chinese Great Leap Forward and the later Cultural Revolution and the resultant misery and millions of deaths from those years of insanity, the killing fields of Cambodia and the 2 million or so dead from that craziness.
    What I’m saying is I would hesitate to point the finger at a particular race or ethnicity as there’s a really big historical catalogue where NOBODY comes out looking good.

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  406. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Nature is indeed forgiving. And already in recovery from what I can tell!
    If you haven’t read it, I think you would enjoy Dr. Jared Diamond’s book “The Third Chimpanzee.” He has a fairly substantial background in linguistics; his mother was a professional linguist, although his own training is largely in geography and physiology. Big picture guy.
    He talks about the formation of pidgin languages, which lead to more standardized creoles, often arising from multi-ethnic work efforts where the bosses are Asian or European and the labor is culturally mixed. The proto-languages evolve as a useful common tongue in these situations. Neo-Melanesian is a creole that sounds kinda silly (to me), but actually has a very structured and complex grammar, often more precise than equivalent terms in English.
    For example, the word “we” in English doesn’t clarify whether or not the person being addressed is included or not, but is clear in Neo-Melanesian. “Yumi” (obviously derived from the English, “you and me”) includes the speaker and the listener, where “mipela” (basically “me and this fella”) does not.
    Human children, like human laborers, apparently have an inborn predisposition to develop and standardize complex language, and have a hard time with certain variables inherent to diverse languages, like the way we formulate questions in English. That’s why they often insist on saying things like “Whose jacket that is?”
    Surely it was a crime to take those Colombian children away from their parents, and force them to learn one of the world’s conglomerizing languages. I think it’ll be fascinating to see, if we can, what happens to language as long-distance travel ebbs!

  407. Cash September 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Yes sometimes the rules of engagement go out the window. Sometimes, not all the time. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes. Quit implying that shooting kids is done as part of a day’s work.
    And another thing: whatever you think about US foreign policy, why are you pinning it on Networker? If he’s complicit then so are you. How about this line of reasoning: You live in the US, you enjoy the many benefits of living there and what a country does, especially a democracy, is the responsibility of all its citizens, including YOU. Yeah, yeah I know, Dubya stole the election.
    Actually from where I sit, that election was a tie. You could have done a countrywide recount 10 times and you would have got Dubya winning 5 times and Al Bore winning 5 times. This is just from the inherent errors and inaccuracies in counting a hundred million votes.
    And the way I see it, Bore TRIED to heist that election with his tricky little tricks like recounting only certain select parts of Florida and trying to count hanging, pregnant chads and shit like that. Conduct unbecoming if you ask me but, after the alleged theft of the 1960 election by Sam Giancana and the Nixon/Watergate fiasco, not surprising.
    And so am I responsible. Quit trying to paint the US as unique or uniquely evil. It’s not. Canuck troops have been in combat in Afghanistan for years now. They’ve killed many and hundreds of Canucks have died and been maimed. Sometimes they too kill non combattants. We’re involved because we’re part of NATO and, it won’t surprise you, we have national interests at stake. Grubby stuff. There aren’t any Boy Scouts in this.

  408. Vlad Krandz September 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Now you’re in Asokaville – he always makes this argument too. It’s very simple – it’s not about IQ. Whites are one of the smartest races and by far the most creative. But neither of these is the same as Wisdom or Morality. So then are the Blacks and Browns wiser and more spiritual? By no means, although Simple Soak assumes this in the face of all evidence. It’s just that they can’t kill people and destroy the environment on the grand scale we can. If they could, they would. And by equating all the races, you’re giving this whopper a pass.
    In a nutshell: Whites create. Yellows and some Browns maintain, and Blacks destroy.
    Alot of this is true in the realm of ideas as well. It takes a really smart person to come up with a really stupid idea. Often intellectuals are to proud to actually look at what’s really going on in the physical world. They prefer the world they’ve created inside their own heads. That’s why Jean Paul Sartre was the one of the last people to know the real nature of Russian Communism. And that’s why brilliant people brought hundreds of thousands of Somalis into Sweden – a more alien culture to the Swedes can’t be imagined. But in the name of ideology nothing is impossible. The Fascists or white blood cells are desperately trying to avert the death of Swedish Body. But it is very late in the day since the Somalis have multiple wives each having 4 or 5 children while the Swedes have 1 or none. And lastly, this is why you hold the beliefs that you do. You know so well that you don’t think you have to look. And if you wont “look” you can’t “see”. If you looked you would see that the melting pot isn’t absolute; it can only melt so many and the original quality matters too. You can’t melt brass into gold and Somalis will not become Swedes – it’s not in them to do so.

  409. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Cash, this is really just an addendum to your argument, but I’d really encourage everyone out there to read “Guns, Germs, and Steel” if they haven’t. (If TBU has, he has rejected it totally, as Vlad may have.)
    There is a perfectly sane and rational explanation to why there is so much cultural disparity in technology, including weapons, and political organization, among the world’s peoples. And it has nothing at all to do with inborn superiority. Now that I understand why Aboriginal Australians were still living in the Stone Age when we found them in the 19th century, I can proceed with my life based on a far more sympathetic and academic worldview.
    The book is a refutation of the standard racist, classist, eugenic, manifest destiny that Europeans and Asians have subscribed to for their entire existence as colonizing cultures.
    And once again, surprise surprise, it ALL comes down to food.

  410. Vlad Krandz September 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Chauncy Gardner agrees with you: “Inflation would prune the dead limbs of savings, thus enlivening the vigorous trunk of industry.”

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  411. budizwiser September 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    [blockquote]What continues to amaze me is that there is no corresponding rise of an intelligent opposition. How did it come to be in our time that Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Stanford and all the other incubators of supposed statesmanship [b]have produced no figures of conviction and good intentions[/b] to demonstrate what it means to be resolute amid this grand failure of will? [blockquote]
    Yes, of course – thanks Jim, this is just what I had asked for last week. An article on the paucity of honest and forthright leadership. I had requested comments regarding as to where and when the next “Jimmy Carter” speech will be made, and by whom.
    This BLOG could be so much more than it is, if contributors simply continued to discuss the nature of the automobile, the status quo of infrastructure and energy necessary to sustain it’s use, and how no one will simply come out and say “STOP IT.”
    That’s all we really need. An argument against mindless energy consumption rooted in the realities that confront our progeny if adjustments are not begun immediately.
    The obstacles to managed consumption-reduction are the current round of profiteers and carpet-baggers who have no scruples regarding how the “rest of us” fair later on. Our opportunity to change-course in comfortable fashion are dwindling.

  412. Cash September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    There’s a DVD of a 1964 concert in Santa Monica by a bunch of acts including and especially Lesley Gore. It’s called The TAMI Show (around 2 hrs long)
    IMO and, in the opinions of other pop music connoiseurs/afficionados, that DVD is absolute dynamite.
    Lesley put on a really great show. She did You Don’t Own Me and a bunch of other hits of hers.
    I don’t know your other musical tastes. The DVD has a bunch of other acts: Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, James Brown and the Famous Flames, Marvin Gaye and the Blossoms, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Supremes. They all did short sets.
    IMO James Brown was absolutely ON FIRE. What a show! Smokey and Marvin were also really great.
    I highly recommend that video if you can get hold of it. You’ll see Lesley at her best. I borrowed it through our local library.

  413. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Good timing! And thanks for clearly demonstrating for us “the standard racist, classist, eugenic, manifest destiny that Europeans and Asians have subscribed to for their entire existence as colonizing cultures.” Again.

  414. Cavepainter September 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Disconcerting! Yep, even here on this site notion of American exceptionalism reigns. Cormac McCarthy be damned , the “American Way” and “American Enginuity” immunizes us against the consequences of overpopulation, so not only can we export those two magical traits we can absorb unlimited numbers of the globe’s already distressed population. Sure, floods of immigrants will only enrich America rather than force a narrowing of choices through growing resource scarcity. Think of how “local job markets” will open up as gangs recruit new “soldiers” for wars to gain dominance over city dump sites and former grave yards being mined for loot. Pretty picture.

  415. asia September 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Soros [he of the asian currency speculation] is now buying up swaths of african land! with food prices rising and world population exploding, why not? maybe he can starve most of us off!
    his land fund is run from moscow, the name of it eludes me.

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  416. Cash September 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Vlad, yes Whites create. So do others.
    I don’t want to get into creating a comparative catalogue of achievements. Partially because it’s really time consuming.
    But anyway, agriculture started in multiple places on earth more or less at the same period in history. New World peoples were busy creating massive pyramids, cities, monuments and edifices more or less at the same times as others in the Old World. Writing and record keeping started in multiple places all over the earth more or less independently.
    Some inventions were unique to certain areas like paper and gunpowder (China). Modern mathematical ideas came from India and the Muslim world.
    Some places were left “behind”. But remember the clock hasn’t stopped ticking. From the perspective of people 5,000 years ago Europe was “behind”. Other places had been building walled cities, temple complexes, writing laws, sacred books for thousands of years while Europeans were still living as subsistence farmers in semi permanent villages or scratching their asses around camp fires. Back then Europe must have looked as backward to people in China and Mesopotamia as Africa or New Guinea looks to us now.

  417. lbendet September 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    I know I posted this story in early summer, but I went to the Frontline website and could find nothing on when “Top Secret America” Dana Priest and William Arkin story was to run. I emailed them and finally got an answer–though vague about the date it will run.:
    Dear Li,
    Thank you for writing.
    FRONTLINE will broadcast a Top Secret America in the fall season, which goes inside the Washington Post’s two-year examination into the massive, unwieldy, top-secret world the government has created in response to 9/11. At present, we do not have additional details about the future broadcast date set for this film.
    For now, you can watch an excerpt from this film, including footage of reporter Dana Priest that resembles the story you suggested, from our website:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/topsecretamerica/ .
    Again, thank you for writing.
    Best wishes,
    Please do watch this–it’s pretty amazing.
    Again, it’s the new “industry” we never hear about and can only wonder how it will effect each of us.
    * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
    * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
    * In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

  418. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Damn straight the clock hasn’t stopped ticking. And this time the game is for all the marbles.
    Let me go on record again as a proponent of the people who haven’t climbed the energy mountain being the ones who don’t fall off of it. What are pygmie hunter/gatherers going to lose? Electricity? Refrigeration? Large complex industrial agriculture? Or none of the above?
    Energy descent is a first-world issue. And first-world people who are serious about being counted among the survivors aren’t wasting time talking about the short-comings of “inferior” people. They are more often using them as a model!

  419. Cash September 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    I read the book a while back. Really interesting stuff.

  420. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Thanks for giving me such good springboards from which to launch my rants today! I’ve really enjoyed your commentary, Cash.

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  421. EvolutionaryView September 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    This article makes very witty and sharp commentary until it seems to descend into a kind of political blame-game.
    Sure, Obama and Chu have a messaging problem and even lack some moral courage. Sure, they dont get the national ‘political brain’ thing – they dont spell their values out consistently or clearly.
    By failing to address Peak Oil (“we’re here to begin national preparations in earnest” or connect up the dots on climate collapse (“we’re here to face up to the greatest threat humanity has ever met, & we will not fail”), they cant manage to elicit national common sense about much of anything else.
    There is no point complaining about a rollout of renewable energy – America is already far behind both Europe and China in this key area. The big developments in renewables, the smart grid, energy efficiency and energy storage are going to be vital to solving the climate-energy crisis.
    Looking in at America from outside the goldfish bowl, the real obstruction is seen more clearly as the virus-like influence in the US senate (etc) of Big Carbon corporations. The general psychological profile of “Corporate Persons” is that of a psychopath, (documented in the film “The Corporation”) Combine that with the greatest economic power in history (oil alone has an annual turnover in excess of $3 trillion) – you can buy politicians or governments. You can put in a president, start an oil war or two, dictate a regressive climate policy, stymie alternative energy sources, create a phoney (“Tea”) political party, buy the media megaphone (“Fox”), terrify the country’s intellectual leaders and generally set the stage for hydrocarbon facism.
    However this isnt the fault of the victims (the people) nor of this president and national science advisor. The villains are “coporate persons” whose money and psychopathology engineered this triumph of propaganda.

  422. San Jose Mom 51 September 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Happy autumn to everyone,
    Just got back from meeting with my so-called financial advisor, who isn’t very clever and doesn’t even try to understand me. I want to roll over an IRA, money I can’t touch until I’m 59 unless I want to get hit with huge tax bill. If I had my druthers I’d buy a bunch of silver and bury it in the back yard, but then my husband would get all snarky about it.
    The advisor (who’s been eating too many cheetos and twinkies lately) wants me to put the money in a “Wells Fargo WealthBuilder Moderate Balanced Portfolio” which will cost me 1% to get into and 1% a year. Ugghh.
    Does anyone know of a publicly traded company that encourages sustainable farming techniques, or a company that is ethical and employs workers in the US?

  423. turkle September 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    The blame game is fun. Let’s blame the Republicans. Heck, maybe everything is Sarah Palin’s fault. No, it is all the fault of the Democrats. Pelosi should be drawn and quartered. Or maybe it is those illegal immigrants or the murderous, suicidal Muslims. Or it could be the fault of Barack Hussein Obama, who is really a Muslim in disguise.
    Then you actually start to think about all the problems that will face the world in the future and some of which are here now: overpopulation, pollution, climate change, the dead/dying oceans, resource shortages, peak oil, etc.
    They are all global, and you can’t blame any one party for them.
    So, sure, say how smart white people are compared with some-other-race. It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. We’re all on the same spaceship. Kinda silly trying to point the finger at the people on Deck B from Deck A, especially since Deck A has the best cafeteria.

  424. turkle September 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Western civilization would not be in the dominant position it enjoys today without having colonized most of the best parts of the planet inhabited by non-western people for their resources. The Western countries siphoned off wealth from their colonies to build themselves up. That’s what colonialism was all about. It doesn’t have anything to do with innate racial superiority. The way I see it, Europe was a nasty incubation chamber for violence and war, so when the Europeans burst out of there circa 1500, they were ready to conquer the world, having fought with each other pretty much non-stop since Rome.
    Read “Guns, Germs, and Steel” for a good, non-biased view of world history written by someone who knows his business and doesn’t wear a bedsheet and pillow case around the house.

  425. Funzel September 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    myrtlemay,you sound like a bunch of blacks,complaining about having to sit in the back of a bus,the safest place on the bus.It was about time to stop those privileges,like having separate WC facilities for certain segment of the population.

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  426. turkle September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Anyone read these books? Food for thought, as far as I’m concerned. (Note the pun!)
    Overshoot by Catton
    Final Empire by Kotke
    Resource Wars by Klare
    The Oil Age is Over by Savinar
    Guns, Germs, and Steel by Diamond
    Collapse by Diamond
    I have been getting into some other esoteric stuff like Technics and Civilization, which lays some groundwork.
    I find the racial epithets just so tiresome and off base. In the future, feeding everyone on the planet will be a huge problem, and we have people here on this board obsessing over minor differences in average IQ between racial groups and how this makes one group “superior” to another. Talk about focusing on the wrong things.

  427. turkle September 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Internet race warriors make me laugh. Firstly, you’re almost all white, the most privileged racial group to ever exist. Secondly, you’re a bunch of pussies, complaining about other races behind the safety of your keyboards. Thirdly, Western civilization, predominantly white, has caused by far the most carnage and harm to other people on this planet, bar none. (even only counting WWII and WWI)
    So I find it downright hysterical that you guys are complaining about other races being present in America as somehow the death knell for civilization. After the slave trade, wiping out the Native Americans, colonizing half the planet, etc. you are all worried about a few Mexicans moving north. So funny.

  428. turkle September 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    “In a nutshell: Whites create. Yellows and some Browns maintain, and Blacks destroy.”
    I’m not sure about the rest, but you sure do create a lot of neo-Nazi drivel on the internet.

  429. San Jose Mom 51 September 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I’ve read all of Diamond’s books and would recommend them. I too, get tired of the racist rants. It’s the same old, same old, week after week. Predictable and unsavory stuff.
    I would be horrified if my kids read some of these posts over my shoulder, and lets face it, the name of this blog is skanky.

  430. neckflames September 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Got gold??? You can hold about 60 ounces in one hand which is about $75,000. A little creative thinking will reveal several ingenious places you can hide that around the house. I own alot of silver as well and as you imply the storage of it can be a problem. Let the husband be snarky. Get some gold. He will thank you some day. Also check out 321gold.com for some excellent commentary on the economy and the necessity of owning gold.

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  431. welles September 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    I have nothing but extreme disgust for ‘financial’ advisors, 99.7% of whom somehow MISSED the world’s largest ever depression. WTF??
    just buy GOLD, yes it is that simple, go look at a chart. neckflames is right sjmom

  432. turkle September 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Pinheads like Vlad like to reduce everything to a question of which race is “best,” ignoring geography, history, ecology, culture, and, you know, everything else that determines where the chips fall. The state of nations in Africa couldn’t possibly be because that continent mostly got its independence around 1970 and it is mostly in-fertile desert and highly overpopulated. No, it must be because Africans themselves are somehow inferior people.
    This will all end up like comparing the size of the brains of different dinosaurs. Actually, there is far more similarity between humans. Something like 99% of genetic material is shared between humans and chimps. Among humans, the differences are negligible.

  433. neckflames September 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Hello Welles,
    I located your town on a larger map of Brazil. About 30 miles from the coast or so. If commercial aviation remains affordable I may get down there in a couple of years.

  434. welles September 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    I think we’re more like 60 miles from the coastal town of Guaratuba. Curitiba is an indigenous name too, tons of indigenous-language placenames down here, reminds me of the same back in the US in places like Tunkhannock or Susquehannah.
    Just bring a laptop or two and sell ’em here for about $400 extra each, goes a long way to paying for your ticket. Lemme know if you’re interested.

  435. neckflames September 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Any two party contract type investment like stocks or bonds could in the event of collapse turn out quite different than expected. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s famous quote,
    “I’m not nearly as concerned about the return ON my capital as I am in the return OF my capital.”
    Also, if you are interested in buying even a little gold I recommend Austin & Co. in Cupertino. I’ve bought most of my gold there. And on this subject I will now cease and desist.

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  436. myrtlemay September 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Fantastic rant! Well done!

  437. San Jose Mom 51 September 23, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Great Mark Twain quote!!! I love it.
    I can’t take the money out to buy gold because I’d take a huge tax hit.
    I’m still fuming about the meeting with the financial advisor. He asked me, “Where do you think the market will be in 10 years?” I replied, “I have no idea.” Then I pointed out the chart on the Wells Fargo propaganda showing the 25% loss in 2008-2009. He stated “Yes, but now we are just above that!” I thought….duh, am I really going to pay 1% a year for breaking even….may as well get an index fund.
    I looked at the picture of his 5-year-old son playing pee-wee football and thought about what a foolish, risky sport for kids that is. How smart can the guy be? I saw that he graduated from college with a degree in philosophy–which normally I have respect for…thought about asking his views on Foucault and Derrida — but no, why bother. He’s just cog in the machine.

  438. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    “Does anyone know of a publicly traded company that encourages sustainable farming techniques, or a company that is ethical and employs workers in the US?”
    According to my philosophy, every dollar (yen/franc/mark…) that changes hands drives a world-destroying economy. I’m open to proof of exceptions. But to my mind one of the most useful places you could keep money would be here:
    While they still retain some value those fed notes would be directed into some truly procreative, fertility-generating, energy-descent-based projects, not corporate misdeeds or more innocent but improper environmental accounting projects.
    And I agree that the name of this blog is pretty smarmy. I have it linked on my blog, and I’m always embarrassed to send my link to certain people. Too bad we can’t find this kind of brilliant community on a more benign moniker.

  439. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    “Anyone read these books? Food for thought, as far as I’m concerned. (Note the pun!)”
    I’ve read Diamond’s GGS, Collapse, and about 2/3 through The Third Chimpanzee (all awesome), with Why is Sex Fun? on deck (just more awesome I’m guessing). The others I have not read, but will consider for sure. (My book list is already about 100 titles strong, from Voltaire’s Bastards to Monocultures of the Mind.)
    As I mentioned earlier today, I highly recommend Dr. Jared Diamond’s work!

  440. treebeardsuncle September 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Cash, you are mostly right about that, especially in regard to the stupid self-destructive behavior that European leaders inflicted on people during WWI and WWII.

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  441. asoka September 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Cash said:

    Yes sometimes the rules of engagement go out the window. Sometimes, not all the time. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes. Quit implying that shooting kids is done as part of a day’s work.

    Cash, killing civilians is a daily occurrence. The soldiers themselves have testified to doing it.
    If you don’t want to believe the words of the people who committed the atrocities, that is your problem.

  442. asoka September 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    One of the snipers replied back, ‘Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Fire on all taxicabs?’ The lieutenant colonel responded, ‘You heard me, trooper, fire on all taxicabs.’ After that, the town lit up, with all the units firing on cars. This was my first experience with war, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the deployment.”
    Vincent Emanuele, a marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take “trophy” photos of bodies.
    “An act that took place quite often in Iraq was taking pot shots at cars that drove by,” he said. “This was not an isolated incident, and it took place for most of our eight-month deployment.”

  443. ozone September 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Now that Summer’s has slipped the leash to return to the institution of “higher learning” (that he caused a pantload of loses via his wonderous investment advice), it’s time to devalue the USD! Hey, I’ll race ya to the bottom! (…now that the recession is over. ;o)
    What do you think ought to happen to those who purposely mislead to creative destruction?
    Check it all.

  444. ozone September 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Sorry… Summers(?) Sumerians(?) Smarmers(?)

  445. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    “Hey, I’ll race ya to the bottom!”
    I have 2 unemployment checks (4 weeks) remaining, and my after-school teaching job hasn’t started yet. Oh, and I’m still 2 months from getting my barely commercial mushroom business off the ground:{
    Yikes. Looks like I might “win”?
    -The Chief Smarmer

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  446. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    “A mentally healthy society would simply and bluntly refuse to accept these cynical offerings handed down from above.”
    When I saw this morning that TPTB were claiming that the recession ended last year, my first thought was, “you’ve got to be f’in’ kidding me!!” NOTHING in the real world backs up that statement. Nothing whatsoever. You can all go fuck yourselves and die. Or something to that effect. But then, I’m completely off my rocker, so who knows.
    Thanks for the vittles!

  447. ctemple September 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    You’re not off of your rocker, the inmates are running the asylum. The government and the corporate powers that be hire loads of propeller heads to misrepresent reality, and to put forth out and out propaganda. You can use statistics to make things look any way you want them to look.
    Plus I think most of the people in the government are divorced from any discernible reality anyway, even if their intentions were good.

  448. treebeardsuncle September 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    I read it Trip and Collapse as well and Spencer Wells Journey of Man. However, I consider the explanations to be only partial. All people who have developed complex advanced civilizations are descendended from the big game hunters who moved into central Asia from the Middle East sometime around 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.

  449. mika. September 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    You have your own reasons for accepting this racist propaganda. But you need to understand that it’s propaganda and that it’s meant to manipulate your behavior towards a specific agenda and goal. I hope you’re intelligent enough to live up to your claims of superior intelligence. Divide and conquer tactics, force and coercion, lying and thieving, are NOT a display of intelligence. As others have pointed out, the ravenous callous psychopaths will eat their own tail, and have done so on many occasions. That’s been the history of the blue-eyed devils by their own record. It is not an achievement of greatness. It is an achievement of disgrace and dis-intelligence.

  450. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Holy shit! Read Ozone’s link until you puke. I made it through the first two articles…

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  451. treebeardsuncle September 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Gold goes nowhere. Am up around $4000 in 4 accounts over the last week having bought APPLE, BAIDU, NETFLIX, and, yes, some Freeport Mcmorran, the last of which I plan to sell as soon as the market goes up again. Then will use it to buy more Apple before it reports its earnings around 10 21 2010. I plan on buying more Netflix with some cash I got from selling Apple and BAIDU today when the market dips a bit, probably tomorrow after the new home sales report comes out weak.

  452. neckflames September 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Right. So it’s an IRA I guess. There are also gold and silver ETFs which enable you to invest in bullion like you would invest in stocks. “Gold you can Fold” so to speak. You would be exempt from any tax penalties if you switched over to one of those.
    If you go that route your Financial Advisor will not be amused…

  453. San Jose Mom 51 September 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    EVERYONE should check out Ozone’s link!

  454. mika. September 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Real truth is always subversive.

  455. trippticket September 23, 2010 at 9:4