28 February 2006


Olympic flag raised in Vancouver
Last Updated: Tue Feb 28 23:04:18 EST 2006
CBC Sports

The countdown to the Vancouver Winter Games officially got underway Tuesday when Mayor Sam Sullivan presided over the raising of the Olympic flag during a ceremony at Vancouver City Hall.

An honour guard made up of the Vancouver police ceremonial unit along with the Vancouver Fire Department brass band, played as the massive 5-by-7.5 metre flag was unfurled.

Sullivan was beaming as the Olympic banner slowly made its way up the newly-built 25-metre flagpole. As it reached the top, a gust of wind caught the banner and the crowd erupted into applause.

The flag will stay at city hall until the Games begin in February of 2010.

"So now the world's eyes are on Vancouver," said John Furlong, the head of Vancouver's Olympic organizing committee.

"And as we look up at this flag – as it looks down on our city – we will be reminded of the responsibility we have taken on. We will be reminded of the promises that we've made to stage truly great Games for the world."

The Olympic flag has been passed from host city to host city since the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo.

But the flag that was raised on Tuesday isn't the same one Sullivan took from International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge and proudly waved from his specially-equipped wheelchair during the closing ceremony.

It's a replica flag flying on the lawn of city hall that will be replaced every six months. The replacements are manufactured in Vancouver.

A tired-looking Sullivan arrived in British Columbia with the flag on Monday. He said being at the Olympics was like nothing he's ever experienced before. He also admitted there were some anxious moments in the hours before the closing ceremony.

"I never had a billion people watch me do anything, and I also realized that I had to think what this was all about," Sullivan said.

"It was all about the athletes. It was about people striving to be their best."

Canadian athletes combined to win 24 medals at the Torino Games – Canada's best-ever medal haul.

Canada's previous best total was 17 medals. That plateau was reached in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Games.

Canadian Olympic officials are hoping to do even better in Vancouver. The goal is to win 35 medals and finish atop the medal standings.

I'm always a little sad when the Olympics, much like any big sporting event like the Tour de France, ends. It is always such a great distraction from the normal prime-time crap found on TV. Luckily the Commonwealth Games are starting in a few weeks so that will prolong the good television coverage. It will be nice to see some summer sports for a change too!

Anyone planning on going to Vancouver in 2010? I'm hoping to snag on to some event tickets when they come out for sale. It will be a great party and great time in a great city!

24 February 2006

Take part in the largest climate experiment ever...


Hotter, faster, worser

Published on 24 Feb 2006 by Common Dreams. Archived on 24 Feb 2006.
by John Atcheson

Over the past several months, the normally restrained voice of science has taken on a distinct note of panic when it comes to global warming.

How did we go from debating the "uncertainty" behind climate science to near hysterical warnings from normally sober scientists about irrevocable and catastrophic consequences? Two reasons.

First, there hasn’t been any real uncertainty in the scientific community for more than a decade. An unholy alliance of key fossil fuel corporations and conservative politicians have waged a sophisticated and well-funded misinformation campaign to create doubt and controversy in the face of nearly universal scientific consensus. In this, they were aided and abetted by a press which loved controversy more than truth, and by the Bush administration, which has systematically tried to distort the science and silence and intimidate government scientists who sought to speak out on global warming.

But the second reason is that the scientific community failed to adequately anticipate and model several positive feedback loops that profoundly amplify the rate and extent of human-induced climate change. And in the case of global warming, positive feedback loops can have some very negative consequences. The plain fact is, we are fast approaching – and perhaps well past – several tipping points which would make global warming irreversible.

In an editorial in the Baltimore Sun on December 15th, 2004 this author outlined one such tipping point: a self-reinforcing feedback loop in which higher temperatures caused methane – a powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas (GHG) – to escape from ice-like structures called clathrates, which raised the temperature which caused more methane to be released and so on. Even though there was strong evidence that this mechanism had contributed to at least two extreme warming events in the geologic past, the scientific community hadn’t yet focused on methane ices in 2004. Even among the few pessimists who had, we believed – or hoped – that we had a decade or so before anything like it began happening again.

We were wrong.

In August of 2005 a team of scientists from Oxford and Tomsk University in Russia announced that a massive Siberian peat bog the size of Germany and France combined was melting, releasing billions of tons of methane as it did.

The last time it got warm enough to set off this feedback loop was 55 million years ago in a period known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM, when increased volcanic activity released enough GHGs to trigger a series of self-reinforcing methane burps. The resulting warming caused massive die-offs and it took more than a 100,000 years for the earth to recover.

It’s looks like we’re on the verge of triggering a far worse event. At a recent meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences in St. Louis, James Zachos, foremost expert on the PETM reported that greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the atmosphere at thirty times the speed with which they did during the PETM.

We may have just witnessed the first salvo in what could prove to be an irreversible trip to hell on earth.

There are other positive feedback loops we’ve failed to anticipate. For example, the heat wave in Europe that killed 35,000 people in 2003 also damaged European woodlands, causing them to release more carbon dioxide, the main GHG, than they sequester – exactly the opposite of the assumptions built into our models, which treat forests as sponges that sop up excess carbon.

The same thing is happening to a number of other ecosystems that our models and scientists have treated as carbon sinks. The Amazon rainforest, the boreal forests (one of the largest terrestrial carbon sinks in the planet), and soils in temperate areas are all releasing more carbon than they are absorbing, due to global warming-induced droughts, diseases, pest activity, and metabolic changes. In short, many of the things we treat as carbon sponges in our models aren’t sopping up excess carbon; they’re being wrung out and releasing extra carbon.

The polar ice cap is also melting far faster than models predict, setting off another feedback loop. Less ice means more open water, which absorbs more heat which means less ice, and so on.

Even worse, we’ve substantially underestimated the rate at which continental glaciers are melting.

Climate change models predicted that it would take more than 1,000 years for Greenland’s ice sheet to melt. But at the AAAS meeting in St. Louis, NASA’s Eric Rignot outlined the results of a study that shows Greenland’s ice cover is breaking apart and flowing into the sea at rates far in excess of anything scientists predicted, and it’s accelerating each year. If (or when) Greenland’s ice cover melts, it will raise sea levels by 21 feet – enough to inundate nearly every sea port in America.

In the Antarctic seas, another potentially devastating feedback loop is taking place. Populations of krill have plummeted by 80% in the last few years due to loss of sea ice. Krill are the single most important species in the marine foodchain, and they also extract massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere. No one predicted their demise, but the ramifications for both global warming and the health of marine ecosystems are disastrous. This, too, will likely feed on itself, as less krill means more carbon stays in the atmosphere, which means warmer seas, which means less ice, which means less krill and so on in a massive negative spiral.

One of our preeminent planetary scientists, James Lovelock, believes that in the not too distant future humans will be restricted to a relatively few breeding pairs in Antarctica. It would be comfortable to dismiss Professor Lovelock as a doom and gloom crazy, but that would be a mistake. A little over a year ago at the conclusion of a global conference in Exeter England on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, scientists warned that if we allowed atmospheric concentrations of GHG to exceed 400 ppm, we could trigger serious and irreversible consequences. We passed that milestone in 2005 with little notice and no fanfare.

The scientific uncertainty in global warming isn’t about whether it’s occurring or whether it’s caused by human activity, or even if it will "cost" us too much to deal with it now. That’s all been settled. Scientists are now debating whether it’s too late to prevent planetary devastation, or whether we have yet a small window to forestall the worst effects of global warming.

Our children may forgive us the debts we’re passing on to them, they may forgive us if terrorism persists, they may forgive us for waging war instead of pursuing peace, they may even forgive us for squandering the opportunity to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle. But they will spit on our bones and curse our names if we pass on a world that is barely habitable when it was in our power to prevent it.

And they will be right to do so.

John Atcheson's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, as well as in several wonk journals. Email to: atchman@comcast.net

23 February 2006

The Second Coming

By William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


"The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."... Albert Einstein

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."... George Santayana

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."... Abraham Lincoln

"All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third , it is accepted as being self evident."... Arthur Schopenhauer

"By the time this is being read, currently available oil production capacity around the world will be producing flat out. How sustainable this proves remains to be seen."... Chris Skrebowski, editor, Petroleum Review, August 2004

Are we getting ripped off or what?

Americans work more, seem to accomplish less

Newly released research indicates most US workers say they feel rushed on the job, but they are getting less accomplished than a decade ago. Workers completed two-thirds of their work in an average day last year, down from about three-quarters in a 1994 study, according to research conducted for Day-Timers, a maker of organizational products. The biggest culprit is the technology that was supposed to make work quicker and easier, experts say. "Technology has sped everything up and, by speeding everything up, it's slowed everything down, paradoxically," said John Challenger, ceo of out placement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "We never concentrate on one task anymore. You take a little chip out of it, and then you're on to the next thing," Challenger said on Wednesday. "It's harder to feel like you're accomplishing something." Unlike a decade ago, US workers are bombarded with e-mail, computer messages, cell phone calls, voice mails and the like, research showed. The average time spent on a computer at work was almost 16 hours a week last year, compared with 9.5 hours a decade ago, according to the Day-Timer research released this week. Workers typically get 46 e-mails a day, nearly half of which are unsolicited, it said. Sixty percent of workers say they always or frequently feel rushed, but those who feel extremely or very productive dropped to 51% from 83% in 1994, the research showed. Companies that are flexible with workers' time and give workers the most control over their tasks tend to fare better against the sea of rising expectations, experts said. The latest study was conducted among a random sample of about 1,000 people who work at least part time. The earlier study surveyed some 1,300 workers.
(Reuters 060223)

Well, that study is sort of stating the obvious. Everyone is well aware that the technology advances of the past 15 years that were supposed to usher in a new age of leisure and freedom from the drudgery of soul-crushing work have only made things worse. We're all forced to live and go along with this ADD world we're presented with today, thanks to email, IM, cellphones and PDAs, whether you like it or not or whether you think it necessarily moves society further in the right direction. And to top it all off, adjusted for inflation, we're making less money for our efforts these days than we did 20 years ago. What the hell is going on? Who's taking the difference and pocketing it? I think we all know the answer to that. Sociopathic greedy old white men, that's who.

22 February 2006

A real post? Fuck off, you're lying!

No really! I'm alive, sort of.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know these news report postings do not a good blogger make, but whatayagonnado?

I've been camping out at the office for around, oh, say four weeks now. It's been absolute hell - a bunch of bad things happening all at the same time (think: a series of unfortunate coincidences), plus the fact one of my teammates is in Vancouver looking after his mom who is in cancer treatment, and the other is in Hawaii on vacation. I'm holding the entire sinking ship together. How fun. We have a final weekend software upgrade going in on Saturday and Sunday (which I'll be working through, of course), but after that, I'm really hoping things will calm down a bit.

Other than work, I've been trying to find time to retain a semblance of a training workout schedule (including burning off this disgusting ten pounds of winter fat), plus do normal-life stuff on the side when I find the time. I didn't take this job to be a stress case like many other people I know that take their jobs too seriously, and I think if this continues any longer, I might just jump ship to do something different. But then again, I am a whore for disposable income. Have you seen the company's stock price lately? Holy crap! Our CEO announced his retirement today, and the stock price jumped another $1.20 to around $58 on the TSX. Add to that the fact that the 2005 bonuses were announced today. If you got an achieves (100%) on your personal objectives, you will receive 150% of 5% of your pre-tax income as a bonus next week, since the corporate objectives went so well. It was a record year, and thankfully they're sharing some of the pot with the peons. Let's just say that that money will pay off some debt nicely. Sweet.

Nothing else is new. I haven't seen any of the gang in weeks. Maybe this will be a good weekend to catch up, if it stops snowing and I'm not working the entire weekend.

I am this stress-free...

...but wish I was this stress-free...

But who will grow the food?

Give aid or let family farms go bust: study

Family grain and oilseed farms can no longer turn a profit and society is at a crossroads at which it must choose whether to subsidize them or let them fade away, a University of Saskatchewan professor says. Hartley Furtan, a professor of agricultural economics, said an analysis of Statistics Canada data from 2003 shows family farms were kept afloat only by government subsidies and income earned outside farm gates. With similar data expected from 2004 and 2005 and a bleak outlook for 2006, it's time for society to make a choice, Prof. Furtan said. "If the sector is not important enough to warrant more financial support, let the market process take its course and we will have fewer farm families with less grain and oilseed production," Prof. Furtan writes in his policy paper, Whither Goes Prairie Agriculture. "If it is the families we care about, we need to consider new policies such as guaranteed annual income for farmers."

Meanwhile, with only two weeks on the job, Chuck Strahl, Canada's new agriculture minister, is asking farmers to give him more time to solve the income crisis. Strahl was heckled - some even turned their back on him - as he spoke to at least 2,000 farmers at a rally in Ottawa on Tuesday. “I've been two weeks on the job, guys, come on,” Strahl later pleaded. “The first day on the job, we paid out $750 million.” On Feb. 3, the day after being appointed as agriculture minister by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Strahl announced he was speeding up delivery of payments to grains and oilseeds producers. The cheques are being sent out this week. The former Liberal government had promised to provide the money to farmers in two separate payments spread over the year. Harper criticized the Liberals during the election campaign for splitting the payments, and pledged a further $500 million in emergency funds. Strahl acknowledges the money isn't yet enough to satisfy cash-strapped farmers. But he asked them Tuesday for time to meet with his provincial counterparts and industry representatives so he could forge a solution to the crisis.
(National Post, Canadian Press 060222)

20 February 2006

Greenland glaciers melting at faster pace: study

Last Updated Thu, 16 Feb 2006 14:28:02 EST
CBC News
Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than thought, meaning estimates of sea-level rise could be too low, scientists warn.

Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas included recent changes in glacier velocity in estimates of overall ice loss in Greenland.

Their findings were presented on Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis, Mo., and appear in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

"The behaviour of the glaciers that dump ice into the sea is the most important aspect of understanding how an ice sheet will evolve in a changing climate," Rignot said in a statement.

"It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet, but glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes."

If all of the ice on Greenland melted, it could raise sea levels seven metres. Most researchers say that would take at least 1,000 years, but, they add even half a metre could devastate low-lying countries.

"I would say the ice sheet could evolve in a very major way on the time scale of 100 years rather than 1,000 years," said Rignot. "This is something which is not so far from our lifetime."

Climate researchers have previously said rising sea levels could increase storm surges and affect people living in coastal regions.

Rignot and Kanagaratnam report that when faster glacier speeds are taken into account, Greenland contributes about 0.5 millimetres per year to global sea-level rise, which currently stands at three millimetres per year.

"This change, combined with increased melting, suggests that existing estimates of future sea level rise are too low," Julian Dowdeswell of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Britain's Cambridge University wrote in a commentary in the journal.

Ice loss due to glacier flow increased from 50 cubic kilometres of ice loss per year in 1996 to 150 cubic kilometres of ice loss annually in 2005, the team said.

Warmer temperatures may increase the amount of melt water reaching the ice, lubricating its slide towards the Atlantic, the researchers propose.

Increasing the amount of snowfall in Greenland is the only way to stem the loss of ice, Dowdeswell said.

17 February 2006


So, with the thermometer hitting -30C overnight, obviously there's a lot of structural stuff that starts to fall apart. Right now, there's burst water pipe in the wall behind my desk that runs into the 20th floor bathrooms. It sounds like a peaceful Zen garden in here, however once the water runs into the office, I'll be counting the minutes until someone in my area gets electrocuted while at their workstation.

Poor Skybar didn't make it to Dallas last night, also partially due to the inclement weather conditions here and in Toronto. He's stuck here with the rest of the shivering masses. I'm certain he's very happy about that fact. Hopefully we can all forget about the cold and fucking winter with copious amounts of alcohol this weekend. Did you ever wonder why Canucks were such drunks? This is why.

And I pose the question once again....when are we all moving south? My bags are packed already.

16 February 2006

Fifteen years too late

So, I would've thought our society would look into this as being the rational trend back in 1991 (when even I, at 20 years old thought this was the natural course of things), however things went insane for fifteen years and only now is it being revisited. North American manufacturers are only looking at this as a 'trend' due to their complete disassociation with what the market wants or needs. They probably fully expect this trend to blow over and people will start driving behemoths again. Losers. What a freakin' crock of shit. They're pure evil, I tells ya!

Small is the new big in autos

Subcompact cars, virtually abandoned during the 1990s with the rise of the mighty sport utility vehicle, are suddenly in vogue again amid high gas prices and changing consumer tastes. Subcompacts are the flavour of the month at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, where media previews began yesterday. The show opens to the public tomorrow. “A small car is high on our agenda,” Mark Fields, president of the Americas for Ford, said in an interview at the show yesterday. “I understand the Canadian market. I understand the competitiveness of the marketplace, the very different nature in terms of segmentation that you have here versus the US in terms of small cars.” That said, however, Ford does not have a subcompact and neither does DaimlerChrysler Canada, although it showed off the Akino concept vehicle yesterday and a video of the Dodge Hornet concept, which it will introduce at the Geneva Auto Show later this month. “It's important that we play in that arena,” Steven Landry, president of DaimlerChrysler Canada, acknowledged after clambering out of the Akino yesterday. “It's nice that we're at least considering concepts to that end.”

Industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, noted that 48% of purchases by Canadian consumers last year were entry level vehicles. That number, which excludes fleet purchases, compares with 38.9% who bought entry level vehicles in 2000, and shows how critical it is for DaimlerChrysler and Ford to develop new subcompacts. Mark Grimm, a New Jersey native who became president of Nissan Canada last year, said he was shocked when he arrived here and discovered how much bigger the small car segments are in Canada. But Grimm hit Canada at the right time because the auto maker will introduce a subcompact called the Versa later this year, plus a redesigned version of its Sentra compact. The Nissan subcompact will compete with the new Fit from Honda Canada, which will arrive later this year, and existing vehicles in the segment, including the Yaris from Toyota Canada and the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac Wave from General Motors of Canada.
(Globe and Mail 060216)

Free market economics would indicate the death knell for NA car manufacturers is coming soon, however, we all know that they employ far too many people for the governments to let them die. Needless to say, my tax money will be going to bail them out very soon once their true financial situation is known.

Ford official says market share may continue to slide this year

Ford's top US sales analyst said Wednesday the automaker's US market share will probably continue to decline this year despite its turnaround efforts. George Pipas said Ford's US market share has dropped by one percentage point - or roughly 150,000 vehicles - each year for the last five years. Arresting that decline and then stabilizing market share are top priorities in Ford's North American restructuring plan, but Pipas said the losses will probably continue in the near term. "It's very difficult to get that thing flat-lined in a year,'' Pipas told analysts during a conference sponsored by Prudential Financial. "Our goal this year is to reduce the rate of decline. Once the rate of decline is starting to narrow on a year-to-year basis, then we can think about stabilizing.'' Pipas wouldn't say what he thinks Ford's ideal market share will be amid increased competition in the US. Ford held a 17.4% share in 2005. He said a suitable market share would be one that lines up with Ford's production capacity. Ford is cutting that capacity as part of the restructuring, and plans to close 14 facilities and cut 30,000 jobs by 2012. Pipas said he expects Ford to be a solid performer this year in the growing crossover segment. He also said he expects Ford customers will remain loyal to the company's full-size pickups despite Toyota's newly redesigned Toyota Tundra, which will go on sale early next year.
(Canadian Press 060215)

Look out, here comes the inevitable winner of the stakes to destroy the planet most effectively!

China auto exports may roil rivals

China has emerged as a net exporter of vehicles for the first time, raising the specter of intensified competition for ailing US auto makers and other major car manufacturers around the world. The development could further raise tensions over China's surging exports, particularly in the US and Europe. China exported 172,800 vehicles in 2005, including 31,100 passenger cars and nearly 100,000 trucks, an increase of 27% from the year before, according to newly available customs figures. Imports last year totaled 161,600, the vast majority of them sedans and sport-utility vehicles from Japan, Germany and South Korea. One Chinese manufacturer, Chery Automobile, sold 18,000 cars in overseas markets. Chery's best-selling export model is a four-door compact known as the QQ, with a price tag that averages between $7,000 and $8,000. In 2008, the company says it is aiming to export 300,000 to 400,000 cars. But predictions of cheap and popular Chinese cars flooding the US and Europe may be premature, analysts say. Chinese manufacturers have formidable hurdles to overcome to build cars that will meet those nations' safety and environmental standards, as well as consumers' expectations for quality. But even if Chinese-made cars aren't headed to the US in big numbers yet, they are likely to heighten competition for US auto makers in markets around the world. In a report called "More Woes for Motown," Joseph Quinlan, chief markets strategist for Bank of America, said China's exports are "a harbinger of more deflation and margin pressure," particularly for the US auto industry.
(Wall Street Journal, Detroit News 060216)

What the.....?

I really need to find out more information on this, although I did read a bit about it yesterday. Okay, so, why are the oil companies getting $7B in royalty relief? Why are they getting $35B in tax exemptions? Why are they pulling in billions upon billions in profits? Aren't they profitable enough that they can fund their own R&D and exploration? Is this completely insane or do they have the balls of the Bush Administration grabbed so tight, they can essentially ask for anything and get it?

Congressman starts inquiry of windfall to oil companies

A House Republican began a broad investigation on Wednesday of a US Interior Department program that is expected to give billions of dollars in benefits over the next five years to companies that pump oil and gas on federal territory. In a letter on Wednesday to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, representative Richard Pombo, the chairman of the House Resources Committee, demanded memos, correspondence and data on the program and on the negotiations over the law that created it in 1996. Pombo, a California Republican, said he was beginning the investigation in response to an article published on Tuesday in The New York Times. That article, drawing on the Interior Department's budget plan for next year, reported that the administration expected to give more than US$7 billion worth of "royalty relief" to companies producing oil and gas on federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The article also disclosed that energy companies had begun a courtroom challenge to a crucial restriction on the incentives that would, if successful, reduce their taxes by $35B or more by 2012. At issue is a program that Congress began in 1996, when both Democrats and Republicans wanted to encourage more exploration and production in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The program allows the Interior Department, which leases tens of millions of acres of publicly owned land and coastal waters, to let companies pump large volumes of oil and gas in deep waters without paying the government a royalty on their sales. In general, this royalty relief is supposed to stop when oil and gas prices climb above certain trigger points, and prices have been above those points since the end of 2002.
(New York Times 060216)

Happy b-day!

CPR celebrates 125th birthday on February 16, 2006

February 16, 2006 is an historic day for CPR. It is the 125th birthday of the railway’s incorporation, and to celebrate the milestone the company has put its birth certificate – the Canadian Pacific Railway Company charter – on display at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. The charter is considered by some to be the country’s most significant private company legal document, not only monetarily but historically. The CPR company charter is on a term loan to the Glenbow Museum. “CPR’s company charter, with its 69 clauses, is not just another typical corporate legal document,” added CPR president, Fred Green. “It is the multi-paged document that allowed Canada to physically link east with west. The CPR transcontinental railway spawned by the charter provided the country with an economic and strategic artery. As well, it continues to remind us how 125 years later, CPR remains a key transportation force for moving Canada’s commerce.” Mike Robinson, president and ceo of the Glenbow Museum said, “This document goes right to the soul of our country and the national dream of a railway to bring us altogether -- from Atlantic to Pacific -- as Canada."

The CPR company charter will be previewed this year, and then become part of Glenbow's new permanent gallery Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, which will feature over 40 of “the adventurous, hard working and spirited men and women who shaped Alberta's history.” In addition to featuring the charter, the permanent gallery, which will open in February 2007, will include CPR's railway-building gm, William Van Horne, as one of the maverick characters. “The CPR company charter has never been on display for public viewing, so this is a very special occasion for our company. We are extremely pleased to have worked with the Glenbow so that Calgarians and visitors from across Canada and the world have an opportunity to see this historic document,” said Green. “From 1881 to 2003 it was kept in Montreal and Toronto and then relocated to our North American Headquarters in Calgary three years ago. Since then it has been carefully stored and preserved.” Green noted that due to the document’s age, the Glenbow’s ongoing practice of handling fragile historic artifacts and artworks will ensure the proper climatic conditions and security measures are continued to be met.
(CPR news release 060216)

Joe and I are heading to the Glenbow tonight to see the display. They're giving free passes to all company employees to see the exhibit, and also take in the rest of the sights at the Museum (including the Petra display). I've lived in Calgary for eight years and never been to the Glenbow. It's about time, and it's free!

15 February 2006

Why oil will hit $100 a barrel

By Nils Blythe
BBC News business correspondent

The era of easy oil is over, but growing demand from countries like India and China is forcing oil firms to enter unusual territory.

Mike Watts is a man of deep convictions. For years he was convinced that there was oil in large quantities deep beneath the sand of the Rajasthan deserts in Western India.

Few other people in the industry agreed with him.

Mike's company - Cairn Energy - was in partnership with the Anglo-Dutch giant Shell to explore the area.

Eventually, after some discouraging early forays, Cairn paid Shell £7m to buy Shell out of the project.

Then, just over two years ago, it struck oil in a big way.

The find was big enough to propel Cairn from a small exploration business to a company with a value of nearly £3bn.

No big finds anymore

Enough to make a difference in an impoverished region of India. But not enough to alter the balance of supply and demand in the world.

"The easy oil has already been found," explains Mike Watts on a sandy hilltop overlooking the Mangala discovery well which made his company's fortune. Oil companies are having to look much harder for major new oil finds.

And while some new finds are being made, like Cairn's in Rajasthan, few people in the oil industry believe that new discoveries will match the vast oil fields found in the 20th century.

And demand for oil is likely to go on rising.

Energy audit

To see why, travel a few miles from Cairn Energy's Mangala well-head and visit the local school.

It's the only stone building in the vicinity. The children walk here from simple huts surrounded by thorn hedges in the desert.

There is no electricity at the school or anywhere else. Local transport is provided by camels pulling carts.

And water is drawn from wells by hand.

Conduct a simple "energy audit" and you discover that the children use almost no energy. They were hazy about what a fridge was used for and few of them had ever travelled in a car.

But, with India's economy growing fast, these children and hundreds of millions like them are likely to become much heavier energy users as adults.

"If we are to rid ourselves of the scourge of poverty, demand for energy will at least double in the next 20 years," says India's former Energy Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar.


And Mr Aiyar's view is broadly in line with the latest projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It forecasts that the world's total energy requirements will rise by half in the next 25 years.

The IEA candidly admits that such an increase would be "unsustainable" for the world's environment. It argues that in future much greater use will have to be made of non-fossil fuels.

And energy will have to be consumed much more efficiently.

But at present global demand for energy in general - and oil in particular - is rising inexorably. With supply struggling to keep pace with demand, oil prices are likely to remain high for years to come, according to leading figures in the industry.

'$100-a-barrel oil'

Sir Bill Gammell is the chief executive of Cairn Energy. He's a former Scottish rugby international who went to school with Tony Blair and knew George Bush when he was just a young Texas oil man with a famous father.

Sir Bill's company was exploring for oil through the lean years of the 90s when the price of a barrel of crude was hovering around $20 a barrel.

Today the price is close to $60, and Sir Bill thinks it may go higher because supplies can barely keep pace with demand.

"I think we might see $100 oil in the next five years" says Sir Bill. "We won't see $20 again."

Next stop: Nepal

A similar view - from a rather different perspective - is expressed by India's former Energy Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar.

"As Mahatma Ghandi said - nature has given enough to meet man's need but not enough to meet man's greed. So unless the West curbs its greed we will stay in an era of high prices," says Mr Aiyar.

Meanwhile the hunt for new oil goes on.

Mike Watts, the exploration director of Cairn Energy has earned the nickname "sniffer" for his ability to find black gold.

He's now convinced that he will find worthwhile amounts of oil in the unlikely surroundings of Nepal.

A few things we all learned today

Monday, 13 February 2006

Just to review, in the wake of Tricky Dick's 18-Hour Gap:

-It is perfectly sporting not to shoot at quail in the air, but near the ground -- at roughly eye level, in fact.
-It is also responsible to fire at eye level when you do not know where a member of your party is.
-There is no reason a hunter should be expected to know what he is shooting.
-If you are shot by the vice president, it is your own fault for not first shouting, "Mister vice president, sir! Please do not shoot me in the face, neck, and torso!"
-Being wounded in the face, neck, and torso by a shotgun is something that happens to hunters all the time.
-Shotgun wounds are inherently minor.
-People also go into intensive care with minor wounds all the time.
-There is no reason to worry about a 78-year old man who has been shot in the face, neck, and torso and has been in intensive care for days.
-A 78-year-old man who has been shot in the face, neck, and torso is obviously healthy if his eyes are open and he is able to speak.
-It is perfectly respectable to kill animals not because you need to put food on the table, but for fun. It is good that our leaders take pleasure in killing.
-Shootings by vice presidents are always reported by local newspapers, who learn a few carefully-chosen details from a friend of the vice president, after she has spoken with Karl Rove.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a man, there is no reason the president of the United States should immediately learn exactly what happened.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a man, there is no reason the public should find out about it until the next day.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a man, there is no reason he should be interviewed by local law enforcement until enough time has passed for his body to metabolize any alcohol in his bloodstream.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a man, he is not subject to any of the relevant state or local statutes.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a man, he does not even need to face the press or public in person.
-When the vice president of the United States shoots a 78-year-old friend in the face, neck, and torso, putting him in intensive care for days, after negligently firing a weapon for the sheer pleasure of killing, he can insist that he has done nothing wrong and go to bed with a clear conscience.

Well, glad we got that all cleared up.

Comedians aim sights on Cheney's hunting mishap

Last Updated Tue, 14 Feb 2006 15:34:57 EST
CBC Arts
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting trip last weekend has provided plenty of game for U.S. comics.

Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion, lawyer Harry Whittington, in the face with shotgun pellets while attempting to shoot quail. Whittington was back in intensive care Tuesday after suffering a heart attack, brought on by a pellet close to the heart, doctors said.

But on Monday, late-night television couldn't get enough of the story.

"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, [was] shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honour, integrity and political manoeuvring. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird," Jon Stewart said on his news parody show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Stewart also used the occasion to make fun of Cheney's relations with prominent lobbyists.

"Moms, dads, if you're watching right now, I can't emphasize this enough: do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice president. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted — it's just not worth it."

David Letterman, Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson also took pokes at the vice president, but there was another surprising entry from a Hollywood star who's not known as a comedian.

George Clooney, a prominent liberal who has been an outspoken opponent of many of Cheney's policies, made a quip about the vice president at a luncheon for Oscar nominees on Monday. He told a press conference Cheney would come with him as his date to the Oscar ceremony.

"I am bringing Dick Cheney as my date. He was so nice. He called me and invited me to go hunting," Clooney said.

Letterman aimed some of his famous one-liners at Cheney.

"Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: it's Dick Cheney," he said on the Late Show with David Letterman.

"But here is the sad part — before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armour."

And in reference to the inability of the Bush administration to catch the architect of the war on terror, Letterman said, "We can't get [Osama] bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."

Over on NBC, Leno referred to it as the big story of the weekend.

"Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-old lawyer. In fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his popularity is now at 92 per cent," he said on The Tonight Show.

"Dick Cheney is capitalizing on this for Valentine's Day. It's the new Dick Cheney cologne. It's called Duck!" he added.

"I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?'"

Ferguson on the Late Late Show on CBS also picked up the thread of Whittington being a lawyer.

"He is a lawyer and he got shot in the face. But he's a lawyer, he can use his other face. He'll be all right," he said.

"You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down, because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.'"

And in reference to prominent leaks from the vice president's office, Ferguson quipped.

"The big scandal apparently is that they didn't release the news for 18 hours. I don't think that's a scandal at all. I'm quite pleased about that. Finally there's a secret the vice president's office can keep."

"Apparently the reason they didn't release the information right away is they said we had to get the facts right. That's never stopped them in the past."

Brokeback Mountain

So, we finally went to see 'Brokeback Mountain' last night. Nice Valentine's Day date movie, eh?

All I can say is - what a sad freakin' story. Gay love story, be damned. That wasn't the focus of the movie. It is a wonderful cinematic example of convincing character development (or maybe un-development?). The anguish in the characters was completely captivating. Heath Ledger did such a great job as the internally/eternally tortured loner-type, Ennis DelMar - destroying lives along the way because he couldn't face the truth behind his feelings. I can't say enough how well both Heath and Jake brought across the awkwardness, guilt, shame, yearning and pain of what they felt for each other but could never commit to. The ending was so sad. Circle of life, live each day to it's fullest, and don't let the things you truly care about in your life get away from you.

13 February 2006

The Hollow Men

by T.S. Eliot

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

10 February 2006

Are you offended?

Exerpt from Vox's Den:

The following cartoons were published in the Palestinian press some time ago. They are not intended to be blasphemous to Christianity (seriously). Let me explain.

A lot of devout Muslims don't accept the Islamists' rhetoric and reject concepts like the war of civilizations. Note that these peaceful Muslims are not totally innocent. They never stand up against their fanatics (and when they do they are accused of apostasy), so I consider them to be passive accomplices of all the crimes comitted in their name. These pious Muslims do not hate the rest of the world but they strongly disagree with Western policy in the region. They see these policies as imperialistic and unbalanced towards Israel.

To have a coherent set of beliefs, they need to believe that Western governments don't really represent the Western people because these governments are controlled by the Jews. Deep inside, the Muslim masses know that this argument is pure crap, but they pretend to believe it in order to keep some ideological consistency. From this perspective, the West is not really an enemy because it is manipulated by the Zionists.

Arab nationalists were the first to spread these theories because it allowed the so-called 'Arab Christians' to be presented as Arabs and not as a Zionist fifth columnists. Arab nationalism is dead today but the argument was so popular that it has been recovered by Islamism, the ideological heir of the Arab nationalism.

My point is that from the 'devout Muslim' point of view, the following cartoons are rather pro-western since they depict the alleged suffering of the Christian West under Jewish rule.

Did somebody see these cartoons in France, UK or Germany? Does somebody even care ??

West sucks, East blows

US trade deficit hits all time high

The US trade deficit soared to an all-time high of US$725.8 billion in 2005, pushed upward by record imports of oil, food, cars and other consumer goods. The deficit with China hit an all-time high, as did America's deficits with Japan, Europe, OPEC, Canada, Mexico and South and Central America. The Commerce Department reported that the gap between what America sells abroad and what it imports rose to $725.8B last year, up by 17.5% from the previous record of $617.6B set in 2004. It marked the fourth consecutive year that America's trade deficit has set a record as American consumers continued their seemingly insatiable demand for all things foreign from new cars to televisions and electronic goods. The numbers are certain to spark increased debate in Congress over President George W. Bush's trade policies. Since mid-2000 the country has lost nearly three million manufacturing jobs and Democrats blame the administration's flawed policies of emphasizing free trade agreements.

The US trade deficit with China rose to a record $201.6B last year, the highest deficit ever recorded with any country and 24.5% above the previous record of $161.9B set in 2004. Part of that increase reflected a 42.6% increase in imports of Chinese clothing and textiles, which soared at the beginning of the year after the removal of global quotas. The US also recorded record deficits with Japan at $82.7B. Until it was surpassed by China in 2000, Japan was the country that had the largest trade gap each year with the US. America's trade deficit set records with much of the rest of the world as well. Among those records was a $122.4B gap with the European Union, a $92.7B deficit with the nations that belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a $76.5B deficit with Canada and a $50.1B deficit with Mexico. The deficit with the countries of South and Central America rose to a record $50.7B last year. A huge 39.4% jump in petroleum imports, which rose to $251.6B, was a major factor contributing to last year's deficit increase. The price of those imports rose to an all-time high, reflecting tight global supplies. The US was forced to import more oil in the fall after Hurricane Katrina caused widespread shutdowns of Gulf Coast production.
(Associated Press 060210)

Quotes from Clusterfuck Nation regarding China's options on handling the trade deficit:
The Chinese can't spend their dollars, because spending them will make them worthless. They only have book value as long as they aren't used. So they are rich, but can't ever use their money.

Consider for a moment if you have 5 million widgets. You price them at $5/ea. There's a world wide market for 500/year. If you sold them as scrap, you'd get a 1/2 penny for each.

How much are your 5 million widgets worth?

The dollars the Chinese hold are worthless, because they can't be spent. If I were in their shoes, I'd be slowly exchanging them for Euros as that's where oil is ultimately going to be traded for. If they hold the dollars then each year, those banked dollars will lose value as the Fed spews them out at ever higher rates. The Euro is showing itself to be a better store of value.

Oh wait, the Chinese are divesting dollars, aren't they?

Don't overestimate the Chinese, they are about to face serious problems of their own. They have built so much excess manufacturing capacity and commercial space that prices of manufactured goods and buildings are falling fast. Electricity demand growth is also slowing fast, down from 17% to 13%.

It is pretty obvious that as the US consumer slows down further and further, China is going to hit the wall and its bubble will burst hard. They will go through a long recession, or at least a very sharp drop in growth that will feel like a recession.

And since it was their huge increase in demand that was at work in the oil markets...well, you get the picture...

The Chinese will likely do what any wealthy nation does when faced with a deep recession/depression. They'll divert resources into defense and start converting factories to making munitions.

Then they'll invent a market for those munitions and find a use for them.

Yes, the Chinese have a GAAP mark to market problem. If they were a mutinational in New York, the treasuries would be "Present Valued" down to a lot less. They functionally cannot even spend the interest they earn. If you cannot spend the interest what is the basis for present valuing? The looniness of American GAAP revealed here.

The Chinese indeed have already hit the wall. Their positive net trade with the US is like working for nothing to the extent of the net trade position. The Chinese must still issue Yuan to pay for the frozen receivable UNLESS it is pure uncollected profit. Might that just be the situation a Confucian tight-fisted Chinese merchant mind would insure they achieve! In that case, the worthless receivable simply does not damage them. indeed it is a superb war asset.

They do have an ace. They could build a better command economy since they still have a loose command economy anyway. Their people do as they are told, an immense asset.

Suddenly, the dead beat customer starts trying to corner the market for essentials on your turf. One might get a bit burned about the whole thing.

Might it be that the net value of the business owning the uncollectable receivable might be enhanced by burning some of the receivable in the right fireplace?

I guess the Chinese argument boils down to this, "The Chinese must continue to accept worthless dollars that they can never spend or else risk devaluing the worthless dollars they can never spend."

I've had the opportunity to do work with Xin Xua News Agency in the past. I wrote software for image manipulation and did some training for them. None of it was anything you couldn't find in a textbook. But I found them to be intelligent, witty and resourceful.

This is the same nation that gave us Sun Tzu and the Art of War, the Great Wall of China, gunpowder and explosives. They maintained a civilization for more than 5 thousand years while Greece and Rome came and went. Europe rose and fell, then rose again. And after all they've accomplished, Americans think of them all as backward peasants.

We accept as truth that a nation that has survived 5,000 years without capitalism is suddenly completely dependant on capitalism, that this nation has no other course left to it.

We accept as truth that Capitalism is the only economic system that a nation can use.

We accept as truth that the US Dollar is the rightful currency of capitalism.

We accept as truth that a nation cannot abandon capitalism without destroying itself.

I don't know that these things are true. It wasn't true for China before 1970. It seems to me that the Chinese acceptance of capitalism may just be a convenience.

If you look at China's hoarding of worthless dollar assets and examine that in light of Sun Tzu, then I agree, that these assets look more like military assets than economic assets. The Chinese cannot use them except to destroy the US economically. There is no other possible use for these dollars. If they spend them, they ruin the US. If they give them away, they ruin the US. If they exchange them for Euros, they ruin the US.

What we've done is handed the Chinese an economic nuclear weapon that will destroy the US if used, and we are asking them not to use it.

No wonder Clinton made nuclear secrets and missile guidance technology available to the Chinese. China already owns the US.

The Chinese have found one small use for a trickling of US funds. They buy US businesses, then shut them down, while diverting sales to Chinese businesses.

Business is War. The US is losing at Business.

Capitalism and Free Market economics isn't the only system in the world.

Who says China has to sell everything they make now? Who says they have to make things at the level they do now? Who says they have to keep making what they are making? And who says they have to market anything?

From a Global Economist's point of view, you are right, because you can't see the other options.

China could do what the US does when times get rough, just mobilize an army and invade another country for their resources. Or more intelligently, simply draft its citizens, arm them with new Chinese weapons and hire them out as a mercenary army to defend oil fields. They don't have to have a lot of experience as they have the capability of drafting and throwing more men into a field than any other nation. And after the dollar is sunk and the US doesn't sell the US goods to wage wars with, the Chinese soldiers could be out there in body armor the Americans would drool over.

America sheds free market capitalism and goes to war when the rich need to get richer - the Chinese could play that game too.

09 February 2006

Danish paper behind Prophet drawings ready to publish Iran's Holocaust cartoons

14:02:42 EST Feb 8, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) - The Danish editor behind publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that ignited deadly riots in the Muslim world said Wednesday he is willing to publish cartoons on the Holocaust from Iran.

"My newspaper is trying to establish a contact with the Iranian newspaper, and we would run the cartoons the same day as they publish them," Flemming Rose of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's American Morning.

The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri said Tuesday it would hold the competition to test whether the West extends the same principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to caricatures of the Prophet.

Meanwhile, the chief editor of Jyllands-Posten's Sunday edition, Jens Kaiser, said Wednesday it was quality, not content, that made him reject caricatures of Jesus three years ago, even though he told the cartoonist at the time that he feared "an outcry."

The cartoons had been sent in unsolicited.

Kaiser's e-mail to the cartoonist rejecting the drawings has been circulated to news media in recent days, apparently to question Jyllands-Posten's commitment to free speech regardless of topic.

In his e-mail, Kaiser told the rejected cartoonist that readers would not enjoy the drawings, which "will provoke an outcry."

Kaiser said Wednesday that he had actually rejected them because "their quality was not good."

However, he conceded that it "looks like we have opted for a line to publish Muhammad drawings and not Jesus drawings."

"I have been Sunday editor for 18 years, and I can say that 90-95 per cent of the unsolicited material we get is turned down," he said.

The cartoons denigrating the Prophet were first published by Jyllands-Posten in September. As Muslim protests mounted, numerous European newspapers have reprinted them in recent days in the name of free expression, provoking wider and angrier protests.

Rose, Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, told CNN he came up with the idea of the Prophet cartoon contest after several local cases of self-censorship involving people fearing reprisals from Muslims.

"There was a story out there and we had to cover it," Rose said. "We just chose to cover it in a different way, according to the principle: Don't tell it, show it."

The drawings - including one depicting the Prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb - have touched a nerve, in part, because Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad, even favourable ones, for fear they could lead to idolatry.

"I do not regret it," Rose said. "I think it is like asking a rape victim if she regrets wearing a short skirt at a discotheque Friday night.

"In that sense, in our culture, if you're wearing a short skirt, that does not necessarily mean you invite everybody to have sex with you. As is the case with these cartoons, if you make a cartoon, make fun of religion, make fun of religious figures, that does not imply that you humiliate or denigrate or marginalize a religion."

The Iranian newspaper said its contest would be launched Monday and co-sponsored by the House of Caricatures, a Tehran exhibition centre for cartoons.

The newspaper and the cartoon centre are owned by the Tehran Municipality, which is dominated by allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, well-known for his opposition to Israel and has questioned the Holocaust as a possible 'myth.'.

Meanwhile, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Juste, said Wednesday he had no intention of resigning over the issue.

He remarks came after Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen said on national radio that "when an editor-in-chief admits he made an erroneous judgment . . . he should quit."

In a brief reply on the newspaper's website, Juste said: "I do not feel called . . . in that direction."

Jyllands-Posten said on Jan. 30 it regretted it had offended Muslims and apologized to them, but stood by its decision to print the cartoons, saying it was within Danish law. Two days later, Juste said he would not have printed the cartoons had he foreseen the consequences.

© The Canadian Press, 2006

08 February 2006


Weekly Grocery Lists for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Summer, 1962




Coffee (espresso grind)
2 tubes K-Y

Fresh Fava beans
Jasmine rice
Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced
Medallions of veal
Porcini mushrooms< BR>1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long
5-6 bottles good Chardonnay
1 large bottle Astro-glide

Yukon Gold potatoes
Heavy whipping cream
Asparagus (very thin)
Gruyere cheese (well aged)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
6 yards white silk organdy
6 yards pale ivory taffeta
Case of Chardonnay
Large tin Crisco


1: Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
2: It is ok for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:
a. When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
b. The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
c. After wrecking your boss' car.
d. One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game".
e. When she is using her teeth.
3: Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and eaten by his buddies.
4: Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
5: If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.
6: Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge is forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
7: No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly optional.
8: On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
9: When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
10: You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.
11: It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.
12: Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.
13: Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
14: Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
15: If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
16: Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
17: A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
18: Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
19: If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
20: Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.
21: Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting weights:
a. Yeah, Baby, Push it!
b. C'mon, give me one more! Harder!
c. Another set and we can hit the showers!
22: Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing (i.e. both urinating, both waiting in line, etc.) For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
23: Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
24: The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have carnal drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was occurs.
25: It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.
26: Thou shall not buy a car in the colors of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.
27: The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.
28: There is no reason for guys to watch ice skating or men's gymnastics. Ever.

We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definition of each is listed below.

GUTS - is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask, "Are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"

BALLS - is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say, "You're next!"

07 February 2006

Prenuptial Agreement for the Biker

This agreement acknowledges that the forthcoming marriage is an arrangement that accepts the perpetual continuity of pre-existing relationship between the first two parties and that a three-way coexistence shall be created consisting of the following participants:
Spouse A (the non biking loved one) hereafter referred to as SA; Spouse B (the biker) hereafter referred to as SB, and; The Bike (the glorious one) hereafter referred to as TB.

Condition I: Acknowledgment SA shall henceforth recognize that SB and TB have forged a long standing and unbreakable relationship and shall never attempt to permanently divide, or otherwise separate the two.

Condition II: Cohabitation SA and SB shall agree upon comfortable and equal living quarters for TB, it's related service equipment and riding gear. TB shall only be exposed to the elements of nature during rides. All other times TB shall have access to warm, dry, low traffic living space. If at any time there should be conflict w/ SA, SB or furniture, TB shall have preference as to where it stays. In SA's absence TB shall be permitted bedroom space (if not already arranged).

Condition III: Exclusivity and Infidelity At no time shall SA, SB, or TB be loaned out to be ridden by anyone outside the three-way relationship. SA must request from SB permission to ride, fondle or otherwise physically contact TB and only do so in the presence of SB.

Condition IV: Equal Time SA shall be guaranteed quality time equivalent to TB unless it conflicts with TB in which case TB gets preference. Service time shall be guaranteed and considered a separate requirement. In the event of emergency, ie SA stranded, child sets hair on fire etc, SB shall complete whatever TB related activity as soon as possible and attend said emergency. In the event of a in-law visit or should for any reason, SB become depressed, or otherwise in need of stress relief, SB shall be permitted as much time w/TB or TB related activities, magazines, books, events etc as needed until such time SB feels better.

Condition V: Parts SA and SB will agree that SB be permitted and encouraged to purchase any and all TB related equipment at any and all times, weather they be repairs, replacements, upgrades, or just plain Chi-Chi. Any replaced parts shall be considered cherished spares and provided appropriate storage space equivalent to that provided for TB, preferably under the bed, favorite closet or on coffee table as a conversation item. New Items immediately installed shall require TB to be put on prominent display (ie in front of TV). Newly purchased items not immediately installed shall be put on display as a centerpiece during the day and they shall be kept under the pillow of SB at bed time, unless it is potentially dangerous to said part. This shall be for no less than 5 days or until they are installed whichever comes first.

Condition VI: Finance All household finance shall be considered separate from TB finance. If conflict should arise then TB gets preference.

Condition VII: Disposition In the event SA has a compatible bike SB can offer spare parts to be temporarily installed for use by SA until such time SB requires their use on TB. No prior notice is required. All equipment and The Bike they are installed upon or intended for, shall remain the property of SB come hell or high water, and shall not be relinquished under any circumstance including death, in which case the surviving party will be obligated to complete the upgrades (expressed, implied or dreamed of)and bury the bike with the departed, unless TB or SB requests a separate grave in which case they shall be buried side by side and SA shall not be buried between them.

Condition VIII: Protected Communications All TB related communications intended for SB, be they voice (phone messages, visitors); print (mail-order catalogues, etc.); or electronic (e-mail, buddies calling to ride, etc.) shall be forwarded and delivered to SB as expediently as possible. Furthermore, no censorship of said communications shall occur, and SA agrees to refrain from making disparaging comments about the content of these communications and/or their source(s).

Extended Conditions: TB shall never be the focus of an argument nor brought up as part of one. TB shall never be discussed w/ in-laws unless said discussion is in praise or defense of TB. No retaliation shall ever be taken against TB.

All of the above is to be considered iron-clad and in stone and non negotiable, unless of course, the nonbiker says so.

Further to Jon's comments

Exerpt from JIM REED:
The power of the press: a double-edged sword

CBC News Viewpoint | February 6, 2006

And I quote:
There's an ironic and telling footnote to the "freedom of the press" issue that westerners seem to feel is at the heart of this whole matter. It involves the same Danish paper. It seems that, back in 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted cartoons that lampooned Jesus. The paper refused to publish them and here's how the editor explained his decision:

"I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore I will not use them" Maybe Shakespeare applies – at least on this point – when he wrote, "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark."

Now THAT'S hypocrisy. Smells like there is a waft of racism in the intents of the newspaper editors. I believe reasonable inquiry should apply to everything in modern society, including religions, however I think there is also a responsibility of individuals to show restraint in how they express their reactions to the questions they pose.

05 February 2006

Once again, religion must die! Stop the insanity!

Lebanese minister quits after rioters torch embassy
Last Updated Sun, 05 Feb 2006 21:21:42 EST
CBC News
Lebanon's interior minister has resigned after thousands of protesters, angered by newspaper publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, rampaged through a Christian neighbourhood in Beirut and torched the Danish Embassy.

Officials said at least one person died and about 200 people were arrested in the violence on Sunday, which came a day after Syrian demonstrators set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus.

Muslim anger over the depictions, which were first published in a Danish newspaper and reprinted elsewhere, continued to build on Sunday with other protests held in at least 25 countries.

Lebanese Interior Minister Hassan Sabei submitted his resignation during a late-night emergency cabinet meeting.

Sabei said about 3,000 soldiers and police officers did their best to stop the crowd but were overwhelmed by as many as 20,000 protesters, many armed with sticks and stones.

He said he hadn't been prepared to risk a bloodbath to stop them.

"Things got out of hand when elements that had infiltrated into the ranks of the demonstrators broke through security shields," he said.

"The one remaining option was an order to shoot, but I was not prepared to order the troops to shoot Lebanese citizens."

Before storming the embassy, the protesters marched through the Christian area of east Beirut, burning cars, smashing windows and attacking a Christian church.

A line of soldiers and security officers held back protesters for a while by lobbing tear gas, spraying water cannons and firing warning shots into the air.

But the protesters broke through the cordon and started a fire that gutted the10-storey embassy, which had been evacuated two days ago for fear of violence.

Officials said at least 30 people were injured, including more than a dozen security officers. Security officials told the Associated Press that a protester died after leaping from a window of the embassy to escape the smoke.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said about 200 people had been detained. Police officials said they included 76 Syrians, 35 Palestinians and 38 Lebanese.

Denmark urged its citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as they could.

Many prominent Muslims, as well as political leaders across Lebanon and around the world, condemned the violence.

Some Muslim clerics had tried to wade in front of the crowd of demonstrators and keep them from torching the embassy.

The spiritual leader of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims, Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, was among those who suggested that Islamic radicals had incited the crowds.

Kabbani accused non-Lebanese agitators of infiltrating the protest to try to "harm the stability of Lebanon" and "distort the image of Islam."

A leading Sunni politician in Lebanon, Saad Hariri, said the incident marked a "black day" for the country's Muslims.

But some protesters said their actions and anger were justified.

"Anyone else who will only think about insulting our Prophet – he will be killed," one of the protesters, Achmad, told CBC News. "The people who wrote about our Prophet and draw his picture: we are not finished with them."

Protests were also held in other countries around the world on Sunday, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, the West Bank, France, Belgium and Sudan, where 50,000 demonstrators jammed the streets of Khartoum.

Most protests have been peaceful.

The editorial cartoons were first published by a Danish newspaper in September 2005 and then reprinted by some other European publications in a show of support for freedom of the press.

They inflamed many Muslims around the world because Islam forbids any depictions of Muhammad.

Several governments, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya, have issued very strong statements condemning the caricatures and calling on Denmark to do something to punish those involved. Some governments have recalled their ambassadors to Denmark.

Hol-ey frick. This is what blindly believing in unalterable doctrine a couple of thousand years old will make you do!!! Especially when added into a stew of mass hysteria....isn't religion great? Why would a political satire cartoon make the Muslim world fly into a frenzy, yet we make fun of Christian icons all the time? I think I know some of the answer, but it's not really a clear-cut one. Part of it is definitely democracy vs. theocracy, some of it is economic/cultural/technological/educational haves vs. have-nots, but I think most of it is religion 1 vs. religion 2....the battle of the ages. You'd think after thousands of years of cracking skulls of the non-believers, we'd be coming up with better solutions to dealing with our differences. It's like a fucking family feud. Hatfields vs. McCoys. No one even remembers why they're fighting anymore.

Some dogma is particularly more dangerous than other dogma. I won't mention any names here for fear of having someone come and burn down my house because I offended their 'words of god', but some of the big religions are particularly dangerous and something should be really done from within the religions to get things back to a condition of sanity and reason. Is this even possible for any religion - particularly a religion that has a central doctrine of unquestionably killing those that will not convert, those that will not defend their god/prophets to the death, and that must eventually spread the word of the prophet over the entire world as a final revelationary action? Anyone that questions or refutes the doctrines is either killed, encarcerated, or shunned? Hah! Now can you even distinguish what religion I'm talking about anymore with the last few points?

Did you know it is written in the Koran that non-believers (infidels) are not to be tolerated, but killed if they do not convert? Did you know that people who were once Muslim but leave the religion are to be put to death too? Even for moderates of this religion, these concepts MUST shape their worldview to some extent. Even if they say 'it's not the way of Islam' to behave fanatically. Christianity is no better. People who claim to be moderates of any religion simply realize the holes in their faith and religion due to their own deductive reasoning, but because they're fearful of the unknown they cling to the dogma, guilt, and mixed messages of their religious flavor - These people are the biggest hypocrits of all!!!

"I can accept some parts of my faith but not others, and of course this is all based on my personal views of what possibly could be advantageous to me getting easy passage to the afterlife". (See? Blind faith in something we know absolutely NOTHING about - what happens to us after we die (if anything). If that's not irrational thought then I don't know what is!).

It's all freakin' retarded. How are these behaviours even tolerated? Oh right, religion in its own definition tolerates these things because 'it is written' to be so. No further critical analysis required. End of story. More accurately, let me make a correction - it is tolerated because 'it was incorrectly translated' to be so. There - that makes it much better.

Once again, I throw out this question (as posed by Sam Harris in "The End of Faith" (a highly recommended read by the way)): Why in this day and age of weapons of mass destruction where a single person or group can potentially have the capability to kill millions do we continue to give religion the 'leap in faith' we do in the things it does that shape our world? It's so obviously nutty, why do we continue not to apply critical deductive analysis to religious tenets? We apply systems of discourse, testing and skepticism to all other aspects of our society - why/how does religion conveniently by-pass this same treatment? It's because everyone knows religion would NEVER be able to hold up to these applications. I find the entire action of tip-toeing around religious issues quite pathetic - and dangerous. I know why - but it's not right (people who get offended by others criticizing their religion act exactly the way how things are going down right now in Damascus and Beirut), nor is it rational. In the REAL world of today, we need clear, reasonable thinking and decision making. Not unsubstantiated faith in myths and works of fiction and unwavering belief of these myths being some sort of divine law. Virgin births? Voices from the sky or out of hats? Speedpasses to heavenly paradise after death as a reward for martyrdom? ...Okay, right, that all really, really makes sense......

With the upsurge of religious belief in the world today, it appears we're heading in the opposite direction. Yay for us! I question whether we collectively have the mental capacity, i.e. the spiritual cajones to prevent ourselves from blowing ourselves up. We need to stop acting like frightened little animals and suck up the reality that we really are small, weak insignificant specks in the whole scheme of things. Now that takes some critical thought - do we have it in us? Why are these such a hard concept to deal with? I understand death is a daunting concept, but we're all eventually going to do it? Why not just focus on living and stop worrying about stuff we can't control or understand - yet?

Collective obliteration based on folk tales - maybe it would be a good thing. At least it would get rid of blind-faith religion.

Believe MY truth! No, believe MY truth! All others believe in false gods! I'll kill you if you don't believe MY truth!

03 February 2006

Make that star shine a little brighter!

Further to my observations in Texas of a billboard with one of the latest cosmetic surgery fads, labiaplasty ("Vaginal Rejuvenation" at the Cosmetic Gynecology Center. Fix your meat curtains! Eep!), here is the newest and strangest. Anal bleaching. Yum.

Quoting Mark Morford, "Is it cause for wanton celebration, a championing of the radical utopian idea that we should be absolutely free to mold and shape our fragile but oh-so-transitory vessels as we see fit for this brief bizarre mutant thing we call life and why the hell not? Or is it something to be dreaded and mistrusted and even mourned, a loss of humanity and our connection to nature and the careful processes of time? Is it a little bit of both?"

Interesting. Discuss.

02 February 2006

The way things are headed

US oil habit hard to kick, experts say

President Bush may be anxious for the US to end its "addiction" to imported crude oil, especially from the Middle East, but analysts say kicking the habit cold turkey will not be easy. Bush vowed in his State of the Union address on Tuesday to achieve a 75% reduction in US oil imports from the Mideast by 2025 through a renewed commitment to renewable energy and new technologies. The Mideast currently provides less than 20% of US crude imports, but reducing that figure any further will be a challenge because the bulk of the world's oil reserves are located in the region and other suppliers - with the notable exception of Canada, the US's biggest source of imported crude - have their own problems. "It's the holy grail of US policy, trying to cut down their dependence on the Middle East," said Leo Drollas, deputy director of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London, "but it's one thing to say that and another doing anything about it."

What's different about Bush's State of the Union approach is that he's proposing that Americans turn to alternative technologies, including hybrid engines and ethanol to power cars, and clean coal, wind and solar energy for electricity output. In so doing, the former Texas oilman dropped any reference to increasing domestic US oil production, particularly from the environmentally sensitive Arctic Wildlife Refuge. "It's a very significant departure for him because where he comes from, the solution has always been 'Let's drill more. Let's develop domestic production and the Gulf of Mexico,' " said Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington think tank. Luft said that reducing oil consumption is the only way to go if Washington wants to reduce the geo-political influence of Mideastern governments because currently, if the US cuts its imports of oil from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, that oil simply finds its way to Europe or China.

In related news, oil prices dropped sharply yesterday after a US government report showed a surprise increase in the nation's gasoline stockpiles last week, triggering profit taking by big money speculators. The steep drop came after the US Energy Information Administration reported a build in US gasoline supplies of 4.2 million barrels last week, nearly quadruple expectations. The build in gasoline supplies erased a year-on-year stockpile deficit that had attracted heavy buying betting on an inventory crunch. US crude stocks rose 1.9 million barrels, adding to a stockpile already 11% above last year's levels.
(Globe and Mail, National Post 060202)

Wow! Once again, President Bush proclaimed that the U.S. is heading towards a severe energy shortage problem if the nation does not reduce its dependency on foreign oil (read: Addiction to oil in his words). You gotta wonder how sincere he is about funding research into alternative energy after asking congress for another ~$100 billion in 2006 for the War in Iraq (and this just out - the requested budget for U.S. defense for 2007 is almost a HALF TRILLION DOLLARS. Holy fuck.

Now that Canada's new PM, Harpoon is adamant about scuttling the Kyoto Accord in Canada, are any of these monkeys saying anything they genuinely believe?

Feb 10 addition as quoted from John, Clusterfuck Nation

Hey folks over here in tin foil hat territory...wolf has been called so many times on so many things, I think most Murikans have just said 'fuck it' and are ignoring it. The junkie metaphor is appropriate for Bush and the nation...when you want that fix, nothing else is important.
Buddhists call it the indulged self absorption of the God realm.
And according to Buddhism that level of self absorption is so great, the being is trapped and can't see outside themselves.
In that scenario, they exhaust all their merit and are plunged from the god realm back down to the hell realm.
Gods in this system have it nice, but are not liberated, and thus are still subject to the laws of cause and effect (karma).
Been reading "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.
We are the Easter Islanders, building the big statues, eating hog every day, half the forests gone.
Things are still pretty grooving in the god realm...in a calm before the storm kinda way.
It might just be a day to stop and be nice with the neighbor kinda day.
I really don't think that going down is a question any more. It's more a matter of how gracefully or not we can do it.

Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports
February 1st, 2006 11:02 pm
By Kevin G. Hall / Knight Ridder Link

WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.
But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.

The president's State of the Union reference to Mideast oil made headlines nationwide Wednesday because of his assertion that "America is addicted to oil" and his call to "break this addiction."

Bush vowed to fund research into better batteries for hybrid vehicles and more production of the alternative fuel ethanol, setting a lofty goal of replacing "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."
He pledged to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

Not exactly, though, it turns out.

"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.
Asked why the president used the words "the Middle East" when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands." The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble.

Presidential adviser Dan Bartlett made a similar point in a briefing before the speech. "I think one of the biggest concerns the American people have is oil coming from the Middle East. It is a very volatile region," he said.

Through the first 11 months of 2005, the United States imported nearly 2.2 million barrels per day of oil from the Middle East nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. That's less than 20 percent of the total U.S. daily imports of 10.062 million barrels.

Imports account for about 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption.

Alan Hubbard, the director of the president's National Economic Council, projects that America will import 6 million barrels of oil per day from the Middle East in 2025 without major technological changes in energy consumption.

The Bush administration believes that new technologies could reduce the total daily U.S. oil demand by about 5.26 million barrels through alternatives such as plug-in hybrids with rechargeable batteries, hydrogen-powered cars and new ethanol products.
That means the new technologies could reduce America's oil appetite by the equivalent of what we're expected to import from the Middle East by 2025, Hubbard said.

But we'll still be importing plenty of oil, according to the Energy Department's latest projection.

"In 2025, net petroleum imports, including both crude oil and refined products, are expected to account for 60 percent of demand ... up from 58 percent in 2004," according to the Energy Information Administration's 2006 Annual Energy Outlook.
Some experts think Bush needs to do more to achieve his stated goal.

"We can achieve energy independence from the Middle East, but not with what the president is proposing," said Craig Wolfe, the president of Americans for Energy Independence in Studio City, Calif. "We need to slow the growth in consumption. Our organization believes we need to do something about conservation" and higher auto fuel-efficiency standards.

Lies, lies, and more lies. Oh, why do politicians lie so much? That's rhetorical question. Half-truths, half-truths, half-truths. How is anyone supposed to truly know what's going on? Neither our leaders or our media are telling us anything close to the truth.

Opec issues warning on Bush oil pledge
By Carola Hoyos in Vienna and Christopher Swann in Washington
Published: February 1 2006 22:04 | Last updated: February 2 2006 11:57

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday warned that President George W. Bush’s proposal to reduce US dependence on Middle Eastern oil could badly jeopardise needed investment in Gulf oil production and refining capacity.

Opec delegates and officials said the group planned to make this point in its as yet unpublished commentary in the cartel’s January bulletin next week.

Meanwhile US crude oil prices staged a rebound on Thursday with March West Texas Intermediate rising 25 cents to $66.81 a barrel as tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme continued to pre-occupy dealers

Speaking after Mr Bush’s Tuesday night State of the Union address, Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria’s energy minister and president of Opec, said: “We do believe that energy issues cannot be handled in a unilateral way; we all have to work together towards global energy security.”

Privately, Opec officials were more direct in warnings about Mr Bush’s declared intention to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by 75 per cent by 2025. But they emphasised Opec would avoid a confrontational tone in its commentary.

An Opec delegate said: “Comments like that are unrealistic. Everyone knows the world will continue to depend on Middle East imports.” The organisation would raise concerns about such statements damping investment at meetings with the European Union and other organisations “more aligned with Opec’s view”.

Opec’s concern was shared widely across the industry. John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the US oil and gas industry, said: “If one of your big customers tells you they do not want to buy from you in the future, then of course this will impact how much you invest.”

The International Energy Agency, the industrialised countries’ energy watchdog, forecast the Middle East will have to invest heavily to ensure the world’s energy thirst is satisfied.

On Wednesday Martin Bartenstein, economics minister of Austria, which holds the EU presidency, said the Middle East, with two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves, would become more rather than less important.

He told the FT: “As the person responsible for EU energy policies, I would not see myself in a position of talking about such a significant decrease in demand from a certain region. We know that the oil import dependency of the EU will ever increase, not decrease.”

He added: “Everyone . . . will have to deal with oil and gas, especially from the Middle East.” Worries over the stability of Iran on Wednesday drove the oil price up 83 cents to $68.75 a barrel in midday trading in New York.

Opec delegates and Mr Bartenstein place responsibility for oil price volatility mainly on consuming countries that have failed adequately to invest in refineries and pipelines needed to get oil to their consumers.

Mr Felmy said shifting oil imports from the Middle East could be costly for America. “As long as America has a diversified range of oil suppliers it has a lot of security of supply. If you reduce this diversification it could be costly.” About 20 per cent of oil sold to the US comes from the Middle East, with Canada and Mexico supplying more than 30 per cent of imports.

Any decrease in the US dependence on oil from the Middle East could only really be achieved by a decrease in its dependence on all foreign oil – either by conservation, alternative energy or domestically produced oil and gas, analysts said.

I guess this means that the entire world is dependent on ME oil now and forever, no matter what. The sources of oil are not the sources of the problem. It's the culture of consumerism/consumption that pervades our thinking. With the rest of the industrializing world getting on board with this mindset, things are apt only to get worse.

Fists fly during energy crisis debate

Wednesday, February 1, 2006; Posted: 11:30 a.m. EST (16:30 GMT)

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Rival lawmakers in the Georgian capital's city council brawled during a debate over the energy crisis suffered by the country in recent days.

Some lawmakers say plenty of ill-will was left over in the council following a December 2 brawl during a debate over the city budget.

The fight Tuesday between members of the National Movement ruling party and opposition lawmakers erupted as the opposition criticized President Mikhail Saakashvili's government for how the crisis was handled.

Much of the country was without gas and electricity for days after explosions on a Russia gas pipeline and after winter weather downed high-power electric lines.

Saakashvili has accused Russia of waging an energy blockade against it in retaliation for its government's pro-Western policies and has promised to diversify the country's energy imports.

Feb 10, 2005 update quote from upthecreek, Clusterfuck Nation:
I agree with most of the current postings. To me, "alternative energy" is somewhat of a misnomer. There are no "alternative energies" to sustain what we have. It is not a matter of "switching" to something else. It is adopting a completely different lifestyle.

Switching to hybrids is a chimera. Individual car ownership will cease. As gas goes through the roof, I predict, we'll see people setting up "jitney" services like you see in the third world. We'll have to do something with these SUVs! Quickly even that will fail.

Soon we won't be able to live far from where we work, shop, and play. "Travel" will become a thing of the past. Next will come lighting as a luxury for special occasions and heat only when it is REALLY cold.

We'll only eat food that is in season and grown locally. Consumerism will die. Fossil energy use will be for emergency uses - hospital, fire, etc. - if that.

In other words, we'll go back to how people have lived throughout most of human history.

However, to me peak oil is not what scares me. The above transition will happen, whether we voluntarily embrace it or not. It could be made more comfortable if we did embrace it but the results will be the same in the end.

My fear is that our continued use of oil, insane population growth and ecosystem destruction will leave us with a planet that cannot sustain human life especially if we burn through the next trillion barrels of oil before we stop.

If global warming is not brought under control, population reduced and ecosysatems allowed to recover, it will not matter whether we have a transition plan. There will be nothing left to transition to.

A consensus is growing that we need to reduce carbon output by 50% immediately we may not be able to reverse the effects. My guess is that is a hopeful scenario. Talking about replacing anything is insane. We need to reduce, scale back and do without - now. We need to stop having babies, or we can watch them die. We need to eat as low as we can on the food chain and let ecosystems recover. We need to stop buying things...period.

These are not feel good options, they are survival or death.