Weekend Roundup  

Posted by Big Gav

Only a very brief effort his weekend, as I haven't had time to scan many sites as I've been in Melbourne for most of the weekend at the AFL Grand Final (our equivalent of the Super Bowl or FA Cup Final for those of you in northern mirror worlds).

From the local papers I've noticed :

Beijing looks to biodiesel

Rising prices at the bowser leave Howard high and dry

Ill winds that whisper the collapse of civilisation and "Civilisation's darkest hour" - More grim news about global warming and an extract from Tim Flannery's new book "The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change"

Britain planning Iraq exit: report - this story flip-flops on a regular basis. I don't really believe the British will withdraw unless the US decides to bail out - and I don't see that happening unless there is some unfathomable change of direction from both major parties in Washington.

Anti-war protesters march on Washington

Beazley backs deportation, wants tougher terror laws - Labor Leader "Bomber" Beazley wants to restrict our liberties even further than Howard and Ruddock do. Wonderful. While I occasionally think that fear based politics (as described in "The Power of Nightmares") is rapidly spiralling towards the inevitable unpleasant conclusion, I do still wonder if the theory that all this totalitarian legal infrastructure is being put in place in preparation for either a nasty post-peak crunch or a major war (or the second occurring as a result of the first) is true.

Murdoch's execrable "Daily Telegraph" today had a piece by talking head Terry McCrann (his column is titled "In The Know" in a classic piece of doublespeak) on the need to cut fuel excise (thereby dampening the market signal that it is past time to start lessening our fossil fuel dependence). His reasoning is remarkably stupid, ending with the following gem (which would be funny except for the fact that a lot of well-intentioned people end up taking this nonsense seriously):

The big difference is that we are a huge energy producer.

We don't have to discourage people from energy use because we don't have it.

I haven't seen any detailed reports on the damage from Hurricane Rita (although I am glad to see Houston was spared, although parts of New Orleans appear to have flooded again), but The Oil Drum has been following the news closely - HO has an interesting post on fuel shortages which makes me uncomfortable - the result of considering too much parahistory over an extended period of time is that you have unpleasant flashes of pattern recognition when certain events occur. This can make you prone to declarations like Mike Ruppert's post last week, so I won't go as far as predicting any form of collapse, but I certainly think there is cause for worry about the US economy at the very least (with numerous knock on effects everywhere else, particularly as the US tries to buy as much refined oil products as it can from elsewhere).

One post I noticed somwhere talked about parts of the SPR in Louisiana being submerged by the latest flooding - I'm not sure if its true - but this would make the problem even more difficult to deal with in the short term. There are also rumours that he Henry Hub is damaged, but again, I'm not sure if these are true.
There were significant concerns about being able to repair the Katrina damage, since it was worse than that imposed by Ivan, last year. But to pretend, as some of the MSM are already doing, that we are home free for the rest of the year, is more than irresponsible. The fact that Georgia is closing schools for a couple of days to recognize the short term fuel problem is to minimize the concerns that should be going up as red flags all over the Eastern half of the country.

Right now the production from the Gulf is completely shut down. It is going to be that way for a while, as companies go back and bring the platforms back to life, and test the pipelines that will bring the oil to shore. Even with little damage the experience from Katrina suggests that this is going to take at least a month. In the interim the pipelines supplied by the Texas and Louisiana refineries may begin to see a supply problem. Luckily they are near the major storage of the SPR, though even that has a limit to the amount that can be easily made available. Remember also that we are in a world where the foundation ground is disappearing due to flooding and storm activity. The response of the MSM so far is still a "we dodged a bullet" but unfortunately we haven't taken our shirt off yet.

But then, on the other hand, maybe global warming will make this a really mild winter. If you live in somewhere such as Maine, perhaps you'd better start hoping that that will be the case,


huh...you said "knock on"...

(if I didn't referee rugby here in the US, I'd make fun of you for that...:) )


I'm glad at least some people up north can parse my dialect of english !

As for rugby, its a taboo subject in my house until the Wallabies start winning again - the football I was at on the weekend was Aussie Rules.

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