Tuesday, December 22, 2009
on December 21, 2009 7:05 AM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
on December 14, 2009 7:36 AM
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Cowboys of the Grand Canyon II photography series by Brian J Magnuson featured at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios in McKinney Dec. 12 By Laura Moore Fine Art Studios Dec 7, 2009
McKINNEY, TEXAS - - Brian J. Magnuson has managed once again to catch a rare glimpse of the life of a modern day cowboy in one of the few remaining places where cowboys still work full time. In March, Magnuson traveled to the Grand Canyon and continued his ongoing photography series. Magnuson's personable style proves to connect anew with these seasoned cowboys allowing an insider's look at their daily routine. This exhibit of over twenty black and white images at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios beautifully captures a different scene of the rugged Arizona cowboys without rodeos or cattle drives, but rather working the mules down the steep canyon descent.
Magnuson's stunning classically hand printed darkroom images take the viewer behind the scene for a detailed look at what goes on in the life of a Grand Canyon cowboy from the early preparations of the packers, well before sunrise, to fellowship of the cowboys at the end of the long hard day. The viewer will be placed in front of the farrier shoeing difficult mules, the saddle maker making repairs and dramatic views as riders on the backs of the mules climb out of the deep canyon.
Magnuson, an artist and educator in Plano, has been photographing things of interest and importance for fourteen years and has held many one-man shows across America as well as been included in several group showings. His work has been promoted on Good Morning Oklahoma television program, Dallas Morning News Guide and other publications.
"Cowboys of the Grand Canyon II" will open with an artist's reception on Saturday, December 12th from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Through January 6, 2010, at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios, 107 S. Tennessee in historic downtown McKinney.
Hours: Mondays through Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This is a family friendly exhibition and all are welcomed. 214.914.3630. www.lauramooreart.com.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Climate, Oil, War, and Money
on December 7, 2009 7:08 AM
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Nov 30, 2009 - 04:33 PM
Porter Stansberry writes: It's one of those numbers that's so unbelievable you have to actually think about it for a while...
Within the next 12 months, the U.S. Treasury will have to refinance $2 trillion in short-term debt. And that's not counting any additional deficit spending, which is estimated to be around $1.5 trillion.
Put the two numbers together. Then ask yourself, how in the world can the Treasury borrow $3.5 trillion in only one year? That's an amount equal to nearly 30% of our entire GDP. And we're the world's biggest economy. Where will the money come from?
How did we end up with so much short-term debt? Like most entities that have far too much debt – whether subprime borrowers, GM, Fannie, or GE – the U.S. Treasury has tried to minimize its interest burden by borrowing for short durations and then "rolling over" the loans when they come due. As they say on Wall Street, "a rolling debt collects no moss."
What they mean is, as long as you can extend the debt, you have no problem. Unfortunately, that leads folks to take on ever greater amounts of debt... at ever shorter durations... at ever lower interest rates. Sooner or later, the creditors wake up and ask themselves: What are the chances I will ever actually be repaid? And that's when the trouble starts. Interest rates go up dramatically. Funding costs soar. The party is over. Bankruptcy is next.
When governments go bankrupt, it's called a "default." Currency speculators figured out how to accurately predict when a country would default. Two well-known economists – Alan Greenspan and Pablo Guidotti – published the secret formula in a 1999 academic paper. The formula is called the Greenspan-Guidotti rule.
The rule states: To avoid a default, countries should maintain hard currency reserves equal to at least 100% of their short-term foreign debt maturities. The world's largest money-management firm, PIMCO, explains the rule this way: "The minimum benchmark of reserves equal to at least 100% of short-term external debt is known as the Greenspan-Guidotti rule. Greenspan-Guidotti is perhaps the single concept of reserve adequacy that has the most adherents and empirical support."
The principle behind the rule is simple. If you can't pay off all of your foreign debts in the next 12 months, you're a terrible credit risk. Speculators are going to target your bonds and your currency, making it impossible to refinance your debts. A default is assured.
So how does America rank on the Greenspan-Guidotti scale? It's a guaranteed default.
The U.S. holds gold, oil, and foreign currency in reserve. It has 8,133.5 metric tonnes of gold (it is the world's largest holder). At current dollar values, it's worth around $300 billion. The U.S. strategic petroleum reserve shows a current total position of 725 million barrels. At current dollar prices, that's roughly $58 billion worth of oil. And according to the IMF, the U.S. has $136 billion in foreign currency reserves. So altogether... that's around $500 billion of reserves. Our short-term foreign debts are far bigger.
According to the U.S. Treasury, $2 trillion worth of debt will mature in the next 12 months. So looking only at short-term debt, we know the Treasury will have to finance at least $2 trillion worth of maturing debt in the next 12 months. That might not cause a crisis if we were still funding our national debt internally. But since 1985, we've been a net debtor to the world. Today, foreigners own 44% of all our debts, which means we owe foreign creditors at least $880 billion in the next 12 months – an amount far larger than our reserves.
Keep in mind, this only covers our existing debts. The Office of Management and Budget is predicting a $1.5 trillion budget deficit over the next year. That puts our total funding requirements on the order of $3.5 trillion over the next 12 months.
So... where will the money come from? Total domestic savings in the U.S. are only around $600 billion annually. Even if we all put every penny of our savings into U.S. Treasury debt, we're still going to come up nearly $3 trillion short. That's an annual funding requirement equal to roughly 40% of GDP.
Where is the money going to come from? From our foreign creditors? Not according to Greenspan-Guidotti. And not according to the Indian or Russian central banks, which have stopped buying Treasury bills and begun to buy enormous amounts of gold. The Indians bought 200 metric tonnes this month. Sources in Russia say the central bank there will double its gold reserves.
So where will the money come from? The printing press. The Federal Reserve has already monetized nearly $2 trillion worth of Treasury debt and mortgage debt. This weakens the value of the dollar and devalues our existing Treasury bonds. Sooner or later, our creditors will face a stark choice: Hold our bonds and continue to see the value diminish slowly, or try to escape to gold and see the value of their U.S. bonds plummet.
One thing they're not going to do is buy more of our debt. Which central banks will abandon the dollar next? Brazil, Korea, and Chile. These are the three largest central banks that own the least amount of gold. None owns even 1% of its total reserves in gold.
All of this is going to lead to a severe devaluation of the U.S. dollar... Which I expect to happen within 18 months. I examined these issues in much greater detail in the most recent issue of my newsletter, Porter Stansberry's Investment Advisory, which was published last week. Coincidentally, America's paper of record – the New York Times – repeated our warnings (nearly word for word) last weekend. Word is getting out.
If you haven't taken steps to protect yourself from the coming devaluation – like owning gold and silver bullion, foreign real estate, and farmland – make sure you do it soon. The dollar rout is coming.
Monday, November 30, 2009
by James Howard Kunstler
on November 30, 2009 7:12 AM
"While Dubai is not big enough to set off financial repercussions outside the Middle East, the main fear is that investors could flee risky markets all at once in search of safer havens for their money." -- The NYT, Vikas Bajaj and Graham Bowley, reporting.
Apart from the stark self-contradiction in this quote from The New York Times, you have to love the fatuous 'it's all good' self-assurance where global banking is concerned. No problemo y'all! A mere overdraft incident, a cash-flow hiccup... and yet "the main fear" [among whom?] is that investors [where and in what? Like, everywhere?] could flee risky markets all at once in search of safer havens for their money [WTF?]. Gosh, well, as long as they don't flee the New York Stock Exchange, the Hang Seng, the FTSE.... And, hey, do you suppose anybody bought any credit default swap "insurance" on the deals that financed scores and scores of super-giant condominium skyscrapers and hotels amounting to the greatest spec construction folly in the history of the world?
Snapshots of the stupid ****ing work-in-progress have been circulating around the Internet for five years, the disbelief was so monumental. I confess, when I first saw the Palm Island I was impressed at what a superb air-strike target it presented. And then, when the real estate assemblage of artificial islands arranged like a map-of-the-world came along, I could only imagine the megalomanical glee rising in the throat of a jet bomber pilot (nationality unspecified) as he closed in on it.
Whom the gods would punish, they first make completely crazy. That includes us, here in the USA, by the way, but pound-for-pound Dubai is the current champeen. The monstrosity they built in their waterless convection-oven of a city-state makes Las Vegas look like a mere strip mall in comparison. Throw in a few other affronts to nature, such as an indoor ski "mountain," a beach cooled by an under-the-sand refrigerated pipe network, golf courses that have to be hosed down with acre-feet of desalinated sea-water, and forget about "the gods" -- one begins to see the monotheistic hand of "Old Scratch" himself working the levers of the construction cranes out there.
Frankly, I have no idea whether the Dubai fiasco will send seismic ripples thundering through a global banking establishment that is already crippled in more ways than you can count. But it does remind those in thrall to the dazzlement of "green shoots" that debt comes a'creeping, and runs so far, deep, and wide through the broken system of mutual assurances constituting international finance, that Ben Bernanke and his counterparts in central banks 'round the world could drop helicopter loads of paper cash on every rooftop, intersection, parking lot, field, forest, and camel raceway and never make a dent in the fatal web of false obligations we have woven for ourselves.
But you do wonder what was going through their minds as this ridiculous organism took shape on the horn of the Persian Gulf, just as one wonders at loathsome aspirations that Las Vegas presents in our own so-called culture -- essentially a wickedness that exceeds the wildest fantasies of the most demented clergymen, be they closeted sado-masochistic Southern Baptist teleministers, Vatican-approved child molesters, or mullahs dispatching suicide bombers to the marketplaces frequented by housewives and their children.
Lately, the much-repeated aphorism has circulated around the Web that civilizations build their most extreme monuments at the very moment of collapse. If this is true -- and it is hard to argue with the historical record -- then it's time to organize a new Third Party for the 2012 election with Jared Diamond and Cormac McCarthy heading the national ticket (and Roland Emmerich for EPA chief). By then, if we don't stop lying to ourselves about the destruction we have induced, every other suit-and-tie wearing authority figure in America, from the county clerk to Barack Obama, will take on the aura of the archetypal Evil Clown from a Stephen King yarn. Imagine living in a country where absolutely nobody in a leadership position is credible. This is the kind of country we're becoming and it will not keep running that way for long.
The markets will begin digesting the Dubai news in earnest today, making for a holiday season of possibly momentous thrills-and-chills. The big debate going into Thanksgiving was whether the dollar would continue its downward trajectory, leading to some kind of currency failure, hyper-inflation, take your pick... or turn briskly around as investors bailed out of risk vehicles for the conventional safe-haven paper parking lot of US Treasuries. This debate between the inflationists and deflationists has defied resolution all year. Personally, I side with the deflationistas these days, though I believe our ultimate destination, in a year or so, is destruction of the dollar.
In keeping with the wickedness theme, isn't it interesting that our society now vests all its hopes and wishes for thriving -- indeed survival! -- on a yearly ceremony we have come to call Black Friday. I was raised in a religion-free household, but I confess the signs are just everywhere that we've taken some turn to the Dark Side. I'm a little surprised that "consumers" were not caught on video wringing the necks of chickens in the WalMart parking lots the other day in the hopes of winning supernatural favor for that race down the aisle to the flat-screen TV loss leaders. The cinemas are full of blood-sucking teenagers. Grown men swarm in the unemployment offices wearing sideways hats and butt-crack trousers. Why not just tattoo a message on your forehead that says: "Moron For Hire"?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
"The Cadillac Ranch, located along the tatters of historic Route 66, was built in 1974, brainchild of Stanley Marsh 3, the helium millionaire who owns the dusty wheat field where it stands. Marsh and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art collective, assembled used Cadillacs representing the "Golden Age" of American Automobiles (1949 through 1963). The ten graffiti-covered cars are half-buried, nose-down, facing west "at the same angle as the Cheops' pyramids."
by James Howard Kunstler
How infantile is American society? Last night's CBS "Business Update" (in the midst of its "60 Minutes" program) featured three items: 1.) The New Moon teen vampire movie led the weekend box-office receipts; 2.) Cadbury shares hit an all-time high; 3.) Michael Jackson's rhinestone-studded white glove sold at auction for $350,000. Some in-house CBS-News producer is responsible for this ****ing nonsense. How does he or she keep her job? Is there no adult supervision at the network?
Meanwhile, over at The New York Times this morning, Paul "Nobel Prize" Krugman writes:
"Most economists I talk to believe that the big risk to recovery comes from the inadequacy of government efforts; the stimulus was too small, and it will fade out next year, while high unemployment is undermining both consumer and business confidence."
Disclosure: I'm not one of the economists that Mr. Krugman talks to (nor am I an economist). But it's sure interesting to know that the ones palavering with Mr. Krugman imagine that that the US can possibly return to an economy based on the fraudulent securitization of reckless debt. Does Mr. Krugman think that the production housing industry can resume paving over the nether exurbs with half-million-dollar houses (to be bought with no money down loans by the sheet-rockers working inside them)? Does he think all those people receiving cancellation notices from their credit car issuers are in a position to flash their plastic at the Gallerias this Friday? Or ever will be again? Is he perhaps misusing the term "recovery?" After all, that is generally taken to mean resuming a prior state, which is, in turn, presumed to be a healthy prior state. Is that what the economy of the past decade was? And, incidentally, what exactly is a "consumer?" And why, at the highest levels of journalism in this land, do we refer to citizens that way? As if the American people have no other purpose except to buy things? Or is that that the only way an "economist" can imagine them?
I'm sorry to burden the reader with so many questions, but the idiots running the mainstream news media in this land are not doing it and somebody has to.
If a "recovery" is not in the cards, then what exactly is going on out there?
What's going on in the US economy is a slow-motion convulsion from which we will emerge as a very different nation with a different economy. The wild irresponsibility of the media in pretending otherwise is only going to make the convulsion worse, more painful, more socially and politically destructive. The convulsion can be described with precision as one of compressive contraction. Historic circumstances are requiring us to change our behavior, to make new arrangements for everyday life in all the major particulars: capital accumulation and deployment; food production; commerce; habitation; transport; education; and health care. These new arrangements must be organized at a smaller and finer scale, and on a much more local basis.
The main "historic circumstance" mandating these changes goes under the heading of "peak oil." We've come to the end of our ability in this world to increase energy inputs to the global economy. The routine "growth" in industrial activity and production that has been the basis of our financial arrangements for 200-odd years is no longer possible. Offsetting this decline in oil energy "input" with "alt.energy" is a dangerous fantasy because it distracts us from the urgent task of making new arrangements for trade, food production, et cetera - the very things that would provide jobs and social roles for our citizens in the future.
We are seeing a comprehensive failure of leadership in every sector and every level of American life - in politics, business, banking, education, news media, medicine, and the clergy. All are determined to pretend that we can somehow continue the habits and behaviors of the pre peak oil era. They are all unwilling to face reality, and are all engaged in mutually supporting each other's dangerous fantasies.
If we don't attend to the transformation of American life by downscaling our activities and changing the way they are carried out, and re-localizing them, we will see our society disintegrate - and I use the word "dis-integrate" with purposeful precision. Everything will come apart - our political arrangements, our households, our health and well-being.
At the moment, banking is disintegrating. It's happening because the end of regular, predictable, cyclical, industrial growth means the end of our ability to generate credit without limits, and in fact we passed this point by stealth some time ago leaving the banks in "Wile E. Coyote" suspension above an abyss, where they have lately been joined by government at all levels and the indebted citizens of the land. The profound nausea spreading through the offices of America is the somatic recognition of exactly where we are in all this: off the cliff.
It's important to remind readers that so-called "capitalism" is not to blame. Capitalism is not an ideology. It refers to a set of laws governing the disposition of surplus wealth. There is going to be surplus wealth somewhere in the years ahead, even if our living standards fall substantially, even under the strictures of peak oil. All the communist experiments of the 20th century produced some kind of surplus wealth. All of them were subject to the phenomenon of compound interest. What matters in the disposition of capital are the rules created for accumulating and deploying it. In the USA the past two decades, we ignored the rules, repealed some of the critical laws, and failed to enforce the existing ones so that, when faced by the historic circumstances of peak oil, we allowed fraud and swindling to run wild - just at the moment when we should have taken the most care. That is why our money system ran off the rails.
We're now seeing worldwide a kind of race between the assertion of peak oil and the failures of capital management as to which will provoke a widespread convulsion first. They are obviously related and whichever gets us in the most trouble fastest, our destination is the same: the absolute necessity to reorganize how we live. Among the many elements of this is the fact that "globalism," in the Thomas Friedman sense of the word, is over. The urgent need to re-localize economies makes this self-evident. As a practical matter for us, this means committing to import replacement - making things we need in the US, probably much more regionally. "Globalism" now joins the many other fantasies that we can no longer indulge in.
At the moment, going into Thanksgiving 2009, America's leadership has dedicated itself to worst action it could take under the circumstances: a campaign to sustain the unsustainable. This is what's embodied in the foolish term "recovery." The way we try to explain things to ourselves matters, if we don't want to be crushed by history. Go back to the top of this blog and look at the things we pay attention to. Aren't you ashamed?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Date: 11/27/2009 TO 11/29/2009
Time: 8:00 AM
Downtown McKinney’s premier festival, the 29th annual Dickens of a Christmas…Home for the Holidays is right around the corner. An old fashioned Christmas festival with horse drawn carriages, strolling carolers, pictures with Santa Claus, the Christmas tree lighting and activities for all ages. Seasonal music, food and children’s activities provided by local organizations will take center stage during the event. Patrons are encouraged to spend the weekend enjoying all the activities and taking advantage of the many great shops, restaurants, and entertainment. The perfect start to the holiday season -Dickens of a Christmas…Home for the Holidays is our opportunity to give back to the community. The event will be held for (3) days (November 27, 28 and 29, 2009). This festive event will launch on Friday, November 27 with an “Earlier than the Bird” shopping extravaganza followed by festive activities throughout the day leading up to a message from our Mayor, the lighting of the tree and candlelight shopping until 8:00 p.m. Periodically, during the month of December, the shops in downtown McKinney will stay open for extended hours so that customers have a chance to finish all of that holiday shopping in one place with over 100 boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, apparel, gifts and exquisite antiques. Consumers can find the unique and special things that they won’t find anywhere else in downtown McKinney. This magical event is free to the public and parking and free shuttle service will be provided. McKinney Main Street and supporting sponsors will support the local economy by providing festive and interactive activities throughout the busiest shopping weekend of the year, which will in turn promote the heritage of our wonderful city. For more information please visit McKinney Main Street at www.downtownmckinney.com or call 972.547.2660.
From HWY 75: Exit 40-A go east of 75 1.2 mile and you will be in Historic Downtown McKinney
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It was February, 2008. The U.S. economy had slipped into a funk and the markets were rattled, but the world's second-wealthiest man said little to indicate he had a clue about the panic and the chaos that would arrive in months ahead. He didn't see it coming.
But what he did predict that day was major stress on the U.S. dollar. As long as American shoppers and businesses buy far more from abroad than they sell, said the Oracle, there's really only one direction for the greenback to go. “Force-feeding a couple of billion a day to the rest of the world is inconsistent with a stable dollar.”
Here we are, nearly two years later, having gone to financial hell and back – and we're right where Mr. Buffett said we'd be. The buck is sinking, and fast: 6 per cent against the euro so far this year, 14 per cent against the Canadian dollar, 26 per cent against the Brazilian real.
In America, many people think a weak dollar is a good thing because it helps exporters and ought to result in a lower U.S. trade deficit. It's the less-Wal-Mart, more-Boeing strategy for returning the country to prosperity and economic health. And even China hinted this week that it might play along (at least a bit) by letting the yuan rise (at least a bit).
No doubt that would please American congressmen in hard-hit manufacturing states, who have long complained that the Chinese policy of suppressing its currency has come at great cost to blue-collar workers in their districts. But have they thought about the other half of the equation? Because there's a second part to Mr. Buffett's long-held views of U.S. currency and trade policy.
He isn't one of those Chinaphobes who dislikes the U.S. trade deficit for its own sake. Rather, it's the consequences of that deficit: Americans are trading their wealth in return for someone else's goods. In the first nine months of 2009, the United States spent $275-billion (U.S.) more on imported products than they received from exports. Repeat that year after year, decade after decade, and eventually somebody winds up with a whole pile of claims against you. That somebody is China, with its Everest-sized pile of dollar bills and other foreign currencies totalling more than $2-trillion.
China, helpfully, has sent those many of those dollars back to help the U.S. government keep the lights on. But buying the low-yielding T-bills of a high-deficit country with a depreciating currency does not make a wonderful investment. Sooner or later, China and other foreign holders of U.S. dollars will demand something with a little more upside, no?
That may come in the form of higher interest rates that squelch growth. Or it may come through trading some of their U.S. dollars for ownership of some prime American companies. China has tried this before: A state oil company tried to take over Unocal in 2005, then abandoned it because of a wall of political opposition.
But the U.S. has less moral authority with which to block such a move now, especially if China starts to play nice(r) with its currency. And heaven knows that, after the crash, there are a lot of investors who'd happily take the takeover premium and run. The list of big-name U.S. companies whose shareholders have earned nothing over the past 10 years is a long one.
As Mr. Buffett put it that day two winters ago: “The truth is we're selling America to the rest of the world. It's just a question of [in] what form we sell it to them.” It's also a question of when. As the dollar sinks, the era of the foreign acquirer seems to get closer.
Monday, November 09, 2009
the last reconnaissance data that supported hurricane intensity were
obtained around 07z...and the satellite presentation of Ida has
been steadily deteriorating during the morning. Most of the deep
convection has been sheared off well to the northeast of the center
and will be moving onshore shortly...leaving only a small area of
convection near the center. A Quikscat pass around 12z showed
winds of 50-55 kt in the core...and assuming that the instrument
did not quite resolve the maximum wind speed...the advisory
intensity will be set to 60 kt. Another aircraft will be in the
cyclone around 18z.With Ida moving through an environment of cooler waters and
increasing shear...continued weakening is expected. The global
models do not show much in the way of baroclinic re-intensification
prior to landfall...so the hurricane warnings and watches are being
discontinued...leaving only tropical storm warnings in place. The
official forecast is still above the icon consensus.The last aircraft center fix showed the 700 mb- and surface centers
decoupling...and since then the surface center has been difficult
to locate in satellite imagery. The initial motion is estimated at
340/15. The forecast philosophy is unchanged. Ida is expected to
move generally northward today ahead of a mid- to upper-level
trough moving eastward across the northern Gulf of Mexico...and
then turn eastward as it becomes embedded within this mid-latitude
system.The track of the surface center of Ida is losing significance in
terms of the effects of this storm. Strong winds cover a large
area of the Gulf of Mexico and the associated rains are moving well
ahead of the center. This should continue to be the case as Ida
weakens and begins to lose tropical characteristics.
Forecast positions and Max winds
initial 09/1500z 26.5n 88.3w 60 kt
12hr VT 10/0000z 28.6n 88.7w 55 kt
24hr VT 10/1200z 30.4n 88.2w 50 kt...inland
36hr VT 11/0000z 31.2n 86.6w 40 kt...extratropical
48hr VT 11/1200z 30.5n 84.5w 30 kt...extratropical
72hr VT 12/1200z...dissipated
Dreams Die Hard
on November 9, 2009 6:28 AM
They're flat-out lying about the employment figures issued in the government's name. They're willfully ignoring the comprehensive bankruptcy gripping government at all levels. They refuse to bring the law to bear against "the malefactors of great wealth." They appear to not understand the epochal energy scarcity problem the whole world faces, or its implications for industrial economies. Most of all, they persist in promoting the lie that this economy can return to the prior state of reckless debt accumulation (a.k.a "consumerism") that has made us so ridiculous and unhealthy.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
HURRICANE IDA ADVISORY NUMBER 18
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112009
900 AM CST SUN NOV 08 2009
...CENTER OF IDA MOVING INTO THE YUCATAN CHANNEL...HURRICANE WATCH
ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST...
AT 900 AM CST...1500 UTC...A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM GRAND
ISLE LOUISIANA TO THE MISSISSIPPI/ALABAMA BORDER. THIS WATCH DOES
NOT INCLUDE THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY
WITHIN 36 HOURS.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF
MEXICO FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN TO CABO CATOCHE. A HURRICANE WARNING
MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND
PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION IN THE WARNING AREA.
A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF
MEXICO FROM TULUM TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA
OF MEXICO FROM PUNTA ALLEN NORTHWARD TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN AND FROM
CABO CATOCHE WESTWARD TO SAN FELIPE. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING
MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF
PINAR DEL RIO.
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE ISLE OF YOUTH.
INTERESTS ELSEWHERE ALONG THE NORTHERN COAST OF THE GULF OF MEXICO
SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF IDA. ADDITIONAL TROPICAL CYCLONE
WATCHES OR WARNINGS MAY BE REQUIRED LATER TODAY.
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA
OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
AT 900 AM CST...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IDA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 21.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 86.0 WEST OR ABOUT 75 MILES...
120 KM...NORTHEAST OF COZUMEL MEXICO AND ABOUT 80 MILES...125 KM...
WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA.
IDA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH...17 KM/HR. A TURN
TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST AND AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ARE
EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS...WITH A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH
LIKELY BY TUESDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK....THE CENTER OF IDA
SHOULD MOVE THROUGH THE YUCATAN CHANNEL INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO
TODAY...AND BE NEAR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST BY TUESDAY.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 90 MPH...150 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. IDA IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.
SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST TODAY...WITH GRADUAL WEAKENING
EXPECTED ON MONDAY. IDA IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN LOSING TROPICAL
CHARACTERISTICS ON TUESDAY AS IT NEARS THE GULF COAST...BUT IT
COULD REACH THE COAST AS A TROPICAL CYCLONE.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 15 MILES...30 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO
140 MILES...220 KM.
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 983 MB...29.03 INCHES.
IDA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES
OVER PORTIONS OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AND WESTERN CUBA...WITH
POSSIBLE ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES.
A STORM SURGE COULD RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS 3 TO 4 FEET
ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. NEAR
THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE
...SUMMARY OF 900 AM CST INFORMATION...
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...90 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NORTHWEST OR 325 DEGREES AT 10 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...983 MB
AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 1200 PM CST FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 300
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
on October 26, 2009 7:06 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
by James Howard Kunstler
When sober-minded individuals begin to regard an enterprise within a nation as "an enemy of the people" you can bet that some serious blood is going to flow. This is now essentially the situation for the Goldman Sachs company, which last week announced third-quarter earnings of over $3 billion largely derived from converting zero percent loans from taxpayers into zero risk profits off of anything paying more than zero percent in interest, revenue, or dividends.
The "people" across this big country may not have a clue how any of this is done, and there may be much to fault them on from the care-and-feeding of their own bodies to the content of their dreams, but you can't argue with the fact that they are heavily armed to an extreme. And although it may be hard to measure with precision, one might venture to state that they are increasingly pi$$ed off. How else explain popular entertainments like "Zombieland?"
The political part of what has to date appeared to be an economic problem is resolving into a crisis of authority and legitimacy. When those in charge of a nation's livelihood prove to be comprehensively false and dishonest, the economic automatically turns political. Nobody believes the bankers anymore, of course, and nobody believes the interlocutors of the bankers - the Federal Reserve chairman, the Secretary of the Treasury, the heads of the SEC and a dozen other regulatory bodies - and increasingly the charming figure in the White House cannot be believed on these issues of the nation's livelihood.
The questions lately revolve around whether the nation is destroying itself by inflation or deflation - by the willful destruction of the value of our currency to evade the repayment of debt, or by the hapless destruction of households, companies, and governments by default and bankruptcy. It's a fire-or-ice debate. Either way the nation is going down as a viable enterprise. The fiction that we can return to a Crate-and-Barrel credit card orgy has sustained the false of heart and mind for some months now, but even that pleasant reverie will come to an end as the foreclosures mount. Only remember, men living in their cars who have lost nearly everything else will still have guns.
All these tensions beat a path into the holiday season when emotions run high, when blessings are counted and sorrows taste most bitter. So the big question now floating above the sheer data of Goldman Sachs profit announcement is: what kind of year-end bonuses will they dare to pay their executives and minions, and how will the "people" react? It seems to me that conditions are ripening for a bloodbath. The kind of heinous acts that we have feared emanating from foreign "evildoers" since the awful stunt of 9/11/01 are now most likely to come from among our own "people" - a few pounds of Semtex in the lobby of Goldman Sachs's New York headquarters... a few men with market-grade small arms converted to full-automatic outside on the Wall Street sidewalk one evening at holiday time when the suits are leaving work for the day.... It won't take much.
President Obama had better strike first. He's about the only figure left in the whole termite mound who has a shred of even potential credibility left because he still has the power to act. He can instruct the people who work for the executive branch to "claw back" any and all ill-gotten bank bonuses; he can direct the Justice Department to investigate everything from the uses of federal bailouts to grand-scale accounting fraud; he can fire people in high places who have failed to act and lost legitimacy. If he doesn't do these things soon than he's finished, too. In the wake of such a failure things will get fractal fast.
The sense that Wall Street has pulled off a coup d'etat and taken over the machinery of the United States is the most powerful meme out there now, and its power is growing in magnitude every day among all classes of Americans. I can't say how much it reflects reality. Even if it is a result of sheer happenstance - the tragic evolution of an industrial economy into a financial finagling economy - the citizens will still experience it as a stealing of their future. Whatever else one might say about American culture, it is keenly attuned to a sense of heroes and villains. We take great pride in our ability to blow away the bad guys. And life imitates art, as Oscar Wilde observed. If a zombie virus is on the loose in America, the first infections showed up in the zombie banks, among the zombie bankers. Watch out, Lloyd Blankfein! Woody is on his way....