neonvincent: Coffee Party USA logo from the Facebook page and website (Coffee Party)

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I made two comments about what I'd post on July 4th. First, from the most recent weekly roundup:
I began July by wishing Detroit's neighbors across the river Happy Canada Day! It's the first of three patriotic holidays I celebrate on my blogs during the month of July, so expect greetings for July 4th and 14th as well.
Then, in part one of my sustainability news linkspams, I speculated on what I'd do for July 4th.
I might also make a special post on July 4th to observe Kunstler's My Tea Party, which was posted almost exactly a year ago. He's also swimming against the flow in that one. Since I'm a member of Coffee Party USA, I really can't leave that opportunity unexploited.
Why not combine the two?

First, happy U.S. Independence Day!



And now, James Howard Kunstler's My Tea Party, edited for clarity and Fair Use, with commentary afterwards. )

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Here's what I haven't been crossposting to my DW and LJ accounts:

Rapture!

Yes, I was so burned out that I didn't crosspost an entry about the Rapture that wasn't. That's bad.

Now the rest.

The New York Times reports on Troy's problems

This is my most popular post so far, thanks to a good sales job on Kunstler's blog.

Detroit's libraries not closing; accounting error caught in time

Sustainability News Linkspam for the week ending May 21, 2011

Gas prices dropping in Metro Detroit

It's been a good day for business as usual in Detroit

Model D Media: Optimism, but not business as usual

More for May from Model D Media: Optimism but not business as usual

Sustainability News Linkspam for the week ending May 28, 2011

Part 2 of Sustainability News Linkspam for the week ending May 28, 2011

The Buzz about Detroit for the week ending May 28, 2011 from Model D Media

As I wrote, I've been very busy, but it was burning me out. I'm glad I have only one post left to satisfy my committment of a post every day for Nablopomo this month. I'm looking forward to being fannish here on DW and LJ.
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I've been busy over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News following the local library situation.

More metro Detroit library news for May 2011

An update on library access for Bloomfield Hills

I'll be combining these two entries and posting the result on Daily Kos and Michigan Liberal. I'll keep you all updated.

I also have posts on sustainability news, including a special post about the U.S.-China relationship entitled U.S.-China EcoPartnerships: The CoDominion plans for sustainability. I plan on excerpting and editing those for posting as well, maybe.

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neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
In our previous installment, I wrote:

Troy City Council asks for August library ballot question
By BONNIE CAPRARA
Special to The Oakland Press
...
If the council formally adopts the ballot language at its next meeting on Monday, the council will have to vote on a measure to keep the library open at least until the special election. The library was originally scheduled to be closed after April 30. The council called off the closure last month until it had an opportunity to discuss ways to keep it open.
Here's to the City Council approving the measure and putting it on the ballot in August. That's a nice "maybe."

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"Next Monday" was the day before yesterday, and there's no maybe about it.

UPDATED: Troy City Council approves August library ballot question, budget )


Orignally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Crossposted to Michigan Liberal and Daily Kos.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Blogger/Blogspot was down most of yesterday and today.  Fortunately, it wasn't down long enough today to prevent me from posting today's entry for Nablopomo.  Here it is.

Meta on yesterday's post about Troy's library

 
A brief note now that Blogger is back up.

I crossposted yesterday's post, "Save the library, save Troy", to Daily Kos and Michigan Liberal. Both copies were more successful than the original here, where, because of the outage, Blogger records that yesterday's entry has no views. To be fair, before the outage, it had about 11, but all record of those views has been erased.

The copy at Daily Kos received 31 recommendations, 11 comments, and 87 views just from registered members alone, and made the recommended list. It was also republished to four groups there, by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter, Michigan, My Michigan, Class Warfare Newsletter: The Plutocracy VS the Working Class, and Readers and Book Lovers. The first two were my doing, but the latter pair of groups were by other readers. I'm quite flattered, as one of my diaries has never been so widely distributed.

The copy at Michigan Liberal garnered an honor none of my writings has never experienced before at a site where I don't have admin priviledges--it was promoted to the front page.

Maybe I should post more of my material over at those two sites.



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neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Late last month, I posted the following in Save the libraries, save civilization:

Across metro Detroit, communities bracing for library closings
...
Troy's library was originally scheduled to close Sunday. But on April 18, the City Council postponed the closing until May 16, hoping to find a way to fund the library.

Troy Mayor Louise Schilling said she would seek a dedicated millage for the library, releasing its dependence on the city's general operating budget.

Schilling said she hopes a library millage is on the November ballot.
I do, too, Madame Mayor, and I know people who would campaign for it, too. I hope you get together with them.
Looks like I got my wish, which also happened to be the wish of those who will campaign for the library millage. )


Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as "Save the library, save Troy". Crossposted to Daily Kos and Michigan Liberal. More about those crossposts in my next entry.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)


Remember that sustainability is about more than the non-human environment. It's also about the economy and society. In that spirit, I present to you an excerpt of an article from Bloomberg Business Week about the financial crisis by Hernando de Soto in which the author presents a unique perspective on the event.

The Destruction of Economic Facts
Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge

When then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson initiated his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in September 2008, I assumed the objective was to restore trust in the market by identifying and weeding out the "troubled assets" held by the world's financial institutions. Three weeks later, when I asked American friends why Paulson had switched strategies and was injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into struggling financial institutions, I was told that there were so many idiosyncratic types of paper scattered around the world that no one had any clear idea of how many there were, where they were, how to value them, or who was holding the risk. These securities had slipped outside the recorded memory systems and were no longer easy to connect to the assets from which they had originally been derived. Oh, and their notional value was somewhere between $600 trillion and $700 trillion dollars, 10 times the annual production of the entire world.

Three years later there's still plenty to be concerned about. Governments have worked to enact major financial and regulatory reforms, such as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ushered through Congress in 2010 by former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Dodd-Frank has sought to move derivatives into clearinghouses where more data about them can be collected. It's a step in the right direction. But if you believe in the value of public memory and economic facts, the reforms leave a number of problems outstanding.

First, various groups of derivatives end users, such as nonfinancial companies and sovereign wealth funds, are likely to be exempted from the clearing process—from 40 percent of them, according to Craig Pirrong of the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business, to 70 percent, according to Michael Greenberger, a former Commodities Futures Trading Commission director. Second, the information collected would be available only to regulators because certain business data are considered "proprietary." Third, the $700 trillion worth of derivatives that ignited the recession are not covered by Dodd-Frank. Warren Buffett successfully lobbied for their exclusion, saying it would be tantamount to rewriting old contracts and would force healthy derivatives players such as his own Berkshire Hathaway to post collateral on old deals. Fourth, the clearing system is not likely to be fully operational for another 5 to 10 years. Fifth, many clearinghouses do not have the kind of complete information required by traditional public memory systems: incentives for recording that asset owners can't resist; standard classifications to facilitate identifying and governing the assets; universal access to the information; integration or linkages with other recording systems; provisions to protect third parties from negative externalities; identification of all asset holders and interested parties; limited liability provisions to improve accountability.

That's a lot of failure to digest in a single paragraph. So let's look sector by sector at the sorry state of facts in the financial system.
That's only the middle of the article. For the beginning and end, I recommend you read it in its entirety at the link in the headline.

Maybe the legislators and regulators will listen to what de Soto wrote.

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Above originally posted at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Suburbia: What a Concept
By ALLISON ARIEFF

There is no more iconic suburb than Levittown, the postwar planned community built by the developer William Levitt in the late 1940s, so it is understandable that in launching Open House, a collaborative project to imagine a “future suburbia,” the Dutch design collective Droog in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects would make it the focus of their inquiry.
"Future Suburbia"--now, that looks promising, especially if it can solve the issues facing a car-centered way of living during a time when being car-centered is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. It would be nice if the designers came up with something that actually solved some of the real problems with suburban living during a time of resource shortage and economic contraction that was more uplifting than Kunstler's dismal vision of them being "the slums of the future" with "two or more families living in a McMansion" and "crops growing where the front lawn used to be." Unfortunately, they didn't.

But in approaching a real place as a perfect blank canvas on which to execute distinctly urban interventions, the Open House project conveniently excused itself from substantively engaging with the real issues facing suburbia’s future. Which is a pity. Because it would have been interesting to see what they’d come up with if they had.
What a wasted opportunity!

[T]he suburban existence is as exotic to them as say, Dubai, the site of Droog Lab’s first project where, says co-founder Renny Ramakers, they’d made a deliberate decision not to explore it as “a spending society — people felt we weren’t being critical enough; they couldn’t understand why. In this project I don’t want to be critical, I want to look for inspiration because in every part of the world, people are creating their own society, their own community.”

But that’s not really valid. Can we discuss the future of suburbia (or the future of anything, really) without being critical? Without talking about developing accessible transit or increasing walkability (and community) through mixed-use development, for example? This alas, is not uncommon. Addressing suburban ills requires massive change to systems, to finance, to transportation and infrastructure, and perhaps most challenging, to a culture deeply wedded to suburbia as emblematic of the American Dream.


Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

"A blog about societal, cultural, and civilizational collapse, and how to stave it off or survive it."

That's the first sentence of the description of this blog, but that's a long way to say what I'm really writing about. The short way is "a blog about sustainability in metro Detroit." Boiled down to its essentials, collapse of a civilization, whether human or Motie, is just the result of failure to achieve sustainability. Consequently, sustainability on the societal scale would be how to stave off collapse and on the family or neighborhood scale would be how to survive collapse.

So, what is sustainability? One could ask Wikipedia, but like all things at the Internet's free encyclopedia, the answer there has become a lot more complex over the past few years. On the other hand, a picture is worth a thousand words. )

While the above diagrams work in terms of describing sustainability, they don't really show the nested relationships of the three spheres. Instead, this does:




That last diagram shows that economy is dependent on society, which is in turn dependent on the environment.  Without an environment, there is no society.  Without a society, there is no economy.  Those relationships put sustainability into perspective.  They also show that the emphasis on economy above all is exactly backwards.  No wonder we're in trouble.

More on this later, maybe. :-)

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Above originally posted at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

A few days ago, I described how oil prices dropped and stocks went up on news of bin Ladin's death. I also said that it wouldn't last, a view shared by Kunstler.
This morning, Bloomberg is putting out a story that the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped - from $113 to 112 - because Bin Laden was tossed into the sea. How long will that state of affairs last, I wonder. Through eleven o'clock in the morning, Eastern time?
He called it, at least in the short run, as West Texas Intermediate rebounded to its Friday levels by noon. However, that price drop now looks like a preview of coming attractions.

Reuters: Oil crashes 10 percent in record rout
By Matthew Robinson
NEW YORK | Thu May 5, 2011 5:40pm EDT
Oil collapsed into free-fall on Thursday, diving as much as 10 percent and sending U.S. crude back under $100 a barrel as investors staged a nearly unprecedented stampede for the exits.

This could be interpreted as good news, as it means that gasoline prices are likely to drop soon. However, it isn't entirely good news, as it is a sign that the market became worried that the price was getting high enough to impede expansion.
Weak economic data from Europe and the United States fed concerns that have battered commodities all week. German industrial orders fell unexpectedly in March while U.S. weekly jobless claims hit eight-month highs, sparking a fourth day of profit taking in early trade.

The oil markets have been doing this dance for a year now. Just about every time oil's share of U.S. GDP starts to pass 4%, Hamilton's magic number for contraction, the price drops. The traders are acting as if they know what that 4% share (or the 6.5% of personal income spent on energy) means and they sell off.
But the onslaught of selling went far beyond any single cause.
I've also heard and read that the projected end of the second round of quantitative easing has let the air out of commodities, although Krugman disputes that it's just the dollar.  He even points out that the recent price rise in Euros has been even higher in percentage terms than it has been in US Dollar terms with the following graph.




Speaking of Europe, Brent crude also followed suit.
Brent crude plunged more than $12 at one point -- exceeding the sell-off that followed Lehman Brothers' collapse.

That's even better news for lowering gas prices, as a lot of the gasoline in the U.S. is refined from oil priced as Brent, not WTI.

So, how long will this trend last?

0"The longer-term bull cycle is still in place, but this correction may have a life span of several months, as weaker economic data is fueling this correction to a large part," said Sterling Smith, senior analyst for Country Hedging Inc in Minnesota.
Just long enough to the economy to expand some more, that's how long. If I were Obama, I'd hope oil prices and the U.S. economy keep doing their dance until November of 2012. Maybe they will.

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Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News, along with videos about the effects of higher gas prices on the Detroit economy, both good and bad, and gas rising above $4.00/gallon for the first time since 2008.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a test of the emergency blogging network.

Reuters: Dollar rises, oil slides after news of bin Laden's death
Mon May 2, 2011 3:05am EDT

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dollar rebounded from three-year lows and U.S. crude slid more than 1 percent on Monday after news al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces reduced the perception of security risks facing the United States.
...
"By lowering national security risks overall, this is likely to bolster equity markets and lower U.S. Treasury prices in a reverse flight to quality movement," said Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer at PIMCO, which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets.

"Oil markets are likely to be the most volatile given their higher sensitivity to the tug of war between lower risk overall and the possibility of isolated disturbances in some parts of the Middle East and central Asia," he said.

U.S. crude fell more than 1 percent to a session low of $112.21, retreating from a 31-month peak of $114.18 set on Friday.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks its performance against a basket of major currencies, jumped from a three-year low of 72.813 to 73.227.

Considering that high oil prices constitute one of the major threats to the U.S. economy, and that a weak U.S. economy is the number one threat to Obama's re-election, it looks like maybe bin Ladin's death did more good than even Obama expected. Of course, it's not going to last.

Still, once the dust settles, analysts expect the recent trends including a weak U.S. dollar and higher commodity prices to resume, especially given that the U.S. Federal Reserve in no hurry to tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy.

"The economic data in the U.S. is still going to be on the soft side and the market is going to keep a lid on yields and that is going to help push down the dollar," said Joseph Capurso, strategist at Commonwealth Bank.

Some were also skeptical of whether bin Laden death would reduce the security risks facing the United States.

"It doesn't change much about the energy situation and doesn't change much about the ongoing battle with radical Islamists," said Chip Hanlon, president of Delta Global Advisors in California.

"It's sort of like the news when we heard Saddam (Hussein) was caught, in the end it didn't change much fundamentally and I don't think this will either."

Ah, well, haters gonna hate.



We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
May2011NaBloPoMoBadge

Hi bloggers,

May's theme for daily blogging: MAYBE. Maybe can sound like a wishy-washy word, a non-commitment. It can show ambivalence, being of two minds about something. Or maybe can also be seen as a word embodying potential -- maybe looks to the future, to possibilities, to things that may happen. May is a great month for exploring future wishes as well as looking at the words as they scroll across the screen, planning how you'll move them from "maybe" to "yes." Images can explore the unknown, things that may be.

As always, bloggers planning on posting every day in May who would like to be on the blogroll can go here and follow the directions at the top of the page. The "official" April May badge is here, but please feel free to create your own and add it to the comments there for others to share.

While I found that blogging about sustainability every day of this month that's about to end at Crazy Eddie's Motie News to be brutal and also found out that I didn't get much traffic from NaBloPoMo (I recall three hits from the Blogroll page, in contrast to at least 45 from LiveJournal, 49 from Facebook, 85 from Google, and 282 from Kunstler's blog), I'll still register that particular blog on NaBloPoMo's May 2011 blogroll. The theme works well for the future orientation of the blog, both in terms of examining sustainability-related trends (politics, economics, environment, and society) as well as the science-fiction subtext. Besides, if I registered my Dreamwidth journal there, I'd have to name it. Somehow, I don't think "Neon Vincent's Massage Parlour" would go over well on a site that is an outgrowth of BlogHer.

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