Saturday Links for the Week — May 31, 2008

US Gas Price vs Oil Price
Why Gas is So Expensive: As my chart from last year (above) suggests, I can’t figure out why it’s so inexpensive. Since 2004, crude oil has tripled in price yet the price at the gas pump has only doubled. Andrew Leonard suggests this is because the cut by refiners has fallen by 2/3 in this period, to the point refineries are actually losing money. Why don’t the refineries care? Because they are owned by the same Big Oil companies that own the oilfields and sell to the refineries, at market. But don’t expect any more buffering from the intermediaries. As soon as the US election is over, $7/gallon gasoline is a near certainty. Ironically, liquid natural gas terminals sit empty — the US is unwilling to pay the soaring global market price to import it.

Carbon Emissions Per Capita Lowest on West Coast, Highest in Rust Belt: The tough emission standards of West Coast states are vindicated. They really do make a difference.

Canadian Research Group Prescribes Way for Canada to Meet Kyoto Targets: The Calgary-based Pembina Institute reviews existing and proposed regulations and innovations and proposes a blueprint for Canada to become green,

The Worst Way of Farming: Two new reports damn confined animal feeding operations — factory farms.

As both of these reports make clear, the so-called efficiency of industrial animal production is an illusion, made possible by cheap grain, cheap water and prisonlike confinement systems. In short, animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse. Manure ó traditionally a source of fertilizer ó has been turned into toxic waste that fouls the air and adjacent water bodies. Crowding creates health problems, resulting in the chronic overuse of antibiotics. And, because the modest profits in confinement operations require the lowest possible labor costs, including automated feeding, watering and manure-handling systems, these operations have helped empty and impoverish rural America.”  [If you’re wondering why it continues, it’s because of that green stuff in your wallet, and the oligopoly of Big Agriculture — Cargill, ADM and Con-Agra.]

Kucinich’s Chief Economic Advisor Explains Why the US Has Been Deliberately Bankrupted: Michael Hudson, in a long, brilliant interview, describes how the political and economic agendas of a small US elite bent on a world order under their control has led to assassinations, destroyed nations, pushed the US and China into a teetering economic co-dependency, and massively redistributed wealth from the poor to the rich. Thanks to the Deconsumption blog for the link.

Another Approach to Meditation (for Those Who Find It Hard): A couple of weeks ago I was referred to a fascinating paper and book on the Beginner’s Mind approach to meditation. Now, Chaitanya has referred me to another well-written, understandable explanation of the mindfulness state of meditation and how to achieve it.

How to Save the World Selected as Leading Social Enterprise Blog: I’m delighted that this blog has been picked, along with some much better-known blogs, as ‘best in class’ by Guy Kawasaki’s new Alltop aggregation service. I’m honoured, guys.

Thought for the Week: Want to buy local, quality goods instead of Chinese crap? Consider buying from Etsy, where artists and craftspeople offer a dizzying array of hand-made, one-of-a-kind products, rated by previous buyers.

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3 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week — May 31, 2008

  1. Paul says:

    Another approach to meditation and self-realization: Let me recommend a book that I’m currently rereading, The Mandala of Being by Richard Moss. is not a Buddhist, though many of the ideas and methods overlap. I think he’s terrific at using non-Buddhist metaphors to explain how we think, what is awareness, how we suffer, etc. Not that I’m criticizing the Buddhist approach–there are many good authors coming from that tradition as well.Moss’ explanations and prescriptions might be more accessible for some people for a few reasons. He avoids citing unfamiliar authorities (the Buddha, Zen patriarchs, Buddhist scripture, etc.), he avoids foreign terminology (Pali and Sanskrit terms), he keeps his lists short (the eightfold path is one example of many lists Buddhism loves using to thoroughly categorize what it studies), he remains concrete and familiar rather than mystical. He’s not religious, he aims to be practical.

  2. Russ says:

    With regard to the “Worst Way of Farming,” the sight of feedlots 20 years ago-where cattle were crowded around bins simultaneously grazing while streams of diarrhea oozed down their hind legs- has helped me cut back from being a voracious carnivore to eating farm animal meat once a week. I’ve heard the lives of chickens are even worse.

  3. EJ says:

    Hi,I’m curious about your thinking behind this statement: As soon as the US election is over, $7/gallon gasoline is a near certainty. Could you please elaborate?Thanks

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