Patricia's EcoNews Blog: Archive

NOTE: This blog was completed in 2008. Feel free to peruse the past posts if you wish.

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Welcome to my EcoNews Blog! Here I offer links to key articles that help shine a light on vital current issues. This makes it easy for you to keep informed, without reading all that I do on these topics. I especially cover these topics: the environment, peak oil, global warming, personal and community health, toxics, organics, true democracy, and building community. But, if I think it's important, I'll also cover the economy, or the Olympics. Plus I include a little personal commentary along the way!  

>> WHO AM I? I'm a professional writer specializing in environmental issues. I do this blog as a free community service to support folks in being part of the solution and helping to create a better world. I hope this helps you keep up with key items in the news - and in seeing behind the headlines to the under-reported facts and underlying trends. (For more info about my more formal writing, you can see <>.

>> I INVITE YOUR FEEDBACK. Even if you just want to say this is useful and interesting information for you, that encourages me to continue this effort!

May this blog serve our shared wishes for a healthier world for all.


* These stories are selected from a variety of news sources around the country and the world and are presented for educational purposes only.
* Sometimes pages will expire. I don't keep checking the links on this page. If you find an expired link, just Google a unique phrase in the article to see if there's another copy online.
* For information organized by topic, about these core topics and related key issues, see <>. For more about my community service group, Community Action Publications, see <>.

"Social movements are humanity's immune response to
political corruption, economic disease, and ecological degradation."
Paul Hawken

(Quoted in Bioneers Voices, May 30, 2007 -



Sept 15, 2008 - Wall Street awakes to 2 storied firms gone, By JOE BEL BRUNO, CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER and MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Business Writer

MY COMMENTS: After a crazy weekend, scrambling for options, this was a huge change for Wall St. and the financial industry. Insurance company AIG is also hanging on a string. Wall Street went down 500 points today as people freaked, the biggest point drop since 2001 and 9/11. (Though I caution acting from panic - the market tends to have huge reaction swings to things, both up and down.)

Also, I was delighted that THIS time government officials didn't offer to help the buyout and seemed to be pressuring the industry to stand up for its own integrity. Although it seems there still is government (e.g. taxpayer) money on the line with the expansion of collateral allowed to get government money. (I'm going to guess that they're going to be able to put up mortgage related debt that might be questionable.)

EXCERPTS: "It's clear we're one step away from a financial meltdown," said Nouriel Roubini, chairman of the consulting firm RGE Monitor.

...On Sunday, there was also an emergency trading session being held at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association to "reduce risk associated with a potential Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy." The ISDA, which arranges trades for derivatives, said it was allowing customers to make trades and unwind positions linked to Lehman.

MY COMMENT: Um, who was invited to this little party? Not the retail investors I'm guessing.

EXCERPTS: ... The International Monetary Fund predicted earlier this year that total losses from the credit crisis could reach almost $1 trillion. So far, banks have only taken about $350 billion in losses.

..."If we don't get ahead of this, we are going to face a run on the retail banks by election day," he said.


Sept 15, 2008 - A top Lehman exec's lament, From the pinnacles of power by Fortune editor at large Patricia Sellers

MY COMMENT: What I liked best about this article were the reader comments. The article seemed sympathetic to those "poor" Lehman people. The reader responses were great, talking about their high salaries and recklessness and responsibility in this huge rippling mess that is taking down so many innocents. I've also been thinking about how little compassion they had for the people their manias hurt both now and on the way up. When they had the money, they didn't have to care. So it's hard now to hear them want to feel their pain. I think there are some innocents in that organization, yes. But what I really want to are see some of their gazillion-dollar incomes paid back to help save the economy.


Sept 15, 2008 - DAVID WEIDNER'S WRITING ON THE WALL - Risk is gone on Wall Street: Commentary: Missing confidence shakes the Street's foundations, By David Weidner, MarketWatch

EXCERPTS: Dick Fuld, the soon-to-be former chairman and chief executive of Lehman, and Jimmy Cayne, the former CEO of Bear Stearns, tried to outdo each other with compensation.
MY COMMENT: From my reading, in their world, the guys in these big companies in "modern times" can be very focused on their personal wealth and competition, more than the well-being of the company.

EXCERPTS: The "hard-charging" Fuld took home about $45 million last year. But that was OK because he was a lifer at the firm who had helped rebuild it a couple of times when it neared collapse. No one ever thought that maybe the executive people liked to call the gorilla was one of the reasons the firm kept running into trouble.

Cayne's net worth soared to $1 billion at the end of 2006, but we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he lost a fortune in the collapse and has to live in a $26 million apartment in the Plaza Hotel.

MY COMMENT: How do they get to leave with this money while we and the economy are stuck with the bill? Why is that OK?

EXCERPTS: The employees of these firms aren't much better. They can't figure out why the market has lost confidence in their eggshell companies built on mountains of combustible derivatives. They scowl at journalists, pay coffee vendors not to serve reporters who make a fraction of what brokers do. They blame the media for their woes, not their banking counterparts who have cold feet.

... "The mantra we've operated under since the Reagan administration has been allowing deregulation to flower and counting on the marketplace to discipline players in that marketplace," Hayes said. "Without having the heavy hand of government regulation carrying that role" the market failed.

MY COMMENT: When oh when will we learn that this model doesn't work. Believe me, McCain will follow Bush's lead on that, and we need to help voters understand that why it doesn't work. It's not about having a woman in the second chair. It's about having sound policy!

EXCERPTS: ... But the death of Lehman and the panic it has ignited on Wall Street underscores another truth: When it comes down to it, you're on your own, suckers. Investors have always been the ones to take on risks. Wall Street firms just like to profit from them.

It's the same lesson we learned in the stock market panics of 1907, 1929 and 1987; the scandals at Standard Oil, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Long-Term Capital Management and so many more.

Where did it go wrong? We kept giving them our money.

MY COMMENT: A strong statement, yes, but still one to ponder. I was so concerned over the past few decades when it became common financial advice for average people to have a high percentage of their money in the stock market. It was just the status quo advice. They were told that historically this had the best return overall (while they also said in small print that past performance is no guarantee of future performance). But they didn't really look at the risk. I was taught a tighter standard: to only put into the market what you can afford to lose. Don't put in the rent money. Also to take seriously the risk and look for ways to address it. Unfortunately another generation is having to learn this lesson the hard way.



>> The current situation reminds me of an article 3 years ago that warned about the hidden risks in derivatives and CDOs etc. Way before I heard anyone else talking about it, Jim Jubak described how people were buying risks without really understanding the risk because they were so distant from it; and that so much was leveraged, e.g. without foundation underneath it. As I understand it, that's what's collapsing these firms and the economy right now - that the truth is being told about the lack of value of these instruments.
Airlines and the epidemic of risk, Jim Jubak, Sept. 20, 2005

>> A little later that year, another article dismissed risks of derivatives, a view that certainly looks foolish today

Credit derivatives pose no risk to banks - S&P, Reuters, Oct. 12, 2005

EXCERPT: U.S. investment banks are not overexposed to risks from credit derivatives, in spite of concerns by some that rapid growth in the market may pose operational and trading risks, Standard & Poor's said on Wednesday.




Secrets and Lies, By John Sakowicz 05-28 (#2 in series), North Bay Bohemian
On swaps, derivatives and why the Bear Stearns bailout was one big pump-and-dump scheme
This is the second of a multipart series on the state of the economy and how we got here.
MY COMMENTS: I really appreciated this perspective, describing how there really are financial people behind the scences just looking at what they can get away with for a while, leaving others stuck with the enormous bill, putting our economic system in peril - but hey they got the mansion, the yacht, the private school for their kids. It's not their fault we're suckers.

>> I really liked this piece so I went online and got others in his series:

To America, with Shame: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the free fall of the U.S. economy, By John Sakowicz (08.06.08, #4 in series)
VICE: Bailing out Wall Street's venal greed has once again cost the American taxpayer money our grandchildren can ill afford.

Shadow Economy: How prime brokers paved the way for the biggest bank heist in history. By John Sakowicz (06.25.08, #3 in series)

Boomer Bummer: Our short guide to why things suck so bad for the aging cash crowd, By John Sakowicz (07.16.08, #1 in series)

>> I also found this article revealing Bear Stearns' CEO's viewpoint, character, and history

The rise and fall of Jimmy Cayne, By William D. Cohan, August 4, 2008
Last summer he was worth $1.6 billion on paper. Then he nearly died and Bear Stearns collapsed.

Jimmy Cayne spent 15 years as one of Wall Street's most powerful CEOs. Now he's blamed for Bear Stearns's downfall.

EXCERPT: Jimmy Cayne: In his own words

The former Bear Stearns CEO speaks out for the first time since the firm's collapse, presenting his version of how things went wrong.

...What Cayne's conspiracy theory overlooks is the fragility of Bear's balance sheet. Regardless of whether hedge funds and short-sellers exploited the firm's weakness, it was Cayne and his colleagues who made the firm financially vulnerable. They sealed the firm's fate by choosing to finance the vast majority of the firm's daily needs - about $50 billion a day - in the overnight repurchase agreement (or "repo") market, using some 71% of its mortgage book as the collateral. (By contrast, Goldman Sachs finances less than 10% of its mortgage book in the overnight market, according to Cohn.)


Sept 13, 2008 - Freddie and Fannie: All Grown Up and, Some Say, Unneeded, LBJ Library/Associated Press, By STEPHEN LABATON
WAR EFFORT Lyndon Johnson sold off Fannie Mae to help pay for the Vietnam War.

EXCERPT: When President Lyndon Johnson needed money to pay for the Vietnam War, he turned to an obscure government agency that he could sell for cash. He transformed the Federal National Mortgage Association into a publicly traded company and sold the stock to investors.
MY COMMENT: So interesting to read the history of these agencies. They were originally turned from government agencies to hybrid stocks to fund a war!

EXCERPT: Freddie and Fannie provide banks with fresh money to make new loans at affordable rates by buying billions of dollars of mortgages each month from commercial lenders. Some are sold to investors as mortgage-backed securities; others are kept by the companies as investments.

MY COMMENT: Is this saying that FNM is one of the organizations that has been making the paper out of mortgages that have the root of so much of this mayhem??

EXCERPT: Many European countries rely instead on what are known as covered bond markets in which banks get financing from investors to make mortgages that remain on the books of those banks. The banks thus have a powerful incentive to make sure their loans are good ones. Regulators and bankers, led by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., recently pledged to try to create a similar market in the United States.

MY COMMENT: So vital for me/us to know that there is another way, one that leaves the incentive on the originating bank to make good loans. It amazes me that no one considered this incentive problem in advance. If they're relalky that stupid, they shouldn't be in charge and earning gazillions.

EXCERPT: "The truthful answer is we want to keep Fannie and Freddie in some sort of a government sponsored role," Professor Jaffee said. "In view of the subprime crisis, we simply can't forget about them."

MY COMMENT: If they want taxpayers to back them, they have to have much better limits!


Sept 12, 2008 - Emergency meeting held to discuss Lehman Brothers, By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

EXCERPT: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York held an emergency meeting Friday night with top Washington policymakers and major financial institutions to discuss the future of Lehman Brothers.


Sept 12, 2008 - Lehman latest blow to faith in free market, By STEVEN PEARLSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST

EXCERPT: Self-reliance. Individual responsibility. A faith in free markets and a belief that people should have the opportunity to fail or succeed on the basis of their hard work and ingenuity. These are qualities that have been as central to the national identity as they have been to the American economic model.

Which is why it is so extraordinary that the government now finds itself hip-deep in the direct management of the economy, rescuing four of the country's biggest financial institutions -- Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and now Lehman Brothers -- from the harsh discipline of markets and the consequences of their own misjudgments.


Sept 12, 2008 - Keep Buyout Firms, Taxpayers out of the Lehman Mess

EXCERPT: Statement of Stephen Lerner, Director of SEIU's Behind the Buyouts Campaign: [SEIU=Service Employees International Union]

"The Lehman Brothers scramble is not the time to allow KKR or other buyout firms to break into banks. And under no circumstances should taxpayers underwrite a marriage between banks and buyout firms.

"KKR and other buyout firms have made clear their intention to move into banks - and are lobbying hard to tear down important regulatory safeguards. But with their risky debt strategies, exorbitant fees, and poor track record outside their core business, buyout firms like KKR represent the worst of Wall Street.

"A lack of transparency and a failure to responsibly regulate risk helped get us into this mess. It would be exactly the wrong response to throw open the doors of our financial infrastructure to secretive, risk-happy buyout firms.

MY COMMENT: I appreciated hearing labor speak out about KKR and other buyout firms. I just infished reading the book Barbarian at the Gate, about the buyout of RJR Nabisco and the kind of financial games involved. Very interesting to get a view of how it looks to the insiders.

Sept 12, 2008 - Same old story: Taxpayers left to bail out banks, By MATTHEW J. EVERSON

EXCERPTS: ...A good student in economic history can point to banks as the main cause of the Great Depression. Their mistakes through the 1920s drove this country into such an economic morass that it took more than 10 years, millions of dollars in taxpayer spending and a world war to bring the country and the world to a more stable economy.

In the tatters of their wake were many damaged and scattered families.

... No, I think the question should be asked of these PhDs, MBAs and other industry leaders is how much did you all profit in the run-up -- personally and corporately? Don't forget that before this bubble burst, banks and Wall Street firms were paying record bonuses for years. Where were the levers of constraint and common sense to avoid the worst of a very predictable downfall? Once again, the lemmings of greed at the banks and on Wall Street have run this country into dangerous economic territory. And once again, we the taxpayer will shoulder the burden of their inability to moderate their endless thirst for profits.


Sept 11, 2008 - Bankers say Lehman approaching rivals for lifeline, By Joe Bel Bruno, AP Business Writer
Lehman approaching rivals for possible sale of all or part of the firm, bankers say


Sept 10, 2008 - Lehman Brothers: What You Need to Know


Sept 10, 2008 - Study: Speculators drove up oil prices, By H. JOSEF HEBERT, ASSOCIATED PRESS

EXCERPT: Speculation by large investors &emdash; and not supply and demand for oil &emdash; were a primary reason for the surge in oil prices during the first half of the year and the more recent price declines, an independent study concluded Wednesday.


Sept 10, 2008 - U.S. Oil Majors Set To Invade Libya (XOM, OXY), By Eugene Bukoveczky

EXCERPT: After an abscence of more than 20 years, a number of major U.S. oil companies are now set to reclaim their leading position in the development of Libya's vast oil potential.


Sept 10, 2008 - Interior Dept. Officials Embroiled in Energy Ethics Scandal, By Derek Kravitz and Mary Pat Flaherty, Washington Post Staff Writers

EXCERPT: Government officials in charge of collecting billions of dollars worth of royalties from oil and gas companies accepted lavish gifts, steered contracts to favored firms and engaged in illicit sex with employees of the energy companies, federal investigators reported today.


Sept 8, 2008 - Who Is Taking the Big Hits on Fannie, Freddie Shares?, Posted by Heidi N. Moore

MY COMMENT. I liked a number of the comments posted after this article. Such as "Privatise the gains, socialise the losses!" These and many others were demanding that those who made this mess be held accountable, that it not just be about getting others to foot the bill. Otherwise this just keeps happening, just under different names, and we pay the price. They say - How could anyone have known? But it was clear that housing was a mania beyond most people's paychecks and the loan formats to "get people in a house" were fiscally unsound, only making sense if housing prices kept going up astronomically. People are responsible for choosing those loans and house prices, but they also (yes foolishly but reasonably) depend on experts. Plus institutions and systems depend on fiscal responsibility. As they're realizing now, the system is built on TRUST. But instead the boys were just having a good time with the money flows and ignoring the clear and predictable hangover they were creating. They didn't want to hear about the problems. That to me is key to creating these booms and busts. We must be willing to hear both the possibilities and the risks and weigh both - not just jump on a bandwagon because it feels fun and dismiss any who dares to speak for caution.


Sept 8, 2008 - Takeover of Fannie, Freddie will produce winners, losers, By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Borrowers could see rates fall, but investors in Fannie and Freddie may get hit hard.,1,6512216.story

EXERCPT: The government's groundbreaking move Sunday to take control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could give a much-needed boost to the housing market and the stock market as well.

MY COMMENT: Um - the treasury pays up to $100B - or taxpayers do? Conveniently they don't mention that, once again, we're on the hook for others' financial recklessness. It seems the financial gamblers only want risk when it benefits them, not when the bill comes due. But how fair is that to us?


Sept 8, 2008 - A Sigh of Relief, but Hard Questions Remain, By VIKAS BAJAJ and KEITH BRADSHER

EXCERPT: But the takeover of the companies reinforced concerns about troubles of the American economy and highlighted its significant reliance on foreign investors, particularly in Asia.

... "It's a good half a plan, but its still just half a plan," said Joseph Mason, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, who cautioned that the government needed to outline its longer-range plan for the two companies and the credit markets to restore greater confidence to markets.


Sept 8, 2008 - County may test electric Nissans, By MIKE McCOY, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Automaker targets Bay Area as real-world proving ground for gas-free vehicles.

Hundreds of employees of Sonoma County and its nine cities could be driving electric cars by 2010 under a deal being worked out behind closed doors with Nissan North America.


Sept 4 2008 - Abramoff gets 4 years prison in corruption scandal, By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

PD NOTE: Fascinating picture of both the overall system corruption and the individuals within it. I'm fascinated by his explanation that the system was already corrupt; he was just good at working it. I can sympathize, in a way, but also wonder - is there no individual responsibility for one's actions? No wonder it can be hard for those of us wanting to be ethical and truly serve. I think this speaks to dynamics not just in Washington and is part of what needs to be adjusted by all of us to have functioning systems that support truly wise community action. After all, how often are we told to just think of ourselves, work with the system the way it is, not feel responsible for the outcomes...?

Sept 3 2008 - New eBay site has social, environmental aim, BY RACHEL METZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PD NOTE: This describes a new website joint venture between eBay and an organization called World of Good. The site will sell goods from around the world that are said to have a social or environmental benefit. Independent third-party organizations like Rainforest Alliance and Co-op America will screen sellers and verify the items listed on the site.

Sept 3 2008 - Green Gold?, By Marc Gunther, senior writer
Wal-Mart and Tiffany are trying to clean up the gold-mining industry. Not everyone is cheering them on.

Aug 31 2008 - In tight times, more people recycling to earn cash, By KERRY BENEFIELD, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
County buyback centers are seeing visitors haul in bottles, even cardboard, to earn rising rates for recyclable goods

Aug 29 2008 - Obama's breathtaking show transcended politics, By David Bauder, AP Television Writer
Kicking off a general election campaign with a unique event

Aug 28 2008 - Obama Speech: Convention Address Makes Economic Populism Central Thrust of Election 2008

Aug 28 2008 - 'We are better than these last eight years,' Prepared remarks of Barack Obama to the Democratic National Convention (Nomination acceptance speech)

Aug 28 2008 - Al Gore's Speech at the Democratic Convention, Prepared remarks
Text -
Video -

Aug 27 2008 - Bill Clinton's Speech at the Democratic Convention

Aug 19 2008 - Google invests $10M in geothermal energy technology, San Jose Business Journal

Aug 19 2008 - Bargain homes drive up sales in county, By Michael Coit, Press Democrat
Sales surge for 4th straight month, but median price drops below $400,000 for first time in 4 years

Aug. 18, 2008 - Car Sharing Gains Traction, by Joseph B. White, Wall St. Journal Online;_ylt=Anjo9uXjyEChmq3L00.Phpu7YWsA

Aug. 18, 2008 - Progressive Festival needs your help...
NOTE: Sun Sept 28 - 11th Annual Progressive Festival - 11am - 5pm FREE (come early, program begins 11 am)

Aug. 18, 2008 - AP IMPACT: Weak rules cripple appraiser oversight, By Mitch Weiss, Associated Press Writer
Toothless rules, bumbling regulators cripple oversight of real estate appraisers

EXCERPT: "As soaring home prices set the stage for America's great housing meltdown, a critical step in making sure those home sales were a fair deal -- the real estate appraisal -- was undermined from within."

Aug. 17, 2008 - It's 8: Phelps passes Spitz with another gold, By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer

Aug. 14, 2008 - Foreclosure Filings Rise in July, As Credit Woes Continue, By MIKE BARRIS

EXCERPT: " Property foreclosure filings for July rose 8% from June and 55% from a year earlier, as credit woes and tumbling home values continue to hit homeowners."

Aug. 14, 2008 - Home prices have fallen 7.6% over the past 12 months, By Les Christie, staff writer,

EXCERPT: " Real estate prices continued to post steep year-over-year declines during the three months ended June 30, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)."

Aug. 14, 2008 - U.S. Inflation Hits 17-Year High - As Increases Move Beyond Food, Oil, By BRIAN BLACKSTONE

Aug. 14, 2008 - IOC tells China not to obstruct reporters, By ROHAN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer;_ylt=Aj2EX_CBOsSObdVAU4NbzdiSFs0F

Aug. 8, 2008 - Amtrak Derails on Increased Demand, By Scott Reeves
Rising tide of commuters faces crowds, delays

PD NOTE: In Sonoma County, you can catch an Amtrak Bus to connect to an Amtrak Train from Railroad Square's Courtyard Marriot (Santa Rosa). For more info,, 1 800 USARAIL


Aug. 8, 2008 - Wells Fargo economist sees end of high-growth, high-innovation era


"For the past 20 years -- as baby boomers moved through their peak spending years -- consumers eagerly pulled out the plastic to take advantage of the latest innovations in cars, TV sets, cell phones, music players, personal computers, and the list goes on.

"But now consumers, especially the large co-hort of aging baby boomers, are expected to curtail spending as they pay off debt as well as prepare for and enter retirement.

... Aleman sees a world in which consumers once again view durable goods as "durable," whether it computers, cell phones or music players.

"It will be the consumer calling the shots rather than producers and marketing and sales people," he said. "Innovation -- be it real or presumed -- won't determine when it is time to replace or change your gadget."

Aug. 5, 2008 - Why the Investment Banking Model is Dead, CNBC


The investment banking model that contributed to the subprime crisis is dead and investors will now refuse to buy products where the risk is not transparent, strategists told CNBC Europe Tuesday.

"I don't think life is going to come back into the kind of exotic credit-derivative, credit-default type products for many years," David Roche, global strategist at Independent Strategy, told "Squawk Box Europe." "I think that sort of business is just so dead."

MY COMMENT: They used this deception for their profit, stole billions from us, and harmed our economy seriously. Now that this game has been found out, of course they can't use it again, which is decent news - but they'll just invent a new way to hoodwink us. Only if we see the bankers who profitted from this insanity lose their homes will I believe that they've started to learn the lesson and make the level of systemic changes that will truly create a different future. Does anyone remember the S&L failures that citizens paid for? The Internet stock mania? There's a pattern here, as those in power profit while the majority pay the bill. We the people have some responsibility if we don't read the fine print or insist on more fair systems.

Freddie Mac Chief: Don't Blame Me, by Aaron Task't-Blame-Me?tickers=fre,fnm,mer,XLF,%5EDJI,%5EGSPC

EXCERPT: Richard F. Syron, chief executive of troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac, ignored red flags about the financing of questionable loans, according to an article in today's New York Times. The quotes from Syron are incredible, and not in a good way.

COMMENT ON THIS WEBPAGE: bballcoach2 - I love how when times are good, so many people in power want to be held in esteem, and receive huge bonuses, as though they are responsible. But....when things go bad, it was "unforeseeable external forces" for which they are NOT responsible. Scam artists, and we're dumb enough to let them get away with it.

COMMENT ON THIS WEBPAGE: haywood j - why should the taxpayers pick up the tab for the irresponsible gluttony of coorporate executives?the irresponsible banks should go bust and there should be criminal charges brought against these clowns. why do i need to pay for their incompetence? There actually ethical banks out there, let them be rewarded for good business practices by letting the dishonest and greedy fail.

Aug 4, 2008 - Cellulosic Ethanol Firms Raise Capital As They Move Toward Real Production, Norm Alster, Investor's Business Daily

July 20, 2008 - Villagers build greener Britain, home by home, By Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times
Rather than drastic changes, residents employ series of small, inexpensive steps to effectively cut carbon footprints

July 18, 2008 - Gore Calls for Carbon-Free Electric Power, By DAVID STOUT, New York Times

EXCERPTS: Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.

"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. "The future of human civilization is at stake."

Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation's electricity from "renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources" within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

July 18, 2008 - State is first to OK green building standards, Matthew Yi, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

EXCERPT: California on Thursday became the first state in the nation to approve green building standards to cut energy and water usage, a move that officials say will help the state meet its ambitious goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

July 15, 2008 - Confessions of a subprime lender: 3 bad loans
Special Report Mortgage Meltdown
In his new book, author and ex-lender Richard Bitner owns up to some of his worst mistakes, offering an inside look at how his firm issued bad mortgages.

July 9, 2008 - Even Energy Companies Feel the Pinch, by Michelle Dathorne and Ben Tsocanos, BusinessWeek
Rising oil and gas prices are weighing on the operations and financial health of several exploration, production, and refining outfits


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