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Print 149 comment(s) - last by William Gaatje.. on Jan 25 at 7:13 PM

Gel-like fuel shutting down trucks and buses, forcing school closures.

Update 1/23/2009: MEG Corp, a fuel consulting company funded by the biofuels industry has issued a report on the situation.  After examining affected fuel filters, their results indicate that the clogging was due to paraffin from the diesel portion of the fuel, rather than from the biodiesel component.

A chemiical engineering professor and biofuels expert at the University of Ottawa contacted by Dailytech said the resolvate  technique used by MEG "sounds plausible", but that only an actual chemical analysis would give a definitive answer.   The expert did confirm that, in the absence of expensive post-processing measures,  the cold-weather performance of biodiesel does tend to be significantly worse than that of diesel.

MEG Corp tells Dailytech they are sending the fuel precipitate to the University of Alberta for actual analysis.   We will report on their final conclusion when available.



Much of the U.S. has been experiencing record cold this winter. In Minnesota, that means temperatures well below zero. It also means state-mandated biodiesel fuel that turns into a thick gel, clogging fuel systems and preventing many diesel-powered vehicles from operating.

The combination of cold weather and biofuel has closed many school districts, with school buses being unable to operate. Some school systems are seeking a state waiver to allow them to temporarily use pure diesel. Others have found a faster solution: leave the buses running on idle all night, to keep the motors warm. Some tractor-trailer drivers are reportedly using the same measure as well.

Normal diesel will gel also, but at lower temperatures. Pure biodiesel begins to gel at around 32 degrees due to a much higher percentage of paraffin compounds. The state-mandated 2 percent biodiesel mix is good down to about 10 degrees, according to sources in the Minnesota DOT. Last year, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced a $300,000 grant to help biodiesel companies set up cold-weather blending measures, which includes mixing the fuel with kerosene or other additives.

Bill Walsh, director of communications for the state's Department of Commerce, defended the fuel, saying "this is not a biodiesel problem, it's a diesel problem."

The state is currently on a scaling plan that will gradually increase the percentage of biodiesel in fuel to 5 percent this year, then 20 percent by the year 2015. Minnesota's biodiesel is made primarily from soybean oil.

The snafu is expected to fuel debate over the biodiesel mandate, which when passed in 2005 pitted the state's soybean farmers against the trucking industry, who raised the specter of higher shipping costs due to increased fuel prices.



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It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By Drexial on 1/21/2009 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 5
Any diesel will start gelling around 15F. When you are talking about the below zero temps they are seeing, they need to winterize the fuel. This would alleviate any problems whether bio-diesel or not. Clearly this isn't being done, or it's not being done right. They may not have block heaters

The 2% they have in the mixture would not really have made a huge difference in the negative temps they were seeing.

I should assume that they know about Diesel fuel considering their location. But with mistakes made like these, it doesn't seem so.

The article also says that 50 of 10,000 students were effected by the problems. which is what 3 bus loads?
This is a problem clearly being blown out of proportions, seems to me that bio-diesel was the scapegoat for a different foul up.

I will say that bio-diesel is the most useless product to enforce. You are still releasing carbon into the air. They just skipped the 10,000,000 year process of it sitting in the ground.

The only bio diesel that makes sense are the ones that acquire it from local restaurants and filter it themselves. This is however only useful for single operation garage projects.




By acase on 1/21/2009 11:39:09 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously...someone should just tell these people to put on an episode of Ice Road Truckers!!!


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 2:00:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's not useless, it works just as well as regular diesel and it can be grown right here in America, instead of sending billions of dollars to arab countries.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 2:23:09 PM , Rating: 1
"it can be grown right here in America..."

Yeah, using fertilizer made with oil and tractors fueled with oil. You're really not saving that much oil with biofuels made from food crops. Thats why it costs so blinkin' much.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 4:09:38 PM , Rating: 3
You mean the tractors that can also run on biodiesel?

Or the biodiesel that's made from algae?

Oh that's right, you don't know one single thing about biodiesel, you're just another dittohead repeating neo-con talking points.

How is your job working for the oil industry anyway?


By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 4:15:26 PM , Rating: 3
Friend, no biodiesel is made from algae right now. You missed the whole part about "biofuels made from food crops" I guess. And we don't make fertilizer out of biodiesel either, it comes straight from good old-fashioned petroleum.

Thanks for spewing your load of ad hominem all over the board, though. That seems to be a normal response when people find themselves painted into a logical corner.


By Darkskypoet on 1/23/2009 9:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
Whilst I do get your point, there are alternatives to petroleum fertilizer... In fact its one of the reasons our Potash industry in Northern Sask was absolutely on fire when oil started doing its upward march. We just got lazy, and make everything we can from petroleum, even if we don't have to... If instead we decided to improve mfg tech for many items, the petroleum requirements would drop significantly, however we have a tendency with sticking with things that worked for us in the past and only changing when forced to. (Yes I also understand the idea that we burn the petrol for power to mfg as well, but I think you understand what I mean here. Plastics, among other things currently made with petroleum, can be made from other sources. we just haven't needed to in many cases, and haven't hit the 'necessity is the mother of invention point' yet. $147 / bbl oil however, may have finally changed that.)

But, I agree whole heartedly; ethanol from viable food is stupid. Ethanol / fuel from waste, however, is a completely different bucket of biomass. Which I honestly think anyone with intelligence understands completely. However, sadly, many enviros fail to see the distinction between the two, and why one is far far worse then the other. I don't get those types... <shrug>


By Alexvrb on 1/23/2009 10:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We just got lazy, and make everything we can from petroleum
Did it ever occur to you that products made from petroleum might have been cheaper and better for all those years (and in many cases still continue to be)? It wasn't laziness. Non-petroleum resins are FAR from new. But if it was mandatory to use non-petroleum sources for all plastics and all fertilizer, you'd find costs to be rather high.

Future developments should be able to either steer us in a different direction, or help us to at least mass produce synthetic oils cheaply.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By Steele on 1/21/2009 4:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
So don't make it from food crops. Make it from algae, grown in deserts and irrigated with salt water.


By porkpie on 1/21/2009 6:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
When we can do that, we won't need government mandates to sell it. It'll be cheaper than normal diesel and will sell itself.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 3:03:50 PM , Rating: 1
Just like ethanol, right?

What a fecking joke.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 3:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
Nice try. Ethanol is put into E85 which is gas, regular gas, not diesel.


By ebakke on 1/21/2009 5:11:34 PM , Rating: 3
What?

You said
quote:
It's not useless, it works just as well as regular diesel and it can be grown right here in America, instead of sending billions of dollars to arab countries.
To which I commented on the parallels with ethanol/gasoline. Ethanol is added to gasoline and sold to the public as something "grown right here in America, instead of sending billions of dollars to arab countries." Except that ethanol (especially from corn) isn't viable in any regard.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 3:37:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The article also says that 50 of 10,000 students were effected by the problems. which is what 3 bus loads?


Yeah, tell that to the three bus loads worth of parents that have their kids stranded on a rural road with the bus not able to run while they sit there in -29F temps waiting to have another bus dispatched to go get them.

They decided to call off the school day because they did not have confidence that their school buses could make their routes, regardless of which busses did or did not actually have issues.

As for the assertion you have that the 2% biofuel does not have a big impact, why don’t you come up here, I’ll fill your car’s gas tank with just 2% water and send you out into the rural areas on a -20s day. We’ll see how much of an impact that makes for you.

Lastly, as for block heaters, they only heat the block. They don’t do jack for the entire run of fuel delivery or return lines.

-Suntan


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 4:04:22 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah got to love the rightwing nut jobs. 3 buses in Minn break down and all of a sudden the democrats have ruined America.

Big whoop it's called a "snow day" happens 3-10 times per year I reckon. They just make it up in the spring. It's not really the end of the world.


RE: It's not just the bio part they dont understand
By Spuke on 1/21/2009 4:12:47 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Yeah got to love the rightwing nut jobs.
I, personally, love the nutjobs that continue to think that their "side" is the right one and the other "side" is the wrong one. When BOTH "sides" have more than demonstrated their continued incompetence.


By ttowntom on 1/21/2009 5:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
"3 buses in Minn break down"

If you read the article, it says that was just from one school district and other districts had the same problem. It also says the other buses didn't break down because they kept them running all night long, which doesn't seem to be a very good solution.


By Doann on 1/22/2009 12:39:40 AM , Rating: 3
I have been making my own bio-diesel at home for years. I go to Restaurants (and any anywhere else I can as long as it is not out of my way) to get the base oils. At first, I made it for my 1982 Rabbit (non-turbo) diesel as a matter of interest. When that car died, I used the engine to make an emergency generator system. The excess fuel gets burned in my combination oil/grain furnace. The two 200 gal storage tanks are in my basement and stay nice and warm so I have no problem with "gelling". The heating of my home emits no "fossil fuel source" carbon dioxide.
I wonder how much carbon-dioxide (along with the other pollutants) gets foolishly dumped into the air by letting vehicles idle all night just to stop the fuel from gelling - it sort of "defeats the purpose" eh?
I have yet to see a proper study that shows the net energy (and pollution) saving in making bio-diesel on a commercial level when you consider all the extra transportation required on the supply-side, the processing "energy costs", staff transportation, and the normal "Plant Overhead" costs.
Again - it sort of defeats the purpose eh?

Doann


By werepossum on 1/23/2009 8:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Drexial on January 21, 2009 at 11:25 AM
SNIP
I will say that bio-diesel is the most useless product to enforce. You are still releasing carbon into the air. They just skipped the 10,000,000 year process of it sitting in the ground.

The only bio diesel that makes sense are the ones that acquire it from local restaurants and filter it themselves. This is however only useful for single operation garage projects.

I don't know, there's this wacky new theory that soy beans actually use carbon from the atmosphere - thus releasing it by burning adds no net CO2. Probably just some crackpot, but wouldn't it be great if it were true?

Still waiting to learn how bathing oil in hot potatoes before burning it removes the carbon...


By Darkskypoet on 1/23/2009 9:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well now thats an interesting question:

See the oil that my potatoes gets bathed in comes from canola, this of course is grown, and is a temporary carbon sequestering site. When its processed and I get my oil from say the store... I now bath potatoes in it, which contrary to popular belief does nothing to the carbon content of the oil. Instead, when It goes off tot he local municipal dump, it gets added to the rest of the trash... or it can go to our municipal biofuel plant, and be converted into fuel.

So to recap.. the potatoes, they do nothing! Instead, the carbon that once was in the atmo is released back to where it came, or it is buried and goes into the ground for a while. The idea here, is that we aren't making an entire industry to grow canola to make fuel. We are already growing canola to cook with (big etc here as well canola has a tonne of uses), we are simply taking the waste product which more often then not is simply dumped, and burning it to do work.

Much like the corn ethanol vs waste ethanol debate, the production of biodiesel from waste that would otherwise be dumped is a good thing, the growing of an entire food crop simply to burn it; is a bad thing.

Honestly now, if ethanol / biodiesel were never made from viable food crops, and instead were only made from waste products that would traditionally be dumped / burnt on the fields (stubble burning), or simply brought to some place to rot; we would not be demonizing it so. However, instead Lobbyists got the idea that they could raise the price of their products (in this case raise the price of food) by getting dumb legislation passed. Thus it deserves a certain amount of demonization... However, if it truly was a case of smart biofuels production, most of the opponents to it, wouldn't be. However greed and politics tend not to equate to smart policy. (unless you hired said lobbyists, then your members at least feel smart in screwing the rest of us)


By Doann on 1/25/2009 2:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to have a good handle (common sense) on the real situation regarding end-use efficiency of bio-products. By keeping as much of the hidden carbon that is stored in the ground (which the Earth has already adjusted itself for) as oil, the so-called carbon dioxide problem would be irrelevant.

Regarding your comment earlier today (By Darkskypoet on 1/23/2009 9:01:08 PM)
"However, sadly, many enviros fail to see the distinction between the two, and why one is far worse then the other. I don't get those types... <shrug> "

The reason the "enviros" are against using biomass, garbage, and waste as power sources is that it would be taking their "reason to be" away. It is obvious by this, that they value having their "squeaky/shrill little voices" heard by the public more than the state of the environment. What "sad little people" they are.
Doann


By Yawgm0th on 1/24/2009 5:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Clearly this isn't being done, or it's not being done right. They may not have block heaters The 2% they have in the mixture would not really have made a huge difference in the negative temps they were seeing. I should assume that they know about Diesel fuel considering their location. But with mistakes made like these, it doesn't seem so.
I won't pretend to know enough about diesel or biodiesel to speculate what caused this, but it's highly unlikely they wouldn't be prepared. The temperature here in MN drops well below 0F in the entire metro area every year, consistently. Most years it will drop below -10F in the morning for at least several weeks. I rode the school bus under these conditions for about twelve years, some of that time in the Bloomington public school district.

When it gets really cold, say below -30F, they will close some schools just because it's too cold for people. But I can think of maybe two occasions in K-12 that happened. Otherwise, we would get "snow days" every year or three. I've never heard of a diesel problem stopping a school bus, ever.

I'm not saying it's the biodiesel, but this being fault of whoever is supposed to winterize our fuel is completely unprecedented. We have issues electing US Senators and Governors here, but not with our winter fuel. I'm skeptical, to say the least.


By William Gaatjes on 1/25/2009 7:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Any diesel will start gelling around 15F. When you are talking about the below zero temps they are seeing, they need to winterize the fuel. This would alleviate any problems whether bio-diesel or not. Clearly this isn't being done, or it's not being done right. They may not have block heaters The 2% they have in the mixture would not really have made a huge difference in the negative temps they were seeing. I should assume that they know about Diesel fuel considering their location. But with mistakes made like these, it doesn't seem so. The article also says that 50 of 10,000 students were effected by the problems. which is what 3 bus loads? This is a problem clearly being blown out of proportions, seems to me that bio-diesel was the scapegoat for a different foul up.


Is it possible that winterizing the diesel/biodiesel mixture has some negative effect on the quality of the mixture too ? Or that winterizing the mixture would have made it less green, invoking a negative response from green groups ?

quote:
I will say that bio-diesel is the most useless product to enforce. You are still releasing carbon into the air. They just skipped the 10,000,000 year process of it sitting in the ground. The only bio diesel that makes sense are the ones that acquire it from local restaurants and filter it themselves. This is however only useful for single operation garage projects.


I agree.


Interesting comment from the story
By danrien on 1/21/2009 1:31:54 PM , Rating: 5
Someone posted this comment about the bus's engines:

quote:
It's interesting how this article, and most of the news reports, fail to mention ALL the buses that were affected have the same design difference from other buses that weren't affected. The fuel filter on this type of bus design is placed farther away from the engine block, which prohibits the filter from getting the same amount of heat as ones in the other design get. Also, the "gel chunks" found in the failed fuel filters contained paraffin. Paraffin comes from the petroleum part of the fuel and has nothing to do with the "bio" part. The filter on our #2 diesel pump today was plugged up too. Couldn't blame the "bio" for that.


Appears this entire story is leaping to conclusions because people want to find reasons to protest anything that may be beneficial to the environment, like that's somehow bad all of a sudden.




By Doormat on 1/21/2009 1:46:19 PM , Rating: 3
What else do you expect from Asher?


RE: Interesting comment from the story
By grenableu on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
By Solandri on 1/21/2009 3:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
Also, temperatures over the weekend in Minnesota were cold enough for regular diesel to gel. So I wouldn't read too much into the non-bio diesel also clogging up.


RE: Interesting comment from the story
By Darkskypoet on 1/23/2009 9:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually grenableu... perhaps you could make some form of paraffin from vegetable oil... But its a petroleum product. Yeah, thats right. Pe-troll-eum. ;) Just thought you might like a little help here.

"A term used variously for either a waxlike substance or a group of compounds. The former use pertains to the high-boiling residue obtained from certain petroleum crudes . It is recovered by freezing out on a cold drum and is purified by crystallization from methyl ethyl ketone. Paraffin wax is a mixture of 26- to 30-carbon alkane hydrocarbons; it melts at 52–57°C (126–135°F). Microcrystalline wax contains compounds of higher molecular weight and has a melting point as high as 90°C (190°F). The name paraffin was formerly used to designate a group of hydrocarbons—now known as alkanes."

Also, you can reference this data sheet for cold diesel flow products; notice the use of these products in pure diesel engines to change characteristics of paraffin crystal formation specifically to increase low at low temps.

http://www.crceurope.com/wwwcrc/tds/TCA3%20DAP.PDF

Please by all means, learn a little about what you speak of. If these buses have a fuel filter located farther away from the source of heat (block heater) then they would have problems either way.


RE: Interesting comment from the story
By grenableu on 1/23/2009 11:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
Here now, how about a wee little chemistry lesson?

quote:
The name paraffin was formerly used to designate a group of hydrocarbons—now known as alkanes
What do you think happens to vegetable oils when you transesterify them to produce biodiesel? It breaks down the fatty acids into alkanes. That's why you can burn it in diesel engines. Paraffin is normally made from petroleum, because its cheaper. The point is you can expect to find some in biodiesel too.


By Darkskypoet on 1/24/2009 12:16:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know you can... Strangely (well actually not so strangely) bio-oils contain many of the same compounds as older petro-bio-oils. The main point was that in your post you blame the biodiesel for the formations that clogged the filters, and implied the exclusivity of such coming from the bio-fuel.

Regardless though, In any diesel where you have a flow constraint (in this case fuel filter) having said filter unheated for long periods in the winter will give you problems. Being far away from block heater is one thing for stationary periods of no engine heat production, but that indicates perhaps less then adequate heating, even when the engine is running.

Most bio-diesel setups I've seen in cars (many homegrown, true) have a heater for at least some parts of the biofuel system. However, i live in the north where it gets and stays very cold in the winter; so perhaps this is why issues such as these seem so mundane, and expected.

I would marvel at some of the strange heat related problems that perhaps someone in Arizona would laugh at as being typical... So therein lies my bias. We have these issues, but have dealt with them via initial design, rather then have them take us by surprise.


By Oxonium on 1/25/2009 1:32:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you need to brush up on your chemistry. The transesterification reaction simply changes the vegetable oil from one ester (a fatty acid-glycerol ester) to another (usually a methyl ester). These are not alkanes, which by definition are chains of carbon and hydrogen. Every biodiesel molecule contains at least 2 oxygens.


....
By lebe0024 on 1/21/2009 11:05:52 AM , Rating: 2
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yes, I live in Minnesota. And yes, it has been freakishly cold. And yes, this is a good illustration of why government often creates more problems whenever they try to become the solution.




RE: ....
By Hyraxxx on 1/21/2009 11:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
This quote should be framed on everyone's wall.


RE: ....
By RamarC on 1/21/2009 11:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
you're right and it's often due to pandering. they don't spend time studying the pros and cons, they just want to latch on to a 'popular' position and be seen as 'forward-thinking'.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" so we need to be sure to weigh our intentions against possible outcomes.


RE: ....
By tallcool1 on 1/21/2009 12:03:00 PM , Rating: 3
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:
"I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

On another note, it shouldn't be so cold, with all the global warming and all...


dual fuel
By tastyratz on 1/21/2009 11:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
These systems could switch over to a 100% blend in the cold. What they would need is a hybrid deisel system with 2 tanks and a heater installed. They could start and warm up on standard deisel, then when the engine is running power an electric heater to warm the lines and tank of the bio fuel, and switch over once it reaches a certain temperature.
Hell they could even route the cooling system to the fuel tank by ways of an insulated channel with the feed lines. Free heat once the engines up to temperature.

People do this to run their cars on vegetable oil. This could easily be retrofit to existing government vehicles just as people already do.

Then they would save MUCH more money and be far greener through recycling.




RE: dual fuel
By afkrotch on 1/21/2009 12:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
And at the same time, increase food prices as more land gets dedicated to making vegetable oil.

So what do you end up with? A more complicated car, fuel that isn't any cheaper, and higher food prices. Thanks, but no thanks.


RE: dual fuel
By ZachDontScare on 1/21/2009 4:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
Because school districts are just swimming in money to afford such changes to all their busses.


RE: dual fuel
By tastyratz on 1/22/2009 9:13:48 AM , Rating: 2
retrofitting something like this on a scale that large could likely be done for less than $1-2000 a bus. How much do you think they spend on fuel making the bus runs every day with 6-10mpg
+ the cost of leaving them idling
+ the wear and tear costs of additional hours

ROI is very high with a system like that.


2%?
By nvalhalla on 1/21/2009 11:16:06 AM , Rating: 3
So a 2 percent addition of biodiesel causes the fuel to freeze? What temp does pure diesel freeze at? If pure biodiesel freezes at 32 and a 2% solution is good to 10, would pure diesel freeze much lower? I would think the difference between freezing at 10 and freezing at, say, 5, wouldn't be that big of deal. They had to have encountered this before. How did they handle the winters before the switch to 2% biodiesel?




RE: 2%?
By RamarC on 1/21/2009 11:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
diesel starts to gels at -15F. when gelled, it won't flow properly and the engine won't function.


RE: 2%?
By afkrotch on 1/21/2009 11:48:35 AM , Rating: 2
Not freeze. Gel up. Pure diesel gels at 10F. Pure biodiesel can gel at different points depending on what it's made of. Can be 32F, can be 50F.

I wouldn't trust that whole 2% solution should be good to 10F, when pure diesel gels at that. Look how much salt is needed to lower the freezing point of water. Not much at all.


Government = idiots
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 11:09:38 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Others have found a faster solution: leave the buses running on idle all night, to keep the motors warm
Well that's gotta save a lot of fuel! Thank god biodiesel is cutting down our oil usage.




No surprise here
By foolsgambit11 on 1/21/2009 8:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, masher, how am I not surprised that this gets reported by you, but you've missed some important news on your favorite topic?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/science/earth/22...




RE: No surprise here
By masher2 (blog) on 1/21/2009 9:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I got a preprint of that paper a few days ago. All in all, its a rather embarrassing paper for the AGW camp. A blog will be up on it shortly.


What Idiots !
By Beenthere on 1/21/2009 1:29:17 PM , Rating: 1
Ferchrissake all they need to do is dump a bottle of Diesel fuel anti-gel in the tanks when they fill up. You can also use Kerosene to cut the fuel in extreme cold weather. This ain't rocket science. Failing to take appropriate steps in extreme cold weather to prevent fuel gelling Diesel or BioDiesel is pure negligence and incompetence.




RE: What Idiots !
By FPP on 1/22/2009 5:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
It is exactly as above, just another example of this new religion and the kool-aid drinkers who are incharge.


Really Walsh?
By Odysseus145 on 1/21/2009 11:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
"Bill Walsh, director of communications for the state's Department of Commerce, defended the fuel, saying "this is not a biodiesel problem, it's a diesel problem.""

I would like to see him defend this statement.




Huh...
By DASQ on 1/21/2009 11:50:57 AM , Rating: 2
Irony, anyone?

They use regular 'dirty' diesel, and the Earth is rotating into a rotating ball of fire, hotter than it's ever been.
They use biodiesel, and it's too cold to actually run it. :p

*I am not saying, or claiming, biodiesel has caused the world to cool




The hidden joke
By Smilin on 1/21/2009 12:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bill Walsh, director of communications for the state's Department of Commerce, defended the fuel, saying "this is not a biodiesel problem, it's a diesel problem."


...as an out of state diesel vehicle drives by behind him.




This reminds me of a GWB quote....
By rtrski on 1/21/2009 12:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Rarely is the question asked, is our politicians learning?"

Obvious substitution in bold.




So?
By danrien on 1/21/2009 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Others have found a faster solution: leave the buses running on idle all night, to keep the motors warm.


I live in North Dakota, and all the school busses did this, not just the ones on bio diesel (I don't believe ND has a similar law). This also keeps down on possible delays in getting kids to school when even pure diesel won't start in an old engine.




By ggordonliddy on 1/21/2009 6:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
WRONG:
quote:
It also means state-mandated biodiesel fuel that turns into a thick gel, clogging fuel systems and preventing many diesel-powered vehicles from operating.


RIGHT:
It also means that state-mandated biodiesel fuel turns into a thick gel, clogging fuel systems and preventing many diesel-powered vehicles from operating.

 
Yes, the placement of a single word ("that") does make a huge difference in a sentence's meaning. The original sentence is actually saying that they are using the affected fuel because of the lower temperature, which would not make any sense.

 
And for the love of all fecal matter, PLEASE CHANGE THE "POST COMMENT" BUTTON TO A HYPERLINK SO THAT THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN STILL BE READ WHILE REPLYING!!!!!!!!




Stupid officials, stupid!!!
By pjs on 1/21/2009 9:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
These stupid officials need to outlaw cold weather. Or outlaw stupid rule makers like themselves!




Hey!
By FPP on 1/24/2009 2:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
maybe they out to contact the gell'ed Rocket fuel boys in the other article...they may have something for them.




Perfect example
By FITCamaro on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Perfect example
By therealnickdanger on 1/21/2009 11:18:02 AM , Rating: 5
Ugh, don't remind me. I'd like to apologize to the entire USA on behalf of my state for electing both Jesse "The Body" Ventura and (arguably) Stuart Smalley. People around here wet their pants every time a celebrity rolls through town or whenever a director chooses to shoot a movie here or something. They just can't resist. *sigh*


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 11:21:16 AM , Rating: 5
Jesse Ventura is actually an upstanding patriot. He holds true to the constitution and is very big on education. The man was a Navy Seal for crying out loud. I would be more than proud to see the man stand beside Ron Paul.

Constitution- not just another piece of paper.


RE: Perfect example
By paydirt on 1/21/2009 11:30:53 AM , Rating: 5
The fact of diesel gelling at low temperatures is not new information. At a minimum, this was known back in the 1970s. Minnesota, one of the colder states in the U.S., mandating its use because their lawmakers received bribes from agricultural companies is just typical of American politics.


RE: Perfect example
By ira176 on 1/22/2009 1:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
Gotta agree on some of your points paydirt. I'm by no means a person with great knowledge on the topic of diesel or biodiesel fuels, but I did know that the properties change with the temperature dropping. And the lawmakers in Minnesota should most certainly have known. Shame on them.


RE: Perfect example
By therealnickdanger on 1/21/2009 12:28:29 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not questioning his history prior to being governor - I even listened to his radio program before he ran for office. However, in actual practice, he couldn't function and the senate walked all over him.


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 12:34:45 PM , Rating: 4
Well, faulting him for not being able to get the things he wanted passed seems unfair. He had no party backing, so he was overturned by worthless Republicans and Democrats alike who do nothing but vote for the party. This is why I think party systems should be done away with and everyone runs independent.

It was known even in the beginning with the founding fathers that parties would be a problem for these very reasons we see today. No more parties means no more pandering to them and an individual can be just that, with his own ideas and stances. We all know group mentality is a bad thing, why do we allow it in our government? Just silliness.


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 1:26:15 PM , Rating: 3
No, ineffective is a cop-out that any politican can hide behind. "The Body" was not just ineffective, he was a joke and a detriment to the state.

By the time he left office, he mandated that the governor's mansion be closed down so he could "save money on running it" yet it was common knowledge that he had a personal spat with almost everyone that worked in the house and wanted to have a reason to fire them.

He had most of the public restrooms along the interstates closed because he couldn't handle a budget that included money to clean them.

He required all of the news media personel that attended his apperances to wear a "Jackel Pass" around their necks (litterally a sign with the word "Jackel" on it) or they wouldn't be allowed in to the press conference. He called them all jackels because he didn't like the bad things they were reporting about him in the media.

When he was given the responsibility to appoint a replacement to the senate when Wellstone died, he originally said he would replace him with a Democrat because the state elected a democrate and that would maintain the Senate with a democratic majority. Then he changed his mind and apointed an independent because he didn't like the way the democrates acted at Wellstone's funeral proceedings and the fact that an Independent candidate was not invited to the upcoming Senatorial debates. The effect was to turn a Democratically controlled Senate into a Senate split equally between Dems and Repubs.

The list goes on...

He might be a patriot, but he was completely and totally incompetent for the job he was elected to. At the time I thought at least one positive would be that the nation (and certainly the state of Minnesota) would have learned what happens when you elect someone "just to make a point." Apparently that did not soak in at all around here with regards to that goofball Frankin.

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By masher2 (blog) on 1/21/2009 1:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He required all of the news media personel that attended his apperances to wear a "Jackel Pass" around their necks (litterally a sign with the word "Jackel" on it)
I don't know, I kind of like this one.


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 2:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
As a friend of mine said, “He let me put longer length studs on the track of my snowmobile. Other than that he hasn’t done anything good for us.”

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 2:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
He lowered the vehicle registration fees, which was good for me.


RE: Perfect example
By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 2:27:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
he appointed a replacement to the senate when Wellstone died -- the effect was to turn a Democratically controlled Senate into a Senate split equally between Dems and Repubs.
This is a bad thing?


RE: Perfect example
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 2:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
You rail against Ventura, but don't even mention his 9/11 conspiracy theories?!?


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 2:53:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
By the time he left office, he mandated that the governor's mansion be closed down so he could "save money on running it" yet it was common knowledge that he had a personal spat with almost everyone that worked in the house and wanted to have a reason to fire them.


You understand he is a Libertarian stance wise, right? Pretty much as little government as humanly possible is their stance. I think this lavish lifestyle we allow for our leaders is kinda ridiculous, if they want that crap let them buy it themselves.

quote:
He required all of the news media personel that attended his apperances to wear a "Jackel Pass" around their necks (litterally a sign with the word "Jackel" on it) or they wouldn't be allowed in to the press conference. He called them all jackels because he didn't like the bad things they were reporting about him in the media.


I find that hilarious personally.

As for the replacement, he picked who he thought was best, not a party. Good for him, I'm sick of the party system and it seems that it needs a shove to get away from it.

I guess I don't see your major problem with him.


RE: Perfect example
By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 2:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think this lavish lifestyle we allow for our leaders is kinda ridiculous
Righto. People complain anytime Congress votes themselves a pay raise, but they don't realize that all the travel junkets, paid servants ("staffers"), and millions of other perks they get cost us 20 times what their salary does.

Does every governor need a mansion full of servants? I don't think so.


RE: Perfect example
By FITCamaro on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Perfect example
By rcc on 1/23/2009 4:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
But, but.... that's necessary to track and process all the extra tax money that's not coming from the people that are not employeed, or took lower paying jobs.

And, yes, for anyone that didn't understand, that's sarcasm.


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 4
Right, well continue to see what you want to see. If you see a person that promoted smaller government, that’s your right. Most of us saw a guy that was completely incompetent, petty and unprofessional guy that couldn’t get anything done.

As for the guy he appointed to the Senate, one of the only things he voted on in his short stint before elections replaced him with an elected Senator was to vote in favor of a Senatorial pay raise…

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 3:53:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
As for the guy he appointed to the Senate, one of the only things he voted on in his short stint before elections replaced him with an elected Senator was to vote in favor of a Senatorial pay raise…


I'm a lot less concerned about small pay raises for elected officials. I am fine with paying the people, they have a tough job and should be compensated fairly. Now what they don't deserve is being bought everything under the sun.


RE: Perfect example
By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 4:06:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Most of us saw a guy that was completely incompetent, petty and unprofessional guy that couldn’t get anything done
That's why Jesse Ventura had the highest approval ratings of any governor since 1947?

http://books.google.com/books?id=MvFWTcMfAR0C&pg=P...


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 4:55:07 PM , Rating: 3
One month into his term… Yeah, that’s a fair assessment of his overall contribution to the state.

The reality is that he did everything the people that voted him into office wanted at the time of his election in the first day of office. To tell the Dems a Repubs that they wouldn’t automatically get elected each go around.

Unfortunately that backfired as both parties saw over the course of his tenure how bad the “3rd option” made a mess of things, and if anything, are more emboldened now than before.

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By Joz on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Perfect example
By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:11:55 PM , Rating: 1
Sure. Of course I don't think Ventura would like Paul's views on the military. But just think. We wouldn't need to have short conflicts anymore, just long ones. For the short ones we'll just send Ventura over there, he'll kick their @ss, and it'll be done. Same with negotiations. :)


RE: Perfect example
By RugbyChix on 1/21/2009 11:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
...because the last 8 years of not mandating has proven oh so beneficial.


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 11:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
Please don't start with that crap. The whole crash was caused by government mandating home interest loans to low-income people. The only "not mandating" here was the complete lack of oversight the house banking committee used on Fannie Mae.

Oh and look up who ran the house banking committee and told us all Fannie Mae was "just fine" and didn't need to be reigned in. Hint: it wasn't Bush.


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 11:24:17 AM , Rating: 1
This is incorrect. The reason the crash happened was because housing was artificially boosted in price to unbelievable levels. Now, normally when you give a loan and someone defaults, they just sell the house and move on. The problem was the housing market fell out and then the $800,000 house loan you gave is on a house that might be worth $100,000. This was the major problem, as defaulting on loans rarely has any heavy affects on banking institutions.


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 11:29:17 AM , Rating: 3
Uh, what do you think happens to the low-income people who had to finance with balloon mortgages when housing prices drop? Yep, the balloon breaks. They can't refinance, and they default.

And why did the housing market fall? Because it rose way too fast? And why did it rise so fast? Because so many low-income people were buying houses, thanks to the cheap balloon mortgages.

There's a reason they call it a bubble.


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 11:35:10 AM , Rating: 1
Actually speculation is what caused the artificially high prices in the first place, not the buying of houses itself.


RE: Perfect example
By dever on 1/21/2009 12:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but there are two reasons for the bubble, and both are due to direct intervention by government.

The first is the mandated approval of loans to less qualified applicants.

The second was the Fed's manipulation of the interest rates.

The entire boondoggle is government, government, government. Marx was an wrong... get over it.


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 12:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sorry, but there are two reasons for the bubble, and both are due to direct intervention by government. The first is the mandated approval of loans to less qualified applicants.


Prove these were the only 2 causes please and not with just you saying it is, provide some sort of actual proof.


RE: Perfect example
By grenableu on 1/21/2009 12:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
The law of supply and demand isn't enough for you? When cheap mortgages raise home ownership rates in the country from 27% to 32% in less than a decade, what do you think happens to demand?


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 12:29:52 PM , Rating: 1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_United_...

It would appear they aren't enough for anyone. I was subtly making a point to the psycho above that saying it is one specific fault or one person's fault is insane and making assertions as such are equally as insane. It was a group of factors that shouldn't be repeated. But this is America and no one remembers history.


RE: Perfect example
By Steve1981 on 1/21/2009 12:48:59 PM , Rating: 5
I would point to a specific fault: stupidity.

Regular homebuyers with no real money were stupid to buy homes they knew they couldn't afford via conventional loans.

Banks were stupid to lend money to people who couldn't afford to buy homes via conventional loans.

Speculators and banks were stupid to think that housing prices could never possibly fall.

Investment firms were stupid to buy up these loans, dice them up, and package them as AAA securities.

Yeah, stupidity seems like a recurring theme.


RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 12:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would point to a specific fault: stupidity.


Ha, yea, when we are going that general I have to agree.


RE: Perfect example
By dever on 1/22/2009 12:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Banks were stupid to lend money to people who couldn't afford to buy homes via conventional loans.
I'm sorry, but being forced by government to supply loans to underqualified applicants doesn't equate to stupidity on the part of the banks.

But yes, there's plenty of stupidity to go around... mostly, the blind stupidity that believes government is a positive force in any market.


RE: Perfect example
By grenableu on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Perfect example
By Gzus666 on 1/21/2009 2:45:57 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Rofl, yeah, Wikipedia, that's a good source. Right.


Did they not teach you what sources are in school? Read the bottom and they are all cited.


RE: Perfect example
By MamiyaOtaru on 1/24/2009 12:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
As if they can't pick and choose what to cite


RE: Perfect example
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/21/2009 12:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly correct.... The only reason a house goes up in value (or anything for that matter) is because someone is willing to pay a higher price for it. Of course in most cases a bank needs to back the loan and should step in a say, "No, house not worth that much" if really over priced, and not release the funds. However, if paying in cash the transaction will go through at the agreed upon price.


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 1:35:59 PM , Rating: 2
However, it was found that in many instances the banks didn't care what the underlying value of the house actually was, they fully intended to sell off the mortgage shortly after originating it, long before forclosure could possibly set in. They got a quick payout and they could easily sell it off because quazi government entities were instructed to take in more loans even from people with lessor means.

Houses didn't get overpriced because a bunch of people were overpaying with cash in hand.

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By grenableu on 1/21/2009 1:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the banks didn't care what the underlying value of the house actually was, they fully intended to sell off the mortgage shortly after originating it, long before forclosure could possibly set in. They got a quick payout and they could easily sell it off because quazi government entities were instructed to take in more loans even from people with lessor means.
Bingo.


RE: Perfect example
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/21/2009 4:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Never said houses became overpriced because a bunch of people were overpaying with cash. My point was that houses will go up in value (price) because people are willing to pay for it. If paid in cash there is nothing to check value and therefore will go up. If you pay with bank loan then the bank should be checking value on their investment. Which of course you repeated in your post above by stating "the banks didn't care what the underlying value of the house actually was…" - meaning they failed to do their job on checking on the value of their investment.


RE: Perfect example
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 5:05:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
meaning they failed to do their job on checking on the value of their investment.


But in this time frame it wasn’t really their “investment.” They were no more on the hook for these loans than a traditional mortgage broker would have been. They only carried the mortgage for as long as it took them to repackage it and sell it off to other people. As such they didn’t care about the underlying fundamentals of the deal because the customers they were selling it off to didn’t care and it was all ok because it got the tacit approval of the government entities that were more concerned about getting house keys into every Tom, Dick and Sally’s hands as they could than enforcing smart lending practices.

quote:
My point was that houses will go up in value (price) because people are willing to pay for it.


Now, are you just completely ignoring the part about people buying houses they should have known they couldn’t afford, or are you trying to imply that this never happened?

-Suntan


RE: Perfect example
By Steve1981 on 1/21/2009 11:41:53 AM , Rating: 2
Couple thoughts on the subject:

1. How much effect did easy credit have on jacking up demand for housing, which in turn jacks up prices?

2. To go to the root cause of our economic problems, how do you suppose our rate of saving versus spending as a country put us where we're at? How do you suppose easy credit plays into that?

I'm no economist, but to me that "easy credit" is a big part of the problem.

It masks our spending; you're not spending $30,000 on a car; you're paying a low low $580 a month (with 6% interest) for a mere five years. If people actually saved a good chunk of that money first, I suspect they'd be a lot wiser in how they spent it.

Then of course there is the other problem with easy credit: the tendancy to rely upon it as a reserve instead of saving money for a rainy day. Of course there is the surprise: when hard times hit, easy credit ceases to be and your reserve is gone. If you didn't save anything during the good times, you're out on the street during the bad.


RE: Perfect example
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/21/2009 1:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
You hit some very good points. The first and strongest point being, lack of saving in America today; maybe world wide too, as a whole not every country.
There is nothing wrong with credit of course it helps us grow faster and stronger when used correctly. Like vitamins to the human body. A little used correctly is great, however too many vitamins will kill you.
When I was studying economics in college, one of the subjects was how to influence the public as a whole to save more money (investing it not hiding it in between the mattress) verse spending the money on goods and the benefits of savings. Some benefits – gives money to banks to loan out money for people to start businesses, buy homes, cars, or whatever is needed. Another benefit is it helps keeps inflation in check – not growing to fast or slow. However, too much saving is bad just like too much credit. If people are not spending money, businesses are not making money – therefore they will close and people will lose their jobs. So, it is a balancing act and when the Government lowered the credit standards (easy credit) as much as they did, well they threw the whole balance out of whack. We will be luck if we do not go into hyper inflation soon. All that is needed is that the government raises taxes and start giving out money which they do not have and we will be in a perfect set up for hyper inflation. If that happens the people will be crying for the good old days of today economy or even wishing and praying for the economy of the 1930’s.


RE: Perfect example
By rykerabel on 1/21/2009 2:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All that is needed is that the government raises taxes and start giving out money which they do not have and we will be in a perfect set up for hyper inflation.


And we just elected a Democrat for president... great.


RE: Perfect example
By Solandri on 1/21/2009 3:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
There is nothing wrong with giving out money we don't have to stimulate a slow economy. But it has to be balanced by paying back all that money you gave out once the economy is strong again.

It's the second step we haven't been doing (well, our government hasn't been doing - my finances are straight and proper). Both parties have been complicit in this (Presidents, Congressmen, and Senators, dunno why we people always try to blame the Presidents since all they get to do is say yes/no to whatever Congress passes).


RE: Perfect example
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/21/2009 4:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
There is nothing wrong with giving out money...
That is why I said, "All that is needed is that the government raises taxes and start giving out money which they do not have and we will be in a perfect set up for hyper inflation."

Giving out money which they DO NOT HAVE being the key words.

Cutting Government taxes and expenses is a great way to stimulate strong economic growth without the danger of hyper inflation. It's when the government prints money to spend, but there is no value behind the money (to much debt) that is when you need to be afraid of hyper inflation. Just how many $850 billion dollar bail outs do you think we can cover before hyper inflation kicks in? I'm not sure, but I'm 100% sure I do not want to know.

100% agree with you. It's congress that that determines the state of the economy by spending/taxes/new laws/.... The president can have small impact by influencing the Federal Reserve Chairman (interest rates) and saying yes or no to Congress. Democrats have had the upper hand (higher number of people in office) for that last several years but both parties agreed to the current plan we live under.


RE: Perfect example
By Samus on 1/21/2009 11:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
Now porkpie...he has a point.

Not that the Bush administration had ANYTHING to do with this (it is a state mandate, obviously) but the administration is essentially responsible with the housing market boom-crash because financing was deregulated, and eventually cost the tax payers 750 billion dollars. So although it isn't related (nor does the comment really belong in this article comments ;) it isn't exactly inaccurate in nature.


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 12:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
Financing wasn't de-regulated, it was regulated to set quotas. A certain percentage of loans had to be made to low-income borrowers.

This myth of deregulation is popular among big-government types, but banks could always make low-income loans. IF they wanted to. It wasn't until they were FORCED to do so that things got ugly.


RE: Perfect example
By Doormat on 1/21/2009 1:44:21 PM , Rating: 1
You're full of sh*t porkpie.

First, CRA is restricted in what is regulated - only federally regulated banks were under its purview. Banks regulated at the state level were not subject to CRA.

Approximately 50% of the subprime loans were not made by banks subject to CRA. Another 25-30% came from partially regulated institutions. Only about 1/4 of the subprime loans came from institutions regulated under CRA, however that is NOT to say that 25% of loans were because of the CRA, rather just made by institutions under that regulation. So the upper bound is 25%. Also consider that CRA loans were generally viewed by institutions as only marginally less profitable than a regular loan.

But yea, whatever makes you feel better about blaming Democrats, minorities and poor people...

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsv...


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 2:03:59 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Approximately 50% of the subprime loans were not made by banks subject to CRA.
You don't know your subject very well. CRA is just ONE of the reasons sub-prime loans were made. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac alone underwrite half of all mortgages in the country. When they were allowed to make subprime loans (risking our taxpayer money, not their executives money) what do you think is going to happen? Now ask yourself, who rewrote the rules to let them make those loans? It wasn't Republicans.

quote:
Banks regulated at the state level were not subject to CRA
Right, they just made the subprime loans, then turned around and sold them to Fannie Mae. All profit for them, and we pick up the risk. Same net effect.


RE: Perfect example
By MrPoletski on 1/21/2009 11:50:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please don't start with that crap. The whole crash was caused by government mandating home interest loans to low-income people. The only "not mandating" here was the complete lack of oversight the house banking committee used on Fannie Mae.


That's such a vast oversimplification of events I'd say your nugget of data was pulled right out of right wing talking points 101.

I advise anyone not so sure about what caused this crisis to actually investigate it yourself. That way you'll see just how much the left and right are trying to blame it on each other.


RE: Perfect example
By thepalinator on 1/21/2009 12:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
I notice you don't give any facts to dispute it, other than some vague muttering about finger pointing.


RE: Perfect example
By v1001 on 1/21/2009 1:07:10 PM , Rating: 3
It's not really an oversimplified explanation. It's more like 'in a nut shell' of what happened. Yes the banks could always do these subprime loans but they started doing them now all at once to compete with each other. These mortgages were started by Fanny Mae. Fanny Mae is government controlled (started by the government way back after the great depression) and grew so large as to own HALF of the homes in the united states under mortgages. The government also backs these loans.

So what happened is financial institutions and banks started selling mortgage backed securities and derivatives off of these subprime mortgages that Fanny Mae had started. Which had been started and signed by Clinton (and before him carter had a large part of getting the ball rolling) to get all the 'poor and under privileged' people into houses. Now every one started getting rich because you couldn't lose with these securities now essentially backed by government mortgages. Housing prices skyrocketed because of the unnatural demand and the super low interest subprime loans these people were getting. And the selling off of the mortgage backed securities and derivatives based off these loans. Money flooded the globe, flowed into the stockmarket, flowed all over. More money built on more money. With all the money out there credit got easier, credit limits went higher, people took out huge equity loans as their home values rose. You seemingly couldn't lose. The economy is based on Debt. The more debt people and companies and the government goes into the more money that is out there.

Unfortunately it was more credit than people could afford. The economy was based on these subprime mortgage borrowers who couldn't afford to pay them and probably why they never owned a home before. They put no money down and paid the minimum payment. Instead of choosing to pay the payment that wouldn't raise their principle and reset the loan. Our whole economy was pretty much going off of some of the most irresponsible people in it. Now everyone got used to this being the norm and based all their life and debt around how well the money was flowing. And greedy bankers and financial institutions took huge advantage of this. At some point the subprime mortgages had to reset. They couldn't make their payments. The loans slowed and stopped to these people who should have never had this credit anyways. The demand stopped, the home building stopped, the realtors lost their gravy train, Banks lost theirs, home builders, construction guys lost theirs, the stock market lost theirs, those new cars and trucks weren't being bought anymore, tree and metal industries slowed on and on and on down the line through the entire global economy. An Economy that was driven by these bad loans. Now the smart people saw this coming and pulled their profits first, or sold their stock right away seeing that they had already made huge gains anyway. Or they knew this was the end result anyway and were ones who took advantage of the whole situation and got their money while they could. The not so weary ones were scrambling to pay off their debt and the very unaware and clueless kept the status quo and their money in the stock market still thinking this was 'just a slump', the market only goes up and the gravy train will be back.

Paid off debt and cutting back just makes it worse overall as more money disappears from the economy. Yes it trickled into every aspect of the economy and life. And it was pretty much all based and started from the government (In a nut shell). It just all snowballed and was taken advantage of or let to run loose like a mad animal. And some deregulation certainly helped it all be worse (Reagan had a large part in that). Yes there is soooo much more to it because we are talking about every aspect of life and the economy and the world. But that's where it all started and that's what kept it going.

Then yes the War in Iraq also put major money into the economy and compounded it too. And yes ultimately Bush didn't stop it all. Although he did over and over mention the problem with fanny Mae. But everyone was on a gravy train and lobbied to keep that gravy train going. Everyone would have freaked had he stopped it. And I don't think people really realized how bad things really would crash once everything had run it's course. Times were good people were rich.

The fact is EVERYONE is to blame and kept it going. Some a whole lot more than others. But make no mistake, it did start and was fueled by those subprime loans and the unnatural housing demand and a direct result of government action or inaction.


RE: Perfect example
By Spuke on 1/21/2009 3:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact is EVERYONE is to blame and kept it going. Some a whole lot more than others.
And it will happen again once all of the inventories are bought up and the foreclosures slow to their norms. Demand for homes will increase, driving home prices up and everyone will panic thinking they can't get a home. Mortgage companies won't offer the old crappy loans but new crappy loans. It won't be on the same scale but it will happen again. It's happened before and people never remember the past, recent or otherwise.

I know a woman that was a real estate agent (along with her husband) during the last housing boom. Both did extremely well during that period and owned one of the most expensive homes in the area. When that bubble burst, the couple lost a crapload of money (didn't save any), their home, and eventually their marriage. They also filed for bankruptcy. The woman got a job in another field and eventually recovered her credit. During the recent housing boom, the same woman bought another home and HELOC'd her way back into debt and ended up filing for bankruptcy again!!!! LOL!

You would think after what happened the first time she would be an expert on what not to do. Not the case. People are generally stupid and sheeply.

PS - I have a couple of other similar stories.


RE: Perfect example
By emarston on 1/21/2009 12:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, please provide some facts to refute the assertion. Your response provides nothing with which to support your position. I'm interested in hearing what people think happened from both sides.


RE: Perfect example
By Hyraxxx on 1/21/2009 11:23:00 AM , Rating: 3
Your messiah is promoting electric vehicles. While stopping coal plant production.

When the power grid can't take it. It'll be Obama to blame.


RE: Perfect example
By thepalinator on 1/21/2009 11:25:53 AM , Rating: 2
Don't waste your time. This is obviously one of the (many) Obama voters who didn't even realize the Democrats have been in charge the past 2 years.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 11:46:43 AM , Rating: 2
The 108th and 109th senate were both a republican majority, and the 110th? Dead even R vs D, with two independents.


RE: Perfect example
By thepalinator on 1/21/2009 12:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
Don't even know your own party. For shame.

"...Reid has been leader of the Senate Democrats since 2005, serving as Minority Leader from 2005 until the Democrats won control of the Senate in the 2006 congressional elections..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Reid

Since you failed that test, guess how long Nancy Pelosi has been in charge of the House.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 12:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
Who said it was my party, Mr. Jump-to-unfounded-conclusions? Just corrected, what I feel is a false statement, based on voting shares.

The 109th was 55% gop 45% dem (even with independants caucused with the dems)

The 110th saw changes to both caucuses during the term. Started as 49 gop, 49 dem, and 2 ind. Ended as 49 gop, 49 dem, and 2 ind.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 12:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
Meant to say "Ended as 49 gop, 48 dem, and 2 ind."


RE: Perfect example
By menace on 1/21/2009 1:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
But the two so-called independents included (1) ex-Dem Lieberman (CT) who was railroaded out of the party for supporting Bush on anti-terrorism and Iraq was but otherwise still caucuses with Democrats on all social and environmental issues; and (2) Bernie Sanders (VT) self-proclaimed "democratic socialist" so I seriously doubt he ever supports a conservative position on any issue. Even after Barry the Bloviator vacated his seat, they still had an effective 50-49 majority for their social agenda.

As someone pointed out this was the state of Minnesota's policy not federal. However, this is a "progressive" environmental policy which the new congress and president are quite likely to embrace on a national level. And it is yet another example about how govt intervention in any social or economic affairs always has unforeseen consequences.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 1:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...always has unforeseen consequences
No doubt; but no different than any decision... or indecision.

We should look at this from the kids perspective anyway... "Whoohoo! No school today!"


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 2:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even after Barry the Bloviator vacated his seat, they still had an effective 50-49 majority for their social agenda.
They also had the Senate Majority Leader position, a clear majority in the House of Representatives, and Pelosi in as Speaker also.

Anyone trying to claim the Dems weren't in charge of Congress the past two years is full of it.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 2:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
"in charge" and "in charge of congress" are two completely different levels of authority in our three branch system.


RE: Perfect example
By porkpie on 1/21/2009 2:19:32 PM , Rating: 2
When you're talking about changing laws, they're not. The Democrats are the ones who've been in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae and the regulations controlling the nation's banks.


RE: Perfect example
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 2:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
Suggesting it's all one party's fault is, I think, short sited. In 2003, the reps had had the foresight to proposal regulatory overhaul suggested by the administration, but gave into lobbying... in a rep controlled congress.

There are plenty of black hats to go around involving that crisis. Perhaps not isolating blame is a benefit of not drinking either party's kool-aid.


RE: Perfect example
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 3:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
With a republican with veto power you mean?

Oh that's right, facts aren't your strong point.


RE: Perfect example
By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 4:09:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
With a republican with veto power you mean?
So your argument is: it's Bush's fault because he didn't veto all the bills the Democrats sent him?

With friends like you supporting the Democratic Party, who needs enemies!


RE: Perfect example
By Elementalism on 1/21/2009 12:11:11 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe you dont realize this or dont care. This is on a state level. The state of MN mandated this, not the Bush administration.


RE: Perfect example
By MrPoletski on 1/21/2009 11:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
lol, your American aversion to diesel is a strange one.

It is more efficient and when done properly is at least as clean as petrol. Not to mention a turbo diesel car is a whole lotta fun to drive.

As for it turning to gel... there are so many ways to stop that I wont even go into it but this is obviously a case of arm A not talking hand A. Pure diesel in cold weather equates to an impromptue candle supply unless you use additives to prevent this (or just heated tanks).

They use diesel in Kazakstan to drive around in temperatures of -30 celcius during the winter. They can do it, you can too.


RE: Perfect example
By MrPickins on 1/21/2009 1:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
This article is about bio -diesel...

Nobody is bashing petroleum diesel here.


RE: Perfect example
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 2:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
The aversion to petroleum diesel is what caused the State of MN to adopt these bio-diesel measures.


RE: Perfect example
By MrPickins on 1/21/2009 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say it's more an aversion to petroleum, period.


RE: Perfect example
By Spuke on 1/21/2009 4:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is more efficient and when done properly is at least as clean as petrol.
That's why the manufacturers had to resort to expensive tech to get diesel to pass emissions standards in California because it's just as clean as gas.


RE: Perfect example
By diablofish on 1/21/2009 12:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
This whole article is silly (typical Star Tribune - maybe it has something to do with why they are in bankruptcy?). It's not just bio-diesel that gels at cold temperatures: all diesel does. This is why many diesel owners (see farmers, who we have a few of in Minnesota), often mix gasoline with diesel in the winter time to prevent this problem.

There is a simple fix to this problem in the mandate, allow an exception for bio-diesel to be mixed with gasoline in the coldest months (Nov-Feb) in a certain percentage. Problem solved.

Rather than looking to place the blame, let's look for solutions. Is that so difficult?

Also note that schools were closed here for cold weather's effects on people, not just on machinery. It is dangerous to be exposed to near-zero or sub-zero weather with 40 MPH winds (as we had last week in Minnesota) regardless of what fuel you put in the tank.

In my opinion, it is irresponsible to selectively pick facts about school closings and ignore other relevant information about those same school closings.


RE: Perfect example
By grenableu on 1/21/2009 12:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Rather than looking to place the blame, let's look for solutions
I think the most important thing is to learn from our mistakes. Government intervention always causes side effects, and those effects are usually bad. We've only been taught that millions of times but we never seem to learn from history.

The solution here is pretty simple. Get rid of the mandate. If biodiesel ever becomes practical, the market will adopt it on its own.


RE: Perfect example
By diablofish on 1/21/2009 12:31:27 PM , Rating: 1
And the free market also causes consequences (see Exxon Valdez, deforestation around the globe, and lead paint in children's toys, to name just a few).

Regulation, when properly applied, is often more beneficial than harmful. Regulation for the sake of regulation is never good.

And when regulation is found to be bad, I'm all in favor of it being repealed. But it needs to be evaluated on its merits in a case by case setting.


RE: Perfect example
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 3:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
No one was talking about regulating the production of any product. The topic was whether the government should mandate the use of a specific product.


RE: Perfect example
By diablofish on 1/21/2009 3:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that. As someone who works in the private sector, I can tell you that I mandate the use of certain products on my projects all the time. Because if I didn't, I'd get the cheapest garbage available instead of what was best for the particular application. And then my clients wouldn't be happy that I didn't regulate what got installed.

Does it cost more up front? Frequently, yes. However, the reduced down-time, reduced maintenance, and increases in productivity from using more expensive products often more than offsets the initial costs over the life cycle of the project.

Now, do I blanket mandate things? Absolutely not. As I stated, it's important to regulate (mandate) the critical things for safety, success, performance, etc.

Do you understand that regulation doesn't just mean mandates? It also means guidelines, bans, checks & balances, oversight, and even stimulus where appropriate?


RE: Perfect example
By whiskerwill on 1/21/2009 4:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can tell you that I mandate the use of certain products on my projects
The key word here is "my". The problem is the state mandating that everyone use biodiesel in their own vehicles.

Choosing what you want to buy = freedom.
Forcing other people to buy what they don't want <> freedom.


RE: Perfect example
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 5:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you understand that regulation doesn't just mean mandates? It also means guidelines, bans, checks & balances, oversight, and even stimulus where appropriate?
Yes. Do you understand that I was saying you gave examples of regulating production, and this article is about regulating consumption. That's like comparing goldfish to asteroids.


RE: Perfect example
By Solandri on 1/21/2009 3:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And the free market also causes consequences (see Exxon Valdez, deforestation around the globe, and lead paint in children's toys, to name just a few).

But the free market tries to quantify the cost of those consequences. The ideas live or die based on their quantified benefit vs. their quantified negative consequences in the minds of the entire public.

With the government, you get some bureaucrat who says, "yeah I know about the problems it causes, but I don't care, I still think this is a good idea."

Government's role should be place regulation in situations where the free market is known not to work. For example, Tragedy of the Commons situations like overfishing. Left to their own devices, each fisherman would try to maximize his profit, causing overfishing, causing a decline in fish stocks, causing less profit for every fisherman. So the government can make things better by regulating how much each fisherman can catch. Environmental issues, where the negative costs are externalized (e.g. pollution) are another example.

But in situations where the free market works, the government needs to just stay out.


RE: Perfect example
By Curelom on 1/23/2009 6:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
This reminds me of another example of stupid mandates. The daylight savings change they made a few years back that was supposed to save electricity. In the years following, the electric companies reported no noticeable difference in electricity use, yet is government going to repeal it. Unlikely, that would me that they would admit that they were wrong. A politician never admits that.


RE: Perfect example
By menace on 1/21/2009 1:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Rather than looking to place the blame, let's look for solutions. Is that so difficult?

It is when the government mandates something like this. When something goes wrong there are too many wickets to go through to fix the problem in a timely fashion. By the time the law get's "fixed" it will be spring time.

quote:
It's not just bio-diesel that gels at cold temperatures: all diesel does. This is why many diesel owners (see farmers, who we have a few of in Minnesota), often mix gasoline with diesel in the winter time to prevent this problem.

Yes but diesel gels at much lower temps. If it gets that cold they probably cancel school anyway. And I'd bet the farmers are technically breaking some law by mixing in gasoline. For a government regulated vehicle like a school bus, they can't risk breaking the law.


RE: Perfect example
By diablofish on 1/21/2009 3:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's only difficult to find solutions to problems (even mandated ones) when one is too busy pointing fingers and laying blame. If your efforts were focused on resolving the problems, solutions are more likely to present themselves quickly than when you are focused on placing the blame.

Paraphrasing Mr. Chu, "Mandates often force companies to spend money on engineering rather than on lobbyists". I don't know about you, but that's where I'd rather have my money spent - furthering knowledge rather than arguing ideology.

Define "much lower". Careful, it's relative to the blends (not to mention pressures). Regardless, modifying the regulation to permit blending until a better solution is found would still alleviate this problem.

And they wouldn't be breaking the law if they refined the mandate to allow for blending - as I stated in my original post. Perhaps farmers are breaking the law (I admit I don't know the specific regulations), but I haven't seen a story anywhere on a farmer being fined for blending gas with diesel to keep his farm equipment running in cold weather. That said, I'm sure if I Google'd hard enough, I'd find several.


RE: Perfect example
By walk2k on 1/21/2009 1:40:34 PM , Rating: 1
Typical idiot talking smack about something you know nothing about.

Regular diesel will gel also, did you even read the article?

So Obama has been president for all of 1 day and somehow fuel freezing in Minn is his fault. Nice, do you write for Faux News?


RE: Perfect example
By gstrickler on 1/21/2009 3:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
"The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere...." - Abraham Lincoln

http://quotationsbook.com/quote/45475/

Our founding fathers knew it, Abe Lincoln knew it, but most of our current population and elected officials are clueless to that old piece of wisdom.


RE: Perfect example
By mmatis on 1/21/2009 6:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
These jackasses deserve Franken.


RE: Perfect example
By omnicronx on 1/22/2009 10:05:19 AM , Rating: 2
You mean another 4 years? You have personally argued time and time again that Bush sometimes bordered the line of socialism and was not a true conservative. I do agree with you though on the topic at hand, how someone did not think of the impact of cold weather in a state like Minnesota is beyond me.


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