Arkansas officials stumped as birds fall from sky

Arkansas officials stumped as birds fall from sky – (Reuters) – State wildlife officials were going door-to-door on Sunday in the town of Beebe, Arkansas, to collect dead birds after thousands of mostly blackbirds mysteriously fell from the sky. Workers were searching Beebe, a town of about 4,500 people located 30 miles northeast of the state capital, to collect what officials estimated as between 4,000 and 5,000 birds which began falling from the sky late on New Year’s Eve and continued into the next day. The birds were still being collected from rooftops, trees and yards and will be sent on January 3 to testing facilities in Little Rock and Madison, Wisconsin.
Gas and oil prices remain high – Drivers may be bracing for more pain at the pump in 2011 as gas prices continue to head higher. The price for a gallon of gas has risen 3% over the past 12 days and last week, prices crossed the $3 mark for the first time since October 2008. At $3.073 a gallon, gas prices are still 25% below their peak of $4.114 set in July 2008.  Still, former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister recently said drivers could be paying $5 for a gallon of gas by 2012 as the global demand for oil increases. And that’s no joke.
 24/7WallSt.Blog: American Cities That Are Running Out Of People The population of the United States has increased steadily by roughly 2.5 million people every year since World War II. Throughout prosperity and hard times, Americans continue to have families.  There are some cities, however, which have experienced such severe hardship and decline that their populations have actually decreased significantly. New Orleans has lost more than a quarter of its population in the past ten years as the result of Hurricane Katrina. The rest of the cities that have lost major parts of their population have seen their flagship industries which include coal, steel, oil, and auto-related  manufacturing fall off or completely collapse. America moved away from its status as an industrial superpower in the second half of the 20th century as the services sector rose to replace it. Millions of US manufacturing jobs have moved overseas. All of the cities on this list experienced at least one of these devastating problems which have caused tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of its residents to leave the region for other jobs and other homes. While it has been the primary focus of these cities to create new sources of employment for their residents, it may be years before people return, if they do at all.

Peak Oil, International Trade And Population – Oil is a finite resource! Eventually the oil remaining on the planet will be exhausted and no longer able to be used by humanity.Humanity will no longer be able to use the oil remaining on the planet when one of two conditions exist— the first condition, is when wells are drilled and oil is not obtained from the wells or only a minimum amount of oil is obtained; the second condition, when it takes more energy to find, obtain, process, and deliver oil than the oil produces when it is used— example, it takes 200 units of energy to find the oil, drill for it, process it, and deliver it to where it is used but when it is used it only produces 100 units of energy. In this example it would not make sense to expend 200 units of energy to obtain the oil when the oil only produced 100 units of energy. In this example there may be substantial amounts of oil remaining on the planet, but that oil would not be usable by humanity.

Oil at $90 brings small OPEC supply rise: survey –(Reuters) – OPEC output has risen slightly in December as Nigerian supply has increased, a Reuters survey found, indicating the group has yet to boost production substantially in response to prices at a 26-month high.Supply from the 11 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with output targets, all except Iraq, has averaged 26.75 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, up from 26.70 million bpd in November, according to the survey of oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts on Thursday. The increase mainly reflects higher supply in Nigeria after a pipeline was fixed and other technical factors elsewhere in the group that affected output. OPEC officials have said a rise in prices to $100 a barrel — above the 26-month high of $91.88 hit this week — would not necessarily prompt a supply increase.

China growth may be cooling: Credit Suisse – Dong Tao, the chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, said the purchasing managers’ index for December, released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing on Saturday, backs the view that the mainland economy peaked in the third quarter of last year. “We think that gross domestic product growth has showed its strongest momentum on a sequential quarter-on-quarter basis for the time being, while the year-on-year growth pace should decelerate from previous quarters, Tao said. He said the recent round of increases in bank’s reserve requirement ratios, interest rates hikes and tighter controls over bank lending in December had been effective in instilling a more cautious sentiment among China companies.

New Year’s Hope against Hope, by Joseph E. Stiglitz: .It has become fashionable among politicians to preach the virtues of pain and suffering, no doubt because those bearing the brunt of it are those with little voice – the poor and future generations. To get the economy going, some people will, in fact, have to bear some pain, but the increasingly skewed income distribution gives clear guidance to whom this should be: Approximately a quarter of all income in the US now goes to the top 1%, while most Americans’ income is lower today than it was a dozen years ago. Simply put, should innocent victims and those who gained nothing from fake prosperity really be made to pay even more? Debt restructuring – writing down the debts of homeowners and, in some cases, governments – will be key. It will eventually happen. But delay is very costly – and largely unnecessary. Banks never wanted to admit to their bad loans, and now they don’t want to recognize the losses, at least not until they can adequately recapitalize themselves through their trading profits and the large spread between their high lending rates and rock-bottom borrowing costs

A year of truth for the eurozone – Estonia has joined the eurozone as its 17th member; decision has few new economic implications, but opposition to euro membership has been rising constantly in the country; Frankfurter Allgemeine expresses the hope that Germany would have an ally in Estonia for support of a break-away northern European monetary union; Poland and Czech Republic reiterate commitment not to join the eurozone; Merkel and Sarkozy appeared to have co-ordinated their New Year’s addresses: both speak in solemn terms to do whatever it takes to save the euro; Wolfgang Schäuble rejects Eurobond, and says bond spreads were a useful device to maintain fiscal discipline; Wolfgang Münchau argues that the commitment to do whatever it takes to save the euro will be tested in 2011; Belgian and Italian bond spreads have been widening significantly since the end of last year; Frankfurter Allgemeine, meanwhile, says that Angela Merkel may have changed her mind on Axel Weber as president of the ECB.[more]

Key to Real-Estate Rebound: Solid Economic Growth  – After dragging the U.S. economy into a severe recession, property markets across the country now are relying on an economic recovery to help cure their hangover in the new year. The housing sector, weighed down by a glut of unsold homes, needs job growth to boost demand and curb the flow of delinquent loans into foreclosure. For commercial real-estate investors, lackluster hiring means fewer new jobs to fill empty office space and less consumer confidence to drive activity in stores and distribution warehouses.  "The No. 1 biggest risk is that, for whatever reason, the overall economy does not grow sufficiently to produce any meaningful rebound in jobs,"said Thomas Lawler, a housing economist. New housing construction is stuck at its lowest levels in more than 40 years. "That will help absorb supply in ways that a lot of people underestimate,"

Debt Ceiling Vote Will Be The GOP’s First Test – Sometime within the next couple months, Congress will once again face the necessity of having to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling so that the United States can continue borrowing, and it is shaping up to be a battle that the incoming Tea Party are dying to lead:  The Obama Administration is already starting the rhetorical fight by portraying those who would use the debt ceiling vote to make a political point as far outside the mainstream: Former Reagan economic adviser Bruce Bartlett agrees with the Administration:In other words, we don’t really know what the consequences of a U.S. debt default would mean, but at the very least it would create uncertainty in the Bond and Stock Markets unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it would bring to an end the era where U.S. Treasuries were considered the safest investment in the world. It would also mean a government shutdown unlike anything we’ve seen before. The fact that the government would no longer have the legal ability to borrow money would mean that everything would have to be shut down, even “essential” services that would normally continue operating in the case of a  shutdown caused by failure to pass a budget
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