Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports the Pacific Ocean ‘dead zone’ in Northwest may be irreversible. Unlike other “dead zones” that are caused by agricultural and other pollution, the vast oxygen-depleted “dead zone” off the coast of Oregon and Washington is permanent and was brought about by the changing climate.

    “I really think we’re in a new pattern, a new rhythm, offshore now. And I would expect [the low-oxygen zone] to show up every year now,” said Jack Barth, professor of physical oceanography at Oregon State University.

    The National Science Foundation released a “multimedia report that said the number of dead zones worldwide was doubling every decade. According to the report, in the Pacific Northwest “the areas of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, water that long have existed far offshore began to appear closer to land in 2002, a phenomenon that may mean they are even deadlier to sea life that exists near the ocean floor.”

    “What we’re seeing is changes in the oxygen content of the water and the winds that drive the ocean and cause that flushing,” Barth said, calling it a “double whammy.”

Four at Four continues with foreclosures, derivatives, climate change, and my farewell.

  1. McClatchy reports a Congressional watchdog has found Obama’s mortgage relief efforts aren’t good enough. “The Obama administration’s efforts to force the modifications of distressed mortgages… is likely to fall far short because the foreclosure crisis has grown and threatens to dwarf government efforts to relieve it”.

    The Congressional Oversight Panel, created to monitor how taxpayer bailout dollars are being spent, warned that the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, announced in February, seems sure to prove ineffective.

    “Foreclosures continue every day as Treasury ramps up the program, with foreclosure starts outpacing new HAMP trial modifications at a rate of more than 2 to 1,” the report said.

    Meanwhile, the CS Monitor reports Obama declares small victory in war on home foreclosures. In announcing a “key milestone” in its foreclosure-relief program, the Obama administration announced that ahead of target, “half a million at-risk homeowners have had their mortgages modified since this spring, making them less likely to default”.

  2. Bloomberg reports that the Derivatives lobby links with the New Democrat Coalition to blunt Obama regulation plan.

    As President Barack Obama vowed in a Sept. 14 speech in New York’s Federal Hall to correct “reckless behavior and unchecked excess” on Wall Street, Mike McMahon and Barney Frank sat in the audience discussing how to ease proposed rules for the $592 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

    Side by side at 26 Wall St., across from the New York Stock Exchange, freshman congressman McMahon told House Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank he was worried that Obama’s derivatives plan, released in August, would penalize a wide swath of U.S. corporations and could push jobs in his home district overseas, McMahon said in an interview.

    McMahon is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 68 self-described pro-growth Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. “JPMorgan Chase & Co.,Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG lobbied McMahon and fellow New Democrat Coalition member Representative Melissa Bean of Illinois, among others, to expand the ways the legislation allows dealers and major investors to trade the contracts, according to people familiar with the matter.”

  3. The Guardian reports Bangkok climate talks end in recrimination.

    Global climate change talks came to an end in Bangkok today in an atmosphere of distrust and recrimination, with the rift between rich and poor countries seemingly wider than ever. After two weeks of negotiations there have been no breakthroughs on big issues such as money or emissions cuts.

    With just five days of negotiating time now left before the concluding talks in Copenhagen in December, delegates said it appeared a weak deal was the most likely outcome, and no deal at all was a possibility…

    China, India, Brazil and other major developing countries lined up with environment and development groups to condemn both the US and EU for demanding a brand-new climate agreement.

    Some delegates hope Barack Obama’s winning the Nobel peace prize will help progress be made in the climate talks. “The citation for the prize specifically mentions the president ‘now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting’.”

    However, some remain skeptical including Di-Aping Lumumba, Sudanese chair of the G77, a group of 130 developing countries. He said:

    “Developed countries have a massive leadership deficit. It’s now up to their leaders to intervene and give a direction to the negotiations rather than waste everyone’s time.”

  4. On a personal note: I am retiring from the Four at Four column. Today is my last day editing.

    The past two years have been an interesting time to be chronicling the news. It marked the transition from Bush to Obama and from a focus on the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan. It has seen the world plunge into a Great Recession and that, once again, U.S. executive branch criminality goes unchecked.

    And while not unexpected, I’m the most disappointed by the world’s, not just America’s, inaction on addressing climate change. As readers of Four at Four will no doubt be aware, the future is grim.

    But that’s the news. Before I leave, I want to thank buhdy for the opportunity to be part of creating a new blog. Also, thank you to all in the Docudharma community for your support and readership. Being a part of Docudharma has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.

    Be seeing you.


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  1. I’m sorry to hear of your decision to leave 4 at 4.  I’ve been far from a regular here, but whenever, I have most appreciated the news you have brought us.  I can well imagine that after so long, day after day, it could become more of an unwanted task.

    Though you’re leaving 4 At 4, does that mean that you will not blog here even?

    Although, I have limited time nowadays for blogging, etc., I’m also extremely upset with the stalling and suppression of efforts to ward off the impending dangers of climate change/global warming.  Are we asking for a damnation of this universe?

    Thank you for everything, Magnifico.

    • Edger on October 9, 2009 at 22:44

    I hope you’ll still be commenting here and posting essays too, will you?

  2. For two fucking years of just amazingly good blogging.

    I have told you many times that you are one the true cornerstones on which DD is built and I, and I am sure MANY others will miss you immensely, you will ALWAYS be an unforgettable part of DD.

    And I VERY selfishly hope we will continue to see you here in other formats.

    This is a home you can ALWAYS come back to.

    Thanks again for the invaluable service and for being a beloved member of the DD family!

  3. Photobucket

    • Robyn on October 9, 2009 at 23:05

    But I know how heavy the burden can be, so I understand.

  4. Your blogging here has been Herculean.  Some of the best, most consistent posting anywhere.

    Good luck with whatever you do in the future.

  5. for the constant presence and diligant work youve done here all this time. I wish you the best in your blog life and real life too.



    • TMC on October 9, 2009 at 23:49

    You would be sorely missed. I’ve read 4 at 4 as often as I was able over the last 2 years and shared your stories with many. You have done a great job bringing attention to news that was lost in the MSM swamp. Thank you so much.

    • pfiore8 on October 10, 2009 at 00:52

    those were fun times

    take care, caveman. you’re a good one!

  6. We’ll miss you!

    • RiaD on October 10, 2009 at 03:09

    but i wish you all the best in all your endeavors



    • RiaD on October 10, 2009 at 03:43

  7. …. come back if you can.

    We are in shocking times of change, I think it’s paralyzing people.  Like plague, or Krakatoa going off, or WWII in Russia.   Life will go on, just not maybe as we can see it becoming.

  8. …I love your blog diaries/essays.  I hope you’ll have more time for magnifico diaries and writing now that these news reports won’t take so much of your time.

    Look forward to seeing you.

  9. wishing you all the best

  10. for the gift you have given…….

    be well……..

    • Turkana on October 11, 2009 at 12:34

    or just [email protected] (which is bad enough)?

  11. I listen when it’s quiet.  Work to fabricate a water collection system for your yard.

  12. ..for your tiresless and inspiring work.

    Will you at least comment with some regularity?

  13. the well has run dry, and I already miss it. You did the leg work of sifting through the information overload they call the news for us. Thank you so much, you have given me facts and a perspective to take into the fray they call reality. The stories that you cover always lay at the bottom of the noisy distractions that we call politics. I wish you well at whatever you do, I hope it includes writing here. See you around the inkwell, no matter what form you take. Be well no matter where you are. Thanks.          

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