Part 2: The Permian Basin – Cline Shale Resource Play
In Part 1, I explained how the Permian Basin in Texas was exploding with industry and investor interest—because of all the new tight oil plays being discovered and developed.
And that has me excited about the prospects for one Canadian junior—though all this excitement is happening a year later than I thought it would.
But at the end of the day, and the end of the play, all this should all be … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: My Top Junior Oil Stock in the Permian Basin ?Tight? Oil Play
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"I sure hope people forget I wanted a stimulus plan too" (Brian Synder/Reuters)
Mitt Romney on Friday, slamming the stimulus at Otterbein University ... which received funds from the stimulus:
$787 billion of borrowing. It could have been entirely focused on getting getting the private sector to buy capital equipment, for instance. That puts people to work. Or to hire people. Instead, it primary protected people in the governmental sector, which is probably the sector that should have been shrinking.Aside from the irony of Romney attacking the stimulus at an institution that benefited from it, his remarks reveal the contrived nature of his attack on the stimulus.
For starters, Romney basically got what he says he wanted. Over the last two years, the private sector has added 4 million jobs while the public sector has lost more than 500,000. That shrinkage of the public sector has been the biggest economic problems we've faced during that time. The problem is that state and local governments have faced a funding shortfall thanks to declining revenue, and because the stimulus?and subsequent jobs legislation?didn't do enough to help them bridge the gap, they were forced to shrink.
In February, Romney himself implicitly acknowledged that this is a problem:
"If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy," he said.But despite that fleeting concession to reality, Romney's official position is still that the proper response to recession is to cut government spending. Earlier in February, Romney had visited a Colorado metal company to make exactly that point ... but like Otterbein, the company had also received funding through the stimulus.
But it's not like every place Mitt Romney visits to slam the stimulus has received stimulus funds. Earlier this month, he gave a speech at a factory in Ohio that hadn't received stimulus support. Of course, the factory was closed?and it had closed under George W. Bush. Naturally, Romney blamed President Obama, even though the factory produced drywall, for which there won't be much demand until new housing construction starts growing again. And the reason Obama was to blame? The stimulus.
So when Mitt Romney visits an institution or business that's doing well and received support from the stimulus, then the stimulus was bad. And when Mitt Romney visits a business that closed under Bush, the the stimulus was bad. And when Mitt Romney says the stimulus should have focused on the private sector and allowed the government sector to shrink and it turns out that's what has happened, then the stimulus is still bad.
So what would Mitt Romney have done? Well, here's what he said in December, 2008 (my emphasis):
The Fed should continue to expand the money supply. And, it should confirm that it will not tolerate deflation ? the pain of inflation pales in comparison.So yes. What Mitt Romney wanted was a stimulus. Which he now says is the worst thing ever.
That being said, a stimulus plan is needed without further delay, and there are some things that Republicans should insist on.
[...] The Democrats may want to wait for Obama, but the country needs action now. Republicans can ? and must ? play an important role in shaping a stimulus bill that makes sense for America and lays a foundation for future prosperity and growth.
When he took the backyard podium, Obama, 50, noted Clinton’s “remarkable” economic record in his two White House terms and referred frequently to the political powerhouse standing behind him, who stands to be a huge fundraising force in the final months of the presidential campaign. – Obama and Bill Clinton campaign together on economy
IT WAS NEVER going to be otherwise.
That Barack Obama as a candidate in ’08 never once lauded former Pres. Bill Clinton’s economic record, preferring to cite Ronald Reagan instead, was one of the primary insults that caused the deep rift with staunch Hillary supporters. Pres. Obama has learned a lot since, most of it forced on him by circumstances of the job of president that is far more difficult than anyone can imagine from the outside looking in.
For Pres. Obama not to call on the ultimate Democratic ATM machine, William Jefferson Clinton, would be political malpractice, because against Mitt Romney and his Wall Street buddies, with an assist made possible by the Roberts court decision on Citizens United, he’s going to need all he can get in an election that will be a race to the bottom that depends on big cash cows.
The 44th president is enlisting the 42nd president, both as a historical validator of his own leadership and as a PIN to one of the richest A.T.M.?s in American politics. Rather than viewing him as a relic of the past, Mr. Obama is embracing Mr. Clinton as a party wise man who can reassure both the general public and the well-heeled benefactors needed to win re-election. – Hardly a Close Ally, Clinton Teams With Obama to Raise Cash and Votes, by Peter Baker
That Pres. Clinton offers a bank shot to the Hillary wing of the Democratic party is obvious. That many of these voters are still not enamored with Pres. Obama is true, but only part of the story.
In general election presidential years voting practicalities make even the most wayward Democrats come home, which I’ve been noting for over a year now. Pres. Clinton’s presence in the recent OBL ad, along with his fundraising efforts for Pres. Obama, reveal the common interests of party insiders when faced with a situation that could wreak havoc with what the Obama administration has tried to do economically.
?When you?re president, there are very few people to whom you can turn who really ?get? what the job demands,? Mr. Axelrod said. ?President Clinton has been the source of very good advice, and very meaningful support.?
Privately, Democrats portray the evolving alliance as more utilitarian. ?Once Obama?s out of office, I doubt they?ll take family vacations together,? said a former Clinton aide who has also worked for Mr. Obama and asked not to be named to avoid offending either man. ?But Clinton thinks it?s critical for the country that he gets re-elected, and will do whatever he can to see that that happens.?
Another Democrat who has worked for both men said: ?There?s no love lost. But Bill Clinton is not stupid. He knows if he can give a little of his 60-percent-plus approval rating halo to Obama, and Obama does well, that only helps Clinton. And it helps the missus if she wants to run.?
There’s a reason there is “no love lost,” which I recount in my book THE HILLARY EFFECT in chapters “Blaming Bill” and “Eating Your Own.”
What many anti-Obama Democrats simply will not accept is that when your average Democratic voter meets his or her choices inside the voting booth, looking at Mitt Romney’s willingness to adopt Paul Ryan austerity, as well as the hard right’s war on women, there isn’t a more practical choice than to pull the lever for Pres. Obama, even if it requires holding your nose to do it.
Pres. Clinton’s presence makes this more palatable.
The political disagreements I have with Obama are wide and deep domestically, but particularly on foreign policy, having been against the Libya bombing, as well as questioning his overreach of the Executive branch on a whole hosts of issues. But I’m anything but your average voter, who sees voting for president as a choice between two people, one who represents your basic political philosophy, even when you disagree, and the other guy, who is from another political planet, one that doesn’t believe in women’s individual freedoms, and that’s just for starters.
What Democrats offer women that Republicans don’t also extends to economic issues. The entire Republican party establishment voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act, which equalizes a woman’s options when she’s discriminated against by her employer. Nothing cuts to the heart of the American modern family more than a woman’s inequality at her job. While Mitt Romney says he won’t repeal Ledbetter, this is simply not good enough. Nothing less than a full-throated statement saying his party was wrong on the vote is acceptable. That should be a minimum standard for a Republican nominee who cannot win without women.
However, Mitt Romney is no William Jefferson Clinton, so even when the opportunity presents itself, which is accompanied by a moment to also help himself, there’s unlikely to be a Sister Souljah moment on women for Mitt.
Left out in the cold are The Gays, as Kathy Griffin would say. Neither Obama or Romney have the courage required to make equality a reality for all families. In 2016, you can bet Republicans still won’t be on board with that one, but just maybe if Hillary Clinton runs she will.
Unfortunately, neither Democrats or Republicans offer a way out on the hamster wheel of our insidious flailing that is the “war on drugs.” Both political parties are immune to reality, even when a person is sick or dying of a disease that medical marijuana can make more humane. There remains no politician willing to take on Big Pharma on behalf of medical marijuana and other options outside pharmaceutical dependency, because in U.S. politics, money decides policy.
Former head of the Central Intelligence Agency?s (CIA) Counterterrorism Center and its former Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez appeared on CBS? ?60 Minutes? to flaunt his new book Hard Measures, which details how he came to be in charge of[...]
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by Kaid Benfield, via NRDC’s Switchboard
If you?re in the business of trying to make communities better, and supporting great, green revitalization that will strengthen central cities, you know only too well how change can frighten current residents. Not entirely without reason, people fear development, especially when someone new shows up with an idea. Heck, a friend of mine is having trouble beating back opposition to a nice pizza place in a vacant commercial property in his neighborhood. It can be hard to stay optimistic when even pizza is controversial.
There may be something very human ? maybe even Darwinian ? about our tendency to resist ideas that come from, you know, other people. (I guarantee that if the idea for universal health care based on all citizens buying health insurance had come from within the Republican Party rather than from the Dems, Republicans wouldn?t oppose it so strongly. Oh wait . . .) So, how do we empower communities to own ideas for development?
Two young developers in DC have come up with a new way to solicit opinion on what to do with commercial property in an up-and-coming neighborhood. First they bought the property, on H Street, NE, where the first segment of the new DC streetcar will run. Then they set up a website called Popularise to solicit community ideas on what people would like to see in that space, and hung a banner over the property, saying ?What would YOU build here?? and directing people to the website. People can submit their own ideas to the site and/or vote and comment on those submitted by others.
According to a story written by Shilip Paul and posted on Urban Turf, the inquiry is attracting a lot of interest and some intriguing ideas, from a pizza kitchen (!) to a craft doughnut shop to a pisco bar. The leading vote-getter as of this writing is a clothing store, but pizza isn?t far behind.
That?s intriguing enough. But developers and brothers Ben and Dan Miller, founders of Popularise, are clearly thinking beyond the H Street project. They believe their new platform could enable an entirely new form of community-driven real estate, in Washington and elsewhere. Ben Miller explains on the site?s blog:
?After working in real estate for years, we?ve developed an intimate understanding of how great neighborhoods get turned into vanilla clones. And we want to make it stop happening.
?We created Popularise as a new way to approach developing authentic places, by using the web to give development power back to local residents like you . . .
?Basically, real estate development has become dominated by huge investment funds and public real estate companies?most of whom have more than a billion dollars in assets.
?While this money brought a lot of benefits, these corporations just aren?t based in the neighborhoods they develop. They?re out of touch with what people in those neighborhoods want, need, and use . . .
?The good news is that, just as the web transformed the media industry, so it can transform the real estate industry.?
The Millers and their partners in Popularise intend to grow the concept carefully, inviting other developers and users to take advantage of the platform. In a section of the site called ?How it Works,? they explain the process:
I love the idea. It will be especially interesting (and perhaps telling) to see whether it can catch on not just with the hyperconnected 20- and 30-somethings that form the site?s current base but also with older, more entrenched residents who tend to fear outsider-driven change the most. If it can, they will have a winner.
Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment. For more posts, see his blog’s home page. This piece was originally published at NRDC’s Switchboard and was re-printed with permission.
In preparation for Prometheus, which looks just ridiculously awesome, I’ve been watching the movies in the Alien franchise I hadn’t seen before. And in the course of that, and related futzing around the web, I realized how striking the per-movie numbers were as an illustration of how the economics of blockbusters have changed:
Budget: $11 million ($34.8 million in 2012 dollars)
Domestic and International Box Office: $104,931,801 ($331.5 million in 2012 dollars)
Sigourney Weaver’s Salary: Approximately $33,333 ($105,321 in 2012 dollars)
Budget: $18.5 million ($38.72 million in 2012 dollars)
Domestic and International Box Office: $131,060,248 ($274.3 million in 2012 dollars)
Sigourney Weaver’s Salary: $1 million ($2.1 million in 2012 dollars)
Alien 3 (1992)
Budget: $50 million ($81.8 million in 2012 dollars)
Domestic and International Box Office: $159,773,545 ($261.2 million in 2012 dollars)
Sigourney Weaver’s Salary: $4 million plus a share of box office ($6.5 million in 2012 dollars)
Alien Resurrection (1997)
Budget: $70 million ($100 million in 2012 dollars)
Domestic and International Box Office: $161,295,658 ($230.5 million in 2012 dollars)
Sigourney Weaver’s Salary: $11 million ($15.7 million in 2012 dollars)
Budget: Estimated at $100-$150 million
I don’t think there’s a direct relationship between expensiveness and badness?The Avengers cost $220 million, which doesn’t count the expensive advertising campaign around it, and is just jaw-droppingly great (it is killing me not to be able to talk to you guys about it yet. Friday cannot be here soon enough). But at the same time, you can afford to do weirder things if there’s less money sunk into them. The Avengers kind of earns back some of that freedom?and I think Prometheus does, too?to be funny and weird and interesting and frightening because it’s guaranteed to make all of the money even if it was wretched. But a lot of the time when someone like, say, Michael Bay is in that position, they take precisely zero advantage of it. It’s one thing to be creative because you have to be to have a prayer of getting noticed and loved. It’s another to be creative because you have the luxury to be. On bad days, it seems like everyone else is just checking boxes. But this year feels to me like a time when the movies are new and exciting. I could be proven wrong. But it’s been fun so far.
For months, Mitt Romney has been dogged by a 2008 New York Times op/ed he wrote entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But now the same adviser who claimed Romney’s extreme views wouldn’t matter in the general election because it will be “almost like an Etch a Sketch” is doing some serious Etch a Sketch-shaking of his own.
Romney strongly opposed the “bailout” of General Motors, writing “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won?t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.” He doubled down on that in February, saying that his “managed bankruptcy” proposals would have been vastly superior to the Obama administration’s “crony capitalism plan.” Now that the federal intervention by the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations has proven a huge success, the Romney campaign is trying desperately to change its tune.
On Saturday, Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said:
[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that… The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice. … The fact that the auto companies today are profitable is because they’ve shed costs. The reason they shed those costs and have got their employee labor contracts less expensive is because they went through that managed bankruptcy process. It is exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do.
Fehrnstrom has made the same claim before. “Mitt Romney had the idea first,” he said last May. “Mitt Romney argued that instead of a bailout, we should let the car companies go through a restructuring under the bankruptcy laws.” This, of course, flatly contradicts Romney’s February editorial, in which he wrote of Obama’s efforts, “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”
As industry experts have noted, however, exactly following Romney’s plan would have led to the collapse of the auto industry, since the private sector wasn’t willing to lend GM and Chrysler the money they needed to get to managed bankruptcy. “There was no one that was willing to come up not only with the cash to keep them afloat but also to serve the warranties of everyone, you and I that drive all these cars,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), a Romney endorser, said in February. There was no one that could have picked up those pieces other than the federal government.”
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of one woman facing deportation to Pakistan because the federal government does not recognize her same-sex marriage to an American citizen. The Massachusetts woman “lost her student visa because she could not afford to remain in college” and now her spouse has filed a petition to sponsor her for a marriage-based green card, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services cannot approve the petition because it uses the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. In his letter, “Kerry asked that the couple’s petition be put on hold until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed or the litigation challenging the law is settled. The delay would prevent the petition from being denied and would allow the Pakistani woman to stay in the United States until the legal battle is resolved.”
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On Sunday's "This Week," Carly Fiorina feebly trotted out an old GOP canard: that the "highest corporate tax rate in the world" is to blame for our stubbornly-high unemployment. In fact, the effective tax US corporations pay is much lower than most industrial nations. This is how a corporation like GE paid effectively no taxes in 2010.
Well, Paul Krugman would have none of it.
FIORINA: ...I said there were three structural issues in the economy. One is small business. There are two others.
The rest of the world has also changed. And the two other structural problems in our economy are we now have the single highest business tax rate in the world. Guess what?
With the highest tax rate in the world, we see the same thing around the world that we see in states -- states with lower tax rates have more jobs, more people. People leave states with higher tax rates. The data is crystal clear. [...]
FIORINA: -- a robust recovery.
KRUGMAN: Nothing you said about business taxes is actually true.
FIORINA: Everything I said...
FIORINA: -- about business taxes...
KRUGMAN: -- we can have that discussion (INAUDIBLE) place...
FIORINA: -- is true.
KRUGMAN: But -- but it's not true. If you look at the actual tax collections...
FIORINA: This isn't an academic discussion. It's clear it's true.
KRUGMAN: If you look at the actual tax collections in the United States on business, they're lower than -- than other advanced countries. And if you look at the alleged finding that high business taxes cause job losses in states, it -- it goes away -- on even the kick the tires, even slightly and the whole thing falls apart. It's just not true.
I really don't know why Republicans think they can get away with spouting falsehoods when Krugman's on the show, but I hope they keep doing it.
The most talked-about op-ed over the weekend was "Let's Just Say It: The Republicans Are the Problem," a piece in The Washington Post by DC eminence grises Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. They're both not only deeply respected but known as non-partisan Congress-watchers (Ornstein even works at the conservative American Enterprise Institute), which is why the piece will get more attention. But should that matter? Either they're right or they're wrong, and the fact that they are who they are ought not make any difference. And if you look at their argument, it's nothing that you couldn't have found in magazines like The Prospect and a hundred other places many times over the past two years. I feel like I've written versions of Mann and Ornstein's piece a dozen times myself (see here, or here, or here). Mann and Ornstein's reputations do make it harder for Republicans to dismiss them as just liberal partisans, but that doesn't mean they're going to have some kind of seriously difficult time spinning their way out of questions raised in response to the op-ed. In any case, here's the core of their argument:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges.
You noticed, did you?
When Republicans started down this course in earnest upon Barack Obama's inauguration, they made a number of simultaneous calculations. They calculated whether a strategy of rock-solid opposition to just about everything Obama wanted to do was likely to achieve their policy goals, and their political goals. And they also calculated that the price they'd pay for being obstinate and obstructionist was relatively small. The average American would think that "Washington" was screwed up and put most of the blame on the guy at the top, which is what usually happens. And to a large degree, they were right.
Mann and Ornstein end with a plea to the media to start reporting more honestly on what's going on in Washington in general and in Congress in particular?to dispense with the false equivalence that treats both parties as equally guilty of whatever bad behavior anyone is demonstrating, to stop treating the abuse of filibusters an anonymous holds in the Senate as if that's just how the system works, and so on. Good advice, without question. And I'm quite sure that many if not most journalists in Washington have understood all the points Mann and Ornstein make for some time. Maybe they'll start to feel like they have permission to say it, and let their reporting better reflect reality.