July 31, 2015

New energy plan, old energy ideas

Lisa Murkowski and a bunch of other Western states senators want to kill more salmon, make energy efficiency upgrades market-driven, not required, and ship liquid natural gas anywhere.

In exchange, the Western states' electric grid is supposed to be updated, with details perhaps a big vague.

And, climate control measures get ignored. As does improved conservation efforts.

Yes, the bill is supposed to get a lot of "markups" to change it. But, it sounds like a pretty bad starting point.

Indeed, the "hydroelectric = clean" part of the bill comes off as a step backward.

We can do better. We need to do better.

July 30, 2015

#Oilprices still struggling and will continue to do so

Yes, they took a brief swing up on Wednesday, after news that inventories had dropped, and more than expected. But, that's still small relief.

We're almost to August, moving past the peak of summer vacation season. That story above notes the world still has a large oversupply and the Chinese economy still looks mushy.

No wonder major oilfield service companies continue to lay off people. As is Chevron.

From that second link:

"We are not expecting a meaningful activity increase until sometime in 2016, depending on the pace of production declines and where commodity prices settle out in the coming quarters," Halliburton Chairman and CEO David Lesar said. "We are aggressively lowering our input costs, eliminating discretionary spending, managing our business within our cash flows and protecting our market position."
Basically, restarting work on most U.S. shale oil is predicated on a $65/bbl price. And, we're not going to get there until 2016.

If then. Lesar's Halliburton and others may get their overhead down to being able to work a certain number of wells at $60/bbl, but not lower than that.

July 29, 2015

Aubrey McClendon's greed coming to fruition

The post-McClendon Chesapeake Energy looks like a tempting "buy" target precisely because it's still dealing with an overexploration hangover. Of course, as we speak, he's gone from inflating one bubble to another, trying to inflate the spreadsheets of American Energy Partners.

Is he one of the brashest people in a brash energy world? Yes. One of the most creative? Hell, no. One of the most "creative"? Of course. If I were an investor, I wouldn't give him a fucking dime, ignoring the allegation that he stole Chesapeake trade secrets.

McClendon's lucky that people don't generally understand the realities of shale gas, and that he either doesn't understand them himself, or he's a very good bullshitter.

Fracked natural gas wells in shale formations come online like the Spindletop oil well gusher of 1901. Then they decline in a dizzying bell curve just 3 years or so later. And, the fracking process doesn't get out that much more gas than otherwise expected.

Oh, fracking does stimulate overall production somewhat. But the biggie is that it rapidly increases the rate of production.

McClendon himself didn't appear to understand this in his Chesapeake salad days. I think he DID understand that in his post-salad days though, and he realized he was SOL unless he could get investors to back what had become a Ponzi scheme.

That said, he had a theoretically clean slate at AEP. And now he's running a Ponzi scheme from ground zero. And, runs twice as many incorporation shell games as the typical energy company or the typical media group.

And, he ripped off the city of Seattle seven years ago, too.

Back to Chesapeake, though.

It either didn't learn its lessons, post-McClendon, or else it's leading lights have decided to carry on the Ponzi scheme on their own. In either case, no sympathy here.

July 28, 2015

Jimmy Carter: Not a Hillary fan

Dunno about NOW, but the one living Democratic ex-prez without the last name of Clinton absolutely did not support Hillary in 2008.

It's part of a long interview with him and author Jacquelyn Woodson.

Carter talks about his own segregationist father, and how segregation was a tool, among others, to keep people in "ugly boxes."

Here’s a few other excerpts, like this on the Confederate flag:
JC: Also the South Carolina legislators are not voting to take down the flag because they’ve changed their mind about it. They’re voting for it because South Carolina and Charleston are going to suffer severely, economically, if they don’t make the change.
True, I'm sure.

That said, let's not forget that, in 1976, Carter made a play to hold onto what became called "Reagan Democrats," some of whom had been called "Wallace Democrats" four years earlier. Or that he was the first neoliberal Democrat on regulatory and other issues. (Carter started deregulating trucking; Reagan just finished it. Carter started deregulating airlines.)

I don't know that Carter has explicitly repented of his 1970s, let alone 1960s, racial stances. His actions seem to indicate that.

Or this on race relations:
JC: You’re assuming that a white person who believes in the Confederate flag is listening to his black neighbor who doesn’t like it. There’s very little communication on a sensitive subject like that.
Woodson responded that this was because blacks “knew their place.” Carter doesn’t disagree. He presumably accepts Woodson’s “complicated” observation.


Anyway, give the whole thing a read.

July 27, 2015

TX Progressives talk #SandraBland, race relations, #HERO, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance is always on the side of equality as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff decries the Supreme Court ruling that will force a vote on whether or not to repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance.

Harold Cook explains why the Republicans won't nominate Donald Trump, but won't be able to escape him, either.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos never ceases to be amazed by Rick Perry's serial hypocrisy. Have YOU No Decency, Rick Perry?

Socratic Gadfly talks about the Dunning-Kruger effect and why many people think their local race relations are much better than national race relations.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that many people in South Texas do not have clean drinking water.  This should be a scandal, but, as Donald Trump has amply explained, Texas Latinos are nothing but piñatas to republicans.

Ben Hall and Steven Hotze, Ben Hall and Dave Wilson... a lot of prayers got answered for the Houston bigots and homophobes when the Texas Supreme Court ordered the City of Houston to either repeal its equal rights ordinance or put it on the November ballot.  PDiddie at Brains and Eggs knows that we don't need another HERO referendum, but we're going to get one anyway.

With football season fast approaching in Texas, Neil at All People Have Value posted about the NFL's refusal to allow Junior Seau's family to speak at his Hall of Fame induction as Seau's family sues the NFL over his terrible head injuries. Football is unsafe to play at any level. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Election Law Blog tries to clear up some confusion about resignations and vacancies.

Ex-pat Texan Elise Hu-Stiles documents what it's like to live and have children in Seoul, South Korea.

The TSTA Blog wishes our state leadership cared as much about schools as teachers, parents, and charities do.

Scott Vogel, editor of Houstonia, has some choice words for a couple of readers who objected to an ad showing a multi-racial family.

Tamara Tabo examines the problems of jail surveillance cameras.

Paradise in Hell knows that Texas is great in spite of Rick Perry, not because of him.

Eric Berger geeks out over the pictures from Pluto.

Grits for Breakfast tries to distill some lessons from the Sandra Bland tragedy.

July 25, 2015

#ClintonEmail takes a "classified" new turn

Some of the emails on the private email server a Morgan Stanley employee Daddy Warbucks created for Hillary Clinton — four, to be precise — have classified information.

This was an inter-agency intelligence inspector who found them, too, not Trey Goudy or other House GOP wingnuts.

Clinton's response?

Blame the Obama administration:
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign released a brief statement on Twitter, saying, “Any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

Surreeee....

And, there could be plenty more sparks, if not a full fire. Four emails sounds like small beer, eh? Those four came up in a spot check of just 40 emails. 

That said, this probably isn't all that much of a big deal. Showing that a big government bureaucracy IS indeed a problem at times, the Department of State has been retroactively classifying some of them.

On the PR side, though, we're in another world. Few more nicks for Clinton.