Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken -- Some Odds and Ends That Caught My Eye

The president a friend of the NRA? Microsoft XBox banned from Germany?

The president a friend of the NRA? Am I missing something here? Is this the most counter-intuitive story of the day? Front-page story in WSJ almost preempted the president's surprise visit to "the Stan." The president wants to increase US high-powered firearms exports.
U.S. homeland-security and law-enforcement agencies have objected to Obama administration proposals to relax export restrictions on high-powered firearms, threatening a centerpiece of the president's trade and national-security agenda.

The agencies, in internal memos viewed by The Wall Street Journal, warn the changes could help arm drug cartels and terrorists and make it harder for the U.S. to crack down on gun-trafficking.

The arms proposal is part of a broader overhaul of U.S. export rules sought by Mr. Obama, with the goal of helping domestic manufacturers compete in global markets, as well as improving U.S. national security by focusing controls on higher-risk items and enhancing the capabilities of allies. 
Who wudda thought? All I can say is that he must be looking for political contributions from gun advocates. Probably won't happen.

Phillips 66 will double fuel exports over the next two years -- no link, print edition of the WSJ, p. B9. PSX currently exports 100,000 bbls/day; should hit 200,000/day by 2014. PSX is now the number 2 independent US refiner behind Valero. 25% of PSX's refining capacity is in central US where Bakken is selling at a premium to Brent and WTI.
From the story: "Last year (2011) was the first year since 1949 that the US exported more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than it imported, at about 439,000 bbls per day (USEIA). By 2015, an additional 450,000 bbls per day of refined fuels could be exported -- research firm. US law prohibits the export of crude oil (with exceptions).
Comcast earnings surge 30% -- on ads from the Super Bowl, more broadband.

New RIM Blackberry phone with NO keyboard! Was it just a year ago that analysts said folks would not switch from Blackberry because they liked the tactile keyboard. This, too, surprised me. Apple's iPad keyboard is less preferable to the laptop keyboards, at least for me.

And challenges for Microsoft:
A court in Mannheim ruled on Wednesday that Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility's patents and ordered Microsoft to remove its popular Xbox 360 gaming consoles and Windows 7 operating system software from the German market.
However, Microsoft said that the ruling did not mean that its products would be taken off retailers' shelves because a U.S. district court in Seattle has granted Microsoft a preliminary injunction against Motorola to prevent the phone maker from enforcing any German court order.
Who has jurisdiction? I guess if Germany was defeated in WWII, the US district court in Seattle trumps a court in Mannheim, Germany. I certainly don't understand it.

High oil prices driving margins for crude and natural gas producers -- Reuters; well, duh. Don't bother going to the link -- that's all there was, that simply headline.

Pickens has a problem with Koch Industries:
Koch Industries, Inc., is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in Wichita, Kansas, United States, with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch also owns Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals and Matador Cattle Company. Koch companies are involved in core industries such as the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, as well as other ventures and investments. The firm employs 50,000 people in the United States and another 20,000 in 59 other countries.

In 2011, Forbes called it the second largest privately held company in the United States (after Cargill) with an annual revenue of about $98 billion, down from the largest in 2006. If Koch Industries were a public company in 2007, it would rank about 16 in the Fortune 500.

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