Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Links, Mostly WSJ -- Nothing On The Bakken

Note: scroll down through this post and the next to see the wells coming off the confidential list on Friday.

Wal-Mart reporting record sales on Black Friday. Unions: epic fail. At a Wal-Mart on the south side of Chicago one lone Wal-Mart employee walked out on the job.
Despite union efforts to target retailers like Walmart, businesses are reporting record Black Friday traffic – the biggest sign yet that the unions are out of touch with the American people. Starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Walmart put its products on Black Friday sale, sparking a run to the stores and earning the stores record sales.
Americans are content/satisfied. Americans support unions. Except when it interferes with their shopping.

How the fight to tame TB made it stronger, WSJ
The World Health Organization's long-standing strategy for fighting tuberculosis is showing deadly unintended consequences: By focusing for years on the easiest-to-cure patients, it helped allow TB strains to spread that are now all but untreatable by modern medicine. 
I've never understood this controversy: startup visas get new push, WSJ, page 3 of first section
A coalition of entrepreneurs, investors and advocacy groups is pressing its campaign for a special visa that would allow foreigners who launch companies to stay in the U.S. The group hopes to avoid situations like the one faced by Asaf Darash. Mr. Darash, 38 years old, who was born in Israel and raised there and in Australia, started software firm Regpack Inc. after moving to the U.S. in 2010. He entered the country on a J-2 visa associated with his wife's research in an academic exchange program.
Folks who arrive here illegally are given amnesty, driver's licenses, in-resident state tuition for college, but folks who actually do it legally and play by the system, adding to the nation's GDP ---> go back home.

Higher gasoline tax pitched in talks, WSJ,
The White House and Congress are trying to craft a broad deficit-reduction deal to substitute for the so-called fiscal cliff, a $500 billion combination of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin Jan. 2. State highway officials and industries that stand to benefit from increased highway spending—including road builders and heavy-equipment makers—are among those pressing lawmakers to raise the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax as part of an agreement. [The 18.4 cents/gallon seems like a strange number, but Don has done the math, and it turns out that 18.4 cents/gallon of gasoline offsets CO2 emissions if "taxed" at $20/ton. Very, very interesting. Can be verified numerous places on the net net by googling the numbers. I am just amazed at how they can arrive at these numbers.]
Cue up Connie Francis.

Better written than some science articles. Straight-forward, easy to understand, no hidden agendas
Book review, cry me a tributary, River Notes, Wade Davis, WSJ
Americans mastered the river with a vengeance. In 1922, seven states signed the Colorado River Compact, dividing its waters among them. In 1944, a treaty ceded the leftovers to Mexico. The first and most audacious project to control the river's flow was the Boulder (now Hoover) Dam, dedicated in 1935. Today the Colorado is the most regulated watershed in the world, hemmed by no fewer than 25 dams. By the time it trickles into the Gulf of California it has ceased to be a river in all but name, and most of its once huge, incredibly diverse delta is a barren mud flat.
Environmentalists abhor the subjugation of the Colorado. Mr. Davis, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, also sounds an alarm for the tens of millions of people who live along the river—because the Colorado, already taxed to the brink, is shrinking. Thanks to population growth, a decade-long drought and global climate change, the river is being drained beyond sustainability. And if the Colorado were to die, Mr. Davis tells us, "it would be necessary to abandon most of southern California and Arizona, and much of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming."
Illinois the "Unfixable," WSJ
Illinois's pension system is heading for a meltdown and may now be beyond help. That's the forecast from a Chicago business group, which told its members last week that the state's pension crisis "has grown so severe" that it is now "unfixable."
The Commercial Club of Chicago wrote that because the November elections did not bring in lawmakers willing to push real reform, the state's roughly $200 billion debt now threatens education, health care and basic public services. The problem is worsening so fast that the usual menu of reforms won't be enough to keep public pensions from sucking taxpayers and whole cities into its yawning maw.
If you think Illinois lawmakers aren't taking the problems seriously enough, just ask Pat Quinn. On Sunday, the Illinois Governor kicked off a "grass-roots" effort to rally the state around pension reform. The Governor hasn't come up with a plan, but don't despair: He introduced the state's new animated mascot, "Squeezy, the Pension Python," and encouraged voters to talk about the problem over Thanksgiving.
Here's some food for thought. The state estimates its unfunded pension liabilities at around $95 billion. But that rosy scenario is based on the assumption that pension investments earn some 8% a year. In fiscal 2012, the Teachers Retirement System had a 0.76% return, the State Employees Retirement System 0.05%, and the General Assembly Retirement System a negative 0.14%.
Sleuthing the Apple stock selloff, WSJ, must be a slow day for the journal to post this fairly long op-ed (?) piece in the opinion section. The contributor is the publisher of Forbes. [For newbies, I'm a fanboy of Apple; officially Fanboy #3.] Disclaimer: I own no shares in Apple, have never owned any shares in Apple, and doubt I ever will. Don't make any investment decisions based on what you read at this blog. This is not an investment site.
Speaking of aesthetics and Apple-like touches, Microsoft recently opened retail stores in luxury shopping malls. At the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, the Apple and Microsoft stores are within 100 feet of each other. On a recent Saturday I counted more people in the Microsoft store.
Meanwhile at Barclay's: Barclays has purchased over 8,500 iPads, The Next Web reports. The bank intends to use the tablets as a means to improve customer service and it stated that their employees demanded iPads, according to the website. Demanded?

Egypt is truly out of control and will be for quite some time. It is only a matter of time before the sphinx, the pyramids, and the great archaeological treasures will be destroyed. And to think the British were under pressure to return their Egyptian museum pieces back to Africa these past twenty years.

1 comment:

  1. the proposed 18.4 cent federal gas tax is basically a $ 20 per ton of CO2 tax on gasoline..
    this is why they picked this crazy Number.. This Proposed Carbon tax starts a slippery slope..
    So now the poor will get a gas card similar to a EBT card to help offset the expense of driving ..