Thursday, April 2, 2015

North Dakota Ships More Oil To The East Coast Than The Rest Of The Country Combined -- April 2, 2015

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
North Dakota sends more oil by rail to East Coast refineries than all other areas of the country combined, says new data from the Energy Information Administration.
The United States now ships more than 1 million barrels of oil per day by rail, with the Bakken accounting for about two-thirds of of it, compared with 55,000 barrels per day in 2010. The shipping increase, said the federal agency, is more than a 1,700 percent increase, including some shipments to Canada.
Rail shipments of Bakken crude to the East and West coasts have steadily increased while rail shipments to Gulf Coast refiners have declined.
Non-Bakken News

April 3, 2015: AFP is reporting --
Russian ships docked at what was once a secret Norwegian naval base in the Arctic have prompted concern from the NATO country's former top military leaders, anxious about its resurgent eastern neighbour roaming nearby.
Norway's jagged Arctic coastline has regained its strategic importance since tensions between Russia and NATO members have spiked to levels not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The rocky relations have led some to criticise the shutting down of Olavsvern Naval Base, a massive complex burrowed into a mountain near the northern town of Tromsoe, that has been closed since 2009.
Shuttering it was driven by the then seemingly reduced threat from Moscow and its massive Northern Fleet based on Russia's nearby Kola Peninsula.
"We sold the only base worthy of the name that we had up there. It's pure madness," former vice admiral Einar Skorgen, who commanded Norway's northern forces, told AFP.
Skorgen and other critics say Norway has robbed itself of a crucial foothold in the far north, forcing its submarines to travel hundreds of extra miles from their bases to defend the region.
On top of that, three Russian ships have spent the winter docked deep within the mountain hideaway, once a closely guarded military facility.

Original Post

I haven't seen "Bodo, Norway" in the in a long time. During the Cold War, Bodo, Norway, was an important NATO air base. The three Bitburg Air Base F-15 fighter squadrons of which I was associated with -- the 22nd (the Stingers), the 53rd (the "NATO" Tigers), and the 525th (the Bulldogs) -- often assumed temporary duty there. It's possibly only the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed there -- whatever. Seeing "Bodo, Norway" in the news reminded me of my wonderful seven years at Bitburg Air Base. The New York Times is reporting:
BODO, Norway — From his command post burrowed deep into a mountain of quartz and slate north of the Arctic Circle, the 54-year-old commander of the Norwegian military’s operations headquarters watches time flowing backward, pushed into reverse by surging Russian military activity redolent of East-West sparring during the Cold War.
“I am what you could call a seasoned Cold Warrior,” the commander, Lt. Gen. Morten Haga Lunde, said, speaking in an underground complex built to withstand a nuclear blast. As a result, he added, he is not too alarmed by increased Russian military activity along NATO’s northern flank.
“It is more or less the same as when I started,” said General Lunde, who began his career tracking Soviet warplanes as a Norwegian Air Force navigator in the early 1980s.
I think I read somewhere that Russia was looking at the Baltics again -- yes, here it is. Fox News is reporting:
Russia reportedly has made a new threat to begin "destabilizing actions" in the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania if NATO moved more forces into those countries.
If the Russian threat is carried out, it could represent the greatest challenge to the 28-member military alliance's doctrine of mutual self-defense since its founding in 1949. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined NATO simultaneously in 2004. 
Let's see, three data points:
  • Russia's northern flank -- the Baltics
  • Russian's southern flank -- the Ukraine
  • window of opportunity -- open until January 20, 2017
It's all political theater. NATO is a paper tiger these days. Bitburg Air Base has long been closed.


One can only chuckle with regard to the "breaking news" out of Iran. Nothing as far as an agreement is concerned has been written down; nothing has been signed, but we have a presidential speech.

It's also being reported that President Obama would like to visit Iran before he "retires." I can only assume this is Valerie Jarrett's idea -- she wants to visit her first home. Meanwhile, Tehran is already accusing the White House of lying, despite the fact nothing has been written down and nothing has been signed. 

Yeah, Like That Will Happen

Wow, I'm glad I don't "get" CNBC. For the next week, the business network will broadcast ad nauseum that Greece has said it will run out of cash on April 9. Yeah, like that will happen.

Yeah, Like That Will Happen

I wonder how many California environmental activists will a) quit golfing; and, b) replace their manicured lawns with green-painted cement?  (Governor Brown's call to action on California's drought.)


On a classic rock station playing mostly stuff from the 90's and aughts, I think, this one popped up -- it's amazing how this song never seems to age, recorded in just one take on 18 May 1964:

The House of the Rising Sun, The Animals

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