Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sugar Contract Rejected -- WSJ Wrap-Up: Saturday, June 23, 2012


June 24, 2012: American Crystal Sugar workers reject contract; 63% say "no."  The lockout has lasted 11 months.
The company’s original offer included a 17 percent wage increase over five years — which is now closer to 14 percent because the contract had a deadline — and increased pension, leave and vacation benefits. The union continued to demand wage and pension increases “significantly above’’ the final offer, company officials have said.
Am I missing something? Look at the inflation numbers coming out of Washington: nowhere near this. In fact, there is more and more talk of a recession affecting the rest of the country.

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Fourth section: outstanding. Food and travel.
  • "Lamb Barbecue With an Ancient Twist"
  • "It's Time to Make Your CDs Obsolete"
Third section: somewhat disappointed with the selection today. Book reviews. Ideas.
  • "Unlocking Yourself From the Clock."
  • "Go Ahead, Think It Over." 
The Post-it Note was an invention that almost wasn't -- intended as a bookmark, it languished internally at 3M before finding its true purpose.

Waiting to the last minute gives you the benefit of all thetime ou possess, letting ideas form and coalesce.
Second section:
  • "Brent Oil Prices Signal Possible Turning Point"
  • "IRA Rules Get Trickier" -- long, long article. If you find it, you may want to bookmark it.
  • "The Tax Rules for Renting Out Your Vacation Home" 
First section: 

"States Face Pressure on Pension Shortfalls"
The revamped rules expected to be approved Monday by an accounting-standards group will force governments to record pension costs sooner than they did before and disclose shortfalls more prominently. The changes also will force some public pension funds to calculate retirement benefits using more conservative assumptions.

The new rules could hit pension plans in states like Illinois and New Jersey particularly hard, and even raise borrowing costs for certain municipalities, analysts say. "This could be the event that incites a bigger policy response than what we've seen so far," says Matt Fabian, managing director at Municipal Market Advisors, a research firm.
Good, bad, or indifferent, a lot of current pension problems are due to changes in regulations. Did states have enough time to react? If they had enough time, did they react in a timely manner? 


"For Middle-Aged Job Seekers, a Long Road Back"
Much of the attention during the prolonged U.S. employment crisis has been on high rates of joblessness among young people. Less noticed, but no less significant to many economists, has been the plight of the middle-aged. More than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 were unemployed as of May, 39% of them for a year or more—a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history, and far higher than among younger workers. Millions more have quit looking for work or, like Mr. Daniel, have taken part-time jobs to get by.
All I can think of when I read articles like this is the message we sent folks when we killed the Keystone XL. The actual project didn't matter in the big scheme of things. The message we sent folks was the problem. The message: we really aren't all that concerned about your employment. The approval agency now wants to start the entire review process over, sending another message: there is no urgency.

This is the vote I'm most interested in this weekend: "Midwest Sugar-Beet Workers Hold Vote." The vote will be today, Saturday.

A primary I am most interested in: "Orrin Hatch Battles Ted Kennedy's Ghost in Utah."

WSJ Wrap-Up -- Friday, June 22, 2012

Fourth section/Friday Journal: Book review, H. L. Mencken’s New Dictionary. Too many real estate ads.

Third section: nothing of note.

Second section:

In Europe, Idle Car Factories Live On: Europe is a mess; factories need to close; unions/govts fight closure; factories at 70% capacity; hours cut and assembly lines slowed (quality should go up?)

Ratings slip for NBC news, not just “Today Show”; replacing talking heads; they need to “fix” content; MSNBC doesn’t help

“Indecency Fines Tossed Out.” Here we go. We will see how far network television pushes the envelope. Maybe we will see on “Bang.”

“SmartMoney will move to web-only magazine.” Another print magazine bites the dust.

Nokia Phone Sales Face More Hurdles.” Current Nokia users won’t be able to download Microsoft upgrades." Wow. Makes you want to buy a Nokia SmartPhone.

First section:

“Something smells fishy in these tony Michigan towns.”  Known as mayflies elsewhere. Boats are covered with them. Owners must take dust bins and shovel out the carcasses from their vessels. On the water at night, the flies get so thick it is difficult to see. Another reason to live in North Dakota: we don’t have fish flies.

 “Romney softens tone on immigration.”

“Jobs get posted, few get filled.” Employment picture could get worse. Data suggests companies will start laying off employees in coming months.

“Axelrod’s ObamaCare Dolllars.” And Jamie Dimon is testifying before Congress?

New Poll: 1280- Or 2560-Acre Spacing? Does It Matter?

The results of the poll regarding "minerals" and probate (some rounding):
  • Yes, it would be best for "minerals" to go through probate: 17%
  • No, it would not be best for "minerals" to go through probate: 66%
  • It depends: 11%
  • Other: 6%
Time for a new poll:
Recently, there has been some discussion regarding 1280-acre spacing and 2560-acre spacing in the Bakken. Based on current events and projections of how you see the Bakken developing over the next 12 months (the time period here is critical), if you have (or wished you had mineral rights), would you prefer 1280-acre spacing or 2560-acre spacing? Or does it matter?

With regard to the probate question above, an observation.

For the longest time, I put off subscribing for Basic Services at the NDIC website for quite awhile. My biggest concern was becoming even more "addicted" to the Bakken, following even more data. The cost, $50, probably played a role, although the greatest impediment was inertia (bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, and I didn't know how much trouble it would be to get the subscription. It turned out to be incredibly easy. But I digress.)

This is the observation: in a couple of cases, mineral owners have written in saying they would not spend the $50 for the subscription due to the cost. At the same time some folks feel "a few hundred dollars going through probate" is not that significant.

That was just an observation. But if there is a message to be taken away, this is it: the NDIC Basic Subscription for $50 may just be the best bargain in the world for anyone who enjoys following the Bakken.  I would assume every student in petroleum engineering has access. Reading the file reports, it seems, would be a must.

In addition, recently, looking at a re-entry well, it appears the operators were reading an old geology report of a previously drilled dry vertical hole and saw something they liked in the Bakken Pool. They drilled and they were successful.  Anyway, just a digression.

Great Story: Steel Company Locating in Grand Forks To Serve the Bakken


Later, 11:15 p.m.: in the comments below, I reference the Lewis and Clark bridge south of Williston. Here is a nice website regarding that bridge

Original Post

Link here to InsideClimate News/Dickinson Press: if link is broken, google Steffes steel Grand Forks.

Steffes is a Dickinson-based steel company.  Among its products: cattle guards. I think I blogged about cattle guards two years ago. Wrong. Last May, 2011.

Near the bottom of the article, just to remind us how lucrative the Bakken is:
A company working in a similar market is Diverse Energy Systems of Grafton [North Dakota] which was Lean Technologies until its purchase by the Houston-based company.

Links to Energy Stories at Independent Stock Analysis

Link here to ISA for oil and gas stories.

Link here to ISA for coal stories.