Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Morning News, Views, And Links

Active rigs: 177 (lowest since the post-boom high)

RBN Energy: pricing the waxy crude that comes out of the Uinta.

WSJ Links

The battle for Detroit's cash is on. At the center of the battle are five bond insurers who are the city's biggest creditors. Chicago is probably watching closely how this plays out.

Syria is widening the WTI-Brent spread.
The conflict in Syria has driven a wedge between U.S. and European oil prices, as investors focus on the cushion that booming U.S. production provides against potential supply shocks elsewhere in the world.
U.S. oil futures now are roughly $3.50 a barrel cheaper than Brent, the European benchmark that many experts consider to be a gauge of world prices.
The two contracts were trading in line with each other in July, before tensions in Syria sparked a broad price rally amid fears that U.S. military intervention would disrupt the flow of oil out of the Mideast, which accounts for a third of world oil production.
On NPR news this morning, the eulogies were already starting -- for the mass murderer at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. He was described as a "sweet man" who was "working to get his life back together again," taking on-line courses, and working part-time jobs. He sounds like he was a very nice guy. One can always count on NPR to begin the spin. The WSJ story here. With a prior shooting record, he doesn't sound all that sweet.

This is a must-read: researchers say the US overstates methane leaks by natural gas drillers.
The study, led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and published on Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is likely to ease some concerns about the impact of natural-gas extraction on the climate.
Measuring emissions at 190 sites, the study found less "fugitive methane" than previous work by the Environmental Protection Agency and some university researchers, which relied on estimates. Methane, the primary ingredient in natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas.
Critics of fracking have contended that large amounts of methane leak from gas drilling sites, with some suggesting the problem was so great that it would be better for the environment to burn coal instead of natural gas.
More work must be done on other potential sources of methane leaks, for example from pipelines, before researchers can say definitively that producing and burning natural gas is better for the environment than using coal to generate electricity.
But the measurements of gas emissions found that wells emitted about 20% less greenhouse gases than the EPA had estimated—which is less than the amount emitted by burning coal. The study also found much higher-than-expected leakage from pneumatic switches, which are used to turn equipment on and off at well sites.
Algore probably won't add this new data to his PowerPoint slide show.

Politics: O'Bama feels the pinch from Summers' withdrawal:
The Democratic uproar that sank Lawrence Summers's chances of taking charge of the Federal Reserve suggests that President Barack Obama's clout on Capitol Hill is eroding ahead of crucial decisions about government spending and the debt ceiling.
Mr. Obama often singles out House Republicans for blocking his agenda in Congress.
But as his second term plays out, he also is confronting restive factions within his own party that are uneasy with some of his policies. The liberal wing in particular has rallied against his proposed use of force in Syria, his openness to changing entitlement programs and his apparent interest in awarding the Fed chairmanship to Mr. Summers, who some associate with financial deregulation of the Clinton years.
This was predictable: now the Philippines want "us" back
In 1991, after the Philippine Senate voted to close Subic Naval Base—then the largest American overseas military facility—an emotional Sen. Agapito Aquino summed up the popular mood. It was, he said, "the dawn of our nation's birth."
Tossing out the Americans from Subic and nearby Clark Air Base, he added, had ended the country's "crippling dependence" on its former colonial overlord.
Now, the Philippines wants American forces back in Subic to counter Chinese moves off the Philippine coast. Just west of Subic, Chinese ships have fenced off the Scarborough Shoal, one of the world's richest fishing grounds, which falls within the Philippines's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. 
Won't happen in my lifetime.

And finally, this op-ed: as education declines, so does civic culture:
Even as the cost of higher education skyrockets, its benefits are increasingly being called into doubt. We're familiar with laments from graduates who emerge from college burdened with student loans and wondering if their studies have prepared them for jobs and careers. A less familiar but even more troubling problem is that their education did not prepare them for responsible civic life. The decline in education means a decline in the ability of individuals—and ultimately the nation as a whole—to address political, social and moral matters in effective, considered ways.
The trouble begins before college. Large numbers of high-school students have faced so few challenges and demands that they are badly underprepared for college courses. Many who go on to four-year colleges seem to need two years of college even to begin to understand what it is to study, read carefully and take oneself seriously as a student. For many students, high-school-level preparation for college is a matter of having high self-esteem and high expectations but little else.
Even after three or four years of undergraduate education, many students still cannot recognize reasoning when they encounter it. They have little grasp of the difference between merely "saying something" and constructing an explanation or formulating an argument. This is often reinforced by college instructors who urge students to regard all theories, intellectual perspectives and views as ideology—without acknowledging the differences between theories, beliefs, hypotheses, interpretations and other categories of thought.
The Los Angeles Times

The gunman was a Buddhist; that's the angle the LA Times is taking. A Buddhist who always carried a gun. I can't make this stuff up.

Appalachian miners "decry what they call" O'bama's "war on coal." Too little too late. That train has left the station. And it's running on natural gas.

The New York Times

Focus shifts to "motive" in Navy Yard shootings. Three words: angry young man.  Who felt he was being dissed. Urban rap songs. This is not rocket science.

The Boston Globe

Apparently not concerned about patient privacy issues, the newspaper reports the "alleged Washington Navy Yard gunman was reportedly treated for a host of serious mental health issues, including paranoia, sleep disorder, and hearing voices.

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