Monday, April 22, 2013

The Top Cover President. Obama Needs To Kill The Keystone XL Once And For All

President Obama has said "no" twice to the Keystone XL. He now has the top cover to kill it a third time:,0,5823509.story More tomorrow. Exhausted tonight.

Nice Update on Statoil --

A reader sent me this link. A huge "thank you."

I would have missed this one.

For now, just link: It is a very, very good update.

Quick summary of that interview:
  • 378,000 acres (258,000 in ND; rest in Montana)
  • drilled 150 wells in 2012
  • fewer than 150 wells to be drilled in 2013
  • rig count to average 12, one less than 2012
  • norm: 7-well pads: 4 MB, 3TF
  • shipping almost exclusively by rail; mostly to east coast
  • looking at shipping to Vancouver
  • rail for 3 - 4 more years; looking for pipeline infrastructure to catch up
  • lower benches of the TF? won't research; will follow what others are doing in the Bakken, then drill
  • study group in Williston/Austin looking how to use natural gas driving artificial lifts

Wells Coming Off Confidential List Tuesday

Wells coming off confidential list Tuesday:
  • 23503, 204, Whiting, Brueni 11-16PH, New Hradec, t12/12; cum 16K 2/13;
  • 23796, drl, KOG, Smokey 3-30-31-15H3, Pembroke,
  • 23818, --/97, CLR, MPHU 32-10H, Medicine Pole Hills, Red River/West Red River; t1/13 and t1/13; cum 1,771 bbls and cum 1,231 bbls as of 2/13;
Comment: although it's a bit early to tell, it appears the Whiting wells in their Pronghorn Prospect, southwest North Dakota, are not nearly as good as their Sanish wells in the northwest

Eleven (11) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; WPX Has A Great Well

Active rigs: 187 (steady, up)

Eleven (11) new permits --
  • Operators: Slawson (4), QEP (3), G3 Operating (3), CLR
  • Fields: Grail (McKenzie), Strandahl (Williams), Ross (Mountrail), St Anthony (Dunn)
  • Comments: QEP has permits for three wells in the "Helis Grail"
Wells that came off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Permit canceled:
  • 23559, PNC, Zenergy, Sanders 9-10H, Sandrocks
Producing well completed:
  • 23451, 1,435, WPX, Dancing Bull 16-21HC, Van Hook, t4/13; cum --

Bragging....Nothing About The Bakken....Follow-Up To Earlier Post On Netflix

I doubt my son-in-law will ever read my blog, so it's safe to post this.

Go to this link to get follow-up regarding Netflix. It's always best to read the "Original Post" first and then read the updates.

Wow, I love rambling about things.

For those expecting to find the Bakken, scroll down, or look through 10,000 posts archived at the sidebar on the right.

The Daily Activity Report will be posted soon.

Right On The Money: The Korean Missile Crisis


May 7, 2013: The Korean Missile Crisis is over; ended with a whimper (a press release). North Korea has removed missiles from their launching pads.

Original Post

From the blog, April 14, 2013:
[An update] April 14, 2013: And now SecState Lurch is willing to negotiate with the North Koreans. My hunch is North Korea is coming out of one of its worst winters ever, and has run out of food, and coming close to running out of fuel. If SecState Lurch agrees to trade real food and real fuel for fake promises, that's  fine, and the right thing to do. We give a lot more to the Palestinians ($500 million when we close the White House to tours) than we give the people of North Korea. 
My hunch appears right on the money. The [London] Express is reporting:
The North, suffering under dictator Kim Jong-un's cruel regime, cited a "severe" shortage of food and requested aid during a recent meeting with Mongolia's President Ts. Elbegdorj.
"We ask Mongolia to seek possibilities of delivering food aid to North Korea," an article by InfoMongolia said. revealed how food is often used as leverage to control starving people.
The Drudge Report implies the UN is not supplying the needed food; no reason stated.

Well, That's It: We Have Run Out of Alphabet -- Winter Storm Zeus


Later, 4:00 pm, Wyoming's is reporting
Wyoming's snowpack is now back to where it should be this time of year.
The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service's latest report released Monday puts the statewide average at 100 percent of normal.
The story goes on to say that two weeks ago, the snow pack was 77 percent of normal. It continues to snow today. 

I still think of those unfortunate children back in 2000 who were told their children would grow up without knowing what snow was.

Original Post

The Weather Channel reports: winter storm Zeus postpones spring.

Denver, through South Dakota, along the I-90 corridor, to Minneapolis and Michigan.

And that's it. Twenty-six letters, twenty-six storms.

Another Small Contractor "Moves" To The Bakken, From Minnesota

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Godlewski, senior project manager for Shingobee Builders, decided about three years ago to take a trip to check out North Dakota’s Oil Patch.
The company embraced the idea of bidding some work in northwest North Dakota, and the contractor has been active in the Bakken ever since.
Godlewski has an apartment in Williston and travels from his home of St Michael, Minn., every two weeks to oversee construction projects.
“After three years, I still get excited about coming out here,” Godlewski said.
Shingobee Builders, based in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud, Minn., is a medium-sized general contractor that operates in a five-state region. The firm has 18 superintendents in charge of building projects and last year seven of them were based in North Dakota, Godlewski said.
A Note To the Granddaughters

After only a couple days in Boston, I will be heading home this week. I'm not sure what it was, but possibly the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings had a bigger effect on me than I realized. I bought a couple of books at Harvard Bookstore, and almost lost my (emotional) composure while talking to the cashier. The photos of that little (8 years old?) boy smiling at the finish line, and that loser setting down the backpack right next to him probably finally got to me. And then the story of the newlywed couple from Cambridge, now both amputees, which I read about for the first time yesterday, though I guess it was posted earlier in the week, before they killed/captured the losers.

I rode home, about a 10-mile round trip.  I had dinner, but about 9:30 pm I was feeling a bit antsy. So, I got on the bike at about 9:45 pm, but for archival purposes, I will say 10:00.

My headlight is designed for others to see me, not to help me see the road. I never take a map, and because I had no plans to stop or ride very far, I did not take my backpack with the iPad and the MacBook Pro. Not taking the iPad was a big mistake. No map.

I started riding, in a generally southern direction from the granddaughters' house in Belmont, in a western suburb of Boston. I ended up on a rural two-lane highway, with no shoulders, and no highway markings. I knew I was probably south of Belmont, but did not know for sure; I had no idea where I was, but I assumed I would eventually find a village, or a cross road, or some landmark to help me out. When I started smelling cow manure I knew I wasn't in Kansas any more, Toto. Or maybe I was. A few more miles, I think around 11:00 or so, I came into a village, Medfield. I turned left on East 109, assuming (correctly) that I was headed east toward Boston.

That was a long stretch. Going through construction of a new figure-8 interchange to the I-95 at 1:00 a.m. (or whatever time it was) was a bit sporty. You know those huge barriers that line the driving lane during construction? Yeah, they're pretty intimidating. With no traffic, they are very challenging for a biker, and with a car passing, wow. Sporty. I wasn't sure if there was any space for a pedestrian next to the barrier if a car passed, much less if there was space for a cyclist. But, if the car driver is really, really careful, and concerned, there is just enough space. Just.

Anyway, I got to "Center Street" at a "T" intersection. Without a map, there are not many things worse than a "T" intersection. I initially went left and rode about a mile before the route didn't look "right." So I turned around and checked a bus map, but it was of no use because there was no "You Are Here" dot, and the map really didn't portray what I "felt." So, I kept going in the opposite direction. This time I probably rode about three miles, and found myself in West Roxbury. I remembered from the map that West Roxbury was the opposite direction from where I wanted to be, so I turned around and went into an all-night convenience store. There was a woman ahead of me in line. I asked, over her, to the clerk how to get to Boston, whether I go "left" on the road in front of his store, or "right." English was not his first language, probably not even his second, but he was able to ask, "Which part of Boston?" Okay, this morning I see that the road I was on and runs in front of his story is a north - south road. If you go "left" (north, you head into Boston). If you go "right" (south, you head toward Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Cape Cod. [The clerk at the convenience story also knew enough English to tell me his bathroom was broken. Which I doubt.]

Fortunately, the woman/customer simply said, "go that way" (pointing left) and "you will end up right in Boston."

It was a nice road, and I finally saw the skyline of Boston. According to bank signs, the temperature had dropped from 44 degrees to 41 degrees, but no wind, and actually quite comfortable.

My destination was Cambridge at this point. I knew how to get home once I got to Cambridge.

The problem was: I had no idea how to get to Cambridge from where I was in south Boston. But with the ocean on my right, I knew I eventually had to get to the Charles River. Crossing the Charles River, one was going to be in Cambridge.

I was on a beautiful thoroughfare, which I later learned was The Riverway. There was a "river" on my left, which turned out to be a small tributary running into the south side of the Charles River. I assume it has a name, but google maps only refers to the area as "Back Bay Fens." I went up Brookline and past Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where headlines tell us this morning "terrorist #2" remains in serious condition. They should call him "Chechen-born-again-Islamist-loser." Had he been a Timothy McVeigh he would have been referred to as "a Christian-right-wing-nut." Home-grown or not, he was a) a loser; and, b) an Islamist. Had these two losers disguised themselves as Islamic women in full abaya-niqab they never would have been identified.

I passed Fenway park. The area was filled with early morning revelers. In fact, my entire route through Boston was filled with revelers. For the first time that I can recall I saw the phenomenon "hailing a Boston taxi at 2:00 a.m." or whatever time it was. It's quite interesting.  Chivalry appears not to exist. Many a short-skirted, scantily clad woman, on a cold night was left standing/stranded after a young male ran out ahead of her and grabbed the next taxi coming down the road. It was somewhat disconcerting. But I digress.

I did not recognize any landmarks, until I passed Boston Commons. From there, by car, I know how to get back to the granddaughters' home in Belmont, but on bike it's a completely different story due to freeways and "cars only" roads through Boston. I almost ended up on the bridge that takes one toward New Hampshire, the route along the coast.

I came back and tried again. This time I found a bridge across the Charles River, but offhand, I cannot recall the bridge, the name of the bridge, or how I even found it. This is the only part of the journey that is still a "dark hole." Perhaps it was the much-talked-about-never-seen-universal-worm-hole."

Interestingly, coming out the other side of this "worm-hole," I ended up, appropriately enough, near the MIT campus. Of course, I did not recognize it as the MIT campus. Oh, it comes back to me now. Coming out of the "worm-hole" the first landmark I recognized was the science museum on my left, which meant the ocean was still on my right, and I needed to turn left at the next available intersection. I did, entering a four-lane divided street. I traveled about a mile in oncoming traffic, which amounted to two cars during the whole stretch.

Shortly after crossing over to the correct side of the street, I saw the huge map of MIT campus. Finally.

The rest was easy. I rode down Memorial Drive, the same route the Boston Marathon bombers took and where the shootout occurred, killing one and seriously injuring the other. Part of the Drive is still blocked off as a "crime scene" with two black-and-whites blocking both ends. So, a small detour for cars, but it did not affect bicyclists.

But pretty much, a straight shot from Memorial Drive to my destination. I got home about 4:14 a.m.

The bike held up remarkably. I was mostly concerned about the batteries dying on the fore and aft lights, but they were still flashing when I got home. Note to self: attach small bag on bike with fresh batteries, and a set of lights. Maybe throw in a map. Better yet: stick to my cardinal rule -- don't leave home without my backpack which, among other things like my now-expired passport -- has an iPad (think google maps).

A Second Note to the Granddaughters

There were four books at the Harvard Bookstore I wanted to buy yesterday but I only had room in my backpack for two. The four I was choosing among:
  • The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, by David Stockman, 2013.
  • The Alchemists: Three Central Banks and a World On Fire, by Neil Irwin, 2013.
  • The Hub's Metropolis: From Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth, by James C. O'Connell, MIT, 2013.
  • Turing's Cathedral, by George Dyson, the son of the famous physicist. Soft cover, c. 2012. The subtitle of the book is "The Origins of the Digital Universe." The blurb from The Boston Globe on the cover; "The best book I've read on the origins of the computer...not only learned, but brilliantly and surprisingly idiosyncratic and strange." This was the only soft cover of the four.
After a long time deciding, I finally decided on the bottom two. Not only did they appeal to me the most (in the final analysis), they were also the smallest.

I may buy The Alchemists at a later date. I will not read The Great Deformation for three reasons: a) Stockman is preaching to the choir; b) his fifteen or so recommendations to get us back on track are never, ever going to happen; and, c) too political. A better finishing chapter or epilogue would have been to express what the likely outcome is to be over the next 20 years (through 2030) and how folks should best prepare. I don't know if David Stockman holds out hope for the nation, but if the nation's survival depends on his recommendations, we are doomed. His recommendations cross the reality/non-reality line.

Turing's Cathedral, by George Dyson

While old men in Congresses and parliaments would debate the allocation of a few thousand dollars, farsighted generals and admirals would not hesitate to divert substantial sums to help oddballs in Princeton, Cambridge, and Los Alamos," observed Nicholas Metropolis, reviewing the development of computers after WWII. -- Acknowledgments, p. xvi. 

Update: shortly after posting the above, Don sent me the following story and video. I have not watched the video yet, but didn't want to lose the link, so here it is:

Here It Is: Six-Hour Delays At Major Airports; I Do Not Recall Ever Seeing A President Do So Much To Frustrate The American Public

I blogged about this earlier this morning. Hardly needs repeating.

CBS is reporting:
Work furloughs involving air traffic controllers caused headaches around the nation for passengers Sunday.
Flights were delayed in many large hubs — up to three hours for some passengers.
LAX was also affected. The FAA’s website reported a “traffic [mis]management program” at LAX is causing “some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 3 hours and 7 minutes. To see if you may be affected, select your departure airport and check ‘Delays by Destination.’”
I dont' recall the immediate impact when Ronald Reagan fired ALL air traffic controllers, but the system survived. The current FAA administration knew about this sequester since October, 2012, and this is only a 2% budget cut. Something does not ring true.

Remember folks: it was the president who first suggested the sequester and then did not have the political skills to prevent it, and, of course, the Senate is controlled by his party. It was also the president who said he wanted his agencies to maximize the pain of the sequester. 

From an earlier post:
  • Budget cuts threaten to worsen air delays. "Make the sequester as painful as possible." -- The President. "Never let a crisis go to waste." -- The President's chief of staff. And that's the kind of leadership we have in Washington.
Few flight delays were in evidence Sunday—on the first day of the furloughs of some air-traffic controllers under budget cuts required by the federal sequester—but delays could worsen as heavier traffic takes hold as early as Monday.
Pleasant weather mostly ruled across the country Sunday, usually not one of the busier travel days.
Later in the day, the Federal Aviation Administration warned of delays at New York's John F. Kennedy and La Guardia airports—two of the most congested facilities on any given day—due to "staffing" and other issues, according to an FAA website.
I travel through ORD (Chicago's O'Hare) later this week. I have a three-hour layover. I hope that's sufficient.
Looks like three hours will not be long enough.

Britain's Coldest Winter in 50 Years May Have Pushed Britain Into Third Recession

Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
The coldest March in 50 years may have tipped the ailing U.K. economy into a third recession since the financial crisis, a result that will increase the pressure on the government to relax its policy of austerity.
Most economists expect the world's sixth-largest economy to narrowly avoid a second consecutive quarter of contraction when the first estimate of first-quarter output is released on Thursday. But the chances of a surprise are high.
The U.K.'s gross domestic product fell by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012. A triple-dip recession would be unprecedented, and pile pressure on finance minister George Osborne to spread the pain of government spending cuts over a longer period of time.
UBS economist Amit Kara said he expected U.K. GDP to show zero growth, but cautioned that the cold weather could spring a shock and send the economy into reverse again.
Note: this was not Britain's coldest March in a decade. It was not the coldest March since 2000 when it was predicted that children would no longer see snow. It was not even the coldest March in 25 years.


And it may have pushed the island nation into a recession. If so, this would be unprecedented. A triple-dip recession, the report says, would be unprecedented.

And so it goes.

The coldest March in Great Britain in 50 years. In 1984, the Iron Lady announced plans to start closing coal mines. Almost 30 years ago. Takes awhile to reverse a trend, I guess.

Snowfalls Are Just A Thing Of The Past: Tell That To Little Susie in Rapid City, SD

Headline, March 20, 2000, The (London) Independent: Snowfalls Are A Thing of the Past:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.
Maybe fewer white Christmases (am I allowed to say "white" and not be accused of being politically incorrect), and fewer white Januaries and Februaries, but it appears global warming is bringing us colder Aprils and snowier springs.

The IceAgeNow is reporting that since records began, there has never been more snow in Rapid City:
“And records began in 1888!” says reader Ralph Fato. “Plus, it was done in 2 weeks!”
I believe Patrick Kennedy (or one of the Kennedy family) said the same thing: he was afraid children will never see snow again. Not to worry. Mr Kennedy: put those kids on your private jet and fly them out to Rapid City. If the runway is clear.

[By the way, and this is a huge digression, but the comments are always fun to read. At the yelp site pondering whether "white Christmas" is racist, some astute wag asked the question: why are green olives in glass bottles for all to see, but black olives are hidden away in cans? I can't make this stuff up.]

Anti-Anti-Gun Rant -- Absolutely Nothing About The Bakken -- How About Enforcing The Laws We Have On The Books?

The following "letter to the editor" is currently making the internet rounds. I have removed the last few lines from the letter and added comments in brackets [].
Dear Editor:
I know and appreciate Sen. Tim Johnson’s position on guns and the Second Amendment. I would ask him to ask the progressive liberals he is in contact with who are anti-gun and anti-second amendment why is it the progressive liberals acquire guns, then kill [movie-goers] and children in schools? Why are no conservative NRA members involved in mass shootings?

Ft Hood Shooter: Registered Democrat and Muslim. [gun-free zone; guns restricted to law enforcement and activity duty military with need to carry.]

Columbine Shooters: Too young to vote … both families were Registered Democrats and progressive liberals. [Columbine: gun-free zone.]

Virginia Tech shooter: Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff. Registered Democrat. [Virgina Tech: gun-free zone.]

Colorado theater shooter: Registered Democrat, staff worker on the Obama campaign, occupy wall street participant .. progressive liberal. [Colorado theater: gun-free zone.]

Connecticut school shooter: Registered Democrat. Hated Christians. [Connecticut shooter: gun-free zone.]

[Trade Towers: no guns involved on 9/11; devout Muslims.]

[Boston Marathon bombings: no guns involved on Boylston Street; at least one devout Muslim whose own family was scared.]

SOURCE: Custer County Chronicle, 02 06 13 Page 5A. No links. Easily found through google.
I don't have a dog in this fight, and I don't know the answer. But I do know what I posted earlier: But this pretty much says it all: weapons prosecutions decline to lowest level in a decade, and topping the list: Chicago. Apparently even the Senate knows that.

And this is why I love blogging. Had I not blogged, I never would searched for this, nor would I have found this particular article: "Islam, Terror, and Political Correctness." 

One can add Islamist Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab to the list above.
President Obama’s initial description of the young Nigerian Muslim who attempted to bring down an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day (“an isolated extremist”) also prompted charges from conservatives that his administration fails to recognize the link between Islamic radicalism and terrorism.
According to a variety of media reports, the Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, was fitted with his explosives-laden underwear in Yemen and was in contact there with Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born radical cleric and al Qaeda recruiter who also corresponded by email with Maj. Hasan before the Fort Hood shooting spree.
The aircraft in which Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab was also designated a gun-free zone

Production Runs Of A Few Huge Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Have Been Posted

IPs of wells coming off the confidential list have been posted. Production runs from some of the wells have been posted. Petro-Hunt and Hess have some huge wells. Lately, I've been really, really impressed with the Hess wells. It's hard to believe, but way back on December 13, 2011, I thought I saw a change with regard to Hess.

Monday Morning Links

RBN Energy: Niobrara takeaway expansions.
Last week we reviewed prospects for oil production from the Niobrara shale formation in Colorado and Wyoming. Despite early promise the Niobrara has proven complex to drill successfully but recent optimism from Noble Energy,Anadarko and others suggest that the tide may be turning. Today we take a look at growing takeaway capacity in the Rocky Mountains.
 WSJ Links

Section R (Journal Report):

Section C (Money & Investing):
Rising gas supply has surprised the U.S. Exxon Mobil and several partners built Texas's Golden Pass liquefied natural gas, or LNG, import terminal expecting domestic gas output to keep falling. But it began operations in 2010—the same year Exxon showed it recognized that shale gas had changed the game entirely by paying $41 billion for domestic producer XTO Energy.
Gas isn't a new fuel. The U.S. used almost 70 billion cubic feet, or bcf, a day last year. But while that was up 15% from 2005, domestic-gas output jumped by a third in that same period. Some estimate a century's worth of gas lies beneath U.S. soil. Curbing supply, the exploration-and-production industry's typical defense for prices, offers some support. But who will bid high when there is so much gas in the ground?
What's needed is more use of gas. Low prices have helped boost its share of U.S. power generation. But this is very price sensitive, and the recent move by gas above $4 per million British thermal units has already helped coal win back some ground.
Section B (Marketplace):
  • Budget cuts threaten to worsen air delays. "Make the sequester as painful as possible." -- The President. "Never let a crisis go to waste." -- The President's chief of staff. And that's the kind of leadership we have in Washington.
Few flight delays were in evidence Sunday—on the first day of the furloughs of some air-traffic controllers under budget cuts required by the federal sequester—but delays could worsen as heavier traffic takes hold as early as Monday.
Pleasant weather mostly ruled across the country Sunday, usually not one of the busier travel days.
Later in the day, the Federal Aviation Administration warned of delays at New York's John F. Kennedy and La Guardia airports—two of the most congested facilities on any given day—due to "staffing" and other issues, according to an FAA website.
I travel through ORD (Chicago's O'Hare) later this week. I have a three-hour layover. I hope that's sufficient.
Allegations of an elaborate diesel-fuel rebate fraud by truck-stop giant Pilot Flying J roiled the trucking world as its customers tried to assess whether they had been duped.
"It's a kick in the gut—the way you'd feel if someone you trusted let you down in a big way," said Tommy Hodges, chairman of Titan Transfer Inc., of Shelbyville, Tenn., responding to the allegations that Pilot employees engaged in a scheme to deceptively withhold discounts from customers to boost company profits and their own sales commissions.
Pilot Chief Executive Jimmy Haslam III, who is also majority owner of the Cleveland Browns football team, and his brother Bill Haslam, Tennessee's governor, are two of Pilot's owners.
  • Chevron's $9 billion case (Ecuador) is starting to turn some adversaries into allies.
Section A:
  • Many, many stories on the Boston Marathon bombings; none of which would have happened had the FBI taken the Russian concern seriously, and not been politically correct. [For those unfamiliar with the reference, the Russian government alerted the US to this loser back in 2011 after the loser spent six months visiting Chechnya. The FBI appears to have checked its databases, found nothing, and moved on, with a note to Mr Putin: "Thank you. We'll get back to you if we ever need your advice." The President thanked Mr Putin for his help following the pressure cooker bombings. Back in 2010, I believe, but I could be wrong, the word "terrorism" was being systematically removed from the federal government's lexicon, to be replaced by "criminal events," except as applied to home-grown right-wing terrorism. I don't know what adjective is used to describe the activities of the Black Panthers. Google black panthers voting pennsylvania.]
Communities in six states along the upper Mississippi River and its tributaries were hoping for a dry spell as heavy rains and melting snow threatened to keep rivers at uncomfortably high levels this week.
The U.S. Coast Guard said surging waters had caused 114 barges to break loose just south of St. Louis on Saturday night, prompting a shutdown of a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi.
Officials said they will close a 3½-mile stretch of the Illinois River to boat traffic on Monday due to high water. Travel was restricted on Sunday. 
I assume this will hurt Bakken oil barge traffic. 
North Korea said it would be willing to hold disarmament talks with the U.S. but not over its nuclear-weapons program, its latest gambit in a weekslong run of threatening behavior that has in recent days been supplemented by setting extreme conditions for potential dialogue.
An official in Seoul said the North has moved two more launchers to its east coast for a possible test firing of short-range Scud missiles, according to a report by South Korea's Yonhap news agency on Sunday. The defense ministry declined to comment on the report. Scud missiles have a range of a few hundred kilometers, and wouldn't pose a threat to South Korea or other countries if fired into the sea.
A bigger concern are the one or two midrange missiles that North Korea is believed to have positioned on its eastern seaboard. North Korea celebrates the anniversary of the founding of its military on April 25, which has led to speculation that it may test-launch missiles on that day. 
The US needs to get out of one-on-one discussions with North Korea. Ignore them. Let South Korea and China manage this one.  I assume under rules of engagement, "we" let North Korea fire first. Same rules of engagement in this country: we let terrorists with pressure cookers fire first, then we respond. Thank you Russia for warning us, but we will get back to you when we need your advice.
Iran is accelerating its efforts to buoy its non-oil trade and to find new markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as it struggles for economic survival amid an intensifying U.S. financial war on Tehran and its allies, the country's chief economic manager said in an interview. 
Nothing I like better than seeing "Iran" and "economic survival" in the same sentence. 
 Everyone knows the system is corrupt. The article says that half of eligible voters voted in the most recent Iraqi election. Wiki shows that among the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and India, the US has the lowest percentage of eligible voters voting, hitting a modern all-time low of 50% in 1995. And so it goes.