Monday, July 15, 2013

Gasoline Demand Vs Initial Claims For Jobless Benefits

I don't think I could be in a better mood. Today was a non-event day in the Bakken and I can't remember posting so many stories before. It is absolutely incredible all the stories coming out of the energy sector, generally, and the Bakken, specifically.

I posted a link to an article earlier today but I doubt most folks read it -- the story relating gasoline demand to unemployment. I like it 'cause it had a cool graph.

Regular readers know that I don't "believe" in the job recovery, but this graph is somewhat reassuring. Two things jump out at me: if there is a correlation between gasoline demand and US jobs, the former seems to be lagging a bit this time around. Considering the price of oil and the price of gasoline, this should be somewhat concerning to American consumers. But for investors in oil companies, 4Q13 and 1Q14 should be very, very interesting.

The second thing that jumps out at me is this: not only does it appear that gasoline demand is lagging the upturn in jobs, gasoline demand is "flat and low" relative to 2002 - 2006. I mean really, really low. And I don't think it's due to all those Leafs and Priuses that are being sold.

So, that was one thing that got me excited about today.

The Alliance Pipeline story was something else that got me very excited. I am simply amazed how much infrastructure is being put in place in the energy sector.

Of course, the record oil production for May, 2013, North Dakota, was quite incredible. We were warned in May that the very, very wet Bakken might impact production. I'm sure it did. Last May (2012), I believe there was a 5% month-over-month increase in production; this year, only 2%.

And last, but not least, COP's announcement that it increased its dividend -- I think that was reported last week.

So, for a mundane Monday, lots of good news.

Oh, almost forgot -- the production from a Statoil Pyramid well on the northwest side of Williston: 37,000 bbls of oil in 17 days in May. A reader alerted me to that. 

Rigzone's Lead Article Today: North Dakota Sets New Crude Oil Production Record (Also A New Natural Gas Production Record)

I didn't even bother reading this article; just the headline. I'm sure it says nothing new that wasn't reported earlier, but it is so incredibly cool to see that THIS STORY WAS THE LEAD STORY IN RIGZONE today. Incredible:
North Dakota Oil, Gas Production Reach New Highs

Now that I've posted it, I read the article, to include this:
The number of producing wells in the state also reached a record 8,915 in May, compared with 8,772 wells in April, according to NDIC’s Department of Natural Resources.
Drilling permits grew to 211 in May from 202 in April, but declined to 165 in June; all three figures are down from the record of 370 set in October 2012. Lynn Helms, director of the NDIC’s Department of Natural Resources, attributed the permit activity decline to sufficient permit inventory in place to accommodate multi-well pads, the inability to build locations during load restrictions, and time needed to deal with federal hydraulic fracturing rules if required.
The neatest "comment"? Rigzone noted the same thing I did:
The production increase for oil beat energy information provider Genscape’s estimate that called for a production increase of 12,000 bopd from April to May.

A Three Forks Well In Williston: 37,000 Bbls Of Oil In 17 Days -- Incredible

There's a longer post on the Pyramid wells on the northwest side of Williston, inside city limits, I guess.

A reader pointed out that this THREE FORKS well produced more than 37,000 bbls oil in 17 days in May, 2013.

Wow, that's almost hard to believe. 37,000 bbls of oil in 17 days. One almost wonders if Statoil opened the choke wide open just to see what they could do.

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Up Slightly? That's An Understatement -- Maybe It Has To Do With The Way One Asks The Question

Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport shares that 52% of Americans disapprove of O'BamaCare, up slightly from 45% in November 2012.

I still maintain this -- refusal to submit the IRS-O'BamaCare forms -- will be the biggest act of social disobedience this country has ever seen. I have not yet seen the phrase "social disobedience" used in this discussion, but my hunch is we will start to see it April 15, 2014, if not sooner, unless the individual mandate is delayed -- which makes the need for social disobedience moot.

Back to the Gallup poll. I think it depends how one asks the question. When 45% of Americans disapproved of O'BamaCare the question asked was:
Are you in favor of free medical care for your family as promised by the President?
But when the question was changed, 52% of Americans disapproved:
Are you in favor of the health care bill that has been characterized as a "train wreck"?
It should be noted that 47% of the US population are unable to define "characterized."

Six New Hay Draw Wells in Sections 34-27, T148-R97, Little Knife Oil Field; A Reminder How "Big" The Bakken Is

17715, 1,030, Hess, Hay Draw 34-1H, Little Knife, t9/09; cum 203K 5/13; 20-stage swell packer frack; as of May, 2013, still producing 2,500 bbls of oil per month with no flaring, and very little water.

The six new wells that will be going in, permitted in today's daily activity report:
  • 25972, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-2, Little Knife, 
  • 25971, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-3, Little Knife,  
  • 25970, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-4, Little Knife,   
  • 25969, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-5, Little Knife,  
  • 25968, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-6, Little Knife,   
  • 25967, loc, LK-Hay Draw 148-97-3427H-7, Little Knife,  
These wells are in a very active area in the Little Knife oil field, including BR's Concord wells and Hess' Elisabeth wells.

Again, this should allay some fears expressed by enquiring minds that once operators held leases by production they would "quit" drilling. Hardly.

Even Statoil, whose CEO famously said there was less urgency in the Bakken now that most acreage was held by production, seems to be drilling as fast as ever.

For folks who have forgotten how "big" the Bakken is, don't forget this site.

Of course, on the other side of the coin, a lot of North Dakotans wish drilling WOULD slow down. Poor Mr Helms: he can't win no matter what he does -- encourage drilling; discourage drilling.

Random Comment On Production Record For North Dakota Despite Record Flooding In May

Earlier it was reported that North Dakota set another crude oil production record. The report was for May, 2013, the most recent data available.

It was also reported that May, 2013, was the wettest May on record in North Dakota. 

There were concerns that production would be affected due to the flooding, and no doubt it was.

I mentioned in the linked post that regular readers probably know the three reasons by oil production increased by more than 2% in May despite the flooding.

These are three reasons, but there are probably more:
  • after the 2010 flooding, operators said they would not let that happen again; they were prepared this time
  • more infrastructure has gone in (more pipeline) since 2010
  • the wells are getting better
But the biggest reason that production hit new records despite record flooding: the tenacity, experience, hard-working, committed roughnecks, truck drivers, and contractors. Theirs is an untold story.  

Hardly Worth Posting -- Only One (1) Well Coming Off Confidential List Tuesday

23991, drl, Statoil, Johnston 7-6 2TFH, Banks, no data

EOG Well In The Eagle Ford With An IP Of 7,500 BOPD (8,650 BOEPD); Half The Cost Of A Bakken Well; Twice The IP


July 23, 2013: a reader sent this comment regarding this well --
EOG-operated well in the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas set a new regional record for oil production. The well produced an average of 7,513 barrels of oil per day along with 6.8 million cubic feet of natural gas. It's estimated that even with a 75% decline rate from the well it will produce more than a million barrels of oil this year.

Original Post 

SeekingAlpha is reporting:
EOG  filed a report with the Texas Railroad Commission recently, showing a 8,650 boepd 24 hour initial production rate, of which over 7,500 bopd was oil. To understand the scale of this well, assuming an 80% NRI and $100 oil (oil is at ~$105 right now), the well produces $600,000 per day in net revenue, vs. a total cost to drill and complete the well of ~$6 million.

If You Were In The Fertilizer Business, Where Would You Build Your Fertilizer Plant?

Regular readers know I am very, very excited about the potential for the fertilizer industry in North Dakota. Keep that in mind while reading the linked article.

SeekingAlpha is reporting:
Denny Wright: If you were the CEO of a plastics or fertilizer business, where would you base your company?
Bill Powers: It depends on where you were selling your fertilizer. There is a very large Egyptian company along the Mississippi River in Iowa that actually owns IFC (Iowa Fertilizer Company) and, they have spent over a billion of dollars building the first world scale fertilizer plant in the United States in 25 years. Canada is also an attractive place given the amount of natural gas and the extensive pipeline system. In the United States one risk you would run as an industrial user are supply interruptions once natural gas prices really rise. In Canada, I think you are less likely to have that happen.
That's part of an article that you might find interesting. I disagree with much of the premise of the author, but he's an expert and I'm not. 

Oklahoma Is "A-OK" With Taking Jobs From California

CNBC is reporting:
The economic success story of the past decade is well documented, but I'll humbly brag about a few highlights. Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" told the story of Oklahomans moving to California, but a reverse trend is well under way that has seen a net migration in excess of 20,000 to Oklahoma from California in recent years.
Boeing has made Oklahoma a strategic division by moving jobs from Long Beach, Calif., and Wichita, Kan. General Electric announced in April that it would build a $110 million global research center in Oklahoma dedicated to driving innovation and technological advancements in the oil and natural gas sector. GE got help from pro-business Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who used $3 million from the state's new "closing fund" to close the deal.
These companies and others utilize the state's Quality Jobs program, which provides tax credits in exchange for new hires.
Big brands are fun to name drop, but the real economic growth is by small businesses, many with entrepreneurial, non-energy-sector roots, like mine. Of the 38 Inc. 5000 privately held Oklahoma companies in 2012, only five are energy related, which shows nice diversity.
Energy still carries weight, and Oklahoma's energy sector is unique in that many of our public companies were homegrown start-ups themselves. Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy, SandRidge Energy and Gulfport Energy (to name a few) have roots with an entrepreneur founder.
Oklahoma is just one of several states taking jobs from California. Texas is another.

Enbridge/Alliance Offers Post-2015 Capacity -- Huge NG Pipeline Story; This Is What The Keystone XL Could Have Been (Oil, Of Course)


October 29, 2013: the Alliance pipeline was completed September 1, 2013; won't go into service until Hess Tioga natural gas processing plant enlarged. I track pipelines of interest here
Original Post
Press release:
Unlike most natural gas pipelines, the Alliance system is capable of transporting methane and entrained NGL in a dense phase stream. Alliance's rich gas design allows producers to avoid costly investments in gas plant processing infrastructure. The Aux Sable Liquid Products plant at the Alliance system's southern end near Chicago extracts and fractionates the various NGL components into specific marketable products. Alliance's average annual capacity is 1.6 bcf/day and the system is in proximity to more than 6 bcf/d of natural gas supply looking for attractive markets.
From the Alliance website:
The Alliance Pipeline system consists of 3,719-kilometre (2,311-mile) integrated Canadian and U.S. high-pressure natural gas transmission pipeline system, delivering rich natural gas from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and the Williston Basin to the Chicago market hub. The United States portion of the system consists of approximately 900 miles of mainline and related infrastructure. The system has been in commercial service since December 2000 and delivers, on average, about 1.6 billion standard cubic feet (or 45.3 million standard cubic metres) of natural gas per day. 
The Alliance has its own wiki page:
Alliance Pipeline is a natural gas transmission system that transports high-energy, rich natural gas from northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta through Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa to its terminus in Illinois.
Approximately 1.6 Bcf/d of rich natural gas is safely delivered to Chicago each day, supplying approximately 5% of the residential natural gas needs for this market. The system, including lateral and delivery segment lines, is more than 3,719 km (2,311 mi) long with 14 mainline compressor stations—seven in Canada and seven in the United States. The compressors are driven by 31,000 to 46,000 horsepower (23 to 34 MW) gas turbines—similar to the turbines that power large airplanes.

Ten (10) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Whiting Has Another Huge Skaar Well in Westberg

Active rigs: 186

Ten (10) new permits --
  • Operators: Hess (6), CLR (2), Petro-Hunt (2)
  • Fields: Little Knife (Dunn), Alkali Creek (Mountrail), East Fork (Williams)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted; see sidebar at the right.

Two producing wells completed:
  • 24130, 977, XTO, FBIR Walterpackswolf 31X-12G, Heart Butte, t6/13; cum --
  • 22387, 4,460, Whiting, Skaar Federal 41-3-2H, Westberg, t6/13; cum --
Two producers abandoned:
  • 15751, PNA, Roughrider, Clifford 43-35-RNESE 35-162N-82W, Sherman oil field, a Madison well; t10/05; cum 107 bbls;
  • 22379, PNA, Whiting, Eide 41-13HNENE 13-150N-100W, Timber Creek, s4/12; cum 2,301 bbls; 
Something must have gone wrong at the completion stage for Whiting's Eide well south of Arnegard; only four frack stages. Whiting has two more locations almost exactly where this well is now permanently abandoned. Something tells me things will work out just fine for the Eide will mineral owners.

Whiting With Some Great Wells In Westberg

These wells are updated here

Posted previously:
  • 22387, 4,460, Whiting, Skaar Federal 41-3-2H, Westberg, t6/13; cum --
  • 22388, 4,956, Whiting, Skaar Federal 41-3-3H, Westberg, middle Bakken; Pioneer 74 Flex rig; gas averaged 276 through the lateral but spiked to 3,895 units and above; did not see completion data;  t6/13; cum --
  • 22386, 4,456, Whiting, Skaar Federal 41-3-1H, Westberg, middle Bakken; Pioneer 74 Flex rig; gas averaged 484 throughout the lateral, but spikes of 7,000 units and above were noted; did not see completion data; t6/13; cum --

At An Accelerated Warming Trend, It Will Take 766 Years For Global Temperature To Rise One (1) Degree; Friendly Numbers

Scientists now agree that "global warming" stopped 15 years ago.

Scientists do not know why "global warming" stopped.

So, what if the earth actually begins to cool again? That scenario was never put into this model being reported today.

Regardless, at the accelerated rate of "warming" that occurred in the two decades prior to 2005 (that has now quit), I am being told it would take 766 years for the earth's surface temperature to rise one (1) degree.

766 years for one degree rise in temperature. 

That's beyond my great-great-great-grandchildren's investing lifetime.

And, of course, that assumes the world begins to warm up again. Right now, the earth stopped warming 15 years ago, and scientists do not know why.

47% of the US population will not follow this story.

A Note To The Granddaughters

Arthur Miller's Deciphering The Cosmic Number is absolutely fascinating.

In Genesis, Jacob gave 220 goats to Esau. Quick: why?

220 is one-half of a pair of friendly numbers.

"In Genesis Jacob gave 220 goats to Esau on the grounds that one-half of a friendly pair expressed Jacob's love for Esau. Arab numerologists have written about the practice of carving 220 on one fruit and 284 on another, eating one and then offering the other to a love as a sort of mathematical aphrodisiac."

Friendly numbers are two numbers whose divisors add up to the other number in the pair.

"Someone asked Pythagoras whether he had a friend. He replied, "I have two: 220 and 284."

"The numbers 220 and 284 are friendly because the numbers by which 220 can be divided to yield a whole number (1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 20, 22, 33, 44, and 110) add up to 284; and the divisors of 284 (1, 2, 4, 71 and 142) add up to 220. Friendly numbers may be just another fascinating piece of mathematics, or they may have some use. Presently no one knows."

"The pair of friendly numbers 284 and 220 were well known. In the Middle Ages talismans inscribed with them were worn by a couple to advertise their love for each other."

It is, understandably, difficult to find every pair of friendly numbers.

Miller continues: "A few hundred friendly numbers were known in the 1950s; with the help of high-speed computers, twelve million have now been found. Pythagora's discovery of this pair was rather extraordinary. Apparently it was an inspired mental leap after a great deal of hard work."


So, now you give your friend a card with the number "220" on and keep another card for yourself with number "284" on it, or inscribe two wood blocks with these numbers to hang on the wall.

Nice Day For Energy; Oil Nearly Flat -- Huge Day For Energy If One Stops To Smell The Crude Oil

Hitting new 52-week highs today:
  • BRK-B
  • EEP
  • COP
  • SRE
  • EPD
and many other energy shares are near their 52-week highs.

Union Pacific Railroad, one penny from 52-week high.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you read here or what you think you might have read here.

By the way, for newbies: if the price of oil goes too high too quickly, Bakken companies can actually show a loss for the quarter. Unexpected high oil prices are not necessarily good for oil companies; they are nice for mineral owners, but not necessarily for investors in shares of oil companies.


For investors, this was a huge Monday; lots of energy stories. Some of them:
A great example of the potential a hidden asset like this can have on a company is found at Oasis Petroleum . The company has been building out its Oasis Well Services business in an effort to lower its well costs in the Bakken. Oasis invested $24 million initially, which has been money well spent. The business is expected to save Oasis about half a million dollars per operated well. Not only that, but the company produces cash flow from the business to the tune of about $200,000 per gross well as its non-operated partners pay Oasis for the service. These savings have enabled Oasis to completely pay back its initial equipment investment.

New All-Time Production Record For North Dakota; Some New Comments Worth Noting; Poll Results


July 19, 2013: Motley Fool finally gets around to reporting on record production despite a record-setting wet month in North Dakota.  

Original Post


April oil 23,815,546 barrels = 793,852 barrels/day
May oil 25,114,011 barrels = 810,129 barrels/day (preliminary)(NEW all-time high)

A 2.05% increase.

Exceeded Genscape's forecast of 1.5%.


Note: it is likely that the final figure will be revised up slightly by the time of the next report.

Now, for the rest of the data.

Oil production, as noted above. 

Natural gas production also hit a new all-time high (up by an astounding 4.5%).

June permitting was down to 165, from 211 in May and 202 in April.

Price of crude on day of report: $97 vs average of $86 in June. Sweet.

The average number of days to drill a well from spud to total depth is at just under 22 days, but the average number of days from total depth to initial production has increased to 92. Load restrictions have remained in place longer than ever before because May 2013 was the wettest on record [global warming, climate change, extreme weather, whatever].

Drilling permit activity was down sharply in May. There is sufficient permit inventory to accommodate multi-well pads, the inability to construct locations during load restrictions, and the time required to deal with federal hydraulic fracturing rules if required. 

The number of rigs on the Fort Berthold Reservation is down 4 to 21.
Crude oil take away capacity continues to be adequate as long as rail deliveries to the coasts keep growing (is this a reference to recent rail mishap in Quebec?).

Number of wells waiting to be fracked has increased; the estimate is now about 500 wells waiting to be fracked which is up 10 from the previous estimate.


Results of the poll in which we asked a few days ago whether North Dakota oil production would increase or decrease in May, the wettest May on record:
  • would increase by more than 1%: 76%
  • would increase, but less than 1%: 14%
  • would decrease: 11%
Regular readers probably know the three reasons by oil production increased by more than 1% in May. 

Wells Coming Off Confidential List Over Weekend, Monday Have Been Posted; Oasis With Two Huge Wells; Soda Companies Suffering From Chilly Spring, Wettest June In Decades (But Not Global Warming; Rather "Extreme Weather")

Results of wells coming off the confidential list have been posted.

The bigger news is the number of wells going to DRL status the past few weeks. In the update today, 10 of 18 wells coming off the confidential list went to DRL status.

Active rigs: 188 (steady, trending up)

RBN Energy: US natural gas headed to Mexico; bullish report; second in a series, I believe. Another must read story for those interested in natural gas, and especially the pipeline situation

My 2 cents today: Alaska squabbling over oil taxes. My 2 cents worth:
If I read it correctly, some folks are unhappy that Alaska cut oil taxes to try to encourage drilling.

If so, I think Alaska has some real problems getting their act together: neither the state nor the Federal government is helping their situation.

North Dakota is competing with Eagle Ford and the Permian, but Alaska (much harsher environment, politically and environmentally) is competing with all of the lower 48 (Permian, Williston, West Gulf, Niobrara), and with Canada. I don't see a lot of good things coming out of Alaska in the near term.
Of course, France is in even more trouble: won't drill at all. Rigzone is reporting:
President of France Fran├žois Hollande ruled out shale gas exploration under his administration, as the country celebrated Bastille Day.
Speaking in a televised broadcast Sunday, Hollande said: "As long as I am president, there will be no shale gas exploration in France."
Hollande also joked: "What is shale gas? It is an Eldorado that just needs to be drilled?"
Hollande added that there was a risk to groundwater due to the hydraulic fracturing techniques used and that "one sees a number of consequences of this in the United States".
France banned exploring for shale gas in 2011 despite the country – along with Poland – having the greatest potential for recoverable shale gas in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency. Schuepbach Energy, which held exploration permits in France that were cancelled as a result of the 2011 ban, recently brought a legal case to challenge the ban in the French courts.
Of course, there have been "no" environmental disasters due to fracking in the US.

I hope France is not depending on their wine industry to save them. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
One of the world's biggest vintners has been left with a hangover after poor U.S. sales forced it to destroy thousands of gallons of expired wine.
Treasury Wine Estates Ltd.,  whose brands range from the mass-market Beringer, made in the U.S., through to $1,000-a-bottle Penfolds Grange made in Australia, said Monday that it would book a 160 million-Australian-dollar (US$145 million) charge against its U.S. business in the year ended June 30, 2013.
The vintner relies heavily on sales of cheaper labels to cost-conscious consumers in the world's biggest wine market. While wine supplies in the U.S. and Europe have been stabilizing after a decadelong glut that worsened during the global financial crisis, Treasury Wine Estates said it had overestimated U.S. demand in the past year, forcing it to discount or destroy older wines that had passed their use-by date. 
Yup. They should have read the bill. Hero worship got them in trouble. Big trouble.  
My hunch: the employer-mandate is delayed; the unions will be given an extension of their previously-approved waivers. Individual mandates will be all that is left, and the House will de-fund enforcement.
WSJ Links

On Monday, only three sections, so we start with Money & Investing. But nothing of interest, and on we move to Marketplace.

The Boeing Dreamliner will take "days" to investigate; no mention in the headline whether the plane is grounded; Ethiopia Airlines says the fires are not a safety issue. That should be reassuring.

And then another story on a subject we will be seeing a lot more of in the future. The story was first reported in blogs like this one, then in media not read by 47% of the population; it will hit the fan next year: restaurant industry shifts to part-time:
Ken Adams has been turning to more part-time workers at his 10 Subway sandwich shops in Michigan to avoid possibly incurring higher health-care costs under the new federal insurance law.
He added approximately 25 part-time workers in May and June as he reduced some employees' hours and replaced other workers who left. The move showed how efforts by some restaurant owners and other businesses to remake their workforces because of the Affordable Care Act may be turning the country's labor market into a more part-time workforce.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't think the question has been adequately answered, who determines whether employees are part-time or full-time? The employer or the IRS. My hunch is some employers will be shocked and awed. Just saying.

Global warming, er.... climate change ... oh, okay, extreme weather is affecting soda sales. 
Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. are expected to disclose weak U.S. sales in the wake of a chilly spring and the wettest June in decades. That's not the kind of weather that drives Americans into the arms of a cold drink, likely exacerbating a nearly decadelong decline in domestic soda consumption amid obesity concerns.
Cold and wet conditions in Europe also have damped demand for beverages, prompting regional bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. to scale back its full-year guidance last month. Globe-trotting Coke and PepsiCo also are navigating foreign-exchange headwinds from a strengthening dollar and slackening consumer demand in countries like China and Brazil, even as they boost profits through cost-cutting and other measures.
EU, China reach impasse on solar panels.

Microsoft cuts price of Surface (that's Microsoft's tablet) by up to 30%. I don't recall Microsoft cutting the price of the Zune before it faded away some years ago. I assume MSFT is taking advantage of the demise of the Nook; giving B & N customers a break.

An update on one of the biggest bankruptcies in US history.
As the largest electric company in Texas moves toward one of the biggest bankruptcies in U.S. history, its 1.6 million retail customers may hold the key to its future.
Energy Future Holdings LLC, a Dallas-based collection of power plants, transmission lines and an electricity-sales business, wants to shed $32 billion of debt that it amassed after a 2007 leveraged buyout that still ranks as one of the biggest in history.
But that debt-shedding effort has hit some stumbling blocks. In April, the former TXU Corp. said it had offered its senior creditors 85% of the firm and $5 billion in new debt or cash, but the creditors didn't bite.
There may be lessons here for other utilities, investors, and the US in general as we go down the road of renewables, crony capitalism, crazy policies.

Has anyone been following the Tour de Farce?

Absolutely nothing in The Front Section. Whatever happened to Syria?

Op-Ed: several good op-ed pieces, but not worth posting, linking. They can all be found here.