Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'm Baaackk! Good Morning! Friday Morning Links, News, And Views

A nice article for Jane: the rise of North American oil supplies (from shale, like the Bakken) could threaten the future of OPEC. Regular readers remember Jane telling us back in 2010 there was "some" oil in the Bakken, but not much. We haven't heard from Jane in a long, long time. By the way, what was the effect of killing the Keystone? Not much:
Non-OPEC supplies rose by 570,000 barrels per day in July to 54.9 million barrels a day, with North America providing around 40 percent of the growth, said the IEA, with Canada rather than the U.S. responsible for most of this increase.
All we did was irritate our neighbors (and closest ally and biggest trading partner) to the north.

But then this administration has thrown a lot of folks under the bus. 

Oil futures up nicely today. Crude oil inventories continue to fall, but less than expected. There is a very, very nice graph and great detail at the link (a MarketRealist article).

Wells coming off the confidential list today have been posted.  Enerplus has a couple of nice wells. 

Great, great, great RBN Energy article -- devoted to North Dakota's electrical generation capacity. This is a must-read for all NoDaks.

Libya is getting out of the oil business. Exports down to about 400,000 from 1 million bpd earlier this year. Maybe they will sell sand for fracking.

Active rigs: 183


WSJ Links

While waiting for Target-Starbucks to open, I read the print edition of the WSJ -- I don't often get that chance. There wasn't much to report: Alice Cooper's mansion in Connecticut in 1971; the luxury car market in China; and, investors sour on municipal bonds. Three cities in Michigan have pulled back/delayed planned bond issues. 

While visiting family in Boston, we toured some of the Connecticut mansions, so the Alice Cooper story resonated. A nice article. Alice now lives with the Bakken millionaires in Phoenix. As in Arizona.

Here is the article on Michigan; it's not worth reading unless you enjoy schadenfreude.

Finally, the luxury market in China. Here's the link, but I think I will do this one as a stand-alone; it's an important article.


We'll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett

A Summer Song, Chad and Jeremy

Wow, Was I Wrong! This Is Really Bad; I Apologize For Being So Wrong

A couple days ago I suggested that GM was losing $5,000/Chevy Volt so what did it matter if they lost another $5,000/Chevy Volt (announcement that GM lowered the price of the Volt).

Wow, I did not know I was so wrong. I was off by $45,000.

Via CarpeDiem, Investor's Business Daily is reporting:
Nearly a year ago General Motors was losing almost $50,000 for each Chevrolet Volt it built. Now GM's business model, driven by trendy environmentalism, calls for it to cut the price and lose even more money.
The article does not say what GM will lose on each Volt sold when it lowers the price on the 2014 model. The article did note, however [my comments in brackets]:
Sales of the Volt, the most popular electric vehicle, were only a little more than half of the 45,000 that GM expected last year. Ford built 1,627 Focus Electrics in 2012 and sold only 685 of them. [wow]
Foreign makers fared no better. Mitsubishi could sell only 600 of its i-MiEVs while Nissan sold fewer than 800 of its Leafs last year. Sales in 2013 remained stagnant until Nissan cut the price by $6,400 early in the year.
Yes, Tesla seems to be doing well. But remember: It makes a luxury car that appeals to the wealthy who buy them as toys. It's an outlier. [I talked about this the other day.]
The article did not mention "chariots on fire."

The Faithful May Be Able To Opt Out Of ObamaCare; All Others, Not So Fast -- Okay -- Everyone Has Until 2015

[Note: I completely missed this. I was not aware of this. The individual mandate won't be enforced until 2015. Wow. I thought it was going to be enforced in 2014.]

Corporations have been given a one-year delay.

Congress is exempt.

Individuals can ignore the mandate for $95. For the entire year.

So, where does ObamaCare "stand" on August 8, 2013? Folks are either exempt (Congress); waived for one year (corporations); not enforced until 2015 (everyone else). Again, it appears folks are making way too much out of the trainwreck. Lots of time to watch this debacle unfold.

Today we learn a bit more. 

We now learn that members of medical-sharing ministries are exempt. That was true all along. It was simply that no one (except three men) knew about this until now. Ms Pelosi said it herself: we won't know what's in the bill until we read it.
It's gotten little attention, but it's true: The individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or face penalties, but members of medical-sharing ministries are exempt from the individual mandate that will be enforced beginning in 2015.
It's there because of the work of then-Congressmen Tom Perriello, a Virginia Democrat and Sens. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa, who fought to add the exemption to the law. It's the same principle that allowed for the Amish to be exempted from the individual mandate-with the crucial difference that it's a lot more practical to join Medi-Share than it is to become Amish.
Founded in 1993, Medi-Share historically grew at roughly 10 percent a year. Since the Obamacare passed in the 2010, growth has ticked up to 15 percent as some Americans look to end-run the mandate. About 150,000 people are members of medical-sharing ministries, and 60,000 of them belong to Medi-Share, according to Medi-Share President and CEO Tony Meggs.
The exemption requires qualifying health-sharing ministries to have been in operation before Dec. 31,1999, which gives something of a monopoly to Medi-Share and the two other qualifying organizations, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries
What a racket.
With family plans that start as low as $282 a month, this faith-based cooperative approach to sharing medical expenses promises big savings over traditional health insurance. 

Random Update On Crude Oil Pricing; Oh, No, Not Another Leak -- At Least It Was Not A Runaway Freight Train That Destroyed A Town

Bloomberg is reporting:
Crude from the Bakken shale formation weakened against the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate after a pipeline from Clearbrook, Minnesota, to the Twin Cities area was shut because of a leak.
Bakken fell 50 cents a barrel to a discount of $4.50 a barrel over WTI at 2:08 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Koch Pipeline Co. LP is testing the line that closed near Foley, Minnesota, and doesn’t have an estimate on when it will return to service, said Jake Reint, a company spokesman based in Rosemont, Minnesota.
Oils produced on the Gulf Coast strengthened against WTI. Light Louisiana Sweet gained 45 cents to a $5.90 premium. Heavy Louisiana Sweet rose 50 cents a barrel to a premium of $5.40 a barrel over WTI.

Six Wells Coming Off Confidential List Friday; Enerplus Will Report Two Huge Wells

  • 22074, 496, KOG, P. Thomas 153-98-5-10-11-8H3, Truax, t6/13; cum 8K 6/13;
  • 22745, 1,070, Enerplus, Wormwood 149-93-21C-22H,  Mandaree, t6/13; cum 17K 6/13;
  • 22746, 1,028, Enerplus, Bluestem 149-93-21C-22H TF, Mandaree, t6/13; cum 17K 6/13;
  • 23183, drl, Hess, SC-Tom 153-98-1514-2, Truax, no data,
  • 24294, drl, CLR, Langved 1-35H,  Beaver Lodge, no data,
  • 24816, 74, Hunt, Hawkeye 1-34-27HTF, Bluffton, t7/13; cum --

Global Cooling Hits North Dakota; At Least One Farmer Cannot Recall It Being This Cold Ever In July In North Dakota

KXNET is reporting:
A cold summer has taken it's toll on some crops in North Dakota. 
The temperature in July averaged only 70 degrees. 
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin shows you one crop that had a little trouble handling a cold night.  
The night of July 27th the air in the Hazelton area got a chilly. 
Cold enough to challenge this bean crop
(John Schmidt / Farmer) "There's going to be some survivors. And you look up the hill, it's leave burn, down here you might see some dead plants." 
John Schmidt farms near Hazelton.  
Schmidt says the thermometer in the yard read 35 degrees--even colder in low areas. 
Schmidt says in all his years of farming, he can't ever remember the temperature in July getting cold enough to do this damage to his soybeans.

Random Post On US Petroleum Exports

NBC is reporting: the US is becoming the refiner to the world.

Chock full of statistics. It is absolutely amazing what is going on in the US. By the way, all the CO2 emissions will be blamed on the US, even though the refined products are being bought by foreign customers. If "we're" going to do "cap and trade" or whatever the O'Bama administration calls it, we need to refine how we calculate "cap and trade." Pun intended.

Some data points from the article:
  • refined product of choice: diesel; better margins; demand is growing
  • US has energy advantage: natural gas to "run" the refineries is significantly cheaper in the US
  • US refiners have advantage: cheaper to buy US oil than buy foreign oil for their operations
  • margins for diesel: $16/bbl; margins for gasoline: $8/bbl
  • Valero: world's largest independent refiner; completed building 2 new hydrocrackers (TX, LA)
  • MRO: will speed up expansion of its hydrocracking unit at Garyville, LA; will complete it in October, one year ahead of schedule
  • Gulf Coast has advantage to refiners on East Coast (expensive Brent on the East Coast; that's why they like Bakken CBR; but all oils now reaching parity)
  • issue of the Jones Act mentioned but not be name; increases cost for East Coast
  • US exports rose to 2.6 million bpd (end of 2012) vs 1.3 million bpd in 2007
  • this week: 2.9 million bpd exported
  • US imported 700,000 bbls of gasoline per day; exported 258,000 bbls of gasoline per day
  • Valero: 20 - 25 percent of US exports
  • refineries, at 91% percent capacity, is off recent highs
A big "thank you" to Don for sending me this article a few days ago. I am just now catching up with some articles from earlier in the week. 

Random Comment On CBR

Over the next few weeks and months it is possible we will see a lot of stories about safety of CBR.

Remember: in addition to all the "stuff" being reported about CBR, there will be close to enough pipeline to meet Bakken production needs with/without the railroad.

Eleven (11) New Permits -- The WillistonBasin, North Dakota, USA; Halcon With Another High IP Well;

Active rigs: 183

Eleven (11) new permits --
  • Operators: Oasis (4), XTO (3), Hess (2), CLR (2)
  • Fields: Corinth (Williams), Camp (McKenzie), Tobacco Garden (McKenzie), Park (Billings), Banks (McKenzie), Big Gulch (Dunn), Squires (Williams)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list today were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Two (2) producing wells completed:
  • 23622, conf, Abraxas, Lillibridge 20-17-1H, Pershing, t7/13; cum --
  • 23123, 2,075, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-94-19D-18-3H, Eagle Nest, t6/13; cum 10K 6/13;
  • Change of operator: Surge Energy transferred about 20 wells to Corinthian Exploration
  • Well name change: Triangle Petroleum is changing the Frederick James .... 2H to a 2TFH, #25610. This well is in the Antelope Creek oil field.

CLR Earnings Transcript, 2Q13

Reported at

Random Note On Ethanol: Bad News Seems To Continue

Bloomberg is reporting:
Ethanol’s discount to gasoline narrowed for a second day on concern that tight corn supply before September’s harvest will force producers to cut output.
The spread, or price difference, contracted 0.85 cent to 67.76 cents a gallon after the Agriculture Department estimated corn stockpiles will be 26 percent lower than a year earlier. Ethanol production is below average for this time of year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 
Continues the theme that seems to be developing: bad news for ethanol. Customers don't want it. Now the spread makes it less desirable. EPA looking at revising mandate down. 

I guess all good things must come to an end.

Triangle Petroleum Acquires Additional Bakken Acreage

Press release here.
  • 9,350 net acres
  • 1,150 boepd estimated current net production (86% operated)
  • 7 - 9 spacing units
  • all acreage contiguous to company's existing core acreage in McKenzie County, ND
  • 6,200 net acres from a single seller
  • 3,150 net acres from multiple seller
  • 455 net acres converted to operated acres through trades
  • increased company's core lease holdings to 45,000 net acres; current production 5,650 boepd
  • proved reserves at 23 million boes
  • increased inventory from 6 years to 8 - 12 years
  • total cost: $104 million, 582 non-operated net acres, and, 325,000 shares of company stock ($2.34 million) or about $110 million total/9,350 acres = about $11,764/acre. (Yes, I know this does not include current production and with producing acreage, one can't just divide total cost by acres and assume one is comparing apples to apples, but this is not an investment site; this is a virtual coffee klatch. Nothing more, nothing less; see "welcome/disclaimer")

CLNE Earnings, 2Q13

Press release here.
  • loss of $0.07/share vs loss of $0.16 one year ago
  • 2Q13 vs 1Q13
  • revenues: $88 million vs $70 million
  • operating expenses: $59 million vs $44 million
  • gallons delivered: 53 million gallons vs 49 million gallons

NOG Earnings, 2Q13

Press release here.
  • 10,896 boepd
  • net income: $0.23/share
  • 182,400 net acres in the Williston Basin and Three Forks
  • during 2Q13 acquired 4,476 net acres at an average cost of $1,057/acre
  • 61% of total acreage and 71% of ND acreage held by production or by operations
  • lower net well additions in 1H13 will result in lower full year new well additions/production
2Q13 vs 2Q12
  • oil production up a measly 1%
  • natural gas production up 51% (more NG lines going in, no doubt)
  • average sale price for crude oil: up 10% ($77 to $85)
  • average production expenses up a whopping 36%
So, how did the market react?

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

Nothing Like Global Cooling To Put A Damper On Hurricanes

FoxNews is reporting:
This Atlantic hurricane season may not be quite as busy as federal forecasters once thought, but they still warn of an unusually active and potentially dangerous few months to come.

Enercom Presenter Schedule Posted

Link here.

It's also at the sidebar at the right, under "conferences."

Housing Project For Public Service Employees In Watford City Completed

The Dickinson Press is reporting that the $17 million housing project for public service workers, begun a year ago, has been completed in Watford City.

North Dakota's State Flour Mill In The Dough

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Running the nation’s only state-owned flour mill appears to be no grind for Vance Taylor.
In his 14th year as general manager of the North Dakota Mill and Elevator, Taylor just reported to his bosses in Bismarck — three top elected state officials who as the Industrial Commission act as board of directors — the mill netted $11.9 million in profit in the fiscal year that ended July 1.
That’s the third-highest net in the 90-year history of the mill. The record was $16 million in 2011.
“The past four years have been the four highest-profit years” in mill history, Taylor said Tuesday.
The state will see almost $6 million added to its balance sheet:
Not only do 52 percent of the past year’s profits go into state coffers — $5.63 million to the general fund plus $595,361 to the farm fuel tax fund — but the good results will mean bonus checks averaging about $10,000 soon to be cut to the mill’s 132 employees, Taylor said.
$10,000 is not chicken feed in North Dakota. That's just the bonus. 

Texas Tax-Free Weekend

This coming weekend.

Mostly clothes and school supplies.

Cowboy boots are tax-exempt; ski boots are not.

The linked article does not mention whether guns are tax exempt.

I believe not.

Minneapolis-Based Oppidan To Expand Its Residential Development In Watford City

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
A Minneapolis-based investment company that is a dominant developer in the oil patch plans to expand its residential development in Watford City.
Oppidan Investment Co. is building large-scale residential and retail properties in Watford City, Tioga, Stanley, Minot, Williston and Dickinson.
The company announced Wednesday it purchased two acres adjacent to its Pheasant Ridge Apartments in Watford City and plans to build an identical building. The first is a 42-unit building two blocks north of downtown Watford City. It opened in June and is nearly fully occupied, the company says.

Random Update On The Pyramid Wells On The Northwest Side Of Williston

In the process of looking up the Pyramid wells after getting a note from a reader, I noted that two of the Pyramid wells have been off-line for two months:
  • 22872, Pyramid 15-22 4H, has also been off-line for the past two months. It has produced oil for only 17 days and has produced almost 20,000 bbls of oil. 
  • 22873, Pyramid 15-22 3H, has been off-line for the past two months. It has only produced oil for 24 days, with a cumulative of almost 22,000 bbls of oil.
The other two wells on the pad are still producing.  The two wells that are off-line are both on the east end of the pad; the other two wells are on the west end of the pad.

The well file doesn't provide any clue what is going on; it generally doesn't take two months to install a pump.

Having said that, look at the production numbers for the two wells that remain on line:

22875, Pyramid 15-22 1H:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Note: no natural gas production in the most recent month.

22874, Pyramid 15-22 2TFH:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Again, note: no natural gas production in the most recent month.

It appears the wells are being taken off-line for reasons related to natural gas and/or flaring.

Elsewhere, at least one mineral owner has suggested this would be in the best interests of mineral owners: to take oil wells off-line until natural gas gathering and processing is in place and all flaring is eliminated. I think that's what the US Secretary of Interior has in mind. Great minds, apparently, think alike. This reminds me of a Garth Brooks video but I cannot post it.

I track the Pyramid wells here.

Bad, Bad News For The Bakken

The Dickinson Press is reporting: US Secretary of the Interior is being told that there simply is not enough affordable housing for park rangers because of the Bakken, and, OMG, one can see flares off in the distance.

No mention was made of the "red lights" on the slicers and dicers across the plains of North Dakota. If they are going to ban flaring at night because it spoils the view, they need to turn off the "red lights" on the wind turbines.

One doesn't need to ban fracking to kill the Bakken. There are other ways to do it.

It sure was nice for the federal government to offer help in the state's administration of the Bakken. 

Initial Claims For Jobless Benefits Edge Up; Numbers Point To A Healing Economy -- Reuters; Say What? Just How Bad Were The Numbers? 4X Worse Than Expected Based On Unadjusted Claims; The Fog Begins To Clear


Later, 10:07 a.m.: I find this interesting, something Reuters did not bother to point out: seasonal adjustment factors had expected a 0.5% increase in unadjusted claims, around 1,300, in the Aug. 3 week. Instead, unadjusted claims saw an uptick of 1.9%, or 5,285, to 286,738. That level is still below the 320,219 level reported in the comparable week a year ago.  

Original Post
So, the spin continues. I do believe this headline regarding the economy is the most common headline for the past four years: unemployment edges up, but numbers still point to a healing job market.

And again, this is the headline for this week's Reuters story on joblessness: U.S. jobless claims edge up; still point to healing job market.

I cannot make this stuff up. 

So how bad are the numbers and what does Reuters mean by "edges up"?

About what it's been every week: initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 last week to 333,000.

What were the revisions from last week: not provided in this article. Maybe I'll find it later. [Ah, here it is. It took another search to find it but here it is and guess what? Last numbers which were reported as great numbers turned out not to be so great. Last week's numbers were revised up to 328,000. No wonder Reuters didn't want to report that; it ruins their story line. This week's numbers rise, and last week's numbers were revised upward.]

Four-week moving average: not provided in this article. Maybe I'll find it later. [And, yes, the link above: the initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average fell 6,250 to 335,500 in the August 3 week, its fourth straight decline and the lowest level since the week of November 17, 2007 (330,000).]

But here's more from the Reuters article in which they see a healing economy:
the numbers are better than what they were in 2009 (I would hope so; four years later; and how many trillions in stimulus); they really said that; better than the numbers in 2009
and then they add, a "but":
the recovery in job creation has been more lacklustre. Employers added just 162,000 workers to their payrolls in July.
And so it goes. The spin continues. For four years the unemployment stories remain the same: the economy is healing.

Stock market futures are up: with joblessness increasing, the Fed will continue to print money, and that will drive the market higher.

Thursday Morning Links, News, And Views

Active rigs: 182

Wells coming off confidential list have been posted.

RBN Energy: Update on propylene.
Up until a few years ago, propylene production was mostly a derivative of the petroleum refining and olefin cracking industries. But that is changing big time. Nowadays propylene demand in Asia is booming, US propane supplies are abundant and propylene output from refineries and olefin crackers is declining. Time to get serious about making propylene on purpose! As a result three new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plants are expected online at the US Gulf Coast in 2015 and 2016 that will produce 4.3 billion pounds/year. These plants will help close the gap between increasing world propylene demand and declining “by-product” production from olefin crackers and refineries. They will also help soak up growing US propane supplies. Today we examine the recent rapid growth in PDH plant projects.
WSJ Links

Top of the fold, page C1: Detroit rattles muni market; plan to replace current sewer bonds raises concerns over "safe" investments; not a pretty picture for municipalities across the country.

Heard On The Street: EOG beats Shell at its own game
Shell last week reported dreadful second-quarter results marred, in particular, by a $2.1 billion write-down of North American shale assets. The implication: Shell got sold a few lemons in its U.S. shale grab. The oil major's market value dropped by $9 billion, or 4%, on the day.
Contrast that with EOG, the exploration-and-production company that reported quarterly earnings late Tuesday that beat the consensus forecast by a whopping 21% (Shell missed by 21%). But that wasn't actually EOG's trump card.
EOG's edge is in an area where majors such as Shell are really struggling: balancing growth ambitions with spending. Shell topped off its results by abandoning its medium-term production target even as it maintained its gargantuan capital-expenditure budget.
Royal Dutch Shell, market cap: $203 billion; EOG, market cap: $43 billion; CLR, market cap: $17 billion.

 Several stories on Apple in Section B but they seem to be fairly trivial. However, on page B3, and we've talked a lot about page B3 over the years, this headline: "booming oil, gas partnerships draw fire." Now who would be doing the shooting? Let's see:
Energy companies that are eager for cash to fuel their increasingly costly operations have been selling billions of dollars of aging oil-and-gas fields to partnerships whose growth has been fueled by individual investors.
Critics are raising questions about the soundness of these partnerships, saying that they use accounting maneuvers to understate their costs, and warn that this source of easy money for energy companies could soon dry up.
Master limited partnerships don't pay corporate taxes but must distribute available cash to their partners. These hefty payouts have made them popular with yield-hungry individual investors.
Energy companies themselves have set up many MLPs to own pipelines, whose revenues are dictated by long-term contracts, and provide a reliable income stream that appeals to investors.
Another kind of MLPs, one that buys oil-and-gas fields, has been booming. Often backed by private-equity firms,More than a dozen of these partnerships have been formed since 2006. Their market capitalization exceeds $20 billion, according MLP tracker Alerian, a fivefold increase in the past five years. 
That's a great story for newbies, and for me. I may post it again as a stand-alone post, as part of my ongoing education efforts. I noted this phenomenon when I first started following the Bakken, trying to sort out ENB.

Don sent me this story yesterday; I didn't have the energy to post it; I was exhausted last night, but here it is from The Wall Street Journal: a third LNG export proposal has been approved.
A third proposal to export U.S. natural gas won a government green light Wednesday, signaling the approval process is on a faster track despite some concerns that greater exports will raise natural-gas prices at home.
The three projects approved by the Department of Energy would have the capacity to ship 5.6 billion cubic feet of gas a day, or about two trillion cubic feet a year. The U.S. produced about 25 trillion cubic feet in 2012.
The latest approval was awarded to Lake Charles Exports LLC, a venture between U.K.-based BG Group PLC and Texas-based Energy Transfer Equity LP that plans to ship up to two billion cubic feet a day from Lake Charles, LA. The approval lasts for 20 years and permits sales to countries that lack free-trade agreements with the U.S., including some in Europe and Japan.
Energy companies are seeking to take advantage of increased U.S. natural-gas production and robust demand around the world. More than a dozen export proposals are still pending before the Department of Energy.
 Huge story.

Unfortunately this story on page A3: heroin makes a comeback.
Ellensburg, WA: This small city east of the Cascade Mountains is known for its hay farms, rodeos and, increasingly, something more sinister: a growing heroin problem.
The drug surfaced in the past two years and is spawning a new generation of addicts. The fatal overdose of a state trooper's son in May convulsed the town—especially when the two men arrested and charged with selling him heroin turned out to be a county official's sons. They pleaded not guilty in Kittitas County Superior Court and are awaiting trial.
"It really shook our community," said Norman Redberg, executive director of Kittitas County Alcohol Drug Dependency Service. He has evaluated 27 heroin users in the fiscal year that ended June 30, compared with three in 2008. Ellensburg has 18,000 residents.
Heroin use in the U.S. is soaring, especially in rural areas, amid ample supply and a shift away from costlier prescription narcotics that are becoming tougher to acquire. The number of people who say they have used heroin in the past year jumped 53.5% to 620,000 between 2002 to 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There were 3,094 overdose deaths in 2010, a 55% increase from 2000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CarpeDiem often reports on the US war on drugs. 

Some democrats waver on immigration. Democrats in name only? DINO?
Every Democrat voted for the Senate's immigration bill when it passed the chamber in June. That unanimous party support isn't likely to be replicated if the House votes on its own immigration effort this fall.
In the GOP-controlled House, some Democrats, largely from conservative-leaning districts, are set to bolster the ranks of Republican lawmakers skeptical of the Senate's ideas on immigration. As a small faction within the minority party, they won't likely sway key votes, but amid signs that momentum behind the effort might be flagging, their concerns could put the finish line further out of reach.
Wow, this is cool: a follow-up to the story on Henrietta Lacks that I posted back on April 13, 2013.  At that time, descendents of Henrietta Lacks was suing a German research team for lack of consent to use "her" DNA. The response of the German team:
The German team did not seek the consent of the Lacks family before publishing the HeLa sequence, claiming it revealed nothing specific about Ms. Lacks's own genome. "Your claim is so wrong that I don't know where to start," replied one geneticist. The sequence has since been unpublished.
[How does one "unpublish" something? But I digress.]

So, how did this suit turn out? According to today's WSJ, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Wednesday it reached an unprecedented agreement to protect the privacy of the family of Henrietta Lacks.
The NIH has set up a committee to decide who will get access to Henrietta Lacks' DNA. Under the agreement two descendants of Ms Lacks will serve on this six-member panel with scientists to review proposals from researchers seeking to sequence the DNA of cell lines derived from her tumor. Some 74,000 scientific papers have been published based on experiments performed with her cells.
Personally, I think the two descendants on the panel should be given honorary medical degrees, given a salary commensurate with their honorary degrees, and a signing bonus for every research project approved to use her cell lines. Reading Ms Skoot's book will help one understand the reasoning for this suggestion.  Speaking of which, what is going on with A-Rod's suspension?

I guess it's not enough that bombs are ravaging one's neighborhood, but now "inflation is ravaging Syrian consumers." Probably only in the "better" neighborhoods.

The Egyptian military says time is up, vows an end to the protests. Apparently John Kerry has left the region.

It looks like Mr O'Bama won't be sharing a Bitburger pilsner with Mr Putin any time soon.

There is a nice editorial on "how Al Qaeda made its comeback." I doubt anyone reading this blog, least of which, me. But it was predictable when the O'Bama administration considered Al Qaeda no worse than a criminal upstart and treated them as such. If one recalls, during the transition from Bush to Obama, the war on terrorism was won.

Best story of the day in today's WSJ: rail project unearths London tales. The archaeology aspect is interesting, but what I found exhilarating was the extension of London's light rail system.
The so-called Crossrail route, due to open in 2018, will travel through London's West End on its way east to Canary Wharf and beyond. At a cost of £14.8 billion ($22.7 billion) and involving more than 30 miles of new train and passenger tunnels, it is Europe's largest construction project.
Just think what a trillion dollars in stimulus money could have done for the US five years ago. Wow.  $25 billion / 30 miles = about a billion dollars per mile.