Monday, August 4, 2014

Headline Stories We'll See Tomorrow -- Posted August 4, 2014


Energy sanctions on Russia mostly political theater. Reuters' Kemp is reporting:
EU sanctions on Russia's oil sector will not seriously hamper the development of new oil resources in either the short or the long term, though they leave open the possibility of further escalation if relations with Russia deteriorate in future.
Taken as a whole, the restrictions announced on July 31 are best viewed as a piece of "sanctions theatre" designed to show the public and Washington that the EU is doing something in response to the downing of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine while keeping the costs to EU energy firms as low as possible.
Sanctions will be enforced in the form of a "prior authorisation" requirement before certain oil-related goods and services can be exported for use in Russia, according to the EU Official Journal.
You know, I hadn't thought about that. The EU (dependent on Russia for natural gas) placing sanctions on Russia is akin to Jimmy and Amy Carter imposing sanctions on OPEC back during the embargo.
The Wall Street Journal

Israel and Hamas agree to a 72-hour ceasefire (if it holds, even a bit, Hamas blinked).

Hospitals are cashing in on new ObamaCare patients.

For first time since "bust," banks are loosening up a bit on mortgage-lending standards.

SpaceX will launch rockets from a pad near Brownsville, TX.

Not looking good for the Kurds or al-Miliki.

Oh, yes, I've talked about this before: FedEx and UPS often use the US Postal Service to move packages. But in this case, there's a bit more to the story than I used to talk about. Very fascinating.

Filloon talked about this several months ago: America's hottest commodity -- fracking sand.

General Menace (aka Government Motors) is now under scrutiny for subprime loans.

The world's biggest coffee producers are turning into their own best customers, driving up the price of coffee from Brazil to California.

This is one reason why WTI is down this week: a fire at a small Kansas refinery.

Heard on the street: shale oil's big spenders have been helped by very low interest rates, but tighter policy probably won't choke off borrowing. 
A true demand shock—a sharp slowdown in Chinese energy demand, for example—could hit E&P activity by undercutting oil prices. Or the sector could finally hit a wall on productivity growth. But when it comes to funding, at least, even the mighty Fed is unlikely to derail shale.
 Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. 

The Los Angeles Times

And finally, this is so cool. I am back in my Sunset Boulevard phase: watching and re-watching the William Holden - Gloria Swanson Oscar-winning movie. I don't know the number of times I've watched it. One of my favorites. Now, I'm watching all the extras -- 2.5 hours of extras -- that come with the Blu-Ray "version" of Sunset Boulevard. 

Two things: first, there's a feature article today's on-line edition of The Los Angeles Tiems on Edith Head, "the best sort of designing woman." She was the costume designer for Sunset Boulevard.

Second, the car that Ms Norma Desmond owns (the character played by Gloria Swanson in the movie) is a 1929 Isotta Fraschin. We saw a 1931 Isotta Fraschin at The Nethercutt Collection last week.

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